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Ready, set, engage -- who gets your vote for the best Star Trek captain? What is it about them that puts them at the top of the list?


So torn, but I think I'm going with Janeway. I loved watching her struggle mightily with the decision to keep heading home instead of giving up and settling down in the Delta Quadrant, even when her crew seemed ready to mutiny over it. She sought input from all her staff, but the decision was always hers, and she took full responsibility for it, even when it didn't go all that well.

Now these are things all the captains did, I suppose, but with Janeway, she wasn't afraid to let her guard down. She had real feelings, and actually expressed them from time to time. She also didn't have any problems showing the people around her how much she cared for them, even when she had to switch gears and be a hardass to them. Out of all the series, theirs truly was the most of a family, since they were all stuck together on the same ship for years on end with zero other people of their own race to interact with. She was tough *and* tender, compassionate *and* stern, and held that balance with a lot of heart and strength.

In some ways, I liked Sisko for the same reasons - he was a hell of a leader and demanded the best from his people and got it because of the respect he earned. Sometimes, though, when he finally got around to expressing himself, it came off as "the dam has finally burst" dramatic.

Picard and Kirk? Apples and oranges, and both were tremendous in their own ways.

And Archer? I actually liked Archer, but I didn't have enough appreciation for the series to really appreciate him as a captain.

Comments

( 17 comments — Comment )
doniago
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Going where no man has gone before...
I think you must have watched a different "Voyager" than I did. :p
ebenbrooks
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
The show itself definitely had flaws. Like, lots of them. But I think his analysis of the character of Janeway was spot-on. You saw her having to make the hard decisions, and you also saw how the weight of those decisions affected her. (I'm thinking of the Tuvix situation, which was a horrible episode, but a very good example of Janeway's character.)
esprix
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
A good example. And how many times throughout the series did she turn to Chakotay or Tuvok and say, "Did I make the right decision?" I appreciate that she could talk to her senior staff and be bluntly honest, but to everyone else, she stuck to her guns.
ebenbrooks
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Picard actually asked either Dr. Crusher or Counselor Troi that very question, but only once, to my recollection. I hope they didn't have Janeway do that more often because of some unconscious sexism. That would suck.
esprix
Apr. 4th, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Oh I'm sure they did, but Mulgrew handled it with aplomb. :)
doniago
Apr. 5th, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
I have a rather less charitable view of Janeway. The words self-righteous and arrogant come to mind, among others.

I don't recall her ever expressing regret over any of her decisions, though I think I had an episode of such called out to me. I'm not thinking of Tuvix, which I consider a rather good episode. Frankly I thought Janeway's decision there was completely wrong, and begs the question of how long Tuvix should have been allowed to live before he was generously granted the right to exist.
esprix
Apr. 5th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
I recall at least one or two episodes where they were presented with an opportunity to settle on a planet, and Janeway again questioned whether her original plan of heading home was a good one. That and other things she did during the run make me think she was one of the least self-righteous and arrogant characters in the Star Trek universe. Even in the Tuvix episode she was never 100% (half the episode was the debate over what was the right thing to do), but when she finally made her decision she stuck to it for better or for worse.
doniago
Apr. 5th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Considering she also threatened to basically feed a crewman to hostile aliens if he didn't tell her what she wanted to know, and threw away years of galactic (and perhaps universal) history just to get her little ship home faster, without even having any idea whether there would be a net gain involved? Self-righteous and arrogant seem rather apt descriptors to me.

Hell, she couldn't even come back in time a week earlier to save poor, pointlessly-dead Joe Carey.

To take a slightly cheap shot, she also basically told the Doctor to fuck off in "Year of Hell" when he quite rightly pointed out that she was behaving irrationally.
esprix
Apr. 5th, 2012 02:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Interesting way of looking at it - what I saw was determination, leadership and "grit" balanced with self-doubt, compassion and emotional investment.
doniago
Apr. 6th, 2012 05:30 am (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Stuck me as the kind of determination and leadership exhibited by Dubya. Waterboarding for terrorists, blowing off the advice of others when it's inconvenient, and removing them from their authority if they persist...

I appreciate that she was operating under conditions that no Starfleet captain had faced to that point, but locking someone in a cargo bay and threatening to kill them unless they tell you what you want to know? That's not someone who should be in command of a starship, that's someone who needs counseling.
esprix
Apr. 6th, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
OK, well then, agree to disagree. Bygones! :)
esprix
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
Maybe. I've grown quite an affection for the show over the years.
doniago
Apr. 5th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Re: Going where no man has gone before...
I'll stick with DS9, though Voyager did have some awesome episodes. I'm certainly not a VOY-hater, I just think it swung at its potential and missed by a wide margin.
ebenbrooks
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
Very well expressed. I agree with your analysis of Janeway, though for my own reasons, I still choose Sisko.
esprix
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Understandable, as he's pretty awesome, too. :)
bigbearok
Apr. 6th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
Couldn't stand the crying. She was not my fav.
esprix
Apr. 6th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
She didn't cry, she was just emotional. :P I'm sure Picard cried when no one was looking! :D
( 17 comments — Comment )

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