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Pop CultureJuly 7, 2019

Every crew member on Star Trek, ranked

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For decades fans have argued over the best Star Trek captain. No longer. Today we present the definitive ranking of every main crew member aboard a televised Federation starship (or space station).

Every Star Trek fan has wrestled with it: is Kirk a better captain than Picard? Is Archer better than both? The captain you prefer speaks volumes about your personality. If you love Picard, you’re a theatre nerd. If you think Janeway did no wrong, you’re a psychopath.

But listen, this isn’t about personality. This isn’t about favourites. I’m here to rank every single Starfleet crew member according to their goddamn job, because that’s what they’re there to do. Let’s work our way up.


6. Jake Sisko, Deep Space Nine

This softboi has no place on a starship.

5. Wesley Crusher, The Next Generation

He’s a genuinely smart kid, and will go far at the Academy once he tones it down a bit. For now: shut up, Wesley.

4. Pavel Chekov, The Original Series

Did you know that Soviet Russia actually invented ensigns? Chekov is a cheeky ensign, but a skilled one.

Chekov, Wesley, and Jake: the reasons no one respects Ensigns.

3. Sylvia Tilly, Discovery

She’s a little awkward, but does everything asked of her and then some. A good lateral thinker and a gosh-darned great friend.

2. Nog, Deep Space Nine

Proving you can count on a Ferengi for more than just a rip-off, Nog brings honour to all ensigns. 

1. Harry Kim, Voyager

It’s a fucking outrage that Harry was never promoted. This man has gone above and beyond the duties of a goddamn admiral just to keep Voyager on track. Harry Kim is the most capable, most kind, and most well-rounded character in all of Star Trek and to give him the rank of Ensign is to spit on the spirit of Starfleet itself. Another reason Janeway is going to Hell.


5. Hikaru Sulu, The Original Series

Sulu is a Helmsman, Security Officer, and an astroscientist. It’s hard to be good at one job when your boss is making you do three at the same time. 

4. Data and Wesley Crusher, The Next Generation

I’m putting these two together because when they’re driving it kind of feels like the Enterprise-D is just a point-and-push — there’s not a lot of manoeuvring.

3. Ro Laren, The Next Generation

A brief but welcome addition to the helmsfolk clan, Ro made driving the Enterprise-D look exciting! Also, I have a soft spot for Bajorans.

2. Keyla Detmer, Discovery

The good ship Disco has weathered several dicey bits of space and pulled off some whack manoeuvres – and Detmer’s the helmsman behind it all.

1. Tom Paris, Voyager

He’s a hothead, he’s a liability, he’s the best damn pilot you’ve ever seen!

Communications Officer

3. Janice Rand, The Original Series

She started out as a yeoman, and royally pissed Kirk off when she insisted he follow his doctor-ordered diet. She was a Communications Officer during the whale probe incident, which is one of the weirdest things a communications expert has ever dealt with.

2. Nyota Uhura, The Original Series

For some reason, women are always Communications Officers. This might be because they’re willing to actually listen. In addition to being the best exolinguist around, Uhura shared ship’s counsellor duties with McCoy by singing, consoling, and generally offering an alternative to the doctor’s whisky box.

1. Hoshi Sato, Enterprise

Sato was the first human to learn the Klingon language, broke a superior’s arm over a poker game gone wrong, and once screamed when she found dead bodies, which is a very healthy and normal reaction that more people should have.

Non-Human Representatives

7. Neelix, Voyager

Oh my God, that voice. Does anyone actually like Neelix? His job was “chef” and yet everyone on board used replicators to make food — telling.

6. Guinan, The Next Generation

Whoopi Goldberg as an immortal bartender. It works.

5. Saru, Discovery

The first and only Kelpian in Starfleet does the hard work on Kelpian-human cultural relations by asking Michael Burnham to kill him. This only brings them closer together. What didn’t kill Saru literally made him stronger, and now he’s on track for captaincy.

How many of you forgot Whoopi Goldberg was in The Next Generation?

4. Dax, Deep Space Nine

Dax is a xenomorphic life form consisting of a Trill symbiont and a willing host and they are hands-down the funniest person on the space station. Jadzia Dax is their form throughout most of Deep Space Nine, but in their previous form as Curzon Dax they were friends with Sisko. Watching him call the energetic, progressive young Jadzia “old man” is a simple joke, but it kills every episode.

3. Seven of Nine, Voyager

This is a controversial entry due to her human biology. However, she used to be a Borg drone and that’s as culturally removed as you can get from human. Watching her learn to embrace herself and others as individuals is cry emoji.

2. Elim Garak, Deep Space Nine

He’s a bisexual lizard worm who runs a tailoring shop on a space station and also he’s a spy for the Cardassians, or is he? He’s Doctor Bashir’s best friend and deserves more love for putting up with that guy.

1. Quark, Deep Space Nine

Quark is your stereotypical grumpy barman, serial entrepreneur, and all-around asshole. On more than one occasion he has battled his baser instincts (the Rules of Acquisition) to save the skin of his fellow crew members. If that’s not true love and friendship, I don’t know what is. 

Security Officer

6. Hikaru Sulu, The Original Series

Who let this man bring a sword on board? A good security officer needs to be able to defuse an argument, not start one.

5. Worf, son of Mogh, The Next Generation

Swinging a bat’leth does not a good security officer make. Having a Klingon on your security team is a genius move, but his honour sometimes stood in the way of those hard moral decisions. I’d love to hear him and Tuvok host a security dilemmas podcast.

4. Malcolm Reed, Enterprise

His stiff upper lip was grating, but he improvised, adapted, and overcame when it was required. His section 31 training gives him an edge over more traditional security officers.

You’d never catch Tuvok or Reed pulling this kind of thing.

3. Ash Tyler, Discovery

Despite the glaring failure to realise he was, himself, actually a Klingon agent, Tyler’s very good at his job. He’s instinctive but not impulsive, he’s willing to operate in grey areas, and he will do anything to keep his crew safe from harm.

2. Tuvok, Voyager

He turned an entire ship of Maquis terrorists into Starfleet’s finest. That’s just good security practice. On a personal note, Tuvok taught me more about what it is to love than any human, and now I cry when I think about him.

1. Odo, Deep Space Nine

A grumpy pile of goo is the only security standing between Dominion hordes and the Alpha Quadrant. Odo sleeps in a bucket and can’t be bothered shapeshifting himself eyebrows. He’s not from Starfleet, and he’s not going to run the station that way – and that’s the smartest choice a security officer ever made.


6. Miles O’Brien, The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine

 He spends all his time on the holodeck instead of anywhere near an engine.

5. Charles “Trip” Tucker III, Enterprise

More notable for being a bit of a skux and getting pregnant that one time than his engineering capabilities.

4. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, The Original Series

He’s very good at delegating but seems to run overtime with projects. Big mad scientist vibe.

3. Geordi LaForge, The Next Generation

He can see through walls, so he’s pretty good at his job.

2. B’Elanna Torres, Voyager

Breaking glass ceilings for Klingons and women everywhere, she’s the most talented engineer in the Maquis and Starfleet.

1. Paul Stamets, Discovery

He gave his own body for the mushroomverse! He is literally part of an engine now.

Science Officer

6. Michael Burnham, Discovery

She’s very smart but absolutely dismal at following orders. Sorry, Mike, but that’s the job. Why can’t you be more like your brother?

5. T’Pol, Enterprise

With only 22nd century Federation tools at her disposal, T’Pol had a difficult job. She rose above the dumbassery on her crew and helped the Federation go really, truly, where it had never gone before (anywhere).

4. Spock, The Original Series

Thanks to his half-human, half-vulcan outlook, Spock sees things more objectively than any other science officer. He’s “rational” with a dose of human imagination, which means he’s the best damn problem-solver on the ship. He’s good, but he doesn’t have the curiosity required to be a great Science Officer.

Maybe if you two learned to work TOGETHER you’d be better at your JOB

3. Jadzia Dax, Deep Space Nine

One part mad scientist, one part beacon of progressive virtue, Dax teaches us all about the wonders of science and the perils of not being cool enough (the peril is that she’ll do a sick burn on you in front of everyone).

2. Data, The Next Generation

The cornerstone of science is curiosity, and Data’s is relentless. He’s constantly asking questions, tweaking himself, and generally annoying the shit out of Picard – and that’s what a good science officer does.

1. Kathryn Janeway, Voyager

She may be a captain, but Janeway started out as a science officer and never stopped. She subsists solely on coffee, has wiped the doctor’s memory several times, is the most feared captain in the Delta Quadrant, once turned into a giant lizard, and sanctions murder — she’s the ultimate mad scientist.


7. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, The Original Series

A terrible doctor. He doesn’t know jack shit about non-human biology and uses racist slurs against Spock.

6. Hugh Culber, Discovery

Has the best bedside manner of all the Starfleet doctors, but this didn’t stop him from dying, did it?! Nice one, Culber.

5. Beverly Crusher, The Next Generation

Great bedside manner! Overwhelmingly average in every other area. Bonus points for knowing when to ask for help.

4. Katherine Pulaski, The Next Generation

Terrible bedside manner, incredibly knowledgable doctor. I would trust her with my life.

Dr Pulaski appeared in The Original Series and The Next Generation, and took shit from no captain in either.

3. Julian Bashir, Deep Space Nine

When you find out he’s illegally genetically enhanced, suddenly it makes much more sense how a doctor can be so good looking and so skilled. 

2. Phlox, Enterprise

He had less technology available to him than other doctors, so often had to improvise using small animals. A master of biohacking.

1. The Emergency Medical Hologram, Voyager

Over the course of the show, he goes from a short-lived emergency medical tool to a man with passions and interests who can actually leave sickbay. Thanks to carrying the entirety of Starfleet’s medical knowledge in his data banks, he accomplishes some of the most impressive feats in its history: he de-assimilates a Borg, wipes out Species 8472 with biological warfare, and creates fully-functional holographic lungs.

First Officer

7. Michael Burnham, Discovery

She assaulted her captain and was sentenced to life in prison. Cool character choice, terrible job performance.

6. Saru, Discovery

Smart but a little too practical to be the cutting-edge moral compass a starship needs, On the other hand, all Discovery’s captains were loose units, so this might have been a good staffing choice.

5. Number One, The Original Series/Discovery

She didn’t even get a name, but Pike’s first officer Number One stole the show. She featured in the first Star Trek pilot back in the 60s, where she was clearly the most competent crew member. She was revived for a single episode of Discovery, but it’s not enough.

One day the USS Discovery will find a good First Officer.

4. William Riker, The Next Generation

A fierce defender of his crew and an absolute skuxx deluxx. Not in any way Picard’s moral touchstone, but then Picard doesn’t need ethical advice – he needs someone who can pull off a v-neck and seduce emissaries.

3. Chakotay, Voyager

A terrorist with a heart of gold, Chakotay literally gave up his role as a Maquis leader to merge his crew with Janeway’s and follow the rules of Starfleet. He is the reason Janeway remains loveable and never goes full despot. Chakotay is an angel.

2. Spock, The Original Series

Like all good first officers, Spock’s main role is to make the captain check himself. Without Spock, the Enterprise would have collapsed in a hundred different ways, a hundred times over. 

1. Kira Nerys, Deep Space Nine

She disagrees with Sisko on almost everything. She used to be a “terrorist” (Bajoran resistance fighter) and honestly, sometimes she still is. Kira has to represent the interests of Bajor and those of Starfleet, and she kind of hates them both. This makes her perfect for the job.


7. Gabriel Lorca, Discovery

He’s a mirror universe replacement. Due to being from the evil Terran empire, he’s not a good captain.

6. Christopher Pike, The Original Series/Discovery

Pike is just really hot and very calm. He’s not actually that impressive. He figured out some dudes with big brains were psychic, big whoop.

5. James T. Kirk, The Original Series

Sure, he’s charismatic, but he has less concern for the prime directive than any other captain. If he stopped ignoring red flags and listened to even one single member of his crew, he wouldn’t rip so many shirts.

You’re not a good captain just because you look good in yellow. (Photo: Screenrant)

4. Jonathan Archer, Enterprise

Being the first captain of the first ever Enterprise in Starfleet history is a tough job. He later became President of the Federation and had two planets named after him. A good captain, but I minused points because I watched Quantum Leap before this and can’t take him seriously.

3. Kathryn Janeway, Voyager

She’s the smartest captain, the best speech-giver, and the best at pool. She still murdered Tuvix.

2. Jean-Luc Picard, The Next Generation

Despite the Locutus of Borg incident (R.I.P. Sisko’s wife), he’s still one of the finest captains in Starfleet history. He’s also BFFs with Q, which is a huge asset to the Federation.

1. Benjamin Sisko, Deep Space Nine

He won the Dominion War, he punched Q in the face, and he was, briefly, a literal God.

MVP Award:

Deanna Troi, The Next Generation

Thank you for your sacrifices, Deanna. Whether it was losing your ability to breathe when they made you wear those dresses, or the mental pain inflicted by being able to read Riker’s mind, you have given more than the crew of the Enterprise-D will ever know.

Special R.I.P. awards to Tasha Yar and Kes, who both passed on in the service of developing their shows in new directions.

Keep going!