The Characters of “Star Trek”

Ryan and I have been watching through Star Trek: Enterprise, (which I had only seen an episode or two of previously). While I’ve been watching, I’ve come to a realization about Enterprise, which led to a realization about the Star Trek franchise in general, and made me wonder if other people feel this way:

True or False: Every series of Star Trek has one main character that you either wish had never been included in the cast, or was completely unnecessary to the show.

I have come to the conclusion that, for me at least, this is almost uniformly true.

  • Star Trek: EnterpriseHoshi Sato–It’s not really her fault. She was just an underdeveloped, underused character. It seemed like they only really brought her out when they needed something translated or deciphered.
  • Star Trek: The Original SeriesUhura–I get that the character was ground-breaking, particularly when it came to race. And I can appreciate that. But I just don’t find that she was all that essential to the show…I think it would have worked just fine without her.
  • Star Trek: The Next GenerationCounselor Troi–I don’t suppose I have anything against Troi as a person, but the whole 80s concept of bringing your therapist with you when traveling the galaxy is just so obnoxious, I can’t get past it.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine–This show is the one exception to the rule. I really like all of the characters, which makes sense, because I think the characters were better developed and written in this series than they were in any other. If I had to choose, however, I’d go with Ezri Dax, partly because I’ll never forgive them for killing off Jadzia, and partly because Ezri was so annoying. But she barely counts, since she was only on for one season.
  • Star Trek: VoyagerKes–And for good measure, you can throw Neelix in with her. Kes is possibly the most pointless character in Star Trek history, which the writers obviously realized, because they got rid of her after three seasons. And Neelix is irritating, too, partly because of his association with Kes, and partly on his own merit.

I’m not really sure what it says that all of my least favorite characters on Star Trek are women. On the other hand, my favorite characters, (T’Pol, Spock, Worf, Dax, and B’Elanna Torres, to name a few), are all aliens. I guess that says something about me, too. Maybe I need that 80s therapist, after all!

2 thoughts on “The Characters of “Star Trek”

  1. I completely agree with your theory but must say, Star Trek is a character series so there are reasons they are there. Everyone needs a character to relate to. I feel the painting you get from having people you DON’T like in the pallet, is more complete than it would be without. I have never had a job (even a good one) that didn’t have some dolt that irritated me to an extent. Also, perhaps stories that follow those characters sometimes give the viewer an opportunity to see their faves in a supporting sense?

    In defense of Nelix: I was not a fan of Nelix innitially, but after watching the full Voyager series, he is one of my favorite characters, and I feel the series would have definitely not been the same without him. His loyalty, spirituality and humanity were fantastic, as they were a great mirror into understanding Federation principles from someone outside of “Alpha Quadrant Politics”. His knowledge of the Delta Quadrant, balanced the scales between Voyager and the other series as even Kirk had rumors to go on with dealing with the Romulans (whom the federation hadn’t seen in many decades). Were Nelix not in Voyagers cast, the first half of every episode would have been “Let’s figure out what these folks want”.

    Here’s MY list:
    Enterprise: Travis – I appreciate what he did, and I should like him for the same reason I like Nelix but I just don’t like his character.
    Original Series: Uhura – We all know why she’s there. It’s a discredit to her role that they didn’t give her and actual role or any actual depth.
    Next Generation: Troi – “Imzadi!” I never liked her stand alone stories, and the notion that they needed her was laughable. Pulaski was terrible also.
    DS9 – Bashir. Never did anything for me. Always complaining. I know a large part of the series was war time and people may not have been acting blithe about everything, but even when he was being jolly with Miles he irritated me.
    Voyager: Kes – Whiner. The notion that she was the attractive female eye candy was ridiculous. I think I disliked her for a lot of the same reasons I didn’t like Troi.

  2. I agree with what you said about needing characters you don’t like to complete the picture. But with the exception of Kes, it’s not even that I really disliked the characters listed…I’m just kind of apathetic toward them.

    Now thinking about characters I didn’t like, but the show wouldn’t be the same without? Weyoun, totally. He annoyed me, and made me really angry at times, but then he’d turn around and amuse me. I could never figure out if I was supposed to like him or hate him. Same thing with Gul Dukat, (although at the end, I really did hate him!). Characters like that really made the show interesting and complex for me.

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