Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top 5 Best Star Trek: The Next Generation Characters

Star Trek: The Next Generation lasted 7 seasons and 178 episodes, and couldn't have done do without some fantastic actors and characters.  Here's our take on the best characters from TNG.   Get ready to nerd up.

In the future, the blind will be able to see using banana hair clips from preteen girls.
5: Geordie La Forge - I remember LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, but you may remember him from Roots (and you should, really).  On TNG, he played the ship's helmsman and later the chief engineer, and was the only character who was really able to mentally keep up with the android Data.  Burton brought both a likability and a vulnerability to the show--a combination that is hard to come by (ask anyone on Star Trek: Voyager or Enterprise).

"Yeah, this is what everyone will be wearing in the future.  Wait...  Why am I the only one wearing it?"
4: Guinan - I was never a big Whoopi Goldberg fan until I heard an interview she gave to Neil deGrasse Tyson about why she joined the show (check it out here).  Regardless, her mysterious character is the ship's bartender, has been alive for hundreds of years traveling and listening to interesting individuals from around the universe (including some time on Earth with Mark Twain in the 1800's), and even freaks out the Q Continuum to some degree.  These attributes make her interesting; her irregular appearances on the show, made every appearance impactful.  A lot of time had been racked up by nerds wondering about her and her race of listeners.

"We do like our fancy hats here in the Star Trek universe."
3: Q - The omnipotent Q is the prime antagonist in both the series' pilot and finale, with guest appearances sprinkled throughout the seven seasons.  Played (mostly) by John de Lancie, Q is widely thought (by fans) to be the most powerful being in the Trek universe.  What gets him on this list is the on-screen chemistry de Lancie has with Patrick Stewart, and the humor he injects into every episode he's in.

"I only use conjunctions some of the time.  And never intentionally."
2: Data - Brent Spiner plays the role of artificial man perfectly.  His character's quest for his own humanity provides fodder for numerous episodes, and Spiner gets s lot of chances to exercise his versatility, as the emotion-free Data has an evil "brother" and a "father" (maker), both portrayed by Spiner, as well as multiple one-off characters.  Data was initially a Mr. Spock for a new generation, but developed into his own very quickly and distinguished himself as one of the most interesting characters in the Trek universe.

"Sit on this, Shatner, you prick."
1: Jean Luc Picard - There is some back-and-forth among Trekkers about the best Captain in the Trek universe, but for our money, there's no question--Picard.  Patrick Stewart brings the role of captain dignity and gravitas, both missing from Bill Shatner's portrayal of Captain Kirk.  Plus, he's probably the best actor to play a regular character in any Trek series.

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  1. Sheldon Cooper would disagree...he would say Wesley Crusher deserves a spot on this list. :)

  2. I'll be doing a top 5 worst list. I suspect Wesley will make an appearance.

  3. Spot on I reckon.

    And regarding the Kirk/Picard debate. Picard is the batter Starfleet Captain, while Kirk is the better Pirate Captain.

  4. I can agree with that, although if we ae going all-time top pirate captains, Mal from Firefly might edge out Kirk, and you probably have to count Han solo in the debate too (he captained a ship, even if he wasn't a captain. Or was he? I'm not sure.)

  5. Now that I think of it, we could use a top 5 all-time prate captains. Care to write it @google-1ba5a2204a8a62a2dc4c34f3a97409da:disqus?

  6. Wesley Crusher deserve a special spot... in the seventh circle of hell.

  7. Picard is much better and more interesting than Kirk. There's no question.