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4 weeks ago#141
20. Julian Bashir
“Why yes, my real name is Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderrahman Mohammed Abdel Karim El Mahdi, how did you know?”

Let’s get our Game of Thrones jokes out of the way now, okay? Okay. “Boy, the Dorne stuff in GoT sure sucked a lot. It’s almost as bad as being stabbed by a Jem’hadar.” Alright, good enough, let’s move on.

Bashir falls into the Crusher mold of “I only exist because the show needs a doctor,” but he does it much, much better. In particular, he actually has some personal drama to resolve over the course of the show: two relationships with Dax and the problems of being a genetic augment in a future where that’s not cool.

I guess we can deal with early season 1 Bashir first. If I was just ranking him, he’d be near the bottom of the list. That guy is way too pushy with Dax, and it’s forgivable mainly because Dax is like this super old and wise type who knows exactly how to deal with him. He’s also annoying in general, very jumpy and irritating. So, in a weird way, Bashir is the DS9 character who has the second highest jump in quality. Rom, of course, goes from unbearable to merely highly annoying, so he wins that title.

I wasn’t really into Bashir’s romance with Dax, to be honest. I never really understood why he was so into her? I guess the heart wants what it wants, but she never really seemed very into him, despite her later claim that she’d have banged him but for Worf. I mean, yes, she’s beautiful and a super genius, but it’s Star Trek. Everyone is a hot super genius. And as for Ezri, I already mentioned how I literally forgot he had a romance with her after watching the show three times. I would say that it’s unnecessary, that the arc of Bashir in this is getting over Dax after she chooses another man, but I can’t rightly say that since I don’t even remember the romance at all.

Even though the thing everyone remembers about Bashir is that he’s a genetic augment, it actually doesn’t come up that often. It comes up in like six episodes total, but it’s a really interesting idea. Bashir has to grapple with the fact that he’s literally better than normal humans at anything he wants despite not really wanting to be, but acknowledge the bare truth that if he wasn’t an augment, he’d be mentally disabled. He looks at other genetic augments who are borderline-insane and knows that he dodged a bullet, all because the procedure isn’t very reliable. It’s a great premise and interesting setup, and I like it a lot. It also leads to funny moments when you rewatch the early episodes before the writers thought of that and see Bashir struggle with normal humans. There’s one episode where a pudgy guy tries to murder O’Brien and Bashir barely manages to restrain him. So good.

You can mine a lot of drama out of “doctor who sees crazy stuff during a war,” and they sort of do that. Bashir grows a lot during the show, but not in a PTSD sort of way. Actually, a great comparison is the doctor in Babylon 5, who’s also a doctor during a crazy war who sees stuff he shouldn’t, but instead gets broken by it and has to walk to clear his mind for many, many episodes. Bashir’s response is to just be a little grimmer.

Bashir/O’Brien is an interesting friendship, partly because it’s one of the few “just a normal friendships” in Star Trek. Kirk/Spock/Bones, Geordi/Data, and Harry/Tom are sort of it, and even Geordi/Data is pushing it. The juxtaposition between “I’m literally superior” and “I’m the most normal person in the galaxy” produces a really cool relationship, and it makes complete sense that they’d bond over dumb stuff like medieval battles in the holodeck.

One of the main things about Bashir people remember is his relationship with Garak. We’ll save most of this for Garak, but the idea of “I like screwing around as a pretend spy” meeting “I am actual spy and am kind of offended by your naivete” is super strong.

Overall: a really good character, even if he's not one of the best DS9 has to offer.
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Started: July 6, 2005
(edited 4 weeks ago)

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4 weeks ago#142
- Good Tier -
Good Tier characters are integral to their shows. They elevate things to the next level, and if removed, the show would be completely different.

19. Nog
“I can’t think of any funny fake Nog quotes, so I’ll just write this and see if anyone responds.”

Nog is up here pretty much for one reason: comparing him to Voyager is like a joke. Nothing in Voyager matters. Everything is always reset by the end of every episode. But Nog, a secondary character in DS9, has an entire storyline about the phantom pain of losing a leg. Sure, I kind of thought the Federation would be able to just regrow a leg or make a robot leg as good as your original, but whatever. Here’s something I don’t hate about Discovery, actually: actions have consequences that play out over the course of entire seasons. DS9 did it first, and better, but hey, that’s the best you’re getting from me.

Nog’s a great example of character development. Starts out as a bratty kid, evolves into someone who cares about duty and hard work, momentarily alienated from his lazier childhood friend, eventually grows beyond that and becomes, dare I say it, an adult. He also has the advantage of being slightly disconnected from Quark and Rom after a while, which lets him join the serious storylines of the other characters.

Of course, like most kid characters, he’s pretty annoying at first. He’s lucky the show lasted seven seasons and gave him the chance to grow up. Overall, he’s a good character where there’s not a lot to make fun of him for? Making bad jokes about thirty-year-old characters is all I’ve got, sadly.
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Eddv
4 weeks ago#143
Hey don't lazy out on me
Board 8's Voice of Reason
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4 weeks ago#144
#52 Wesley Crusher
*I just wish adults would understand."

Wesley Crusher continues my trend of dropping TNG characters early in the game. Wil Wheaton did his best -- which to be honest wasn't all that great back then, but it was passable -- in order to infuse this character with boyhood charm. I think the biggest problem Wesley ever faced was Trek fans themselves. He was doomed, you see, by the below-average first season because there were entirely too many occasions in which no one listened to Wesley (because Wesley was a teenager) but Wesley was right (which was supposed to surprise the audience each and every time) and in the end Wesley's adolescent correctness was a pillar of the crew's success in overcoming a mission. This was drilled into skulls time and again until all but the most ardent supporters of this character (whom I'm not certain exist actually) were fed up with it. I guess the writers tried to balance this by having Wesley step on some grass at one point and nearly be killed for it but please reread this sentence and tell me if something doesn't add up here.

As Next Gen progresses, Wesley improves bit by bit until lo and behold he is no longer terrible. Unfortunately, it's too little and too late, and the fandom menace had long since decided his fate. Wil Wheaton amicably departed the series during the fifth season, though he made a few returns before the end. Mind you, I concur with the general sentiment that Wesley is well-utilized in "The First Duty", but "The First Duty" utilizes young Crusher as a plot piece more than an actual character -- it's Picard who shines brightest here instead. One of Wesley's guest appearances later on, "The Game", is pretty good despite its eye-rolling premise, but his final return in "Journey's End" is... less stellar.

Wesley ranks so low on my list by sheer weight of how many times I cringe when thinking about the first couple of seasons of the show relative to how little his gradual improvement counts for anything. Once he's no longer a dreadful centerpiece he stops functioning especially in most of his remaining episodes, which makes his departure rather shrug-worthy.

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(edited 4 weeks ago)

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4 weeks ago#145
#51 Travis Mayweather
"..."

Oh, Travis. My dear, sweet Travis. You're the butt of so many jokes between Kaelee, Eddv, and myself. It's not your fault; truly, we adore you. You were shunned like no other Star Trek main cast member has ever before been shunned. At first, you existed; then, quite suddenly, you did not. I'm not talking Tasha Yar here -- you didn't die, though who would have noticed if you had? Nor do I speak of Janice Rand -- you didn't exit the show out of nowhere, though again, who would have known? Instead, you sat at the helm for all four seasons of the undervalued Star Trek: Enterprise, the pilot whose identity could feasibly be a question seen during a Double Jeopardy square... on a nerds only episode of Jeopardy.

It's almost as if your very existence is the talk of triviamongers. "You remember Travis?" "Who?" "Travis. Travis Mayweather." "Yeah, no. Listen, you're kind of in my way; I need to get to the hardcore Star Trek convention downtown stat." Sometimes, sweet readers, it really do be like that. The writers gave him a backstory ("I'm from space!") and a first-season spotlight episode ("My family's also from space!") and it's an open secret that actor Anthony Montgomery's subpar performance in that episode helped seal his fate. And that's an honest damn shame, because if you squint enough to remember he has lines in future episodes, you might notice that Montgomery's acting steadily improves.

Perhaps I overstate the problem. It is true that young Travis occasionally goes off-world. He even stands beside Charles "Trip" Tucker, a character who exists, when the Xindi attack leaves Florida a gaping wound of devastation known as bad CG. But do you even remember this? If you answered yes, congratulations. You win a token black guy Travis Mayweather trademark bewildered smile.

At the very end stretch, during the final two episodes prior to the largely-maligned timeskip series finale, new showrunner Manny Coto decided to give Travis Mayweather an honest-to-god subplot involving an ex-girlfriend with less than noble intentions. It's a peculiar sighting and not a very good one but a sign that had Enterprise continued perhaps things would have gotten a bit better for the guy. More impressively, the "In a Mirror, Darkly" two-parter just a few episodes beforehand played the ultimate in-joke trick card by giving Travis a place beside the successful new Empress of the Terran Empire. "Look," you could hear the newer staff members cry out in fitful unison. "We remembered this character."

I'm grateful for that, but not grateful enough to keep this perilously invisible character around any longer.
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4 weeks ago#146
#50 Neelix
"Tug my whiskers and call me daddy."

At least someone here is going to be shocked that Neelix almost survived the fifties tier. Well, he did. The secret to his "success" is this -- he actually didn't suck sometimes, especially as Star Trek: Voyager progressed. It's true! There were times in which his screentime was by no means painful, and a few scattered little tear-jerker moments strewn throughout.

But like poor Wesley before him, nothing on earth can save Neelix's fated reception after his disastrous role in the first two seasons.

When we meet Neelix, he's some kind of junk trader whose young girlfriend Kes -- and by young, I mean she's one year old, but I'm not even going to get into that -- has magical fairy powers. (She's a sweetheart, really, and we'll get into that a little later, but suffice it to say her ranking's going to be pulled down by the gravity well that is Neelix.) The troubling matter here isn't technically that Neelix comes across as an awkward creep who is so overprotective of Kes that it's difficult to forget her being a one-year-old isn't the same for Ocampa as any other species -- whoops, f***, I got into it, oh well. Taken on its own, with writers who possessed a modicum of self-awareness on this matter, this could have been explored in some vaguely acceptable fashion. Instead, the writing insinuates that we as an audience are supposed to find this charming. Funny. Relatable.

Maybe it can be relatable. You know. If you're a horrible, sexist, possibly hebepheliac human being. But I doubt that's what they were shooting for here. Neelix's rivalry with Tom Paris for Kes' courtship only exacerbates the issue. These are possibly the most painful scenes to behold of Voyager's worst season, which is its second season, which... truly, it's not good. There's an episode where Tom and Neelix crash land someplace and have to suss out their aggression, because of course there is, and just... kill me. Just kill me.

Again, Neelix improves. The best thing to happen to actor Ethan Phillips is frankly actress Jennifer Lien's departure from Voyager. With Kes gone, Neelix is free to explore subjects that do not include creepiness. His friendship with Naomi Wildman, a girl whose mother... uh... ceases to exist a la Travis Mayweather, but whatever... is kind of cute until the episode in which he threatens suicide repeatedly in front of her. (WhoopsyDaisy.) But Neelix's frienemy relationship with Tuvok is actually kind of great and there are some real winners there like the sixth season's standout "Riddles" and their touching farewell in "Homestead". So that's something. It's definitely something.

Fun fact, by the way: Naomi Wildman's actress, Scarlet Pomers, used to live less than a block away from me when we were growing up. I hung out with her a couple of times because she was friends with someone else I knew. Naturally, this makes her role on Star Trek: Voyager simultaneously entertaining and bizarre for me.

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(edited 4 weeks ago)

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4 weeks ago#147
An important fact is that Naomi Wildman’s mother stopped appearing because each writer assumed th others killed her off, and no one actually double-checked.
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Started: July 6, 2005

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4 weeks ago#148
#49 Nyota Uhura
"Now hear this. Now hear this. All senior officers report whether it's yanny or laurel by 0800 hours."

I'm gonna be an open book here: I don't remember a damned thing about Nyota Uhura on The Original Series. Close to nothing, anyway. She took over for various roles on the bridge here and there when some crewmember got sick or exploded or whatever but otherwise she handled comms. At one point she and Christine Chapel saved the day because all the male officers were screwed in the head or something? I think she sang a few times. Wait, oh god, that's right. She sang and danced in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. OK, it's coming back to me now. Oof.

In the films, however, I do remember a few things. She's snarky and kind of delightful in III, IV, and VI. She has a cool scene in VI when she's flipping through a real damn book stumbling to speak Klingon when everyone's lives are on the line. I like that scene, yeah. It's fun. Um... yep. Oh, um, she kissed Kirk. That kind of blew up on national politics for a while. Because, you know. America. Actress Nichelle Nichols has a far cooler story than the character she played on TV. Her famous meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. in which the the Reverend talked her into remaining on the show despite racist mail is the stuff of legends.

In the Kelvinverse movies, Zoe Saldana invigorates Nyota with aggressive energy and she's kind of a good character but not much like her Primeverse counterpart. Her relationship with Kelvinverse Spock is largely the only thing fans ever really parrot on about, but she has a handful of smart, sassy moments throughout the movies. If Star Trek "4" ever actually enters production, I'll kind of, sort of, look forward to seeing more of her. Le shrug.
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4 weeks ago#149
Anagram posted...
An important fact is that Naomi Wildman’s mother stopped appearing because each writer assumed th others killed her off, and no one actually double-checked.

LMAO.
Hi! I'm Quinton.
Did you know that Emilia Clarke will be my wife in 2023?

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4 weeks ago#150
Anagram posted...
39. Kathryn Janeway
“Blacker than a moonless night, hotter and more bitter than Hell itself… That is coffee.”

Janeway’s science skills consist of two things: technobabble and analogies. What I mean by analogies is that whenever Janeway runs into a science thing, she’ll make an analogy, then solve it by using the analogy literally. “That dimensional rift is expanding like a balloon! Now we just have to make a pin and stick it into the surface to pop it.”

omfg. hilariously true.

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21. Christopher Pike
“Beep. Beep. That’s wheelchair for ‘No,’ jackass.”

Isn’t it amazing that one of the most recognizable Star Trek things, alongside the phaser and Vulcans and whatever, is Pike’s stupid wheelchair? It’s in one episode, but it’s more recognizable to a normal person than all of DS9, VOY, ENT, and DIS combined.

Gotta disagree here. The average American over the age of 23 or so probably at least remembers "the black captain," "the woman captain," "the robot girl," and the fact that Discovery exists (thanks, marketing) far better than Pike's wheelchair.

If you tell them Star Trek: Enterprise exists, however, they may call you a damn liar.

Hi! I'm Quinton.
Did you know that Emilia Clarke will be my wife in 2023?
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