What happens in outer space, stays in outer space. Or maybe not, since back here on Earth, we've been thrilling to the galaxy-hopping adventures of many movies, TV shows, and comic books for decades. When it comes to mainstream dominance, there are few pop culture phenomenons that have had the influence of Star Trek, which since its 1966 premiere has painted an optimistic portrait of a humanity that has finally made peace with itself, and has banded together with other alien races to explore the universe.
Often, Star Trek gets compared to Star Wars, probably just because the two franchises have similar titles. But we'd like to argue that Star Trek's true sibling is actually the 2004 version of Battlestar Galactica; both shows are famous for exploring real life metaphors and political/philosophical themes through the guise of science fiction, but Battlestar's tone is far more weary, bleak, and desperate.
Both of these very different universes have very different characters, but sometimes, it's easy to imagine how some of these people could fit into the other world; sometimes, it's hard to tell which character is a Cylon, and which is a Borg. How well do you know both of these TV universes? Are These Characters From Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica?
Born in La Bar, France, this famous leader is known for inventing a warp-speed battle tactic known as the Picard Manuever. Unlike some of the other more "cowboy" like captains that are his contemporaries, Picard is known for being a master of diplomacy, peace talks, and is widely regarded as deeply logical and intelligent. He enjoys reading Shakespeare, and studying archeology, either of which he would be happy to accompany with a hot cup of his favorite Earl Grey tea. Is he a Star Trek character, or can he be found in Battlestar Galactica?
Number Six may look like any other human, and even molecular tests will make her look human, but don't be fooled: she's a cybernetic organism, designed by humanity, who rebelled with her fellow androids. Number Six is known for her sultry, seductive manner, which she uses to get information, access codes, or anything else that she believes her species needs for survival against the human race. Because she is the one whose clandestine mission caused the end of the world, she is revered as a hero by her contemporaries.
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
If you need a fighter who is never going to back down, this is the one you're looking for. Tough-talking, hotheaded, cigar-smoking, hard-drinking, gambling, and always ready to punch someone -- even if that someone is a commanding officer -- Kara Thrace is better known as Starbuck. Kara is sometimes erratic and sometimes difficult to deal with, but she's easily the most valuable member of her team; she can outsmart any opponent, and is willing to die for her companions.
Thought of as a rebel by her superiors, T'Pol comes from a world where logic is always held above emotion -- but T'Pol is a deeply emotional individual who has always struggled to control the intensity of her feelings. As the series progresses, T'Pol comes to strongly value the deep emotions inside her. While she is at first deeply resented by her shipmates, due to her cool demeanor and her differences from them, she eventually proves herself to be a deeply valuable member of the team.
Odo is a strange, gruff, introverted being who tends to avoid becoming close to others, because he is so fundamentally different from them. His body is composed of a malleable gelatinous form, but he is a shapeshifter that can take on a relatively human form as well. He serves as the head of security on a space station, using his powers to blend into the background and observe any shady activities. As the series progresses, he comes to learn his mysterious true origins.
Laura Roslin is the Secretary of Education, until a catastrophic event sends her hurtling upward through the ranks, making her the new President of the Twelve Colonies. Though soft-spoken, Laura soon proves herself to be an effective and commanding leader who never backs down in the face of danger. Unfortunately, cancer runs in Laura's family, which killed her mother. As time goes on, it afflicts her as well, as in the later seasons of the series, she herself develops breast cancer.
Though Baltar may be brilliantly intelligent, charismatic, flirty, and with a clever sense of humor, he is also deeply neurotic, paranoid, and above all else, one of the most self-serving men alive. Baltar is out for Baltar, and only for Baltar, and he does whatever it takes to ensure that his own survival and reputation is safe -- even if it means lying, scheming, manipulating, or backstabbing anyone in his way. Unfortunately, no one seems to see through Baltar's lies, and so he is widely revered and trusted.
Okay, so maybe there IS one other person in the universe who is just as self-serving as Baltar, and it's this guy: Quark. Played by Armin Shimmerman, Quark is a devoted capitalist whose sole purpose in life is to make as much money as humanly possible, no matter who it hurts if he can get it. If there's a shady deal going down on the station, Quark is probably involved. Despite his greediness, cheapness, and low moral values, Quark somehow manages to be a lovable character all the same.
Played by Richard Hatch, Tom Zarek is a populist political leader and revolutionary who oozes charisma. Zarek spent twenty years of his life imprisoned for blowing up a government building, but doesn't apologize for it. Zarek believes in his quest, believes that he is a voice for the people, and is always seeking higher and higher political positions in his efforts to gain power. Zarek is a controversial figure, who holds no qualms about sacrificing lives for what he believes must be done.
The son of a creole chef, Benjamin Sisko is a widower, a father, and a powerful leader. He possesses a calm, calculated demeanor that masks an inner zaniness, and a temper that can flash red hot when it gets pushed. His leadership is deeply respected by all that follows him, and an entire planet actually reveres him as a religious icon they call "the Emissary." Sisko isn't quite comfortable with this role, but does the best he can. He has a love of baseball, and like his father, enjoys cooking. Sisko is played by Avery Brooks.
When she is first introduced, Anastasia "Dee" Dualla is beloved by her teammates for her young, optimistic and ambitious demeanor. At the beginning of the series, she has a youthful romance with presidential aide Billy Keikeya, but he is then killed in a terrorist attack. This is only the beginning, because as the events of the series transpire, multiple tragedies, stress, and anxiety all take their toll on Dee, battering her down. Anastasia Dualla is played by actress Kandyse McClure.
Formerly a deeply respected human being, the man who became Locutus was abducted and converted by the cyborgs, as a show of power, and to act as a spokesmon for human assimilation. When Locutus joined with the cyborgs, they absorbed all of his mental processes, information, and experiences, giving them a a decided advantage in the war. However, the humans were eventually able to recover Locutus, and bring him back, though the man inside is still traumatically haunted by the experience.
A devoted military man and a war hero, Commander William Adama is a stern but loving figure, calm and contemplative, but ruthless when the time comes for it. He is also a devoted comrade, having saved his best friend from a life of alcoholism. Though discharged at the end of the war, he finds himself called back into service after a deadly attack. Adama has two sons, both of whom also joined the military, the oldest of whom perishes sometime before the beginning of the series.
Also known as Leoben Conoy, this cybernetic being is one of the most powerful of his kind. He's also one of the most intellectual, possessing complex philosophical and spiritual beliefs, and he is devoted to his faith. However, he is also something of a manipulator, who plays with the beliefs of others while not fully explaining himself, causing people to question whether circumstances are real or not. Number Two, or Leoben, is played in the series by Callum Keith Rennie.
Karl Agathon, also known as "Helo," is an Electronic Countermeasures Officer Helo is played by Tahmoh Penikett. Early in the series, Agathon is stranded away from his friends, and it takes him a long time to fight his way back. He ends up mating with a member of the villainous cybernetic species at war with the human race, and this is the subject of a lot of controversy, with political leaders demanding that his child be aborted due to the risk.
Though youthful, impressionable, and maybe sometimes a bit naive, Chekov's brilliant intelligence should definitely not be underestimated; he is a gifted child prodigy, and though he is certainly younger than his contemporaries, is arguably just as talented. Though at first he is introduced as just an interesting new ensign, as the series continues on, Chevok proves himself to be capable of functioning as a science officer when the need arises. The character of Pavel Chekov is played by Walter Koenig.
Though she may appear to be a regular woman, she is in fact a woman who lives with a symbiotic creature inside her, named Dax. When the current host of the symbiote dies, Dax is then transferred to the next host, whose personality becomes a merging of their distinctive traits as well as the traits of every Dax host before them. The Jadzia incarnation of Dax is played by Terry Farrell, a strong, confident, and cocky woman. A later incarnation, Ezri Dax is played by Nicole de Boer.
A Junior Grade Lieutenant, Felix Gaeta is known for his warm, idealistic, hopeful nature, which often helps others persevere. Though he was interested in studying genetics in college, he ended up enlisting in order to pay for tuition. Gaeta is extremely skilled and competent, and has a good head on his shoulders, but his idealism is beaten down over the course of the series, particularly after he loses his leg. The character of Felix Gaeta is played by Alessandro Juliani.
The Frank Sinatra type character of the series is Vic Fontaine, a 1960s-era Rat Pack guy who runs a casino and bar. Well, sort of. Vic is actually just a hologram program, but he appears to possess a startling degree of self-awareness and often advises the real crew members, particularly in the area of romance, to the point where many would consider him a friend. He is portrayed by actor James Darren, who took the role after it was turned down by Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Saul Tigh is an XO, and he's been known to state that "if the crew doesn't hate the XO, then he's not doing his job." As far as that goes, Tigh accomplishes his mission: he's gruff, bitter, antisocial, authoritative, and insulting to almost anyone he talks to. But there's a deep loneliness stabbing at Saul's heart, and a mysterious explanation behind much of the pain that he carries with him -- and explanation that even Saul himself never could have guessed.
When she's first introduced, Sharon "Boomer" Valerii believes herself to be a human being. But it turns out that she's actually a sleeper agent, with preprogrammed memories, a revelation so horrifying to her that she attempts to commit suicide. Later, she turns against the humans. However, another version of the same model also becomes a major character, with the call sign Athena, who has a notable romance with a human character. Both versions of this character are played by actress Grace Park.
Q may look human, but he's not anything close to it. He is actually a seemingly omnipotent and omnipresent being who has existed for countless eons, and now seems to spend much of his time playing practical jokes on human beings, a species which are like ants to him. No one knows what his true motivations are, or if they are even decipherable by such mere mortals as ourselves. He is played in the series by actor John De Lancie.
A powerful religious leader, Kai Winn Adami is respected by all who serve her, but she possesses a sneaky, arrogant, and sometimes manipulative personality which unnerves many; she often serves mysterious ends, and her true goal is not religious enlightenment, but power. When others have spiritual experiences, she is jealous, rather than grateful. As the series progresses, she ends up joining an extremist religious group known as the Circle. Winn Adami is played in the series by actress Louise Fletcher.
Every good team needs their practical guy, and for this team, that practical guy is Chief of Operations Miles O'Brien, a talented engineer who always calls it like he sees it. He's a relatable, working class sort of character who maintains a down to earth outlook on life, and is also a family member: his most important purpose is to be there for his wife Keiko, and their two children Molly and Kirayoshi. After the events of the series, Miles becomes an engineering professor.
Once you leave home and begin exploring outer space for other worlds, it comes in handy to have a skilled linguist and translator around. Enter Hoshi Sato, played by Linda Park, whose skills save the day on many occasions. However, Hoshi isn't too fond of space travel, with the effects of moving at such speeds often making her feel sick. However, Hoshi's passion is for language, not space, and in that capacity she is one of the team's most valuable members.
Lee and his brother were military kids, who joined up with the military as soon as they could; when Lee's younger brother Zak died, Lee became resentful of his father, feeling that he shouldn't have pushed Zak to keep going. As the series progresses, Lee proves himself to have a good, kind heart, and a firm moral compass. Later on in the series, Lee finds that his true passion in life is as a lawyer, rather than a military man, and he finds himself much more comfortable in that role. He is played by Jamie Bamber.
Geordi La Forge
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge, portrayed by actor LeVar Burton, is a hard worker who will stay up all night to fix even a minor problem. He was a self-described military brat as a kid, often moving around. He has also been blind since the day he was born, which is the reason he wears the VISOR -- Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement -- a high tech device that creates visual input by scanning the electromagnetic spectrum, and thus allows the wearer to see.
The character of D'Anna Biers is first introduced as a confident, hard-hitting reporter for the Fleet News Service, and her work on a documentary gains her full access to the show's crew and vessel. However, it turns out that D'Anna is actually an undercover agent, and D'Anna is sending the footage from the documentary right to the eyes of the enemy. Later in the series, D'Anna begins experiencing what she believes are messages from God, and commits suicide (over and over again).
Samuel Anders used to be a star player for the Buccaneers, playing a sport called Pyramid. Later on, Anders and his team were in the mountains doing high altitude training when their world was attacked, and came back to become a resistance movement, with the rest of the team looking to Anders as their leader. When the main characters encounter this unit, Anders becomes a love interest to one of the show's primary antagonists. Later on, though, it turns out that he has a dark secret...
Seven of Nine
Played by actress Jeri Ryan, this character's full designation is actually Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One. After three years in a maturation chamber, Seven of Nine joined the collective consciousness, pitted against the crew of the series. But after joining with the crew for a common cause, and spending too long away from the collective, Seven's body begins rejecting her cybernetic enhancements, and she begins turning a new leaf -- but not without many difficult complications.
Hey, Miles O'Brien ain't the only engineer in town. There's also Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol, the son of a priest father and an oracle mother, who has served in the fleet since he was a teenager. Tyrol is a hard working man who is deeply loyal to his crew, a loyalty that they reciprocate. Nonetheless, he is suspected early on of being disloyal, despite many hard efforts to prove himself. Later on in the series, he has a son named Nicholas.
This character appeared in the original pilot episode, "The Cage," where he was intended to be the star of the entire show. Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter, but after the original pilot Pike was replaced by another character. Pike later returns, now played by Sean Kenney, so that he can leave society behind and begin a new life on the planet Talos IV, now "unfettered by his natural body" and free to reunite with his long lost love Vina.
The son of an engineer, and a devoted fan of water polo, Jonathon Archer grew up to be an optimistic man with a good heart, though the traumatic events of the series, and the war that he become a prominent leader in, do wear him down quite a bit. At the end, he plays an enormous role in the union of multiple worlds. Archer's steadfast companion is his little pet beagle, Porthos, a canine that he has had since the little dog was only six weeks old.
More of a scientist than a combat officer, Kathryn Janeway nonetheless is an effective leader, respected by all who serve under her. When a massive displacement wave sends her her vessel 70,000 light years away into the Delta Quadrant, Janeway does the best she can to keep morale up. But other than her firm leadership, if there's one thing that Kathryn Janeway is most known for its her dedicated addiction to a good, hot, strong cup of coffee, which she always drinks black.
Doctor Sherman Cottle is a tough, hard-as-nails, chain-smoking doctor who'll tell off anyone who gets in his way, but will also fight to the end to save your life. Though his demeanor is sarcastic and less than pleasant, Cottle serves by a strict moral code, and will always help anyone who is in need, even enemy combatants. On many occasions, Doc Cottle proves himself to be brave, loyal, and capable of accomplishing absolutely grueling work under less than optimal conditions.
Over the course of the series, audiences get to see this bright little kid sprout up to be an intelligent, creative man with a strong fighting spirit. Jake Sisko grows up in space, as the son of the most powerful man on board. However, his passion is not for issuing orders, but rather, a fierce desire to be a writer -- which leads to him producing a novel, titled "Anslem," during the series. Jake Sisko is played by actor Cirroc Lofton.
Ellen Tigh is the wife of one of the show's main protagonists, believed dead at the beginning of the series, but later revealed to be alive. However, her reunion with her husband doesn't go so well; both of them have alcoholic tendencies, and Ellen's previous infidelity has not been forgiven by him -- which isn't helped by her flirtatious tendencies. However, Ellen possesses a deep love for her husband, and is often seen working to make the two of them more powerful.
Julian Bashir is an extraordinarily bright individual, a passionate doctor, and an idealist. Over the course of the series, however, his view darkens when faced with the hardships of war. It's also revealed, as a surprise to him, that his parents meddled with his genetics when he was a boy: after he fell behind in school due to a learning disablity, they had him unknowingly (and illegally) undergo genetic engineering that gave him an exceptionally high IQ. The character is potrayed by Alexander Siddig.
Deanna Troi is a psychic empath, who can sense the emotions of other living beings inside her. She serves in the rank of lieutenant commander, where her powers have played a key role in helping many conflicts throughout the series. Her abilities also make her an exceptional counselor for the ship's crew, since she can sense the inner turmoil within every person. However, there are some episodes where enemies take control of her mind and use her against her friends.
Lieutenant Ilia swore an oath of celibacy upon entering the service, as is the custom for her people, which creates complications when she falls in love with fellow crew member William Decker. Ilia ends up being killed by the V'ger probe, but the probe then creates another probe that is a total duplicate of her, including her memories and thought pattern, and uses this "Ilia probe" to get information for itself. The role of Ilia was played by actress Persis Khambatta
Data may look like a flesh and blood human, but his mannerisms and lack of emotion are clear signs of the truth: Data is an artificial lifeform, an android intelligence created by Doctor Noonien Soong. Despite his origins, Data serves on the crew of the protagonists, and over the course of the series, his frequent interactions with other humans begin to slowly rub off on him, making him more and more human himself. Finally, the insertion of an "emotion chip" into his programming changes everything.
Romo Lampkin is a crafty, deceitful lawyer, known for his sunglasses and his cane, which he often uses as a distraction when he he wants to steal items from other people. The reason that he steals these items is either to gain leverage over an opponent, to understand them better, or to set them off balance -- for example, taking one character's reading glasses. The sunglasses, of course, help him to hide his emotions from others. He is portrayed in the series by actor Mark Sheppard.
Hot Dog Costanza
Brendan Constanza is a flippant, outgoing pilot who acts a lot more experienced than he really is, though his actual inexperience soon starts to show. However, after extensive training, he grows to become a veteran pilot. He also earns the amusing nickname "Hot Dog," which is what he is primarily known by. He ends up being revealed as the true father of the son of two other characters. The character is played by actor Bodie James Olmos, the son of actor Edward James Olmos.
Charles "Trip" Tucker
Charles Tucker, a chief engineer better known by the name "Trip," is an easygoing, friendly, down to earth kinda guy who can sometimes have a temper, enjoys casual flirting and relationships, but always tries to do the right thing. He ends up having a relationship with one of the major characters of the series, despite both of their initial dislike of one another. He also, totally by accident, ends up becoming the first pregnant male in history, much to his discomfort.
Air maintenance Specialist Cally Tyrol originally only joined the force as a way to pay her way into dental school, but catastrophic events forced her to stay in the service. Cally is young, but she's opinionated, and not afraid to point out the unfair social hierarchy within the colonies, and how the highest ranking officers tend to come from the wealthiest ones. Though Cally remains an optimistic figure throughout the series, she gets into some severely traumatic circumstances, particularly toward the end.
Margaret Edmondson, also known by the name Racetrack and sometimes even "Marge," is a pilot who also serves as an Electronic Countermeasures Officer. Though a loyal and dedicated member of the crew for much of the series, difficult events find Racetrack siding with a mutiny from within the crew, attempting to overthrow the ship's leadership. This leads to her being detained, but she does redeem herself later on. Margaret "Racetrack" Edmonson is played in the series by actress Leah Cairns.
Travis Mayweather is a "space boomer," meaning that he was a child who grew up in and spent most of his life in outer space, unlike the rest of the crew. He is a highly skilled pilot, and has a cheerful but shy personality. When he is stressed out or depressed, Travis likes going to the place in the ship that he calls the "sweet spot," tucked between the bow plate and artificial gravity generator: this is the place where the gravity field becomes reversed.
A polling expert, and a precinct captain for the Federalist Party with five years of experience, Tory Foster is a master of politics who becomes the right hand woman to the current political leader, and the expert on the reelection campaign. Like many politicians, she is not averse to using deception to meet her political aims. Eventually, as the series progresses, Tory discovers a dark and surprising secret in her past, which changes her entire outlook on life and existence.
Zefram Cochrane is one of the most important men in history, as his discoveries and inventions are what allowed humanity to first make contact with life on other worlds. However, his humble opinion on the matter is made clear by his own statement, "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. And let history make its own judgments." Nonetheless, Cochrane is revered throughout history, with statues made in his likeness. He is played by actor James Cromwell.
The Doctor, as he's called, is not a person at all: he's an EMH, an "Emergency Medical Hologram," built into newer ships in case the actual doctor is incapacitated in some way. The cataclysmic events that occur at the beginning of the series, which kill the chief medical officer, require the extended use of this holographic doctor, who begins developing more and more of his own personality over the course of the series, while retaining his trademark sarcastic sense of humor.