CBR ranked their 10 most likable Star Trek characters
What constitutes likeability? Heck, what separates likability from popularity? The two concepts often go hand in hand, except in this case. CBR released an article that detailed who they believed are the most likable characters in Star Trek, but their list is, well, curious.
The article seems to focus on character traits when it wants to, and then at times the popularity of a character in others. For instance, Nyota Uhura from the original series comes in at No. 4, and there’s nothing written about the character’s traits that would make her “popular”, instead, it’s how the fanbase loves her (they do) and that her lack of screen time made her likable. Which is, interesting.
You can see their whole Top 10 here. Their list is 10-1, while we’re just listing them first through tenth. Please go read their article to see why they picked these characters.
- James Kirk
- Nyota Uhura
- Trip Tucker
- Michael Burnham
- Tom Paris
- Jake Sisko
Clearly, we have different measurements for likability in Star Trek characters
The lack of a definition of what constitutes a good character trait and likability hinders this list. No Rom or Nog? No Worf? No Tuvok? If we’re looking at characters with the best traits, how are those four not on the list? More so, how is Jake Sisko, who really didn’t do much in comparison to his father, make the list? His father makes a far better selection.
As does the Kevlin Universe version of Uhura.
While Guinan is a fine selection somewhere on a list, Top 10? Data doesn’t have emotions for most of his time as a character, so how does he have traits? James Kirk is a good pick but he’s also a bit of a philanderer and can that really be considered a positive trait?
The issue with this list isn’t that the writer had bad selections, it’s that it was never truly defined what traits are desirable or what if the popularity of a character should factor into play. Kirk was always a bit reckless, and Spock was sometimes a bit too cold. Should they be considered? What’s wrong with T’Pol or Jonathan Archer? Did they not make it because of the lack of popularity? That was never mentioned, so why wouldn’t they be likable?
Do people like Burnham and Paris, who both committed crimes against the Federation be included? Should we be open to the idea of redemption or should we hold people like Tuvok in higher esteem due to his loyalty?
This list isn’t bad, the parameters just aren’t defined. For every positive trait, each character has a negative trait that could possibly nullify it. To be fair, everyone is going to have a different list because everyone has a different opinion and things like this are subjective. The writer’s opinions are their opinions, and shouldn’t be discredited but if we did this list (and I intend to), we’re going to be a bit more clear about what we’re looking for in a character and what makes them likable.