Did Star Trek: Strange New Worlds really have the best Christopher Pike?
When it comes to the conversation about who played what role better, there are a few times this argument can be had where it isn’t obvious. We all know that William Shatner is the best James T. Kirk, regardless of how good Chris Pine was. We all know that Leonard Nemoy was the best Spock, even if Zachary Quinto and Ethan Peck are doing a serviceable job. Zoe Saldana was a lovely Uhura, but even if she’s a better actress, fans won’t ever turn their back on Nichelle Nichols.
Yet, that doesn’t mean the rule of “first is best” isn’t challenged from time to time. Enter Anson Mount as Christopher Pike. Mount is the fourth man to play the role of Pike in live-action, with Jeffrey Hunter and Sean Kenney playing him in the original series, and then Bruce Greenwood playing him in the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek films.
The role really hasn’t had anyone take control of it and create the “definitive version” of the character, due to a lack of screen time. Greenwood had the most screen time but basically just came off as a generic commanding officer with no little originality to separate his character from a random Trek captain with a different name. Give Greenwood’s character in Star Trek 2009 any other name and his character wouldn’t change at all. He was simply named Pike due to fan service.
So when talking about the best Pike, there’s reason to think it’s Mount. Enter The Mary Sue, who claims Mount is the top dog. But it’s The Mary Sue, so consider us the sanitation for the conversation.
Is Anson Mount the Best Christopher Pike in Star Trek?
The Mary Sue is a tough website to read, so here’s how they ranked the Pike’s but if you’re interested in why they picked who they picked (spoiler alert, they have a Daddy complex), you can do so here.
"4. Sean Kenney in Star Trek: The Original Series3. Bruce Greenwood in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)2. Jeffrey Hunter in Star Trek: The Original Series1. Anson Mount in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds"
So, the writer put the Pikes in order of attraction, basically. And while that in itself is problematic and disheartening, the order, in my opinion, is correct. Just for different reasons.
Kenney did nothing but look creepy. I still contend the Original Series had some of the most haunting special effects and designs of any Star Trek series. Kenney helped with that.
Greenwood, as mentioned before, was a generic character with “Pike” slapped on the forehead. It was like getting a generic shirt and then slapping a name-brand label on it to sell it at a 60% markup.
Hunter was good but limited. He was in one episode and wasn’t given much to work with long-term. We don’t know who Pike was in truth due to the lack of screen time.
That leaves Mount, who has given Pike a true personality. He’s struggling with his own fate, but still cares more about his friends and crew than he does himself, and is willing to put their needs first. He’s charming, but there’s also that sadness that comes with a man who knows he’s fighting against destiny.
Yet fight he does. In a lot of ways, he’s like Tim Allen’s character from Galaxy Quest, as Pike refuses to give up his life and he won’t surrender to his fate. It’s tragic but also enduring. So Mount slides into the top spot because no other version has that much depth to it. It also doesn’t hurt that Mount is a crazy good actor, who could challenge anyone for the top spot even if the other actors who played Pike had been given more time with the character.