Star Trek: Enterprise captains aren’t all Enterprise captains.
Who is the greatest captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in history? Great question, now I have to ask; which Enterprise? There have been seven ships we’ve seen bearing that name across shows and movies since the 1960s.
We had the NX-01, the first in its line, the NCC-1701 from the original series, then the NCC1701-A from the films. We closed out the first television and film crew of the Enterprise with the NCC-1701-B. The NCC-1701-C was lost to time and we saw very little of it except one episode in the Next Generation. Of course, there’s the NCC-1701-D and NCC-1701-E, which started the Next Generation and closed in Nemesis.
Across all those ships, however, they were all different. Not just different ships but different models with different purposes.
The Enterprise is never just one ship in Star Trek lore
The NX-01 was part of the NX class and it was barely more than an experimental warp ship. The 1701 was a Constitution Class ship designed for deep space exploration, as was the 1701-A.
The 1701-B was another experimental ship, and was also a different class as well, an Excelsior class ship. Making this the third ship model to bear the name. The 1701-C continued this trend, marking it as the fourth ship class to carry the name “Enterprise”. It was an Ambassador-class ship, designed more for interstellar politics than anything.
The 1701-D was yet another different ship class, with the ship serving as more of a space-fairing city than anything else. Then we saw the 1701-E end up on a Sovereign class, another exploration vessel.
Each ship is different and save for one, each successor had a different purpose. Yet, people still want to rank Enterprise captains. It doesn’t make much sense as they all had different purposes with different expectations.
You can no more compare captains of different Enterprises as you can compare NFL quarterbacks 80 years apart.
Now, if you want to compare the captains of specific ships, like the NCC-1701-D, we can. But beyond that, it’s a waste of time.