10. Gul Dukat
Suave or sinister? Composed or crazed? Marc Alaimo masterfully turned in a wide range of performances as Gul Dukat during his 33 Deep Space Nine episodes. His compelling work elevates many of those episodes, such as “Waltz,” to must-see, essential episode status. Alaimo’s portrayal of Dukat disguised as the Bajoran Anjohl in the series’ final narrative arc gave him the chance to reveal entirely new depths to which this villain would sink in his quest for power—not that we could feel all that sorry for Kai Winn at finding herself used by him. Along with Khan Noonien Singh, Gul Dukat must rank as one of the franchise’s greatest antagonists.
9. Kai Winn
As I wrote in this space last fall, it certainly seems like the late Louise Fletcher appeared as Winn Adami in more than 14 episodes. Her character represents religious leadership at its worst in any tradition: giving lip service to ideals like love and service while truly seeking only one’s own power. Fletcher beautifully played the moments that showed us at one time this woman truly believed in the Prophets. But she even more powerfully played Winn’s descent into her ultimate self-damnation.
Just a humble tailor? Not on your life! Andrew Robinson brought the former Obsidian Order operative to riveting life in each of the 37 Deep Space Nine episodes featuring him. Garak became such a popular character, the actor even wrote a Star Trek novel from Garak’s perspective. Used copies command surprisingly high prices on the secondary market. Garak’s affection for Ziyal was a touching story arc, and his conversations with Dr. Bashir were always a delight.
7. Julian Bashir
In season one, Siddig El Fadil began playing Julian Bashir as an overly enthusiastic, idealistic, and obnoxious physician making googly eyes at Jadzia Dax and condescendingly eager to practice medicine “on the frontier.” But by season seven, Alexander Siddig was playing Dr. Bashir as a man who’d learned world-shaking secrets about his past, and whose experiences on the station had made him not only more capable but also more compassionate.
6. Jake Sisko
Uninterested in following his father’s footsteps into Starfleet, Jake Sisko, played by Cirroc Lofton, started the series as a boy who got into trouble at Keiko O’Brien’s school. But as he grew, he pursued his dreams of becoming a writer—possession by alien intelligences and traumatic experiences on Dominion War battlefronts notwithstanding. We’ve haven’t seen another child in Star Trek make the transition to adulthood as fully and as convincingly sense, and Lofton deserves so much credit for making Jake Sisko a relatable character we feel is our friend.