All Star Trek: Voyager main characters ranked worst to best

The cast of "Star Trek Voyager," in its 6th year. CBS Photo Archive
The cast of "Star Trek Voyager," in its 6th year. CBS Photo Archive /
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(Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Delivered by Online USA)
(Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Delivered by Online USA) /

6. The Doctor

The ship’s doctor is the hardest role in Star Trek to screw up because a doctor’s professional obligation to care for and preserve all forms of life gets them into the kind of ethical quandaries that define Star Trek. Still, Voyager almost screwed up its doctor, by making him a comic relief character whose very premise was a joke, a joke that didn’t even make a lot of sense.

The joke was that as the Emergency Medical Hologram Mark 1, he was a prototype, and as such he lacked a doctor’s bedside manner. Instead of a good bedside manner, he had the prickly personality of the guy who programmed him. Why would you give your artificial intelligence doctor a personality, if not for a bedside manner? It would be like building a super-intelligent artificial intelligence but neglecting to make basic reasoning and logic a part of that intelligence.

Anyway, while it was dispiriting how often they used the doctor as comic relief, he shone whenever he was treated as a serious character. Actor Robert Picardo has a range that you rarely see outside the A-list; he could do both comedy and serious acting. And while the jokes they gave him were mostly clunkers, he had fun with them, and that fun translated onto the screen. Meanwhile, his performances were magnetic every time he was given the opportunity to show off his acting chops.

Also, as stupid as it was, it’s really hard not to be utterly charmed by a guy singing about pon farr to the tune of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto.