“I refuse to believe that the afterlife is run by you, Q. The universe is not so badly designed!” (Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generations episode Tapestry)
The best starship manned by the best crew and led by the best captain in the Federation – Star Trek: The Next Generations (ST: TNG) and Star Trek Voyager (VOY) was one of my favourite TV shows in the 1990s. Image source: The Wrap
And in recent times, I managed to get hold of whole 7 seasons of ST: TNG and it was worth watching the show all over again. VOY, on the other hand, took viewers on the other side of ST:TNG and had its own interesting attractions as the Federation ship that got lost in the Delta Quadrant which requires 70,000 light-years to return back home.
Whilst on the onset, both Star Trek series looked the same (with ST: TNG being more prominent between the 2), there are some interesting differences and my pick between the 2.
(USS Voyager (right) is smaller but better designed compared to USS Enterprise)
1. Type of starships
The crew in ST: TNG flies the more famous USS Enterprise a Galaxy-class Federation starship commissioned in 2363 whilst the crew flies the lesser-known, much smaller but more nibble USS Voyager, the Intrepid-class Federation starship commissioned in 2371. Further USS Enterprise is deemed the flagship of the Starfleet and one of the largest among all Federation starships.
ST: TNG – USS Enterprise has 42 decks, 14 phaser arrays, 2 torpedo launchers, 250 photon torpedoes, deflector shields with a maximum warp speed of 9.8 and a crew complement of 1,014
VOY – USS Voyager has 15 decks, 13 phaser arrays, 38 photon torpedoes, deflector shields with a maximum warp speed of 9.975 and a crew complement of 150.
My pick – USS Voyager. For a simple fact, it is faster, more nimble and carries a less unnecessary crew of the two Star Trek series. Besides Captain Picard hates it when there are children on board.
(When it comes to Star Trek captains, no one can ignore the ‘prominent’ feature of Captain Jean Luc Picard (left) and the powerful stare from him)
2. The captains
Long before playing the role of Professor X in X-Men, Patrick Steward played Captain Jean Luc Picard in ST: TNG and that it was one of the key crowd pullers for the Star Trek series.
For Star Trek Voyager, we had an unsettled first impression but Kate Mulgrew who played Captain Kathryn Janeway showed that Kathryn Janeway was one tough lady and had all the rights and skills to captain a Federation ship.
ST: TNG – USS Enterprise D is captained by Captain Jean Luc Picard (human). Picard not only witnessed the major turning points of recent galactic history, but played a key role in them also, from making first contact as captain of the Federation’s flagship with no fewer than 27 alien species, including the Ferengi and the Borg.
He also became the chief contact point with the Q Continuum as well as serving as Arbiter of Succession, choosing the former leader of the Klingon Empire, Chancellor Gowron, and exposing the Romulan Star Empire as backers of his chief rivals, later aiding an underground movement of dissidents to gain a toehold on the Romulan homeworld. Captain Picard ‘s favourite drink is hot Earl Grey tea
VOY – USS Voyager is captained by Captain Kathryn Janeway (human). She became the first Federation captain to successfully traverse the Delta Quadrant, encountering dozens of new planets and civilizations over the course of seven years. While there, she and her crew also survived numerous encounters with the Borg. By 2379, she was a Vice Admiral at Starfleet Command. Captain Janeway’s favourite drink is hot black coffee.
My pick – Captain Jean Luc Picard at any given day! He’s bald and yet he is cool and one that had stood up to Q on almost equal terms
(Both have the right looks of a first officer but Commander Riker (left) is more experienced with Federation starships)
3. The 1st officers
Captains cannot work effectively without having a fine, dedicated, skilled crew and first in line are the ‘number ones’ or the next in command. When the captain is unable to take the helm of the ship or is away on missions or trapped in some alien world/ship, number one have the control and final say. Number ones also take care of job assignments and staff evaluations and other operational issues.
ST: TNG – USS Enterprise D’s 1st officer is Commander William Thomas Riker (human). He was perhaps best known for his long assignment as first officer under Captain Jean-Luc Picard aboard the USS Enterprise-D, and later the USS Enterprise-E. In 2379, he finally accepted a promotion to captain and was assigned to the USS Titan. Riker was a jazz aficionado, and his favourite musical instrument was the trombone.
VOY – USS Voyager’s D’s 1st officer is Commander Chakotay (human). Chakotay didn’t use the holodeck often, but enjoyed reading instead. He occasionally took the time to embrace his artistic side, such as creations using colored sand while trapped on ‘New Earth’ and carvings of Native American symbols. Chakotay was a vegetarian; one of his favourite meals was mushroom soup.
My pick – it is a tough choice between the two Star Trek 1st officers. Both had their own strengths and weaknesses but I guess Riker has the edge over Chakotay – he already been offered captain-ship several times but opted to remain Jean Luc Picard’s number 1.
(Geordi (left) is blind and needs a visor to see things in a very different way)
4. The chief engineers
The heart of Federation starships is the warp propulsion system and without the right person at the engineering, the starship, no matter who is in charge, is in deep trouble (they can lose speed, shield and weapons).
Since the time of Scotty Scott and Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series, the role of the chief engineer has become more complex, as starships get bigger and more technologically innovative.
ST: TNG – Geordi La Forge (human) held the rank of lieutenant commander and was the chief engineer of the USS Enterprise-D and USS Enterprise-E, both under Captain Jean-Luc Picard. As a junior officer, his specialities included antimatter power, dilithium regulators, holodeck programs, and climate-control computers. His intense focus enabled him to master the complexities of warp engineering and other starship systems.
VOY – B’Elanna Torres (half-Klingon, half-Human) served as Chief Engineer on the USS Voyager. Torres was initially assigned the provisional rank of lieutenant junior grade. Torres had difficulty getting along with the temporary chief engineer, Joe Carey.
She was recommended as a replacement chief engineer by Chakotay. However, Kathryn Janeway opposed this decision. After Voyager became trapped in a quantum singularity, Torres proved her skills to Janeway and earned her respect. Janeway then made her chief engineer over Carey.
My pick – Between 2 Star Trek series, Geordi is better simply because he is more prominent when it comes to new innovations to the warp propulsion system and key starship systems. And without a “Klingon DNA”, he is often more adapting to handle a critical situation without losing control or temper.
(Key data and pictures for this Star Trek post sourced here)
To be continued…
(Read Part 2 HERE)