Kyle: While I think the debate speaks for itself in regards to Kirk vs. Picard, I'd like to pull it back and address something that kept growing in the comments.

Evidently, you folks love Benjamin Sisko. I never cared for him myself. I understand the appeal, but my main premise during this debate is which Captain would be better to serve under. And in my mind, Picard trumps all of the Captains in Trek. Including Sisko.

Sisko is a brilliant tactician, and without him the Dominion War would have destroyed the Federation. But he lied and Machiavelli-ed his way to bringing the Romulans into the war. And he also poisoned an entire colony just to stop one man.

I would not be able to serve under a man who shifts his morals to suit the situation. Picard was often frustrated with a species-of-the-week and their different values/procedures/customs, or possibly with a Starfleet regulation. But he almost always complied with the solution that was morally right.

Sometimes this would cause him to break the Prime Directive. Sometimes it would mean the death of a sentient. No matter the situation, Picard always endeavored to preserve life and protect the innocent. But if someone got hurt in that process, Picard would at least express regret. Sisko outright notes in a log entry (later deleted) that he felt no remorse or guilt for his actions.

I guess the Captains really personify the eras in which they were created. Kirk represented masculine action. Like James Bond, he was a symbol of virility and heroism that the Western world clung to after World War II, when war and world affairs were becoming less honorable.

Picard was a symbol of diplomacy and the "Can't we all just get along?" attitude of the late eighties, when the self-esteem movement reached its peak and various therapies for self-reflection were growing.

Sisko, just a few years later, represented the "world police" attitude of the mid-nineties that was also reflected in movies like True Lies, and lampooned in others like Team America. This idea that whoever has superior firepower can claim the moral high ground after the dust has settled.

As for Janeway and Archer ... I'm sorry. I never watched those two. I might sometime soon, but to me they seem like such rehashes. Especially Enterprise, which seemed like someone pitched First Contact: The Series and then forgot what made First Contact awesome.

At any rate, wouldn't it be grand to get more Star Trek on television? Discuss.

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