The other day at lunch we had a discussion about Sci- Fi shows and we were discussing the different Captains or leaders that had great character and exuded leadership skills. As we were discussing some of the characters it became apparent that there were a whole range of skills and abilities in different leaders that lead me to form the question: If I could choose a Captain/Leader for my Sci-Fi Battle Ship, Which character would be the best choice?
Included here are a list of Characters with a brief synopsis of their key strengths. It would be interesting to see peoples responses or additions. I also wanted to include a list of not just the Heros but also the anti-heros (eg. Darth Vader) Maybe I will save that for another entry…
So without further build up here is a list I complied I’m sure you will see ones you haven’t ever seen or haven’t thought about in years:
Dr. John Robinson - Lost in Space (original series) One of the original models for the Captain role! Dr. Robinson is commander, a pilot, and the father of the Robinson children. He is an astrophysicist who also specializes in applied planetary geology. He can also throw a good punch when needed to a pesky alien. Who else could navigate his lost family back home while dealing with all the problems caused by Dr. Zachery Smith. Why the Robinson’s didn’t just leave him on the first planet they could I’m not sure.
Capt. James Tiberius Kirk – Star Trek Captain of the USS Enterprise, space explorer, alien chick magnet, and pretty good with a sword or a phaser. He is Errol Flynn of Space. He’s Kirk, and he’s survived countless battles and alien encounters (not to mention alien STD’s I’m sure) . Kind of the prototype Capt, Kirk was the bar for which all Star Trek Captains to come would be measured by and also influenced more than a couple of the roles listed her in the list. He battled Klingons, and saved whales for Earth…Not sure how he would have done against the Borg though…
Professor John Robinson – Lost in Space (1998 movie) William Hurts’ version of Professor Robinson is a bit different. He has a edgier disposition than the original. In the updated Lost movie we have some better effects and more suspense than the original. Gary Oldman nails the Dr. Smith character though, to hamper the Robinson family and gives Professor Robinson all he can handle.
Captain Lee Crane – Voyage to the bottom of the Sea. Captain of the Seaview. While Admiral Nelson called a lot of the shots it was Crane that was the muscle for the show. Identified as Star Trek but with fish The Seaview and her crew are harassed by aliens sea monsters and even Dinosaurs. Its Capt Crane that holds it all together to save the world!
Capt. Nathan Bridger – SeaQuest DSV Captain of the Seaquest its kind of a mix Sgt Brody from Jaws and a bit of Jack O’Neill from SG1. In what seems to be a updated version of Voyage to the bottom of the sea Bridger (for the first two seasons) commands the SeaQuest and doesn’t take much flack from the crew or his superiors. Interestingly Bridger (Scheider) is replaced in season 3 by Capt Oliver Hudson played by (Michael Ironside) whom appears below in another role…
Capt. Jeffery Sinclair – Babalyon 5- I mean what can you say about a guy who isn’t just the reincarnation of the Minbari leader and Hero (Valen) but actually the genuine article who traveled back in time 1000 years to become the hero and stop the Shadows. I mean willing to ram a ship after your fighter is disabled is pretty gutsy!
John Sheridan – Babylon 5- Filling Sinclair’s shoes was not easy but Sheridan proved to be up to the task. He wasn’t afraid to get dirty. Dealing with Vorlons and Shadows as well as the Psi Corps was quite an achievement. He also had the Kirk-like distinction of xeno-relations, how can you not like this guy? He is strong and gritty and a long way from his Scarecrow and Ms. King role.
Capt William Anthony “Buck” Rogers – Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Buck is frozen for 500 years and then thrust into the 25th century, (this is apparently a popular beginning for sci fi shows). He adapts surprisingly well to a completely foreign technically advanced future. While he doesn’t face the Alien encounter as his nemesis, Buck working for the Earth Defense Directorate, has his hands full with Princess Ardala and her Henchman Kane as they try to take over the earth. While missing the special effects of later shows, and having some dorky side kicks like Twiki the robot, this Buck still has enough of the pep seen in the old comic strip to save the day, I just wish he would have bagged Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray was hot back then).
William Adama- Battle Star Galactica (New BSG series Edward James Olmos) A darker more brooding Adama is the leader of the Galactica and leads the rag tag group across the universe with Nasty Cylons in chase. His gravelly voice and rough demeanor make him someone you don’t want to piss off. The guy jumped his battlestar into the atmosphere of New Caprica to launch his fighters and then takes on a fleet of Cylon basestars. That guy has quite a fraking set!
Commander Adama – Battle Star Galactica (old BSG series Lorne Green) – He was as much a politician as a military commander. Adama is a fair and beloved leader, with almost unquestioned authority. He is a deeply religious man who is shepherding the refugees to Earth. A different character when compared to the new BSG series Adama. More political and religious he matches the new Adama in accomplishment, just in a different way. Kind of a kinder gentler type but don’t piss him off!
Han Solo- Star Wars Han Solo is a superb smuggler with a wry wit, skepticism, a reckless disposition, and technological savvy who pilots the Millennium Falcon along with his Wookiee copilot Chewbacca. Lucas describes him as “a loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group and helping for the common good.” Joss Whedon credits the Falcon as one of the inspirations for the Firefly ship and also Malcom’s character. The Scene with Greedo I think sums up his ability to get out of a tight spot. Besides I wouldn’t want to follow Luke down a lighted street at this stage of the story! Much rather buckle in the the Falcon to shoot down tie fighters.
Commander John Koenig – Space 1999 Leader of Moonbase Alpha Commander Koenig. Thrust into the role of leading a group of people riding on what is left of the Moon that was ejected into space after a nuclear explosion. Koenig is moody and gruff but he makes the decisions he has to. He battles aliens, asteroids, and robots oh my!
Capt. Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek The Next Generation Much was said about Capt. Picard being able to fill Kirk’s shoes in the new series. It didn’t take long before the new crew and new Capt carved out their own place in Star Trek Lore. I mean he has a Maneuver named after him (the Picard Maneuver) , Not to mention he was assimilated into the Borg and lived to tell about it! He also had his share of ladies to rival Kirk and his crew wasn’t too bad at womanizing either…very much in the vein of classic Star Trek.
Colonel Jack O’Neill - Stargate SG1O’Neill of the series is much more flexible and different than the Movie O’Neil (played by Kurt Russell). This Jack is much cooler headed and much more Intelligent. This Jack has more than just some displaced Egyptians and a single Alien to fight against. Having the Goa Uld to contend with and 24 other teams of Stargate teams Colonel O’Neill had to handle plenty of issues as he explores the galaxy (he just doesn’t have a space ship to do it in).
Captain Dylan Hunt – Andromeda Dylan Hunt is the Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant with a strangely familiar story of being Frozen for 300 years (on the edge of a black hole) and then waking up to a completely foreign world to the one he knew. Stop me if this sounds all to Buck Rogers familiar… Of course getting none other than Hercules himself (Kevin Sorbo) to play the captain role evokes much power. Capt Hunt leads a rag tag group of salvagers to try to rebuild the Commonwealth and restore order to the Universe…not a short order to tackle!
Cmdr John Crichton - Farscape Farscape was yet another strangely similar in story to being a Buck Rogers remake but way better…add in the muppet puppets and a better story. John Crichton has some serious struggles adapting to his new future after pissing off a very powerful alien force. John is more of a leader running for his life than an captain but as the series unfolds he develops into a strong leader that has to make civilization altering decisions and becomes a strong battle commander.
Malcom “Mal” Reynolds – Firefly Mal is the Capt of the Serenity and its renegade crew. A veteran of the war he now wants to put that behind him and live free on the Firefly. Living a bit outside of the law though he finds plenty of problems with the authorities and it seems his War past is usually behind the problems he finds. Unlike a lot of the other captains, Mal often gets his hands dirty and he also doesn’t have the best weapons or firepower he needs. He also keeps you guessing about his thoughts never quite know what direction he is going to go.
Capt. Kathryn Janeway – Star Trek Voyager Janeway is another unique SciFi minority being a female Captain of a starship. Propelled 70k light years into the Delta Quadrant she is all alone with her crew trying to get home. Janeway’s style is aggressive and she makes the tough choices, but she has a less strict compliance to the prime directive. She uses to Borg to help get her crew home in a gutsy maneuver, which ends up earning her the rank of vice admiral who gives Picard orders in the Nemisis movie. Hows that for bolding going where no Picard has gone before…?!?
Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius “TC” McQueen - Space above and beyond With quite a few characters in this short lived space marine story TC seems to jump out as the leader although not the main character. He helps lead his group of pilots the “Wildcards” against the Chigs. TC is a bad ass who is in the fight to the bitter end.
Sgt. Al Apone - Aliens The Hardass Drill Sergent in command of the Space Marines sent to check out the disappearance of colonists. From his loud growl to his “I love the Corps” one liners, to the cigar hanging out of his mouth, he is pure confidence and control. Seeing the other higher level people in charge it doesn’t take long to realize that Apone is the best guy for the job of cleaning up Aliens! Not sure if any of the captains on this list have delt with anything as nasty as the Aliens.
Capt. Jonathan Archer – Star Trek Enterprise Archer is yet another different style Star Trek Captain. Being set in the role before Kirk at the dawning of space travel he commands the NCC-1701 (without a letter prefix). He has to blaze new trails and break in much new technology that we know comes later. He is a diplomat, Military leader, explorer and you get to see the various transformations. He’s much less perfect that other Star Trek captains and in his struggle against the Xindi he becomes almost desperate and even morally questionable, of course with the future of Earth on the line it doesn’t seem unjustified.
Johnny Rico – Starship Troopers Its not often do you get to see a hero rise up from cadet to a leader in a time span but by the end of the movie you know that Johnny Rico has become a true leader. Having endured losing his family on Earth, losing his Girl Friend, Johnny has a serious case of I want to kick some Bug Butt. He struggles as a new recruit but quickly climbs the ranks to become an officer. Another one of those get his hands dirty leaders!
Capt. Benjamin Sisko – Star Trek Deep Space Nine Captain Sisko was a different captain than Picard. The commanding officer of the station Deep Space Nine. One of the few African American captains portrayed, he discovers the Bajoran Wormhole and becomes the emissary of the prophets. Interestingly he has a extreme dislike of Picard due to a small issue with Picard being responsible for the death of his wife… Boy some people really know how to hold a grudge!
Lt. Jean Rasczak – Starship Troopers The Veteran, turned drill sergeant, turned active soldier. How can you not like this guy. I think him and Apone from Aliens would be a kick ass fighting force together. While Rico is taking the glory its Lt. Rasczak that takes names and kicks butts. Again you can’t go wrong with Michael Ironside. Just having him on the show gives a feeling of strength.
So there is the list. I’m sure there are quite a few others might feel were left out but there are enough here I’m sure to spawn some good conversation, even if it is just to trigger the old memory about an old sci-fi series.
Someone mentioned Lexx, I did watch it and thought about including either Stanley Tweedle, but he is probably not a great leader…I did think about Kai as he is a strong character…but he is dead so that makes kind of strange.