The Best Star Trek Characters Of All Time

La'an Noonien-Singh in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Over the course of several decades, the Star Trek franchise has given television audiences some of TV's most compelling characters. From Star Trek: The Original Series to the current shows featured on our upcoming Trek projects, there’s no shortage of beloved captains, lieutenants, and even ensigns who we’d consider among the greatest to ever be seen. 

It's hard to pick just one character as the undisputed best of Star Trek, so here are seven of the best. As a note, this list is limited to Star Trek characters affiliated with Starfleet, so don't expect to see folks like Harry Mudd or Q popping up here.

La'an in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

(Image credit: Paramount+)

7. La'an Noonian-Singh

La’an is one of the newer characters on this list, but already in just two seasons of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, we’ve seen some tremendous growth and potential from the Enterprise’s Chief of Security. After being a child who survived the brutal breeding grounds of the Gorn, she’s carried a lifelong fear and grudge against the species. We’ve seen La’an confront those fears head-on, and given the ending of SNW Season 2, we’ll see her do it yet again in Season 3. 

If that all wasn’t enough, La’an’s storyline is further complicated by the fact she’s a living descendant of the infamous Star Trek villain, Khan Noonian-Singh. We’ve even seen her come face-to-face with a younger version of Khan via a temporal distortion, which seemingly sets the stage for more massive changes in the universe at large down the road. As I said, there’s some big potential for La’an’s character in the series, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. 

Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+

(Image credit: Paramount+)

6. William T. Riker

When it comes to “Number One” in Star Trek, I think a lot of readers have their personal favorites on who did it best. For me, I don’t think any walked the line of being a true friend to their captain as a confidant not afraid to speak his mind like Will Riker. Despite some struggles they faced at the beginning of the relationship, Jonathan Frakes’ performance being worthy of award recognition in Star Trek: Picard Season 3 shows just how much he and Picard have been through in the best way. 

Outside of his official Starfleet duties, few characters in the franchise are as immediately beloved or as cool as Riker. Whether he’s risking his life, romancing Troi, or even playing the trombone, he can look effortlessly suave and awesome while doing so. He even has his own patented maneuver for sitting in chairs, for crying out loud, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s on this list. 

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery Season 4x13

(Image credit: Marni Grossman/Paramount+)

5. Michael Burnham

Star Trek has featured a lot of captains in its run, but few have ever been given a redemptive arc like Michael Burnham. Her journey from prosecuted mutineer to eventual Starfleet Captain, and one of the more celebrated ones in the 32nd century, is awesome. Season 5’s episode “Face The Strange” highlighted just how far she’s come perfectly, and why I believe she’s one of the most inspiring characters of Trek

Burnham is, in key ways, a character who represents a new era of Trek. One could argue that her stories inspired writers to take more risks in the shows that followed, which resulted in deeper character development for both legacy and new characters in the franchise. Burnham isn’t directly responsible for that, but if her story wasn’t so interesting and fun to follow, who knows what the current status of the franchise would look like? 

The Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager

(Image credit: Paramount+)

4. The EMH "The Doctor"

Star Trek: Voyager has good and bad moments for all of its characters and some wtf moments that keep me up at night. If there was one character who had way more great moments than bad, however, it’s the EMH more commonly known as “The Doctor” in most episodes. From becoming the greatest opera singer for an entire planet, to a hero in a Beowulf holodeck simulation gone awry, there are no shortage of quality episodes starring The Doctor. 

He taps into the classic sci-fi trope of an inorganic life form who wants to appear and be more human. His occasional misguided understanding of what it means to be a person leads to hilarious moments and occasionally a real thinking moment for the viewer on the human condition. With the exception of one other character that’s on this list, he’s the best example of a character “learning to be human” in Trek

Jeri Ryan in Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+

(Image credit: Paramount+)

3. Seven Of Nine

Seven of Nine, in truth, could be someone who easily ends up as the best character of all time on another writer’s Star Trek list. A woman pulled from the collective of The Borg is suddenly forced out of her comfort zone and, despite being an adult, learned what it is to be human again. There are some uncomfortable moments in that process in Voyager, but it’s still captivating to watch. 

What really made her story evolve to the next level, however, was when Jeri Ryan reprised her role for Picard. Here, we saw a Seven who was more aware of what it meant to be human but still faced prejudice and issues due to her remaining Borg features. What we saw was a Seven who knew who she was, both part-human and part-Borg, and the way she married them to become one of the most capable members of Starfleet in the end. It was awesome, and Jeri Ryan deserved her Astra award for her portrayal

Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard smiling

(Image credit: Paramount+)

2. Jean-Luc Picard

Trek fans will always have their favorites when it comes to captains, but I don’t think there is one who is more meaningful to the overall lore. Not only has Jean Luc Picard been one of the best captains Starfleet has ever seen, he’s also one of the greatest enemies they ever faced as Locutus of Borg. If you’re wanting assured success to a mission with the best possible outcome for humanity, Picard is usually the best option every time. 

The incredible acting ability of Patrick Stewart is not to be undersold here, because he is also a large part of what makes Picard so great. If ever there were an actor who could convince the world he’s a capable leader worthy of marching them into hell and back with assured success, he would be the one. 

Spock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

(Image credit: Paramount+)

1. Spock

Since his introduction to the present day, Spock has remained not just the best character in Star Trek but one of the best characters in pop culture. The half-Vulcan, half-human’s story has been explored across several shows and movies, and the fact that viewers are still excited to see Ethan Peck portray the character in fresh stories in Strange New Worlds is evidence that the fandom has not tired of it.

Why do we love Spock so much? Perhaps it’s the fact that as humans, we know how difficult it can be to suppress emotions and think logically about problems in our lives. The franchise has not shied away from showing the times that he has fallen short, reminding us that even the most idealized characters can make mistakes. He also, quite famously, has shown that there are times where logic can be defied, which is something the illogical crowd can always get behind. 

See all of these characters and more by streaming Star Trek with a Paramount+ subscription. With more upcoming Trek shows on the way, who knows how this list will change in a few years, and what other great characters we will see as the franchise continues to shift and evolve with the times. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.