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Ask the Readers: Star Trek – Kirk or Picard? [Poll]

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The debate on who is or what makes one starship captain better than the other is pure classic geekness at its best. This week we want to know who you think is the better starship captain…Kirk or Picard.


Captain Kirk: A man of action who is not afraid to bend or break the rules and does not believe in the “no-win scenario”, James Kirk was the first student to ever defeat the Kobayashi Maru test at Starfleet Academy. He became Starfleet’s youngest captain when he received command of the Enterprise and is known for being rather possessive of the starship.

Captain Picard: He is well known for his fondness of detective stories, Shakespeare, and those ever present cups of Earl Grey tea. He holds to a high moral standard and excels at diplomacy, debate and military strategy. Captain Picard also pursues archeology as a hobby.

Let us know who you think the best starship captain is!

[polldaddy poll=”3472551″]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 07/21/10

Comments (47)

  1. Adam

    Not trolling but on recently watching Star Trek I got no idea how it ever became such a big thing. The Federation and their Prime Directive (You know that thing the captains NEVER FOLLOW)is the most contrived work of BS I’ve ever come accross

  2. SquareWheel

    Both are terrible.

  3. Kerensky97

    No contest.

    “If we can hit that bull’s-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards…Checkmate.”

  4. The Geek


    Loved that one….

  5. Jon

    I was a huge TNG fan. Picard was a better leader and strategist.

  6. Gene

    There is one outstanding feature between Picard and Kirk!!!!! Your age!

  7. Mysticgeek

    Picard for me. Huge TNG fan here.

  8. Lady Fitzgerald

    I liked Piccard better. Kirk was too cliche’ed and Shatner overacted. However, I know several people who know ‘shatner and they say he is really nice (and throws great parties).

  9. James

    Are you all kidding me? Picard was a pansy that I would never have wanted to follow into battle. Kirk tried to be diplomatic but was down for good ass kicking when need be. Kirk was also less politically correct which is awesome.

  10. Moses

    Okay….. all you number ones……just remember……..without Kirk……there….. would…… have ……been ……no …….Picard.

    Just sayin. ;-) Give props to the old man.

  11. C. E. Frederick

    Go, Picard, go!

  12. James Bandido

    no matter how you look at them (Kirk and Picard), it all depends on the perspective, they are both good captains …

    but i think Capt Janeway is more hottier than both of them ;-)

  13. Mark e.

    you gotta ask, best in what way? In story telling the less great makes for the better story’s.

  14. Asian Angel

    Kirk! Kirk! Kirk! ^__^

    Picard is an excellent captain too. ^__^

  15. Wayne

    The only question I ever thought was hard was do I like Kirk, or do I like Picard – Weird Al

  16. JakeLsewhere

    What, no Captain Sisko?

  17. S

    Gotta agree with James. Though I like Picard, Kirk set it off. He took BS from no one and would fight in a heart beat and if it would prove a point ram the enterprise down his enemies throat-you’d know who was boss then. Picard’s the quintessential diplomat-but then the federation was different by his time and diplomacy is what ruled the day. During Kirks era the federation really had no friends. You either conquered or be conquered and Kirk knew this which is why he operated the way he did…

  18. Allen

    Kirk – brash & lovable
    Picard – smooth & dangerous
    Janeway – motherly & inquisitive
    How do you compare them?

  19. KayDat

    Zapp Brannigan: The key to victory is discipline, and that means a well made bed. You will practice until you can make your bed in your sleep.
    Fry: You mean while I’m sleeping in it?
    Zapp Brannigan: You won’t have time for sleeping, soldier, not with all the bed making you’ll be doing.

  20. Alexander

    Picard. I’ve watched more TNG than TOS but I’ve watched enough of both to make a good call. “Tea, Earl Grey, hot” ftw. I wonder if I can post a link…

  21. alzorglub

    Kirk is the best captain of all the time !

  22. MIke Versteeg

    This is not a fair contest, the voter’s age will, in most cases, strongly influence his/her vote. I bet if you’d filter on age, Picard would win for 40- and Kirk for 40+. I feel I am taking this too serious now so will shut up.

  23. Bhalakumaran

    KIRK . Picard was good @ strategies and Kirk had the guts to implement them or something different !

  24. Agustín

    Picard is quite more diplomatic than Kirk, that’s why I like him most. But I have to remember that Cptn Johnatan Archer (NX-01) is a fine cap too.

  25. SpudGie

    Captain Sisko!

  26. NickyK

    Wasn’t Wesley Crusher effectively Captain for a while in “The Naked Now” when the entire crew suffered some strange “drunk” disease and Data had relations with Tasha? Picard’s a bit too pompous in the early TNG episodes to totally get my vote, but I like both captains.

  27. Mark

    Zapp Brannigan defeated an army of Killbots when he realized each Killbot had a preset kill limit. Zapp sent wave after wave of his men until all of the Killbots had reached their limits and froze in place. Complete genius.

  28. Bob

    Kirk of coarse! What the hell is TNG???

  29. Tom

    I have to agree with MIke Versteeg’s post. I’m 40+ so Kirk is the logical choice.

  30. Eslabon

    TNG was by far my favorite, so naturally I vote Picard. However, both were magnificent captains.

  31. bob 1957

    Kirk for sure ;I guess it’s a matter of wich generation you came from.I watched the original series as they aired in the 60’s and I watched the next generation reruns.For me a baby boomer “KIRK” hands down!

  32. Traci

    Kirk, all day, baby. Picard would make a great admiral or other non-combat role. If I’m in a fight, I want Kirk to be leading the way.

  33. Kawa

    “The only question that I ever thought was hard, was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?” — Weird Al

  34. jon_hill987

    The answer given in “the Big Bang Theory” by Leonard is “The original series is better, but Picard is a better captain.”

    I grew up watching TNG however and as a result prefer it (and VOY) to TOS. I never liked DS9 much though.

  35. Jeff

    Okay, this is depressing. I can’t believe that Picard is leading the poll here. He was such a weenie. I agree with James, above.

    Picard would make a good butler, but that’s about it.

    I just might have to reconsider spending time on this website with y’all.

  36. ddgeekgrrl

    Over 40, grew up with TOS, but I have to say that Picard is my fave. “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” is my favorite Star Trek ep of all time, across all the series. Almost all my top 10 would be TNG with Picard as the central character. If you had asked me 20 years ago, I would have probably said Kirk. I am sure that means something … ;-o

  37. Jeriseau

    Allen said it best! There is no comparison! Kirk could “take it to the street” when needed. He was a hands on Captain in more ways than one. Picard was the gentleman’s Captain. He handled issues with his brain. Janeway……….ah, yessir, Janeway solved matters like a mother looking after her “offspring”, protecting them from outsiders and trouble, while caring for them each one individually, like most mothers do………………No sir, no comparison! (and for those counting years……..I’m 54…………..I’ve watched the Captains!!!!!) (Oh, and Bob? TNG……The Next Generation!)

  38. tinjapan

    perhaps it would be a better survey to ask which cap is best and see how the age of the voters changes things. My guess is the older the voter the more they lean to Kirk. Concerning the episodes… the best ones were the ones that dealt with current social issues in a futuristic time set. Themes like prejudice, aids, equal rights etc., or philosophical arguments like the reality and consequence of tabula rasa.

  39. parnote

    Captain Johnathan Archer, FTW!

  40. Jakeu1701

    Han Solo.

  41. Javelin

    Zap!!! nothing beats Brannigan’s Law! because Brannigan’s Law is like Brannigan’s love, hard and fast.

  42. Starkiller

    for me it’s:
    1. Picard
    2. Sisko
    3. Kirk
    4. Archer
    5. Yaneway
    6. Pike

  43. Mad Mike

    Woow, I love a good debate.

    I am a fan of both series and both captains. Best response I saw was the times were different, Kirk generation Federation had no friends, it was all aboubt the going where no man had gone before. By the time Picard came around, Federatino had all kinds of friends, kinda like the UN or something.
    But nitty to gritty, I’m gonna go with Kirk as the guy Id go into battle with. Picard was a thinker, sometimes too much of a thinker. There are moments when you have to drop the hammer, damn the torpedoes and slip loose the dogs of war. GRRRRR!!!!!

    In retrospect, Sisko probably bridged teh gap between both Kirk and Picard. Since he was head guy of a space station and not a mobile ship, he had to have more diplomacy and more battle readiness because the enemy was IN HIS BACKYARD. They were all great but again, I was 8 watching Kirk swashbuckle his way across the universe and baning every chick from Black to White to Green…Lol

  44. Bob

    French ftw

  45. Michael Sammels

    For me it has to be The Original Series over The Next Generation, but Picard over Kirk. If that’s even possible.

  46. Howard McTaggart

    Kirk is almost like a cross between Admiral Halsey and General Patton while Picard is more like Montgomery if I were to follow anyone into a battle it would be a Halsey/Patton type of leader.

  47. Ithildyn

    Captain Picard.

    The poll is about the best captain, not the best at sweaty fisticuffs or bedding exotic women without getting space STDs. XD
    I like ol’ Kirk a lot, but he’s a diplomatic disaster waiting to happen (deus ex machina plot twists aside).
    I mean, he’s quite okay for the original series which was more on the soap opera side, but (while sure remembering this is sci-fi) that makes it less realistic (than TNG at least).

    So yeah, when you ask me for the best captain, I can’t help thinking like a realist person and seeing that the guy with a short fuse and unbridled lust for aliens -no matter how dangerous for one’s health this might sound- would not make the better captain, all lovable he is. :)

    Picard’s from a setting more akin to ours, where you indeed have to be a good diplomat because you can’t out-punch or out-nuke anyone you don’t like with minimal consequences.
    He’s cool-headed, logical, responsible, civilized(meaning he ain’t no bloodthirsty space cowboy) and he has enough willpower to come back from Borg assimilation. He has a lot of charisma too, albeit in a different way than Kirk’s (more of the smooth educated gentleman kind than the suave shirtless hunk).
    He also can fight if needs be and is a brilliant tactician (the Picard Maneuver), but peaceful enough that he will try to resolve a situation through cunning or diplomacy before violence. He’s the kind of person that will make more allies than foes, and will see his men safe through danger before dead but covered in glory.

    All in all, a better Captain in what I take a captain should be, but sure a waaaaay more boring Space Opera protagonist, true enough. :)

    I rest my case for “better captain”, tough.

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