In life, there are many important questions. Will I be famous? Will I be rich? How much time do I have? Which is the best series of Star Trek?
I'm going to try and answer that last one today by a simple method. I shall put the main/recurring characters into three categories and see where we stand at the end of all this division. I'm not using TOS or Enterprise by the way. TOS can't really compete as it's a whole different ball park, and I don't do Enterprise. So it's between TNG, DS9 and VGER.
Firstly TNG (1987-1994). Onto a winner already here as we've got Patrick Stewart and some amazing episodes such as Tapestry, Best of Both Worlds, Redemption, The Inner Light and Chain of Command. S1 is a bit sucky, but once you hit the S3finale/S4 opener it really hits its stride. So here we go (warning - a few spoilers):
Jean Luc Picard: God I love that man. He's honourable, clever, strong and diplomatic. He quotes from Shakespeare and Moby Dick. He hates children. He likes tea.
Worf: He's Klingon and all exciting and warrior-like. Plus he gets even better in the later seasons when his hair gets all long and wild. Worf enables episodes that focus on Klingon culture too. Plus he's not unpleasant to look at by any means.
Guinan: I think it's more the fact that Whoopi Goldberg's on the Enterprise D's bar. She knows stuff about the Borg too.
Deanna Troy: Now I know it didn't help that she had no defined role initially and said vague things like, "Oooh I feel a presence", but she was quite annoying. Only quite mind.
William Riker: Ahh the Kirk substitute. I still remember that episode when he was lumbering around in his bathrobe, chasing the ladies. At least he grew a beard after S1.
Tasha Yar: We never really got a chance to know Tasha before her untimely demise from an encounter with an oil puddle. So I couldn't go out on a limb either way. Denise Crosby is good in the later alt timeline though.
Beverley Crusher: I always wanted to like Beverley more, what with her red hair and vague Picard-love interest link. But I never could muster the energy. I like her more than Deanna though, but not enough for the AWESOME rating.
Wesley Crusher: Bless 'im. Precocious lad who burns out too early and becomes all hippie-ish. Mostly harmless.
Data: Now I can hear you all howl at this one, but Data did do my nut quite a lot. Part of me likes him, sure. But the other part finds his incessant search for humanity irritating rather than endearing. I would say sometimes he moves into the AWESOME category though.
Katherine Pulaski: We only had this prickly doctor for S2 so never really got to know her that well. She was a bit like a female McCoy.
Geordi La Forge: Geordi's features in some of my most hated episodes and story lines. You know - the ones where he falls in love with a computer/hologram/robot/dream/whatever as he's incapable of normal human interaction. Add to that a does of Data in his most "how do I become human" mode and it's a total URGHH.
Miles O'Brien: I just can't like the man, with his little squinty eyes and gruff voice.
DS9 (1993-1999). I really like DS9 - it has a bigger supporting cast and I like the space station set up. It allows for more developed story arcs with an emphasis on Cardassian/Bajoran/Wormhole politics. But how do its characters work out?
Ben Sisko: I love him! I know at the beginning we get a bit of conflict between Sisko and Picard because of Wolf 359, but Sisko's a different kind of guy and I like his leadership style. He's more action orientated and isn't afraid to bend the rules when needs be. Plus from S4 he becomes incredibly delightful to look at (it's the beard okay?). As much as I love Picard, I feel Sisko is more the kind of commander/captain I could follow. When I enter Starfleet.
Kira Nerys: She's a strong female character but that's tempered with her religion. Her dual loyalties makes her subject of some interesting story lines.
Jadzia Dax: She's pretty, intelligent and a great gutsy lady. Once her character develops she's a bit of a cheeky minx too. She loves everything Klingon - a girl after my own heart. And I love her spots.
Worf: As above! Plus here he makes a super couple with Jadzia and his hair is very long and wild.
Quark: How can you not love Quark? I'm still not sure why some say "Quark" and some say "Quork" though.
Garak: I love Garak with his shady past and tailoring abilities.
Gul Dukat: There's just something about him...A total trickster character whose loyalties continually change - capable of immense cruelty and kindness. I do think they missed a trick with his daughter and could have done some more work on her storylines.
Odo: Sometimes he does enter the realms of AWESOME, but I don't gel with Odo all the time. I prefer how his character interacts with others and his impact on them, more than him, if that makes sense.
Jake Sisko: Aww Jake. I actually prefer him a LOT to Wesley Crusher, but he's still not AWESOME.
Nog and Rom: They're fairly inoffensive...
Miles O'Brien: As above. Plus there's even more of him in this series.
Julian Bashir: He's a hit with the ladies? Seriously? I wish he'd just stay in the holodeck with O'Brien.
Ezri Dax: I don't even have words to describe how annoying she is.
Voyager (1995-2001). The god of sci-fi (DS9's Ronald D Moore) left Voyager quite early on due to creative differences. It's often been said that VGER suffered from having a "reset" button. They're lost in the Delta Quadrant for seven years but the ship looks all brand new and spanking each episode. I'm not going to lie though - I shamelessly enjoy a lot of Voyager.
Kathryn Janeway: I was a little unsure at first but once she got rid of that stupid hair bun and wore it down she was great. Although she completely contradicts herself sometimes (I'm more inclined to blame bad script-writing here).
Seven of Nine: Okay okay. I know she's effectively Data but in a more attractive body, but I don't care. She's ex Borg and she's cool. She may be dressed in an outfit that leaves little to the imagination but she's still a female character with lots of depth and guts and why shouldn't she look good too?
The Doctor: You can't help but love the Doctor and all his weird peculiarities. Especially when he and Seven have a little sing-song (my bf hates those episodes).
Seska: Seska was cool, but then she went. If you hadn't noticed I like strong and interesting female characters.
Tuvok: I want to put Tuvok in the AWESOME, but he's just not developed enough. What we see of him is really promising (all that stuff about his rage and dark depths etc) but it goes nowhere. I think it's partly due to the appearance of Seven - she monopolised a lot of airtime at the expense of others.
Tom Paris: Tom's almost in the hated category. Almost.
B'Elanna Torres: And Torres was almost in the AWESOME but she becomes quite wet and boring.
Chakotay: Just what is the point of Chakotay? If anyone knows please do tell. I can't muster up any energy to despise him though.
Kes: They got rid of her to make room for Seven just as she was getting more interesting. I could listen to Jennifer Lien's voice all day though.
Harry Kim: He's just another Geordi! Nooooo.
Neelix: I utterly, utterly detest Neelix. Utterly. At least they phased him out a bit in later seasons.
I know I've missed out a few odds here and there, but let's tot it up.
Awesome - 3
Okay - 7
URGHH - 2
Awesome - 7
Okay - 4
Awesome - 4
Okay - 5
URGHH - 2
So there we have it - scientific proof. Of what I have no idea. I guess DS9 is the winner - 3 UGHHs (and I've got to be honest - Neelix probably counts for about another 5 URGHHs alone) but a resounding 7 AWESOMES.