9 Best Star Trek Friendships of All Time – Collider.com
“You have been, and always shall be, my friend”
Star Trek isn’t just a science-fiction story. It has always been about understanding and friendship. Is it even a Star Trek show if two disparate individuals don’t somehow bond and form an everlasting friendship? On the newest entry in the franchise, Star Trek: Lower Decks, we’re seeing the emergence of a great new friendship between Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid). Like many other long standing friendships in the franchise, these two are like chalk and cheese, but apparently nothing can tear them apart.
To celebrate the new entrants, let’s look back at some of the greatest duos in Star Trek so far. These are pairs who’ve been through thick and thin and come out on the other side as two peas in a pod.
Admittedly, Star Trek has far more wonderful friendships than this list includes, but many of them are mentor-mentee relationships, like Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) and William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) or antagonistic ones like Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Quark (Armin Shimerman). Those relationships are too much hard work. We’d rather our real-life friendships embodied these safe, non-toxic ones.
The bromance that launched a thousand ships! Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Nimoy) had a long run together and they knew each other so well. It’s no wonder that their relationship has continued to capture fans’ imaginations decades after they shared screen time together. They were practically polar opposites of each other, and somehow still saw eye to eye. Where Kirk was effervescent and larger than life, Spock was stoic and logical. Yet they were able to understand each other because they were intellectual equals. Spock may have been a Vulcan, but he easily called Kirk his friend, and Kirk, though interested in chipping away at the stony façade, was far more welcoming of Spock’s alienness than others (looking at you, Bones!).
Best James T. Kirk and Spock episode: “Amok Time”
Best James T. Kirk and Spock film: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek: The Next Generation not only credibly introduced a second emotionless character to the franchise, but the creators also made his friendship one of the most compelling relationships on the show. Data (Brent Spiner) and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) are true friendship goals. Geordi made Data feel alive without belittling his android nature. And Data was always there for Geordi. They hung out together, introduced each other to their hobbies and gave each other advice. Friends who hang out in the holodeck together, stay together. Well, until fate intervenes, that is. It helps that Spiner and Burton’s chemistry was off the charts. You could really feel their connection in every scene that they shared.
Best Geordi La Forge and Data episode: “Elementary, Dear Data”
It took the franchise a long time to make a convincing mixed-gender friendship without a romantic undertone. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) was a Trill whose previous host had been close friends with Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks). Despite the change in hosts, Dax and Sisko continued their friendship; Sisko still referred to her as “Old Man” and leaned on Dax for opinions on everything from work to love. They had a shared history that was alluded to throughout their run which made their friendship that much more ageless. But the fun part of their relationship was watching the tables turn as Dax, now the younger of the pair, turned to Sisko for advice as she navigated her new life.
Best Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax episode: “Trials and Tribble-ations”
Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and Miles O'Brien’s (Colm Meaney) friendship on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine could easily have embodied toxic masculinity, but instead they turned into a hilarious odd couple pairing. Bashir and O'Brien constantly bickered, loved playing darts and disappeared for hours in the holosuites to fight battles—they could have done so much worse with their free time, but that’s what you get for pairing up two nerds. Julian and Miles often became jealous when torn apart, which is exactly what happens when your bestie’s too busy to spend time with you. The best part of their friendship was how supportive they were of each other. Julian and Miles were each other’s safe space when they needed to talk things out.
Best Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien episode: “Armageddon Game”
Captain Kathryn Janeway (Mulgrew) was sent to apprehend Chakotay (Robert Beltran) when their two crews became trapped in the Delta Quadrant. This always informed their relationship on Star Trek: Voyager—they weren’t exactly on an even keel, but they had to be allies. As the top two leaders onboard Voyager, Janeway and Chakotay often had no one to turn to but each other. Chakotay’s unwavering faith in and support of Janeway buoyed the relationship – but he didn’t always agree with her. This actually made their relationship even stronger since it meant the two of them trusted each other enough to speak their minds. And the underlying romantic tension between them added a whole new dynamic to their scenes.
Best Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay episode: “Scorpion”
You know that you’re witnessing the start of something special when a young new ensign defies his seniors’ orders and befriends the resident bad boy. That’s how Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) and Tom Paris’ (Robert Duncan McNeill) friendship began in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Harry was the strait-laced newbie, while Tom was granted temporary reprieve from a penal colony. Tom and Harry put their differences and judgement aside and became the best of friends. Their friendship was convincing because they knew how to have fun together. They worked on creating the Delta Flyer shuttle; they starred in the Captain Proton holodeck series, and they even signed up to fly in a space race together. Tom and Harry were two big kids who always had each other’s backs.
Best Tom Paris and Harry Kim episode: “The Chute”
Malcolm Reed (Dominic Keating) was the cultured, stuffy British nerd, while Charles “Trip” Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) was the confident, vivacious self-taught engineer. So of course these two became great pals. Reed had always struggled with close relationships, so his friendship with Trip was a turning point for the character. Trip and Reed’s most memorable conversations were usually about women. They deserved to share a lot more screen time together, but viewers still got to enjoy plenty of their joint adventures. They ended up in a fair few scraps together, and somehow managed to get through them with their lives and dignity intact.
Best Charles “Trip” Tucker III and Malcolm Reed episode: “Shuttlepod One”
James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) was not the easiest person to be friends with in the Kelvin timeline, but Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban) made it look effortless. Bones was a little more likeable in this timeline (no offence to OG Bones, but he was a little too racist towards Spock) which is the reason his and Kirk’s friendship has made it on to the list. These two had unwavering confidence in each other’s ability and got each other out of the toughest situations. Kirk was admittedly a bad influence since he never played by the rules, but he brought Bones out of his shell and in return, Bones basically saved Kirk’s life on numerous occasions. It helps to have a doctor as your best friend.
Best Leonard “Bones” McCoy and James Kirk film: Star Trek Into Darkness
Finally, an all-lady pairing. It’s not like Star Trek shows haven’t had gal pals before—Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) were certainly very close, but unfortunately, they hardly ever passed the Bechdel Test when they shared any screen time together. Star Trek: Discovery changed that. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) met while Michael’s reputation was under a cloud. But just like Harry Kim, Tilly decided to choose her own friends. The two of them have been egging each other on ever since. They say “like attracts like”; Tilly and Michael may have been different temperamentally, but they were both determined and talented. It’s no wonder that they helped each other leap up the ranks aboard the Discovery.
Best Michael Burnham and Sylvia Tilly episode: “Unification III”
KEEP READING: 'Star Trek: Prodigy' Reveals Its Main Credits Sequence and a First Look at Some Frightening Villains
He also talks about what it was like for him when ‘Star Trek’ ended after the 3rd season.
Monita is the Marketing Manager of The Walrus by day and an entertainment writer by night. Her bylines have appeared on Fansided websites Bam Smack Pow and Show Snob, as well as on Vocal and Women Write About Comics. She is also the co-host of the pop culture podcast, Stereo Geeks.