Demora Sulu, Molly O’Brien, Miral Paris
A legacy character is the easiest way to tie a new story to the ones that came before, but I’m an advocate for these women based on their unrealized potential. Demora and Miral each appear only once, in blink and you’ll miss them moments, yet they make a profound impact. Molly appears throughout Deep Space Nine, but as a small child. Incorporating any of these women into a new storyline opens up all sorts of interesting avenues to explore. How do their parents, and Starfleet, and the events of their childhood, all at least partly familiar to the audience, influence their lives and choices? Demora, especially, could give a richer background to her father as well as herself (she appears in Beyond!).
Areel Shaw, Phillipa Louvois, Norah Satie
I want a ‘Starfleet: JAG’ series so badly! Anchoring it with one of these women would connect it to a character and story we know, the way Miles O’Brien transfers from the Enterprise to Deep Space Nine (and from The Next Generation to Deep Space Nine), and Sisko is introduced as a survivor of Wolf 359. It would also easily set the time period. A prequel series for Norah Satie would be incredibly interesting! The series would have to incorporate moments that assert the character flaws evident in “The Drumhead” but also present her as a brilliant and sympathetic lawyer we want to root for and that makes for a complex character and riveting stories.
Erika Hernandez, Rachel Garrett, Elizabeth Shelby
Give it up for ladies in command! My ideal choice for captain in a new series would be a 40-something non-heterosexual woman of color but I’d love to meet up with an Admiral Hernandez or a younger Rachel Garrett being mentored into captaincy. Shelby might be more difficult to incorporate because her story thus far would parallel the ones we’ve seen in the three contemporary series, but it would also be interesting to watch a timeline we know unfold from a new perspective. Or we could catch up with Captain Shelby in the ‘now’ of 25 years after “The Best of Both Worlds.”
Robin Lefler, Sito Jaxa, Tal Celes
These are my three favorite minor character Trek women. Each only appears in two episodes but every time I watch any of those episodes I want to watch an entire series about them. Sito is MIA, presumed dead but she was initially going to reappear in an episode of DS9 so it would not be unreasonable for her to return. Revisiting Tal would allow us to learn more about what happened after Voyager’s return.
But it’s Lefler I would really love to catch up with — in any capacity, at any point in her story. I can even imagine a series that includes tween/teen Lefler hanging around her famous scientist parents (as related in “The Game”) — the Wesley character as it were, but done well, which would then add a new layer to their relationship in TNG. There is a conundrum in that having more of these characters I love may mess up why I love them. But I prefer to have the more, that I can reject if I don’t like it, over leaving it at perfect potential.
Amanda Grayson, Caithlin Dar, Leah Brahms
And these are my three favorite Trek women whose storylines let them down. Amanda has only ever been used in reference to Spock, and in her latest appearance died for his character development. Caithlin and her compatriots on Nimbus III are mere pawns in Sybok’s plot, and the story as a whole. And Leah is used and abused first by Geordi, and then by the story. To make up for all this I would love a series that included a young Amanda and Sarek working together at the dawn of the Federation and falling in love. I would love a story about Leah that just doesn’t involve Geordi at all. And imagine a series about the rebellious and jaded Nimbus trio thwarting their governments for the little people — think Leverage in space. It would be amazing.
I’m excited to meet new characters, both main and minor but I want to see more of these women, too. Take Navigation Officer Darwin, featured in the header, a screen cap of Star Trek: Into Darkness — no one says her name in the film, we never learn anything about her, and I want to know it all! These are my favorites — what are yours?
This piece originally appeared on What The Fangirl on August 19, 2016. Please do not post elsewhere without express permission.
I just re-watched Descent and cannot believe we all forgot Tait. She is such a big presence and so realistic. I see a real woman, a bit scared and wide-eyed at the unexpected turn of events, yet nonetheless calling upon all her training and brilliantly rising to a challenge. She may feel intimidated in some ways but she is confident enough to speak and let her voice be heard. She seems so real to me, and in the sea of perfect people that is TNG (no shade), she stands out beautifully.
+1 for Miral & Celes! Here’s hoping…
YES YES YES THIS THIS THIS!!!
So many amazing women have had brief and fascinating moments in Trek and left me wanting so very much more. Your list is excellent.
Thank you for mentioning Phillipa Louvois. She’s my favorite by far. For one thing, she’s one of the first women I remember seeing on TV who is sexually assertive without that being her primary personality trait, AND without being portrayed as a “bad girl” (or having this portrayed as a bad quality in any way). She’s portrayed as a PROFESSIONAL woman with a strong and confident personality, and she still gets to make comments about Picard being sexy and basically holds up a sign saying “let’s have angry sex after this.” She’s a complete, 3-dimensional human, who stands up to Picard based on staying true to her own convictions and not out of just being written as an “evil” character. I could go on and on about how she’s well written and well performed. So much love.
(YES I often while away the hours imagining plot lines and characters for a ST:JAG series. I mean, endless possibilities await. Being a stationary office, we could have a DS9 vibe of interesting people coming and going, while at the same time tackle excellent moral issues via futuristic law. I’m one of the last humans on earth who still enjoys episodic TV shows, and ST:JAG could have Phillipa and her staff examining a new awesome issue each week, OR they could take this in an equally easy serial route with realistically long trials intersecting the real human experience of the awesome women in her office.)
Not mentioned in the article is Ensign Sonya Gomenz, shown in Q Who. She’s the one who is chided for saying “please” and “thank you” to the replicator, and then adorably spilling her hot chocolate on Picard (who is NOT amused). For one thing, it’s Pre-Kes sympathy toward an electronic service entity, but what I really love about her is the juxtaposition of very feminine personality traits with being a kick-ass engineer (not a combo we saw in much 80s/90s TV, or even today). She’s awesomely cute and girly and chatty, which makes some people not like her. Well, cute, girly, chatty women can also be antimatter specialists, because we’re all complex humans with multi-faceted personalities and interests. Geordi says “you’re awfully young to be so driven,” to which Sonya replies, “Yes, I am. I had to be. I had to be the best because only the best get to be here.” BAM. GET IT GIRL. GET. IT.
Rachel Garret, Demora Sulu, Shelby, Sito, ugh, all of them could support an entire series 🙂 Thank you for keeping them alive!!
Seeing as James Frain is coming to the show as Sarek, you know that there is always the possibility of seeing that Sarek / Amanda plotline unfold through Star Trek: Discovery, possibly fulfilling a lot of Trek fans’ bucket lists.