It’s the Versus that you’ve all been waiting for! It’s the long anticipated rematch between Matticus and I!
Well, I’m sure at least one of you were anxiously awaiting it anyway.
The first order of business, however, is declaring the winner of the previous Versus post. In Episode 3, I asked you to vote for which of the three Summers brothers was the most badass. Once again, the results didn’t go for who I voted for. You said that Gabriel, or Vulcan as he’s more widely known, was that answer. It’s hard to argue that. After all, he did conquer the Shi’ar Empire. In defense of Alex (Havok), who I voted for, in the War of the Kings storyline, Havok was able to absorb the energy of an entire star and use it to hurt Vulcan pretty badly. Just as Havok was about to put him down for good, he got interrupted and Vulcan managed to escape. Of course, once he had recovered, Vulcan went back to kicking everyone’s ass. There was that one moment though….
The question posed to Matticus and me for this matchup was, “Who is the best starship captain?” Naturally, we both had the same answer at first. The only possible answer to that question is Captain Terry Dadam of The Erratic Sun. Nobody else is even close. Again, we may be biased. So, the question had to be changed to, “Besides him, who is the best starship captain?”
Here is his answer:
Captain Jason Nesmith — Galaxy Quest (1999)
I will admit that Captain Jason Nesmith is an odd choice for best space captain. In the movie Galaxy Quest, Jason Nesmith is an actor who portrays a captain on a TV show, long cancelled, that lives on only through the legions of fans who demand their presence at annual conventions. He isn’t a talented actor. He isn’t a good leader. He isn’t particularly smart. He isn’t even all that likeable. However, it is for precisely these reasons that he becomes the greatest space captain, defying all odds to lead his crew of actors on a successful mission to defeat the evil General Sarris.
His only training was eighteen years prior to taking the helm for real, and that training was only simulation. He wasn’t groomed for the captaincy. He didn’t attend pilot school. He didn’t even know space flight was a real thing until he was called upon to perform at the highest level. And perform he did. First as the actor he had been and then rising to the occasion to be the true captain that was needed.
He had never been in combat before, let alone space combat. The only notion he had was his tagline from his TV show, Never give up. Never surrender. This approach caused him to make some giant mistakes after becoming a Captain for real. However, he learned from those mistakes and quickly adapted to his new role to devise a plan that worked.
He learns to respect his crew and ends up earning their respect as well. He learns to ask for help in situations where he is out of his depth. He learns what it means to rise up from a defeat. He learns what it means to act selflessly. It is this massive combined turn-around in his character that lifts him not just into the highest echelons of space captains but to the pinnacle of that group.
Who else could achieve so much with so little natural talent, so little professional training and experience, and surrounded by a crew who are equally lacking?
Best space captain? There is only one answer: Captain Jason Nesmith.
Now, here is my answer:
PORTIA LIN (DARK MATTER, SYFY)
Kirk, Picard, Solo, Reynolds. There were many of them out there with a higher name recognition factor that I could’ve chosen as my pick for the best starship captain. If you’ve ever watched Dark Matter (New episodes coming to SYFY soon, first two seasons on Netflix), you’ll know that none of them can match the sheer badassery of Portia Lin, leader of the Raza.
The Raza is a spaceship crewed by the scariest group of fighters in the galaxy. They were so good at what they did that rumors began spreading that the Raza is an alien race that kills everything in their path. In command of them is a woman named Portia Lin, the best of them all. Not only is she a skilled hand-to-hand fighter, she’s also very adept at pretty much any weapon she picks up. She’s kicked the ass of pretty much everyone she’s fought.
She can take it just as much as she can dish it out. Her body has been infused with nanites that will either let her avoid injury altogether, or let her recover quicker than should be possible. These nanites allowed her to cure herself of a virus that is usually 100% fatal to those who catch it. They even protected her and allowed her to survive in the vacuum of space.
Sure, you might be thinking to yourself, she’s a badass, but is she really a great captain? Of course she is.
The series starts with the crew of the Raza having their memories erased. Even with none of them remembering anything about their lives before waking up, they all still deferred to her leadership. She led them while they were trying to piece their pasts together. She led them while they were trying to stay one step ahead of the people behind them, even though they didn’t remember who they were running from. She held them together, even though the crew didn’t really trust each other, until they were betrayed by a crew member who had more information about their pasts than the rest.
After the betrayal, Portia and the crew found themselves thrown into the most secure prison in the galaxy. She was able to fight off repeated attempts on their lives, not only from fellow prisoners, but also from the warden. Portia rallied her crew, plus a few other prisoners, and mounted an escape from a place described as “impossible to break out of”
When one of her crew members asked her if they could break out of the impossible prison, she replied, “We‘re the crew of the Raza. You’re damn right we’re doing it.”
That is a Captain.
What do you think, folks? Which of those two contenders do you think better fits the bill of the best starship captain. Let us know with your votes.