Doctor Who and Star Trek are the two most iconic science fiction television series ever made. They have amassed a following on a global scale like no other and have stood the test of time for roughly 50 years.
However which series is better? Well obviously I can’t answer that for certain as both shows are so beloved and iconic and influential, but just for a bit of fun I am going to do a comparison between both shows here before deciding what I think is the better of the two series. Obviously all opinions expressed here are only my own and by all means tell me where you think I go wrong or what your favorite of the two of them is in the comments below.
I tend to look at it this way Star Trek is the Beatles of science fiction. Its the most mainstream one. Even people who have never seen any Star Trek still know “Beam me up Scotty”, “KHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN”, . “He’ dead Jim”, “Its life but not as we know it”, “phasers on stun” green women, the fighting music etc. Probably due to the movies Trek is the most mainstream science fiction franchise. Also like the Beatles the original Star Trek series was very up beat and optimistic and preached love and acceptance.
Doctor Who meanwhile was the The Rolling Stones of Science fiction. It was the second most mainstream one certainly, but it was always a bit edgier than Trek. Trek obviously pushed the boundaries in positive ways too like having the first interracial kiss, but Who was like the Rolling Stones in that it just pissed people off at times. It had horrible monsters that terrified people, scenes of graphic violence like dolls strangeling people, the Doctor being drowned etc that scared the shit out of generations of children. It provoked controversy and thrived on it at times.
Whilst Trek and the Beatles were all about preaching love and acceptance through songs like “All you kneed is love” or by showing us a future where we would all be living together in harmony, Who and the Stones were all about shocking us or scaring the shit out of us with horrible monsters like the Daleks. Also finally the Doctor is like Keith Richards in that he is someone who can also never die either.
Always remember that Star Trek is the Beatles and Doctor Who is the Rolling Stones.
1/ Most famous leading man
Now this was a very hard one to choose. Tom Baker and William Shatner are both legends. To this day there are no two actors who are more closely associated with these franchises which is no meant feat considering both franchises have more or less being running for the past 5 decades continually in some form or another. Both men had huge personalities and were of course shameless hams too and gave us endless moments of joy with their crazy, over the top shenanigans. However more importantly both men were also great actors when they needed to be and could inject real gravitas into their larger than life characters when needed such as in “Search for Spock” when Kirk discovers that the Klingons have murdered his son or in “Genesis of the Daleks” where the fourth Doctor is wondering on whether or not he has the right to destroy the Daleks.
Both men took the stronger scripts seriously like “Pyramids of Mars” and “Wrath of Khan”, but for the poorer stories would often overact which in turn would elevate the poorer stories. So who’s better? Again hard to say but I am going to have to go with Tom here.. I feel bad saying that anyone is better than William Shatner, but I’m going to go with Tom only because based on everything I have ever seen of Tom outside of Who he just actually is the fourth Doctor. Willaim Shatner does have certain similarities with Kirk, but not to the same extent as Tom does with the fourth Doctor. If anything the fourth Doctor is just a stripped down version of Tom Baker! Thus Who wins this round as its most famous leading man is actually that bat shit mental in real life.
2/ Main Heroes Best Friend
Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart
Now I know what you’re thinking how can you tell who is the Doctor’s best friend? He has had lots of friends, however personally I think its the Brigadier as he was is his longest serving friend who has met more incarnations of the Doctor than anyone else except for Sarah Jane. I was thinking of having Sarah, but however since she got her own series I feel that puts her in a different category. Also Sarah whilst an excellent character is just another companion, where as the Brig I feel in terms of what he was was quite unique. Most people aren’t sure on whether or not to count him as a companion yet he is still among the most recurring characters in Who history so as far as I’m concerned he is the Doctors best friend.
Obviously we all know who Kirks best friend is Spock. Now as to who’s better well I am afraid Star Trek wins this round. I love the Brig so, so, so, so, much I hate not giving this to him as growing up Nicholas Courtney was such a hero of mine its not true. However ultimately whilst the Birg was a brilliant character Spock takes the lead here as Spock is just as iconic a character as Captain Kirk. No one does not know who Spock is everyone knows his ears, his cold logical nature and the live long and prosper sign. Sadly the Brig just isn’t quite as iconic. Both men were the perfect foils to the main hero however. Spock who was very cold and practical served as the perfect contrast the emotional very human Captain Kirk whilst at the same time the Brig who was very much an all guns blazing, man of action, lets just shoot the bad guys was a great foil to the more pacifistic, cerebral Doctor. Ultimately however as big a legend as the Brig was, Star Trek wins this round.
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3/ Unrequited love interest
Nurse Christine Chapel
This one wasn’t as hard as the other two as for me Martha Jones beats Nurse Chapel easily. I do like Nurse Chapel, but I’m sorry no way can she top Martha. Both Chapel and Martha had the rather bad luck to fall in love with cold, unfeeling aliens (well the Doctor was more just unfeeling towards her) however Martha I think had more to her character than just the unrequited love interest. She saved the entire earth from the Master in the season finale also she eventually got over her crush on the Doctor and came back even more badass in Doctor Who series 4 and Torchwood series 2. Chapel however never really got over Spock, and though she did help to save the day a few times it was never to the same extent as Martha Jones so Who definitely wins this round.
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4/ Less annoying boy genius
Sadly both Classic Who and the Next Generation had this type of awful character the little, obnoxious teenager who thinks he is smarter than the main hero. Both characters were ultimately dropped thankfully, but still in this category I am going to look at who was more tolerable as neither were really what you would call good. Well I am going to go for Adric here. Who had the decency to kill its boy genius. Crusher was at least better acted I’ll give him that, but still Adric never quite showed the Doctor up as much as Wesley made Picard look stupid, so really that plus Adrics violent and painful death means I like him better so its another victory for Who .
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Both Khan and the Master are brilliant villains and The Master definitely has had a longer career than Khan, but ultimately I think that Khan is still the better villain. I hated the latest Khan movie “Star Trek Into Darkness”, but “Wrath of Khan” is still one of the greatest films of all time and in my opinion is better than any Doctor Who story with the Master. Khan I also feel is a more fleshed out character than The Master, ironically even though he has only been in three stories.
For most of his careeer we never knew the Masters motives other than just because he was evil. It wasn’t until the Russell T Davies era when they gave him some kind of motivation that he had been driven mad by a constant drum beat in his head, which sadly though interesting contradicted what came before. Why didn’t we ever hear of the Master going on about the drums in his head until now? Khan on the other hand his motives were clear from the start an they fleshed him out more in the “Wrath of Khan”. As evil as he is you can actually feel some sympathy for Khan as Kirk did genuinely wrong him and his quest for vengeance causes him to lose everything. Also lets no forget Khan is responsible for one of the biggest tear jerkers in cinema history when Spock passes away. Star Trek definitely wins this round.
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6/ Alien Invaders
This is one that I don’t think many people including even Trekkies would disagree with me on. The Daleks are by far and away better than the Klingons. Both are great villains and both served as great allegories for different things. In the Klingons case the Soviet Union, in the Daleks the Nazi’s however ultimately I think the Daleks still have to stand as the better alien invaders.
To start with they are more genuinely alien. The Klingons in the original series look liked us and in later series they still looked by and large like us except they now had bumpy foreheads. The Daleks however looked totally alien. Okay I can understand that to some people the Daleks design might look a bit silly, but even then no one can deny that it does not look even remotely human. It has no legs, no arms, no face, nothing we can recognize about it. Also in terms of behaviour the Daleks were more alien than the Klingons too. The Klingons behaved in a very human way. They had their own culture, their own code of honour, their own literature, even their own booze. The Daleks however had nothing we could relate too. They don’t have any culture, there are no Dalek laws, no Dalek customs, no Dalek literature, no Dalek art, no Dalek Poetry, no Dalek code of honour, no Dalek society nothing. There are no Daleks that behave differently, no good guy Daleks, no extra fanatical Daleks, no Daleks that seek to gain power for themselves. All the Daleks behave exactly the same from the lowliest drone to the emperor. However they are not merely robots, they are flesh and blood creatures and they are also emotional creatures too. They are not driven by logic they are driven by irrational emotion, irrational fear and hatred of other life forms. Thus they are not simply machine creatures like the Cybermen, but they are also in no way relatable to us like the Klingons or the Romulans for that matter.
The Daleks are also far more destructive than the Klingons too. In their second ever story they managed to conquer the earth and virtually wipe out the human race. In “The Daleks Masterplan” they create a weapon that can age entire planets to dust which they build with the help of the other most evil life forms in the universe whom they subsequently turn on and imprison afterwards.
In “The Power of the Daleks” the Doctor claims that one Dalek can destroy an entire earth colony.In “Genesis of the Daleks” the Time Lords the most powerful race in existence send the Doctor back in time to wipe them from existence as the Time Lords have forseen a time when the Daleks will have destroyed all other life forms in the universe. In “Dalek” one Dalek kills hundreds of innocent people and the Doctor claims that if it gets out then no one on this planet (earth) is safe. In the “Parting of the Ways” a battlefleet of half a million Daleks slaughters virtually the entire population of earth which at that point in history numbers 98 billion. In “Journey’s End” the Daleks first of all steal several worlds including the earth, catapulting them across time and space like a tennis ball in order to use them to power a super weapon that can destroy everything ever to have existed, past, present and future in not just this universe, but every universe ever to have existed past, present and future, all of reality itself!
Added to that they also fought the Time Lorrds the oldest and most powerful civilisation in the universe and would have destroyed them had it not been for the Doctors cheating. The Klingons have never even approached anything like that. The Klingons at worst threaten a bit of our solar system, the Daleks threaten everything most of the time.
The relationship between the Doctor and the Daleks is also a lot more intense than that between Kirk and the Klingons. Even after they kill his son it never quite reaches the intense hatred that we see between the Doctor and the Daleks with the Doctor even taking great pleasure in destroying the Daleks at various points such as in “The Wedding of River Song”.
I feel the Daleks also really kind of established themselves as the ultimate alien monsters in Doctor Who. They have pretty much kicked the shit out of all the others at various points. In “Doomsday” a mere four of them slaughter five million Cybermen, in series 3 we discover that the Master flees from them to the end of the universe. He actually flees to a point where no time lord has ever gone before because they were too scared, a point where all of the planets and stars have died, where among the only living creatures are savage cannabilistic monsters! On top of that he also turns himself into a human being to avoid detection by the time lords who will force him to fight the Daleks. Also the Masters super weapon the valiant that he builds gets destroyed by the Daleks the next season final in like two minutes. Plus in the 96 movie the Daleks disentegrated the Master (though he survived as a snake). The Autons meanwhile had their entire planet destroyed by the Daleks as did the Zygons and the Gelth. The Time Lords also got their asses handed to them by the Daleks and had to be sent into another universe for protection. The Abzorbaloff, Adipose and the Pyrovale’s had their home planets stolen by the Daleks too and in “Time of the Doctor” all of the Doctors worst enemies old and new gather around Trenzalore for an all out brawl. Everyone who is everyone gathers here. Cybermen, The Silence, The Weeping Angels, The Ice Warriors, The Sontarans, The Mara, The Teriliptle’s, the Zygons, The Silurians, The Slitheen and the Drahvins and the Daleks beat all of them all at once. The Klingons never quite established themselves as the worst of the worst in the Trek series hell they were scared of the Tribbles for goodness sake.
Also the Daleks have caused the death of 4 different incarnations of the Doctor. The 8th Doctors ship was shot down in their war with the Daleks which caused his death. The War Doctor was worn down by years of fighting against the monsters and died of exhaustion because of it. The 9th Doctor died as a direct result of their plans think about it if it hadn’t been for them then Rose would never have become the “Bad Wolf” and therefore the Doctor would have never needed to sacrifice himself to save her. Finally the 11th Doctor was also worn down from fighting them just like the War Doctor on Trenzalore too.
The Daleks have also been responsible for a number of other main cast members departures. Rose was trapped in another universe because of their invasion, Donna ended up getting her mind wiped foiling another (those are two of the biggest tear jearkers in Who history the Daleks are responsible for). The Klingons never killed a Starship captain, the only major character they killed from the original series timeline was David Kirks son which fair enough was a big deal, but they never killed off a starship captain like Kirk or Picard.
Also another way you can tell the Daleks are better villains is that the Daleks take centre stage whenever they appear. In all of their appearances in Classic Who they are the main villains and the focus is entirely on them except for one story “Frontier in Space”, though even here they are still the main villains we just don’t find out until the end. In the New Who they have been the main focus in all but two stories they appeared in .
The Klingons however in their appearances in the original series were not always the main villains or focus of the stories. In “Errand of Mercy” the main focus I feel is on the aliens the Klingons are persecuting, in “Fridays child” again I feel the main focus is on the aliens. In “the trouble with tribbles” the main focus is on the Tribles. The Klingons could be replaced by any alien in that story. In “Day of the Dove” the main villain is the alien that is pitting the Klingons and the humans against one another. The Daleks when compared with the Klingons are just simply too big a presence to be pushed to the side. Even in stories where their screen time is limited like “The Day of the Doctor” they are still the main villains of the story.
Finally the Daleks I feel have made a much larger impact on popular culture than the Klingons have. The Klingons are obviously iconic, but not to the same extent as the Daleks. The Daleks are recognized all around the world they have popped up in many American television series including “The Simpsons”, “South Park”, “The Big Bang Theory” and also the movie “Looney Tunes Back in Action”.
In the United Kingdom however the Daleks are almost a way of life. Back in the 1960’s the Daleks were ever bit as popular as the Beatles. Britain was gripped in what has been known as “Dalekmania”, there were Dalek toys, soaps, posters, stage plays and even films. In the decades since they have still remained popular. Most of the time whenever they return they are on the front of the radio times. The word Dalek even made its way into the dictionary at one point.
The Klingons have never enjoyed that level of fame at any point in Star Treks long history. It could be argued that the Daleks were responsible for Doctor Who’s initial success. The show really took off after they appeared. The Klingons meanwhile I feel were only popular because they were in Star Trek. They piggy backed on the shows popularity, where as with the Daleks if anything back in the 60’s it was the other way around Doctor Who piggy backed on the Daleks huge popularity to become a monster hit. Ultimately I don’t think the Klingons can compare with the Daleks at all. The Daleks pretty much take the lead inn every possible way.
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Here are some examples of why the Daleks are way more badass than the Klingons just to further ram the point home.
and the final proof when did you last see a Klingon with John fucking Lennon?
7/ Cyborg Invaders
This is a bit of tricky one. The Cybermen and the Borg are a very similar concept and indeed many fans of both series have commented on this over the years. Both are mechanical creatures who seek to convert all organic life forms across the universe into members of their own kind. Its very hard to say which was the better take on the idea. On the one hand when they Cybermen were scary in stories like “Tomb of the Cybermen” and “The Invasion” they were far more terrifying than the Borg ever were. However over the years the Cybermen I think hve been a lot more mistreated than the Borg. They have had their asses kicked by just four Daleks, wiped out by a teenager with a sling shot and beaten up by James Cordens baby seriously. ultimately however I am still gonna have to go with the Cybermen as even with that they still scare me more.
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8/ Member of a villainous race who became a good guy
Both Trek and Who have had these types of characters. Vastra a member of the Silurians major enemies from Classic Who and Worf a member of the Klingons major enemies from the original Star Trek series who both become proud warrior allies of the main heroes. As much as I love Vastra I have to say that Worf is a much better character. As a lead of two long running series its obvious that he is gonna be more well developed than Vastra who has only been in a few episodes so far. Also whilst I do like Vastra at times I do feel that she and her sidekick Strax can feel a bit like novelty characters. Worf on the other hand never did he was a fully fleshed out member of the crew.
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9/ Best Story of Original Series Run
Genesis of the Daleks
Balance of Terror
Doctor Who wins this easily. The best ever episode of Star Trek in my opinion “Balance of Terror” is a masterpiece, perfect in every way, story, dialogue, direction and acting and contains one of the best lines in television history “in another lifetime you and I could have been friends”. Genesis of the Daleks however the best Doctor Who story still manages to trump it in every way. Michael Wishers Davros alone is enough to make it stand head head and shoulder above the rest. There are so many moments in Genesis that define Who for all time whether it is the Daleks gunning down their evil creator Davros or The Doctors “have I the right speech”. Sorry Trekies, but Genesis is pretty much for me the best science fiction on television.
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10/ Best Story of the Sequel Series
Day of the Doctor
The Chain of Command
Once again I am going to have to say Doctor Who wins this. “The Day of the Doctor” was the perfect story for me as it reminded us why we loved the character of the Doctor so much. That final scene where all of the Doctors unite to save Gallifrey shows us how the Doctor would never butcher millions of innocents, how he always manages to think of a way that completely eludes everyone else, that sounds insane, but that manages to save everyone. As great as the “four lights” sequence is with Warner and Stewart playing off of each other brilliantly it can never top “no sir all thirteen!” in my opinion.
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11/ Best Ancient Astronaut story
Pyramids of Mars
Who Mourns For Adonais
Both Star Trek and Doctor Who did stories where it was revealed that the gods where aliens. “Who Mourns for Adonas” and “Pyramids of Mars”. Both stories I think demonstrate the differences between Who and Trek better than anything else. The Star Trek take on this story is a very romantic, philosophical story where the villain is still a very human character for better or for worse. The Doctor Who take on this story meanwhile is a very dark, frightening story where the main villain is a total out and out monster. Both stories are all time classics and it isn’t really fair to compare them as even though they touch on the same subject they try something completely different with them and arguably succeed just as much at what they set out to do. However still since we are comparing them both here I would have to again go with Doctor Who. Sutekh the destroyer scared the shit out of me so much growing up. I defy anyone to find a better villains voice than Gabriel Woof the actor who plays him.
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12/ Best Alternate Universe Story
Another subject that Trek and Who have touched on many times in the past, but definitely the most famous example from each would be “Mirror Mirror” from Trek and “Inferno” from Doctor Who. I must admit at first I thought I would have gone for the Who story as Inferno has always been a favourite of mine, but ultimately Trek is the winner here. “Mirror Mirror” is really the daddy of all alternate universe stories, its where all of the others including Inferno come from its the alternate universe story so it really deserves to win. Both stories are classics though and both offer us an interesting insight particularly into the characters of the Brigadier and Spock. Their evil selves represent what they could become if they were raised in a different environment. Their evil counterparts are the same people underneath the Brigade leader is just as devoted to the military as the regular Brig is whilst the bearded Spock relies on logic just like our version, but because both are now working for a corrupt regime they are both the villains, but their morals are essentially the same which makes them both such fascinating insights into these characters. However again Star Trek has to take the lead here. Like I said before “Mirror Mirror” is the alternate universe story.
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13/ Best movie
Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD
Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan
This isn’t really a fair fight is it? The two Cushing movies are great, cheesy, 60’s fun, but Wrath of Khan is one of the greatest films ever made simple as that.
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14/ Worst story
Love and Monsters
The Omega Glory
Much like in deciding who was better Adric or Wesley Crusher here we will determine who is the winner by looking at which is the less awful out of the two worst episodes. This time its Star Trek that’s the winner. The Omega Glory is terrible, dated, crap. I cringe at that moment when the American flag is brought out. However even that is still better than “Love and Monsters” with its abzorbing monsters, lame jokes about Doctor Who fandom, soap opera drivel and blow job or rim job jokes.
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15/ Best story where a main character dies
Tasha Yar/ Skin of Evil
Doctor Who wins this which is surprising considering that Adric is one of the weakest main characters in the shows history, his death at the hands of the Cybermen is still far more moving and quite bleak too as Adric dies alone, scared and thinking that he failed to save billions of innocent people. Also the Cybermen are a better villain than Armus to kill off a main character.
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16/ Best story where a historical figure fights a monster
Vincent and the Doctor
The Savage Curtain
Doctor Who takes this easy. Vincent and the Doctor is a truly moving and poignant piece of television. Its hard to watch the final moment where Vincent is shown how well remembered he will be and not cry.
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17/ Best crossover episode
The Three Doctors
Trials and Tribble ations
Star Trek wins this time. I love the Three Doctors very much, but the Star Trek episode is better as it actually takes us back into the original series. Its not just simply a case of the original character comes back, here we actually do get to see the two very different worlds collide and thus I feel its a lot more fun.
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18/ Best Cosmic Love Story
The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang
City On The Edge of Forever
As good a love story as Rory waiting outside a box for 10000 years for Amy is I don’t think any of us can really forget Captain Kirk and Joan Collins tragic love story. Though “City on the Edge of Forever” may seem unoriginal now that’s only because it has been copied billions of times since It is an all time classic story certainly one of the greatest science fiction love stories ever told.
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19/ Best story with an evil version of the Hero
The Enemy Within
“Amy’s Choice” is a great episode and the Dream Lord is a very fun character. However Star Trek has to take the lead here as its story is I feel much more bold and daring. It has its evil version of the hero Kirk actually try and rape somebody. To have your main character even an evil version of them try and do something like that is incredibly brave and shocking and an example of how Trek was willing to push the boundaries too.
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20/ Best theme
Doctor Who wins this one for me as there have been several Star Trek themes over the years where as Doctor Who has kept the one theme, oh of course there are different arrangements of it sure, but its basically the same theme. The best Star Trek theme for me would be the one that was used in the film series and the Next Generation. Even it however is not quite as brilliantly off beat and surreal as Doctor Who’s.
Final score Doctor Who 11 Star Trek 9
Doctor Who is better in this bloggers opinion. It wins barely by a 11/9. I am surprised in a way as I always preferred the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, but to be fair I think I have always known in my heart that Who was my favourite. Overall two great shows, but Doctor Who is just a little bit more special to me. But that’s just my opinion tell me what do you think?