At first glance, Captain James Tiberius Kirk and Captain Jean-Luc Picard couldn't be more different. However, let's look at what both men have accomplished in their illustrious careers at Starfleet, shall we? Kirk was the Captain of two Enterprises (NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-A) and Picard was the Captain of two ships named Enterprise (NCC-1701-D and NCC-1701-E). Kirk was considered an enemy of the Federation (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock) and so was Picard (transformed into Locutus by the Borg and attacked Earth while in command of a Borg cube). Kirk has traveled back in time on numerous occasions and so has Picard. But deep down, you know that they're very different Captains. The galaxy is a big place, but it's not big enough for the both of them! Let's finally decide who is the superior Captain: the guy from Iowa or the guy from France?
Kirk is cool, but does he have an actual day named after him? You may like Picard, but has brought a species back from literal extinction? If John McClane from the Die Hard series were to choose his favorite Captain, why would he undoubtedly choose Picard over Kirk? If Ethan Hunt from the Mission: Impossible series were to decide on which Captain was the best, why would he, without pause, side with Kirk over Picard? Both Captains got to meet each other in a place called the Nexus, but which Captain got to live out someone else's entire life in the span of twenty minutes? After seeing ten reasons why Kirk is better than Picard (and ten reasons that show Picard is superior to Kirk), you can make your own decisions and then let us know in the comments below!
20 KIRK CHEATS AND GETS AWAY WITH IT
Leave it to James T. Kirk to find a way to beat a test that was designed to be a no-win scenario. The Kobayashi Maru simulation tests a Starfleet cadet's ability to handle a situation in which they are going to lose no matter what. Kirk's response? "I don't believe in no-win scenarios" and then cheats in order to win.
The 2009 Star Trek reboot showed Kirk rigging the simulation so that he could actually win the test. According to his verbal accounts of the events in Wrath of Khan, he got a commendation for original thinking. Kirk doesn't like to lose, and that stubbornness and determination is what makes him so great.
19 PICARD HAS TACTICAL MANEUVER NAMED AFTER HIM
In Star Trek: Insurrection, we saw Commander Riker beat attacking enemy vessels by having the Enterprise capture then spit out metreon gas using the Enterprise's Bussard ramscoop collectors. Once the gas was expelled, enemy fire ignited the gas, causing the attacking vessels to be caught in the explosion. Very good, Number One. That's cool, but it's no Picard Maneuver.
While in command of the U.S.S. Stargazer, Picard devised an attack strategy against an attacking Ferengi ship. By making a short warp jump, the Ferengi ship fired on the Stargazer's previous coordinates. The Stargazer dropped out of warp and fired on the ship, destroying it.
18 KIRK BROUGHT WHALES BACK FROM EXTINCTION
Did you like the 1993 movie Free Willy? What about the 2016 animated film Finding Dory? You have Kirk to thank for that. In the 23rd century, whales were extinct, and an unknown probe came to Earth wanting to know what happened. The probe wasn't happy there weren't whales, and started destroying everything in its path.
Kirk and crew traveled back in time (not in the Enterprise, but in a stolen Klingon vessel) to bring whales back to the future, to hopefully get the probe to chill. Thanks to the power of transparent aluminum, Kirk brought whales back. The probe left and Earth was saved.
17 PICARD IS GETTING A SECOND TELEVISION SERIES
The last time we saw Picard and crew (well, all of the crew) was in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. Data had been destroyed, Riker left with Troi to Captain his own ship and Picard drove around in a buggy firing at innocent aliens. What a great note to end on! No? There's more? Thank the Prophets!
In August 2018, Patrick Stewart announced that a new television series would launch featuring the return of Captain Picard! Looks like he's got more stories to tell! Let's see Kirk try and get his own series! Uh oh, too soon?
16 KIRK DID HARD TIME ON RURA PENTHE
In the two part episode "Chain of Command" Captain Picard was snatched by the Cardassians and tortured for information. Patrick Stewart wanted the scene to be realistic as possible, consulting with Amnesty International on the accuracy of his performance. Yes, Stewart was really naked in those initial scenes.
We're really happy for you, and imma let you finish, but Kirk had to survive one of the toughest prisons known in the galaxy: Rura Penthe. It was a penal colony where life expectancy was around a year. He was put there after being framed for murder of Chancellor Gorkon. Kirk survived and got to kiss a hot alien. Well played.
15 PICARD HAS A DAY NAMED AFTER HIM
We're not sure if every Captain has a day named after them, but Jean-Luc Picard certainly does. In the Next Generation episode "Disaster" the Enterprise unfortunately runs into a quantum filament and the ship is nearly destroyed. Forget all of that, because the big moment of the episode is when Captain Picard Day is celebrated.
Given the crudeness of some of the drawings, we think children were forced to make them while Worf menaced them with a mek'leth. If you want to celebrate Picard's awesomeness, you can do so every year on June 16th!
14 KIRK STOLE A CLOAKING DEVICE
Before Mission: Impossible was a movie franchise led by Tom Cruise, it was a television show that actually had Leonard Nimoy star on it for several seasons. Nimoy played The Great Paris, a magician who worked for the Impossible Missions Force. Do you know who would also be a good candidate for the team? James Kirk!
In the episode "The Enterprise Incident" Kirk has to do some Mission: Impossible-type actions to steal a Romulan cloaking device. He even is altered to look like a Romulan so he can sneak aboard a Romulan vessel and steal their tech. Captain Kirk: super spy! Take that, Garak!
13 PICARD SINGLE-HANDEDLY FENDED OFF INVADERS ON THE ENTERPRISE
Kirk has had some pretty awesome fights while Captain of the Enterprise. He's fought Khan, a giant lizard and has even fought his best friend in a death-match on Vulcan. But has Kirk ever single-handedly defended his ship? Picard has!
In the Next Generation episode "Starship Mine" bad dudes are trying to steal trilithium resin from the Engine Room while the Enterprise is virtually empty. The only person around is Captain Picard, who does an impression of John McClane from Die Hard and, all by himself, takes everyone out. Yippie ki yay, mother Vorta!
12 KIRK QUESTIONED GOD
Picard is famous for being an accomplished diplomat. Although he has tremendous tactical knowledge, Picard is known for being a level-headed negotiator and mediator. However, when it comes to asking the big questions, does anyone have bigger nacelles than Captain Kirk?
In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Kirk and crew forget about science fiction for a moment and delve into philosophy, meeting an entity that claims to be the Supreme Being. When the entity asks for Kirk's vessel, the Captain asks: "What does God need with a starship?" Only Kirk would ask a question of that caliber.
11 PICARD GOT TO LIVE A SECOND LIFE
In Star Trek Generations, an accident aboard the Enterprise-B places Kirk in the Nexus, a reality in which all of your dreams are granted. We get a small glimpse into the life Kirk could have led: a peaceful life in Idaho with a woman named Antonia. The illusion disappears when Kirk and Picard leave the Nexus.
Kirk got a small taste of an alternate life, but Picard led an entire lifetime of another man named Kamin in the episode "The Inner Light." Although Picard experienced decades of life as Kamin, only twenty minutes went by in real time. Picard got to experience having a wife, grandchildren and even learned to play the flute.
10 KIRK MADE PEACE WITH THE KLINGONS
Kirk spent most of his time in Starfleet fighting Klingons. His son, David, unfortunately met his demise at the hands of Klingons, only making Kirk more bitter towards them. Naturally, when a peace treaty needed to be brokered between the Federation and the Klingons, they sent Kirk. Whaaa?
Initially Kirk was a victim of his own prejudices, saying that the Klingons should be allowed to perish after the Klingon moon Praxis was destroyed. Kirk fought against those attempting to sabotage the Khitomer Conference. The Accords signed that day allowed for a century of peace between the Klingons and Federation.
9 PICARD HAS HIS OWN BRAND OF WINE
Exploring deep space can be quite dangerous, but also has its rewards. Kirk and crew found themselves at times with Romulan Ale, a blue liquid that packs quite an intoxicating punch. Worf found himself hung over from drinking the ale during Riker's wedding. But, who needs Romulan Ale when you have your own wine?
If you find yourself in La Barre, France, go to Chateau Picard, speak with the head vigneron and get yourself a bottle of 2249 red, like the one Captain Georgiou had in her Ready Room aboard the U.S.S. Shinzou. The best part? You can get Chateau Picard wine in real life!
8 KIRK KISSED HIMSELF
We can be blunt about this one: Captain Kirk has a reputation for being popular with the ladies. The Borg want to assimilate other races, the Klingons want to conquer, the Vidiians want to steal organs but Kirk just wants to go where no man has gone before. We're talking about exploring space... get your minds out of the gutter!
Picard has his share of romances (ask to borrow his Horga'hn) but Kirk has done something Picard has never done: kissed himself. While on Rura Penthe, Kirk met a shapeshifter named Martia. Played by the actress Iman, she kisses Kirk then later morphs herself into Kirk.
7 PICARD HAS AN OMNIPOTENT BEING AS AN ANTAGONIST
Some writers believe that a hero is only as good as the villain they have to fight. Could it be that Picard is such a great protagonist because his main antagonist is a super-powerful entity that can literally do anything that they want? The omnipotent Q would probably agree with us.
Q can snap his fingers and go anywhere, have anything appear and have any event happen. He can time travel, teleport and even has threatened judgment upon the entire human race, yet he's consistently lost to Captain Picard time and time again. Tres bien, mon Capitaine.
6 KIRK GOT TO WEAR A GREEN LANTERN RING
Believe it or not, both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard have met the X-Men! These interactions happened in the comics, and although we'd love for it to happen as a live action movie, we don't think even Disney can buy up enough properties to make that occur. Here's another crossover you may have missed: Star Trek and Green Lantern.
The crossover Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds featured the Star Trek crew from the Kelvinverse working with Hal Jordan and the other members of the Green Lantern Corps. Yes, Captain Kirk got a Green Lantern ring, but did he use the ring to make green Orion slave women?
5 PICARD'S NAME IS A WORD IN AN ALIEN CULTURE
Shaka when the walls fell. Tembra, his arms open. At first glance, those first two sentences may be gibberish, but they're actually phrases in Tamarian. Also referred to as the Children of Tama, they are a race of beings that communicate using metaphoric references in their speech. It's a fancy way of saying the Universal Translator won't work on them.
It took the sheer brains and determination for Picard to decode the Tamarian language. It's Picard's diplomacy and storytelling skills that connected him to his alien Captain counterpart. Because of that, Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel is a Tamarian phrase, referring to overcoming hardship and diversity.
4 KIRK TRAVELED THROUGH THE GREAT BARRIER
When faced with the Kobayashi Maru test, a no-win scenario in which Starfleet cadets learn how to deal with loss, Kirk won by cheating. Leave it to Kirk to find a way to beat a no-win scenario. So faced with another impossible task, Kirk said "hold my Romulan Ale" and did the impossible yet again.
Surrounding the galactic core of the Milky Way Galaxy is the Great Barrier, an incredibly powerful energy field around 15,000 light years in diameter. No ship or probe ever got through, until Kirk did with the Enterprise in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
3 PICARD PREVENTED MULTIPLE STARFLEET TAKEOVERS AND CONSPIRACIES
Picard is an archaeologist and explorer, but he also is a big fan of the Federation. There were two moments in which he had to defend the Federation not only from nefarious intruders, but also from internal corruption. In the episode "Conspiracy" Picard discovered scorpion-like creatures that were body-snatching high-ranking Starfleet officers.
In Star Trek: Insurrection, Picard learned of another kind of conspiracy in which members of the Federation Council planned to steal the secrets of immortality and eternal youth from a race known as the Ba'ku. Picard was the strong moral center that steered the Federation back on track.
2 KIRK TOOK PART IN THE ORGANIAN PEACE TREATY
When we think of Captain Kirk, we picture him on the Enterprise flying through space with phasers blazing. Imagine our shock that Kirk is on this list multiple times for being a peacekeeper and resolver of conflict! How come people throw shade and say he's hot-headed?
In the original series episode "Errand of Mercy" Kirk and crew must defend the Organians from a Klingon invasion. It turns out the Organians are super-powerful and force Kirk and his Klingon rival, Kor, to settle peacefully. Kirk agrees and helps broker the Organian Peace Treaty between Klingons and the Federation.
1 PICARD PREVENTED THE BORG TAKEOVER OF EARTH
The Borg are relentless. They are cybernetic beings that can't be reasoned with or negotiated with. Resistance to them is futile, and they assimilate those that stand in their path. Could the diplomatic skills of Captain Picard stop even the Borg? No, so Picard had to go beast mode on them.
In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard and the Enterprise had to travel back in time to stop the Borg from assimilating Earth. Not only does he defeat the Borg Queen, he also witnesses humans making the first successful attempt to travel faster than light as well as first contact with the Vulcans. All in a day's work for Picard.