I’m not talking about stuff like O’Brien’s hollow rank pip, I’m talking about stuff like “Why make Chakotay a lt. commander rather than a full commander?”

It seems like there was at least some forethought put into who has what rank, but it’s not clear to me how much thought, nor how much meaning was supposed to be baked in to those decisions.

For example, Dr Crusher was a full commander from Day 1, matched only by Riker on the main cast. Was that supposed to signify the authority afforded to the CMO? Was it supposed to be blatant enough for the audience to “get” it?

One of the most prominent examples is Sisko starting his series as a commander. Again — was that supposed to signify that he was more junior, a younger officer?

Behind the scenes, I wonder if we can trace a waxing and waning military influence in the writers room over the years. I know Roddenberry served, and I think some of the early TNG writers did as well. But I feel like that became less common in later series? (But I don’t know for sure.)

I think it’s striking that rank is significantly downplayed on DSC, except for Burnham and potentially Saru.

  • Madison_rogue
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    11 months ago

    Exactly this. A captain could hold a rank of Lieutenant, based upon the size of his ship/or command. For instance LT John F. Kennedy was the captain of PT 109. Destroyers captains often have the rank of Commander. Air Wing Captains are usually captains, as well as Aircaft Carrier captains.

    Generally the rule in the U.S. Navy is that if you are the commanding officer a ship or a boat, you are its captain regardless of your rank.

    • @[email protected]
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      111 months ago

      Pursuant to this and maintaining consistency with the CO/XO dynamic on many Starships it’s totally reasonable to have a small vessel commanded by a Lt. Cdr. who we call the Captain, with a Lieutenant as the first officer.