Pop Culture

Which 'Star Trek' crew wins out -- TV or movie?

Casting any movie is tough, but try casting a "Star Trek" movie, knowing that the original television characters are already dearly beloved by millions of devoted fans. Few actors are as associated with their roles as William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock. Yet when Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto took over those roles in the 2009 film "Star Trek," reviews were mostly quite positive. As Pine, Quinto and co-stars prepare to beam down to theaters once again in "Star Trek Into Darkness," let's take a look at how the new actors fill out their Starfleet uniforms.

James T. Kirk

Classic: William Shatner

New: Chris Pine

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
Chris Pine plays Capt. Kirk in the new

The Shat has built a fine post-“Trek” career -- once he accepted with good humor that he would never, ever be forgotten as Kirk. But that aside, Classic Kirk has to rule over New Kirk. Classic Kirk had a twinkle in his eye, was never afraid to bare a chest, and had a way with a universe’s worth of ladies. We haven’t seen that yet in New Kirk, who’s more of a tomcat than a ladies’ man and far from an unquestioned leader. Plus, only Classic Kirk has proven he can create a bazooka out of a log, dirt and gemstones.

Advantage: Classic Kirk

Leonard 'Bones' McCoy

Classic: DeForest Kelley

New: Karl Urban

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
Karl Urban and DeForest Kelley both have their good points as Bones, but the new guy, Urban, is a handsome bad boy.

Okay, so Classic Bones wasn’t afraid to smack a hoity-toity pregnant lady if he needed to do an examination. But something about his eternal grumpiness and pointed Spock-like eyebrows made Kelley's version of the doctor a little hard to like. New Bones is good looking enough to give Kirk a run for his money (if you like ‘em dark and mercurial), he rocks a beard and swigs from a flask when necessary. New Bones is a bad boy as well as a doc, and that is the wave of the future.

Advantage: New McCoy


Classic: Leonard Nimoy

New: Zachary Quinto

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bro
Bravo, Zachary Quinto! The actor has taken on Leonard Nimoy's famed Spock and given him a modern update.

The old neck-pincher is one of the toughest decisions to make, particularly since Classic Spock (or rather, Spock Prime) makes an appearance in the rebooted series. The casting of Quinto as a youthful Nimoy is spot-on, unlike many of the other cast choices – and the 2009 film even showed a pre-adolescent Spock on top of everything else. In a way, this is the best blended character with some of the series’ most memorable personality quirks and special powers. How can we choose just one?

Advantage: Both Spocks

Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott

Classic: James Doohan

New: Simon Pegg

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
Simon Pegg isn't quite as devoted to the Enterprise as the original Scotty, James Doohan -- and that's a good thing.

You know, Classic Scotty really, really loved the Enterprise. Possibly a bit too much. Sure, he was the engineer and knew all of the inner workings of the ship, but sometimes you had to wonder if it made him a little touched in the head, being stuck down in the boiler room all the time. (No wonder he could outdrink an alien.) No such issue with New Scotty, who is still getting to know the big old girl and may take a long time to find his love connection. And that’s good for tension and comedy.

Advantage: New Scotty

Hikaru Sulu

Classic: George Takei

New: John Cho

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
Which Sulu rules, John Cho or George Takei? It's a tie!

In the 2009 film, Sulu got a few big moments –- such as when he had to skydive from space and parachute onto a drilling platform, then fight off some Romulans. But the sword battle part of that scene was really an homage to one of Classic Sulu’s greatest scenes: When his inner swashbuckler comes to light and he runs around waving an epee. At the moment, there’s just not enough information on New Sulu to warrant leaving Classic Sulu behind, so we’d tend to lean toward Classic Sulu (oh, myyyy!) – but let’s consider this the wild card in the bunch.

Advantage: Tie

Pavel Chekov

Classic: Walter Koenig

New: Anton Yelchin

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
New Chekov Anton Yelchin is a real Russian, unlike Walter Koenig from the classic series.

First off, if you’re gonna have a Russian on the Enterprise, hire a dang Russian. All due respect to Classic Chekov, but a Monkee look-alike from Chicago doesn’t hold much of a candle to New Chekov, whose portrayer hails from Leningrad and plays him as more delightfully impulsive than the originator. Plus, he was able to save Spock’s father thanks to some fantastical manipulation of the transporter. And he’s a navigator!

Advantage: New Chekov

Nyota Uhura

Classic: Nichelle Nichols

New: Zoe Saldana

Paramount via Getty / Warner Bros
Zoe Saldana's Uhura serves mostly as eye candy, whereas Nichelle Nichols juggled many roles.

Here’s a surprise: A show that began in the 1960s is better at handling its one regular female crew member than one in the new millennium. New Uhura served largely as eye candy and as a sex object for New Kirk, even if she could kick more butt and talk dirty. Classic Uhura managed to juggle all of her subspace frequencies far better -- and of course was the shared co-conspirator in one of TV’s first interracial kisses, when she and Classic Kirk locked lips.

Advantage: Classic Uhura

Final tallies: Four classics and five from the new bunch (though Spock and Sulu bridge both categories). Surprise! It turns out that the new franchise has managed to improve on the old -- though we sense there will be some disagreement on this issue. Tell us who your favorite newcomer is in our poll.