20 Star Trek Women You Should Know

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LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 12: Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in the STAR TREK episode, ‘A Piece of the Action.’ Original air date, January 12, 1968, season 2, episode 17. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

1. Uhura (The Original Series)

Okay, when I said that this wasn’t a ranking of characters, that was mostly true. All of the characters discussed in this list have their own inherent value for many different reasons. That said, I really did save the best for last.

What can be said about Lieutenant Uhura that hasn’t already been uttered? She’s vastly intelligent – excuse you, what do you know about xenolinguistics? – strong and dignified. Like all the other women on this list, she never compromised her integrity. And while I have a few qualms about the character’s treatment – I dearly want to see her wearing pants more often, instead of that damned minidress – there’s little to criticize about Uhura herself.

As played by Nichelle Nichols, Uhura was one of the first African-American female characters on TV who wasn’t in a subservient role. In the 1968 episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren”, Uhura was also part of the first scripted interracial kiss ever shown on television, with Captain Kirk. Originally, the scene was meant to be filmed with and without the kiss, so that executives could later decide which version to include in the broadcast. However, Nichols and William Shatner, who played Kirk, deliberately flubbed every non-kiss take. The network was therefore forced to include the kiss in the final cut.

Next: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Beauty and the Beast

It’s difficult to imagine any version of the original series without Uhura. She was right there in the middle of the action with the Captain, first officer, and all the other bridge officers. In one episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, “The Lorelei Signal”, she even takes command of the Enterprise. Throughout both the television show and the films (original and reboot), Uhura has remained a vital part of the team.