Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Geordi and Data. Bashir and O’Brien. Paris and Kim. Burnham and Tilly.
These are just a few of the indelible friendships portrayed over the years in the Star Trek franchise. But for the July 30 celebration of International Friendship Day—first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2011—we’re digging a little deeper to highlight some less iconic pairings.
Here are some of our favorite unsung friendships from the world of Star Trek.
Kirk and Kang (TOS)
A mortal enemy could be just a friend you haven’t met… all you need is a bigger enemy you can both share.
Lwaxana and Odo (DS9)
They’re an unlikely duo, but they formed a permanent bond pretty quickly and it ran deep… they each became, to their own surprise, the kind of friend who understands you in a way no one else does.
Tilly & Po (DSC)
Meeting for the first time in trying (and messy) circumstances creates a bond that will last forever, even if one of you is an ensign and the other’s a queen. When the galaxy needs saving, titles mean nothing.
Four-legged (or more-legged) friends
Data and Spot
Every pet owner can attest that some days their pet is absolutely their best friend.
Archer and Porthos (ENT)
What could be more telling of a true friendship than gently reminding your friend of their limits?
Spock and I-Chaya
A sehlat may be a teddy bear with six-inch fangs to a human, but to Spock—at any age—I-Chaya was a noble, trusted companion.
Burnham and Ripper the Tardigrade (DSC)
You don’t need to be the same species as another to have empathy and find true connection. Michael was feeling the tardigrade’s pain before anyone else even realized it was sentient, and saving it gave her both purpose and joy.
Dax and Sisko (DS9)
It’s always nice when your friendship spans more than one lifetime, at least for one of you. Unlike everyone who reacted to Jadzia’s new outside form, Sisko knew the person on the inside, which is why he was the only one who could help her get through the challenges of a traditional Klingon wedding.
Seven of Nine and Naomi Wildman (VOY)
Two loners on a huge starship find comfort in each other’s company, and learn they’re more alike than they thought, even after the vinculum creating multiple Borg-assimilated personalities is gone.
Lwaxana and Alexander (TNG)
The only thing weirder than Lwaxana and Odo? Lwaxana and Alexander! With Worf and Troi suddenly taking on the roles of the disapproving parents, these two playmates learned how to have a good time AND be good friends to each other in need, making Alexander a character actually worth watching for a change. Also, mud baths.
Kestra and Captain Crandall (PIC)
Being the only kid on an entire planet can be a little lonely, which is why Kestra’s lucky to have a pen pal like Captain Crandall even though he’s “even older than Picard.” Not only do his tales of adventure keep her amused, he’s got her back when it comes to needing very specific information… like the location of Soji’s homeworld.
Scotty and a bottle of very, very, very old scotch (TOS)
Ah, the power of friends coming together; you don’t need to both be sentient to team up.
Friends who inspire
Janeway and Coffee (VOY)
Some friends sustain you in dark times, inspire you to move forward, and even lead you to places you’ve never been before. We’re pretty sure Janeway would call coffee a friend.
Barclay and the Holodeck (TNG)
Life is messy and full of judgment. Barclay found his comfort in the holodeck, which gave him confidence, acceptance, and appreciation he couldn’t find anywhere else, at least at first.
Friendships forged in unusual circumstances
Kamin and Batai (TNG)
Picard, as Kamin, lived an entire lifetime in 20 minutes that felt like decades… and had a friendship that will last in his memories forever. And isn’t the true test of friendship just being able to hang out together, saying nothing?
Lt. Kyle and that Air Police Sergeant
Some friendships are brief, but have impact, even if they’re forgotten after a little time traveling. But in a hard-to-comprehend situation, a little kindness goes a long way toward turning a nervous stranger into a friend.
What are your favorite unsung friendships in Star Trek? Tell us in the comments.
Check out more of TrekMovie’s Star Trek lists and analyses.
the odo lwaxana thing was weird but not entirely unpleasant… they had some very nice moments together… i would upvote the relationship morn had with his barstool first though
Thanks Neil and Laurie.
Archer and Porthos… two best friends on the final frontier!
What a bizarre list. Half of these were among Star Trek’s weakest moments.
No kidding. That episode with Lwaxana and Alexander taking a mudbath was probably one of the ten worst episodes of TNG, if not the entire franchise.
What about Clara and her imaginary friend, Isabella?
I don’t know, Scotty and alcohol seemed pretty inseparable …
“You know that you and cheddar don’t get along.” – Jonathan Archer
Lactose intolerance. Gas. Been there, experienced that. But what can you do when the tip of that tail is twitching and wiggling and those eyes look at you the way they do? *chuckle* It’s a rite of companionship.
We can’t forget Dr. Bashir and Garak!
That was clearly MORE than a friendship (at least in Garak’s mind).
Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel
Holodoc and Kes.
No hugging! 6 feet apart!
Lwaxana was fairly annoying and had too many appearances owing to an off-putting nepotism, but the mudbath ep. had some funny moments. Her only not-bad episodes were yes, Odo in an Elevator, and the one were David Ogden Stiers is going to kill himself because he is slightly old. Data must’ve gotten some ideas from this ep. because Data killed himself for being slightly old (not really old at all for an android, though- and this some call the greatest moment of the Picard show- hahahahaha.)
If coffee is a “friend” than any inanimate substance or object can be a “friend” and the next stop is certifiable insanity. Let us show a modicum of respect for language and reality, such as it can be perceived. Hee.
“Dark Page” and “Menage a Troi” weren’t bad, either. But then there was “Manhunt” — like the mudbath episode, yet another candidate for the bottom-ten. We didn’t need to see her once per season, no matter how beloved the actress.
One of my favorites was Doctor Bashir, and Garrick, definitely a strange friendship.
No Bashir & Garak? Or do unsung romances not count? 😉
Jake and Nog
Wouldn’t scotch also be the friend who inspires Scotty?
O’Brien and Ee’char… even though he kills him… and it never happened.
Captain Picard and Guinan