best actress? Nana Visitor as Kira, no contest.
She was given a great role and completely made it her own. Such a traumatized character, with so many levels to her. Just watch her in "Second Skin" or "Duet". 24-carat gold performance.
Second up has to be Louise Fletcher as Winn. Deliciously hateful.
I agree that on the whole, despite the much quoted total gender equality, Trek often doesn't seem to know what to do with its female characters.
In the original series, they were basically just there as eye-candy. I mean those mini-mini skirts? on duty? really?
The only job you do in that kind of outfit is streetwalking.
TNG still had a bad hangover from the first series in that respect.
In DS9 the female characters finally grew up. Better writing, hence scope for better acting.
But with 7 of 9 we're back to the general Barbie doll scheme, looks-wise. I can guess what the scriptwriters were thinking: what's the wet dream of every computer nerd? oh yeah - a Borg with boobs!!
Even with Kira they had to stick her in something as close to a catsuit as they could get, after starting the character off in the more sensible-looking two-piece uniform that in my opinion looked a lot better. It's not that I don't love to see a bit of figure in a good-looking woman - but I like to take the characters seriously. People who are meant to be professional counsellors and militia officers walking around in what are basically bodystockings - it just doesn't give the right impression.