King Daniel Into Darkness wrote:
But Chekov covered for Spock in TOS, despite not being part of the science divison. What were Spock's blueshirts doing then? Or in TAS when Arex covered when Spock was away?
...or even TNG, when helmsman LaForge was suddenly the best man to take over engineering in season two? Were Argyle's people really that useless?
As usual, you hit the nail right on the head.
From a narrative point of view, having Chekov in Engineering makes sense. It gives him a bigger role and focus and showcases more of his skills. Having a one-off role for the position of Chief Engineer is a mistake as the character will be quickly cast aside. Unless Scotty is replaced permanently, it only makes sense to have a main cast member fill in.
Scotty himself was assigned to the Enterprise over any one of the possible replacements for Olson. I wonder why Spock didn't assign someone as chief engineer immediately after the Vulcan incident?
Besides, I wonder how helmsmen McKenna and Lieutenant Hawkins felt in Star Trek 2009 when they were permanently replaced on the Enterprise by Sulu and Uhura, respectively?
Personally, I think Chekov's role could have been expanded and he could have delivered pretty much all the dialogue he delivered without promoting him to be the chief. He might be a good engineer but a department head needs command experience, administrative skills, and rank.
Geordi was a lieutenant who was about 10 years older than Chekov with maybe 5 years experience on different ships in different departments. Chekov is an ensign with a year's experience as a subordinate in a different department.
It makes sense to give him more to do, the department transfer was more plausible than making him security chief in TMP but the promotion to chief was a step too far for me.
They could do with tripling the number of women in speaking roles and we'd still have more men. Making the chief a woman would not have been a bad idea IMO even if Chekov delivered most of the dialogue.