Of course you need interesting characters. Tuvok did not work because he was just an ordinary Vulcan and this hurt the show and I have often defended the bad story (or rather execution of it) of TFF via pointing to the brilliant character moments. You do need both, characters and a story but they do not interact in a symmetric fashion:
If you have a great story like City you automatically have a great character moment, Kirk's painful decision. But this great moment flows from the story, not from the character, i.e. you could have more or less the same story with Picard, Janeway, Sisko or Archer.
But this does not work the other way around, fantastic characters do not automatically create great stories. Otherwise TFF a kick-a*s story would flow out of the great characters writing.
The article also mentions Lower Decks but forgets to point out that the cadets are John and Jane Does. The story does not work because Lavelle or Jaxa are so interesting in and of themselves, it works because we see our familiar world, life on the D, from a different angle.
Yet if we saw these people regularly the Tuvok / soap opera problem would arise so I agree that you need interesting characters for a Trek show. And despite a few lame ducks (Sulu, Uhura, Crusher, Jake, Tuvok and Mayweather come to mind) in all casts in my opinion all Trek shows achieved this.
I think that fewer episodes per year increases production values but not the average script quality. Doctor Who features about 13 episodes per year and in my eyes the scripts vary as wildly as in any Trek show.