Saturday, March 23, 2013

Who's The Best...Star Trek Enemy Race?

Karen: Who gets your vote for the best enemy of the Federation? There's always the Klingons or Romulans, worthy adversaries to be sure. But what about some of the other groups? The Borg were no pushovers. How about the Cardassians? The Dominion? Who else? Who did you most enjoy seeing go up against the Feds -any incarnation?


david_b said...

It's a toughie today. I was ready to say 'Klingons, Klingons, Klingons' (like 'Florida' on the whiteboard for Election 2000), expecially TOS, TAS up through Worf and Next Gen.

But upon ponderance, I always enjoyed the distinct flavor the Romulans brought, especially Joanne Linville as the exquisite Romulan Commander in 'Enterprise Incident'. Some wonderful subtle levels of enemy portrayal both there and 'Balance of Terror'.

The Borg certainly brought a sense of danger back into the Trek Universe, finally an all-too-powerful adversary there was no negotiation with (until Voyager..).

Suspense and 'How-were-they-getting-out-of-this..?' was finally back..

Matt Celis said...

The original Klingons before they got lobsters on their heads and they were nasty, devious, and all-around mean. Before someone fetishized them into bad samurai stereotypes!

Close second: the original inscrutable Romulans.

Matt Celis said...

Oh shoot, I forgot about the mysterious Gorn.

david_b said...

Totally agreed Matt, I was going to limit the Klingon selection to TOS, but I did like them in ST-III..

Most of all, they made the best Mego figures back in the day. Like Spidey and Bats, they were the iconic action figure everyone seemed to have, and NEVER enough of..

'Course the Gorn Empire had to suffer the indignity of only getting a brown Lizard head on a Klingon figure. That green Mego water-alien with the webbed hands and feet was second, the Disco Mugato was the worst (early labeling called him a 'Gumato'...)

William Preston said...

As hard as they worked at it, the writers never made Klingon culture completely credible. Still, it was fun to buy into the goofiness. (And who doesn't love the TNG ep in which they resurrected a clueless Kahless?)

But the Cardies . . . they came fully formed. Someone had put more thought into them, and I liked the approach in TNG up through DS9. Not just great villains, but great foils for the Federation.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm also partial to the originals, i.e., the Klingons and Romulans. I thought the Romulans were actually much better portrayed as adversaries in the original series - precisely due to those two episodes that david_b mentioned. However, I really enjoyed the Klingons in the various movies, up to and including Star Trek VI.

The follow-up series introduced tons of new alien enemies, but I think my favorites are the Borg and also (from Voyager) Species 8742 - you know anything that can make the Borg turn tail and flee at high transwarp is pretty bad.
Another pretty cool adversary were the Vidiians, also from Voyager. There's something quite unsettling about a technologically highly-advanced race who are also ruthless organ harvesters...

david_b said...

Another reason I go with Klingons..??

Simply one of the coolest ships ever designed, the memorable original D7 Cruiser from TOS and TAS.. To think lightning struck twice, first with the Constitution class ship like the Enterprise, then being given the equally-gorgeous Klingon design..?? Far better conceived than the TOS Bird of Prey.

Tell me, what's not to like...?

Bonus, Klingon language classes... Oy.

Anonymous said...

I've always preferred Romulans to Klingons, but I really wanted to see more of some of the lesser used races like the Gorn, Andorians, and Tellarites.

Mike W.

William said...

The Borg were the Galactus of the Star Trek universe. They were definitely the most threatening.

William Preston said...

The Q Continuum made a great enemy because Q himself was an ambivalent figure. Terribly dangerous while not being directly hostile.

david_b said...

Speaking of Q, I'd wager the Borg had one of the best introductions ever in Next Gen's 'Q Who'..

Brent McKee said...

Let's spend a moment to remember the race who were supposed to be the big bad villains of "Star Trek The Next Generation": the Ferengi. Yes, the Ferengi were, in Gene Roddenberry's first season of TNG, the Big Bad. Fortunately sanity prevailed and the Ferengi mostly became shady comic relief. Thank heavens someone came up with the Cardassians.

For the major enemy races, I've always preferred the Romulans to the Klingons. The Romulans combined the intelligence of the Vulcans with stealth and sneakiness. Also, they weren't overused in the way that the Klingons were, or seemed like they were. The Klingons on the other hand produced great individual villains - Kang, Kor, and Koloth - who had their own nobility and in different circumstances would be heroes. One of my favourite episodes of DS9 featured Kang, Kor and Koloth.

Of the one shot villains the Gorn are fine, but as far as I'm concerned they're trumped by the Tholians.

Tony said...

The black and white guys..or is that the white and black guys?

Matt Celis said...

Do they count? Only two of them were left in existence and they were bent on killing each other, not the Federation.

Anonymous said...

My vote goes to the Klingons and Romulans in TOS, and the Borg in TNG.

I liked the Klingons for their ruthlessness in TOS, although writers tried to add another layer to their story in TNG by portraying them as a proud warrior race who had a strict honour code. I especially loved Kang (Michael Ansara)and Kor (John Colicos) from TOS - two ruthless Klingons played by two gentlemen!

The Romulans were sort of like the anti-Vulcans, the bad side of the Vulcan family tree, although like david_b, I found some of their characters intriguing like the Romulan Commander (Joanne Linville) in TOS and Shinzon in TNG movie Nemesis.

As for the Borg, they always seemed to remind me of human sized bees, by the way they all shared a collective mind, regimented into workers and drones ruled over by a queen. Seems Rick Berman & co. consulted with an entymologist to come up with the Borg!

- Mike 'When Does ST : Into Darkness open down here?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with the Romulans, especially in the the 60s series. But they were still pretty evil. The episodes with Sela were among the best of TNG.

Karen said...

It seems like they tried to take the honorable qualities of the Romulans and transfer that to the Klingons in the movies and later TV series, but I never really bought it. They always remained the mustache twirling baddies from the original show to me.

As others here have said, I thought the Caradassians were the most fully realized adversary group, with both good and bad representatives on view.

Runner ups would be the Romulans -I never quite understood when the split with the Vulcans occurred. It didn't seem like there would have been enough time allowed for them to have developed such a vast empire on their own. But they are an interesting group, as being sort of the flip side of a friendly race.

I wish we had not seen the introduction of a Borg Queen, and the Borg had been left as a huge hive mind race - that makes them much more alien and frightening in my view.

Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, I think the Vulcan/Romulan split was sort of explained in that TNG 2-parter with Spock; if I recall correctly, it happened some time in the almost forgotten past, around the time when the Vulcans turned to pure logic (apparently, though, they already had the capacity for space travel, because the future Romulans then left the planet...)

Your point about the evolution of the Klingons is interesting; personally, I always thought that in TNG onward, the Klingons were basically turned into some kind of noble savages, fitting into those stereotyped images of Native Americans (I remember a Klingon character in an early episode of TNG even using that Lakota/Dakota phrase, "it's a good day to die"). In the original series, it seemed like the Klingons were analogs for either Soviet Russia or the Nazis. The Romulans, meanwhile, were aloof and (to the Federation) mysterious, and at times it seemed to me that this corresponded to the way communist China was perceived in the US back in the 1960s.

By the way, I agree with your point about the Borg Queen; the Borg are definitely more scary as a monolithic hive mind with absolutely no individuality. However, I still liked all of the individual cases in which the Borg Queen appeared (in First Contact and those Voyager episodes).

david_b said...

Another AGREE on the Borg Queen. They were much more mysterious and cooler without 'a leader'..

Another thought on Klingons, there were minor shifts in portrayal even back in TOS based on scripts and actors..

Since William Campbell wasn't available for the 'Day of the Dove', Michael Ansara as Kang gave the Klingon culture more with a 'native american' twist, partially because of his earlier Indian movie roles, but it felt like a subtle move from a communistic to more an American Indian presence.

Movies-wise, ST-III had them as straight 'bad guys', then later in VI (and since) they became more the 'old samurai' style, as Matt described.

But as mentioned, they were 'more fun to hate' back in the old series before 'the lettuce foreheads'.

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