One Trek Mind, #1: 10 Least-Threatening Trek Villains
By Jordan Hoffman - November 16, 2011
Welcome to "One Trek Mind," your new look at the lighter side of being a Star Trek enthusiast. What you'll find in this weekly (mostly) column are ruminations and lists on topics both esoteric and mainstream. With luck, they will confirm your most closely held beliefs and enrage you with their wrongheadedness – hopefully at the same time. I invite you to both cheer and chastise me in the comments below; just don't be shocked if I throw my two cents back. We want this to be a fun space where fans can hang out, pop open a bottle of Romulan Ale and maybe roast a few sacred cows. Welcome to the barbeque!
When Captain Kirk declared “risk is our business” in the season-two TOS episode “Return to Tomorrow” yes, he was discussing the nobler aspects of human potential. But he was also talking about big, nasty, oftentimes hairy space creatures that could turn your internal organs into chunky tomato soup with a glance. The strange, new worlds of Star Trek have some of the best villains in science fiction, but with all that infinite diversity in infinite combinations come a few that no amount of disbelief suspension can make scary. Here, then, are the 10 Least Threatening Star Trek Villains.
10 – The Pakleds
Written, no doubt, as a gift to all the Trek fans who slog through underappreciated IT jobs, the Pakleds represent the worst in so many of us. We don't want to think, we don't want to work, we just want to “make it go.” The slow, portly Pakleds (which were called the DUHHHHHS in the original teleplay) may've kidnapped Geordi when Captain Picard was away from the ship, but you'd have to put someone pretty far down the chain of command in charge before there'd be true danger.
9 – The Eymorgs
The first generation of Trek fans spent an off-season writing letters to save their show and then... this. While the real villain in TOS' third-season opener, “Spock's Brain,” is the brute terror of rancid storytelling, there are also the Eymorgs. These are the proto-FemBots of Sigma Draconis 6 who lived in a mental stupor save for the occasional hit off the mind-expanding hair dryer known as the Great Teacher. The Eymorgs could give you a solid zap if you were wearing one of their pain belts, but their fundamental ditzy-ness made it clear they were no threat. Still, one can't help but be impressed that a species with such atrophied minds could create such elaborate thigh-high boots.
8 – The Wadi
You'd think that a mullet, a love for tabletop games and access to a pocket universe would be a recipe for a fearsome foe. But you'd be mistaken. The Wadi the baddies of Deep Space Nine's “Move Along Home” did do some damage, however. They made us all watch in horror as Kira had to hop around and sing interplanetary nursery rhymes. (Truly, even the Cardassians never made her sink so low.)
7 – The Edo
They love hard, they live hard, they are the Edo. The pheromone-fueled lust beings of the TNG episode “Justice” are unable to keep their hands off of one another. When they aren't jogging, they are fornicating or playing ultimate frisbee. Worlds like this always come at a price. On Earth, it's called a student loan, but on Rubicun III it comes in the form of arbitrary corporal punishment. When Wesley is condemned to die for failing to keep off the grass, Captain Picard's love of the Prime Directive stretches out the drama. Still, it's hard to think that any race that wears nothing but fragments of silk bed sheets is a threat to a Galaxy Class starship.
6 – The Automated Repair Station
“Dead Stop” was actually a very innovative episode from Enterprise's second season, but at the end of the day it's hard not to think about the killer repair station as anything other than a haunted conveyor car wash.
5 – Teer Maab
For all of the heavy-handedness of his tribe's customs, not to mention his deft political maneuvering or swift use of a Kligat, it's hard to take the big baddie from TOS' “Friday's Child” too seriously when he looks SO MUCH LIKE WILL FERRELL!!! Stay classy, Capella IV!
4 – Armus
I'm sorry, but a puddle of black sludge that can morph into what looks like a dude wearing a wet Hefty bag? I know that Armus is a controversial pick, as the creature from “Skin of Evil” is the one that offed Tasha Yar and there's no underplaying just how shocking that was at the time) but let's be honest – it looks hilarious. And besides, Tasha was already dead inside once she told Wesley to say no to drugs.
3 – The Telepathic Pitcher Plant
Actually, this massive space-borne organism from the Voyager episode “Bliss” was a fairly well-rendered metaphor for the dangers of forcing a solution where one does not exist. Then young Naomi Wildman started calling it by this name. Somebody's gotta tell that kid that branding is important.
2 – Commander Kruge
I'll buy him as the mad time-traveling scientist Doc Brown, as Uncle Fester or as Taxi's Reverend Jim. I'll even buy him in a serious role like in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest if he's playing, you know, a mental patient. But casting Christopher Lloyd as Kruge, a mighty Klingon warrior? May not have been the best call.
1 – The First Ferengi
By the close of the Dominion War we considered Ferengi like Quark, Rom and Nog to be as noble as any member of the Federation. Other Ferengi, like Brunt and Zek are, are their worst, a nuisance. But remember when we first met them on Delphi Ardu IV in the episode “The Last Outpost?” There they were, sneering and hissing and hopping around with lightning whips, trying to look threatening but looking only laughable. It's a testament to the great writers and actors of Star Trek that these creatures were able to evolve into the well-rounded and essential beings of later years.
Jordan Hoffman was the movies editor at UGO.com for more than four years. He has produced two independent films (look 'em up!) and is a member of the New York Film Critics Online. In 2005, he was named the Ultimate Film Fanatic of the NorthEast by IFC. Jordan fell in love with Star Trek through TOS reruns just as TNG was getting ready to launch. On his blog, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. He has a funny story about the one time he met Leonard Nimoy.
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