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Romulans

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this Mar. 10 2011, 12:13 pm

I've never been fascinated by the Romulans.  I don't dislike them, and I really like the original series episodes "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident," but I just don't find the Romulans as interesting as the Klingons or the Vulcans (which I consider to be the two other most significant Star Trek alien groups).  Partially, I think that's because I don't have as clear a sense of what Romulan culture is about, apart from the militaristic and espionage programs of their government.  The fact that they are related to the Vulcans could make for interesting stories about their culture, but (as far as I'm aware) this dimension of the Romulans is never seriously pursued.  "Balance of Terror" is all about the human perception that Romulans are like Vulcans, but the Romulans in that episode act more like humans, in my opinion, which in itself is an interesting premise for the story of an episode, but not necessarily enough for an alien group that recurs with such frequency throughout the Trek franchise.  I suppose, since Vulcans and humans are often held up as mirror images, it makes sense that the Romulans, as alternate Vulcans, would act much like humans.


Anyway, my point for starting this thread is to try to find out what it is about Romulans that I'm missing or failing to appreciate.  What draws other Trekkies to the Romulans?  I'm assuming that the Romulans are generally popular among Trekkies because they are featured so frequently in Star Trek series and films, particularly the newer ones.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

DocFanFive

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Report this Mar. 10 2011, 12:15 pm

They are the interesting side of Vulcans.


Vulcans are boring, Romulans are... fascinating.


Call me Doc, 'k? StarTrek.com's Resident Holographic Whovian since 2010.

coastcityo

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POSTS: 601

Report this Mar. 10 2011, 3:03 pm

This is one of those things that bugged me about Enterprise spending so much time with the Xindi and the Temporal Cold War (double yawn) instead of spending it exploring more of the Romulans, and their reasons for hating the Federation. I think the Romulans are more like the Vulcans we've seen more from DS9 and Enterprise, the arrogant and superior side of the Vulcans comes through in their interaction with the Feds, but they don't have the sense of pacifism Vulcans have. They think they are better than the rest of the universe, something even Spock seems to be saying very often in TOS (at least to Bones), and they seem fine with ruling over or eradicating the rest of the universe because of it.

Lewis00069

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Report this Mar. 10 2011, 3:22 pm

I like them because they are very cunning and devious. everything vulcans arent

parrothead117

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Report this Mar. 10 2011, 7:53 pm

I agree with you, Kelis.  Romulans are really underdeveloped.  Even DS9 didn't seem to know what direction to take them in, I think largely because Cardassians are so similar.  I tend to get bored with Romulan episodes, such as TNG's "Unification" two-parter, which I think is sadly underwhelming considering its guest stars.


"We must strive to be more than we are, Lal. It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards." - Data, "The Offspring"

minispock17

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Report this Mar. 10 2011, 8:44 pm

I'e always been intrigued by Romulans, and was dissapointed there were never expanded on.


Live long and prosper. (not very original huh)

Matthias Russell

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Report this Mar. 11 2011, 4:53 am

Their xenophobia reminds me of people today, as well as their selfishness and imperial desires. When Romulans face the UFP you have modern man having what man could be.

coastcityo

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Report this Mar. 11 2011, 7:54 am

And the failure to explore the Romulans i one of my biggest pet peeves about Enterprise. They had a chance to really put a stamp on the Romulans as their own personal adversary, but went with the Xindi and Klingons instead.

tribblenator999

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Report this Mar. 11 2011, 8:11 am

romulans are devilish bastards.

Caesar753

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Report this Mar. 11 2011, 6:55 pm

Romulans make great enemies.  They're conniving, deceitful, arrogant and at the same time strong and organized.  Plus I love the Romans, so naturally I like the Romulans.

CaptainMauin

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Report this Mar. 11 2011, 7:49 pm

I agree with you when you say the Romulans were underdeveloped. They're one of the races that I like based only off of appearance. I never did understand Romulans, they seemed rather mysterious.


Goodbye. I am gone.

Ghostmojo

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Report this Mar. 12 2011, 9:30 am

Quote: KelisThePoet @ Mar. 10 2011, 12:13 pm

>

>I've never been fascinated by the Romulans.  I don't dislike them, and I really like the original series episodes "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident," but I just don't find the Romulans as interesting as the Klingons or the Vulcans (which I consider to be the two other most significant Star Trek alien groups).  Partially, I think that's because I don't have as clear a sense of what Romulan culture is about, apart from the militaristic and espionage programs of their government.  The fact that they are related to the Vulcans could make for interesting stories about their culture, but (as far as I'm aware) this dimension of the Romulans is never seriously pursued.  "Balance of Terror" is all about the human perception that Romulans are like Vulcans, but the Romulans in that episode act more like humans, in my opinion, which in itself is an interesting premise for the story of an episode, but not necessarily enough for an alien group that recurs with such frequency throughout the Trek franchise.  I suppose, since Vulcans and humans are often held up as mirror images, it makes sense that the Romulans, as alternate Vulcans, would act much like humans.

>


Which, for the very same reasons, is why I do like them ...


However, I didn't like all this giving them funny brow ridges in the later shows - completely unnecessary. They were like a Mirror, Mirror version of the Vulcans - but in the real universe. It is true they could have been further and better explored, but the onus seemed to be on doing that with the Klingons. The latter who originally seemed to be just brutes, eventually came to be seen as having a strong honour and morality code as well as having this militaristic Samurai like culture. We got to know virtually everything you could ever care to know about Klingon society and more besides, but the conversely the more devious - probably mentally superior, Romulans were left in the dark.


I think the duality aspect of it was interesting. The twin worlds. The Romulans and Remans (Romii?). Just who were the latter? But of course they were an alien race with a lot of human historical imagery plastered onto them. The same with the Klingons to some extent.


The Romulans were self-evidently based upon the worst, but most successful aspect of ancient Imperial Rome, and perhaps a little of ancient Sparta too. I also detect some Nazi/German/Fascist Italy type thinking in there as well - a police state type thing.


The Klingons seemed to be based upon mediaeval Japanese Bushido (and Samurai) culture, and perhaps an element of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Although much was made of them somehow representing the 'reds' (ruskies) in the original series, you can get carried away with Cold-War paranoia at times. I think you need to look further east than that.


The Romulans, however, had a lot more potential. You could tell that they were very smart - particularly when next to a bunch of Klingon thickos, and that married with their inate superiority complex (master race mentality) etc. made them a very formidable foe.


to boldy go where no man has gone before

Treknoir

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Report this Mar. 12 2011, 1:34 pm

Romulans are simply Vulcans without logic. I find both groups fascinating and think too many people give Vulcans a pass because Spock is so beloved. We only have to look at episodes of ENT to see the shady side of Vulcans. Even though reformation took place, it is clear that under the surface they aren't as squeaky clean and controlled as they would like outsiders to believe. Indeed, they almost wiped out their species many times in their history.


In "reality", Vulcans and Romulans are both nucking futz. And regardless of what Vulcans claim, their so-called freedom from emotion IS an emotional response to their TRUE violent nature. Rather than find balance between emotion and logic (a human ideal), they force themselves to turn it off. No wonder they swing blades at each other over tail instead of telling each other, "my bad, this betrothal simply won't work out."


 


I assume the writers were/are trying to illustrate extremes in human nature. Perpetual war is destructive and extreme pacifism will get your @ss handed to you.  That is, sometimes conflict is necessary but it must be tempered with self-control.


I personally find the Romulan ability to show emotion to be refreshing. Their blood lust and scheming, not so much. Truth be told, I think what separates the two cultures is very thin. So thin that Spock was/is willing to go underground to try and facilitate reunification.


I like Romulans because I like Vulcans. They are like two brothers, the misfit and the goody two shoes. The misfit is the perpetual eff up and the good two shoes eventually has a nervous breakdown because he is tired of being "perfect" all the time. They both need a damn hug and some therapy.


 


It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want. - Spock

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this Mar. 12 2011, 1:52 pm

Quote: Ghostmojo @ Mar. 12 2011, 9:30 am

>However, I didn't like all this giving them funny brow ridges in the later shows - completely unnecessary. They were like a Mirror, Mirror version of the Vulcans - but in the real universe. It is true they could have been further and better explored, but the onus seemed to be on doing that with the Klingons. The latter who originally seemed to be just brutes, eventually came to be seen as having a strong honour and morality code as well as having this militaristic Samurai like culture. We got to know virtually everything you could ever care to know about Klingon society and more besides, but the conversely the more devious - probably mentally superior, Romulans were left in the dark.


I agree about the ridges.  I'm glad Abrams got rid of them.


I think the Klingons were complex and interesting from their first appearance in "Errand of Mercy."  If anything, I think that a lot of the later Klingon stories went backward from that great start, turning them more into "just brutes."  Don't get me wrong.  There are also some truly wonderful Klingon stories throughout the Trek franchise, but very little, in my opinion, that compares with "Errand of Mercy" and Kor.


Anyway, sorry for that digression.  I perpetually need to remind myself not to turn every thread into a Klingon appreciation thread.


Back to the Romulans, it seems a lot of Trekkies and people who have responded to my initial post agree that the Romulans were not completely developed and explored.  I find that odd because, while I agree with the perception, it also seems to me like there are as many Romulan stories as Klingon stories in the Trek franchise.  Our last two movies featured the Romulans (and their associates) as the major antagonists, and I feel like I know little more about Romulan culture than I did before watching those two movies.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

coastcityo

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POSTS: 601

Report this Mar. 12 2011, 3:28 pm

The Klingons became an honor driven samurai like culture, because TNG decided to push them in that direction in order to have a Klingon in Starfleet. Worf being a violent brute would get real boring real quick.


DS9 decided to do the same kind of treatment with Bajorans and Cardasians, fleshing out these cultures, and making them more real. They had the advantage of being a show set on a space station, and not having to constantly warp out to the next exciting adventure episode.


Enterprise had the choice of doing this with those lesser developed UFP founder, the Tellarites and Andorians. They did some good work with the Andorians, and I credit part of that to Jeffrey Combs being so good as Shran. But, the Tellarites were still kinda left behind, in that I don't think we learned any more about them, than we had already learned in Babel.


The show also had the same opportunity to flesh out the Romulans as their major adversarial race, but decided to make up the Xindi instead. I understand that maybe the thought process was something like "DS9 already had a big war, so we can't do that again", but I really think that would have been the better direction to go in. I just think the Romulans would have been the better choice for the show.


"Lions and Gigers and Bears..." "Oh my."

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