?Awhile back, Topless Robot looked at The 10 Lamest Star Trek Villains. But what of those opponents to the Federation who were the best at being bad? In the interest of keeping things fair, the time has come to look at which adversaries of Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and, God help me, Archer excel at being truly awful. Since a list like this one would cover all of the various Star Trek movies and films, whittling it down to just a handful would be a task larger than Harry Mudd’s underpants. So in an attempt to be as inclusive as possible, the decision was made to focus on 30 of the final frontier’s biggest bastards. Who would make the cut? Keep reading for a look at everyone from obvious villains (i.e. KHAAAAANNNNNN!) to more obscure peeps who have brought their intergalactic douchebaggery into our hearts.
Daily List suggested by bgoul030.
30) Luther Sloan
The appearance of this covert Section 31 agent who made life miserable for Julian Bashir on Deep Space Nine blew the lid off of Starfleet’s dark side. His outlook — like that of many characters on DS9 — eschewed viewing the world in and black and white to instead focus on the shades of gray that keep society functioning.
29) Reman Viceroy
?One of the few bright spots in Star Trek: Nemesis was Ron Perlman’s creepy performance as the Reman Viceroy. Part albino and part Space Vampire from that old Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode, the character outshined the movie’s primary villain — the lame Captain Picard clone Shinzon.
28) John Frederick Paxton
Enterprise had many problems, but quality acting was never one of them. The series’ most memorable foe (only memorable foe?) was John Frederick Paxton, a bigot who wanted Earth to be free from non-human life forms. Peter Weller’s portrayal infused the character with some genuine menace that made for some captivating television.
27) Lursa and B’Etor
What’s the greatest legacy of the Duras sisters? How the pair caused endless grief for Worf, or how they introduced an entire generation to Klingon breasts?
?Jeffrey Combs’ Brunt character on Deep Space Nine was an unwelcome reminder that there will always be bureaucrats regardless of how far into the future mankind survives.
25) The Pah-Wraiths
?Let’s sum up the crimes of these evil Bajoran entities, shall we? First they possess Gul Dukat (who subsequently kills Jadzia Dax under their influence) and for an encore they decide that they’ll destroy the entire Alpha Quadrant. Sisko stopped them of course, but after doing so he was forced to spend an indeterminate amount of time hanging with the good Bajoran prophets and listening to their cosmic jibber-jabbing. That’s a pretty shit reward for saving the galaxy.
24) The Vidiians
The old urban legend about kidney thieves got a sci-fi makeover in the form of this race from Star Trek: Voyager who were inflicted with a disease that forced them to harvest the organs of healthy aliens in order to stay alive. Eventually the show revealed that the illness ravaging the Vidiian people was cured, thus shattering viewers hopes of seeing a gnarly Chakotay on the bridge.
Apparently, even in the 24th century BP is fucking shit up.
22) Worf’s Zit
?The greatest foe faced by the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew on the big screen wasn’t the Borg, but lame comedy. Star Trek: Insurrection — easily the worst Trek film ever (seriously, watch the HMS Pinafore singing scene again and you’ll be longing for the stupidity of Star Trek V) is packed with it. The worst example of how the film shamelessly goes for cheap larfs is by giving Worf a big pimple. Instead of bringing the LOLs, the film made audiences shrug, look at their watches and wonder if it wasn’t time for Picard and company to pack it in already.
21) The Devidians
The Devidians were the alien race that were ingesting the life energy of dying San Franciscans in the “Time’s Arrow” Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter (the episodes where Data loses his head in the 19th century and Mark Twain gets into hi-jinks). Their ability to effortlessly travel through time and space to prey on weaker civilizations makes them one of the more interesting races to pop up on the series. Sadly, an exploration the Devidians’ motives was glossed over by the writers so that viewers could see more madcap antics by the theater troupe the Enterprise crew was posing as. Come to think of it, maybe all Trek-related comedy should be up higher on this list.
Poor Lore. He just wanted to get the attention from Dr. Soong that Data did, but instead his superior brother who got all the breaks and chicks shot and deactivated him and before stealing his emotion chip. So who really is the bad guy here?
A big horned Space Yeti? Fuck and yes.
18) The “Conspiracy” Aliens
The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was shaky at best. A high point of the year was the “Conspiracy” episode in which Picard and company encountered some delightfully shitty stop-motion aliens who apparently lived in Trapper Keepers. Jump to 5:28 in the above clip and enjoy some special effects that make Belial in Basket Case look like a Lucasfilm creation by comparison. Even though they are extraordinary cheesy, the creatures are so shithouse bonkers that you have to admire them.
This is a bit of a cheat because Moriarty wasn’t a villain created specifically for Star Trek, but since one of the greatest bastards ever in pop culture turned up on the show it seems fitting that he be featured here as well. And speaking of holograms…
16) The Holodeck
Even though it’s not a sentient being, too much bad shit goes on in the Holodeck for the Federation to not see it as a threat. Be it games of Parrises Squares or Wild West whores who look like Data, there’s always something crazy going in there. On board the Enterprise you can’t get Romulan Ale, but you can fuck simulations of your crewmates and get in all sorts of danger on the Holodeck at any given time. That just doesn’t seem right.
15) Kai Winn
Kai Winn is yet another of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s richly complex characters. She loves Bajor, yet her faith is never rewarded and she is eventually helps the Pah-wraiths attempt to destroy her people. Best of all, she got tricked into doing the nasty with Gul Dukat. Which I suppose is enough to make anyone a bit crabby.
14) Gul Madred
This Cardassian with a penchant for mindfuckery as played by the awesome David Warner tried to break Picard’s spirit in the “Chain of Command” two-parter (the same one where Ronny Cox came aboard the Enterprise and gave everyone shit). The above video is a great reminder of how Patrick Stewart and the entire ensemble cast were on the top of their game in these episodes.
13) General Chang
Dude’s chicken is just swimming with sodium. Obviously anything that causes high blood pressure is evil. Thanks a lot you eye-patched, Shakespeare-quoting dick.
12) Pretty Much Everyone in the Mirror Universe
They all have attitude and enjoy leather, so maybe the folks inhabiting the mirror universe aren’t so much looking to dominate the universe as they are hoping to find a decent S&M club. Have they tried Risa?
You’d be a bitch too if your alternate universe Mom got killed by a giant Hefty bag.
10) The M-113 Creature
Better known as the “Salt Vampire,” the M-113 Creature appeared in the classic Star Trek episode “The Man Trap.” It is something of a minor tragedy that there is no YouTube video that features footage of the monster accompanied by Hall & Oates’ “Maneater.”
9) Dr. Tolian Soran
Star Trek: Generations is an unfairly maligned film whose critics often overlook Malcolm McDowell’s great performance as Dr. Tolian Soran. So determined to get back to the Nexus that will more or less reunite him with the family that was destroyed by the Borg years earlier, he is willing to do anything to complete his mission. This sheer desperation has made him one of the most dangerous characters ever to appear in Trek. Unfortunately, due to the somewhat flimsy Nexus Macguffin and the unceremonious death of Kirk, the simmering rage and sorrow that McDowell brings to Soran remains largely ignored.
He destroyed Vulcan and singlehandedly rewrote most of Star Trek‘s history. Seems like reason enough for Nero to crack the top 10.
It’s easy to forget that before he became more benevolent and started making misguided appearances on Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Q had some genuine malice. It was his actions that first put the Enterprise crew on the Borg’s radar. That’s a far cry from all the nonsense with Captain Janeway and his baby that later went on.
Who knew that Jim Ignatowski would make such a great Klingon? Christopher Lloyd’s fantastic performance as the driven Commander Kruge helped him escape post-Taxi typecasting hell and establish himself as a quirky character actor. When people trot out the tired “odd Trek movies suck, even ones are great” clich?, Kruge’s awesomeness is invariably overlooked.
5) The Gorn
Just to be clear, I’m talking about the original Gorn as seen in the classic Trek episode “Arena.” The CGI one that was featured in Enterprise‘s “In a Mirror Darkly, Part II” should be beaten within an inch of its poorly computer-rendered life.
4) Gul Dukat
It would’ve been easy for the writers of Deep Space Nine to turn Gul Dukat into a moustache-twirling villain, but where would the fun have been in that? Over the course of the series the character experienced several arcs that examined every aspect of his personality. He could be devious just as easily as he could turn on the charm and heroism. Dukat was a master manipulator who had a keen ability to assess any situation and adjust his behavior accordingly to ensure that his agenda was being taken care of. At times, such as when his daughter was killed or he was allying with the Federation, he seemed sympathetic. But even in those moments of humanity there remains a menace lying just beneath the surface. Dictator, killer, father, opponent: Dukat was all of these things and more, making him the most realistic villain ever to appear in any incarnation of Trek.
3) The Borg
When last year’s Star Trek movie pressed the reset button on the franchise, it opened the door for anything to happen. But do Abrams and company have the cojones to pull off the ultimate fanwank and have Kirk’s Enterprise encounter the Borg? The Borg (and their queen) are unrelenting killing machines… at least they were until Hugh and Seven of Nine softened their blow. It would be a gloriously nerdy sight — and a smart box office maneuver — to bring the Borg back to basics by somehow plopping them back in time and onto the big screen. Purists be damned, if they were on Enterprise this can happen too.
1) The Dominion
Consisting primarily of the Founders, the Vorta and the Jem’Hadar, the Dominion were the primary foes on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Their actions pushed the Federation and the entire Alpha and Gamma Quadrants to the brink of destruction. Within the Dominion itself were such compelling characters as the slimy Vorta Weyoun (portrayed by Jeffrey Combs, who was previously featured as Brunt on this list) and the female shapeshifter who helped Odo discover who he really was, manipulating him like a cosmic C-word along the way. All of the entries on this supersized list are no-good in their own way, but no other force in Star Trek history had the destructive impact of the Dominion. They are the gold standard that all other Trek foes must live up to (for those of you grousing as to why Khan isn’t number one, his actions — badass though they may be — didn’t have quite the far-reaching impact that the villainy of the Dominion did).
Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.