Star Trek is celebrating 50 years and in commemoration there was a cool panel at San Diego Comic Con (which you can read about here) as well as a trailer revealing the name of the new Star Trek series “Star Trek: Discovery” (which I will include below).
I have been a Trekkie since first watching The Wrath of Khan as a child and so it felt fittingly appropriate and appropriately fitting to do my own celebrating of the franchise’s anniversary. I will be doing five posts over the next five days with each counting down 10 different Star Trek subjects.
In five decades and five TV series we have encountered hundreds of different alien species. For this post we will be looking at 10 that stood out the most due to their look, culture and attributes. And no we will not be including humans as they are not particular to the franchise. So let us seek out some new life and start the countdown:
In the failed pilot “The Cage” which was repackaged as the two parter “The Menagerie” there is an illusion where a character takes the form of a seductive green skinned Orion woman, making the species one of the first ever introduced in the Original Series. The striking look of their bright green skin really makes them stand out and the species has appeared in the reboot movies.
We barely saw them between “The Next Generation” and “Voyager” but they had a resurgence with a few episodes of “Enterprise” and we met the large males of their species and delved more into their slave culture.
I was thinking of including Bajorans on this list but these clone warriors from the Gamma Quadrant are just more intriguing. The reptilian look, predator-esque camouflage and deadly weapons made them formidable adversaries for the Deep Space Nine crew and also one of the most fearsome foes in all of Trek.
And their creation in birthing chambers, dependence on the drug ketracel-white and ultimate devotion to the Founders makes the Jem’hadar one of the most unique species we have ever seen.
The Voyager encountered many a species during their travels in the Delta Quadrant but none were more visually striking and cool looking than the Hirogen. A species whose entire culture is based on hunting may sound like a Predator rip off but the Hirogen were much more complex and layered than the dreadlocks wearing ugly beast.
Both enemies and allies at different points, one thing you could be sure of when these guys showed up – things were about to go down!
We first met these blue skinned, white haired militaristic aliens with insect-like antennae in The Original Series and they really stood out in a crowd. But like the Orions they faded a bit until “Enterprise” where they became one of the most popular species on the show.
In Enterprise we met the cunning Commander Shran (Jeffrey Combs) and learned more of their culture, traditions, troubled relationship with Vulcan and visited their ice world Andoria.
A sister species to Vulcans this sneaking, plotting and militaristic race have been around since The Original Series and blasted on to our screens in the fantastic episode ‘Balance of Terror’.
From The Next Generation their look was altered with furrowed brows to distinguish them from Vulcans. They would be quite the foes for Picard and crew and would join the Federation and the Klingons in the Dominion War. Sadly in all these years we have not learned much about the culture of the Romulans so I could not place them higher on this list.
We met this ruthless race of conquerors in The Next Generation but it was Deep Space Nine when we got the real scoop on the “spoon heads” (you see what I did there, and you liked it). From the mysterious Elim Garak to the noble Legate Damar to the epitome of evil and Captain Sisko nemesis Gul Dukat, we had some very interesting characters from this race.
Their occupation of Bajor and unwitting creation of the Maquis, and their alliance and subsequent betrayal of the Dominion forces made for many great stories.
They were first introduced as snarling, laser whip-snapping savage species that had their females naked all the time. But when they were tweaked into the greedy, money obsessed Ferengi then the fun really began.
Again it would be DS9 that would pop open the cash register and reveal the bounty of the species’ rich culture. We met the hilarious bartender Quark and his quirky clan and enjoyed the laughs his various get money quick schemes would entice. And with their butt like foreheads and large round ears they are one of the most visually distinctive species in the franchise.
How can you not love the Borg? A cybernetic race with a hive mind that wants to assimilate other species into their Collective, the Borg is one of the scariest Trek villains and one of the most indomitable. Their part human part machine look is outstanding and their insect like behaviour and society, complete with a menacing queen, is intriguing stuff.
They are the major foes of both The Next Generation and Voyager crews (though the former did them better) and the villains of one of the greatest Trek stories ever ‘The Best of Both Worlds’, which gave us chilling Picard Borg Locutus, and one of the best Trek movies ever First Contact. And the Borg also gave us Voyager’s sexy ex-Borg and ice queen Seven of Nine, so we are also grateful for that.
The logic driven and emotion suppressing Vulcans are one of the most integral parts of Star Trek. Mr Spock (the dearly departed Leonard Nimoy) was our very first Trek alien and introduced us to the Vulcan nerve pinch, traditional greeting and extremely rich culture of the red desert planet.
We would have Vulcans as lead characters on both Voyager and Enterprise (the stern Tuvok and super hot T’Pol respectively) and throughout the years we have learned a great deal about the history, philosophy and culture of the Federation allies.
While Vulcans are an interesting species the warrior race of Klingons are just more fun. The main adversaries in The Original Series they returned in The Next Generation as Federation allies and with an updated ridged forehead look.
In TNG we met the noble Worf and through this character we were exposed to the rich Klingon traditions, weaponry, mating rituals (ahem), bloody politics, food, planet Qo’noS and language which is an actual language with its own real world dictionary. Worf proved so popular he continued his adventures with DS9.
Whether as an enemy or ally there is no more interesting and entertaining species than the Klingon. Now let’s go drink some blood wine, sharpen our bat’leths and hunt some targ. Qapla’!
So what is your favorite Star Trek species? Feel free to comment below.
For my top Star Trek TV series you can click here and for my top Star Trek movies you can click here. And for “50 years of Trek, 50 things to love” Pt 2 tomorrow, where we will look at the top 10 Trek ships, and more posts that boldly go where few posts have gone before you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 or subscribe via email.
Julien is outie like a navel. l8rs