The 50th anniversary of Star Trek was celebrated recently and I couldn't let that go unnoticed, so I've decided to look at some of the best bad guys and girls who've helped make the franchise what it is.
10. The Duras Sisters
They only appeared a few times but made their mark. Instead of using brute force they used their brains, being skilled political manipulators and also managing to destroy the Enterprise. Probably not a good idea to stare at their cleavage. Considering the trouble they causes it's surprising they survived as long as they did.
9. Michael Eddington
Star Trek is supposed to present the best side of humanity, with the Federation being some sort of pseudo-socialist paradise where all forms of inequality have been eliminated and all needs are taken care of, backed by force – if necessary – from Starfleet. Not everyone seems happy about that, particularly if they live on the fringes of "paradise" and feel they're being culturally forced to accept something they don't agree with. Was Eddington a traitor? Or – as said in the show – just a wannabe martyr seeking a lost cause to lead?
Weyoun is what I imagine most of the higher-ranking officers in the Third Reich were like: superficially charming, intelligent and disturbingly calm in the face of rampant sociopathy. One minute they're quite happy to offer you a dictatorship in exchange for becoming a vassal or offering you tea and scones, the next they plan out how they'll eradicate an entire population.
As Weyoun was a clone he could just keep coming back again and again and again....When put like that he should probably be higher up the list.
The only disappointing thing is after playing so many different characters with such under-stated brilliance, Jeffery Combs never secured a full-time role.
7. General Chang
A Shakespeare-quoting aristocratic war-monger with a badass eye patch screwed into his face. What's not to like? A highly intelligent manipulator who assassinates his own leader and tried to take apart the Enterprise in the most casual manner possible – a wiggle of a finger. Brutal.
6. Kai Winn
What do you get when you cross religious fundamentalism with an unrelenting ambition for power, "child"? She clearly wanted the best for Bajor but always wanted to be the best thing for Bajor, to the point of being willing to start a civil war over a couple of tractors. There was always a subtle menace or passive aggressiveness about her and it was very hard to feel any empathy for her whatsoever (the DS9 producers pulled off a coup in getting Louise Fletcher to play her).
5. The Holodeck
That thing is lethal. There's no such thing as health and safety in the 24th century. Enabling a piece of technology that can create anything from thin air to have its safety features turned off is a bit of an oversight. It shows a blinkered faith that the holodeck wouldn't be abused (I can think of some horrendously violent, let alone perverted, ways to abuse this technology). Clearly all personal injury lawyers were eaten by tribbles or something.
4. Khan Singh
Take away the memes and the iconic portrayal by Ricardo Montalban and Khan's a bit overrated. In a way he's a tragic hero who had a legitimate reason for seeking revenge – being exiled on a planet that was rendered inhospitable due to a disaster. We get to see why he was exiled though and why humanity should proceed cautiously in trying to artifically improve ourselves not just our technology: "superior intellect breeds superior ambition".
It's hard to tell whether Q was an enemy or not. You could say he was a mentor of sorts and behind the pranks and snarking he was trying to teach mere mortals something. Q was neither truly evil not truly good because Q exists outside of any real comprehension of it – and that makes Q even more sinister. It's also telling that after being punched in the face by Sisko he never returned to DS9.
2. The Borg
A warning on humanity's future relationship with technology. When they first appeared they seemed unstoppable – a cyber-zombie colony made up of cannibalised species feeding a vast collective that serves no purpose but to keep perpetuating itself and its own definition of perfection. There's no reasoning or bargaining with them, and everyone who's forced into becoming one of them exists in a limbo of being biologically alive but dead as a person.
The Borg were, however, scarier and more menacing when they rampaged around without a "leader", or a face, or a single focal point that could act as a weak spot. So I don't know whether the introduction of Borg Queen was a good idea or not. Probably not.
1. Gul Dukat
One of the most complex villains ever written for television and neither the writers or Marc Alaimo ever get the praise they deserve.
All the best villains think they're hero of their own story and Dukat fits the bill. Every questionable action he did had a justification, he was "just misunderstood". At the start of the series he was a deposed despot, then he becomes a bureaucrat, rebel leader, head of state and, eventually, an anti-Christ figure. He did it all with charm and that's what makes Dukat different from the others in that at points you feel sorry for him and even like him.
You never really know whether he simply believes he's right or was a genuine madman. Ultimately he was driven to madness through one incident, and prior to that you wonder if - under a different set of circumstances - he was redeemable.