Anatomy Of An Alien

By Fred Shedian
Posted at October 4, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Throughout the history of Star Trek, different types of aliens and lifeforms have made their way into our imaginations. Yet, there are several which can be remembered in a flash...with others fading into an existence laced with reruns and syndication. What makes a quality alien? Let's review this concept for a moment.

Those popular aliens we have remembered throughout the history of the franchise held common characteristics that we fell in love with. Although there are the popular ones, such as the Romulans, Cardassians, and Borg, there are many more we have only seen once or twice yet have an attachment to. For example, who could forget the Mudd Androids, the Gorn, the Tholians, or the Andorians?

These beings had something we wanted. They made contact with a part of our consciousness we wished we could express more often. For example, most people would agree there is a part of them that can relate to a Ferengi. We all, in some fashion, are money grabbing, self centered, profit stealing, beings. The Tholians were people who showed massive intellectual power, something we all desire to have. The Mudd Androids were perfect, allowing someone to live forever. These aspects allowed us to make a permanent attachment to these characters.

Writers and producers attempt to make sure we will develop this type of attachment to aliens we see. Yet, their efforts can often be futile. How many people recall what a Saurian is? Perhaps a Argelian? There are simply aliens we cannot or choose not to relate with. Although they appeared to be "shoved down our throats," many people did not like the Kazon. Personally, I found them to be too savage to be related to. Quoting a phrase from Seven of Nine, "The Borg found them inferior."

With Voyager writers announcing they will be introducing new villains and aliens this season, I would hope they would consider what the anatomy of these characters should be. In order for us to remember a species, we must be able to make a connection with them. The viewers must be able to relate to this people's frame of mind. Without it, the aliens will fade and become just another figure in a Star Trek Technical Manual.

In closing, I would hope all of the viewers would consider how they relate to a particular alien they see. If you like the Borg, think about why. If your response is you like the destruction, then perhaps that part of your mind is attempting to make itself known. If you like the Vulcans, then perhaps you are attempting to connect to a desire that is more...logical. In any event, we all have our favorites. I only hope the writers will enlighten us with more strange civilizations, ones we will choose to remember and relate with. Such an action would be....fascinating.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.