Every Villain From ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’: A Visual Ranking

This week, Star Trek celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first episode to broadcast, “The Man Trap,” which premiered on September 8, 1966. In honor of this historic landmark, we went back through all 79 episodes of The Original Series and ranked each villain. Now, not every episode of Star Trek had a true villain, so we took some liberties with just what qualified as a villain: which basically came down to “anything that game the crew of the Enterprise angst.” (Some villains – hello, Harry Mudd – appear in more than one episode, so that’s why the list doesn’t count down from 79.)

What I noticed while doing this list is just how weak the third season is when it comes to antagonists. From the goofy storyline of “Spock’s Brain,” to the ridiculousness of the singing hippies in “The Way to Eden,” to the sexism of “Turnabout Intruder” (what a terrible way for the series to end). People often wonder how Star Trek wound up getting canceled: A big reason is they ran out of compelling villains. (They really should have had more recurring villains outside of Harry Mudd.)

But when the show worked, it was magic. Edith Keeler in “City on the Edge of Forever” wasn’t a villain, but she gave Kirk, Spock and McCoy their greatest test. The Khan in “Space Seed” puts the Khan we saw in Star Trek Into Darkness to shame. And who knew we’d get such an emotional return out of a lump of silicon in “The Devil in the Dark”? (We all have feelings.)

Also, keep in mind, the quality of the villain doesn’t necessarily represent the quality of the episode, though this does correlate quite often. So, ahead, from worst to best, and without any further commentary, here are your Star Trek: The Original Series villains, ranked in a visual gallery from least to most compelling.

77. Sevrin, “The Way to Eden”

76. Vaal, “The Apple”

75. Janice Lester, “Turnabout Intruder”

74. Apollo, “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

73. Sylvia, “Catspaw”

72. Kara, “Spock’s Brain”

71. Landru, “The Return of the Archons”

70. Parmen, “Plato’s Stepchildren”

69. Flint, “Requiem for Methuselah”

68. Plasus, “The Cloud Minders”

67. Taurean, ”The Galileo Seven”

66. Gorgan, “And the Children Shall Lead”

65. Captain Merik, “Bread and Circuses”

64. Jack the Ripper, “Wolf in the Fold”

63. Capellans, “Friday’s Child”

62. Garth of Izar, “Whom Gods Destroy”

61. Bele and Lokai, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

60. Atoz, “All Our Yesterdays”

59. Rapid Aging, “The Deadly Years”

58. Roger Korby, “What Are Little Girls Made Of”

57. Marianne’s Fate, “The Paradise Syndrome”

56. The Caretaker, “Shore Leave”

55. Tristan Adams, “Dagger of the Mind”

54. Melkotians, “Spectre of the Gun”

53. Kodos, “The Conscience of the King”

52. Thelev, “Journey to Babel”

51. Yarnek, “The Savage Curtain”

50. Nona, “A Private Little War”

49. The Gideons, “The Mark of Gideon”

48. Vians, “The Empath”

47. Benjamin Finney, “Court Martial”

46. Ron Tracey, “The Omega Glory”

45. Deela, “Wink of an Eye”

44. Melakon, “Patterns of Force”

43. Elaan, “Elaan of Troyius”

42. John Christopher, “Tomorrow is Yesterday”

41. Natira, “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”

40. Lazarus, “The Alternative Factor”

39. Zefram Cochrane’s Dilemma, “Metamorphosis”

38. Kollos, “Is There In Truth No Beauty”

37. Mira, “The Lights of Zetar”

36. Balok, “The Corbomite Maneuver”

35. Anan 7, “A Taste of Armageddon”

34. Amoeba, “The Immunity Syndrome”

33. Losira, “That Which Survives”

32. Gary Seven, “Assignment: Earth”

31. The Doomsday Machine, “The Doomsday Machine”

30. The Cloud, “Obsession”

29. Tholians, “The Tholian Web”

28, Talosians, “The Menagerie Parts One and Two”

27. Nancy Crater, “The Man Trap”

26. Charlie X, “Charlie X”

25. M-5, “The Ultimate Computer”

24. Nomad, “The Changeling”

23. Evil James Kirk, “The Enemy Within”

22. Kor, “Errand of Mercy”

21. Sargon, “Return to Tomorrow”

20. Poisoned Sulu, “The Naked Time”

19. Spores, “This Side of Paradise”

18. Parasites, “Operation: Annihilate!”

17. Krako, “A Piece of the Action”

16. Gary Mitchell, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

15. Rojan, “By Any Other Name”

14. The Providers, “The Gamesters of Triskelion”

13. Kang, “Day of the Dove”

12. Miri, “Miri”

11. Romulan Commander, “The Enterprise Incident”

10. Trelane, “The Squire of Gothos”

9. Tribbles, “The Trouble with Tribbles”

8. Mirror Universe Kirk and Spock, “Mirror, Mirror”

7. Harry Mudd, “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd”

6. Gorn, “Arena”

5. The Koon-ut-kal-if-fee ritual, “Amok Time”

4. Romulans, “Balance of Terror”

3. Khan Noonien Singh, “Space Seed”

2. Horta, “The Devil in the Dark”

1. Edith Keeler’s Fate, “The City on the Edge of Forever”

Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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