Everybody has their favorite Trek series, and they are all for very different reasons. However, when it comes to villains and enemies, TNG by far had the best ones. Sure, they also had some really terrible ones, but that’s a conversation for a different post.
Among all those villains, there are some that just really struck a chord with fans. That can be because the characters were perfectly crafted to be equal parts likable and despicable. Another option could be that the villains are so hated that fandoms can’t shut up about them to this day.
Whether it’s one of the other, let’s talk about both.
Here are TNG‘s 5 Villains Fans Love To Hate (And 5 Villains They Just Hate).
10 House Duras (Just Hate)
When fans met the House of Duras, it was headed by Duras himself, a self-centered Klingon complicit in a generations-long lie. From the second they showed up on screen, they were devious and willing to do anything for power.
Let’s just say Worf running Duras through was pretty satisfying, even if it wasn’t quite Starfleet code.
But when his sisters and son showed up, the trouble only continued. If anything, Lursa and B’Etor were even more cunning than their brother ever was. All they did was cause mayhem in their various schemes to gain power in the Klingon empire.
While some people are entertained, others just wish the House of Duras would disappear.
9 Borg (Love to Hate)
No matter what the franchise has done to the Borg, there’s a reason they are still one of the most iconic and beloved enemies in the series. They are normal humanoids transformed into mindless automatons, bent on assimilating more people. There’s something heartbreaking and horrifying at the core of that.
While the Borg have become a complex organization, now with different sects of free Borg and other divergence, when they first showed up? They were so easy to root against in the best possible way. Fans wanted the Enterprise to win and survive such an unrelenting enemy.
Early Borg were the best and hopefully Picard will bring back the greatest parts of them.
8 Armus (Just Hate)
There’s a lot to hate about Armus. While his vague backstory and limp conclusion are both great reasons, the top one is probably the tragic demise of Tasha Yar. Sure, they had to write the character off the show. But to have Tasha’s life end in such an anti-climactic way was insulting. It really ruined any appeal Armus possibly could have had for fans.
One touch of his tar goo and she was gone? That felt too easy and too cheap. She had been such a huge part of the first season.
Armus didn’t get the shot to be a good villain, but even excluding what happened to Tasha, he just was kinda boring. It’s understandable why fans might hate him.
7 Sela (Love to Hate)
After the huge Tasha Yar flub, fans had a hole in their hearts for Denise Crosby’s character. Lucky for them, she came back (several times). In one episode, she played an alternate universe Tasha who went back in time to try to change history. Instead, she got captured and was forcibly impregnated before ending her own life. (Yeah, kinda a worse ending than Armus goo, huh?)
Anyway, what came of that was Sela, her half-Romulan daughter, a violent and true patriot to the Romulan empire. Eventually, Sela came back into the Enterprise’s life to try to destroy them.
Entertaining and fascinating, Sela worked to mess with the Enterprise crew’s minds. If only she didn’t drop off the face of the galaxy.
6 Lutan (Just Hate)
Anyone want to marry a sexist pig who kidnaps women he finds attractive? Yeah, exactly. No one. Enter Lutan, who was just that. The Enterprise and his people were working through a trade deal, but he became enamored with Tasha Yar and takes her prisoner to be his new bride.
Yikes and yuck.
While many fans wish this racially problematic episode never happened, it did and they hate Lutan for it. He made all of it so uncomfortable, creepy, and out of hand. He deserved much worse than becoming someone’s back-up husband. At least fans will never see him again.
5 Gul Madred (Love to Hate)
One of the best Star Trek two-parter episodes, hands down, is “Chain of Command”. In it, Picard and Crusher were kidnapped by Cardassian agents. During that, Picard was questioned by Gul Madred, an experienced interrogator who was trying to break Picard’s mind and resolve. How many lights are there, captain?
Madred was so easy to hate and fans loved him for it. He was so intimidating while also being a casual, normal family man with a daughter he loved. It was such a stark contrast that he became such a real, flesh-out character doing an awful thing just because it’s his job.
Madred made Cardassians so much more interesting than “selfish, violent bad guys” and fans thank him for it.
4 TNG Ferengi (Just Hate)
Oof. The Ferengi in TNG were some of the most horrific, disgusting characters in the entire series. Save Dr. Crusher oddball, scientific Ferengi friend, they all were womanizing, greedy, troublesome people. When fans first met them, they were like the greasiest Wall Street businessmen with sharp teeth and giant ears. It was somehow uncomfortable, hateable, and kinda offensive all at once.
DS9 did a much better job to expand on the Ferengi experience and make them a much more complex and interesting people. But before that? Well, they were just kinda gross. They tried to bribe an immortal enemy and kidnapped Mrs. Troi. All of those things are very bad things to do and easy ways to annoy the Star Trek fandom.
3 Lore (Love to Hate)
Few characters were as fascinating to see face off the Enterprise crew as Data’s older brother, Lore. Lore was given all the emotions that Data never had built in. However, having those since birth gave him a superiority complex like no other. Eventually, he grew to care about no one’s needs but his own because he was a “greater being”.
Watching the lawful and serious Data play off his charismatic, yet evil, brother was always a highlight of any episode they were in together. His devious nature made him easy to hate, but his brotherly bond with Data made it fascinating and awesome.
Lore episodes were a treat (even if he liked to manipulate every emotionally challenged engineered being around him).
2 Shinzon (Just Hate)
The concept of someone creating a Picard clone is kinda fascinating and would’ve made for a great TNG episode or two-parter. But for a movie, and a franchise ender at that?
Well, let’s just say Star Trek: Nemesis was rough around the edges.
His connection to the Remans and to Picard made Shinzon fascinating, but his temper tantrums and inefficiency as a bad guy completely ruined him. It turned him from a complex villain into a angsty teen with too much power. Considering how annoying Charlie X was in TOS, it’s no surprise that didn’t go over well. Fans hate Shinzon, and it’s understandable.
1 Q (Love To Hate)
Q is, by far, the best love to hate guy. Not just as a villain, but as a character throughout the entire franchise. His selfish assumptions make him a fascinating annoyance, but his obsession with humans complicates his god-like status. After all, the Q people can do whatever they want. But Q prefers to spend his time helping, making friends with, or tormenting various starship captains. That’s adorable and awful all at once.
At his core, Q is a good person. That’s what fans like to think, at least. Whether he is or not, though, the way he makes Picard confront his own feelings and past, the way he consults Janeway to help his people, and the fact Sisko punched him out makes him a perfect kinda hateable guy, that fans also kinda totally love at the same time.