Star Trek has always been known for its fascinating villains of the week. In the series that started it all, the bad guys were easily one of the best parts of the stories. Fans adored Kirk and co., but who can ever forget the likes of Gorn or Khan?
Moreover, enemies bring out some of the strongest fandom feelings. Hatred for a character goes a long way, especially if they’re a bad guy. That can fester for a really long time. There are probably OG fans that can still get really fired up about their least favorite TOS villains.
Some of that hatred is in the best possible way, though, and that always makes any episode super fun.
Here are TOS‘s 5 Villains That Fans Love To Hate (And 5 They Just Hate).
10 Nomad (Just Hate)
Nomad will always be one of the greatest examples of how dangerous robotic tech and computerized brains can be. Certain broad-strokes orders can be horribly dangerous. After it melded with the perfection obsessed Tan Ru probe, Nomad became something relentless and violent.
While the episode was cool and so was the concept, though, the writers had to make a pretty serious loophole to help the Enterprise survive: the robot somehow mistaking Kirk for its creator, Dr. Roykirk.
Yeah, no one understands how that works.
With as much it was fascinating, it also had many flaws. It makes sense that quite a few fans just hate the aggressive thing (in good and bad ways).
9 Trelane (Love To Hate)
Before TNG had Q, there was TOS‘s Trelane. A whimsical and self-serving God, he kidnapped the Enterprise crew for his own amusement. That included fighting, dancing, and general torment. Many fans even theorize that Trelane was an earlier member of the Q Continuum.
Whatever he was, Trelane was a child in a man’s body, driving Kirk and co. absolutely mad. Even if he was immature, he was endless fun. The fandom enjoyed his antics and remember him for being annoying but so entertaining. No wonder Q, his conceptual successor, became such a hit. Since Trelane never got such development, fans can settle with loving to hate him.
8 Charlie X (Just Hate)
The TOS series dealt with a lot of humans and species with incomprehensible powers. One of the earliest, and most annoying, was Charlie X. While powerful, Charlie was full of himself, easily jealous, and a general jerk. His growing abilities did not make up for that.
Janice Rand dealt with enough trouble throughout her time on the series, but Charlie’s creepy and possessive crush is one of the worst.
The kid literally takes over the ship in his power-mad tirade. Not a single fan felt bad for him when he got dragged back to his people like the spoiled child he was.
7 General Chang (Love To Hate)
Back when Klingons were evil villains with inconsistent backstories, one of the worst was General Chang. And not just because he wanted war to continue on with The Federation. Chang was also the worst just because he wouldn’t shut up about Shakespeare.
Considering the guy hated humans, it was an odd choice of obsession to say the least.
Between his endless quotes and the fact the guy just wouldn’t quit, he was a great Star Trek villain. However, fans probably cheered the second he was gone (exploding into bits after quoting Shakespeare, like he was always meant to).
6 V’Ger (Just Hate)
A yes, the infamous space cloud. TOS got its best shot at fame in the follow-up films, where Kirk and co. got to go further than ever before and meet even wilder aliens. Or humpback whales, depending on the movie.
In the first Star Trek movie, the baddie was V’Ger, a sentient, violent space cloud. He intended on destroying Earth and everything else in his path. Unlucky for Starfleet, they had absolutely no way to stop him. Well, other than sacrificing humans to it to give it a conscience.
Between the whole “absorbing human souls for morality” thing and his powers, V’Ger was intimidating, but ultimately a lackluster villain. Lots of fans dislike the space cloud for it.
5 “Bad” Kirk (Love To Hate)
Who knew eyeliner was so delightfully evil? One of the best Star Trek episodes is “The Enemy Within”, where Kirk is split into two beings after a transporter accident. But the story isn’t the best part; it’s Kirk playing a maniacally evil version of Kirk, a womanizing, sneering, selfish man with thick eye makeup.
William Shatner plays it up so much that it’s a glorious sight to behold.
Evil Kirk had to go, otherwise no one (especially women) would ever be safe on the ship again. But he was so fun to watch while he lasted. In some way, fans can’t help but love him.
4 God (Just Hate)
Star Trek ends up doing a lot of cheesy things, but one of the top ones was fighting “God”. Y’see, Spock’s brother was a bit of a Vulcan rebel and believed in religion and started his own cult to try to find their God. Well, with Enterprise’s help, they did. However, God was actually a hungry inter-dimensional being wanting to feed on the universe. All it needed was to be free of its prison. Luckily, Spock’s brother sacrificed his life to stop that.
So yeah, Kirk and friends literally faced off against “God”. And won. It’s not the best Trek story, but it happened. Fans just have to be happy that it’s all in the past. The whole God thing didn’t come back.
3 Harry Mudd (Love To Hate)
Star Trek mostly dealt with alien species and dangerous scientific phenomenon. So, of course a greasy space con man would be quite the change of pace. Harry Mudd is an easy guy to hate, but he’s also super fun along the way. He’s just so full of himself and s determined to make his schemes work. They never do, not against Starfleet officers, but boy does he try.
While Mudd had rare moments of sincerity, his charismatic money ploys make him a breath of fresh air in an otherwise fascinating galaxy.
Sure, the guy may try to sell women and trick Kirk and destroy his own wife but…
Okay, he can be a pretty bad guy sometimes. At least he’s super entertaining, though, and his final prison was hilarious (trapped with thousands of copies of his wife, forever).
2 Janice Lester (Just Hate)
Janice Lester is so hateable on so many levels, and all of them terrible. She was the worst villain to end the series on, whimpering away like the episode never mattered. Also, bonus points, she left it on a super sexist note so that was fun.
Janice Lester could’ve been a love to hate villain, the kind fans understood but still didn’t agree with. After all, if she wasn’t allowed to be a captain just because of her gender, that is pretty awful.
Instead, the writers just made her a mustache-twirling, overly dramatic ex-lover of Kirk’s whose plan was ruined so easily. No wonder fans were happy to see her gone. It just sucks she took the rest of the show with her.
1 Khan (Love To Hate)
There will never be another TOS villain like Khan Noonien Soong. Ruthless and idealistic, this relic of a warlord has every right to be named the best Kirk-era bad guy ever. No matter what his motivations of the day are, restoration or revenge, he always executes his plans with fierce precision.
If it wasn’t for Kirk, Khan definitely would have tried his best to conquer not just Earth, but the universe.
The worst case scenario of genetic engineering, every moment with him on screen was peak entertainment. Fans will always be thankful that Khan exists. Now, does that make him less of a monster? Nah. Watching him lose is half the fun.