With the exception of a small number of William Shatner purists, most people agree that The Next Generation is and probably always will be the best Star Trek series.
Besides having the best writing of any Star Trek series, the best captain, and the best terrible special effects, TNG also boasts the best villains. With that in mind, let's count down The 10 Deadliest Villains The Next Generation Crew Ever Faced.
Q is a little low on this list because he isn't quite a villain - he's more callous than pure evil. However, while he's not a villain, Q hasn't always used his incredible powers for the greater good.
For example, he once intentionally brought the crew of the USS Enterprise into conflict with the Borg, which would have ended disastrously if not for Captain Picard's tactical genius or the fact that The Next Generation is a pretty wholesome show with a relatively light tone.
9 Duras Sisters
Lursa and B'Etor of the House of Duras have ruthless ambition, a sociopathic disregard for the well-being of others, and the ugliest Klingon head bumps that you'll ever see. What's not to love?
For creatures who come from a culture that's obsessed with the concept of honor, they couldn't be less honorable as they caused the Empire to descend into a horrific civil war and often worked with the Romulans to try to take control of Klingon politics. Like any self-respecting Star Trek villain, they nearly eliminated the crew of the Enterprise, but a few clever moves from Commander Data managed to save the day.
8 Dr. Soran
Star Trek: Generations is an awful movie, but like most awful movies with Malcolm McDowell in them, Mr. McDowell gives the audience their money's worth. In fact, McDowell's character, Dr. Tolian Soran, might be remembered as one of the better Trek movie baddies if anyone remembered anything about this movie besides Captain Kirk's awkwardly handled death.
After encountering the Nexus, a dream state that is created by a rift in space-time, Soran is willing to destroy entire worlds to get it back. Any Clockwork Orange fan will enjoy moments of the film where McDowell appears to be playing Alex DeLarge again.
7 Professor James Moriarty
Professor James Moriarty might just be one of the most popular literary villains ever, so Star Trek had some pretty big Victorian shoes to fill when they walked him into an episode. Luckily, they filled them.
Technically, Moriarty himself doesn't show up - a hologram of him does - but that hologram leads to some of the series' best episodes about the Holodeck going crazy, so who's complaining? He's also one of the few Star Trek villains who essentially gets rewarded for wrong-doing - he is trapped by Picard and company in an existing computer simulation. It's like the old saying goes: No bad deed goes unrewarded.
Lore would be one of the best Next Generation villains regardless of his actual actions or personality - his name is that cool. One of multiple Trek takes on the classic "evil twin" motif, Lore is Data's identical "brother" who attempts to take over the Enterprise by impersonating his nice counterpart.
Later, he attempts to get Data to turn against the crew of the Enterprise, leading to some very memorable scenes of the mind games between the two. If there's one illogical thing that Star Trek has proven over and over again, it's that automatons can create very human drama.
5 The Borg
Will there ever be a Star Trek villain as great as the Borg? Their catchy slogan ("resistance is futile"), their surprisingly amorous queen, and their disgusting yet fascinating visual designs - the Borgs are essentially all that you could ask for in a villain.
One of the main reasons why they resonate so much with American audiences is that they represent a very American fear: A loss of individuality. There's a reason why Soviet state television never produced a villain like the Borg, though it would be great if it had, as would be anything that leads to more Borg-related content.
4 Praetor Shinzon
Tom Hardy had not given a bad performance in his entire career. In his sole Star Trek appearance to date, he delivers the goods, even if Star Trek: Nemesis is a depressing mess overall. Here, Hardy plays Praetor Shinzon, a younger clone of Jean-Luc Picard who is super evil and has a tragic backstory.
As a character, Praetor Shinzon is nothing that audiences haven't seen before, but Hardy compensates for the script's flaws by delivering his lines with a delicious verve a la Vincent Price. Hardy even manages to give Patrick Stewart - a classically trained Shakespearean actor - a run for his money.
3 The Aliens from "Conspiracy"
If you ask a Trekkie (a.k.a. a Trekker) what they like about Star Trek, they will probably highlight the show's adventurous storylines, memorable characters, and social themes. Though it is not as big of a part of the franchise's appeal, many Trekkies have a soft spot for the show's (formerly) cheesy special effects.
The aliens from the forgotten first season episode "Conspiracy" are these screaming, wormlike creatures that resemble Ray Harryhausen effects from the 1950s on a much smaller budget. They're gloriously cheesy, especially since the episode tries to portray them as scary. Star Trek: Discovery will never feature anything this wonderfully goofy.
2 Gul Madred
One of the uglier villains in the grotesque rogues' galaxy of The Next Generation, Gul Madred tried to break Jean-Luc Picard's spirit. His plan failed (of course) but it was worthwhile (for the audiences) because it gave Trekkies some of the top tier dramatic acting from Patrick Stewart and company, as well as some funny memes spawned from Picard's yelling.
Gul Madred was also portrayed by David Warner, an actor who never grew into a superstar but became beloved for his many appearances in Star Trek episodes and films.
Denise Crosby proved her prowess at playing heroes through her role as Tasha Yar in The Next Generation. After becoming dissatisfied with the role, Crosby asked to be released from her contract and her character was eliminated.
Later, Crosby decided that she wanted to come back to the show and pitched her character of Sela, Yar's daughter, to the show's producers. She was persuasive and was given the opportunity to play Yar, a deliciously evil Romulan/human hybrid with the worst haircut this side of Count von Count from Sesame Street.