Continuing on from last week, I'm blogging about one of my top three Villainous Alien Species1 on Star Trek: the Ferengi.
What Ferengi look like:
They're short, and bald and give off a troll-vibe. Ferengi men have large ear lobes with ridges of cartilage that extend across their brow to connect the ears. Female Ferengis have smaller lobes. Both genders have teeth filed to sharp points. They display an unsavoury penchant for brocade clothing.
Friend or Foe:
The Ferengi were introduced in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I assume that at some pre-production meeting before the series' release, the show runners decided they needed a new villainous race to replace the now-friendly Klingons. They created the Ferengi. After the first few seasons of half-heartedly trying to make the audience terrified of a race whose singular motivation is profit, the writers gave up and turned their attention to the Borg, who are definitely FREAKY.
Ferengi became comic relief in later seasons of the Next Generation, are only appear twice in Voyager, and once in Enterprise. Deep Space Nine is the series where Ferengi are regularly featured.
Stereoypical Ferengi traits:
They're greedy and will do anything to secure profit in the form of gold-pressed latinum. To this end they are guided by the "Rules of Acquisition."
Women do not have equal status within traditional Ferengi society and do not wear clothing. Ferengi women are therefore not seen on the series except for two "radical" females on Deep Space Nine.
Prominent Ferengi characters:
(from left to right: Nog, Quark and Rom.)
Quark: A scoundrel with a heart of gold who operates the bar on Deep Space 9. His obsession with wealth, disdain for the Federation and his shifting allegiances should make him easy to hate. But I can't help but like him. He's a breath of fresh (swamp) air.
Rom: He is Quark's brother who at first appears to be an idiot, but is in fact a socially awkward, engineering genius. He marries a Dabo girl, and becomes the leader of the Ferengi homeworld of Ferenginar.
Nog: Rom's son brings shame and dishonour to his uncle Quark by joining Starfleet. Over the course of Deep Space 9 we see Nog grow from a teenager to a Starfleet cadet to a war veteran who deals with post traumatic stress after being injured on the battlefied.
Best episodes featuring Ferengi:
The Last Outpost -- The first episode showing the Ferengi, it's interesting to compare how they the race evolved into something very different.
Captain's Holiday -- Captain Picard goes on a scavenger hunt with a sexy archaeologist with a Ferengi in pursuit. Also Picard wears a speedo -- need I say more?
The Perfect Mate -- Again, Picard gets some sweet lovin'. This time with a metamorph, played by Famke Janssen, aka Jean Grey from the X-Men. Upon further reflection, the Ferengis aren't central to the plot, but it's still such a good episode and I recommend you watch it.
Little Green Men -- It's about Roswell!
The Assignment -- Rom is very charming in this episode.
Acquisition -- The only appearance of Ferengi in Star Trek: Enterprise. It's very clever.
My overall opinion about Ferengi:
. I love the Ferengi because they are the complete opposite of stuffy, violent Klingons. At the core of Ferengi story lines you find humour and humanity. The Ferengi obsession with wealth makes a nice counterpoint to the overtly socialist tones of the Federation and reminds the viewer that today we are probably more like this race, than 24th century humans.
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1 -- Because I know you are wondering, they are Ferengi, the Q Continuum, and Andorians.