Wow, I just found this great thread. Cardassians are definitely one of my favourite Trek races as well - very interesting, and, as others have pointed out, one of the few that actually has been portrayed with versatility and complexity. I must say that I also find Bajorans and their storylines very interesting - and most of all, Bajoran/Cardassian interaction and intertwined history. I am also glad to see that there are other people who dislike TNG-era Klingons. They are one of my least favourite Trek races, after Ferengi, even though some individual Klingons and their stories have been compelling. The best Klingon episodes were always those in which their image was subverted by revelations about the political games in the Empire, and the hypocrisy that often lies in their protestations of "honor": the arc about Duras in TNG, Gowron's actions in DS9, "The House of Quark" in which Quark had his best moment ever, showing Ferengi courage while exposing the hypocrisy of his Klingon opponent who was using violence and protestations of 'honor' to steal the land and property (I didn't think that a Klingon/Ferengi episode could be intelligent and great, but I was proved wrong.) Unfortunately, too many times Klingons were used just as walking stereotypes.
It doesn't hurt that I also find Cardassians strangely sexy - perhaps the second sexiest race in Trek as far as I am concerned.
(Bajorans would be in top 5, but they have considerably less makeup, which makes it less remarkable.)
However, I have to say a word in favor of the sexiest race in Trek
Amen to Thor Damar! Klingons are simply stupid. "You have offended me. I fight you." They'd never get anywhere that way, always infighting. Cardassians were the closest to having a fascist vibe, too, which is a cool feel, even the way they stand.
Garak is my favorite Trek character ever, and I'd even nominate pre-Pagh Dukat as one of my top-3. When he gets into self-justifying mode, not only does he believe it, but if some of what he says is true, he actually did do some good, spare some Bajorans, while occupying them. Kira is unable to consider that. He is simply "bad" to her; this sets up one of the "good guys" (Kira) actually being morally blindered (a bit), though of course she had her reasons.
Post-ers have all commented on villain races. What about Vulcans?
Your last line: What about Vulcans? Really good question. The Vulcans strike me as a paternalistic, conceited, and secretive people. In TOS, Spock is reticent of revealing Vulcan culture. In "Amok Time" Kirk was tricked into a fight to the death. Why? Spock's intended wanted to run off with another guy. In ENT, Earth could explore only if the Vulcans allowed it. They seemed quite an officious species. Who do these Vulcans think they are?
Thor Damar may want to add that the Romulans' qualities of secretiveness and bossiness are not far from the Vulcans'(much as both races would hate to admit it).
^ Exactly! And that is just the tip of the iceberg. ThorDamar, how can you not find the Vulcans interesting? They're the people who try to suppress all emotion to the point of pretending that they have none - while actually having much more intense, violent emotions than any of the races they despise for their 'emotionalism'. Their history was so violent that they nearly destroyed themselves before choosing to logic and stoicism as their way of life. They worship logic above all things, yet they are still keeping their old traditional customs which are highly illogical, such as their stupid and violent mating/marriage/divorce customs. They are one of the founding races of the Federation, yet they so often exhibit definite traces of arrogant nationalism and even racism and xenophobia. Is there any race in Trek that is more contradictory? Those people are really screwed-up.
And let's not forget that they're one of the very few alien races in Trek who are actually described as having superior abilities compared to humans - and not just physical ones, although it is great that Vulcans are so much physically stronger than humans, even though they rarely chose to show that strength; but their mental abilities such as mind-meld and telepathy (which is interesting as long as the species is not full of people who choose to become counsellors and say things like "I sense XY [insert feeling]
") offer some really fascinating
possibilities (pun not intended, but welcome ). This is something that can't be said for Cardassians or Bajorans - as complex as their culture is and as interesting as their individual characters are, they are basically humans with rigged noses or scaled reptile-like skin. Can you imagine just how dangerous
s could be if it were not for their culture and morals and way of life? And the individual Vulcans are certainly not to be trifled with when they're losing their self-control.
Now, on the other hand, I have to say that, contrary to what a few people here think, their "cousins" Romulans, are actually quite disappointing and ordinary in comparison (even though I liked them in TOS). First of all, those stupid TNG and post-TNG rigged foreheads - what's up with that? They are supposed to look identical to Vulcans (that was the whole point of "Balance of Terror")! It would have been much more interesting if they were actually genetially identical to Vulcans and only separated by culture - imagine if they used it to infiltrate the Federation with undercover agents? You'd have to wonder who the real and the fake Vulcans are. Secondly, and more importantly, they are nothing but another militaristic race prone to deceit and secrecy, but don't seem to have any of the superior mental abilities of Vulcans. And most of them don't even have the intense passions that Vulcans are always hinted to have. As a branch of Vulcans who decided not to follow logic and stoicism, Romulans should really be more a lot more intense, crazier, more dangerous and fascinating that they've been shown to be, they should be what Vulcans would be if they rejected logic or had their emotional control stripped from them. But instead
s just seem like poor man's Vulcans, stripped of most of what makes