How about something completely new and original?
I'm definitely not one of the people who seemed to have a problem with Enterprise foregrounding races we'd never heard of - the Denobulans, the Suliban, the Xindi. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of Star Trek of any era will pretty much trip over dozens of alien races that are seen or mentioned once and then never again, something that's true even of the original series (for all the great hoopla made about Balok's First Federation it disappeared like a mirage...)
I think really the issue with the new races was to do interesting things with them. There were definitely some
ideas with Denobulans that had merit - their nonhuman social mores, for example, and Phlox was very personable and well performed by Billingsley - but the makeup design always felt pretty prefunctory to me, like the design one excepted from a Voyager alien of the week.
But yeah, new aliens. Just give some meat to the matter - an interesting story involving these aliens - and make it work. Offhand I thought "Silent Enemy" handled an alien of the week in a pretty solid manner.
But moving on!
-Technically, they could've made first contact with the Betazoids,
Betazoids are the first that came to mind for me. It's implied they're in the same ballpark as Vulcan, Tellar and so on during the Dominion War arc of DS9, so they were almost certainly contacted during the 22nd century. Their somewhat underplayed mores (like naked weddings) does sound like fodder for the kind of humour Enterprise was terrible at, though, so I'm of two minds there.
Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
There was a Kzin story being planned. I would have liked to see that.
I remember hearing about that. I was sort of on the fence about that, since I'd grown up never seeing TAS and accepting it was non-canon.
And it would be dealing again with the messy issue of basically importing an alien species from another well-known science fiction franchise... like if the Enterprise just ran into Wookiees or something. I'm aware there's a precedent in "The Slaver Weapon", but - while that's definitely one of TAS' strongest episodes - it's no less weird there.
...and has a cat-race ever
looked good in live action? The dreadful Kilrathi of the Wing Commander
movie come to mind.
I dunno. It could work, and I'd trust Coto particularly to make a fanwanky episode that's nonetheless very entertaining, but I can just see ways that'd go wrong.