When first conceiving
The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry created the Ferengi to
be the perfect villain for the Federation. They were to stand for everything
humans had given up. Greed, power and selfishness sat at the heart of
the Ferengi culture. They should have been the perfect villains.
But the first time
we met the orange colored freaks they were dancing around, spouting
out nonsense, and barely audible through shark teeth. Fans turned away,
and the Ferengi never were able to clinch the spotlight the way the
Klingons had done on the original show. Instead they moved aside for
a much more worthy adversary: The Borg.
Still, the Ferengi
weren't forgotten, popping up once or twice a season. They make a convenient
plot device because they'll do anything for profit. But it wasn't until
Deep Space Nine that we really got to know the race. Thanks to
the classy style of Quark, played by Armin Shimerman (also one of the
original freakish Ferengis in their debut appearance), fans embraced
them as the break-out characters of the galaxy.
Archer gave up after
T'Pol either couldn't or wouldn't play the circle game right.
For the Ferengi
to appear on Enterprise is both novel and dangerous. They're
easily the most entertaining comic characters in the Star Trek universe
(as a race - not to be unPC). But it's dangerous due to the timeline,
the trap Enterprise seems to escape every week.
"How do we do this
episode, without it conflicting with an episode that takes place 200
years from now?"
has solved this problem each week, except for some small nitpicky stuff
which is more opinion than fact that I'm sure some dude is writing a
book about right now. The show seems aware of what has gone before,
even if technically it's coming after. It helps that the people making
creative decisions this time around are not only talented writers, but
also seem to be fans of Star Trek.
The details are
what makes things so impressive. Having Ulis, the leader of the Ferengi
gang, crack his electric whip is the kind of thing that fans eat up.
In that very first Ferengi-filled TNG episode they had these
same electric whips, never to be seen again. By including them in this
episode, in this timeline, the creators justify a question that has
lingered for over ten years. Why don't they have those whips? They simply
went out of style. Heavy Ferengi fans will note in this episode they
referred to the 117 Rules of Acquisition. By the time Quark learned
them there were 285.
When Deep Space
Nine needed to lighten things up (which came about quite often)
they did a Ferengi episode. And just like in DS9, Acquisition
looked like it a simple excuse to have fun.
My brother won an
Oscar and I wore a latex head. Who had the better week?
Clint Howard (who
really IS a Ferengi) joined Ethan Phillips (Voyager's Neelix)
as half of the Ferengi operation. This is the second time Phillips has
worn the Ferengi lobes, as Neelix went undercover as the Grand Negus
once on Voyager.
And Jeffrey Combs
returned to his orange skin as Krem. On DS9 he played Weyoun,
the Vorta, and Brunt the Ferengi. Now on Enterprise we've seen him as
the orange Krem and the blue Shran (the Andorian). Combs is one of the
finest actors in the Star Trek franchise, and it's no wonder
he keeps popping up as multiple characters, with his ability to work
a latex mask as if it were his own skin. (He's even outdone original
series vet Mark Lenard.) Let's welcome him to be a regular on Enterprise.
Each week Combs can play one of the villains, whether it be Ferengi,
Klingon or Paclet.
has been racking up the villains, and this is part of their success.
One of the things we love the most about Star Trek is the alien
cultures. By meeting a new one (or spinning an old one), fans get just
what they want.
The Ferengi are
a marvelous touch, and were done really well. Nothing in Acquisition
conflicted with the ten years we've known the greedy spandex-wearing
freaks. Let's hope the producers can keep it that way, so we can look
forward more appearances by the Ferengi.
Which random species
will the producers pull out next to make a villain? Trill? Betazoid?
Deltans? It's got to be those wacky Paclets. Is there nothing they can't
"We look for things.
Things to make us go." Go, Paclet, Go!