Star Trek was dreamed up by Gene Roddenberry as a vision of a futuristic utopia, free from the struggles and strife of the turbulent 1960s. All races under the sun would come together and explore the far reaches of the galaxy in harmony, putting aside their differences and embracing their connections.
It was also an opportunity to dream up all manner of scary monsters and have them chase William Shatner around a cheap set. Intergalactic peace is all well and good, but if you’re looking to keep a TV show running, you need a little conflict - and nothing says conflict like the lurid beasts which populate the Trek universe.
From cunning strategists to noble but deadly hunters and balls of pure evil energy, the franchise has had more than its share of richly detailed alien species, all of whom naturally come with their own mythology and history.
Some, it must be said, are daft: they’ve aged badly, or they were dumb ideas to begin with. But others have cemented themselves as recurring villains or threats to the continuing safety of StarFleet.
A species whose entire existence and civilisation was built around the practise of hunting, the Hirogens were one of the most purely violent aliens ever featured in the Star Trek universe. They weren’t the most violent creature ever to appear, but their sheer lust for the chase makes them especially frightening.
The Hirogen had little respect and zero empathy for other species, treating them only as potential quarries for the next hunting expedition. They were no mindless killers, though: the ritualistic nature of their revered hunts required them to study their prey scientifically, ensuring the methodology of the kill was appropriately selected for the victim in question.
The unerring focus on hunting almost led to their downfall, as the Hirogens took to entertaining themselves with hologramatic simulations of potential victims. To up the challenge, the holograms were programmed to learn and adapt, eventually turning the tables on their erstwhile hunters.
The Hirogen were pushed back, but as a race they have what it takes to be a particular threat to the galaxy, with a proliferation of technology and weaponry, along with an innate bloodlust and understanding of hunting techniques.