An Alien Race Just Returned To Star Trek For The First Time In Nearly 40 Years

A quartet of Bynars are the antagonists of a “Next Generation” season 1 episode, “11001001.” They’re brought on board the Enterprise to upgrade the ship’s computers, but turn around and hijack it. It turns out that a star recently went supernova near their homeworld, Bynaus. The Bynars’ complete dependence on computers means that the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would be an extinction-level event for them. They wanted to use the Enterprise only to back up their planet’s main computer and would’ve relinquished it once their crisis was over. The irony, of course, is that if the Bynars had asked for help, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) would’ve granted it.

The Bynars ultimately turned out to be a one-off alien race; they never showed up again on “TNG” and “11001001” (aired in 1987) was their last appearance before “A Few Badgeys More.” However, “11001001” co-writer Maurice Hurley would go on to pen “Q Who” in season 2. That episode introduced a much more famous “Star Trek” race: the Borg. Were the Bynars on Hurley’s mind when he wrote that episode? The Borg share a similar hive mind and cybernetic enhancements but to much more sinister ends than the Bynars. Indeed, in “Star Trek: Enterprise” episode “Regeneration,” Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) compares the Bynar to the Borg.

In the context of “The Next Generation,” the Bynars were an early experiment that didn’t quite pan out (see also: the Ferengi). However, on “Lower Decks,” there’s no corner of “Star Trek” history too obscure to acknowledge.

“Star Trek: Lower Decks” is streaming on Paramount+.

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