In the Star Trek: TOS episode Arena, the reptilian aliens known as the Gorn are introduced:
In my twenties, the stiff artificial look and the improbable nature of a space-faring lizard beast struck me as cheesy. Teenage years have a way of robbing you of your ability to enjoy guilty pleasures. I seem to recall having similar conversations with fans of the 1966 Batman television show.
Fortunately, later in life, I made my peace with such things and now appreciate the show as a nice bit of action/adventure science fiction television - regardless of the low-budget costumes and dated special effects. (And I'd argue that the Gorn costume is actually one of the more evocative looking designs from TOS.)
While a fan favorite, the Gorn don't make a lot of reappearances in Trek. There is a brief nod to them in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode The Time Trap:
In A Mirror Darkly episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise series in 2005:
And they've made a numerous appearances in parodies of Star Trek, the most recent being a commercial for the new Star Trek video game.
In reading about the Gorn, I was able to find some interesting bits about the costume on the In Memory Alpha Gorn page, but I couldn't find anything about the writers creation of the character. I have a feeling that the character is inspired by the Ming's Lizard-Men from Flash Gordon, but I wasn't able to find anything to substantiate that.
But the similarities in environment is probably due to more to easy access to the desert locations near Hollywood than anything else. (Quite a few Star Trek episodes take place in such barren regions.)
It's also possible that the Gorn is a call back to another green, fearsomely fanged alien older than Flash Gordon's Lizard-men - Tars Tarkas of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels:
Check out this version of the green martian on the Dell comic from 1952.
While the design is similar, it's not really a smoking gun. The problem is, Lizard Men, whether they were from space or lost lands, were sort of a staple of early pulp fiction:
Of late, there have been more modern revamps of the Gorn (like this one from the Star Trek video game)
I suppose this is a way to make them more ferocious, but I remain a fan of the more anthropomorphic look.
What do you think? Is the Gorn too cheesy to exist in the current Star Trek movie mythos?