First come the The Goa'uld
were bad, but they were interesting. The whole symbiote things was interesting.. and it made for a cheap enemy too, because it was an alien in a human body and not for silly Star Trek "everybody is human" reasons. Granted, the comic book bad guy dialogue did make the Goa'uld a little cheesy, but really, all in all they were O.K.
Next, The Replicators
were also bad, and they were SOMEWHAT interesting. Legos with attitude aren't that scary, but they weren't a virtual copy of the Goa'uld.
Next, we get the "new and improved" Apophis
in Season 8. He takes over a larger kingdom. He has bigger ships. He has more troops. He's worse, but there's no great creativity there. He's just "System Lord" 2.0.
Then we have "worse than the Goa'uld" in the form of Anubis-Ascended
. The whole "half ascended" bit was supposed to make him scarier, but really he was the same as any other Goa'uld in motives. He still had to gloat. He still had to dominate others in much the same way. Not until the end, in "Threads" when he wanted to destroy all life in the galaxy and start over did Anubis really differentiate himself from other Goa'uld. Sure, he had "worse" warriors than Jaffa, but they weren't very interesting. Sure, he had slightly more tech than other Goa'uld, but really, is slightly better tech anything other than just more of the same? Anubis is "System Lord" 3.0.
Then we have the human-form Replicators
. They still want to do the same thing as regular Replicators, but they add a comic book villain element too. Now we can talk to them. Other than that? Not so differernt. These are Replicators 2.0. But they aren't bad enough, so we need to personalize it more. We create history between Carter and Fifth, and now he has a personal grudge against SG1 and humanity in general. Replicator 3.0. Still not enough, let's personalize it some more with a RepliCarter
, who is about as personalized as you can get. Replicator 4.0. More of the same. Just "crank up the volume".
For Stargate Atlantis, we have the Wraith
, who are a lot like the Goa'uld. The Goa'uld use humanity as unwilling hosts and slaves, while the Wraith use thumanity as unwilling food. Both the Goa'uld and the Wraith have unnatural regenerative powers, and through either nature or technology live forever. Both use the same comic book villain lines. Both are more technologically advanced than humanity. Both rule large swaths of their respective galaxies. Both are dependent upon humanity for their very lives (the Goa'uld as hosts, the Wraith as food). In order to make the Wraith "worse than" the Goa'uld, instead of space enslavers, they are space vampires. So really, in a lot of ways, it is just more of the same.
Now, in season nine, we have the Ori
. "Worse than the Goa'uld" we are told. But really, aren't they just another form of ascended being just like Anubis but? Shouldn't they be calling it "Worse than Anubis
It seems to me, rather than concentrating on making an enemy "worse than" the predecessor enemy, a more INTERESTING enemy would be a good idea. This whole "Worse Than" craze really is no way to drive a series. Interesting is a lot more important than "worse than".