I love Star Trek: The Next Generation. I realize that this probably makes me a nerd. And if it didn't, then this would: while in elementary school, I orchestrated a morning bus-wide role-playing situation, where we all took characters and portrayed them on the commute to Churchill Heights Elementary. (Our bus driver, Cheryl, was Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien on the strength that she let people on and off the "ship.") I was Tasha Yar, and once my character was killed off I lost interest and the game died, but I kept watching, twice a night, for the duration of the series (for those keeping track at home, that was 1987-1994).

Anyhow, I was reliving the halcyon days of my youth on Monday, when TBS celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an all-day TNG marathon, and as I watched, I noticed that ... a lot of famous and semi-famous people were guest stars on TNG. As I sat in my apartment in my pajamas, I was jolted out of my 24th century dreamworld to note, "Hey, isn't that Teri Hatcher working the transporter beam?" "Hey, isn't that the guy who played Oswald on The Drew Carey Show at the helm?" "Hey, isn't that Ashley Judd k-i-s-s-i-n-g Wesley Crusher?"

A quick trip online only increased my wide-eyed wonder. Apparently sitcom stars and Ashley Judd aren't the only known names to don the stretchy jumpsuits or prosthetic foreheads of the show. Just check out some of these selected guest star highlights:

1989 "The Icarus Factor"
Featuring piano maestro John Tesh as a Klingon. John Tesh. A Klingon. Damn.

1989 "Manhunt"
Continuing in the musical theme, rock drummer and all-around lanky Englishman Mick Fleetwood portrayed an "Antedian Dignitary." Weird. Can't be any weirder than the sexual dynamics of his former band, though.

1993 Interface
Pippen and Sportsnight star (and let us not forget Zoobilee Zoo) star Ben Vereen portrays Geordi LaForge's father. Jazz hands by the dilithium crystals!

1988 The Outrageous Okona
A double whammy, this episode (one that featured Brent Spiner horrifyingly doing a Groucho Marx inpression) featured Teri Hatcher and her bouffant do, as well as Joe Piscopo (even more horrifyingly doing a Jerry Lewis impression). All I can say is, if the next three centuries can't produce anyone funnier than early-80s Saturday Night Live alums, then I will sit them out.

There are, of course, more examples, including Stephen "Smartest man in the universe, even in 2500" Hawking, Famke "Don't make me kill you with my thighs" Janssen, and Kelsey "Frasier is just a cover for my sherry-drinking habit" Grammer. If I had only known. The 4th grade bus would never have been the same.


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