With the JJ Abrams reboot of the Star Trek franchise in 2009 — and a new film already set for release next year — the chances of seeing a new TV show or movie set in the “Prime” reality, as it’s called, are remote. So, if you’ve been gagging for any sort of recent exposure to the older Trek, this live show discussing the science of the series, featuring astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Wil Wheaton, might help fill the void.
The show is at its most interesting when Wheaton shares anecdotes about his time on The Next Generation and when deGrasse Tyson has a chance to discuss real science. The comedians — Eugene Mirman, Paul F Tompkins and Kristen Schaal — often detract from the conversation, interrupting the flow of a fascinating topic.
I’d have preferred to have just Wheaton and deGrasse Tyson on stage, as they seem more than capable of injecting humour when it’s needed. For example:
Tyson: Why did he [Jean-Luc Picard] have a French name, but he spoke with a British accent?
Wheaton: Well, probably because sometime between now and then Britain probably just storms across the channel and occupies France. What, you thought they built the tunnel for convenience? I mean, listen, there are plenty of websites on Geocities devoted to exposing this conspiracy.
It’s not side-splitting material, sure, but it’s plenty for this sort of show.