After a long career playing many outlandish characters, Brent Spiner can currently be seen in the comic webseries Fresh Hell, in which he plays someone who should be very familiar to him — himself. But he hinted this week that the role may actually be one of the more challenging he’s ever played.
“I’ve played myself before this — and I’ve played myself since, for that matter — and playing yourself one of the most difficult characters you can play, ’cause God knows most of us don’t know who that is,” Spiner jokingly told the AV Club. “The one on Fresh Hell is a little easier, because we make it up. It’s a strange kind of hybrid of the real me and… Well, obviously it’s me standing there, and it’s my voice and my face, but it’s also kind of filtered through Harry Hannigan’s take on the character, the one he’s writing. The character of Brent Spiner. We certainly collaborate on the concept of that, but he basically writes the script, then it’s sort of a combination of his voice and my voice.”
A recent episode featured a guest appearance by LeVar Burton, who starred alongside Spiner on TNG as Geordi LaForge. Spiner suggested he would try to get his other TNG cast mates to appear as well, as the episode proved to be so popular with fans — who luckily weren’t offended by the episode. “Well, so far everyone seems to have a pretty good sense of humor,” Spiner said. “I I mean, we’re really not taking the piss out of ’em too much. God knows I’m doing it way more to myself than I am to them, and I think they can handle that balance of about 95 percent to 5 percent. Really, the kind of goofy fans we had in the episode with LeVar is the only time we’ve done that, and it’s not our intention, really, to mock Star Trek. I mean, that’s not really what it’s about at all. Sometimes it just lends itself to the moment.
Besides Fresh Hell, Spiner discussed many of his other roles over the years, including that of Dr. Nigel Fenway in Threshold, the series created by longtime Trek producer Brannon Braga. Spiner said he wished the series had been able to continue after its first season: ” I know Brannon Braga, who was running the show at the time, had a lot of really interesting ideas for what was going to happen the second, third, fourth, and fifth seasons, and they had it really planned out what was going to go on. But CBS just decided to pull the plug on it. Y’know, we were kind of never one of their favorites, even though we’d gotten really good reviews for the pilot. We were on at, what was it, 10 o’clock on a Friday night? That’s kind of where you bury a show if you don’t want it to last. But, wow, what a cast, huh? You could never get that cast together again.”