Jonathan Frakes Previews “Absurd” ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ / ‘Lower Decks’ Crossover Episode

One of the most anticipated episodes for the upcoming second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is a live-action crossover with the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. The episode was directed by TNG veteran Jonathan Frakes, who spoke exclusively with TrekMovie about this episode and much more.

Proud of the flat-out comic crossover

In an interview with TrekMovie’s All Access Star Trek podcast, Jonathan Frakes talked about his time on Star Trek: Picard season 3—including this week’s episode—but he also brought up his special episode of Strange New Worlds. He was very excited about it, revealing he was just about to record an episode of The Ready Room with Lower Decks stars Jack Quaid (Boimler) and Tawny Newsome (Mariner) to talk about it.

He offered his summary of the episode with some new details:

Mariner and Boimler just happen to cross over from their animated world into the ship with Anson (Pike), and Rebecca (Number One) and Ethan (Spock) on Strange New Worlds. And it is a flat-out comic [episode]. It’s fabulous. It’s a fish out of water. Fortunately, both Quaid and Tawny look like their characters. So it’s so absurd to see them in three dimensions and their interrelations… Boimler is obsessed with Spock, and terrified of Number One. There is so much good stuff. And Mariner comes to save the day. It’s very, very funny. I’m very proud of it. And I can’t wait for people to see it.

He also confirmed that both Boimler and Mariner appear throughout the entire episode, saying, “It opens as a cartoon and it becomes the real show.”

Anson Mount as Pike of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

Anson Mount in the season 1 finale of Strange New Worlds

More SNW for Frakes… hoping for Academy too

The second season crossover episode is Frakes’ first time directing for Strange New Worlds, but he confirmed he will be back to direct more SNW, and possibly more Star Trek in general:

I’m booked to direct an episode for season 3 of Strange New Worlds. And I’m hoping—if I don’t screw up—to get on the rotation on the Academy show.

Season 3 of Strange New Worlds was recently announced and is expected to go into production this summer. The new Starfleet Academy show was also just announced, with production set to start in early 2024.

Jonathan Frakes directing Brent Spiner in season 2 of Star Trek: Picard

PurpleStride with Jonathan

The full interview with Jonathan Frakes will be part of this Friday’s episode of the All Access Star Trek podcast. In addition to Star Trek: Picard, Jonathan talks about his involvement with “Trek Against Pancreatic Cancer,” part of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s upcoming PurpleStride event taking place in cities all across the country on April 29. He is joined by fellow Trek vets Armin Shimerman, Kitty Swink, and John Billingsley. They are looking for fans to join in the walk and contribute, with a goal of raising $90,000 for their Trek team.

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As someone once famously said, sounds like fun! :)

I really can’t wait for this and hope we finally get a trailer after Picard ends!

I can’t wait too! I hope it’s the first of multiple live action appearances for Boims and Mariner.

Yep and I hope it will be GLORIOUS! :)

And I think we will definitely see live action Boimler and Marine in the coming years if this episode is a success.

I hope we can see some of the other Lower Decks characters at some point too. Obviously they don’t all look like their characters, but I think that Tendi and Rutherford would work.

I would like that too. I would love to see Carol Freeman in live action tbh.

Very much agreed. And actually I think all of the main actors at least look similar to their characters (Dr. T’Ana is a big exception lol). Not an exact match but they can all pull it off enough if more show up in live action.

T’Ana would be CGI anyway

See the only problem was when that certain person said, “Sounds like fun.” It ended up decidedly not being fun….

LOL, true!

Let’s hope it goes a little bit better this time. ;)

When was that?

Kirk to Picard towards the end of Star Trek: Generations.

Idk. It wasn’t a great movie, but it was fun.

I rather like it in fact, but I can see where it’s critics are coming from.

This is nothing but a marketing gimmick. I’m guessing that it will be an embarrassment. We’ll see…

Geordie also said “sounds like fun” when Dr Crusher talked about what will happen when they’re about to be exposed to space. TNG S5 (Disaster)

My spouse is cheerfully intrigued. They actually asked me why I hadn’t mentioned it earlier.

This is a good sign. They’ve been watching since they were a kid thanks to my mum-in-law, but not at my intensity.

Normally, they are semi-bored/indulgent when I talk about upcoming seasons. They will watch it all eventually, but almost no television has been appointment television for them since the existence of VCRs.

Taking my semi-casual fan spouse an indicator, this episode may be an even more major event than it’s being promoted to be.

Looking forward to these Episodes of Frakes

Also, if they just go with Lower Deck Holoroom “accident”

How Boimler and Mariner get into this crossover, without harming any Lore

Boimler: “Computer use my SNW 4K Prototype Real Humanistic Filter and start the Program!”
Mariner: “You know what this is boring. What if you get more realistic 8K Power!”
Boimler: “Nooo, your overloading the System. Stop!”


and then his Filter goes hare wire so the Holograms from the SNW getting “real”.. So no need to break Rules on the Real SNW Show, because this is just an Lower Deck Malfunction Crossover :) or this is all just an Dream.. Perhaps even better an Fever Dream

So their Star Trek Lore Guardian do not get sleepless nights to explain that. it’s just an Fun Episode where nobody get harmed and they learn, that even the Holoroom 8K Resolution is to much for their current Tech :)

Personally, I’d like to see a holodeck accident avoided.

I don’t think it’s going to be a holodeck story because according to what we know Boimler and Mariner are really excited to be there. They wouldn’t care if it was just a holodeck recreation and I would find it hard to believe it would be the first time they did it.

And I think the biggest issue with TATV is that it didn’t feel like a true crossover because the Enterprise crew weren’t real. And it made it feel more like a TNG episode than an ENT one because it. If the episode itself took place on TNG instead, it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the flack it got IMO.

If the episode actually took place on LDS itself and not SNW, then they could away with that more. But that would probably anger a lot of people if it just comes off as a LDS holodeck story line in a SNW episode.

Well, time will tell. But with this Lower Deck possible solution, no Star Trek Lore get hurt :)

Because Time travel mumbo Jumbo aftereffects. Since Lower Decks is also cannon

As a great being once said: After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting

What a shame that they are mixing in that silly cartoon with a live action, serious Trek show. I’ll watch it once, but only because I refuse to break my record of seeing every single ep of Trek every produced.

SNW is serious? I guess half the episodes in the first season were serious. I remember a lot of silly stuff, too.

It’s actually why I like SNW, it doesn’t take itself that seriously like Picard or Discovery does. It does a lot of goofy things. So it’s perfect to crossover with LDS. 🤣

I’m fine with it going forward. I’ll simply skip over the silly episodes. Just like the old Treks.

I actually liked all the silly ones a lot, especially the one where Spock and T’Pring switched bodies. But Captain Angel and the comedic space pirates was one of my favorites. I really can’t wait to see her back. She is a character that can perfectly fit on Lower Decks too.

And many people think SNW is going to have a musical next season. I’m worried it’s going to be a disaster if true but I’m an open minded kind of fan! It might be really good.

Some people complain the show is a bit too light but as long as the stories are actually good I don’t really care. The most serious episode was the Alien/Gorn one and I hated it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a musical episode and it worked brilliantly. Of course, they waited until their sixth season. So if SNW is going to do a musical, I hope its later in the series’ run so that there’s more to work with.

I hate “space pirate” shows on general principle, SNWs’ being no exception. (For my money, “The Expanse” is the only SF series in history to make that fairly absurd concept work.). But whatever my initial misgivings, I thought the Spock/T’Pring mind swap farce was just awesome: witty, funny, and heartfelt all at once, with the kind of chemistry between the performers that you just can’t fake.

The one purely comedy episode, Spock Amok, is legitimately my favorite episode of the season.

Agreed. I wasn’t much looking forward to that one at all based on the description, and they pretty much really pulled it off.

…which just means that, as of 2024, not Lower Decks alone, but now all live action Star Trek is going “not be taking itself so seriously.” The entire franchise is in its Roger Moore era.

Oh please you say like TOS itself wasn’t mostly silly. This entire franchise is silly in and of itself.

I don’t think it was “mostly silly” at all, particularly not in the first season, which is generally thought of as the best of the lot.

Naked Time. Corbomite Maneuver. Shore Leave (which didn’t stay silly but started out that way.)

One of the most beloved episodes of TOS ever is the one where they said that the mortal enemies of this proud warrior species are little balls of fluff. Trek as a franchise is actually silly.

A silly show? You should watch a sci-fi-show called “Raumschiff Enterprise” in its original german version which aired from 1972-1974. ;-)

Half of DS9, the darkest Trek prior to 2017, was comedy. Even serious, dark episodes were full of jokes.

Half of DS9, the darkest Trek prior to 2017, was comedy.

Having some light-hearted moments doesn’t make it a comedy.”

Schizophrenic much? :)

Okay but at the same time, he’s right. For every Pale Moonlight, there was a Move Along Home or In the Cards (one of my personal favorite episodes) or all of the Quark episodes.

I’m not kidding but I actually watched In the Cards right before the LDS/DS9 crossover episode. It seemed like the one that was closest to the spirit of Lower Decks. :)

It’s also one of my personal favorites as well.

As far as SNW, I agree, it’s not a ‘comedic’ show like LDS obviously, but I think people see it less seriously than some of the other shows because it is more light heated overall. That doesn’t automatically mean ‘funny’, but it is more ‘playful’ overall IMO. It strikes a more fun and genial tone than PIC and DIS does. But for me, that’s a huge positive. It can certainly be serious when it has to be but I don’t mind Pike cracking dad jokes or the crew banter in most of the episodes. All the shows have some of that, SNW may just have it more than others I guess.

And I love the comedic stuff. The fantasy book episode wasn’t too great but yeah it’s basically another fun comedic Trek trope similar to Qpid, Our Man Bashir or Move Along Home.

Weyoun can be my nosy neighbor. He could also beam me onto his ship to ask me questions.

Elysian Kingdom is actually my favorite episode of SNW S1. But then I love those kinds of episodes. I actually love Move Along Home. It’s one I always recommend to people who are watching DS9 for the first time just to see how they react to it.

I must admit I also love dad jokes and bad puns.

LOL I knew you were going to mention Weyoun. But that episode shows why he’s so lovable even when he’s part of the most brutal species we’ve seen in Star Trek history only next to the Borg. He comes off so childlike and friendly and he’s not pretending. He’s truly excited about learning new things, especially that machine lol.

Elysian Kingdom, thank you, I was too lazy to look it up. And agreed, I LOVE the comedic Trek episodes. NOT all of them (staring right at you Fair Haven…ugh). but most are fun. I don’t take Star Trek THAT seriously. There are a lot of fun and goofy episodes in nearly every show and I’m here for it.

Why I’m such a big Lower Decks fan and even more excited about the crossover (keeping it on topic ;)).

Exactly. He was adorable in that episode.

I’m paused in my DS9 rewatch to avoid burnout but I’m on Ties of Blood and Water so I’ll be on In the Cards soon enough. I’m also excited to hit Magnificent Ferengi (the one where Quark’s mother has been captured by the Dominion and Quark has to go rescue her with a bunch of other Ferengi including Brunt.) That one was also hilarious iirc.

Honestly I actually didn’t love a lot of the Quark episodes either BUT I did a grand rewatch of the entire franchise a few years ago and I watched all the Quark episodes; many I normally skipped for years. And I have to say I especially loved the Magnificent Ferengi. I probably haven;t seen that one in over a decade and I forgot how much fun and funny it was. That one and House of Quark are my two favorite Quark episodes. I still really hate the one where he dresses up like a woman though. Easily one of my worst DS9 episodes ever. But I learn to love a lot of them today.

But yeah I love the episodes I notice the ‘serious’ Star Trek fans usually turn their noses up at like the comedic ones, holodecks or B stories in general. I love all those and especially when they combine them like Our Man Bashir, Fist Full of Datas or Take Me Out to the Holosuites. I’m not saying they are what I love most about Star Trek but I usually enjoy them more than not (again with the exception of Fair Haven…ugh). It’s why I’ve become such a big Lower Decks fan. It’s like McMahan made that show just for me. :)

The one where he dresses up as a woman is also one of my least favorite episodes. I agree there.

Who Mourns for Morn was also one of my favorites. So many good silly episodes with a few bad ones.

Not only that, but even very serious episodes, such as The Visitor, have some jokes in them. But i’d hardly call them comedies.

And Pale Moonlight had its funny moments too. “Somehow I’d thought you’d be taller” always came across as funny to me. But maybe that was me. And also what Sisko said to Garak after Garak warned him about what attitude to expect from Vreenak.

Classifying “In the Pale Moonlight” as a comedy in the vein of this dubious crossover stretches the term “comedy” so far as to lose all meaning.

“Hamlet” and “King Lear” and “Romeo and Juliet” have comedic lines too.

Where did I say it was a comedy. I was agreeing with his point. Pick someone else to deliberately misinterpret.

You caught me during a particularly bad day when I’ve been up for 22 straight hours during that one week every month where I’m constantly cranky and hungry and craving something chocolate and caramel.

Yes, River, so you AGREE WITH ME. Sheesh, pay attention, follow along. Like I said, I genuinely think you’re showing signs of a mental disorder.

No, but I think you’re showing symptoms, genuinely. I really do think you need some help.

Oh, I don’t know. A fair amount of the time TOS didn’t take itself all that seriously, which is still a big part of its charm.

Having some light-hearted moments doesn’t make it a comedy. I see a lot of people knocking SNW for Pike getting some jokes in, but people forget how even serious episodes of TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT all had characters cracking jokes and getting in some zingers. Even serious characters like Picard, Janeway, Sisko, and Malcolm were often in the middle of comic moments.

Well, I don’t care whether it’s classified as a comedy or not. I’m just saying I remember a lot of silly stuff in season one along with the serious, so it’s not that far removed from LDS. That’s all.

“That’s all.” Sigh. You remember “a lot of silly stuff” and my response is to say there’s “lot’s of silly stuff” in all Trek. Pay attention. The board’s at the front of the room.

Whoever said that must have never wanted a Weyoun action figure. Nothing great about wanting one and not being able to get it because it doesn’t exist.

LOL, good point!

I wasn’t wild about the idea of having Lower Decks impinge upon the beauty of Strange New Worlds, but if it has to be done, I’m glad that Frakes is in charge of it!

Me too! Having Frakes directing it is a big bonus!

He’d better hope it doesn’t flop; THUNDERBIRDS, which did, pretty much cast him off the island in Hollywood (which is a shame, because I do think he has some directorial talent).

I’m not sure where you’re getting this from. Thunderbirds was in 2004, and Mr. Frakes has directed a LOT of things since then.

Frakes is pretty open about the issues with Thunderbirds, how it blackballed him for cinematic features, and how they had to live on a family property in the northeast until he could get television work again. His Trek and other sci-fi connections really saved him.

Interestingly, I have heard him say that that his major mistake as a director was to not take a harder line with at least one of the principal actors who didn’t really want to be there and wasn’t delivering.

I am a little skeptical of the idea that they “had” to live at their home in New England. Frakes and Genie Francis owned multiple properties in LA as well, one of which they recently sold for a whopping $12 million, after buying it in 1994 for less than $2 million. Even when they eventually rented that house out, they still had another home in California.

They have lived part-time in Maine because they like it, not because they had to. There may well have been a desire to get away for a bit from LA after a career setback, but financially there wasn’t any need to do that.

That was nearly 20 years ago now.

It could be that when they had to return from the UK early, they weren’t in a position financially to break the leases of their other properties. What they had in LA then, if anything, wasn’t liquid.

He has said in interviews that the family had to return from the UK suddenly (as the follow-on work was terminated) and the kids had to move to schools in Maine. So, it was a major event in the life of their family.

Nice!!!!!! 👍

Boims and Mariner causing havoc on the Enterprise! Can’t wait! 😂

I’m going to guess that the crossover episode is going to be a riff on ‘These are the Voyages’ with it all being on the Cerritos’ holodeck.

Calling it: within the first moments of being on the Enterprise Boimler says, “Wow, this is a Strange New World, or something like that.

Boimler will be fanboying to the max.

Given what happened when Tom Paris visited Cerritos, this is likely to have complications.

Lower Decks is not my cup of tea. In hoping the crossover will not require me to know too much about LD. Although Ive seen all of Prodigy,I only have seen a smattering of Lower Decks episodes.

I envy you!

I love both Prodigy and Lower Decks equally. I probably love Prodigy and inch more since it’s a Voyager spinoff and that’s one of my favorite shows.

But if you don’t like LDS I don’t think you will need to know much for the crossover other than knowing Boimler tries to control the chaos while Mariner creates it! 😂

I have to disagree a little bit about Mariner there. Yeah the first two seasons, she was definitely more chaotic. But I think in third season she has really matured and calm down. I think the episode Reflections especially pointed this out. It’s the episode where her and Boimler worked at the Starfleet booth but subverted expectations where Boimler became the chaos lol.

But yeah I can still see Mariner getting herself in trouble on the Enterprise. ;)

Oh yeah I definitely agree. Mariner has mellowed out a bit more in third season. But she still tried to steal the Cerritos in the first episode, but that was to help her mom.

And Reflections is hilarious to watch Boims go all Worf on everybody for dissing Starfleet. 😂

I love this show!

My only wish is that this was an episode of Lower Decks so we could have essentially gotten 11 episodes of Strange New Worlds.

Agreed. This is like when your sports team plays a home game in London or Mexico City — it should not take away one of your home games.

Well, i’m not aggrieved by it, it’s more a selfish ask.

I wonder why they chose such a terrible picture of Frakes. That’s back when he was missing half of his nose.

It’s going to be history in the making as the first crossover to have both live-action and animation.

Supernatural did a crossover with Scooby Doo. This might be the first time the animated characters went live-action in such a crossover, but animated/live-action crossovers have been done a few times in animation.

The story makes it sound like it is a SNW episode, but surely it’s a Lower Decks episode that interacts with the characters from SNW in a live action setting. If it’s ** actually ** SNW I can imagine there might be a small segment of viewers that will be wildly confused lol.

I know a few people who started watching SNW solely because it looked like old TOS, they are unfamiliar with the rest of the properties. Ha, I can’t wait to hear their reaction to the episode if it truly is a SNW joint

Let them complain. I think this is a brilliant idea, even if they fail at it. Taking risks is something the franchise needs to do more of, win or lose. It’s what I appreciate about DSC, LDS, PRO, and early PIC, even when it didn’t always work.

The franchise is maturing as Kurtzman has put it.

It’s ready for crossovers and hopefully limited series and one-offs to bring back legacy characters, ships and places.

Perhaps the die-hard TOS-only fans who’ve been served by SNW can broaden their horizons just a touch.

(I’m considering this a way for them to reconcile and pay it forward given how so many of them have been a drag on new things since 1973.)

I don’t watch LD. Doesn’t it take place in the TNG/DS9/VOY era, while SNW takes place before TOS?

It does. But fortunately it’s part of a franchise that loves time travel and anomalies and weird pseudo science!

This sounds like fun!