First Look At Brent Spiner’s Return To ‘Night Court’

Last year Star Trek: Picard saw Brent Spiner’s return to television in his iconic role as Data from The Next Generation. This year he reprises another famous role from even deeper into his career as Spiner is returning to Night Court. Last year NBC revived the original Night Court, the sitcom which ran for nine seasons between 1984 and 1992. Spiner appeared in six episodes of the original show as sad sack Bob Wheeler, who (along with his wife June Wheeler played by Annie O’Donnell) would frequently appear before Judge Harry Stone with crazy stories of how they had run afoul of the law.

The new Night Court is in its second season and Spiner and O’Donnell return as the Wheelers in next week’s episode titled “Wheelers of Fortune.” NBC has just sent us a first look.

The Wheelers return to court

For the new Night Court, the Wheelers will be reunited with Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) and face Judge Abby Stone (Melissa Rauch), daughter of Judge Harry Stone (played by the late Harry Anderson in the original show). Kate Micucci joins them as the Wheeler’s daughter Carol Ann.

Here is the synopsis:

Huge surprises are in store for Dan when he’s tasked with representing Bob and June Wheeler, the notoriously unfortunate couple from the original iteration who resurface – this time with daughter Carol Ann in tow. While 30 years may have elapsed, their bad luck undoubtedly continues to plague them.

Here is one of the new images…

NIGHT COURT — “Wheelers of Fortune” Episode 211 — Pictured: (l-r) Brent Spiner as Bob Wheeler, Annie O’Donnell as June Wheeler — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/NBC)

This shot of the Wheelers matches their classic appearance before the judge from the original show…

Brent Spiner and Annie O’Donnell in the original Night Court (NBC)

Night Court star Melissa Rauch told UPI: “It’s such a dream getting to be on set with Brent and Annie, seeing them walk into the courtroom and stand in front of the judge’s bench that I’m sitting at. It feels like I stepped into a time machine.”

The “Wheelers of Fortune” episode of Night Court airs on NBC on Tuesday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and streams the next day on Peacock.

Spiner had to choose Data over Bob Wheeler

Spiner’s last appearance on Night Court was in the season 4 finale in May 1987. He would have returned in season 5, but the role of Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation came along, as Spiner explained at a convention in 2019:

“The last episode we did… [The Wheelers] bought the new stand in the courthouse, and the next season we were going to be coming back as regulars on the show. But in the hiatus between seasons, I got Star Trek. And so I had to choose which one should I do? And yeah, I think I made the right choice.”

With the choice made Spiner debuted as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation in September 1987.

NIGHT COURT — “Wheelers of Fortune” Episode 211 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Rauch as Abby Stone, Kate Micucci as Carol Ann, Brent Spiner as Bob Wheeler, Annie O’Donnell as June Wheeler — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/NBC)

Even though he left Night Court behind for TNG it looks like he brought Bob Wheeler with him. At a TNG panel on last week’s Star Trek: The Cruise, Spiner confirmed he was returning to the new Night Court to reprise the role.  Spiner’s TNG co-star Wil Wheaton was on the same panel and he followed up saying, “When we were doing Next Generation and I got to sit across the thing from Brent, he would occasionally do Bob Wheeler, just for me. A little performance for me.”

NIGHT COURT — “Wheelers of Fortune” Episode 211 — Pictured: (l-r) Melissa Rauch as Abby Stone, Brent Spiner as Bob Wheeler, Annie O’Donnell as June Wheeler — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/NBC)

This is the second time this year the new Night Court had a Trek connection. In the episode “Wrath of Comic-Con” John Larroquette’s Dan Fielding cosplayed as a Klingon named Maltz, a nod to his role as Maltz in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

NIGHT COURT — “Wrath of Comic-Con” Episode 205 — Pictured: John Larroquette as Klingon — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/NBC)

Brent on classic Night Court

This is the first appearance of the Wheelers…

And one of the follow-ups…

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I personally never found the original Night Court all that funny. For those you who have been watching this, is this version any better?

The show is definitely odd and full of poor jokes. It’s just not really funny.

I could not possibly disagree more.

I liked nearly all of the original (though wish they’d stayed with Ellen Foley rather than Markie Post), though I thought the wrapup was poor. I only lasted about 10minutes on the new version, but then again, it has been many years since I got into any traditional sitcom outside of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, LOUDERMILK and DOWNWARD DOG.

That’s too bad, Kev! Some sitcoms like Mom, Mike and Molly, and more recently Young Sheldon are what keeps me from jumping into the Grand Canyon…or watching Law and Order reruns (take yer pick)! ;D

I enjoyed the first few years of BIG BANG but found they had little rewatchabiity and that it lost steam as it went along. I also liked what I think was a web series (not sure) called HERE’S BRUNO about a kind of unpleasant guy with a cool dog, but have almost no memory of it.

Just read today that they are getting Parsons and the JEOPARDY! lady back for a YOUNG SHELDON finale, but really think that what CBS should have done was get everybody back for a special where the gang sees OPPENHEIMER. Then again, that’d be free PR for Uni/NBC/P’cockplus …

By and large I seem to have problems even with classic film comedy nowadays. I remember laughing my ass off at A FISH CALLED WANDA in the theater but never even chuckled during a rewatch. Ditto for SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (though admittedly I felt bad about laughing at stuff in that one.) Even DR. STRANGELOVE stopped being funny this century (though, interestingly enough, I still find FAIL-SAFE as compelling as ever, as in, awesomely compelling … probably the first movie I ever saw that didn’t have any musical underscore.) There are a couple of PINK PANTHER movies that as a teen had me busting a gut, but they don’t do much for me now either.

I do, however, still find ACTION JACKSON to be a ton of laughs. And while some may disagree, I really do think many of those ‘painful’ laughs are quite deliberate on the parts of the makers.

And to show that I’m not totally a sourpuss, I can still put TOP SECRET! in anytime and get a lot of laughs from it, even if I just skip to a random chapter. Might be the only movie where I know all the Tom-Lehrer/Weird-Al style song lyrics pretty much by heart.

OH, and there’s that amateur super-8 movie, STAR PATROL or GALAXY LOST, I think. It’s a solid little flick, but there’s one moment where an ‘actor’ delivers his lines WithoutAnyPauseToSeparateTheWords that still convulses me. Then there’s the lead in it, who tries too hard to be Shatneresque, but I don’t blame him (cuz I am him.)

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY still holds up very well, and is great watch given what is going on with our democracy today.

Awesome movie, and as you say still relevant, right when Frankenheimer was really in his wheelhouse (his ‘young orson welles’ period if you will), after MANCHURIAN and before THE TRAIN and SECONDS. I also remember MAY being like FAIL-SAFE and SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD in that they are very faithful adaptations of the source material.

I just picked up Top Secret on disc! A classic!

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen A FISH CALLED WANDA. But I hate to think that I wouldn’t laugh on a rewatch at this exchange, which is one of my all-time favorites:

Jamie Lee Curtis: You stupid ape!

Kevin Kline (snootily): Apes don’t read Nietzsche.

JLC: Oh, yes they do! They just don’t understand it!

I’d also hate to think that I wouldn’t find the “Panther” films funny anymore, as I have a fond memory of taking a then-girlfriend to see one of them, and both of us laughing hysterically at the scene where Clouseau visits Dreyfus in the mental hospital.

As for Tom Lehrer, I remember watching an episode of “St. Elsewhere” many years ago and totally losing it when the docs started humming “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” around the operating table.

“‘ello, Wanda.”

Loved that movie the first time I saw it, love it today!

I definitely had hopes going in what with all the Python veterans, but when an enraged Kevin Kline shoots the empty safe I said to me self, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna like this.”

The mental hospital opening is a highpoint (out with the bad air, in with the good), but my recollection of PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN is that it topped itself with the dental procedure where Clouseau gives himself as much gas as he does Dreyfus, causing his disguise to disintegrate. I saw it as a sneak preview with MURDER BY DEATH, which was kinda funny but my memory of it was largely obliterated by the sheer volume of laughs PPSA provoked. I think I saw it four times in the theater, and I know I saw the previous one with Christopher Plummer two or three times as well — between that and MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, he was a real discovery for me at that point.

Also, “That is a priceless Steinway!” “Not anymore.” Which has become my go-to commentary on any situation that goes from good to bad in record time.

My girlfriend at the time was Burmese, but the humor in the mental hospital scene was primarily slapstick (something that Blake Edwards always had a knack for, right down to the rake handle between the eyes), and thus totally universal. It was a great afternoon.

You actually made me laugh just now with the Steinway line. I’ve used it before too, come to think of it. Maybe I’ll pop it in some morning before work and listen on the headphones … there have been movies that lost their charms for a time and then came back strong (it even happened that I burned out on APOCALYPSE NOW for a few years), so I shouldn’t give up on a whole genre, especially these years when we desperately need solid laughs.

THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING — so underated!!!

CUTTER’S WAY — still holds up!

1970’s — best movie decade ever! 1960’s — second place. (and yeah, Cutter’s Way was 1981, but it feels like a 70’s movie)

I really liked DOWNWARD DOG.

It’s also another The Big Bang Theory reunion of sorts. Brent Spiner once played himself in an early episode (alongside Wil Wheaton); Annie O’Donnell played Amy’s mother (via Skype) in an episode (before Kathy Bates took on the role in seasons 10 and 11); and Kate Micucci had a recurring role as Raj’s love interest, Lucy. Also, Micucci is one half of the comedy musical duo Garfunkel & Oates with RIki Lindhome, who played Sheldon-obsessed Ramona Nowitzki in three episodes.

(And spare me the hate for TBBT and Night Court. We all like what we like, and if you don’t like either or both of them, that’s okay, but at least have the courtesy to keep your hate to yourself.)

I loved TBBT and I remember watching the original Night Court in its first few years but losing interest after a while.

It’s crazy how much better Brent Spiner aged than Annie O’Donnell. He looks 20 years younger than her now than back then.

Ricky thinks this is just awesome.

I assume Spiner is doing this for fun, as he certainly doesn’t need the money.

I loved the Wheelers on the original show, and was wondering if he would make an appearance on the new show. O’Donnell got the screw when Spiner went on to do TNG. She lost that gig as a regular.

I don’t watch the new show, but will check out this episode. Television comedy today is too vanilla.

Be funny if they took a hard left and he played another Soong.

I saw a few episodes of the new Night Court when it arrived. John’s presence is the only thing to latch onto. Not a good show. Very weak writing. Other characters don’t stand out. I am curious enough about Brent’s return to check out that episode.