This Sunday’s Episode: Neil interviews Star Trek TNG stars LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner at Comic-Con 2012

Post Date: 22 November 2012
Photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson with Star Trek The Next Generation actors Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton

StarTalk meets Star Trek: Neil deGrasse Tyson, flanked by Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton, taken at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.
Photo credit: Froggy’s photos

Warning: This post is going to be an effusive outpouring of geeky goodness.

That’s because I just got to listen to this Sunday’s new episode, “The Best of Both Worlds”, where Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Star Trek: The Next Generation stars LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner from the floor of San Diego Comic-Con 2012.

It doesn’t feel like an interview. It feels like you’re just hanging out with a bunch of your friends at Comic-Con, if your friends happen to be Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Lt. Commander Data, and an astrophysicist who runs the Hayden Planetarium. When LeVar and Brent started kidding Neil about his Star Trek sideburns, which Neil admits are an homage to Trek, I thought, “Why couldn’t somebody have been videotaping this?” (There will be an upcoming episode of StarTalk on The Nerdist Channel that was filmed at Comic-Con, but this interview won’t be in it.)

There’s plenty of Trek talk, including a discussion of tricorders, replicators, transporters and why, in the 24th Century, with all that awesome technology, they couldn’t replace Geordi’s visor with something…smaller.

My favorite part: when LeVar and Brent tell the story of a virtually unknown audition scene, written by Gene Roddenberry. In it, Geordi and Data meet for the first time, and realize that they each “see through to the truth of things.” They call themselves “The Perceivers” and even though that never made it into the series, it defined their relationship throughout the show’s 7 seasons and beyond, into the movies.

They also discuss Gene’s ideas of IDIC: “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” and his vision of the future. If you’ve never heard LeVar Burton talk about race, or learning, or how vital science is to a future of peace and harmony, then this interview will add an entirely new dimension to your appreciation of the man.

But above all, this episode is just plain fun. Brent Spiner is hilarious, it seems like he and LeVar Burton have an amazing friendship. Neil, Brent and LeVar are so riveting that even normally talkative comic-co host Leighann Lord, a self-proclaimed “geek-girl” and Trekker, just sits back and enjoys the show.

In fact, when it comes to this show, Neil’s final tweet sums it all up nicely: “And the geek shall inherit the earth.”

The show will be available on our website and iTunes this Sunday, Nov. 25th, at 7:PM ET.