Published Jan 6, 2018
Isn't That... Kelsey Grammer?
Isn't That... Kelsey Grammer?
By Mark Newbold
There’s nothing more comforting than easing into the couch and delving into an episode of Star Trek. Be it Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation era of stories, Star Trek: Enterprise , Star Trek: Discovery or the Kelvin Timeline movies, we all love leaving 21st century Earth behind and warping our way into the future. That said, the sighting of a familiar face from the ‘real’ world never fails to catch our eye. We’ve met musicians, scientists, wrestlers and spiritual leaders as well as actors from the stage and screens both big and small during our tours throughout the galaxy.
We kick off our talent spotting Trek with one of the most-recognizable stars to enter the Star Trek galaxy, Kelsey Grammer.
Born Allen Kelsey Grammer on February 21st, 1955, Grammer was destined for a life in front of the camera. Trained at the Juilliard School, he took a three-year internship at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California before his Broadway debut in a revival of Macbeth alongside Phillip Anglim, better known to Deep Space Ninefans as Vedek Bareil. The role of Cassio in Othello with Christopher Plummer in 1982 and Measure for Measure with Kate Mulgrew in 1985 bracketed two of his first major television roles in two presidential miniseries, Kennedy and George Washington, which co-starred amongst other Trek alumni Ron Canada, Megan Gallagher and Harry Groener.
1984 was also the year that saw Grammer’s first appearance as Doctor Frasier Crane on the soon-to-be-iconic Cheers, the role that would make him a star and, by the time he guest starred on TNG, would lead to an equally successful venture, the spin-off show, Frasier. Doctor Crane would win Grammer three Emmys and two Golden Globes and make him the only actor to win a Globe for playing the same character in three different series – Cheers, Frasier and a guest appearance on Wings.
On Star Trek
By the time TNG had reached its fifth season, it had not only entered the zeitgeist in a way TOS had never managed during its first run, but it was also attracting superstar fans who tuned in weekly. Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger were proud, card-carrying Trek fans, and all were reportedly at some point connected with potential roles in the franchise. With Cheers and Star Trek, the two most high-profile Paramount shows of the time in close proximity on the Paramount lot, it was only a matter of time before actors would begin to cross over from one show to the other.
During his final season on Cheers, Grammer appeared as Captain Morgan Bateson in the 18th episode of the fifth season, “Cause and Effect,” which aired on March 23rd, 1992, and was directed by Jonathan Frakes based on a Brannon Braga script. Grammer’s character was central to the plot, despite not appearing until late in the fifth act. Caught in a causality loop, the crew of the Enterprise-D eventually figured out their predicament, learning that the vessel they had repeatedly collided with was the Soyuz class U.S.S Bozeman, commanded by Bateson, which had been caught in the loop for 90 years.
Why It Was Unique
Grammer’s appearance was brief, but undoubtedly a classic Trek moment. We could only feel for Bateson and his crew as Picard said, “Perhaps you should beam aboard our ship. There’s something we need to discuss.” Bateson was unaware that 90 years had passed, still believing that the Bozeman was only three weeks out of Starbase.
Links to Other Trek Actors
Cheers, Frasier and Star Trek shared a vast number of actors who crossed time – and the Paramount lot – to inhabit each other’s galaxy. Rene Auberjonois, Robert Picardo, Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart and Nana Visitor were just a few of the Trek alumni to visit Seattle, while most famously Kirstie Alley and Bebe Neuwirth traveled to the future and their own encounters with the crew of the Enterprise.
What Happened Next
Post-1992 would see Grammer begin his awards-laden 11-year stint on Frasier, followed by the short-lived TV series Back to You with Patricia Heaton and continuing his popular role as Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons. Film work included the voice of Stinky Pete in Famke Janssen and Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand -- alongside Patrick Stewart and Famke Janssen.
As for Captain Bateman, his story would continue in the 1997 hardcover book, Ship of the Line, by Diane Carey, which was set in the 23rd century, prior to the causality loop and the 24th as Bateson and his crew adjusted to life in the new century. He would return in two Strange New Worlds short stories, the Kirk-centric Specter and in The Next Generation Special #2 from DC Comics, not to mention a brief appearance in Captain’s Daughter, where we learn that Sulu turned down a posting on the Bozeman, a wise decision that saved him from being lost in time much like his fellow Enterprise crewmate Scotty.
Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek The Official Magazine, is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter.