For the uninitiated, Star Trek: The Next Generation might just seem like a dated sci-fi show from the late '80s and early '90s. But true fans know the series was easily one of the Star Trek franchise's best, and rewatching the series to catch some surprise guest stars makes watching the sci-fi staple - which was often directed by its actors - even more fun. Star Trek cameos run the gamut from then-unknown actors like Teri Hatcher to seasoned stage and TV veterans like Kelsey Grammer.
ET host John Tesh was open about his enthusiasm for Star Trek: The Next Generation even before the show aired. On June 20 and 21, 1987, the unabashed fan hosted a two-part series on Entertainment Tonight promoting and diving into the upcoming series.
Tesh landed a cameo as a Klingon in "The Icarus Factor," an episode during which Worf (Michael Dorn) celebrates the anniversary of his Rite of Ascension, and chooses to run the gauntlet in a painful Klingon ritual where Holodeck warriors (of which Tesh is one) hit him with cattle-prod like devices.
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Dunst has had a prolific acting career, and it started at a young age. In this TNG episode, Dunst played Hendril, a Cairn child raised by a single father, at the age of 11.
The Cairn people don't speak, but they do use telepathy as a means of communication. When Hendril and her father visit the USS Enterprise-D , she reminds Federation diplomat Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett) of her long-deceased sister. The experience puts Lwaxana into a coma, but fortunately, with the aid of Counselor Troi, Hendril is able to dive into her subconscious and bring her back.
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In 'The Hunted,' James Cromwell plays Prime Minister Nayrok of the planet Angosia III. The Enterprise has made its way to the planet to consider its involvement in the Federation, but before they can get to it, Nayrok asks them to hunt down a dangerous escaped criminal. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew learn that this prisoner is a genetically modified soldier that the government has deemed too dangerous for traditional society. Captain Picard does not take kindly to Nayrok's abandonment of his soldiers, and when an insurgency arises, Picard refuses to help Nayrok stop it.
In the two-part episode 'Birthright,' Worf (Michael Dorn) learns that his father might not have perished in combat. Yridian information broker Jaglom Shrek (Cromwell again, but, this time beneath layers of alien makeup) claims that Worf's father is alive at a Romulan prison camp. Even though he doesn't initially believe Shrek's intel, Worf makes his way to the Romulan camp to see for himself.
Cromwell, a prolific character actor, went back to the Trek well a couple more times, playing Minister Hanok on the Deep Space 9 episode 'Starship Down' and prickly warp-technology pioneer Zefram Cochrane in the feature film Star Trek: First Contact.
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The USS Enterprise comes across a small cargo ship that seems to be struggling. They contact the ship, helmed by Captain Thadiun Okona (William O. Campbell), who then requests repair help. When Okona boards the Enterprise, he isn't discreet about his interest in the women on board. He first lays eyes on Transporter Chief Robinson (Hatcher) and decides his ship doesn't have to be fixed so quickly after all.
Hatcher, who would go on to fame a few years later as Superman's partner and reporter Lois Lane in Lois & Clark, reportedly asked not to be officially credited for the role, as much of it was cut out of the final episode.
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