Since the announcement of Strange New Worlds’ second season, the big draw has been the crossover episode with the animated sitcom Lower Decks. Tawny Newsome (Mariner) and Jack Quaid (Boimler) would play their previously animated characters in live-action.
The episode is now available to view on Paramount Plus, following an early screening at Comic-Con.
The following article contains spoilers for “Those Old Scientists.”
There’s an SNL sketch where William Shatner, as himself, exhorts a room full of Star Trek fans to “Get a Life!” It’s clearly intended in jest, given Shatner’s barely-suppressed smile and a twist where Phil Hartman’s manager forces him to instantly recant his rant.
Depending on who you ask, the sketch was either taken in the spirit it was intended or with outrage amongst fans who felt mischaracterized and misunderstood.
But it’s this dichotomy, between the legend and the truth that’s mined for laughs in “Those Old Scientists,” the crossover episode between Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks. Well, that and an affectionate elbow in the ribs suggest that we could all do with being a bit less obsessive.
The (animated) beta shift is making a routine survey of a long-dormant time-travel portal, while Boimler and Tendi argue about who discovered it. Boimler brags it was found by Starfleet, but Tendi says it was Orion scientists, once again trying to dispel myths that all Orions are pirates.
While messing around Boimler is standing on the portal when Rutherford accidentally sets it running, throwing him back in time.
When he arrives on the other side, he’s now in the live-action world of Strange New Worlds and is greeted by Spock, Una, and La’an. And with that, we’re into an animated version of the title sequence, complete with a nacelle-sucking alien.
On the Enterprise, Boimler can’t help but express his shock, surprise and generally fanboy out in front of his heroes. He gets lectured by La’an about not polluting the timeline and, thanks to her adventure in “Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” not getting attached.
But, since this is the Boimler we know and love, he can’t help but throw spoilers out left, right and center. Not to mention his insistence on pointing out the difference between the history as he knows it, and the storylines as they’re presently unfolding on Strange New Worlds.
For instance, he’s mightily disturbed by the fact that Spock – happy in a relationship with Chapel – is laughing, smiling and generally acting like he’s in love.
After all, the Spock he knows – his Spock – isn’t this outwardly emotional, because that’s what the legend tells us. It’s almost as if he’s a stand-in for the sort of obsessive fan who tries to police the borders of what Star Trek is, instead of enjoying the journey.