Truth OR Myth- The Unknown TV Crossover

Hello and welcome to Truth OR Myth, in today’s episode we’re taking a look at little known, seldom referenced Star Trek crossover that should never have existed but did.

Most Star Trek fans can quote the various episodes where Characters crossover from one series to the next. Whether it was Picard on DS9 or Barkley on Voyager or even Spock in the JJ Abrams Trek movies, they’re all common knowledge. But what about the Crossover that most people don’t even know happened?

In the late 1980’s you could count on very few things, technology was changing and growing at an incredible rate, but one thing you could count on was wholesome Television Sitcoms. With shows like Different Strokes and Cheers dominating the 80s, it’s a wonder that crazier crossovers didn’t happen all the time.

So what out of all the great shows decided to make a crossover with the Next Generation you ask? Well, that show was none other the Webster.

Yes, that’s right the Emmanuel Lewis sitcom that was created to rival Different Strokes, actually crossed over with the Star Trek Universe.

Webster aired on ABC from September 16, 1983, until March 10, 1989, and was created by Stu Silver. The show with low production costs was generally a success and lasted 6 seasons, mostly due to the adorability factor of Emmanuel Lewis himself.

I remember watching this show as a kid and loving it, but when I decided to do this video I thought, hey let me pull out my old VHS tapes, play them through my Computer VHS player and get reacquainted with this awesome show, boy was that a mistake…

I couldn’t do it. The show did not age well… the jokes were obvious and not even funny. And although that doesn’t change my childhood love for the show, I would not recommend it at your next viewing party.

So anyhow after 4 seasons, Webster was moved to syndication via Paramount… Starting to see the connection here? And even though Webster managed to hit its hundredth episode at the end of its final season on ABC, Paramount decided to exercise their option to keep the show in production for 2 more seasons…

When it became clear that the 6th season would be the last the series needed a finale. Unfortunately, and trust me it’s unfortunate, the series writers and production staff had mostly been let go and the whole series was winded down fairly quickly. The problem was they still needed that finale.

So with that, the remaining Webster Staff rushed next door and made a deal with the TNG showrunners which would see the infamous episode come into production.

And with that background information out of the way, let us get to the show.

So the episode starts out on a rainy day with Webster playing video games on a very old and very nicotine stained computer. it should be noted that Emmanuel Lewis 17 at this time but is playing a 12-year-old… I’m not sure if you care, but thought I’d throw that out there.

And in true SciFi fashion, the magical lightning initiates an animated transporter effect that beams the 17-year-old 12-year-old to the Starship Enterprise Bridge in the 24th Century, where an extra run in to apprehend the intruder.

Actually, the only funny thing about this episode is this particular extra… We’ll call him over enthusiastic extra from here on out.

Anyhow back to what is laughingly called the story, Worf begins his interrogation of the supposed boy, but of course, doesn’t inform any senior staff of the happens nor do any of them ever show up even though the Red Alert had been sounded.

If you’re like me and still watching the episode you’ll notice the lighting on the bridge is very different and I found it to be very distracting during this episode, my guess is the production staff of Webster did the lighting and Not the TNG crew.

So another extra takes the Joystick from Webster and goes to have it repaired for him while over enthusiastic extra scans the kid with bad special effects. And finally, the Science 2 officer gives Worf the all clear that the intruder is unarmed…

Right because Worf was so worried about the Intruder that he couldn’t even be bothered to move from tactical, it’s like Rascals all over again…

Finally, Worf decides to move to the command area and he and Webster get into social interactions and customs discussions, cause you know, it makes sense that a Klingon would suddenly want a lesson from a 17-year-old 12-year-old boy who just beamed to the future…

Moving on, not quickly enough, Webster graces us with his awesome dance moves which immediately spurs Over-Enthusiastic Extra into action to contain the intruder, either that or he’s joining in with his interruptive dance, I mean look at this… Jazz hands…

So then we get to the real point of the episode and find out it’s a flashback episode. that’s right, they used TNG to bookend there flashback series finale. Everyone remembers “Shades of Grey,” right? The TNG flashback episode that ended Season 2? Well, this episode makes that one look like the best episode of Trek ever…

So anyhow flashback, flashback, flashback, almost 5 minutes of flashback actually before we get our Next scene back on the Bridge where Worf decides to tell Webster it’s not possible to send him back and then BAM commercial break.

Being on the edge of my seat for the 3-minute break wondering what will happen to Webster, when the show comes back we quickly find out Worf was just punking the Teen-Preteen and what he actually meant was it wasn’t possible to return him right now… Phew, I thought for a minute maybe they were gonna replace Wesley with him…

So Worf also takes the opportunity to explain just where the hell everyone is since there’s like 4 whole people on the bridge and of course discuss the subject of fun. Since we know FUN is always on the Klingons mind…

This segways right to another Flashback scene which thankfully isn’t as long as the first and is all about Webster learning to mosey, sadly not out of the episode though…

So more back and forth between the 2 and yeah I’m not giving you many details I know. But you have to understand, this is a bad episode… And not just by Star Trek standards. And it’s hard for me to keep interest about the same topics over and over again the Webster and Worf discuss… Just how long would you think the 2 could talk about fun? Worf, talking about fun…

Another Flashback, this time taking us into a helicopter where Webster says, “Beam Me Up Scotty,” cause that’s a Helicopter reference to be sure.

Then back to the Enterprise, it’s a Red Alert since they’re having trouble escaping a planets gravitational pull… Geez, the ships abilities really go downhill when Picard’s not around right?

Speaking of Picard, the Red Alert sees him bust on to the bridge demanding a status report and pissed that the 17-year-old 12-year-old is casually roaming the bridge… Oh, wait no he doesn’t… In fact, he doesn’t even call the bridge. Meh, it’s ok, Over-Enthusiastic Extra has the situation well in hand!

And Commercial Break and when we come back, the Red Alert is over and we pick up with more of the Fun convo like nothing ever happened. Finally, we find out the Enterprise cleared Antares when a voice comes over the intercom from Engineering telling Worf they have since it’s not like Worf is sitting at the Ops station or anything.

Anyhow more convo, another really long flashback of mostly running montages, and we’re finally at the end of the episode. Red Shirt brings Webster back the joystick and Worf makes a Wizard of OZ joke and Webster beams himself back to his room.

When we cut to his room, however, Webster is in bed waking from what appears to be a dream. that’s right apparently it was all a dream but a nightmare for the audience.

But wait, it’s a fake out! From under the covers, Webster pulls out the repaired joystick that just happens to have a HUGE repair tag that tells us it was repaired by the crew of the Starship Enterprise…

Yeah alright with that I’m done!

So anyhow as I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m NOT a great supporter of this crossover. It’s ridiculous and predictable of the series but a huge step down for Star Trek” The Next Generation. The lighting is wrong, the characters are all wrong, etc etc etc.

Now I get this was a sitcom, but it’s obvious that no one really put much thought into the episode or understood TNG at all. If they had this episode might have become a special little treasure and a cult classic.

But what we get instead is a pile of garbage that the episode continues to re-light over and over again.

Is it canon? that’s a good question, and ill leave it up to you decide. Everyone knows I’m a stickler for canon but ill be interested to hear everyone’s opinions in the comments below.

Either way, one thing I can say with 100 per cent confidence is it was a horrible way for Webster to end, and the showrunners of that show should be ashamed and that might explain why this episode is buried and Very hard to find…

 

Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth OR Myth. I’ve already asked for your opinion on the canon question so I won’t pull a Webster and ask you again. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the channel though so you miss a single video we release. Thanks again for watching, live long and prosper…

 

Watch episode 39