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Star Trek star Brent Spiner, aka Data, turns to self-humiliation in this hilarious online comedy series
Trekkies will get an extra kick out of Fresh Hell, but you don’t need to know about phasers to enjoy this online comedy
Being known for a particular role has always been a double-edged sword: You’re recognized wherever you go, but it’s hard to find work playing any other part.
After serving as Lieutenant Commander Data for 178 episodes and four films worth of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Brent Spiner is all too familiar with this situation, and he’s taken his frustration to the net with his web series, Fresh Hell.
Although Spiner plays a fictionalized version of himself in the series, his struggle to find new acting opportunities isn’t because of all the time he spent as an android. Adding a twist of The Simpsons’ Troy McClure to the mix, the series posits that Spiner’s unemployment problems are the result of an as-yet-unidentified “incident” so horrific that he’s lost everything and is battling to rebuild both his career and his reputation.
It’s so much fun watching people’s appalled reactions whenever he’s recognized, however, that one hopes that it’s never revealed what he actually did, as there’s no way it’ll ever live up to viewers’ imaginations.
During the first season of Fresh Hell, Spiner, now living alone in a small apartment, helps his young porn-actress neighbour (Kat Steel) hone her acting technique — don’t worry, it’s only the delivery of her dialogue that he assists her with — and, as a result, gets a dodgy new agent (Brian Palermo).
As season two begins, Spiner starts moving forward with the idea of starting his own acting studio, but as he’s low on funds, he imposes on a former co-star for a loan. It’s impressive that Spiner holds off so long before bringing in a famous friend as a guest star, but LeVar Burton’s appearance is more than worth the wait.
Spiner’s got something good going here. Here’s hoping he’s in his Fresh Hell for quite some time to come.
Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.