Six Degrees Of Star Trek: The Next Generation And The Kevin Bacon Number

In September of 2017, Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG) turns 30 years old. Arguably the best series in the long, storied history of Star Trek, ST:TNG made being bald cool again, scored Emmy Awards as a syndicated show, and took special effects to a whole new level on television. Most importantly, TNG did what science fiction does best — using fantastic visuals to tell stories about humanity. To tell those stories, many great actors known to geekdom, filled the shoes of aliens, dignitaries, thieves, and more from across the galaxy.

10 Actors Who Appeared On
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Famke Janssen

Long before she was Jean Grey or on Hemlock Grove, Famke Janssen appeared on television for the first time in the ST:TNG episode “The Perfect Mate.” As Kamala, Janssen was an empathic metamorph, a chameleon of feeling, who can sense what a mate desires and become precisely that. In the episode, Janssen even refers to herself as a mutant!

Bacon Number: 2

Saul Rubinek

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For five seasons, Rubinek played Artie Nielson on SyFy’s Warehouse 13, but before he landed on Earth he was collecting artifacts at all costs all around the galaxy. Rubinek played the sociopathic Kivas Fajo who kidnaps android Lt. Commander Data in the ST: TNG episode “The Most Toys.” The episode is notable for Saul’s performance and a thought-provoking ending.

Bacon Number: 2

Matt Frewer

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Often remembered as Max Headroom, Frewer is a character actor with a list of credits that’s insanely long. Most recently he’s played Dr. Kirschner on 12 Monkeys and Dr. Aldous Leekie on the fantastic series Orphan Black. In the ST: TNG episode “A Matter Of Time,” Frewer plays a 22nd-century inventor who highjacks a time machine and uses it to steal inventions from the future.

Bacon Number: 2

Brenda Strong

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Supergirl and Star Trek connect as Lillian Luther, played by Brenda Strong, appeared in ST:TNG during the episode “When The Bough Breaks.” Strong played Rashalla, a member of a secluded, mysterious planet who lost the ability to have children. So, her people kidnap a bunch of kids from the Enterprise! Desperate Housewives fans will recognize Strong’s voice since she’s the show’s deceased narrator.

Bacon Number: 2

Bob Gunton

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Veteran actor Bob Gunton is familiar to most cinephiles as Warden Norton in the acclaimed 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption. To fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s Leland Owlsley on Netflix’s Daredevil. Gunton played a vengeful starship captain in the ST: TNG episode “The Wounded.”

Bacon Number: 1

Teri Hatcher

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The early 90s TV version of Lois Lane and antagonist on the CW’s Supergirl, Teri Hatcher appeared on ST:TNG in the episode “The Outrageous Okana.” Her role was minor, but it was the start of Hatcher’s rise to fame. Soon, Hatcher was starring in Lois and Clark on ABC and years later would star in Desperate Housewives.

Bacon Number: 1

Ronny Cox

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Get your ass to Mars because that’s where most people will recognize Ronny Cox. Cox is the greedy, air-controlling antagonist in the original Total Recall starring Arnold Shwarzenegger. As a character actor known for authoritarian roles, Cox joined ST: TNG to play Captain Jellico who took command of the Enterprise in the phenomenal two-part episode “Chain Of Command.”

Bacon Number: 2

Kirsten Dunst

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That’s right, without Star Trek, there would be no Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. One of Dunst’s earliest roles, her character Hedril was a member of a telepathic species known as the Cairn. Hedril unwittingly triggers dark memories in one of ST:TNG’s recurring characters, revealing a dark secret from the past.

Bacon Number: 2

James Cromwell

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Cinephiles know Cromwell as the guy who tended to a talking pig in Babe or as the inventor of warp speed in the film Star Trek: First Contact. Cromwell is a Trek veteran, having appeared in two roles on ST:TNG and one on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine plus the pilot for Star Trek: Enterprise. On ST:TNG, he played Prime Minister Nayrok in “The Hunted” and appeared in heavy alien makeup as Jaglom Shrek in the two-parter “Birthright.”

Bacon Number: 1

Michelle Forbes

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If you watch even a little TV, chances are you’ve seen, Michelle Forbes. Before appearing on True Blood, 24, Prison Break, or Powers, Forbes played not one but TWO roles on ST: TNG. First, it was a guest spot in the episode “Half A Life.” Producers brought Forbes back for three seasons to play Ensign Ro, a complicated Bajoran with divided loyalties.

Bacon Number: 2

Honorable Mention: Kevin Peter Hall

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The late Kevin Peter Hall isn’t a household face, but he’s a legend in the annals of geekdom. As the man in the Predator costume, Hall tormented Schwarzenegger in the original Predator movie. At seven-foot-two, Hall played Bigfoot in Harry and the Hendersons. On ST:TNG, Hall donned another alien costume as a Caledonian negotiator, Leyor, in the episode “The Price.”

Bacon Number: 2

The Kevin Bacon Number

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Ruben Diaz
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.