Star Trek: Voyager Finally Found A Cameo Worthy Of Jason Alexander

"Star Trek: Voyager" season 5, episode 20, "Think Tank" (first aired March 31, 1999) saw a dangerous cadre of bounty hunters attack the ship and capture the crew, and in the midst of battle, U.S.S. Voyager is visited by a mysterious and soft-spoken alien named Kurros (Jason Alexander). Kurros explains that he belongs to a think tank of ultra-intelligent beings — cleverly hidden in subspace — who have linked themselves to a telepathy machine. With it, the think tank can share thoughts and solve complex problems. The think tank offers to solve the Voyager's current bounty hunter problem, but only in exchange for Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). 

Alexander has long been a Trekkie, and has always been quite vocal about it. In 1999, prior to his appearance on "Voyager," Alexander played a version of Captain Kirk on an hour-long TV special called "Ultimate Trek: Star Trek's Greatest Moments," wherein he was elated to emulate William Shatner, a personal hero of his.

He explains eloquently in a 2011 interview with

"I was probably 10 years old when I first discovered Trek. I had three cousins who were big fans and they introduced me to it. I was hooked on the first episode. Originally, it was the escapist fantasy of being a superhero/spaceman that intrigued me. But later, yes, it was the quality of the writing. It was the dedication to use the genre to explore the social issues of the day in dramatic form. There was always humor and poetry in the writing of Trekisodes. And so many of Roddenberry's creations of concepts, sounds, structures have stood the test of time. They are the foundation of all the derivations of Trek that have followed. Gene's vision has never been outgrown despite decades of innovation. That's quite an accomplishment."

I want to be an alien

In a 2013 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Tony-winner and eight-time Emmy-nominee Alexander explained that Shatner was primary inspiration for getting into showbiz in the first place. He has been approached frequently to appear on "Star Trek" — Alexander was, after all, on one of the most popular TV shows of all time — but the role was never quite right for Alexander: 

"I had put the word out that I wanted to be part of the Trek world. Each of the series would come to me and either the dates were not good for me or, more often than not, they wanted me to play a human — and kind of a "George"-like human. I told them the big departure for me would be to play an alien. I did so much histrionics as George, I was kind of hoping I'd wind up as a Vulcan so that I'd get to play some great intellect. It was finally Voyager that understood that and called with the perfect part."

Alexander's attitude is understandable; any average Trekkie would likely prefer to be a Klingon or a Vulcan over a boring old human lieutenant. The makers of "Voyager" not only thought of an alien for Alexander, but a brainy one, a character wholly unlike his character on "Seinfeld": 

"... all the follow-up series had asked me to come on, but they had all wanted me to come on as a human. And I said, 'I don't want to be human, I want to be an alien, I want to be a creature,' and no one ever found the slot until 'Voyager' called and said, 'How would you like to be the smartest guy in the galaxy?' And I went, 'Now you're talking!'"

You look like snot

While Alexander was enthused about playing the smartest guy in the galaxy — and was eager to get into the makeup chair and be transformed into a creature — his kids were less than impressed. One of Alexander's sons was only five at the time of filming and was not tactful enough to be polite about Kurros' head and hair: 

"So I went in and I had my prosthetics done, and I had this kind of horrible scraggly wig, and this sort of Romulan bone plate head and the funny nose and weird eyes. It was, you know, three hours in the chair. And my kids were young, and I said 'Come on over to the studio, you can see daddy as an alien,' and I'm thinking they're gonna be so impressed, and they came over and I go 'What do you think?' And my son goes, 'You look like snot!'"

Eloquent. But Alexander was unconcerned with that particular piece of criticism, as the thrill of appearing on "Star Trek" was enough. 

"My kids think everything I do is very underwhelming actually, but it was fantastic, I loved it. I loved being in that universe, I loved being on that ship — I mean, you talk about 'you'll believe a man will fly,' I was ready to take that ship and blast out of that stage and head into the cosmos."

"Star Trek: Voyager" is available on Paramount+. Alexander will return to "Star Trek" with a recurring role on "Star Trek: Prodigy" as Dr. Noum.