If you think there's no way that soap operas and Star Trek connect, think again. Not only is General Hospital's Genie Francis (ex-Laura Spencer) married to the franchise's Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker), an episode of 1995's Star Trek: Voyager featured two characters traveling back in time and getting caught up in a daytime drama. But those aren't the only ways the two industries collide: Several Star Trek actors have appeared on soap operas, and the franchise has portrayed the eventual ending of daytime dramas. It's been a long-term symbiotic relationship that soapcentral.com is exploring in honor of the late Leonard Nimoy (Spock), who passed away on February 27 at the age of 83. Read on to get the details of each cosmic connection.
Star Trek's Definition of the Term "Soap Opera"
According to Memory Alpha, the official Star Trek Wiki page, a soap opera is defined as "a televised form of entertainment from Earth, focusing on the exploration of human relationships."
Star Trek:Voyager's Soap Opera Episode
In November of 1996, Star Trek: Voyager aired an episode titled "Future's End" in which the USS Voyager was sent back in time from 2373 to 1996. Kes (Jennifer Lien) and Neelix (Ethan Phillips) were assigned to monitor Earth communication broadcasts, including television, and got completely engrossed in a 20th century soap opera. The storyline the pair couldn't keep their eyes off of featured a character named Blaine who realized that the son he had with Jessica was actually fathered by his twin brother, Jack.
GH's Genie Francis (Laura Spencer) Marries Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker)
Though both Genie Francis and Jonathan Frakes got their start on soap operas (Francis on GH, and Frakes as The Doctors' Tom Carroll and Days of our Lives' Jared McAllister), the pair actually met while filming the television miniseries Bare Essence. After meeting again while filming the miniseries North and South, the couple officially began dating in 1985, followed by an engagement in 1986 and marriage on May 28, 1988. Since then, the couple has had two children: Jameson Ivor Frakes in 1994 and Elizabeth Francis Frakes in 1997.
"I didn't know anything [about soap operas]," joked Frakes in a 2013 interview with A.V. Club about his start with the genre. "I didn't know how famous my wife was when I started working with her!"
Star Trek Actors Who've Appeared on Soap Operas
Just as both soap operas and Star Trek boast dedicated and loyal fan bases, both industries have boasted the same names in front of their cameras. Many actors have appeared on both soaps and Star Trek, including Barry Jenner (ex-Jerry Kenderson, Dallas; Admiral Ross, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), John de Lancie (ex-Eugene Bradford, Days of our Lives; Q, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Stephen Mines (ex-Paul Stewart, As the World Turns; Robert Tomlinson, Star Trek), Jonathan Farwell (ex-George Rawlins, The Young and the Restless; Captain Walker Reel, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Peter Parros (ex-Ben Harris, ATWT; ex-Ben Price, One Life to Live; Tactics Officer, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Marj Dusay (ex-Vanessa Bennett, All My Children; ex-Alexandra Spaulding, Guiding Light; Kara, Star Trek), Tony Todd (ex-Gus Rogan, Y&R; Kurn, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Roxanne Dawson (ex-Adrienne Morrow, Another World; B'Elanna Torres, Star Trek: Voyager), James Doohan (ex-Damon Warwick, The Bold and the Beautiful; Scotty, Star Trek), Jonathan Frakes (ex-Jared McAllister, Days of our Lives; ex-Tom Carroll, The Doctors; William T. Riker, Star Trek), and Gates McFadden (ex-Lisa Mallory, AMC; Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation).
Star Trek Predicts Soaps Will End by 2040
Soap operas have lived long and prospered, with many rivaling the longevity of Star Trek itself. But just how long will the daytime soap genre last? According to the franchise, only about 25 more years! As several episodes of the various Star Trek series have shown, by the year 2040, World War III will be raging on Earth, and human beings will have begun to lose interest in forms of entertainment such as television and baseball.