This Sunday's episode of Family Guy, which takes shots at Star Trek conventions and features the guest appearance of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, is aiming to attract two groups of viewers. One will be the loyal fans of the animated hit, and the other will be the loyal fans of the sci-fi spin-off.
However, the majority will consider themselves fans of both, as Family Guy and sci-fi--for some reason or other--go together like martinis and talking dogs. Family Guy producer David A. Goodman considers himself to be a hardcore "Trekkie" and sees no problem lampooning one of his favorite properties.
"I think it's easy to mock things that take themselves too seriously," Goodman said on a conference call with the media today. "Star Trek is both wonderful and pompous at the same time [laughs]. I am a die-hard Trekkie, but there are moments in a Star Trek where it takes itself very seriously."
So the only thing to do was cut it down to size… Family Guy style. Goodman notes that plenty of shows have poked fun at the original Star Trek (Goodman himself wrote the episode of Futurama in which Fry recreates Star Trek with the heads of the original cast members), but few have taken on The Next Generation.
In the episode, the Griffins head to a Star Trek convention, but when Stewie doesn't get to ask his fan question during the Next Generation panel, he devises a plan to kidnap the cast: buy a transporter and beam them back to the house.
While most of the attention has been put on the Star Trek storyline, the episode's A-story involves a God-finding Meg and atheist Brian butting heads over religion--a controversial topic not unfamiliar to Family Guy.
"We've done religion before… but this one has a new twist," Goodman said, adding that he found it interesting that some groups consider atheists more dangerous than Muslim extremists.
As for upcoming episodes, Goodman says that besides the announced Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi spoofs, there aren't any other movie parodies in the pipeline, aside from one of next season's episodes that is reminiscent of the gender-bending Tootsie.
And what of that unusual Bones crossover coming up? "That's their episode," Goodman says, "you'd probably have to talk to [them] but we were really thrilled they wanted to do something with us."
Other tidbits from this morning's call: The Empire Strikes Back episode will probably be ready for the end of next season, Goodman makes a cameo as a fan in this Sunday's episode and has a "run-in with Patrick Stewart," and the Return of the Jedi episode will feature characters from American Dad! and The Cleveland Show.
Check out an all-new Family Guy this Sunday at 9 p.m. on Fox.