Is it time for Jonathan Frakes to return to a classic '90s series?
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Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Jonathan Frakes is teasing the return of another beloved 1990s TV show that helped make him a household name. The actor and director took to Twitter on Thursday where he shared a photo without much context that was very recognizable to fans of the science-fiction anthology series Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Frakes hosted the show from 1998 until 2002. He appears on what looks to be the dark, ominous library set of the show in the typical all-black suit he wore for a major of his episodes as host.
See the Twitter post from Jonathan Frakes below.
For those unfamiliar, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction was a TV anthology series that played a little game with its viewers every week. Each episode featured the host, Jonathan Frakes, using a clever pun to introduce a story that, to put it simply, defied all Earthly logic. Of the five stories presented each week, some were based on true stories, while others were mere fabrications created by a team of writers. Viewers were tasked with guessing which ones were fact or fiction before the answers were revealed by Frakes at the end of the episode.
Sadly, Jonathan Frakes presented no more context with his photo, leaving fans scratching their heads and wondering if this is the first step toward an announcement that the former FOX network series is getting the reboot treatment like so many other shows on modern TV.
Regardless of what news may or may not be forthcoming for Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction and Jonathan Frakes fans, the teaser begs the question of whether or not the anthology series could even work in the modern day. The thing about the show is that it premiered just before the ubiquity of the Internet. When it came to finding stories that were based on “fact,” a majority of them came from the research of author Robert Tralins, who CultureCrossFire notes wrote countless science fiction and pulp novels such as Strange Events Beyond Human Understanding, Weird People of the Unknown, Children of the Supernatural, and Clairvoyance in Women.
While Tralins’ accounts passed muster in the late 1990s, 2021 audiences full of online sleuths would be able to pick apart the show’s liberal use of the word “fact” with a fine-toothed comb before the first commercial break. The original run of the Jonathan Frakes hosted show allowed viewers to suspend their disbelief a little bit and accept the outcome at the end of the episode because there was no avenue to research these topics in any way that wouldn’t just lead them back to Tralins’ work. Today, though, the average viewer has a device in their pocket that could help them determine where the story went off the rails, thus opening the potential reboot up to accusations of, well, lying. However, the tradeoff for the modern-day would be the fact that the internet offers a new generation of researchers much more fodder to discover true stories for Jonathan Frakes to present that defy expectation and are — yes — beyond belief.
Jonathan Frakes, meanwhile, seems like the type of person who would jump at the chance to step back into his Victorian study set to spin some more yarns. After taking over for original host, James Brolin, following Season 1, he’s developed a sort-of cult following for his time on the show. In addition, Frakes’ has kept busy since the conclusion of Beyond Belief as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation with projects that are more than fitting of his fandom.
He’s gone on to direct several episodes of Star Trek: Discovery as well as reprising his role as William T. Riker in the Paramount+ original series Picard. Further demonstrating that he knows his wheelhouse, he’s also done a bevy of voiceover work for shows like Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek: Lower Decks and, most recently, starred in a video offering some backstory for the immensely popular battle royale-style game Player Unknown Battleground.