Two sci-fi worlds collide Wednesday night (Aug. 29) when actor Patrick Stewart guest stars on the hourlong midseason finale of Comedy Central's animated series "Futurama."
Stewart, who portrayed Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for seven seasons, appears in an episode called "31st Century Fox." He voices the Huntmaster, who leads enthusiasts — including the foulmouthed robot Bender — in a fox chase over hill and dale.
No word yet on whether Stewart's character begins the hunt with Picard's cosmic catch phrase: "Engage!"
The episode doesn't mark Stewart's first foray into animated TV. Since 2005, he has voiced the character of CIA deputy director Avery Bullock on the Fox series "American Dad!"
A second new "Futurama" episode called "Naturama" follows, in which various characters are reborn as wild animals. The action starts at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central.
"Futurama," which was dreamt up by "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, centers on the life of Philip J. Fry, a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on New Year's Eve in 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later.
Fry finds a job at an intergalactic delivery company called Planet Express, where he meets a wide range of quirky characters. There's Planet Express boss Hubert J. Farnsworth, for example, a 160-year-old mad scientist who also happens to be Fry's great-nephew, going down 30 or 40 generations.
Other Planet Express employees include Bender, the attractive one-eyed female mutant Leela and the constantly ravenous Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-like creature with a dismal grasp of human physiology and anatomy.
Though "Futurama" premiered in 1999, it's in just its seventh season. The show has come back from the dead several times, to the delight of its many devoted fans. Comedy Central picked it up for season six, which aired in 2010-2011.
Season seven consists of 26 episode split equally across two semi-seasons. Season 7A comes to an end Wednesday night, with 7B still to come. Seasons 6A and 6B began airing in June 2010 and June 2011, respectively.