Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jonathan Frakes would like to ask you a few questions

Jonathan Frakes is best known as Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Commander Riker, but his role as the host of the sadly dormant Beyond Belief: Fact Or Fiction is what we really ought to remember. A wonderful compilation of Frakes telling gullible fools that they were tricked by the outlandish stories featured on Beyond Belief was the first sign of his resurgence. Now, the gates wide open, a new clip has arrived to show that he’s not just good at shutting down conversations, but starting them, too.

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The cut, put together by Zane Golia, features Frakes demonstrating his hosting prowess by posing question after question. The variety of topics, all pulled from the introductory bits of the dramatized mysteries that make up Beyond Belief’s brain-bursting episodes, is astounding.

Many of the questions are obvious fits for a show about trying to tell the difference between made-up and implausibly real stories. “How superstitious are you?” he says. “How much money would it take to make you spend a night in a cemetery?” “Do you believe in the power of a curse?”

These are all well and good but the real highlights are a rapid-fire collection of more mundane queries, all asked as Frakes wanders a dimly lit set filled with strange antiquities and a thin layer of fog.

“Ever gone mountain biking? “Do you have a pet?” “Can you remember the tallest man you’ve ever seen?” “Have you ever visited a truck stop?” “Planning a trip soon?” “Have you noticed what big stars real-estate agents have become?” “Do you love to go a-wanderin’ beneath the clear blue sky?”

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These are all wonderful things to ask, whether to strangers or dear old friends who may have opinions about truck stops and going “a-wanderin’” that they’ve just been waiting to be asked about. Each one is full of conversational potential—provided of course you pose them back to back to back, looking deep into the eyes of another person as a shred of blue light illuminates your occult sitting room.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.