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Adam Holmes

Voyager’s ‘Tuvix’ Was A Writer’s Big Break In Hollywood. Now They’ve Shared Their Sweet Reaction To Star Trek: Lower Decks’ ‘Twovix’ Episode

Main characters of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

When you have a franchise like Star Trek that’s been around for nearly 60 years and spans numerous movies, TV shows and other media, certain stories are going to be talked about more than others. Sometimes that’s because they’re almost universally praised, but then there are times when it’s because the story in question is incredibly polarizing among the fanbase. Star Trek: Voyager’s infamous “Tuvix” falls into that category, but for one writer, it served as their big break in Hollywood. Nearly three decades after “Tuvix” originally aired, Star Trek: Lower Decks released the “love letter” known as “Twovix,” and now CinemaBlend has learned about this writer’s sweet reaction to the animated TV show’s episode.

“Twovix” kicked off Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 4 earlier this year to Paramount+ subscribers, and during my interview with Tawny Newsome, who voices Beckett Mariner, following the season’s conclusion, I asked for her thoughts on how the episode simultaneously poked fun at and paid homage to “Tuvix.” The actress proceeded to tell me how she met the person who came up with the latter story during the SAG-AFTRA strike, saying:

I can’t believe I forgot to talk about this with everyone else, so you’re getting the scoop. I met a fantastic writer named Mark Gaberman on the picket lines early on in the strike. And we met through a writer named Carlos Cisco, who wrote for Star Trek: Discovery, who was a lot captain, the lot coordinator at Disney. And Mark wrote the story for “Tuvix.” He didn’t write the teleplay, but he has the ‘Story By’ credit. It was his first ever job in Hollywood. So we got friendly just by running into each other not the picket lines, and I would introduce him to other Trek writers. And when our episode 401 came out, I think Carlos Cisco sent it to him, and he lost his mind and he DM’d me, and he’s like, ‘Oh my God, I feel so honored! I can’t believe that you guys resurrected this…’ It was his first job, and so he’s like, ‘I can’t believe you resurrected this.’ And it was such a beautiful piece of weird Trek writer history that it made me re-love that episode all over again, which I have mixed feelings about. But it’s a perfect Star Trek moral quandary, and I got to meet the guy that came up with it.

For those who are unfamiliar with “Tuvix,” the 24th episode of Star Trek: Voyager’s second season saw the characters Tuvok and Neelix being merged into the title being due to a transporter malfunction. The ship’s crew becomes divided over whether Tuvix has the right to live or if he should be separated back into Tuvok and Neelix. In the end, Captain Janeway performs the procedure to carry out the latter after The Doctor is unable to because of his vow to do no harm. Janeway’s action is still a popular debate topic amongst Star Trek fans, and Tuvok actor Tim Russ is asked about the controversial episode a lot.

Which brings us to “Twovix,” which saw members of the Cerritos dealing with a similar kind of transporter accident that merged Dr. T'Ana and chief engineer Billups into T'illups. However, upon learning what happened to Tuvix on Voyager, T'illups proceeded to create more merged beings on the Cerritos, and those beings then came together to form one massive, flesh monstrosity. Fortunately, everyone was separated back to their original selves by the end.

“Twovix” towed the line nicely between making fun of “Tuvix” and also effectively playing with the core premise, and as we now know from Tawny Newsome, Mark Gaberman, who came up with the story alongside Andre Shepard Price (with Kenneth Biller penning the teleplay), liked what he saw. Gaberman received ‘Story By’ credits on four more Star Trek: Voyager episodes, but since the show concluded in 2001, he’s become a mainstay writer for the game show Jeopardy! and its various spinoffs. Still, the Star Trek series was instrumental to his professional life, and it’s good to hear from Newsome that he approved of how Lower Decks played around with his narrative concept.

Star Trek: Lower Decks fans can look forward to Season 5 arriving at a yet-to-be-announced date, so while we wait for news on that batch of episodes, feel free to have a double feature of sorts by screening “Tuvix” and “Twovix” back-to-back on Paramount+. You can also learn what other upcoming Star Trek shows are on the franchise’s slate.

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