Television proved to be Spiner's road to fame when he was cast as Data on the syndicated smash, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-94). Any negative thoughts of playing a greenish-gold android-a potential knockoff of Leonard Nimoy's logical and unemotional Spock from the original series-soon vanished, as Spiner and the writers began exploring the conflict of being a living machine. Spiner's character became a 23rd Century Pinocchio-an eager, quizzical golem learning to become human. He reprised the role for the series' first feature, "Star Trek: Generations" (1995), and its sequels "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996), "Star Trek: Insurrection" (1998), and "Star Trek: Nemesis" (2002). In 1995, Spiner played scientists in two high-profile features: in "Independence Day," he was an eccentric aiding in the fight against invading aliens, and in "Phenomenon," he was a low-key traditionalist. The following year, he gave an hilarious turn as a controlling cruise director in the uneven comedy "Out to Sea." In 1999, he played the sensitive manager and lover of Dorothy Dandridge (Halle Berry) in the HBO telepic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." Over the next few years Spiner brought his distinctive spark to a succession of supporting roles in television movies and feature films, such as "Gepetto" (2000), "Dude, Where's My Car?" (2000) and "I Am Sam" (2001). His next major role came in 2002 as Dana Carvey's arch-enemy in the silly comedy "Master of Disguise," which he followed by reprising the pivotal role of Data and his android doppelganger B4 in "Star Trek: Nemesis." Spiner also appeared as Robert Gross, president of airplane manufacturer Lockheed, in "The Aviator" (2004), Martin Scorsese's epic biography about eccentric airline tycoon, Howard Hughes.In a unique twist, Spiner showed up on the fourth Star Trek series, "Enterprise" (UPN, 2001-05), as Dr. Arik Soong, the man who created his original Star Trek character, Data. Then after a cameo appearance in "Jack" (Showtime, 2004), a family drama about a 15-year-old boy (Anton Yelchin) dealing with puberty and his parent's divorce, Spiner starred alongside a recognizable cast in "Threshold" (CBS, 2005-06), Shaun Cassidy's supernatural drama about a small Florida town recovering from a devastating hurricane rumored to have been caused by aliens from outer space. Spiner played a former top NASA biologist who works with other scientists in trying to figure out why a strange alien object that may be altering human DNA entered the Earth's orbit after the storm. Along with generally positive reviews from critics, "Threshold" helped CBS consistently win Friday nights in the never-ending ratings war.