My 13-year-old self thinks I’m really freaking cool right now. I attended the “Star Trek Experience” panel last Thursday at the Salt Lake Comic Con. For those unfamiliar, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn and Denise Crosby took part in a panel discussion with William Shatner as the host. It lasted about and hour and a half and cost an additional $30 to the price of attending the Con itself.
I wasn’t sure at first if I was going to attend. I was a huge TNG fan as a teenager and continue to be a big Star Trek fan. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay the $30 for a panel without Patrick Stewart. There were rumors he might show up. I spoke to Dan Farr that morning and he was a bit cagey about whether Sir Patrick would attend the Con. I knew I could see the members of the crew in their solo/pair up panels but this would be my only chance to see them all together.
About halfway through the day I decided to just take the plunge. I couldn’t forgive myself if Picard showed up and I wasn’t there. We got in line about half an hourly early and ended up with some decent seats. Dan Farr eventually came out and introduced Shatner and the crew. I kept hoping he would announce Stewart but it never did happen. They took their seats on the TNG bridge replica (or restoration, not sure) and started cracking wise. Soon I forgot about Stewart and found myself really enjoying the camaraderie between the cast.
I thought Shatner did a great job moderating and letting the cast run a little crazy. Marina Sirtis was nothing like I expected. I guess I hadn’t realized how unlike her character she is in real life. At times it felt as if she might have been drunk. Maybe she was, but it was fascinating to see her seemingly stripped of any inhibitions. Frakes and Spiner were the comedians of the group and Dorn, McFadden and the mostly silent Crosby played the straight men/women.
To be honest, it was a blast watching these Star Trek icons reminisce about old times, while simultaneously ripping on their fellow cast members. It was like watching old high school friends reunite as if no time had passed. Based on their comments, it seemed like the tone on the set of TNG probably wasn’t much different. I too was transported back to the early nineties and my love of TNG. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. If you’re a fan of this cast and/or show, you’ll have to check out our video we’ll post later of the entire panel… if for no other reason than to see Jonathan Frakes discuss how his only job on the show was to show up and say, “report.”
Oh and one more thing. Just as the panel was ending they announced that Patrick Stewart indeed was going to attend the con on Saturday. Talk about the icing on the cake. I’ll have more to say about his appearance later in my overall SLCC impressions. Live long and prosper.