Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“Set A Course For Home.”

When “Star Trek: Voyager” came on television, I watched the first couple of seasons eagerly. But then we moved from Seattle to St. Louis, and somehow in the shuffle I never went back to it. And I never watched “Star Trek: Enterprise” when it aired for four years, either.

But I caught up with “Voyager,” and I’m catching up with “Enterprise.” Shane, Jack, and I watched all seven seasons of “Voyager” on DVD last spring. We all really enjoyed it - with the exception of Shane’s relationship with Tuvok, who he thought was the worst tactical and security officer he had ever seen. We started watching “Enterprise” before we went to the convention, and we’re enjoying it as well.  Long live Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future.

Robert Picardo, the holographic doctor from “Voyager,” came onstage Thursday evening and set the entertainment bar far too high for anyone else to reach for the rest of the weekend. He was very much like the Doctor, by the end of Season 7 - articulate, clever and funny. He answered some audience questions, but turned them into interesting stories and anecdotes. He talked about himself and his career in a very engaging manner. He sang - yes, the Doctor really can sing, if not quite as operatically as he did in a few episodes of “Voyager.” He talked about that - how he had suggested to the writers that it might be fun to show the Doctor listening to opera in the infirmary - an interestingly emotion-laden hobby for a holograph. And the next thing he knew, he was handed a script where he was expected to sing opera. Not what he had intended, at all, but it turned out well in the end.

Robert Picardo wound up his presentation by reciting an excellent poem he had written himself, from the perspectives of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I was very impressed. What a smart and well-rounded entertainer.

There was a Voyager cast panel onstage on Saturday. If the Next Generation cast had been wild and funny, the Voyager cast was even more so. The panel consisted of Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Roxanne Dawson (B’Elanna Torres), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris), and Garrett Wang (Harry Kim). They all seemed to enjoy each other’s company tremendously. 

When it came time for questions and answers from the audience, the first question was “Excuse me, but wasn’t there a bald man on your show?” It was Robert Picardo! He came up onstage and joined the cast for the rest of the presentation. 

Kate Mulgrew appeared as part of the Four Captains presentation on Sunday. She was energetic, cheerful, and very kind to everyone who asked questions (as well as to Avery Brooks, as mentioned in an earlier blog entry). She said many things of a motivational nature, the most memorable of which was “If you aren’t living your life, then shame on you!” She also did a hilarious impression of what an eleven-year-old girl would be like as captain of Voyager - formidable! The crowd really appreciated her. I was impressed with her, too.

After the Avery Brooks concert chronicled in my previous blog entry, a midnight ‘dessert party’ was held across the hall from the main theater. Tim Russ and his band performed for an hour or so at that event. They were terrific! They were so good, in fact, that I looked up Tim Russ on my phone and discovered that he was a musician first and an actor second. He played guitar and sang, with a backup band. They played rock music. It really made me want to get up and dance - they should have performed where there was a dance floor, some people were dancing by their tables. They got a long ovation when they finished, and many people, including Jack, bought copies of the CD they had with them. We stopped by to tell Tim how much we had enjoyed the concert. He was a bit out of breath from performing, excited and happy and talkative. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday’s main stage, Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) performed a play with Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer -- Malcolm and Trip from “Enterprise.” The name of the play was “Art,” and it was written in 1994 by by French playwright Yasmina Reza. It tells the story of three friends in Paris whose friendship is threatened when one of them buys a very expensive painting that is nothing but a white canvas with a few grey lines on it. It is described as a comedy, and it had a lot of funny moments, but it was dramatic and thoughtful, too. It had nothing to do with Star Trek, science fiction, or any other theme related to the convention (like the Shakespeare presentation).  But we all really enjoyed it, and the three actors did an excellent job with it. 

Connor and Dominic appeared onstage together another time, to talk about their roles in “Enterprise” and answer questions from the audience. They were very funny and clearly good friends. Connor, who has no southern accent whatsoever, was asked about the southern accent of his character, Trip. He said that when he was hired to play Trip, he had recently performed in a play where he had adopted an Oklahoma accent, so he kept that same accent for Trip. Then one day, well into the series, he was handed a script that mentioned that Trip was from Clearwater, Florida. He went to the writers and argued that Trip couldn’t be from Florida, he had an Oklahoma accent. They said it wouldn’t matter, no one would notice; he argued that it certainly would matter to viewers from Oklahoma and Florida! But nothing was changed. He added that some years later, he met a family of fans who actually hailed from Clearwater, Florida, and they complimented him on how well he did their accent. Go figure.

Scott Bakula appeared on Sunday, as part of the Four Captains On Stage. He opened by jumping off the stage and running down an aisle to the back of the huge theater, shouting “hey! I’m at the back!,” and running up another aisle, back onto the stage. It was quite funny, and certainly got everyone’s attention. He then immediately started to take questions. The first one was from a little boy who started out, “My mom is kind of too shy to come up and ask you this -” which got lots of laughs and a round of applause from the audience. The question was, the mother had seen him perform in a musical (I can’t remember which one, something set in the west), and would he sing something from it? Instantly Scott burst into song, though he only made it through a few lines before stopping and saying “never sing right after running all the way around the theater.” 

It was the end of the Star Trek convention. Shane had signed up for an autograph with Scott. So had hundreds of other people. Shane had to stand in line so long that Paul, Jack, and I had to leave him there so we didn’t miss our next event (The Blue Man Group, at the Venetian, which Shane had seen before). When we met up again later that evening, Shane told us that by the time he got close enough to see Scott signing autographs, he saw that Scott was just signing them as fast as they were handed to him, not even looking up at the people in front of him. When Shane reached him, while Scott was signing a picture, Shane said “So, are you still a Cardinals fan?”
Scott instantly looked up. “Oh yes. BIG time.”
I hadn’t even been aware that Scott was from St. Louis. Well done, Shane!

And that is all I have to say about the Star Trek convention. 

Live long, and prosper.


  1. I played Scott Bakula's girlfriend in the first episode of his first series called, "Gungho." He was fresh off Broadway and lovely to work with.

  2. That is so cool, Penny! And good to hear.