I write to you awaiting transport. No, Montgomery Scott is not picking me up in a shuttle craft to offer me a slow, sensual tour of the refit Enterprise. I'm merely at McCarran International Airport, leaving Las Vegas, as they say, after another enjoyable extended weekend at Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention.
As in years past, I hosted four One Trek Mind Live panels, an opportunity to engage in collective list-making that ensures everybody exits the room a little bit disappointed by compromise. There were some familiar faces in the hootin' and hollerin' crowd, as well as plenty of newcomers. Best of all was that this year people approached the mic with prepared written arguments. These hardcore fans are truly my peeps.
Day One: Best Catch Phrases.
The idea here was either a repeated classic line (like “Make it so”) or something said just once, but was so perfect it belongs on a T-shirt. When some of the suggestions were a little lengthy someone in the audience argued it couldn't fit on one single piece of clothing. I then pointed to my own girth and reminded that Trek fans find a way.
It isn't too much of a surprise that “Live Long and Prosper” took the top prize. It quickly sums up the logical optimism of Star Trek's signature character. But "Risk is our business,” which was as fine a one-liner for the Kirk-era, somehow got nixed. Same with “Shut up, Wesley!” but that's because we agreed that we all eventually grew to love the young Ensign. Also left out was “Engage!” but that's because “Make it so” was so high on the list, and is a good rep for Captain Picard. There was a side discussion as to whether or not “Make it so” needed an exclamation point at the end. I like that it doesn't. Picard doesn't need to exclaim, he leads calmly.
Another side conversation broke out over Scotty's claim of “givin' 'er all she's got.” Is Scotty actually givin' YOU (meaning the Captain) all he's got? Or is he giving the engines all that he, Scotty, has got. It became pretty heavy – and it's made even better with the wee, live typo (“she” not “she's”). We're going to break this down even further in a One Trek Mind column, because the specificity and confusion brought everyone to a tizzy – just the type of thing I love at these panels.
Day Two: Best Klingons.
The Mighty Warriors of Qo'onoS! Who has the most honor? Appropriately, there was a bloody battle in making this list. Firstly, there was great discussion concerning the inclusion of an honorary Klingon: Jadzia Dax. Despite proving her worth on a Klingon ship and winning a Klingon's heart (and singing their drinking songs) the crowd in Vegas was strict. They respected her, but they excluded her.
Trust me, I was in her corner but I was shouted down. It was a bitter fistful of gagh to swallow. Also – despite Kahless being history's most important Klingon, the one we saw was merely the clone. Thus he got stuck in 10th place.
The big fight came for the top spot: Worf or Martok. Those boosting Martok made a good point – even Worf selected the one-eyed warrior when it came time to name a new Chancellor. Be that as it may, the brave Son of Mogh, the Quaffer of Prune Juice, ended up being #1. Keep in mind that no character has been in more episodes of the show. I think it's a good pick.
Day Three: Best Post-Trek Roles.
We all agree that for any actor being in Star Trek is the absolute pinnacle of success. It is clearly all downhill from there. And yet, it's not like we want these people to just stay home playing Minesweeper all day – these fine thespians should still get out there and do their thing. To that end, we discussed the ten best post-Trek roles for Trek actors.
Shockingly, Leonard Nimoy in Invasion of the Body Snatchers and John de Lancie in Breaking Bad weren't brought up. The biggest argument was about our friend William Shatner. Not his role hosting Rescue 911. Not in the schlocky Kingdom of the Spiders. Not even his role as T.J. Hooker (though one guy nominated it despite confessing he'd never seen an episode.) No – the fight that blew the roof off the joint was his work as the Priceline Negotiator.
Ultimately, we decided that advertising shouldn't be allowed. Even though he's been out there fighting for you to get you great savings (and, as an audience member reminded, doing it longer than any Trek series), not enough people returned the favor and fought for him. The Negotiator got cut, but Denny Crane did secure high placement at #2. He couldn't defeat Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, but this didn't come as much of a surprise.
Day Four: Top Star Trek Jerks.
The fourth panel began with a lengthy definition of terms. What is a jerk? Gul Dukat is not a jerk – he's evil. Quark is not a jerk – he just has a different value system (and, ultimately, proved himself brave.) And Cyrano Jones isn't a jerk – he's just a doofus.
Ya got all that? Well, maybe not, but that's okay because this is all about getting in a room together in Las Vegas and screaming at one another.
Number ten certainly got the blood pumping. It's true the Chris Pine is still playing Captain Kirk as a young, brash jerk. We feel it's by choice, as we're still seeing his evolution, and we're hoping we're going to see this all pay off with the next Star Trek film. If not... all hell will break loose next time we do this panel.
I was thrilled to see Ambassador Fox from “A Taste of Armageddon” make the list. This jerk was warned time and again not to do something and he did it anyway and then acted surprised when trouble came of it. What a jerk! But he did have a job to do and Kirk still trusted him in the end. That's why he wasn't that high on the list.
The top spot was tough. Captain Jellico really was a pain – he made people wake up early - and he was rude to Riker, too. However, he was key to saving the day when the chips were down. Q, on the other hand, is the quintessential jerk. A recurring pest who could have made everyone's lives easier with a snap of the fingers. His worst crime, however, was this: he was still a little bit likable. That makes him the biggest jerk of all – that you'd still come back for more!
So that was the weekend that was. These panels are a blast and we plan to continue doing them at future Trek conventions. But we're always up for suggestions. If you have an idea for a group-led Top 10 list, please leave them in the suggestion box below.
Jordan Hoffman is a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can also be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and Badass Digest. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels.