I am readying myself for transport. Soon I will beam down to my favorite alien surface in the Galaxy - the annual Creation Entertainment Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. There I will experience many of your Earth emotions - glee at encountering like-minded souls, cheerful frustration while bickering over obscure facts, joy upon concluding on common ground: We Reach!
If, by chance, you haven't yet decided to join us, and want to make an impulsive trip at maximum warp, this is what I've got coming up for me this August 8 - 11 at the Rio Hotel.
Once again I'll be hosting One Trek Mind panels LIVE. (Last year we held these events on the DeForest Kelley Stage; I hope they name it thusly this year, too.) At One Trek Mind Live you will get to experience the THRILL and EXCITEMENT of seeing a deadline-driven writer patch together the backbone of the entire Internet: a top ten list!
Last year we determined - in stone, for perpetuity, in this Universe and all parallels - what are the Best Fights, Best TOS Episodes, Best TNG Episodes and Most Useless Aliens. Those were just warning shots across the bow. This year, the photon torpedoes are locked on target.
That means: not a member of the day-to-day crew, but not a one-time guest shot either. Who will be on the list? Humans like Reg Barclay or Michael Eddington or Lt. Kyle? Klingons like Martok or Gowron? How many Jeffrey Combs characters will be named? (I'm pulling for Shran at least, but I'm sure Brunt and Weyoun have their fans.) Also, should we just call this a top 9 list? I think we can all agree our mysterious Cardassian tailor Garak will be number 1, right?
* Bright and early the next day (9:30 am) we'll meet back to hammer out the ranking order of the Star Trek feature films.
Now, I love all my children equally, but, let's face it, the real interest lies in what's gonna end up last. Will it be The Final Frontier? Will it be Nemesis? Will it be... something more recent? Certainly the matter and antimatter will fly during this panel, and if you have something you want to get off your chest about the recent work of one Jeffrey Jacob Abrams (a Star Trek fan with an opinion? Naaaaah!) this will be the BEST opportunity to express yourself.
* I better not drink too much Saurian brandy on Friday night, because I have a big morning planned for Saturday. That's when we'll be planning our MOST AMBITIOUS and, dare I say it, MOST CONTENTIOUS panel. Like a fantasy baseball team, we are going to piece together the best Star Trek crew.
We won't just be choosing Best Captain Ever. We'll be choosing Best Captain Ever and Best First Officer, Best Chief Engineer and so on down the line. Also: we have to make sure they work well TOGETHER. Do Picard and Spock make a good team, or are they TOO logical? Would Kirk and Riker kick massive amounts of butt, or would they simply have too much fun. Maybe we need someone to come in out of left field to make the team truly synch up (Trip Tucker, this may mean you!)
There are a lot of moving parts to this one and that's why Saturday morning's adventure (9 AM sharp!) will be a two-part episode! This double-sized panel may even have an intermission. (Hopefully, our stage crew will cut to break with the thunderous brass score from "Best of Both Worlds.") We'll say it's for a quick bathroom break, but we know what it is REALLY for: for me to accept bribes! No, @ChakotayLuvr99, PayPal is not acceptable - Gold Pressed Latinum or nothing!
* On Sunday morning, if I survive the pitchforks from angry fans, we're gonna close out with what I think might end up being the most fun panel of all.
Star Trek fans have voluminous interests. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, right? To that end, we're gonna shatter the myth that all we do is eat and sleep Trek. We're going to list the ten best NON-Star Trek franchises.
Trek is still first in our hearts, but what's number two? Is it Doctor Who? Battlestar Galactica? Marvel movies? Firefly? Lord of the Rings? Will we be the first fans willing to reach across the aisle and say, yes, Star Wars is cool, too? (I mean, for a bunch of movies. Star Wars is good fantasy; Star Trek is real life.)
Here's an opportunity to pipe up in favor of some lesser-discussed properties. Are you the world's biggest Blake's 7 fan? Lexx? Red Dwarf? DC's Legion of Superheroes? What about books (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? The Gormenghast novels? Ringworld? Discworld?) Or maybe you want to argue that video games are the new frontier (the kids today love that Halo/Bioshock/Mass Effect, etc.)
Call me crazy, but I think whichever franchise gets picked second-best by the greatest collection of dedicated science fiction fans is going to feel tremendously proud.
In addition to these four panels I'll be on hand to geek out with you when CBS' John Van Citters and author Larry Nemecek reveal some startling images from their newest, most secretive and most slavishly nerdtastic coffee table book yet. (Make room now - throw out those old TV Guides.)
But at the end of the day, my favorite part of the Con remains meeting all of you. I'll be running around taking Instagrams of all the amazing costumes, and I'll be at the bar ready to argue whether or not The Animated Series is canon. (Note: I'll quickly agree to your point if you are paying for the next round.) If you are a reader of One Trek Mind, please say hello. It's not like we don't have anything to talk about.
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.