Monday, August 11, 2008

On Thursday...

Thursday, August 7

I started out with Rigel and Patrick Woida, who designed the Phoenix lander. That was cool from an intellectual capacity, but it wasn't exactly layman-friendly. There were some neat pictures, which I think you can get on the web, and a lot of humor about the ice they found on Mars, which they're very excited about. Anyway, like I said, fun, not hugely layman friendly.


Grace Lee Whitney, dude. Wow. What an amazing person to have onstage, even with two co-guests. She really has a grip on herself now, despite the problems she had at the time, and she was just amazing to listen to. Her wig that she wore – that got stolen. We'll discuss that later. She was onstage with Michael Forrest (Apollo) and Sandra Smith (Janice Lester), who were also wonderful. Sandra Smith especially – I've often thought she made a better Kirk than Shatner did.

The Okudas were also there. I missed them last year, which was a mistake. They talked about the process of TOS Remasterd and showed some great footage. Their production work was something like this:

1.Watch ep and take notes
2.Meet and rewatch ep with starship toys
4.order pizza pizza with CBS work revised over the internet

Sounds complicated.

“The Menagerie”, with the dome shot, was one that they had to force the people at CBS digital to look at ahead of time, and when they did they went “Oh, crap,” or something to that effect. I can see why. It's not exactly a common shot for today, much less in 1964 when they shot it.

They also talked about why it was needed, and I have to admit that that reason is fine with me. I always hated TOS Remastered when people were talking just for the hell of it, but it is pretty. Veeeery pretty. Doesn't change much. Okay, I lied. It changes a lot of little things. Just look at Murasaki 312 before and after. We'll live.

They added some things that weren't shown (the Gorn ship in Arena) and clarified things that were just blurs of light (Mudd's ship in “Mudd's Women”). All okay.

One thing I was not onboard with was the changing of the tombstone in Where No Man to “James T. Kirk”. We've been knocking that around for years, and now they want to come in with a magic eraser and fix it? They debated, and waffled back and forth, and finally asked the fans at a convention, who wanted to do it – but they ran out of time and couldn't. Which I'm fine with. Actually more than fine, thanking God.

I've often thought about the look of the NX-01. It's crap, and I mean that in the nice way. It doesn't look like a pre-1701 ship. It just doesn't. More on that later too, but anyway, I got the Okudas to answer my question about that. Their answer – it just rocked my world. I was so upset with them, for so long, and now, well... I still am. But at the same time, I'm not.

See, apparently, it wasn't actually more futuristic. They were shooting for something that resembles the style we have today evolving toward the tech level of TOS, and keeping in mind that in TOS they had no idea what computers were going to be capable of. Now that doesn't excuse Archer's ready room (Kirk didn't get no stinkin' ready room), but it does make me relax a little bit about their intentions. But that's not all. The best is yet to come.

Had Enterprise run all seven years, we would have seen their display panels evolve toward the blinky pattern of TOS. They were so concerned with continuity, they studied the panel blinking on TOS. But that's not the best part.

No the best part is a quote from Michael Freaking Okuda: “Since you're asking that question... we obviously weren't entirely successful.”

Holy. Freaking. Shit.

He doesn't say, “I'm sorry,” but I'll call it an apology. Which was all I wanted.

“The last year,” Denise added, “was actually a gift.”

I couldn't agree more.

Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis were next, and they were amazingly funny. Brent is such a crackup. What I love is hearing them joke about Patrick Stewart, and how Brent is trying to be him (not really). Marina said at one point that he could do it if he'd just start dating 28-year-olds. Ouch. Marina sang Avril Lavine (I know I spelled that wrong) and then took a question from a woman who had named her son “Patrick James Tiberius Kirk”. Marina's response? “Oh my God, what did you do to your child?!?!”
Brent just wanted to know if she'd considered “Brent Data Spot”?

My cat's name is Genesis Spot.

But I digress.

They took a question from someone who was nineteen. (She was an embryo when we started!) and were asked to go into character a bit and do some improv, but they couldn't just do that. Finally Marina says, “Captain, he's hiding something,” and Brent did the head twitch. You had to be there, maybe.

One of the best questions was for Brent: how did you play Data so serious when you're so funny?

Answer? “I faked it!” Which is pretty much my whole philosophy of confidence. If you don't know how to do something, just pretend you do, or you know you can learn, and then go out and get the For Dummies book. That simple.

Anyway, it turns out someone stole the Troi wig too. What is it with wig security at Paramount! Ugh!

I'd love to love Rod Roddenberry, but he's just not being loveable. He comes and talks about, he's not funny ever. This time he brought his friend Trevor, who is his co-conspirator on and that was better, plus his mom was there briefly. She is not looking well, but then she's gotta be about eighty. She was in a wheelchair and looks very thin – but you can still see Number One, and Nurse Chapel, and definitely Lwaxana.

Anyway, Rod was annoying me there too, because he was running interference for her. Is she really so feeble that she can't answer questions put to her? Her answers, when she got a word in edgewise, wouldn't indicate that at all. And yet she's been doing this longer than Rod's been alive, why would he run interference for her now?

It worries me.

They snuck her off the stage during the showing of a video and part of me wonders if we'll ever see her again at a convention. What was sad was that there weren't many questions for her – and yes, I did ask one. Rod spent five minutes making me repeat it while she tried to answer in the background. It was frustrating.

Garrett Wang was up next, and he was really hilarious, just like I always thought he'd be. Okay, so I still have a liiiitle crush. Anyway, he had great stories, one I just love about George Takei and a similar one about Kate Mulgrew. He complained about Harry's lack of promotion, and then he told a story about meeting someone named Harry Kim who was, at one point, Ensign Harry Kim. In the Navy. Our Navy. Too cool.

He wanted to have Endgame to To Be Continued. Yeah, I think many of us, despite the years of torture by such masterpieces as “Shattered” and “The 37s” would have liked that too, given the actual ending of Endgame. Then make a TV movie or something.

Anyway, there was another story about Jeri Ryan's elbow and one about Pon Farr that I'll probably write up later. Just trust me, hilarious.

Great quotes of the day:

“Some of them I'm not enamored of.”
-Michael Forrest on Shakespeare's plays

“We love the originals – Star Trek was the first.”
-Michael Okuda

“Look, if you feel this strongly about it, why don't you come onboard. Otherwise, don't complain.”
-Dave Rossi, as quoted by Michael Okuda, after Michael had turned down TOS Remastered but then listed about 8 billion things they had to do.

“...maybe we weren't entirely successful.”
-Michael Okuda, on trying to make the NX-01 look less futuristic than the 1701.

“The last year [of Enterprise] was actually a gift.”
-Denise Okuda

“Shouldn't it be Doctor Whom?”
-Brent Spiner, on Doctor Who

“Between [Brent] and his CD and Michael Dorn and his airplane it's a wonder I can get a word in edgewise.”
-Marina Sirtis

“Star Trek will live because – look around you.”
-Majel Barrett Roddenberry

“Star Trek is Gene Roddenberry's. No one else's.”
-Majel Barrett Roddenberry

“Ensign Kim is the love child of Uhura and Data.”
-Garrett Wang

I'd just also like to say that I was gifted during this weekend by the incredible generosity of the Trekkies at this convention. They made it possible for me to do things like go to the strip and visit the Experience (for the last time ever), and I am eternally grateful.

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