Final Thoughts on Farpoint
Written By: Randy Hall
Published: Issue 28
Last week, we took a look at some of the events at Farpoint, a fan-run convention held October 6-8 in Hunt Valley, Maryland, that dealt directly with efforts to Bring Back Kirk. This time around, I want to examine some things from the con that might also have a powerful effect, though not directly, on BBK.
Since Voyager is entering its seventh and final season, I made sure to attend a panel called "Voyager: Let's Take the Long Road Home." Remembering the outpouring of sadness when the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine TV shows ended their runs, I thought I'd hear some people call for an eighth season for Voyager or a leap from small- to big-screen adventures for the ship and its crew.
That didn't happen.
Instead, most of the people there were interested in trying to figure out what would happen to the cast of characters once the ship got home. Would Janeway get promoted to admiral? Would Chakotay and the rest of the Maquis end up in jail? Would Seven of Nine be dissected by Starfleet to learn more about the Borg? Would Neelix start his own restaurant? And would the Holodoc get his own TV talk show?
Put another way, the panel wasn't a wake as fans mourned the passing of a favorite show, it was a time spent figuring out the intellectual puzzle of how the series should end. Even the news that the show's season opener got 15 percent higher ratings than in previous years was easily explained away as a result of an appearance by the Borg. Could it be that Voyager merely marked time until the next Trek show would come along?
With that in mind, I want to turn my attention to a panel called "What's Next for Trek?" In recent conventions' discussions on the future of Star Trek, most of the folks in attendance expressed frustration over the fragile state of their beloved franchise. This was back when Brannon Braga had said a "big announcement" on the next Trek show would be forthcoming in February. (Apparently, we were rash to assume it would be February of THIS year.)
As the months have gone by with little or no Star Trek news, most of the folks who came to this discussion at Farpoint have apparently gotten discouraged. It didn't help when Braga recently said that it might be up to six more months before any official information on the upcoming series would be forthcoming. But let's face it. If there's no Trek around, there are plenty of other shows to take its place with the fans, including two new contenders: James Cameron's Dark Angel and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, both of which are off to strong starts.
It looks like it's that point in my column where I ask the immortal question: What does any of this have to do with BBK? A lot, I think.
Let's remember that most of the people who attend conventions are fervent fans, those who tend to feel strongly about their favorite shows and characters. With this in mind, it could be that the people who watch Voyager might very well be content to see the show get its hopefully happy ending and then be gone forever. And with fan confidence in The Powers That Be dwindling to the level of profits from Insurrection, Trek is in a state I thought I'd never see in my lifetime.
Could one or two mistakes bring down a phenomenon that's about to celebrate its 35th anniversary? Would viewers who stayed with Voyager out of loyalty to previous Treks have the patience to do the same with another series they really don't like or look forward to every week? What can be done to put Star Trek back on solid ground with viewers and fans?
That's easy. Bring back Kirk! As anyone who's seen the new trailer knows, Kirk and his crew bring excitement and interest to Trek like nothing else, even among people who don't consider themselves Trek fans. Besides, how many times can you use the Borg to draw audiences and ratings before you have to rename the franchise "Star Trek: The Borg"?
The 35th anniversary of Trek is a perfect time to re-unite the "generations" by featuring a return by the shows' most popular character and have him interact with those who owe their existence to him and his crew. Let's do what we can to make that happen!
I want to update some information I passed along last time regarding a celebration of Star Trek's 35th anniversary to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the first weekend of next September. On the Slanted Fedora World Wide Web page, there's a list of guests already signed to be at that affair, and that includes Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig. However, the site says William Shatner will not be able to attend because of a prior commitment. Can anyone out there tell us what that is? I'd sure like to know because I can think of no star I'd rather spend that weekend with than the man who plays our favorite captain. If someone in the William Shatner Fan Club or anyone else can fill me in, send an e-mail to the address listed below.