Sunday, 28 October 2012

Destination Star Trek London 2012.

My boyfriend and I were so excited to attend the Star Trek event in London that was held from 19th October through to the 21st. There was so much hype around it and we both really loved the series that we decided to go to all three days of the event especially as it would probably be the last time there would be a Star Trek event that 'big', in the UK, in our lifetime.
As I've been going to MCM Expo for 2 years now, I had an idea of what the Star Trek event would consist of especially as it was being held in the same location...I also expected it to be ten times better than MCM Expo...but it was actually the reverse. 
I've only been completely 'in-to' Star Trek for the past few years now and I felt sorely disappointed with the event....so to think at how disappointed long-term fans may have felt and those that have travelled from all over the world is heartbreaking! Of course there were highlights, but not enough to make the event one of my favourites.
Upon arriving at London Excel, I was instantly disappointed at the lack of costumes!! Whenever I have gone to MCM Expo, I could spot people in costume right from the first part of my journey (which is on the other side of London!). I literally saw one person...many in Starfleet-esque uniform (as in, maybe just a red t shirt with a badge)...but nothing that I would describe as amazing....which was something completely expected for a huge event dedicated to a Sci-Fi show! There should have been aliens everywhere!!
Anyway, lets start with the Opening Ceremony that was held on the Friday. The main selling point of this was that all 5 captains would be together to welcome everyone to the event. I was personally quite laid back about it all which didn't help the 45 minute wait in the queue but when they came out, I could really feel the excitement from other fans and the actors were all very gracious, had good chemistry with each other and generally seemed excited to be there. John Barrowman was also there to host the event and he did a great job!
This is also when something started to hit a nerve, I could hardly see anything!!! ...the setting was awful, surely a higher stage for them couldn't be too difficult to arrange?
After the Opening Ceremony, there was a 'Klingon Monster Ball' which sounded like it could be incredible...but wow it was a major let down. I felt the advertisement on the website was not genuine in regards to 'a host of Klingons' - I saw two Klingons the entire evening!! There were no props or effort in decorating the place at all.
The general feel of the 'Ball' felt really tacky. The Klingon race has such strong characteristics that the organisers could have really used, there was no thinking needed, just doing! It looked like a low budget school disco with music to match. This is what it looked like....
...but this is what I wanted to see....yes, some sort of Klingon re-enactment!! I bet there are hundreds of fans out there that would have done this for free!!!
The bar area was also awful. Well, it was a bog standard mock-up bar. The servers should surely have been in costume and as a non-alcohol drinker, I was only left with either apple or orange juice for the entire evening. They could have had brilliant looking cocktails on offer- I mean, come on this is STAR TREK!!!!! There is an abundance of imagination and creativity in the show, but the event did not compliment it one bit. There was also 'Blood Wine' on the menu which is a 'Klingon beverage' and I saw many many people ordering this...but later saw many disbanded full cups!!! Oh and talking about cups, they were the cheap, transparent disposable plastic cups, surely they could have got red ones or with some sort of Star Trek branding?!!
My boyfriend ordered the Blood Wine out of curiosity and he didn't seem too amused, so I tried a tiny sip and it was the most disgusting thing!!!! It tasted like barbecue sauce and vinegar mixed together! I know that 'humans' aren't technically supposed to like the Klingon drink but this is an event and it was bloody expensive too!!
Here is a photo of the bar...
...when I feel like they should have rebuilt a bar from the show. I really like this one, which I think is from Deep Space Nine. The whole point of these types of events is the EXPERIENCE and there was hardly any of this!
Later on in the evening, there was a very good Patrick Stewart look-a-like who took the stage with a song. He had a good voice but then I quickly noticed he was miming. Nevertheless, there should have been more entertainment from people in costume like this.
Back to the subject of Klingons, there was a 'Klingon Zone' in the main part of the event which again I felt could have been much better. There were only two Klingons there which was ridiculous, cheap looking props and a long queue of people waiting to be photographed with them....and what was up with the Klingon statue? It looked more like a samurai Hobbit than a Klingon. There should have been 30 Klingons all lined up, singing opera, speaking Klingon (I would love to know how many fans that attended could actually speak Klingon?), fighting....doing what Klingons do!!!!
My next issue was the museum. Again, a disappointment, how can a show that has been around for almost 50 years have a museum the size of a baby's bedroom? Of course I'm not expecting a full museum but you can not have a museum that takes 5 minutes to browse at an event with almost 20,000 visitors!!! Nevertheless, I did enjoy seeing Data's head, some of the weapons and naturally, the costumes. My favourite was the Shinzon costume worn by Tom Hardy in the Star Trek film - Nemesis which is my favourite pre-J.J.Abrams Star Trek film as it was so much darker and edgier! The costume looked great in person although after looking at a few images from the film, I don't believe it is the actual one that was worn..
The next party was TNG themed and my boyfriend and I hoped this would be better than the Klingon one...which it was, but only very slightly.
Avery Brooks who plays Captain Benjamin Sisko was singing but the sound quality was awful I could not hear anything and I was amused at the person who actually shouted out this fact to him!... it was also nice that people were sat down otherwise my 5'3 self, again, would not have been able to see anything. Actually that is something I wanted to mention, the people there (paid visitors) were just so nice!!! I could imagine a lot of new friendships being made during the event.
There were also dodgems but I had no patience to wait in the queue so never went on them - but again, they could have been themed! They should have been designed as space ships! The last piece of entertainment at the TNG Party was a comedy performance from Dominic Keating who is from Star Trek: Enterprise. The last of the Star Trek series and one that I have yet to watch. He was hilarious and made the evening worthwhile and shame on those who were offended by some of his jokes!
During the event, there were free and paid talks with the actors, the individual captain talks were expensive (we paid for the Patrick Stewart talk which was fun) but there were many free ones with the popular characters such as Data and Worf. However, after queueing for about 40 minutes for one of them, my boyfriend noticed a lot of the people in the queue had little blue tickets. Someone else also spotted this and asked why they had tickets for a free talk - this is when we found out that you had to arrive first thing in the morning to queue up to get tickets for the free talks... and I promise, there was absolutely no information about this anywhere! It seemed like only the staff knew about it!!! Nevertheless, I felt this was ridiculous, firstly because there was no information about this anywhere, and that you would probably need to start queueing from 7am to get tickets for a talk that was 8 hours later. 
As my boyfriend and I avoided a lot of the paid things such as autographs etc (which again, the prices were crazy?!?!?!) we decided to get up at the crack of dawn on the Sunday to go and queue for the free Data talk.
We arrived at around 8:45 and there were around 500 people already there, queueing! Once we were let in to the main area to queue for your chosen talk, we decided to divide and conquer, my boyfriend queued for the Data talk, I queued for the Worf talk....and I just wanted to add how CHAOTIC it was. Nobody knew what queue was for which talk because there were so many people queueing, all the queues were cutting into each other! There was no organisation whatsoever and I can't accept any reason of not knowing how many people were going to attend because I bet 99% of the tickets sold happened within the first few days of them being released!
After working out where the Worf queue was and guilty of not starting at the end of the queue, I managed to get tickets to attend the Worf talk, but my boyfriend was about 5 people away from getting the Data tickets when they had run out. So, as these talks were free, they should have scrapped the silly ticket idea, got an open stage with big screens and let people come and go as they pleased. There were a lot of disappointed people. Everything was blocked with black dividers and so secretive...this was really really sad to see. Basically if you wanted insurance to see something, you had to pay up.
The Michael Dorn (Worf) talk was lovely although I did feel sorry for him as people kept asking for impressions and he wouldn't do them!! 
Later on in the day, we watched the Costume Parade. There were some really great ones but the best was a Borg one, especially as she was in character the entire time. However, I was disappointed that she didn't win...instead, the winner was a little girl. Her costume was OK and yes she was cute, but she clearly won because she was a child. I am not being mean but this happens a lot and it really bugs me and is totally unfair towards those who spend a lot of time working on their costumes!!!
There was also an area to take a photo of yourself sitting in the Bridge from the first (William Shatner) Star Trek. I can't remember how much it was but definitely not worth it. Firstly it looked so cheap, secondly where were the other Bridges? I have never watched the first ever Star Trek and never intend to so this was completely irrelevant to me. For the 'biggest Star Trek' event, all the Bridges should have been accessible, better quality and interactive!
The last thing we decided to do (even though we were completely drained by this point) was to pay for the Kate Mulgrew talk which was only £15. I haven't watched Voyager yet so didn't know about her character or anything else about the series but I am SO glad we paid to see her. She was the highlight of the entire event and saved it for us! She was so witty and hilarious. I am surprised she hasn't got her own talk show! I now can't wait to watch Voyager after seeing her, especially as she was the only female captain in Star Trek, and I am all for heroines!
If there is another Star Trek event, I would still attend but I would be very wary. Organisers of the event must go to the MCM Expo events to witness how great it could have been or they should have got a group of die-hard fans together and got ideas on what they would have liked to see.
I was truly expecting the event to be a Star Trek version of the Science Museum, with lots of interaction and entertainment. The stalls there were also very overpriced and I really felt for the fans who purchased from them as they were obviously blinded by their love of Star Trek to think twice about buying anything from the event. There should have also been a children's' play area, Star Trek themed of course, more food variety (I wouldn't associate Cornish pasties with a Star Trek event) and what about a Romulan area? They are as important as Klingons are in my opinion! 
Anyway, there you go, my mammoth review, although I could easily continue....
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