You don't know true TV fandom until you've met a Star Trek fan.
I'm hard-pressed to think of any other TV show that could jam roughly 2,500 people at $50 - $160 per ticket into a convention center -- especially a show that finished its run almost 20 years ago. Star Trek: The Next Generation ran from 1987 to 1994, but judging by the adoration and utmost dedication of the people leaning forward in their seats, it's like the show never went off the air.
The fandom of Trekkies/Trekkers is nothing new; we've watched the documentaries, we've heard the mockery and we've known people in our lives who take it to the level of wearing the uniforms and donning the Vulcan ears. What isn't documented ad infinitum is the feeling, the invisible camaraderie among Star Trek: TNG fans. There is safety and solidarity in the fandom, a surety that the man or woman to your left is with you 100 percent.
At the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the main cast of Star Trek: TNG (Sir Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis and LeVar Burton) gathered for a semi-intimate evening with the fans. The Q&A session lasted for about 90 minutes, though it felt much shorter.
For all you fans who missed it, I've amassed the 47 best moments of the night. Why 47? You decide.
1. All the uniforms, from the original Trek to Voyager (sorry, Enterprise) were represented.
2. Every single seat was full.
3. Couples sitting next to each other held hands in death grips or otherwise hugged for the entire evening, brought together by their love of Trek.
4. A vendor was peddling Trek T-shirts before the show, walking around and displaying them like pieces of meat. I have no idea how he got in there.
5. A white woman was dressed as Whoopi Goldberg's character Guinan, with dreads and all.
6. A man yelled, "Whooooo! Next Gennnnnn!" before the Q&A started.
7. Patrick Stewart kissed Gates McFadden on the lips, then pumped his fist.
8. Patrick Stewart and LeVar Burton full-on kissed, with passion, on the lips.
9. Jonathan Frakes was referred to as "Johnny" multiple times.
10. LeVar Burton called Michael Dorn "a black frikkin' knight."
11. Brent Spiner does amazing Brando, Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart impressions.
12. Marina Sirtis pretty much ran the Q&A.
13. Apparently Jean-Luc Picard (who sounds like he should be French) was indeed almost French, right down to the accent.
14. After Gates McFadden spoke a few French sentences, Marina Sirtis exclaimed, "Stop sucking up to the Quebecians!"
15. LeVar Burton cried with laughter after Brent Spiner made a remark about 'Whitey.'
16. Michael Dorn: "'Code of Honor' is the worst episode of Star Trek ever filmed."
17. Marina Sirtis: "'Angel One' is pretty ridiculous, too."
18. Hearing Patrick Stewart referred to as "Old Baldy" never gets old.
19. Patrick Stewart and Marina Sirtis kissed on the lips, too. (Patrick really went for it that night!)
20. Did I mention Marina Sirtis was wearing skin-tight leather pants? Yeah.
21. Gates McFadden rocked what looked to be a purple suede jumpsuit.
22. Patrick Stewart quoted Shakespeare and it sounded like music.
23. Jonathan Frakes' mother had a picture of him and Patrick Stewart in her kitchen, but she folded over the part with her own son and left Stewart visible in the frame.
24. The cast admitted that absolutely no romances were had off-screen (as much as we would want them to).
25. Patrick Stewart yelled, "There ... are ... four ... lights!"
26. The cast sang "Happy Birthday" to a woman named Gina in the crowd, with full-on harmony. Top that, e-card!
27. The cast relentlessly insulted Michael Dorn for appearing on Deep Space Nine.
28. LeVar Burton called the show "Deep Throat Nine."
29. Levar Burton to Michael Dorn: "How many jets does one black man need?"
30. Patrick Stewart said he was "upset" that Paramount discontinued the film series.
31. Patrick Stewart quoted Paramount as saying (after First Contact) that they were "suffering from franchise fatigue," and that's why they stopped making the Trek movies.
32. Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis said that they were in both the opening and closing scenes of TNG. They were the beginning and end of the series.
33. Marina Sirtis stole her chair from set.
34. Patrick Stewart stole his communicator.
35. Levar Burton took his visor; he advised that if anyone tries to sell you one, it's a fake, since he has in his possession the only legit one.
36. Brent Spiner said he didn't steal anything from set, but he asked if he could take a uniform. The producers denied him. The moral of the story, he says? "Steal, steal, steal."
37. Paramount apparently rewarded the cast for a great season by giving them Paramount baseball hats. (Comparatively, Tom Cruise got a Mercedes for good weekend performance of The Firm.)
38. Marina Sirtis' idea for a new Trek show: The Rikers In Space, a half-hour sitcom starring Riker and Deanna Troi.
39. Gates McFadden's idea for a new Trek show: Star Trek in a retirement home.
40. LeVar Burton insisted they missed out on a franchising opportunity by not creating Star Trek: The Next Generation Musical.
41. Gates McFadden admitted that she thinks she was fired for Season 2 because she spoke her mind to the writers.
42. Brent Spiner to Michael Dorn: "We never listen to you."
43. Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden admitted they were BFFs during Season 1, and Sirtis missed McFadden terribly during Season 2.
44. The audience audibly groaned when the hosts said the panel was wrapping up.
45. 1 in 10 people was wearing a shirt that said "Trekkie."
46. Jonathan Frakes, at one point, was known for wearing a small, pink bathrobe.
47. Marina Sirtis admitted that Gene Roddenberry would pinch her bum whenever Majel wasn't around.