Polaris 23 – a blast…
So, first the first time in my history of going to Polaris, I actually felt the need to see the guests on-stage (and beyond..). I missed both Michelle Forbes and Claudia Black, but luckily they were lower on my priority list.
Since day one, Rodney McKay was my favorite character on Atlantis, so it was great to see him in person. Before his appearance, I had him autograph the box on my McKay action figure. He’s very friendly and amusing in person, and he pointed out that I was lucky and didn’t get one of the figures that made him look like he’d just eaten a blueberry pie. What I found most interesting though, was the minimal divide between his character and his actual personality. Many times you see a character on a show (at least I do) and think to yourself that the person is cool and would be interesting to meet – then you realize it’s just a character and the actual actor/actress is probably very little like the character they play. After his on-stage appearance, I realized that this is most definitely NOT the case for David Hewlett – which is very cool.
David Nykl, who basically played McKay’s sidekick on the show was on right after Hewlett, and I guess it was decided by all at some point that the two should be on-stage together for at least half of each others time. This made for some great back-and-forth banter, the best I’ve ever seen at a con.
Before we went, I’d mused to some friends that I’d hoped that David’s sister Kate would be there as well (she lives in Toronto, so.. why not?). There had been no announcements (even internally) that she would be present, so it was pretty much a pipedream. For those of you who don’t know, she was a guest star on Atlantis, playing Rodney McKay’s sister, Jeannie Miller. The chemistry between the two was of course excellent, and what you’d expect from a real life brother/sister playing the same on-screen.
As luck would have it, she was there. She lined up in the question line before going on-stage and I recognized her the second she got into line. After asking her question about who the best actor was, she joined her brother and Nykl on stage for the rest of the time. It was a hilarious, insightful two hours and it flew by before we even knew what happened.
Afterwards, Kate signed autographs. Here’s one of the pics I snapped while waiting in line.
Seeing Matt Frewer was awesome too, since I’ve always been a fan. It was also a rare opportunity, as this is the first time Matt has ever done a con. Hilariously, his demeanor and mode of speech is very similar to some on-screen personas, such as his character Berlingoff Rasmussen in the ST:TNG episode, “A Matter Of Time”. He also had many insights into the Max Headroom TV show, and the reasons for it’s cancellation. Apparently, in their quest to be groundbreaking, they also burned many bridges. Specifically, during the run of the show, they made frequent fun of network television personalities (newscasters in particular) who didn’t appreciate it much, and had friends in high places. Really cool guy though.
The final appearance was Michael Hogan, who played Saul Tigh on the re-imagined Galactica series. As anyone who knows me can attest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the new series. While I appreciated the fine acting that many of the cast members put forth (especially Hogan) it was still too grim a re-imagining of a light, fluffy staple of my childhood television diet. His chat was great, and he covered much of his history on television and in movies (which is substantial to say the least). You could tell he loved his character as he’d occasionally blurt out “Frakkin’ Toasters!” in that oh-so-Tigh way.
After all the festivities were over was when the coolest part happened though. I was outside the front of the hotel having a smoke, and when I turned around, I was face to face with Michael Hogan. He introduced himself and we chatted over a couple of smokes. Awesome guy, and so incredibly down to earth that I’m still blown away. When I mentioned how rare it was for celebrity guests to hang out with the fans, he was shocked. He basically said he assumed all of the celebrities did that, as it was the best part of the fan circuit (he just started doing these a while ago). He actually couldn’t figure out why the other celebrities would hide from the fans.
Frankly, for the most part, neither can I. I mean, if they’re anti-social, I can understand. But most aren’t, and sci-fi fans, generally are among the meekest fans of anything. Anyway, cool experience… shame I was driving, or I would’ve headed back to the bar and bought him a drink or twelve.
The other thing that made Polaris 23 the best one I’ve been to was the location. They finally put it in an easily-accessible location. Until now, the show has always been held at airport hotels with their minimal, painful and overpriced parking and limited transit access. This year it was held at the Sheraton at Leslie & Hwy 7, which had plenty of free parking and was easy to get to by transit for those who needed it.