Sunday, November 5, 2017

Return to the Gate

I took my eldest daughter to the Return to the Gate convention today, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Stargate SG-1, a show that she adores beyond measure and one that I enjoyed watching with her (although I am less of a devotee than she is!)

For my 14 year old and I, watching episodic SFF TV of shows that have already finished has been an important bonding experience for us over the past two years as she's growing up and in many ways growing away. We started with Stargate Atlantis, which she saw on Netflix and wanted to give a try, and ended up watching the whole five seasons of that show together over a few months. We then did Stargate SG-1, which she loved and is still her most devoted fandom overall, and now we've moved into the Trekverse, having done Voyager and being halfway through DS-9. (She, her father and I are also watching Discovery weekly, natch).

When I saw the advertisement for Return to the Gate, therefore, I did not hesitate to offer it as her big birthday present. I myself had never been to a single-fandom con before, so I did not know what to expect, but I knew she'd be thrilled - and she was.

I have to say - it was a much better experience than I was expecting. The con organisers had managed to get three of the four stars of the show (Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks), which certainly added to the lustre. Having a smaller event with much more talking and opportunity for interaction was really nice, and all five of the actors from the show who attended were friendly and social to people, which is not my universal experience at the big cons, I have to say.

My daughter and I paid a small fortune for a photo with the three stars - the photo is her Christmas present! - but I have to say I think it was actually worth it. The actors were very nice and the photo came out really well, and it'll be a memory that my girl will have forever. I'm not sure how many, if any, opportunities she'll have to see all of them together in the future (RDA is 67, after all - international trips may not be on his long-term agenda) so it was worth not missing this chance.

The panels were great. My daughter and I both enjoyed Amanda Tapping's the most, but RDA and Michael Shanks were very good too. Amanda's stories of life as a female director in an industry that is still pretty rankly sexist were fascinating. They are all charming, engaging speakers - I get that it's their jobs, but some actors do it way better than others, and these ones were super good.

Overall it was a really worthwhile day and hella less exhausting than a big nerdcon - I don't feel anything like as shattered as I do after a day at ComicCon. (Of course, being seated most of the day and not serving on a stall no doubt helped with that!)

Would I go to a similar fan event again? For a show I was really into, maybe I would, yeah. It's a much more mellow and detailed way to engage with a fandom than via the mania of a big show floor.

(This is post #5 in NaBloPoMo. 5 down, 25 to go!)

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