The Fans Are Out There



Scully would call them "scientifically inexplicable." Spock would say they're "illogical." But fans just might call them "home."

TV GUIDE went behind the scenes for two TV-themed extravaganzas, a touring fanfest called "The X-Files Expo" and "Star Trek The Experience," a permanent multimedia spectacle that opened last January at the Las Vegas Hilton.

On the first leg of our journey, we landed stealthily in San Francisco, the first stop of the travelling X-Files road show, which has dates remaining in New York (May 9-10) and Washington, D.C. (May 16-17). "It's about rewarding the fans," claims Mark Stroman, a former promotions executive at Fox Broadcasting. But at $25 US a head, the working principle behind the X-Files Expo is to cash in on the overwhelming popularity of the TV series.

The big problem with the Expo is that there are a lot of X-Files fans out there. In San Francisco, an unending labyrinth of gruelling lines awaited its 5,000 daily participants. How bad was it? At one point a security guard warned people that the lineup they were standing in had inadvertently become an endless circle that led ... nowhere. We stood in line for two hours, 52 minutes and 28 seconds (yes, we timed it) just to get into ... the gift shop. Besides, all lines essentially led to ads for assorted X-Files products. At least when someone stands in lengthy lines in Russia, they end up with bread and sustenance; we exited with measly T-shirts.

We waited to sample the X-Files CD-ROM. We also stood in line to see an extended trailer for the X-Files movie (opening in theatres June 19), which revealed little. We even waited to have our picture taken standing next to the same make of car used in the upcoming film.

About the only thing we didn't have to line up for was to see peripheral stars of the show. Main players David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were conspicuous by their absence; the supporting cast, however, were front and centre, including Mitch Pileggi (Skinner), Nicholas Lea (Krycek) and Dean Haglund (Lone Gunman Langly). Fans lobbed softball questions at the group; for instance, to Pileggi: "What is it like being the sexiest bald man alive?" Several women requested kisses or hugs from Lea. Lea in return told fans how swell" it was to be part of a TV show that "unites people." For his part, Haglund performed a protracted comedy sketch (whi h, apparently, is the same sketch he does in his touring comedy-club act).

[the rest of the article is about a Las Vegas Star Trek show...]