Interview With A Trekologist
Raules Davies was an ordinary Star Trek fan until CBS Action appointed him their official Trekologist! But what does that actually mean?
Think you’re really into a popular TV show? Raules Davies was pretty sure he was a Star Trek super-fan, and when broadcast CBS Action pulled him out of a line at the London Film and Comic-Con he had this assumption officially validated. Davies has had the chance to go on TV when Star Trek is broadcast and will appear live at Destination Star Trek London this coming weekend at ExCeL Centre. We caught up with him last week to ask about how being labelled the world’s first Trekologist has changed his life…
SFX: Do people recognise you in the street since you’ve been on CBS Action on TV?
Raules Davies: I have had a few people, mainly when I appear in uniform myself. I’m still invisible enough to go shopping in Tesco! But if I’m out at a convention, with or without the cameras, where there are obviously viewers and geeks, then yes I do get people saying, “I know you, you’re him! You’re from TV!” That’s great, it’s really something. It just goes to show how far your reach is.
SFX: So how did you actually get the presenting role on CBS Action? What was involved?
Davies: They found me at the London Film and Comic-Con where I was in the queue (I’d gone there to get a Voyager star’s autograph). They sat me in front of a screen and ran me through a couple of screen tests and said, “Read this, we’ve written this for you.” And I remember reading it and thinking, “You’ve written this all wrong, can I correct it?” Probably not the best step forward! But I was able to do work almost immediately so I felt comfortable with what I was doing. They coached me on how to present, how to stand. It took a little bit of practise but I think I’ve got it now!
SFX: You’ve kind of become a figurehead for fans who are passionate about the series. Let me ask you about how you got into it. When did your fascination with Star Trek begin?
Davies: There were few TV series that would, according to my parents, shut me up as a child. And Star Trek was one of them. I would be planted before the small screen and see the reruns back in syndication. I didn’t understand, I was too young, but I recognised the ship and I fell in love with the Enterprise and I just looked forward to the part where I saw it orbiting the same red planet. As I got older, I continued to watch and began to understand and comprehend more and it grew and I began to ask, “How does that work?”
SFX: What was the first thing you did when you wanted to take it further?
Davies: It was the wardrobe believe it or not. I’d been watching the original series and I loved the ship, and the toys had come out. (I still have my original 1976 Dinky toy of the Enterprise and a Klingon battle cruiser!) Then when the movies started and they turned up in this new red uniform for The Wrath Of Khan onwards, I just went, “I want one of those, I want that outfit.” Then it came to light that there were other things out there. You start looking at the merchandise side actively – I got carried away.
SFX: Although you were young for the original series, you were the right age for when The Next Generation came along. Which one is your favourite?
Davies: I’ll be honest with you I didn’t even watch The Next Generation at first – I pooh-poohed it. I remember in 1987 they launched it and I looked at it and went, “Why is there a Klingon on the ship, I’m not watching this!” And switched off! I just turned the other way and went, “That’s not Star Trek.” I had no time for it. But later in season three with “The Best Of Both Worlds” two-parter, it came on the channel so I let it run… And I thought “Oh alright, this is good!” I had no choice but to go back to the TV and sit down and find out what the heck happened, and that was it. That got me into Star Trek: The Next Generation too, I had to find all the VHS tapes.
SFX: Are you up to date now? Have you now watched all the way through every series?
Davies: I can happily say I have watched every single incarnation, episode, film, effort that Star Trek had ever put out on the airwaves! I was there when Enterprise launched, at “Broken Bow” – I am not going to make that mistake again, I wanted to enjoy it from the beginning.
SFX: What do you think about the later series of Star Trek?
Davies: Well, Voyager is my second favourite ship. (My favourite is the re-fit model Enterprise, from The Motion Picture. That looks most like a ship. Not many glowy bits or fancy red swirly bits, it looks most like a vessel.) Voyager is a long way from that, but it too has graceful curves and lines. And it’s also a functional vessel. Its not a tan bridge where everything’s in a neutral tone; its not a warship, its functional. Its something that goes out to explore but can also defend itself. It’s small, it has 400 crew, just like the original; it can fight, but also explore, it can land, it covers all bases. I prefer the re-fit Enterprise but if I’m confined to TV land, I’ll have Voyager.
SFX: As a die-hard fan what do you make of the new JJ Abrams incarnation for the big screen?
Davies: I have to be very diplomatic with my answers. You’re not going to please everybody all the time. I heard JJ was predominantly a Star Wars fan and the hairs on the back of my neck stood. And I read in an interview he asked how you could do a Star Trek film after Galaxy Quest – and again the hairs on the back of my neck went up and I started screaming at the magazine! For me, being a fan of the original, it’s a lot. I did go and watch it at the cinema. But I’m still watching JJ very slowly out of the corner of one eye thinking, “Don’t you dare touch anything or I’ll come after you!”
SFX: So you’re at the Destination Star Trek London event this weekend. What will you be doing there?
Davies: There’s a number of projects I’ll be involved in. I know I won’t be far away from the CBS Action corner. There’ll be various filming or interviews I hope to conduct on behalf of the channel, and I’ve been told that I will be chairing a discussion with fans, inviting people to openly express their point of views on favourite episodes.
SFX: Thanks Raules! We’ll see you there.
Raules Davies is the CBS Action Trekologist and will be appearing at Destination Star Trek London from 19-21 October at ExCeL Centre. For more information and tickets, please visit www.startreklondon.com. Star Trek is broadcast on CBS Action every weekday at 8pm. SFX will be there this weekend too, so come and check out our stand or come and ask us questions when we take to the stage! Photo above from StarTrek.com.