The final frontier is beaming down to the wild frontier.
The wild west was known for its quick-draw gunslingers and imposing law-men, and in the science fiction version of that few characters parallel that like Lt. Tasha Yar, chief of security on the Starship Enterprise. When the Next Generation crew of the Star Trek saga needed protection, she was their stoic sheriff.
Next weekend, Denise Crosby moseys into B.C.'s most authentic saloons and pool halls, surveying the dirt streets and rough lumber of Barkerville.
"I'm excited. I've been to B.C. before but never this far north. I know it's going to be beautiful and and I've been reading about Barkerville. What an interesting place," she said.
She will be joined by fellow sci-fi actors Claudia Christian (Babylon 5, Criminal Minds) and Dean Haglund (he portrayed Langly on The X Files and spinoff show The Lone Gunmen).
The event - a steam-punk/sci-fi/big bang of a western festival - happens Sept. 27 to 29 at the historic gold rush museum south of Prince George and west of Quesnel.
Crosby has a body of acting work stretching back to Eddie Murphy's movie 48 Hours and even some episodes of Days of Our Lives as a youth. She was Dexter's first murder victim; she had multiple appearances on diverse TV series like The X Files and Red Shoe Diaries; she was in the congregation of the Pet Cemetery movie cast, but she will be forever known for wearing the uniform of Starfleet Command.
Even 25 years later, she is more than comfortable wearing that reputation.
"It's iconic in its global appeal. Once you're associated with Star Trek you're forever associated," she said from her home office in California where she bases a moderate acting schedule around her main job as mother to a teenaged son. She also took on the role of producer for the popular documentaries Trekkies and Trekkies 2 that delve into the cult following the sci-fi franchise has inspired.
She is working about as much as she wishes, amongst her parenting duties. She also likes to get out and enjoy the fans. When the organizers of Barkerville's Geekend event approached her about bringing her to the Cariboo, she happily joined.
She admitted, though, that she was a latecomer to the trekky mentality. It didn't take hold even when she was called into the audition process (originally to play the counsellor Deanna Troi character) for a 1980s update of the Star Trek series that first warped the world's imagination with Capt. James T. Kirk and Commander Spock at the helm back in the 1960s.
"It was quite reluctant because I thought nobody was going to give two cents about this show," Crosby said. "The original Star Trek had been off the air for years and years, it was only watched by a hipster crowd of college students on late-night TV, and I have always been dubious when they try to reboot anything that was once popular."
This was a different time in television. Star Trek: The Next Generation was slated to film straight into syndication, which was another bad sign to Crosby. The more credible shows had long-term deals with the major networks. There was no cable TV original programming; there was no Netflix; there was no internet TV material.
Crosby was a warming commodity in Hollywood at the time after a role in the critically acclaimed Miracle Mile movie.
"I remember hiding my Star Trek script so nobody would see me with it," she said. "But we are actors and that's our job - to go to work - but I did not see this coming."
The show was not only a hit, it changed much of the course of television history at that time. It stood apart with sharp stories, timely subject matter and good actors. For instance, Yar was a woman in a man's job, in that era of America, and she did it fiercely well, without Crosby did it without flaunting her looks.
Despite the show's rocket-like success, Crosby was unhappy with the limitations of the Yar role. She quit the show but remained on such good terms with the producers that she was written back into the plot as a Romulan enemy commander and the Yar character was reprised in one of the show's most beloved episodes, Yesterday's Enterprise.
Her role as Yar got her an introduction to an unproven young director who showed up at a ComicCon convention to meet her. Quentin Tarantino wanted her as an action figure so he sought her out. Her role in the movie Jackie Brown was cut from the final film, however, so she hopes he'll give her another try in some future project.
He will have to get in line, however. Crosby's star is once again rising - first from a two-episode role in Mad Men, then a three-episode role in the hit series Southland, and now a recurring role in the hot new HBO drama Ray Donovan. She also has a part in the this year's TV movie Invasion Roswell.