Written by: Christine Roberts (SoSF Staff Reporter)
For starters, to give an indication of the popularity of this new innovation in interactive TV viewing, you will need to register ahead of time if you want to take part in the Spock Stock Exchange or the Chat Room. I made the mistake of not doing this till the last minute and I couldn’t get in on the first day.
When you go in the area is divided into two sections. At the top you will find the area for the stock exchange and the bottom section is the Chat Room.
In the Spock Stock Exchange you are given 15,000 Federation Credits to buy virtual (factitious) stock. Stock names are from the characters derived from STAR TREK: The Original Series (TOS), items used in the series (weapons, the clothing, the ship) and The United Federation of Planets (UFP). Your job is to be the biggest stockholder in the Alpha Quadrant. You can keep track of the stock you bought just like the NYSE in which a stock ticker shows which stocks have increased or decreased in value since the previous day. They list the top five traders all throughout the day with the stock ticker. The only section not activated continuously is the Chat Room. However, once an episode of TOS airs on G4 it becomes LIVE for real-time chat.
Once it becomes actived, the Chat Room is designed to give its participants a specific question related to the episode or STAR TREK in general. After each commercial break there is a new question to answer. Then those in the Chat Room respond and their answer is posted LIVE on the show at the bottom of the screen. Viewers are able to see everyoneï¿½s posting for the question. Of course, there is a slight time-delay to allow for moderators to filter out any vulgarity or questionable responses before it is actually aired.
Some of the questions are related to the episode you are watching and others are just general Star Trek questions. For example, if viewers are watching “The Corbonmite Maneuver” one of the questions might have to do with Bailey, a character on the episode, and so forth. Another example that I personally was involved in just the other night, was: Whoï¿½s got the sweetest job on the bridge?” “What could happen to make Spock Emote?” “Was Bailey promoted too fast?” When does everyone sleep?” “Kirk: boxers or briefs?” So, as you can see, not only are the questions true trivia and informative, but some or just plain fun.
Viewers see five different windows on their television screens. In the middle of the screen you are watching the episode. Going clock-wise, to the right is the Spock Market where you see the stocks and how they are doing just like the stock exchange. On the bottom is the Chat Area where you see peopleï¿½s responses to the questions. Answers are rotated two at a time. It was a little off-setting at times because some peopleï¿½s answers kept being shown repeatedly while other’s only came across once.
To the left on the screen are the Trek Stats. There is a list of things related to Star Trek on this list. For example, Uhura touching her earpiece, Spock doing the Vulcan salute, Scotty looking worried, etc. Each time one of these things is done on that episode the viewer hears a ding and the Stat total goes up. At 12 o’clock on the screen is found Trek Facts where real facts about the current episode are posted, much like a running written commentary would be on a DVD.
G4’s STAR TREK 2.0 is a lot of fun, but you have to keep your eyes in constant motion to see everything that is going on. I do recommend not being too tired before tuning in as your brain and eyes will get a real workout.