Category Archives: Television

Welcome home, Wesley

Image shamelessly stolen from Trek Core

From the moment Star Trek Picard was announced, people asked me if Wesley Crusher would make an appearance. Until August of last year, I told the truth when I said that I would love to do that, but had no idea if it would actually happen. I’m pretty psyched that we were able to keep this secret as long as we did.

I want to take a minute and share why Wesley’s return to Star Trek is so deeply meaningful for me, why this is so much more than merely playing a fun cameo for two pages. I want to tell you what Wesley Crusher means to me, as an almost 50 year-old husband, father, and survivor.

I love Wesley Crusher. I cherish Wesley Crusher. I am fiercely proud of Wesley Crusher. It is an honor and a privilege to be the actor who played him. But that wasn’t always true. For far too long, I allowed my opinion of Wesley, and my opinion of myself, to be defined by others. And it hurt so much, I almost walked away from Star Trek entirely, just to get away from it.

Wesley’s fictional journey and my real life journey are remarkably similar. We were both incredibly smart kids who struggled to fit in with our peer group. Neither one of us had a relationship with our father (Wesley, because his father died when he was a baby, me because my father chose to be my bully instead of my dad). Both of us spent our entire lives on paths we did not choose, struggling every single minute of every single day to make the people who put us on that path proud of us. We both felt uncomfortable in our own skin, and ended up spending as much time in our intellect as we could, because that was a place that felt safe.

Our stories and paths diverge widely in our teens: he’s awkward and angsty, but genuinely loved and supported by the adults in his life, who encourage him to explore his interests. I’m awkward and angsty, but I’m invisible to my dad on a good day, and my mother does not see me. Instead, she only sees the kid from Teen Beat, and all the trappings that come with proximity to him that she can scrape up for herself. In my headcanon, Wesley felt alone because he didn’t get to regularly interact with kids his own age, and if his life mirrored my own at that time, a lot of kids he would have wanted to be friends with judged him before they knew him, because he was kind of famous. Let me tell you, when every room you walk into is filled with people who have already made up their mind about you before you even introduce yourself, you just stop walking into rooms. Or, at least, I did. 

When Wesley saw his opportunity to forge his own path with the Travelers, his entire family supported him, they celebrated the end of one journey and the beginning of another. I did not get that support. When I was about 20 and left the series, followed quickly by leaving the entire entertainment industry, neither of my parents were there for me, at all. By this time in my life, my father had stopped trying to hide his contempt and disinterest for me, and my mother had essentially abandoned me to focus her energy on a friend of my sister’s, who was climbing the teen fame success ladder. My mom was always there when I was chasing her dream of acting fame, but when I needed a mom to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life, she just did not show up at all. I was left entirely alone to try and figure out how to be an adult. It was terrifying. Luckily for me, when I was 23 I met the woman who would become my wife, and my journey toward discovering and realizing my dream began. 

But let us go back to the moment when we each realized we were not on our paths, but someone else’s. Wesley and I both walked away from everything we knew, every expectation that was ever put on us, every person we ever cared about, because we both knew that something was not right in our lives, and if we were going to fix it, we had to figure out what it was. And to figure out what it was, we had to get off the paths we had been on since we were too young to know what a path even was. 

Wesley was expected to be a Starfleet captain, or maybe a chief engineer. I was expected to be a famous film actor, or at least famous. We both accepted these expectations right until we didn’t. He got there before I did, but there was a moment when we both knew that we were pursuing dreams that were not ours, that they were more important to other people than they were to us. We needed time and space to find out who we were, and what our dream was.

When we had that time and space (or all of time and space, for Wesley), we could discover what was important to us, what we wanted to do with our lives and the time we had in this universe, who we were when we weren’t defining ourselves according to someone else’s expectations. During that time, I met more people than I can count who have told me how much Wesley means to them. They told me he inspired them, that they saw themselves in him at a time when they felt unseen by the people in their lives. They told me he helped them figure out what kind of person they wanted to choose for a partner in love and life.

For two decades I listened, while people told me the ways he was there for them. I never would have expected that he would also be there for me.

And yet.

Ron Moore wrote Wesley’s final episode, Journey’s End. Ron knew Wesley needed to do something different with his life. He knew that Starfleet wasn’t right for Wesley. He knew that Wesley couldn’t keep defining himself through someone else’s expectations. I don’t know if he knew that I also needed that (I didn’t even know it at the time), but like so many other people who watched Wesley’s story, I was inspired by Wesley’s courage and conviction. And I followed him out into the Great Unknown.

I was surprised to discover that as I got to know myself all over again for the first time, I also got to know Wesley. If Wesley could matter so much, to so many people, why couldn’t he matter that much to me, the actor who played him? It took a long time and a lot of work to find the answer to that question. I wrote a whole book about it, in fact. But what’s important is that much in the same way I had allowed myself to be defined by how I was measuring up to someone else’s expectations, I had allowed my relationship with Wesley Crusher to be defined the same way. And the end result of that was a lot of self-inflicted pain and sadness for me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that around the same time I finally felt seen in the world, I was able to see Wesley the way so many others did. It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. I was, and am, worth it. Getting to know Wesley Crusher, to see him the way he was seen by the people who loved him, to love him the way he always deserved to be loved … you can see the parallels, right? Believe me, it was all worth it.

Wesley and Kore may blink out of existence and never come back on camera again. Or they might go literally anywhere through all of space and time, from Strange New Worlds to Discovery to Lower Decks (but not to season three of Picard. Sorry, nerds.). I honestly don’t know what comes next for them in canon, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent some time thinking about it.

I may get to tell more of Wesley’s story at some point – his journey over the last 25 or so years is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about – as a writer or as an actor. Maybe both. But even if that never happens, if I never get to be Wesley Crusher on camera again, I will have the privilege of hosting The Ready Room, where I get to be a Starfleet veteran, a member of the exclusive “Legacy Star Trek” club, and an unashamed superfan who gets to take other nerds into the Room Where It Happens. I get to celebrate everything we all love about Star Trek in all its incarnations, for my job. 

I love the life I’ve built for myself. I love and am intensely grateful for the place in Star Trek that belongs to me, as the actor who played Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher, who now plays The Traveler Formerly Known as Wesley Crusher, who is the host of The Ready Room.

I and Wesley will always be part of The Next Generation for the rest of our lives, and that would absolutely have been enough. The fact that we both get to be part of not just The Next Generation, but also part of the larger Star Trek universe, is a privilege and a gift that I will never take for granted.

We talk about how Star Trek is so inspiring when it shows us what’s possible, what we can achieve for ourselves when we work hard and work together with compassion and empathy for each other. For me it goes deeper than that, because finding love and compassion for Wesley Crusher allowed me to find love and compassion for myself.

Welcome home, Wesley. I missed you so much. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you.

a really nice article about me at trek movie dot com

credit: has been posting about Star Trek Mission: Chicago, and today they wrapped up their coverage with a really nice write up about my spotlight panel, including some discussion of my Wesley Crusher head canon, specifically why he appears as a lieutenant in Nemesis:

Well, here’s what I think. I made the following choice. Wesley is, of course, a Traveler. Wesley learned a very long time ago that space, time, and thought are interconnected in ways that the vast majority of sentient beings do not understand and don’t know how to utilize to its full extent. And he has then been able to effectively be a Time Lord and kind of move through space and time. I have decided that whatever species you are from as a Traveler, your physical body will continue to age at a normal rate that is consistent with your species of origin. As I said, I spent some time thinking about this. I have been known to write my own fan fiction about my character.

So Wesley really wanted to be at this moment. He knows that this moment happens. He knows every moment that happens. It’s just part of the terrible knowledge that comes with being a Traveler guy, I guess. And Wesley made a choice: How will they expect me to appear? What will make them comfortable? If I show up as a god-being, it’s going make everything weird and make it all about me and I don’t want it to be that. If I just show up as like a lieutenant… that sounds like a thing that would make sense. Sure, let’s do that. But I get to be at the wedding of my very closest friends and family and I get to see them.

I also talked about one of my ridiculous ideas for Lower Decks:

The story is that Wesley just thinks Mariner is like super cool and just wants to impress Mariner so much. And Mariner could not be more annoyed and just bored and unimpressed with this fucking guy. But Boimler is like, “Do you have any idea who’s on the Cerritos!” Boimler is running around like an incredibly excited dog. He’s like, “I can’t believe it’s happening!” And he just keeps inadvertently cockblocking Wesley. Now Wesley isn’t trying to have anything romantic with Mariner, he just wants her to think that he’s cool. That’s all he cares about. And he just cannot get it done.

That is just so hilarious to me, and so silly, it feels like the kind of thing I could convince Tawny and Jack to do with me just as a reading of a few scenes, you know? Feels like the kind of thing they’d be into.

I mean, how can you NOT want to see this guy reverse some polarities?

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Animated Series

I unironically ADORE the animated series from the 70s. I was squarely in the target audience, and I guess I’ve never left that part of me behind.

So since this came across my event horizon earlier today, I’ve been OBSESSED. I mean, I was legit bummed Wesley wasn’t on the bridge, but quickly realized it’s perfect that they replaced him what what I think is a Kzinti, the way TAS replaced Chekov with Arex, the Edosian.

I couldn’t remember what species Arex was, so I had to look it up, and I read this, so before we get to the video I want you to watch, check out Leonard Nimoy:

Initially, Filmation was only going to use the voices of William ShatnerLeonard NimoyDeForest Kelley, Doohan and Barrett. Doohan and Barrett would also perform the voices of Sulu and Uhura. Nimoy refused to voice Spock in the series unless Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were added to the cast, claiming that Sulu and Uhura were proof of the ethnic diversity of the 23rd century and should not be recast. Nimoy also took this stand as a matter of principle, as he knew of the financial troubles many of his Star Trek co-stars were facing after cancellation of the series.[6]

What an amazing human he was. And how fucking racist were the people who were like “yeah, replace those actors of color with white people to save money.” WOW.

Anyway, check this out. If you’re of a certain age, I expect you will share my reaction when that music starts playing.

Also, if anyone wants to animate Wesley Crusher in the style of Filmation, I would be massively supportive of that.

Writing fan fiction is never not fun.

I have been reading the Internet, as you do, and I see a lot of my fellow nerds are as excited to see the TNG cast back together as I am.

I’ve also seen a LOT of people — like, way more than I ever would have imagined –expressing dismay that Wesley isn’t part of it.

I share some of your sadness, for my own reasons, but I choose to focus instead on how special it’s going to be to see my family back together again, and how wonderful it’s going to be to talk with them about it in the Ready Room.

Still, I’ve been thinking all day … what would happen if Wesley DID show up? Why would Traveler Wesley be there? And my imagination did its thing.

So I sketched this out in my head, and … well, it felt like something that was worth sharing.


Jean-Luc sits in a comfortable chair. He’s spent a lot of time here, lost in precisely this kind of thought. He’s sipping a glass of wine. Number One is asleep at his feet. The room shimmers in the golden light — but not the warmth — of a blazing fire. Deep shadows fill the corners, reflecting in their way the shadow on Picard’s face.

He looks up. Did he just sense movement in the shadows? He looks back to Number One, who is snoring on the floor, kicking his legs. Picard slowly stands up.

CUT TO WIDE. There it is. A figure in the darkness.

(more curious than alarmed)
Hello? Who’s there?

A beat. We hold our breath. Is it Q?

The figure emerges from the shadows, instantly familiar to some of us. It’s Wesley Crusher. Older. Wiser. Maybe a little haunted? A Traveler who has seen some shit. He smiles warmly.



It’s good to see you, Captain.

The fire crackles. Picard regards him for a long moment. It’s been 20 years. It’s a lot to take in.

(feeling it)
Wesley, I haven’t been your Captain for a very long time.

Now it’s Wesley’s turn to regard him.

You will always be my Captain.

Picard’s smile almost reaches his eyes. This is more than a simple reunion, and he knows it.

Why are you here? In this place? At this time?

The Traveler takes a deep, deliberate breath. Before he speaks, Number One growls, then barks. Through the windows, it’s getting brighter. Is the sun rising? No, it’s too fast, too bright, to be the sun. This is more like a spotlight being shined directly into the room. Picard shields his eyes from the increasingly blinding light. The Traveler is unaffected.

(as the light begins to swallow them)
… because this is where I am needed.

The white light fills the screen.

Black letters fade in: TO BE CONTINUED.

Writing fan fiction is never not fun, y’all.

in which i discover analog horror

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the paranormal and the occult. I did not believe any of it was real, but I still loved it. I loved how the show In Search Of put this very respectable, credible sort of mask on, and winked at the audience, like, “Listen, we all know this isn’t real. But … what if it was? What if we all agreed to pretend that it was?”

Jack Palance was so intense on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, it was like he dared you to not believe it. It was so great, that stuff. I just loved it. The Time Life Books series you already know I’m talking about before you even look at the link if you’re my generation was also a favorite. In the early days of the Internet, I just about died when I found all the regional urban legends on usenet that never made it to my little part of Los Angeles County.

I saw Blair Witch in the theater. I lurked on unfiction for what feels like ages back before the server blew up like Ricky’s mom. I watched so many found footage movies when they were just this low budget way to make indies, there was nothing left to surprise me when they went mainstream (though I was thrilled for the creators and the genre). I loved Marble Hornets so much, I tracked down like a 200 page PDF all about the Slenderman mythos that existed at the time, and I printed it out so I could make my own notes in it.

And until recently, it’s all just sort of fallen off my radar. I blame … *gestures broadly at everyfuckingthing*.

But when I came across Night Mind recently, it all came back. All the fun of pretending it’s real, with other people who are also pretending it’s real, while we all agree not to talk about how it isn’t real … oh man it just scratches this very specific itch that I didn’t even realize I had until I was scratching it. The SCP and EAS videos are just fantastic.

For the last minute or so, I’ve been channel surfing around Night Mind, Nexpo, and a few of those “people who watched this also watched” channels.

It’s one of those channels that surprised me and legit scared the evershittingfuck out of me last night.

Last night, I spent the evening watching analog horror videos on YouTube. I love the familiar, nostalgic, VHS feeling. I love remembering, from the safety of 49, how I felt every single time I heard the Emergency Broadcast System when I was 9 and a Cold War Kid. I don’t know what the modern day equivalent of walking into a room lit only by the static from a TV with no signal that you are positive you turned off an hour ago is, but if you know in your guts what I just described, that’s how these videos make me feel. It’s fantastic.

This is where I reveal that, until about 36 hours ago, I had not heard of “analog horror“. I hope you still respect me.

So, the story these videos and their creators are telling is genuinely frightening. Some real bad shit is happening with the moon and the television and even though I haven’t paused it to look, I just know there’s all sorts of creepy shit in the static. The way they are telling their story is impressive to me for a million reasons, technical and creative.

I think I watched three of them from this channel (they’re all very short, just a couple minutes each). Then they get to this video that slowly begins to feel familiar as I watch it. By the end of the first minute, that familiar feeling has become a memory. I have absolutely seen this before. But that’s impossible, because I didn’t know this video, this channel, or even this genre existed until breakfast yesterday morning!

I make this agreement with myself when I watch these channels, that’s essentially the same agreement we make when we play an ARG or engage with unfiction in any way: I know it isn’t real, but I’m going to pretend it’s real, and we aren’t going to talk about how it isn’t real. So my head is in a VERY PARTICULARLY RECEPTIVE AND VULNERABLE PLACE as this video WHICH I HAVE NEVER SEEN BUT TOTALLY REMEMBER plays out in front of me.

The video is tense and unnerving and unsettling on its own. But this unreal, impossible, yet undeinably real memory of seeing it before makes it feel like I am now inside one of these creepypasta shorts I’ve been watching. Somehow this specific video has also come out of my head and jumped into the computer in front of me and now this memory that I can not possibly have is clearly existing in my head and also on this video and I gotta tell you, bob, it isn’t great.

There’s a flash on the screen and I am already looking at exactly the right place to see the entity I know will be there. There has been nothing in this video so far that would lead anyone who hasn’t seen it to expect an entity. WHAT THE FUCK HOW DO I KNOW ANY OF THIS WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

The video plays for about another thirty seconds and then it ends.

I say, out loud, in my empty game room, “What the fuck.” And then the credits roll.

Oh. Okay. This all make sense, now, and I can breathe again. It’s made by Kris Straub, who I’ve known for years. I am a huge fan of Kris’s Candle Cove and Ichor Falls. Then I see that the video is from an idea by Mikey Neumann, who I have done many outstanding creative projects with over the years and love like family.

Mikey and Kris made this video forever ago, and sent it to me before it was uploaded anywhere. In all of the *gestures broadly at everyfuckingthing* of the last few years, I had completely forgotten about it. Like, the part of my brain where it lived was not reformatted, but absolutely marked as “available for storage” in my mental fstab.

I did that loud, nervous, I’m-so-glad-I-didn’t-die-I-really-thought-I-was-going-to-die laugh that we’re all familiar with for reasons none of us want to remember. Then I was like, “Okay. Okay. Well done, Mysterious Person Who Is Writing My Life. You just gave me the first good scare I’ve had in a long, long time.”

The series is called Local 58, and so is the channel, which is what I had been watching when I saw the video that made me metaphorically shit my pants. I am so glad I found it, and all the other channels like it that it either inspired, or was inspired by. This is fun, this stuff. This storytelling is doing the exact same thing for me in 2022 that the original analog horror did for me in 1982. I have just started Gemini Home Entertainment, (I know it’s not precisely the same but this Omega Mart training video is great,) and I haven’t even done the Night Mind Deep Dive into Local 58, which I know will open new doors for me to peek through.

As I am someone who is habitually late to every party, I’m sure there’s a ton of good stuff out there in this genre for me to discover. If there’s an analog horror series or creator you love who I haven’t linked to here, link them in a comment, if you want. I’m so interested to see what’s out there.