San Diego Comic-Con: Thursday TV Panels
So, last week I promised more posts on my Comic-Con experience, but then I went on vacation. Oops. (Side note: If one of your friends ever suggests a four day bachelorette party out of town, be afraid. Be very afraid.) Anyway, back to two weekends ago: San Diego Comic-Con, people! Thursday, July 21st was probably my very favorite day at the con. So much awesomeness packed into one day. Our number one goal was to get into Ballroom 20 as soon as possible, and to park ourselves there all day. We absolutely had to get in there before the Ringer and Game of Thrones panels started, or there would have been tears. My tears. So many of my tears. Luckily, we were able to get into line about 9ish, and we were able to make it into the room for the first panel of the day, around 10:15a.m. Francesca and I had line buddies Vee and Crissy to keep us company, which made it all the more enjoyable. We started off near the back of the ballroom, but after each panel we inched closer and closer to the front, owing to Francesca’s seat ninja skills. Alas, not close enough to make eye contact with Sarah Michelle Gellar or Kit Harington. I know, I know. High class problems.
USA Panels: Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, and Psych
I’ll be honest, I do not currently watch any of these USA shows. I watched the Burn Notice pilot once upon a time, but there is just too much television and too little time, so I never continued past the pilot. As for Covert Affairs, I actually watched the entire first season, but I have not really cared to join in on season 2. It is really not my cup of tea. A little too Alias-lite for me. And Psych? I actually really like that show, but I think I stopped watching after season 2 or 3. I had been Netflix-ing it, and thought the show was really fun. But once again, my TV schedule is brutal. Shows that I’m less obsessive about just have to get cut. (But I’ve missed you, Gus! You’re my favorite.) Francesca had not even seen one episode of any of these shows. And yet … we had a total blast at all of these panels. I was afraid this was going to be like our trip to Italy all over again. I am really into ancient history (in fact, I’m working on my Ph.D. in History), and so I dragged Francesca to every museum that I could find. Francesca soldiered through it for some time, but finally around Verona (or possibly earlier?), she had had enough. “NO MORE MUSEUMS!” she declared. “I CAN’T HANDLE ONE MORE!” I thought maybe this would happen in the panels, and this time I wouldn’t have gelato and limoncello to make up for the torture I put her through. Uh oh. But instead I got the opposite reaction. Several times throughout the day, Francesca bubbled, “Oooh, this is so fun!” Victory! I mean, I did have to explain a lot of things to her, but the actors and writers and producers were just all so damn entertaining, that it was like watching a show.
Okay, so now for a little more detail. The day started with Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe from 10:00-11:00a.m. This is an upcoming made-for-TV movie starring Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe. It is a prequel to Burn Notice, chronicling Sam Axe’s last military mission as a Navy SEAL. We were let into the room about ten or fifteen minutes into the panel, and I was surprised that there were only two people up on the stage: Bruce Campbell (Sam Axe) and Matt Nix (creator, writer, and executive producer of Burn Notice). But a two person panel was more than enough, because these guys were on fire. First of all, Bruce Campbell was wearing bright green pants, a white dinner jacket, and a bright pink shirt. Amaaaazing. He had such a great rapport with the fans who asked questions, cracking the entire room up, over and over again. For example, one line I particularly remember was when a fan asked (quite seriously and thoughtfully) how he prepared for playing a Navy SEAL. Campbell: “Two words: Jack and Shit.” Hmmm … maybe you had to be there. Anyway, Campbell is a masterful entertainer and totally worked the room beyond skillfully. He has come a long way from his Xena days (yeah, that’s how I best know him). Update: You can watch a high quality video of the full panel here.
Then from 11:15-12:15 was the Covert Affairs panel. Now, this one was a lot more crowded on stage. The actors included Piper Perabo (Annie Walker), Christopher Gorham (Auggie Anderson), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Jai Wilcox), Kari Matchett (Joan Campbell), Anne Dudek (Danielle), and Peter Gallagher (Arthur Campbell). Also, executive producers Doug Liman, Chris Ord, Matt Corman, and Dave Bartis were there, and the panel was moderated by Oded Fehr. Fehr made it a lot of fun, and you could tell that the actors and producers really like each other and their show. Major highlight was the fact that Peter Gallagher was there (Sandy Cohen 4eva!) and he made the best joke of the entire con: “You know what I’m very proud of? That they decided to use one of my eyebrows on the Comic-Con poster. You know what? If I never do another thing for the rest of my life, I’ll die a happy man.” PERFECTION. I will always think of Sandy’s eyebrows whenever I see the Comic-Con logo now. Peter Gallagher, you’re my hero. Later, when a fan asked Chris Gorham whether they would ever “fix Auggie,” referring to his eyesight, Gorham quipped, “Are you talking about castration?” Hee. Also, Piper Perabo was absolutely adorable and charming—far more so than Annie Walker. I think perhaps they should try to incorporate a little more Piper into the character of Annie. Update: You can watch a high quality video of the full panel here.
Next up was Psych from 12:30-1:30p.m. As Francesca put it, “Wow, people really love Psych.” Yep, there were pineapples everywhere, and this panel garnered the loudest cheers so far in the day. There was even a lady sitting a few rows ahead of us wearing a gigantic pineapple hat. No lie. It was amaaaazing. But my favorite may have been the fan who asked a question wearing a Star Trek uniform and carrying a huge pineapple plushie. Psych-o’s don’t mess around. Kurt Fuller (Woody the Coroner) moderated the panel, which included James Roday (Shawn Spencer), Dulé Hill (Burton “Gus” Guster), Maggie Lawson (Juliet O’Hara), Tim Omundson (Carlton Lassiter), Kirsten Nelson (Chief Karen Vick), and Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer). Joining the cast were Steve Franks (creator and executive producer), Kelly Kulchak (executive producer) and Chris Henze (executive producer). A major highlight of the panel was Kirsten Nelson, wearing a huge flower in her hair, who had imbibed a few drinks before the panel. She couldn’t stop saying inappropriate things, and when her fellow cast-members told her about the “There may be people under 18 years of age!” warning on their name cards, it just got worse. Hee. Loved it! Oh, and Dulé Hill basically tweeted throughout the entire panel. He’s a total Twitter addict, which makes me smile. Um … not that I can relate or anything. Ahem.
Also, there were quite a number of guest stars announced for Psych’s upcoming sixth season: William Shatner, Corey Feldman, Kristy Swanson, Tom Lenk, Jason Priestley, Michael Trucco, Tony Hale, Keenan Thompson, Jaleel White, Malcolm McDowell, and Cary Elwes (“Aaaaas youuuuu wiiiiiish!”). Insane number of guest-stars, right? I was pretty disappointed in the audience because the announcement of Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy, didn’t get very much applause. (Maybe all the SMG fans didn’t want to risk offending their queen?) Anyway, the highlight of the preview reel for me was when the insane applause for William Shatner prompted Francesca to lean over to me and ask, “Who is that?” I diiiiiiied. I explained his geek god status, and then a few minutes later, Francesca added, “Ooooh, I know who he is. He’s the guy from those Priceline commercials, right?” Seriously. That happened. I may have burst a blood vessel trying not to laugh. Update: You can watch a high quality video of the full panel here.
Then, finally, the moment I had been waiting for arrived. The Ringer panel! A.k.a., the Sarah Michelle Gellar is Awesome panel. Almost every question to the panel was prefaced with, “I’m a big Buffy fan and I’m so happy to see you return to television, Sarah.” Yep, SMG was totally the prom queen of Comic-Con. Bonus: she seemed totally at ease with her adoring public. Love love love. Seriously, this panel was such a magical experience for me. Absolutely surreal to see the portrayer of my very favorite television character up there on stage. In the same room as me! First of all, we got to see an awesome new trailer, which I have embedded below:
Good stuff, right? Then we got a Q&A session with SMG, Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Nestor Carbonell (Lost, The Dark Knight), Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), executive producer Pam Veasey (CSI:NY), and co-executive producers Nicole Snyder (Supernatural) and Eric Charmelo (Supernatural). Most of the questions were for Sarah, and a lot revolved around her playing multiple characters. She joked, “By season three they’ll clone me.” There were a lot of references back to her time on Buffy, which was pretty blissful to me, and she even made a Cruel Intentions reference. CRUEL INTENTIONS, PEOPLE! I graduated from high school in 1999. That was MY movie. Before I ever knew SMG as Buffy, I loved her as Kathryn. This panel was my happy place. SMG even further proved her goddess status by making a Lost reference, for the benefit of her co-star. When the EP stated that on Ringer there would be “No vampires, no demons, nothing supernatural,” Sarah added, “No hatch, no island!” The entire room was just so in love with her, we could barely stand it. I think we were all ready to elect her queen of the world or something, and that would have obviously been good decision making. She’s perfection. (And she looks better than ever. Seriously.)
However, there was more than Sarah to be seen. Kristoffer Polaha in all his tall and gorgeous glory was on hand to discuss his character, and I should let you all know that Francesca “woo-ed” louder for him than anyone else in Ballroom 20. True facts. Also, we learned the most amazing and tragic bit of news about him. He auditioned for Riley on Buffy. It came down to him and Marc Blucas. You guys, Polaha could have been Riley. I weep for what might have been. Sigh. And Ioan Gruffudd was not asked nearly enough questions for what his gorgeous accent deserved, but when he finally was asked a question, near the end, the fan prefaced it with, “Ioan, my love.” The man full-on blushed and looked so happy to get a little attention (I mean, let’s face it, the panel was pretty much The Sarah Show). So adorable. And yes, Nestor Carbonell’s eyelashes looked amaaaaazing. Check out the full panel over at Buffyfest, because it’s good stuff. I was so sad when it was over.
Game of Thrones Panel
After the Ringer panel ended (far too soon!), I actually had no time to be depressed, because Game of Thrones was next up, from 3:00-4:00p.m. I am a huge fan of the books and the show, so this one was another major highlight of the week. A girl behind me was wearing an amaaaaazing Dany costume, dragons on the shoulder and everything, and you could really feel an energy of excitement in the room. We were told that there were about 6,000 people still in line, while the room was full at this point. Yikes! Good thing we got in line early. The panel started with a six minute clip, summarizing the key moments of the season. It was super dramatic and full of awesomeness, and you can watch it below. (Spoiler filled, obviously.)
Francesca has not yet seen the show, or read the books, but she refused to close her eyes like I told her. Instead, she gasped over and over again, and when a certain person was killed in a certain way, she yelled loudly, “What?!” Hee. This show does NOT mess around. She really wants to watch now.
Then we had a Q&A, moderated by A Song of Ice and Father author, George R.R. Martin. You guys, I was in the same room as George R.R. Martin. I was soooo fangirling. But silently. I was kind of like frozen with excitement for a few moments there. He was wearing flame covered suspenders, in case you were wondering. (Awesome!) He seems like such a normal nice guy, and yet it is his brain that creates so much twisted tragedy. Who’d a thunk? One of my favorite questions asked to the panel was directed to Martin near the end. The fan asked whether Martin ever mourns any of the characters that he killed, and he said that he mourns them all. He added, “I try to think ‘It’s not me killing them, it’s the other characters.’ I try to distance myself.” Hee. Oooh, those dastardly murderous characters. They torture poor Martin so.
Of course, a lot of people involved in the HBO series were there as well, as that was what the panel was for. Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were there, along with a number of people from the cast: Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Ser Jaime Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei), and Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo). They were all amazing, though Dinklage was clearly the fan favorite. Personally, my row was fangirling over Harington … um, not that I’m naming any names.
I really think that Jason Momoa won the panel. He strolled in wearing dark sunglasses, with super long hair, looking like he just got off tour or something, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a man that large—outside of the NBA or NFL. And then sometime in he lowered his glasses to reveal that he was wearing the Khal Drogo makeup. Classic. That garnered a lot of deserved applause. And he got sooooo excited when talking about his character. When Martin asked who would win in a fight, Conan or Drogo, Momoa didn’t hesitate to say, “Well George, between you and me, Drogo would kick Conan’s ass.” Hee. Momoa was got very animated when discussing the heartbreak of realizing that Drogo dies. Sniffle. He was the biggest Drogo fan there. (And that’s saying something. The room LOVED him.) Martin joked about a long lost twin brother, and you know, I’d be okay with that. Oh, and there was a fan who asked him a question, but prefaced it with, “You’re my Sun and Stars.” Momoa looked genuinely pleased, and replied, “Thank you, Moon of My Life.” Awwww. Total rock star.
It was personally really excited to see Lena Headey there, because I’m such a huge Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fan. Sarah Connor is my hero. Headey is a little eccentric, but awesomely so, and Francesca said she reminded her of Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter (see pic above). Hee. Also, Emilia Clarke is possibly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She looks so different in real life, without that white blonde wig. So gorgeous and completely charming and absolutely thrilled to be there. She really seems to love Dany, and to love the books, and to really feel lucky to be where she is. Apparently she was hired right out of drama school. This is her first acting job. Bonus: she referred to the dragons as her babies. Love it!
Kit Harington looked pretty decent (translation: SWOON!) and definitely like the 24 year old that he is, rather than the 16/18 year old that he plays on the show. So feel free to swoon, ladies and gents. He didn’t talk very much, other than to say that the concept of being a poster on girls’ bedroom walls was terrifying. The less you know then, darling. Shhhh. And one of my personal favorites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Ser Jaime Lannister), was a lot of fun on the panel. It was cool to hear his real accent, which is Danish, I believe. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) Martin had a bit of fun with him about his nose, the size of which apparently was the subject of much fan debate. Sigh. Personally, I think he’s a perfect Jaime, and I can’t wait until season 2, when we get to some really juicy Jaime stuff. I’m thinking next time he goes to a con, the applause will be even louder. Oh, and he had a really hilarious answer to the question of how he would like the series to end. He painted a picture of how it would fade to black and then a sign for 20 years later would come up. Cut to Jaime and Cersei, living happily ever after. Hee. Dinklage also had a good answer for that question: “Dance number.” Love it.
Anyway, this was definitely an amazing panel. It was so good, that I barely tweeted through it. I couldn’t take my eyes away. You can read a more detailed report with videos from the panel over at Westeros.org. Oh, and one more highlight, strictly for the book fans. A redhead fan prefaced her question with “Jon Snow, you know nothing.” Hee.
TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites Panel
But that wasn’t the end for Ballroom 20. We stuck around for the TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites panel from 4:15-5:15p.m. This was fun, but had a lot less substance than the other panels. With so many people from different shows it was hard for a lot of the panelists to say much. The panel was moderated by editor-in-chief Debra Birnbaum, and panelists included Kristin Bauer (True Blood), Nestor Carbonell (Ringer), Nelsan Ellis (True Blood, Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz), Leslie Hope (The River), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries), Matt Smith (Doctor Who ), and Kevin Williamson (Vampire Diaries). So nice to see Kevin and Julie, since I knew that I would have to miss The Vampire Diaries panel the next day. The things I do for Joss. Sigh. Anyway, they didn’t get to talk much, but it was really fun that Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) declared that he watches every single episode of The Vampire Diaries. Love. Oh, and they played a couple clips from TVD, including Damon killing the redhead in the road, and Alaric staking Elijah. If you heard “Go Alaric!” during the replay of the dagger scene (sorry, Elijah), you can probably guess the source.
The major fan favorite in the room was Matt Smith. Apparently, Doctor Who is kind of a big deal. I thought I might go deaf from the screams for Smith. They were louder than the screams for Nathan Fillion that Francesca treated me to on Sunday. I might never hear again. But seriously, anytime there was a costume we didn’t know, we joked, “Oh, that must be from Doctor Who,” and I bet 99% of the time we were right. People love it.
A major highlight from that panel for me was when Zachary Levi took off his hat. Francesca leaned over all shocked (she may or may not have gasped), and asked, “Why don’t we watch Chuck!?” I actually do watch Chuck—at least I did before this latest season—but I guess I have been remiss in introducing it to Francesca. We will have to correct that. Also, I personally would like to lobby for Levi to become a long lost Winchester brother. (A girl can dream.) Another highlight was Jorge Garcia talking about reactions he gets about the Lost finale. Aw, those poor actors and writers. People are not shy about telling them that they think it sucked.
Of all the people to come from True Blood, I’m really glad that it was Bauer and Ellis. Pam and Lafayette are two of only a handful of characters that I love on that show. Pam is the absolute BEST. THE BEST. Also, small world! After the day was done and we went to dinner (amazing sushi at Dragon’s Den, with amazing seating outside, absolutely no wait, and not crowded at all—miraculous!) and Kristin Bauer showed up at our restaurant. We didn’t go talk to her or anything, because we didn’t want to disturb her dinner, but it was still cool. Just part of the SDCC ambiance, I guess.
Showtime: Tired of Ordinary Television? Panel
Next up was the Showtime panel, starting with Shameless. It was moderated by Mike Schneider (TV Guide Los Angeles bureau chief), and panelists included William H. Macy (Frank), Emmy Rossum (Fiona), Justin Chatwin (Steve), and executive producer John Wells (West Wing, ER, Southland). We didn’t make it through the whole thing, because we had been up since 4am, and were really starting to get antsy and wanted real food. But here is a video with the first five minutes from the panel, via YouTube user nowknow411:
Here’s the Dexter season 6 trailer that was shown at the con:
And here’s a new look at Homeland, along with an excerpt from the panel, featuring Morena Baccarin (Inara!):
You can check out further details on these panels over at Collider.com.
So, after we exited Ballroom 20, we stopped by the exhibition floor to pick up the rumored Mockingjay pins. Success! We were soooo excited! And then we went over to the fulfillment room to get our swag from the various TV panels. I’m doing a little giveaway for this stuff. No, I’m not parting with my Mockingjay pin, sorry. But I am giving away 1) a Covert Affairs tee (men’s size large); 2) a Chuck tee (men’s size large); 3) a Westeros map mouse pad and a copy of A Game of Thrones (I’m going to bundle those 2 items as one prize); 4) a Ringer stool (it’s a pretty tiny stool, FYI, but kind of cute and possibly handy for future cons); 5) a Hunger Games poster; 6) and the WB Vampire Diaries bag. All items are pictured below.
So, to enter the giveaway, let me know that you want to enter in the comments, and identify which items you want to put your name in for. To make it fair, I’m going to let people enter for as many items as they want, but once you win, you’re out of the drawing for the others. Also, I’m making it open for all my readers worldwide, and crossing my fingers that the shipping isn’t too exorbitant. When you comment on this site, you have to enter an email address, so that’s how I’ll contact the winners. And, of course, I promise not to give your information to any third parties. Good luck, and thanks for visiting Heroine TV!
Update: You have until Tuesday, August 9th at 11:00p.m. PST to enter.