Jay and I were up and at ’em early on Thursday morning because we both had things that we wanted to do/see that day. We got up right before 6 a.m. (thanks to our bodies not being used to the time change) and joined the line outside of Hall H. Our view from the Omni was actually of the lines outside of Hall H, which made it very convenient for us to keep track of it. I should explain that this year, the “lines outside of Hall H” actually were the lines for everything. There was a line for Hall H and a separate line for “everything else” which included Ballroom 20 and the Exhibit Hall. The two lines were broken up into different chutes within the tent area. In my assessment, the lines in general really started to pick up after that 6 a.m. mark.
On Thursday, July 17, I really wanted to see everything in Ballroom 20, from the new TV show with Josh Holloway (Sawyer on Lost), Intelligence to the Psych panel to the Sherlock panel to The X-Files 20th Reunion panel. I was really pumped for my first full day of Comic-Con this year. Jana had gotten there a few minutes before us, so we joined her in line and Nick joined us a few minutes later. They began moving and separating the lines around 8 a.m. Here’s where it got kind of interesting: Jay and Nick were headed to the Exhibit Hall to get Hasbro line tickets while Jana and I were trying to get in line for Ballroom 20. The “everything else” line would be moving up the escalators together and once at the top, it would be a free-for-all, as the lines split once you got passed the hallway in between Ballroom 20 and the Sails Pavilion. There was no order during that brief period of time, so if you were a fast walker, you could theoretically end up a head of a slower walker who happened to get in line earlier than you did. This is exactly what happened last year to Jana, after she had camped out in line all night to see the Firefly reunion panel and got pushed down in the stampede as people were jockeying to get re-positioned in line. I fully expected this to happen again this year. As the lines split, I waved good bye to Jay and Nick and continued determinedly down the hallway and out the doors to get into the upstairs, outside line behind the Convention Center for Ballroom 20. As I approached the door, I realized something was off. I was walking by myself! Jana had gotten stuck behind someone slower on the escalator and everyone else around me must’ve been waiting to get in line for the Exhibit Hall, because I was competing for a place in line with absolutely no one for a glorious 45 seconds.
Anyway, Jay and Nick got the passes for their exclusive toys and joined us in line around 9 a.m. We had made some friends and had a nice little group going on when they arrived. We got into Ballroom 20 without any problems at all. Since the majority of our day was spent in 20, I’ll just do a quick panel-by-panel recap:
- Intelligence (10-11 a.m.) – We watched the pilot and then had a Q&A session with stars Josh Holloway, Meghan Ory, and Marg Helgenberger and producers Michael Seitzman, René Echevarria, and Tripp Vinson. The official description for Intelligence is, “Holloway plays Gabriel, a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a supercomputer microchip in his brain. With this implant, Gabriel is the first human ever to be connected directly into the worldwide information grid and have complete access to Internet, WiFi, telephone, and satellite data. He can hack into any data center and access key intel in the fight to protect the United States from its enemies. Leading the elite government cybersecurity agency created to support him is Director Lillian Strand (Helgenberger), a straightforward and efficient boss who oversees the unit’s missions. Strand assigns Riley Neal (Ory), a Secret Service agent, to protect Gabriel from outside threats, as well as from his appetite for reckless, unpredictable behavior and disregard for protocol.”
Essentially, Intelligence is Chuck meets Alias meets Person of Interest. It will be airing on CBS and definitely has that CBS thriller feel and look to it. Maybe it was because I was busy trying to fix a weird link in a post on JayandJackTV.com during the first half of the pilot, but I have to admit that I wasn’t super impressed with it until the second half. By the end, I was interested in seeing where the story’s going. There’s also a secondary storyline in Intelligence that’s very similar to a secondary storyline in Almost Human. I’m curious to see how each one plays out. The panel portion was great. All three of the stars obviously know how to be on a Comic-Con panel. Josh Holloway looked like he was having fun up there and unlike stars who show up at panels and refuse to answer any questions or even smile, Holloway, Ory, and Helgenberger each joked around, answered questions in a charming manner, and interacted well with each other. Count me in for giving Intelligence a chance.
- Star-Crossed (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) – We got the same deal with this panel as the previous one. We got an exclusive viewing of the pilot and then had a Q&A with stars Matt Lanter, Aimee Teegarden (Julie Taylor‘s all grown up and CWified!), and Grey Damon and executive producers Adele im, Meredith Averill, Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Scott Rosenberg. The official description for Star-Crossed, which will be airing on The CW, is, “When a spaceship crash-landed in Emery’s (Teegarden) small town when she was only 6, whether the aliens came in peace or with more sinister intentions didn’t matter: a fierce battle erupted as humans fought for control over their new rivals, an alien species called the Atrians. In the midst of the conflict, Roman (Lanter), a 6-year-old Atrian boy, found his way to a shed behind Emery’s house, where she protected him from harm. In their brief time together, Emery and Roman forged a deep bond, but the authorities wasted no time tracking Roman down and capturing him. Emery has grown up believing Roman was killed that day. Ten years later, the Atrians have acclimated to life on Earth but are interred in a heavily guarded camp to keep them separate from humans. Now, for the first time, a group of Atrian teens enroll in a suburban high school, with the goal of testing the feasibility of human/alien integration…” The description goes on for another like 5 sentences, but the gist of it is that it’s a Romeo and Juliet story with aliens and humans.
This is going to be a big hit for The CW, I’m calling it now. It has its cheesy moments and bad acting, but after watching it, I actually kinda care about Emery and the Atrians and want to see what happens next. I know I’m probably on the much higher end of the demographic that they’re going for with Star-Crossed, but it’s going in my Hulu queue and I’m not afraid to admit it! I think if you read the epic description and have interest, then check it out. If you’re the kind of person who hates torrid teenage romance sagas, then it’s not for you. I’ll be watching it.
- Beauty and The Beast (12 – 12:45 p.m.) – Don’t watch this show, so I used this time period to get some fresh air and regroup by running back to my hotel room to drop my laptop off, take a bathroom break, and get some water. Staying at the Omni and being so close was so worth it. Heard they showed a blooper real, though.
- Psych (1 – 2 p.m.) -The Psych panel is a highlight for me every year. The cast is always there joking around with each other and with the audience and you generally get awesome t-shirts as a giveaway. This year, it was hosted by Cary Elwes and attended by almost the entire cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Tim Omundson, Kirsten Nelson, and Corbin Bernsen. For the past few years, Dulé Hill’s (Gus) constant Tweeting has been a panel-long joke and this year, he finally got James Roday (Shawn) to join up (@JamesRoday). They showed a blooper real, Nelson educated everyone on the correct pronunciation of her first name, and Roday and Hill gave us all a live preview of a song from Psych: The Musical, which will be airing as an episode this fall.
- Sherlock (2:30 – 3:30 p.m.) – The panel for Sherlock‘s Comic-Con debut consisted of co-creators/executive producers/writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft Holmes) and producer Sue Vertue. Benedict Cumberbatch was not in attendance because he was off marrying two of his friends in Ibiza and Martin Freeman was missing because he was on location in New Zealand for the final days of filming The Hobbit. Both stars did make an appearance over video, with Freeman saying hello while half-made up in his Bilbo costume and Cumberbatch doing a bit in which he was confused about which of his recent roles he was doing the appearance for. Both videos were charming; hopefully if we get more Sherlock in future years, both actors can appear. As far as the live portion of the panel went, it was great! They talked about where we left off in the Series 2 finale and reassured everyone that the answer to what we learned in the final moments can be found within the episode itself. They also mentioned that people were asking the wrong questions about “How?” There was a lot of humor (“Well, it wasn’t a suicide-off!”) and talk about the future of the show (both stars have indicated that they are willing to continue being Holmes and Watson for as long as there is interest in the show, though a new series would not be produced more than every 18 months). Moffat, Gatiss, and Vertue laughed when they realized that both Cumberbatch and Freeman, now two of the biggest stars in the world, both read for their parts before being casted. The true highlight of the panel, however, was the rough footage we got to see from Series 3, Ep. 2. Oh man, it was awesome. No spoilers, but if the entire series is any indication of the clip we saw, then it’s not going to disappoint.
- TV Guide Magazine Celebrates The X-Files’ 20th Anniversary (3:30 – 4:30 p.m.) – And now we were up to the moment I had been waiting for all day: The panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of The X-Files. I was hoping that it would be similar to the 10th anniversary of Firefly panel in 2012, but it was a bit different. Instead of having a lot of the cast reunite, only David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were there to represent. This was good enough for me, though. Also on hand was series creator Chris Carter as well as writers/producers David Amann, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, John Shiban, and Jim Wong. Because of amount of behind-the-scenes power up on stage, there was a lot of buzz about the possibility of a 3rd movie announcement. In fact, panel moderator Michael Schneider (of TV Guide Magazine) kept pushing the question at Chris Carter, who looked uncomfortable to be there and have the question thrust in his face over and over again. We never got a movie announcement, but the panel was fun nonetheless. Gillian Anderson was hilarious – she couldn’t answer a question on topic to save her life, lol, but she had a great energy about her, while David Duchovny played a nice straight man to counterbalance her enthusiasm.
The panel was mainly audience questions, which is always hit or miss. I’d seen Chris Carter when he did a panel at New York Comic-Con in April 2008 just in time for the second X-Files movie. He was great at that panel. At this one, he was much quieter, which I think was because of the pushiness of the moderator. Some questions were great, others were not so much. We did get some Breaking Bad talk from Vince Gilligan: “There’d be no Breaking Bad without The X-Files.” This was, of course, a reference to the Season 6 episode, “Drive,” which Gilligan wrote and featured a guest role by Bryan Cranston. Gilligan shared that Cranston’s character in the episode was actually named after both his brother and one of his high school teachers. Working with Cranston during the episode is what lead to casting him as Walter White.
During the panel, Jerry Shiban, son of John Shiban, was brought out on stage. Jerry, now a teenager, played baby William. I felt SO old at that moment. Another highlight of the panel was the recurring reference to the fact that we never got to see a sex scene between Mulder and Scully that was apparently filmed. Anderson brought it up several times as a joke. An audience question: “If Mulder & Scully went on a real date, what would they do?” Gillian: “Have sex.” David: “Then…maybe dinner?” It was so funny. Was the panel better than the Firefly panel the year before? No, but it was still a good time and I’m so glad I got to be there to see it.
Jay and I decided to go back to our hotel room after the X-Files panel was finished. We needed a little break, so we walked back to the Omni and checked out a few of the booths that were set up outside of the Convention Center on the way out, like the Revolution Cafe. Once we got back to the room, we drew the curtains and took an hour long nap.
We met up with the wonderful Kris White for dinner later that evening. It was Clif, Jana, Jay, Kris, and I and for lack of being able to find another restaurant without a wait, we ended up at Blarney Stone on 5th. This was when we ended up doing a toast to “Podcast BFF’s” and each posting a picture of the toast from our own point of view on Instagram. Sometimes, it’s really fun to just be silly dorks. Dinner was a ton of fun. Above everything else, my favorite part about San Diego Comic-Con is being able to catch up and laugh with friends that I don’t get to see very often. Yay, Comic-Con. Yay, friends.
After dinner, we headed over to Nerd HQ. This year, Nerd HQ was being held at Petco Park and was convenient right across the street from the Omni. Another reason why the Omni was the best choice ever this year. Zachary Levi was hosting a dance party there that night and I considered it a win that I not only got Jay out on the dance floor, but got him out there to dance with me for a good half hour. [I think the fact that “Blurred Lines” was playing and I begged may have had something to do with it, haha.] We had a BLAST at Nerd HQ. I’m so glad we finally got there to hang out this year. It was Jay, myself, Jana, Clif, Natasha, and Jessica. We even met a few people that we knew through Jay and Jack/Twitter – Joey and Krystin. Have I mentioned that I love meeting people at Comic-Con? It was an awesome night. I really hope we can recreate it again next year.