At the risk of sounding repetitive, Saturday we got up early again to get in line to the convention hall where we again hustled to the Ballroom 20 line to wait an hour or two to see panels.
The first panel we saw was for Chuck, a show I’ve never really been interested in so I wasn’t nearly as sad as most everyone in the room and on stage knowing that the next season of Chuck will be the last. The panelists reminisced about coming to Comic-Con before their first season to premiere the show and how the standing ovation they received blew them away. After the panel I still don’t find myself all that interested in the show, and am somewhat glad its ending – it frees up Jayne to appear in new episodes of Firefly when Fox smartens up and brings the show back (along with Arrested Development).
Up next was a screening of the upcoming Fox show Terra Nova. I wish this show were on any other network – it has an interesting premise, but Fox is sinking a ton of money into it, and they have a history of screwing up a good thing (see above). The show initially takes place in a dark future where humans have damaged the planet to the point where it can barely sustain life. Scientists have discovered a one-way time portal to a prehistoric earth and a lucky few get to go through and prepare the planet for everyone else (to inevitably destroy again). Throw in some dinosaurs, bad guys, teenage angst and other drama, mix well and serve. Perhaps what we saw wasn’t the final version, but the dinosaurs looked terrible. Jurassic Park came out 18 years ago and looks far better in my opinion.
The Futurama panel was next, and all the main vocal talent was in attendance. To start, they went down the line and each panelist rattled off all the shows they do voices for. John Dimaggio spent a good 5 minutes listing off all his shows – if its animated, odds are Dimaggio does a voice for it. Then they showed a sneak peek of the upcoming season finale. At the end of the panel, Matt Groening challenged Peter Avanzino to a sketch-off – both had sketchboards and had to draw the best Bender while Phil LaMarr and Dimaggio commentated. Matt went for quantity over quality churning out at least 10 sketches and mocking Avanzino as he finished his single sketch. The crowd chose Avanzino as the winner and a lucky few audience members were given a sketch.
As entertaining as the Futurama panel was, The Simpsons panel was the complete opposite. No stars were on hand, just the introverted writing staff that bored everyone to tears. They revealed the celebrity guest list for the upcoming season including: Kiefer Sutherland, Neil Gaiman, Gordon Ramsay, Joan Rivers, and Michael Cera and told us to expect some more Banksy-like intros. While taking questions, Groening gave away absurd Simpsons merchandise, and the panelists discussed their favorite unlicensed Simpsons merch. I’m not sure if such a rule exists, but similar to Rule 34 – if it exists, there is Simpsons merchandise of it.
Continuing the animation panel domination, Family Guy was up next with Seth MacFarlane joining Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Patrick Warburton, and a few others on stage. They discussed the upcoming season and guest stars Ricky Gervais, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Harmon, and Anna Kendrick. The Family Guy movie was confirmed, but MacFarlane pointed to the Simpsons taking 20 years to get around to their movie, and said they are working on it when they have time.
Not being much of a fan, I was ready to tune out the American Dad! panel that followed, but they screened the episode “Hot Water” from the upcoming season featuring C. Lo Green, and it was surprisingly quite good. It impressed me enough that I’ve seen a few more episodes since I’ve been back.
Chrystie and I decided to sit through panels for The Vampire Diaries and Fringe to see a sneak peek for yet another upcoming Fox show, Alcatraz. Feeling slightly guilty I played Fieldrunners on my phone through The Vampire Diaries and most of Fringe, only looking up to see Joshua Jackson as a surprise guest, although I thought he was a regular on the show.
The Alcatraz preview hooked me – starring Hurley from Lost (Jorge Garcia), produced by J.J. Abrams (of Lost), and written by some of the writers from Lost, the show revolves around the disappearance of everyone on Alcatraz Island in 1963 and their reappearance 50 years later. With the same wonder that made Lost so popular, the audience is in the dark as to how and why these inmates traveled through time, and who is “pulling the strings”. It looks to be Lost 2.0.
After two hours of sitting in a line, and eight hours of sitting in a room, we decided to jump in the line to watch the Comic-Con Masquerade. Trouble was we couldn’t find the line, so we went to where the line was to get into Ballroom 20 in the morning. No one was there, but a staff member directed us to where he thought the line started, sadly, no one was there either. After getting directed from clueless staff member to clueless staff member, and walking the length of the convention center four times, we finally found someone with a clipboard who looked like she knew what was going on. She told us the line hadn’t started and pointed us to where we could be front of the line, back in the Ballroom 20 line we started in. After a while of sitting around with no one else joining the line I decided to walk around a bit and ‘lo and behold I found the line for the Masquerade, by now it had nearly wrapped halfway around the convention center with a couple thousand people in it. Drained from a long day, and disgusted with the complete lack of knowledge and organization by the staff, we gave our parting words to the lady with the clipboard, who didn’t care a bit, and went to get dinner.