Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comic-Con 2011 Panels - Friday Part I #SDCC

Is the word "Friday" completely ruined for anyone else? I've never even watched that music video and I can't get the song out of my head. It's like "twilight" - the actual meaning of the word has been stolen away by popular culture.

Anyway, here's some scene-building for you: I'm not sure if you know, but Comic-Con panel audiences are extremely responsive. It's like a combination of a rock concert and cranked-up sitcom laugh track. It is usually a very positive reaction, too. The only things I heard get boos this year were 1) Kaley Cuoco not knowing what a TARDIS is (I didn't boo, I wouldn't expect her to know. Apparently none of them appreciate geek culture) and 2) The True Blood moderator asking whether Sookie and Bill should get back together (NO!).

On to the Friday panels 1-4 (to be followed tomorrow by 5-7) - in which we find out that my recaps are a lot better when I remember to take notes!

Torchwood: Miracle Day

"I love playing Jack. It's the best coat I can put on each day." - John Barrowman


We all know that John Barrowman is a character, to say the least. For example, during the panel he sang "Tomorrow" from Annie. Eve Myles definitely held her own in this panel, though. I think she might have even outshone him with her humor and vivacity. They were the best in Con at flirting with the question-askers (though Colin Ferguson rubbing his face all over his microphone was freaking hilarious - see Eureka panel), with their instructions of "call me" to the complimenters. It was a fun time, though nothing can compare to John and David kissing at Comic-Con 2009, which I will be forever sad that I missed. 


When asked about the new show and her move to the United States, Myles stated that it was great, she got to "move with my best friend," meaning Gwen Cooper, of course. She seemed excited to slip Cooper's leathers back on and go out on some new adventures. Eve also treated us to her American accent which, according to John, sounded "kind of Jersey Shore" (it totally did). They also told a story of John crouching in Eve's trailer shower, waiting for her to get back so he could jump out and scare her. "I actually peed myself," said Myles. 


I was really glad to see Jane Espenson on this panel as well. I am a big admirer of pretty much every show she has ever worked on (just the ones I've seen, I guess ;-)), and I think she does a really good job of talking about her work, both in panels like this and DVD extras. Espenson has a unique way of speaking that is probably her own, but may stem from years of working with Joss Whedon, who basically has his own language. She assured us that the "dark chocolate" was coming soon, in Episode 5 (this Friday's episode) specifically. I'm having some mild anxiety about it because Torchwood can be very dark, something we really haven't seen so far this season. Mekhi Phifer, of course, implied that he was the "dark chocolate," effectively breaking the tension. 

"I may be from Harlem, but I'm a nerd." - Mekhi Phifer

Alexa Havins admitted to what I've been saying all along, that her character's function is as a conduit for those who haven't seen the original Torchwood. Miracle Day is set up very independently, and is probably a lot more mysterious if you haven't seen Torchwood before. Anyway, she is the one who asks all the questions that the Torchwood virgins might have. She even translates the British mannerisms into American speak. She's like Nick on CSI (that is possibly a dated reference. I haven't watched CSI in years. Is he even on it anymore?).


One of the best questions was, "Is the coat immortal, too?" which really made me think. Jack gets "killed" a lot so theoretically the coat should be burned, holey, and shredded to bits by now. It always looks pristine, however, and I really wouldn't want it any other way. They couldn't really answer that question (you know, Russell wasn't there), but it segued into Barrowman describing all the different coats they have. There's a "hero coat" that's shiny and pristine and a "running coat" that billows out nicely when he runs. They have definitely had to destroy some coats. Barrowman also says "everybody's gotta have a cape" and "it's a great thing to wear on a Friday night" about the famous coat.


On the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary rumors:
Torchwood is totally about the characters, at least for me. It's a bit dramatic at times, and sometimes very dark, but Jack Harkness is worth all that. He's the reason I watch Torchwood, and I would really love to have him travel with the Doctor, at least one more time (please?). Obviously, this was something that came up a lot over the weekend, first in the TV Guide Fan Favorites panel, wherein Matt was asked about John returning, and the Torchwood panel, where John stated that he would love to travel with the Doctor again, given the opportunity. I'm pretty sure it came up at the live Nerdist podcast as well, and so by the time we got to the Doctor Who panel on Sunday, it was a full-fledged rumor that Captain Jack was going to be in the 50th Anniversary episode. So, to set the record straight, they never said it was going to happen, but everyone involved seemed pretty jazzed at the possibility. 

Also, the 50th Anniversary is not until 2013, so who knows how many times plans will change before then. I'm crossing my fingers that everyone shows up, "Journey's End" style, even former iterations of the Doctor. 

The Walking Dead

There is a school in Atlanta. It is a zombie school. You learn how to stumble, crawl, and moan effectively. You learn the rules about what a zombie can and cannot do. Then, when it is over, you put on some crazy-ass makeup and you get to be an extra on The Walking Dead.

I. Want. To. Go. To. There.

If you have ever read his graphic novels, or watched this show, you know that Robert Kirkman has a very pessimistic view of the Zombie Apocalypse. Kirkman doesn't think your plan to fill your car with food and cricket bats and drive up to the highest mountain top is going to work. He thinks you're going to die. When asked what he would do, Kirkman replies "I would kill myself... I would jump off a bridge." When someone pointed out that he would then rise, he replied, "I have no problem with becoming a zombie." It's a good thing his characters don't decide on this course of action, however, because this show wouldn't be so good if they were all zombies.


"You take a nice-guy character and punch him in the face repeatedly... forever." - Chris Hardwick (moderator) to Robert Kirkman

I highly recommend the graphic novels, especially if your goal is to become extremely depressed and have horrible nightmares (no, but really, they are good). The overall theme that is already becoming more and more apparent in the show, is that, given a situation like a zombie apocalypse, the true enemy that emerges is each other, rather than the zombies. Plot-wise, they have stayed pretty true to the novels, with some veering off toward the end of the season. Laurie Holden, who plays Andrea, said "if you're a fan of the Robert Kirkman graphic novels, you're really going to love this season," so I assume they are staying with them, at least for the big plot points. Also, kudos to the cast members for actually reading the graphic novels.


The trailer for the new season was pretty stinking epic. We got to watch it twice on the big screen and now I'm totally excited. It is going to pick up right where the first season ended, none of that "six months later" crap.


We also got a little taste of what the cast goes through on filming, including the need for "tick checks." Yikes. Steven Yeun apparently found a tick in a place where a man should never find a tick. Double yikes.


There was also a lot of love for Norman Reedus' character, which I didn't expect. Maybe I need to rewatch it to see what his appeal is. The biggest impression that I got from the actors on this panel was that they take their roles seriously, and they really believe in the art of it all. This isn't just some dumb zombie movie, and they know it.

The Big Bang Theory

"When is Sheldon going to go through Pon Farr?" - awesome audience member
"Penny is going to have to teach him that, too." - Kaley Cuoco 

Wow, kinky - and also, does she really know what that means?

I already covered the negative bits of this, so it's all positive today! Let's talk about the best person on this panel: Blossom Mayim Bialik. When her character was first introduced, my first thoughts were "great, another smart geek girl who dresses like a grandmother and talks like a robot. Come ON!", but Amy Farrah Fowler has definitely grown on me. Her character's exploration of herself, her attempt to recapture her lost teen years, and her transition from an amusing annoyance to one of the funniest characters on the show has been a treat to watch.


Mayim Bialik is really smart. She has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in real life. It's on her acting resume under "miscellany." She is also a very interesting person, with a lot of outspoken views that (at first glance, at least) appear to contradict each other, like her science background, strong connection with Conservadox Judaism, and spokesperson role for the Holistic Moms Network.


Mayim had intelligent and funny things to say about her character and her life as a "nerd." It was a refreshing change.

Ok, enough about her bio, back to the panel, complete with totally out-of-context quotes. 

"[It's] a lot of handsome and talented people dancing around and making love in the rain." - Kunal Nayyar on Bollywood


Howard's mom introduced them (from offstage, of course). I was really hoping the Barenaked Ladies would show up, but unfortunately not this year! They did show bloopers, though, which is always fun. The most takes Jim Parsons ever had to do was apparently when Sheldon explains the rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock. I can imagine!


"He's a lovely fellow... I don't understand what he's talking about a lot of the time."- Jim Parsons on Sheldon Cooper

There was one audience moment that was memorable. "Button Lady," a notorious question-asker, who wears a red cape covered in 2-inch collectible buttons, asked Mayim about her appearance on What Not to Wear and how the advice contradicted with Amy Farrah Fowler's costuming. Mayim listed the recommendations that Stacy and Clinton had made, and how Amy's wardrobe violates all the rules. Then she hesitated, and added "as do you, with that button cape." Talk about setting yourself up! Oh man. It was all in the spirit of good fun, and such a great opening that almost anyone quick-witted enough would have made the same joke in her place. 



The question we must each ask ourselves as we embark on Season 4.5 of Eureka is "Am I Team Parrish or Team Fargo?" A new love triangle emerges on Eureka, meaning more air time for Grayston, Wheaton and Day. Who would say no to that? Plus, Eureka is always more fun with a love triangle.


Eureka writers, I applaud you. Not only was season 4.0 a really great shake-up for the show, but season 4.5 has some great things in store as well. And no, once again, they have no plans to "fix" the timeline.

First off, the introduction of new characters, including Dr. Holly Marten, played by Felicia Day, and the return of Dr. Isaac Parrish, played by Wil Wheaton. Remember to keep in mind that when we see Parrish in season 4.0, he was under the influence of that crazy zombie rage stuff, so he's not really as douchey as we might have originally thought. He is pretty grumpy, and he does have a fun antagonistic relationship with my beloved Fargo, and now a new romantic competition is blossoming between them as well. Too much fun. I can't wait to see the development of his character. Also, Felicia Day is a goddess, but we already knew that.


Second, the mission to Titan. The clips they showed during the panel piqued my interest. I really think this is going to be another game-changer for the show. The training, competition, new inventions, and eventually the mission itself just looks phenomenal. I can't wait.


Third, the continuation of the new Christmas Special tradition, introduced last year (I don't know if you can technically have new traditions, but whatever). Last year, it seemed like they were just testing the waters, and this year they are pulling out all the stops. It is going to be partially animated, and not just using one type of animation. Also, it's not just animated for fun, some zany GD invention is actually going to turn the characters into animations. Yep. The cherry on top for this episode is actually something I found out post-Con. The much put-upon sheriff's jeep is going to have its own voice in the animated special. And that voice is Mr. Jim Parsons. WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN THAT??

Oh gosh, sorry, geeked out there for a moment.


One of my favorite moments from the panel (other than the ones illustrated in the photos above) was when Colin Ferguson proceeded to flirt with a fan who complimented him by rubbing his face all over the microphone in a "sexy manner." It was way more hilarious than sexy, though. He also made a great joke about being passed over for roles in favor of Mark Valley and Mike Rowe, his notorious look-alikes.

See you tomorrow for Part II including Warehouse 13, True Blood, and Batman: Year One


  1. This was my favorite day for panels. I was really excited about Torchwood and The Walking Dead (and I was really thrilled they turned out so great). But it was also really fun to see panels like Eureka be done so well!

    Great photos and great post (as always)!

  2. Sounds like you had a blast. I really wish I could have been here, but thank you for covering the good stuff! :D

  3. Mike - I know, they were so good! What a great day.

    Mandy - Next year, baby! You and me.


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