Before I get into my Comic-con report, please enjoy this picture of Kaylee, who is just as nifty as her namesake...
Okay, so, we got into San Diego on Tuesday afternoon, met up with mikijean at the airport and spent a lovely, lazy evening in the Gaslamp District before the crowds hit town. Wednesday we took the munchkin to Sea World, which was tons of fun, until Mr. Sus lost his glasses on the Shipwreck Rapids and had to catch a cab back to the hotel and go in search of a one-hour optician. But the munchkin had a blast.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Later that evening we headed over to Preview Night. The exhibition hall was insanely crowded and there was less cool swag than previous years. Overall, not my favorite part of the con. Little did we know, the crowds were only going to get worse. Much worse. But there were a few cool booths...
It didn't really come out in the picture, but that's a huge model of The Black Pearl up there.
I don’t even remember what booth this was, but they had these three giant statues of Voldemort, Sauron and Boba Fett towering over the floor.
My favorite booth was for The Golden Compass, which had lots of props on display. The alethiometer was on the other side of the booth, but I couldn't get an unobscured photo of it through the crowd.
They had costumes on display on all sides of the booth, but these are the only ones I could get close enough to take pictures of.
The best part was this ginormous model of Iorek. If you waited in line, inside the booth they’d take your picture in front of a green screen and superimpose it in front of the bear. Unfortunately I am allergic to waiting in line on the convention floor.
Aargh! Giant bear! Seriously, it was HUGE.
The munchkin in front of a mural at the Dark Horse (I think?) booth.
Me and the munchkin at the swoopy purple Sci Fi channel booth. On preview night they gave out Eureka product catalogs which were quite cool.
Thursday morning the panels started. My first panel this year was the Battlestar Galactica Forum with Richard Hatch, composer Bear McCreary and science advisor Kevin Grazier. First of all, Richard Hatch is a lovely man and did a nice
job moderating the panel without trying to hog the spotlight. He also made a point of saying how blessed he feels to be on a show that is not only entertaining but is actually about something meaningful.
Richard Hatch, moderator extraordinaire.
They showed some clips from the show that Bear had put together to highlight the use of the score, including the "All Along the Watchtower" sequence in "Crossroads." Rewatching it reinforced the fact that the score is really the only thing I liked about that whole stupid scene. The season three soundtrack album, by the way, will be out in October and will include that version of the song. Also, Bear and some of the musicians from the show will be performing in L.A. in October and he's also doing the music for The Sarah Connor Chronicles (as well as Eureka) if anyone wants to fangirl him.
The science advisor for BSG also works on Eureka, too. He said that obviously he gives the writers lots of notes and they don’t always take them, but if you can get past the faster-than-light travel and artificial gravity he thinks they’re doing pretty well with the science verisimilitude. After the episode where Chief and Callie are vented into space they got a lot of complaints but he says that was actually pretty realistic, it’s just that people are so poisoned by years of bad sci-fi they thought it was inaccurate. He did admit, though, that when Galactica jumps into atmo in “Exodus” it would have broken up like the Columbia, but he said it was so cool that he told them to go for it.
Bear McCreary, Richard Hatch, Kevin Grazier and Mark Verheiden.
The panel conflicted with Mark Verheiden's writing panel, but he popped in for the last few minutes, although he didn’t say much. They did some Q&A and Richard Hatch said that Zarek is still alive and still vice president. He just finished shooting an episode and he’s supposed to go back and do another one. An old school Battlestar fan stood up and said that she refused to watch the new show because she loved the old one so much, to a predictable chorus of boos. But Richard was very sweet and told her that he once felt the same way but he was wrong, and it’s okay to like both shows for what they are. And then he said that for longest time he refused to watch Firefly because he assumed it was just a Battlestar Galactica rip-off. He finally watched Serenity, fully intending to be all judgmental, but afterwards he found himself wanting to watch it again and liking it more and more and then he went and watched all of Firefly and now officially considers himself a Browncoat.
After that, mikijean and I stayed for the next panel so we’d have good seats for Torchwood. It was about Rosario Dawson’s comic book, Occult Crimes Task Force, which actually looks kind of interesting. And by “her comic book” I mean that the main character is modeled after her and her uncle (who works in comics) helped develop it. There were a crazy number of paparazzi there taking pictures of her, to the point that sometimes we couldn’t see anything because they were all standing up in front of the panelists.
Most of the Q&A questions were incredibly lame and sounded suspiciously like audience plants, i.e., "Are you selling the book at the con?" and "Are you going to be doing autographs in the Sails Pavilion?" And then this cute little ten-year-old girl got up and asked about a scene in The Devil’s Rejects where Rosario got her throat slit. Um, yeah. Everyone was kind of mortified, including Rosario, and the girl tried to explain that her dad did give her some supervision because he wouldn’t let her see Grindhouse. So yay, I guess. And I wish I could say she was the only child of tender age to get up and admit to having seen an entirely age-inappropriate Rosario Dawson movie, but she was just the first of several. Apparently, Rosario Dawson is HUGE with the grade school set. Who knew?
Anyway, then it was time for Torchwood, which was... kind of disappointing. Neither John Barrowman nor Russell T. Davies showed. The audience let out a low, mournful wail when the volunteer came out and removed their signs from the panelist’s table. Instead we got writer Noel Clarke (Mickey!), FX supervisor Matt O’Toole (rocking a sweet Leonides-style beard), head writer Chris Chibnall and producer Richard Stokes.
They showed an edited-down version of the pilot, which was kind of disorienting and I sort of wish they’d just showed one scene instead of jumping all around. But whatever. And everyone in the audience kept laughing at really random things that I guess I’ll get whenever I finally watch the whole season, but was distracting.
Noel Clarke, Matt O’Toole, moderator Craig Tomashoff of TV Guide, Chris Chibnall and Richard Stokes.
Unfortunately, given that the panel was supposed to be geared for an American audience who hasn’t seen any episodes yet, they couldn’t really say anything revealing or answer many of the questions from the audience, who had, of course, seen the entire first season. Not that the panelists weren’t fully aware that almost everyone in the room had bootlegged series one, but they weren’t willing to spoil the six of us who were actually waiting for the BBC America broadcast. For which I am appreciative, even if it did make for a kind of boring panel. I guess I just wish that, instead of answering most questions with, “I can’t say anything about that,” they’d said, “I can’t answer that question, but let me share another interesting anecdote instead.” Or something.
Noel Clarke, being a writer, was more articulate and interesting than most actors tend to be on panels. He got a pretty pointed question about characters of color being slighted on Doctor Who and gracefully deflected any implied aspersions on Martha while pointing out that Mickey’s arc was a powerful one and he had to start out weak in order to grow into the hero he became. He also mentioned that if you look at science fiction, sexuality is one of the last issues that hasn’t been tackled much, which gives Torchwood a lot of fun new territory to mine. And he admitted that he has a soft spot for Gwen’s boyfriend because he and Mickey both tend to get the short end of the stick.
I hate it when panelists wear baseball caps because it makes it really hard to see their face in pictures. Which is probably why they do it.
Um, they said the Tardis set is literally right next to the Hub set in the same studio. Someone from the audience stood up and said, “Since everyone on Torchwood has a crush on everyone else, when’s the orgy?” Noel Clarke laughed and said he was writing it in his head right then. And Chris Chibnall admitted that episode one of the new series does have the word orgy in it. So there you go. Also, the first image of the episode is of a deserted road. And he said that BBC America won’t be editing any of the episodes for content (yay nudity!), but two to three minutes will be cut from each episode for time. And that’s pretty much it.
That’s all I’ve got time to post at the moment. Stay tuned for more panel reports coming up!