SDCC 2015 Wrap-Up – Day 3

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Saturday was once again an early morning. I had the idea in me to go for the Agents of SHIELD signing, meaning I had to get in early for the exhibit hall line. Once in Sails, I was in the 4th line, thinking that was pretty good. WRONG! By the time I got down to the Marvel booth, the line was already capped. How does everybody get down there so fast?! Lesson learned: don’t try to go for autograph signings at the Marvel booth. I think I stood a better chance had I gone to the FOX ticket drawing for the Salem signing instead, but oh well. I wasn’t in a total rush to get anywhere, so I stuck around Marvel anyways and waited until the Agent Carter signing to catch another glimpse of Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy.

The Last Man on Earth panel (L-R): Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, EP Chris Miller

The Last Man on Earth panel
(L-R): Moderator Kristin Dos Santos, Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, EP Chris Miller

After about 10 minutes at the signing, I made my way over to Indigo Ballroom and caught the second half of the Last Man on Earth panel. The show was definitely one of the surprises of last season, and was weirdly funny. When you’ve got Will Forte and Kristin Schaal as the leads, plus January Jones doing comedy, you’ve got to expect that the show is slightly offbeat. Now like I said before, I caught the panel halfway through, so it was a shock to me that there was no time for fan questions. What did they even do for the first half then? And has anyone else seen this happen before at Con?

Childhood's End panel (L-R): Julian McMahon, Daisy Betts, Yael Stone, director Nick Hurran, writer Matthew Graham

Childhood’s End panel
(L-R): Julian McMahon, Daisy Betts, Yael Stone, director Nick Hurran, writer Matthew Graham

Next up was the panel for Syfy’s Childhood’s End. The miniseries is based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel of the same name, and deals with an alien invasion that leads to a kind of utopia on Earth. I’ve never read the book, so I don’t actually know what I’m talking about. Charles Dance, Mike Vogel, Julian McMahon, Daisy Betts, Yael Stone, and Georgina Haig are among the cast. It’s a miniseries that will air in December, so not like there’s a whole lot to commit to; if I remember, I’ll check it out.

12 MONKEYS panel! (L-R): Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire, Todd Stashwick, EP Terry Matalas, EP Travis Fickett

12 MONKEYS panel!
(L-R): Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire, Todd Stashwick, EP Terry Matalas, EP Travis Fickett

Then it was time for my #1 panel of the day (maybe the whole Con): 12 MONKEYS! It’s obviously one of favourite new shows, with some of my favourite people, and I was just SO EXCITED that they were coming to SDCC this year, after passing on it last year. I somehow lucked out and managed to find a spot in the first row of Indigo, though to be fair there was still like 10 feet of space between that first row and the stage, so it was close but not SUPER close. It was great hearing from the EPs and the cast talk about what they’re looking forward to for the second season and what we the audience can expect following the events of the season one finale. EPs Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett tried their best to give us an idea of what they’re planning without getting too spoilery, while the cast (including new series regulars Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire, and Todd Stashwick) mused about some of their favourite lines from season one. No surprise, everyone pretty much loved anything Emily aka Jennifer Goines said. There was also a funny moment where Barbara was just talking about time and space on the show, everyone is listening intently, and then she went “I have no idea what I’m talking about.” You just want to believe everything Barbara says, as if she actually is Jones; doesn’t matter if it makes no sense, the way she says it, sounds like total truth.

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During the Q&A portion, I was going back and forth thinking about whether or not I wanted to ask a question. I had a question ready; it’s just me and public speaking is ehhhhh. So in a moment of “Ahh f**k this, I’m doing it!” (not unlike 2 years ago), I made my way to the microphone…and once again, made a fool of myself by not getting my words out properly, as I wanted to say them.

What I Meant to Say: “Hi! I’m Thi from Toronto. Also the one who’s incessantly and probably annoyingly tweeting your praises all the time. Been such a huge supporter of you guys, since the very beginning, because you are some of my favourite people who have worked on some of my favourite shows/movies like Nikita, Fringe, Center Stage – and in consideration of that, I wanted to know if you guys have a wishlist of guest stars that might include your former co-stars?”

What I Actually Said (more or less): “Hi I’m Thi. Umm I’m from Toronto…I’m the one who’s incessantly and annoyingly tweeting you all the time…[They asked me my Twitter handle and then said “Oh yeah, sure!” like they knew, but probably don’t because it’s Twitter, and we don’t have the Twitter relationship I think we have lol] Umm…sorry, I’m nervous… umm it’s just that it’s rare that people who worked on an old favourite show, Nikita, is now doing my new favourite show. So in the spirit of that, I wanted to know if you had a wishlist of guest stars you want for the show, maybe like your former co-stars…?”

A lady who was sitting next to me was kind enough to take a pic of me asking a question (and making a fool of myself)

A lady who was sitting next to me was kind enough to take a pic of me asking a question (and making a fool of myself)

Amanda, taking the cue as I just meant Nikita, passed it to Aaron, who talked about how great it was to work with Noah Bean again, and having Xander Berkeley be on the show for a couple episodes, even though they didn’t share any scenes together. Then Aaron talked about how Travis and Terry have been kinda sorta talking with Shane, so maybe something will come out of that. Great answer from Aaron. I did want to hear Kirk talk about his Fringe co-stars as well, and just hear Amanda talk about Center Stage (just because it’s one of my favourite movies) or Suits, but obviously that didn’t come out in my question, so fail. Yeah, note to self for next time I might want to ask a question: WRITE IT DOWN.

Agents of SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth! Total craziness.

Agents of SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth! Total craziness!

So after the panel, I made my way back to the convention center, took a little time and once again made my way to the Marvel booth, in anticipation for the SHIELD autograph signing. After that debacle in the morning, I still wanted to stick around to see the cast, instead of attempting to go to Ballroom 20 for the Grimm and Outlander panels. I am so glad I was there. Sure, it was a long time standing around in that crowd of craziness, especially since they were running late, but the cast was just so nice to the fans. Clark Gregg and Chloe Bennet being at the end of the table, kept going down to sign autographs for people in the audience whenever they had like 30 seconds. And even after they were done signing for all the people who got the tickets, the entire cast went down and signed/took pictures for as many people as they could on their way out. Needless to say, I got lucky and managed to get autographs from Iain De Caestecker, Henry Simmons, Chloe, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Ming-Na Wen! (I suck at taking selfies, so wasn’t going to try and get pics with them.)

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My final stop for this busy day was the panel for Salem! Just to see Shane West obviously…and the rest of the cast too. The biggest question going into the panel was whether the show was coming back for another season, and straight out of the gate, EPs Brannon Braga and Adam Simon announced that WGN had indeed renewed the show for season 3! I don’t talk about it much, but let me tell you, this is a bat-shit crazy show and I so thoroughly enjoy it. Most of the talk about S3 was focused on fates of the characters on the show, following the crazy events of the season 2 finale. They also threw out some ideas of what they were looking at moving on with the series, namely other witch covens that might pose a threat to our Salem witches, but they do still want to focus on our main characters.

SALEM panel (L-R): Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Madekwe, EP Brannon Braga, EP Adam Simon, Seth Gabel, Elise Eberle, Iddo Goldberg

SALEM panel
(L-R): Moderator Eric Goldman, Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Madekwe, EP Brannon Braga, EP Adam Simon, Seth Gabel, Elise Eberle, Iddo Goldberg

I did contemplate asking the same question to the Salem cast, as I did the 12 Monkeys cast, but before I got to my “Ahh f**k it!” moment, someone beat me to it! Saved me from looking like a total dork in front of Shane…again lol. The EPs contemplated the idea, saying that there are witches everywhere, so maybe they can try to work Maggie into the show. Good answer! You know me, always there for my Nikita cast!

DSCN2104DSCN2069I had every intention to attempt and make my way into Hall H for the WB/DC TV panel, because of how much I adore the casts of Arrow and The Flash, plus I wanted to see Victor Garber (forever known to me as Jack Bristow aka Spy Daddy!) However, by the time the Salem panel was done, I was so tired and hungry, I just couldn’t. Plus, I felt bad that I hadn’t even had a chance to have dinner with my other cousins who made the trip to SD as well. Family bonding time won out.

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Show You Should Be Watching: 12 Monkeys

There are hundreds of shows on TV right now, and no human being could watch everything. Now, cognizant of the fact that everyone has different tastes, I sometimes have trouble recommending shows to others because I’m also limited to what shows I myself watch (and that’s already a lot of TV). But I thought it would be fun to do a few suggestion posts and talk about some shows that you might not be watching and are actually missing out on. (And I need people to talk to about these shows!)

12 MONKEYS

Cast: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Noah Bean, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire

Executive Producers: Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett, Natalie Chaidez

# of Episodes (As of Posting): 8

Show in a Nutshell: In 2043, most of the world’s population has died from a viral outbreak. James Cole (Stanford) is tasked with traveling back time to get rid of the virus before it kills us all.

Why You Should Be Watching: TIME TRAVEL!! Okay, so maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m watching because I love the idea of time travel and how it affects timeline and structure. And frankly, I love a good mind f**k (pardon my language), trying to comprehend what’s going on. The fact of the matter is, time travel is tricky business, and though there may not be an inherently wrong way to tackle it, I think it’s safe to say that it can be met with varying degrees of success. 12 Monkeys though, does right by the concept, layering the importance of each jump through time and how it affects (or sometimes doesn’t affect) the future.

Amidst all the time jumping, the characters and relationships are a very important aspect of what makes the show work. When Cole jumps back to 2015, he works with Dr. Cassandra Railly (Schull) to uncover the mystery of the Army of the 12 Monkeys. In 2043, Cole’s allies include his friend/”brother” Jose Ramse (Acevedo) and Katrina Jones (Sukowa), the creator of the time machine that sends Cole back through time. When you watch and see how all the pieces fit together, the importance of Cole’s relationships helps to define who he is as a character and what he’s trying to do in terms of the bigger picture of getting rid of the virus. That’s not to say all the other characters aren’t compelling on their own when not interacting with Cole, because they absolutely are. The writers on the show have done a wonderful job balancing the science fiction of it all, with really important character building/development for everyone involved. For a freshman show to dedicate and put effort into showing us what all these characters are about (not just Cole and Cassie, but also Ramse, Jones, Bean’s Aaron Marker, Hampshire’s Jennifer Goines, Todd Stashwick’s Deacon, and even Tom Noonan’s creepy Pallid Man) is kind of rare. Even if we don’t see some of the characters a lot, you quickly get a sense of who they are and that’s truly a testament to the writers’ abilities to make the audience feel things for these characters in a short amount of time.

Bottom line: It’s science fiction by way of compelling storytelling. The amazing actors involved are just a bonus (says the Nikita, Center Stage, and Fringe fangirl). You want a sci-fi show that has a good mix of geekery, action, drama, mystery, and intrigue? Watch 12 Monkeys. You just want a damn good show? WATCH 12 MONKEYS.

12 Monkeys airs on Syfy, Fridays at 9.

What to Look Forward to on TV in 2015

2014 is but a distant memory now, so here’s what I’m looking forward to watching on TV in 2015!

Last year (does it seem weird to already say that?) seemed like a really good year with an abundance of really good-great TV. I surely hope 2015 will only bring us more awesome TV, plus maybe enough time to actually watch these shows. On top of that, I want the networks to not hastily cancel perfectly good shows that maybe just need a little time (i.e. Selfie), or better promotion (i.e. Trophy Wife, Enlisted), or for goodness sakes, let them have proper endings (i.e. Witches of East End)! Since we’re on the topic, there will be several shows that will indeed be ending in 2015, including Parks and Recreation (Jan. 13), Parenthood (final episodes start Jan. 7), and Cougar Town (Jan. 6).

But with the end of some shows (and brutal cancellations of others), come a new crop of shows hoping to watched/loved/adored. These are the ones I’m most excited about and know of; come April-May when Upfronts rolls around and we hear about even more new shows, well, we’ll talk about it then.

  • Agent Carter (Jan. 6) – The wonderful Hayley Atwell is coming to TV, reprising her role as Peggy Carter from the Captain America films. If the tie-in to Marvel wasn’t enough, they assembled a hell of supporting cast for the show, including Dominic Cooper reprising his role as Howard Stark, James D’Arcy as Jarvis, Chad Michael Murray(!), Enver Gjokaj(!!), and Lyndsy Fonseca(!!!).

HAYLEY ATWELL

  • 12 Monkeys (Jan. 16) – I can’t tell you how excited I am for this show! Mind you, I haven’t even watched the 1995 Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie from which it was based, but the people working on this show is more than enough for me. Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, former writers on Nikita, created the show. Some of my favourite actors from old favourite shows/movies star: Aaron Stanford (Nikita), Amanda Schull (Center Stage, Suits), Kirk Acevedo (Fringe), Noah Bean (Nikita). Plus, they lined up some pretty awesome guest stars as well like Ari Millen (Orphan Black) and Xander Berkeley (Nikita). Seriously, you’d think I was casting the show or something, with all these people I adore being on it.
  • Empire (Jan. 7) – Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson star in this musical soap set in the hip-hop world. The show will feature original music from the amazing Timbaland. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun to watch, that’s for sure.
  • Fresh Off the Boat (Feb. 4) – Asian family in the 90s. That’s all I need. I have faith that this show will be hilarious and awesome, I just need ABC to not let me down.

FORREST WHEELER, IAN CHEN, RANDALL PARK, HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU

  • iZombie (TBA) – Saw a preview of this show from Rob Thomas and starring Rose McIver at SDCC. It seems very funny and quirky, and with a supporting cast that includes Robert Buckley and David Anders? I can’t wait to see more! Now give it a premiere date already, CW!

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  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (March) – Tina Fey and Robert Carlock created this show, starring Ellie Kemper as Kimmy, who is trying to re-adjust to life in the city after being a part of a doomsday cult. The series was initially picked up by NBC, but has surprisingly found a home on Netflix.

And let’s not forget shows returning for another season: Orphan Black (Apr. 18), Salem (April), The Americans (Jan. 28), second half of season 4 of Suits (Jan. 28), House of Cards (February).

What are you looking forward to watching this new year?

Pop Cultured Summer To-Do List 2014

With the regular TV season over, I miraculously have some free time. Not a lot, mind you, because there’s still other summer shows and movies to watch, but enough time that I can put towards doing things I’ve been meaning to do. Will I get everything watched/read/done before September rolls around? Maybe, maybe not (probably not) but I’m gonna sure as hell try.

TV

Because a TV addict like me doesn’t already watch enough TV, I still have other shows (past and present) that I need to catch up on.

  • Friday Night Lights: I’ll admit, I didn’t watch this show when it first aired because high school football? Not really my thing. But years later, having heard so much about it and becoming fans of a lot of the people who came from the show (Scott Porter, Taylor Kitsch, Connie Britton, Michael B. Jordan, Adrianne Palicki, Minka Kelly, creator/writer Jason Katims), I figured it was about time I got around to watching it. I started watching it while I was on vacation and only continued on once all my other shows had finished for the season. Now I’m done and I admit, it was a DAMN GOOD show.
  • Firefly: A nerd like me and I never watched Firefly? Shame on me. All caught up now though and I certainly see the appeal and how it cultivated such a cult following. It was a really fun show.
  • The Americans S2: Here’s my problem with shows premiering “midseason” – I’m already set in my schedule, save for a few spots, so some shows inevitably get put on the backburner. I was a fan of the first season with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in the lead roles of undercover KGB spies in 1980s America. I really wanted to watch the new season, but with an already packed schedule, I felt it best to save it until summer.
  • Turn: Consider this a casualty of the packed Sunday nights. The show premiered in April, and I wanted to watch this in support of Nikita creator Craig Silverstein but Sundays somehow became incredibly packed. A show about the first spy ring didn’t quite have the same pull as another new show, Salem, that got my time/attention instead.

MOVIES

My insistence on reading about movies, matched with having two older siblings who lived through the 80s, well let’s just say my knowledge of movies far surpasses the number of movies I’ve actually seen. These are on the top of my to-watch list.

  • 12 Monkeys: There’s going to be a Syfy show based on this movie and starring some of my favourite people from from some of my favourite shows – Aaron Stanford (Nikita), Noah Bean (Nikita), Amanda Schull (Suits, Center Stage), Kirk Acevedo (Fringe). I’m sure it’s not completely necessary to watch the movie, but I’m one of those people who like referencing the source material first before getting into anything.
  • Seven: I’ve heard such great things about the movie and I’ve always been a fan of psychological thrillers, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me to watch this. Plus, it’s a David Fincher-directed film!
  • Back to the Future: Over the years I’ve seen bits and pieces of the first two films in the trilogy, mainly when it aired on TV, but never saw all of it. I’m a little bit ashamed of that but I am determined to fix that.
  • Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight: Another trilogy I am determined to finally get around to watching. Sure, Before Midnight is fairly recent, having been released last year, but it’s been almost 20 years since the first film.

BOOKS

I will always be behind on my reading. There was a time when I used to read all the time and then I got wrapped up in watching too many TV series. I really have no idea how I studied/did homework, read novels, and watched the amount of TV that I did when I was in school (let’s be real honest here, I didn’t have a life and was the very definition of nerd back then). Lately, most of my reading gets done only when I’m on vacation and it’s because I don’t have TV to watch. That being said, these are the books that I am working on reading. I’m so not going to get all these read this summer (unless I do some serious camping out/lining up at SDCC and have lots of time to waste), but I’m working on it.

  • Bossypants: I’ve been actually working on reading Tina Fey’s autobiography for some time now. But for some reason or another, I haven’t finished it.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me: What I said about Bossypants, pretty much applies here as well. From what I’ve read so far, well I just absolutely adore Mindy Kaling.
  • Suck It Wonder Woman!: C’mon, that title alone is worth checking out. I must admit I’ve been impressed with Olivia Munn over the years with her career choices.
  • The Fault In Our Stars: So what if this is a YA novel? Clearly people are responding positively to it and made a big deal about the movie that just came out starring Shailene Woodley + Ansel Elgort. I want to know what all the hype is about!
  • The Casual Vacancy: I gobbled up all those Harry Potter books when I was younger, so it’s a little surprising I didn’t immediately go pick up J.K. Rowling’s first novel aimed at adults.
  • S: It’s what you’ve come to expect from J.J. Abrams in the form of a book! I’m so intrigued by the concept of the book, sort of a story within a story.
  • The Double: I saw a movie earlier this year called Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Denis Villeneuve, which is about a man who finds his doppelganger and becomes obsessed with him. After watching the film, I just had so many questions about the different themes, meanings, etc. that I had to get this book by Jose Saramago, which served as the basis of the film.

That would be everything that I’m trying to watch and read. I now turn things over to you: what pop culture-y things are you behind on and hope to catch up on during the summer downtime?

SDCC Panel Wishlist

With all the shows getting renewed or picked-up by the network over the past couple weeks, it immediately got me thinking – what could show up at SDCC in July? I’m not gonna lie, my interest in SDCC is for all the movie and TV stuff because that’s what I geek out about. (I know, I’m part of the problem that is causing SDCC to get CRAZY popular.) With two months to go until the big Con, it’s as good a time as any to have some fun speculating what shows (old and new) the studios might bring and wishing for what shows will make their way to San Diego.

NEW SHOWS

STALKER (WB): I feel like it’s not a typical show that would appear at Comic-Con but Warner Bros. has brought another similar Kevin Williamson show, The Following, two years in a row, so it’s always a possibility. Not going to lie, I want them to bring this show just for another chance to see Maggie Q, though she’ll probably be there anyways for Insurgent, the next movie in the Divergent series.

SALEM (FOX 21): Salem, WGN America’s first foray into original scripted programming, has been a hit. Fox 21, which also produces Sons of Anarchy, would be smart to bring the show to SDCC. It’s already been renewed for a second season, plus it has already appeared at sister-con Wondercon in Anaheim, so I think it’s a no-brainer. Again, I’m kinda of being entirely selfish because I want to see Shane West and Seth Gabel.

12 MONKEYS (Universal Cable/Atlas Entertainment): This is a new show that will air on SyFy next year, so I’m not entirely sure of its chances of making an appearance here. Granted, a pilot’s already been shot, so it’s possible that SyFy will give this a promotional push at SDCC like it did for Helix last year. On the other hand, SyFy might instead bring their other shows, Dominion (which premieres in June) or Ascension (which premieres in November).

GOTHAM (WB): There is absolutely no doubt that Warner Bros. will bring this show to SDCC. It is the most anticipated show of the fall season, so I’m guessing Ballroom 20 and complete excitement over it similar to SHIELD last year.

THE FLASH (WB): Another show that will without a doubt make an appearance.

AGENT CARTER (Marvel): Seeing as how a pilot hasn’t been shot yet and recent news that it will only run for eight episodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pair Agent Carter with SHIELD for a Marvel TV panel.

CONSTANTINE (WB): The third of four DC Comics getting the TV treatment next season will probably get a panel at SDCC as well. And come on, like the other comic inspired new shows, it’s totally playing right into the SDCC crowd.

RETURNING SHOWS

ARROW: Following a FANTASTIC season 2, obviously the show’s gonna get another panel. I was there at last year’s panel and then saw Stephen Amell again at FanExpo in Toronto – I just can’t get enough of this cast.

SLEEPY HOLLOW: There had to have been some sort of scheduling conflict for me to have missed last year’s panel and I know people didn’t know what to expect from it. But now, with it being one of the biggest successes of the past season, it’s definitely going to move up the ranks in terms of panel size.

ORPHAN BLACK: Again, it’s another obvious choice to come back. I’ve told this story before but I can’t get over it – I vaguely knew about OB before last year’s Con, didn’t get a chance to watch it yet. My cousin had already seen it, went to their panel, tried to get wristbands for the autograph signing. When she couldn’t get the wristbands, we showed up at the signing, standing away from it and I was taking pictures of the cast for her. Little did I know that a week later when I sat down to finally watch it, I was gonna become obsessed with these people that I was taking pictures of. This year, I join my cousin in the OB obsession.

RESURRECTION: It’s a really interesting show that premiered on ABC in March and it deals with how a town reacts/deals with the return of people who previously died. As the short season went on, a lot of questions were asked and we were only given a few answers. I think it’d be cool if they had a panel and we could try to pry some answers out of the producers/writers.

I feel like those are the shows I REALLY want to see at SDCC this year. Of course, there are a few others that I wouldn’t mind seeing but aren’t necessarily at the top of my list. So with two months to go, what do you guys hope to see at Comic-Con? Which of the recently announced new shows do you think will make their debut in San Diego? Let me know in the comments!