A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 3

For years, I have wanted to go to the infamous San Diego Comic Con. The ultimate nexus of all things pop culture. This year, thanks to my cousin agreeing to go with me, I made my way. This is the account of my 4-day experience at the center of all things nerd.

DAY 3

While Friday was all about Nikita for me, Saturday was all about How I Met Your Mother. I wanted badly to be in Hall H Saturday for all the movie panels, plus EW’s Women Who Kick Ass panel (which featured, among 4 others…Maggie Q! Duh, I would do almost anything for Maggie!), but decided against camping out starting at 3:00 in the afternoon Friday (I’m fairly certain I remember reading a tweet that people were already camped out at that time). I also decided against lining up for my chance at autographs again (on deck for today would have been Arrow, HIMYM). So like I said, Saturday = How I Met Your Mother. Now HIMYM might not seem like a typical show to be featured at SDCC, but we all knew well that regardless of that, the panel was going to be well attended. So making our way to the Indigo Ballroom, situated at the Hilton next to the convention center, my cousin and I waited in line at 7:30 A.M., and yes, there was already quite the line in front of us when we arrived.

By the time we got into the Indigo, we had to wait out two other panels before getting to our main event. The first was Machinima, a website/YouTube video network focused on the gaming community. This panel in particular, was focusing on fan films. Similar to my feelings about the World of Heroes panel, it was really cool to see and find out about all this original/creative content. There was only one name in the panel that I recognized and that would be Kevin Tancharoen, who was there for his Mortal Kombat: Legacy webseries. I, however, know him best as a former dancer/choreographer for Britney Spears, during the “In The Zone” era.

Machinima panel

Machinima panel

The second panel was for Geek and Sundry, Felicia Day’s video network. I had no idea what this was coming into SDCC, and when I have time, will now have to check out the shows she has on her YouTube network. It all just seemed really fun and cool. Felicia Day was obviously on the panel, as well as frequent Geek and Sundry contributor Wil Wheaton (all I hear in my head is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory yelling “WHHEEEAAAAATTTOONNNNN!!!”)

Geek and Sundry panel, with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

Geek and Sundry panel, with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

And then came How I Met Your Mother! Right before the panel began, there were some awesome fans who began to chant “Shrimp fried rice! Shrimp fried rice!”, which was obviously then followed by “CAN-A-DA! CAN-A-DA!” I had to represent and chant along to “CAN-A-DA!” before it quickly died off. The panel then started with a special video, that seemed like it was just the start of the first episode of the next season. Before I knew it, I started hearing censored expletives coming from Ted’s grown kids (aka Lyndsy Fonseca and David Henrie), cursing out their dad for spending eight years telling his story. It was SO FREAKIN’ HILARIOUS!! CBS has already made the video available online, so go watch it if you haven’t already. After the video finished, the cast and producers came out to massive applause, like the rockstars they were. Honestly, for a show that apparently had no right/reason to be at SDCC (said certain people on the internet after the announcement was made), you never would’ve guessed it by the reception they received. For me, it was just so much fun being in that room with the cast and all these fans. We got treated to more insight into the longest weekend ever (in case you haven’t heard, the final season will take place over the course of Barney & Robin’s wedding weekend). We still have the last slap to look forward to. Return of former guest stars? It is a wedding, so hopefully we will get to see Lucy Hale return as Robin’s sister (I almost forgot about her!) and John Lithgow as Barney’s father, but we at least know for certain that Wayne Brady is back as Barney’s brother James. Random tangents involving seeing how the interpreters sign everything they’re saying. Also, there were no less than three musical interludes: a “Let’s Go To The Mall” sing-a-long (Cobie was having trouble at the beginning, but Neil was more than happy to fill in the missing lyrics for her lol); Jason, by request, sang a bit of his Dracula musical; and everybody sang the “Bang Bang” song.

The cast of HIMYM coming in to a fury of applause and screams like the rockstars they are. (L-R): EP Carter Bays, EP Craig Thomas, Director Pamela Fryman, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan

The cast of HIMYM coming in to a fury of applause and screams like the rockstars they are. (L-R): EP Carter Bays, EP Craig Thomas, Director Pamela Fryman, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan

Unfortunately, the fun of the HIMYM panel had to end, much to everyone’s dismay. After that, my cousin and I didn’t really have any other panel that we immediately had to go to. So we headed on over to the exhibit hall, take everything in, and hopefully get to see some celebrities. I’ll tell you this, it gets crazy in there when there are autograph signings. You may try your best to get a shot of the celebs doing the signing, but the con has a strict “shoot and scoot” policy – take one picture and go. I understand the policy, but at the same time, you can’t guarantee that you’ll even get one good shot, especially with the tall guards blocking your way.

Ming Na during the SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth

Ming Na during the SHIELD signing at the Marvel booth

The cast of Once Upon A Time signing at the ABC booth (aka the Jolly Roger)

The cast of Once Upon A Time signing at the ABC booth (aka the Jolly Roger)

Managed to get a good shot of Kristin Bauer and Ryan Kwanten getting ready for their autograph signing at the WB Booth. Behind them on the other side, is Tom Cruise (and Emily Blunt) signing for their movie "Edge of Tomorrow"

Managed to get a good shot of Kristin Bauer and Ryan Kwanten getting ready for their autograph signing at the WB Booth. Behind them on the other side, is Tom Cruise (and Emily Blunt) signing for their movie “Edge of Tomorrow”

After a couple runs up and down the exhibit hall, trying to pick up swag and get pictures of celebs, I suggested we make our way to Ballroom 20. The Vampire Diaries panel was happening at the time, but I was much more interested in getting in for the Arrow panel. Well, turns out that there were still empty seats for the TVD panel (it had followed the always popular True Blood panel, which always gives out good swag apparently), so we were able to walk straight in.

The Vampire Diaries panel L-R: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, EP Julie Plec, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, EP Caroline Dries, Candice Accola

The Vampire Diaries panel
L-R: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, EP Julie Plec, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, EP Caroline Dries, Candice Accola

After about 5 minutes, the TVD panel was done and we shuffled our way up closer for the Arrow panel. Arrow quickly became one of my favourite new shows of last season, and after the fantastic season finale, I have been quite eager to see what they have in store for next season. The panel began with a preview clip for the season two premiere, and it was fantastic and thrilling to say the least. This panel was on Saturday, and they had only begun filming the new season on the Monday, so they apparently got A LOT of filming done and managed to package it together as a special clip for SDCC. Talk about movie magic and commitment to the fans. Days before, fans found out that we were getting introduced to Black Canary on the show, but it isn’t Laurel, so there was an interesting discussion during the panel of how the show likes to take what fans of the comic book know and flip it a bit. The first Green Arrow we meet, isn’t Oliver but is Yao Fei. When we first met Tommy Merlyn, we were led to believe that he becomes the Dark Archer of the comic books, but turns out it’s his father, Malcolm. So similar to those, this is just the beginning of the Black Canary storyline. Partway through, we got treated to a special appearance by John Barrowman, who joined the cast for the rest of the panel. All in all, some great insight into next season and what we can look forward to.

Arrow panel L-R: EP Marc Guggenheim, EP Andrew Kreisberg, Colton Haynes, Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, EP Greg Berlanti

Arrow panel
L-R: EP Marc Guggenheim, EP Andrew Kreisberg, Colton Haynes, Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, David Ramsey, EP Greg Berlanti

 

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When Should TV Shows End?: Thoughts of a Concerned TV Fan

When to end TV shows – it’s a topic that gets brought up quite a fair bit. Some shows get cancelled rather prematurely or without notice. Other shows go on for what seems like a REALLY long time.

Last week, when it was announced that NBC’s The Office will be ending after its upcoming 9th season, the topic got brought up again. The Office, while quite successful in the beginning began to falter somewhere between seasons 5+6, and then season 8 was just not there. It led many to question why the show hadn’t just ended when Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott left at the end of season 7. Heck, when Carrell announced he was going to be leaving, people were already saying they should end it and wondered if the show could even survive such a big cast departure. So all of it got me thinking (as tends to happens): what other shows on the air right now need an end date? What shows are shockingly still on the air?

SHOWS THAT NEED AN END DATE

[Warning: Spoilers may be ahead if you haven’t caught up on the most recent seasons.]

1.) HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Don’t get me wrong, I love HIMYM. I’m still a huge fan of the show, even if season 7 was a little iffy for me. But if there ever was a show that needed an end date (like Lost when it was on the air), it’d be HIMYM. Yeah, yeah, it’s about the journey, not the destination – but the journey is going into its 8th season, with no real indication as to when we’re actually meeting said ‘mother’. We’ve gotten breadcrumbs along the way: the yellow umbrella, Rachel Bilson as the mother’s former roommate Cindy, Barney & Robin’s wedding. It’s great and all but I think we can all agree that all people involved in the show need a precise end date to work towards.

2.) PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

It could be a side effect of me growing up or just the fact that I watch too much television, but the teen drama could use an end date. I’ve watched PLL from the beginning and saw it as a guilty pleasure. However, somewhere in the midst of watching this 3rd season, I found myself incredibly bored watching this teen mystery unfold. For some reason, their season splits have made it seem as though the show has been on way longer than it has and one would think that after the reveal that Mona was ‘A’ (or technically, part of an ‘A’ Team) at the end of season 2, things would really kick into gear. Unfortunately, most of season 3 thus far just seems like it was a rehash or like they were cycling around the same prospects of season 1 before revealing that Toby was another member of the ‘A’ team during the summer finale.

3.) DEXTER

I recently caught up on season 6, and at the end of it, all I kept on thinking was: “It seriously took them 6 seasons to get to this point of someone else finding out about what Dexter does?!” I suppose if you put it in perspective, it is the equivalent of 3 seasons on a broadcast network show, which isn’t THAT bad. But 6 seasons with their own story arc and going into season 7 with Deb knowing the big secret, you really can’t help but go “IT TOOK THEM THIS LONG?!” To be fair though, the show was announced late last year to be renewed through an eighth season, and they later announced that season 8 will be the last. So we know the end game is near (sort of).

SHOWS THAT DON’T SEEM TO WANT TO END

Grey’s Anatomy. 90210. NCIS. CSI. Two and a Half Men.

To be honest, I’ve never watched an episode of NCIS and I was never really fond of ‘Men’ so I can’t diss them too much. But seriously, how long have these shows been on the air?! I know, I know…ratings are apparently everything to the studio networks. Though at some point, shouldn’t someone just stand up and say “Ya know, we’ve had a good run. Let’s end the show before we run out of stories to tell, go downhill and start becoming a joke” (or something like that).

BONUS: REALITY EDITION

I love my fair share of reality shows, but even I have to admit that having 2 editions of some shows in one season is starting to take its toll. The Amazing Race. Survivor. Dancing With The Stars. Heck, I’m even so inclined to already include The Voice in here. After watching these shows for SO many years and SO many seasons, I honestly don’t know how the producers of the shows can try to keep it fresh. Obviously I still watch the shows, but I’ve found myself sort of indifferent to what happens, like it’s not as exciting as it used to be. Part of it has to do with casting and who they get to compete, though sometimes you don’t know what kind of “reality personality” you’re gonna get until you start filming. They probably would never do this, but the networks should begin to consider maybe only doing one cycle a season. This is where The Voice comes in and of course, did the opposite and is now airing 2 cycles a season. Just a bad idea…

My general thought is that once a show gets past season 5, talks should be going as to how much longer the show should really be on the air. Yeah, everyone always says on-the-record,  “We’ll keep going as long as the fans and the networks wants us to. We have so many more stories to tell” Let’s be real though, the networks have a bigger say than the fans, and if a show is still bringing in the ratings (and subsequent ad dollars), they’re going to keep the show going until who knows when. Think about it, 5 seasons of a show isn’t bad at all, and do they REALLY have more GOOD stories to tell after that point? Questions to ponder about.

So thoughts on what shows should be given an end date? Which shows are inexplicably still on the air after what seems like forever?

TV Hiatuses: Long Break or Many?

Hiatuses aren’t exactly a new concept in TV land. We notice them all the time: summer time for the major networks, after November and February sweeps. As a TV fan, it’s hard NOT to notice when your favourite shows are off the air for any period of time. Sometimes it can get downright infuriating, especially when shows give you a major cliffhanger that is supposed to tide you over until it comes back (I’m looking at you, Nikita!) With a lot of shows in the past few weeks, they’ve been on repeats (coming back next week) or they’ve actually been airing new episodes and will be on repeats soon. All this really got me thinking about the whole idea about hiatuses, or breaks (because hiatus just sounds like such a long period of time, which sometimes it really is): Is it better to have many breaks within a season (typically September to May) or have one extended break?

There are pros and cons to both. Watching the main networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW), viewers have come accustomed to seeing a TV show’s season play out within the time frame of September to May. A typical TV season is 22 episodes, which is spread out over 9 months/36 weeks. Sure, it’s nice to be able to watch your favourite shows for 9 months but there’s a lot of breaks in between, varying from 1 week to 2 (sometimes even 3) months. Sometimes the breaks make sense, like after a Sweeps month, or if there’s some sort of event that essentially causes the show to be pre-empted. But actually, some of the most irritating breaks are when we get one episode after a break, and then the show goes on a break again (HIMYM, Big Bang Theory, I love you but please stop doing this). For one thing, it makes following when a new episode airs quite difficult, and it’s just annoying. If you’re gonna air new episodes, at least do so for a month before you decide to take 2-3 weeks off. Although in fairness, I know I’m blaming the shows when really it’s the network scheduling that sucks.

On the other hand, some of the networks choose to hold a show until mid-season (roughly January) and air all episodes straight through to May (a choice ABC made, I believe a few times for Lost). Let’s not also forget the shows on cable networks (HBO, Showtime, USA, etc.) which tend to have shorter seasons, in comparison to the majors (we’re looking at maybe 10-12 episodes a season). Obviously the good thing is that we get new episodes every week (barring any holidays or special events that might get in the way) for however many episodes there are in the season. But the obvious setback is that we’d then have to wait anywhere between 3-9 months before the next season. I mean, I look at a show like Covert Affairs, which premiered last summer on the USA network. I followed it online of course, because there was no channel in Canada airing it at the time. Jump to beginning of this year and Showcase finally started airing the show, and my brother gets all excited about a new episode, while I burst his bubble saying I’ve already watched and am waiting for the new season to start (you know, once they actually start shooting , which I believe was this week back in Toronto!) [Holy run on sentence lol]

Anyways, the point of the matter is, breaks suck. Shows and networks can never win in pleasing fans with this matter. We can get one show spread out over 9 months, or we get another show every week for 3 months. Actually, come to think of it, it’s kind of nice to have the major networks with their typical season and cable network with their atypical season, airing pretty much whenever they want to. I mean let’s be real, summer sucks for the broadcast networks (except for So You Think You Can Dance and Hell’s Kitchen, of course!) So it’s nice to have something to watch (albeit online for me because I live in Canada) over the summer months.

Now I’m pretty sure I lost my point of what I was trying to say. Let’s leave at this: March has been pretty dismal with all these reruns, which is forcing me to watch Idol, and I’m trying not to care about it this season (I’m failing miserably with that last part). I just want all my shows back on the air.

Comedy Season Finales

Another season has come to pass and considering I kind of forgot to blog about the season finales of Community and The Office this past Thursday, I figured I’d combine my thoughts on the season finales of my 4 favourite sitcoms of the moment into one post.

COMMUNITY: The show had a bit of a rough start in their freshman season, with episodes that were really funny followed by episodes that were not-so funny. But as it went along, it really hit its stride, which brings us to the finale. The big thing going on in the episode was that Greendale was having its “prom” or “Trannie Dance” (LOL). Britta and Professor Slater were both vying for Jeff’s affections, and both ended up professing their love for him. Jeff couldn’t choose and then we were all caught off guard when he and Annie kissed. Sure, they had already kissed early on in the season, but we sorta thought that relationship prospect was shot down because well, Annie’s supposed to only be 19 and Jeff is…well… Jeff. Anyways, along with the romantic entanglements was Troy and Abed’s usual bromantic antics. Troy was upset at Abed for not asking him to move in together next year, but Abed’s reasoning is that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Troy had to learn that the hard way after getting a stomach ache from consuming a huge cookie. I look forward to how the writers continue next season.

THE OFFICE: This season of The Office has been a little iffy for me. Sure, we had some great episodes (Jim and Pam’s wedding + the birth of their baby, come to mind immediately), but the show’s been better in past seasons. This particular episode, entitled “The Whistleblower” dealt with information being released that the Sabre printers were causing fires. Everyone immediately pointed fingers at Andy, which makes sense considering he was the one who discovered it in the first place. Turns out Darryl, Pam, and Kelly all had something to do with the news leaking. The episode was going great until it slightly diverged to focusing on Michael and Jo. Michael ended up being the one to let the public know of what the company was planning to do with the exploding printers, and Jo told Michael that she’d try to work on getting Holly back to Scranton.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: I loved the notion that Ted made in saying that their entire gang had come a long way from who they were 5 years ago. It’s certainly true, not just of the characters but of the show as well. With last night’s season finale, the show continued on its characters’ quest to find their dopplegangers. Marshall and Lily decided a couple episodes back that they would leave it up to the universe to tell them when it was time to have a baby, and when they found Barney’s doppleganger (the last one needed), that would be the universe’s sign. Right at the beginning of the episode, we see what we believe is Barney’s doppleganger, but it was actually Barney in disguise trying to pick up girls (what else is new? lol). The other big storyline of the episode was Robin being offered a lead anchor job in Chicago, and while her relationship with Don had been going great, she was once again forced to make a decision between love or career. Robin initially chose her career but then ultimately decided to choose love. Unfortunately, after she turned down the job, the offer was given to Don and he took it. One of the things I love about HIMYM is that beyond it being really funny, it also has a lot of heart. And though it is taking a really long time to find out who the mother is, the journey makes it entirely worth it.

THE BIG BANG THEORY: What’s funny about this episode is the idea that Raj and Howard were setting up Sheldon on a dating site, which promised that it can find a perfect match for anyone. Much to their surprise, the website did as it promised and seriously found a female Sheldon for Sheldon. Much to our disappointment as viewers, the exchange between Sheldon and his “perfect match” Amy Farrah Fowler (played by Blossom, Mayim Bialik) was at the very end of the episode and left things sort of hanging. Elsewhere in the episode, Penny was on a date with some new guy and later came back drunk, blaming Leonard for ruining her capacity to tolerate idiots, and then she pulled Leonard into his bedroom to have sex, only to wake up the next morning and realize that it was a drunken mistake. Season 3 has been fantastic, to say the least, for the Big Bang gang. My hope for them is that they continue this awesomeness next season, and hopefully get some Emmy love because the show most definitely deserves it.

Random TV Watching Thoughts #5

So much good (and bad) stuff on tv this week so its good to end the week with a random recap post…

  • CHUCK: This week’s episode, Chuck vs. the Beard, was definitely a game-changer. Now Morgan also knows (that is, along with Captain Awesome) that Chuck is a spy. Josh Schwartz and co. have done a great job this season keeping the essence of Chuck (meaning the nerdiness of the show) firmly in balance with this new reality of Chuck fully being a spy. And I absolutely loved Morgan’s reaction to finding out that Chuck’s a spy: “My best friend a spy?…This is the best news ever!”
  • HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: Jennifer Lopez guest starred in the episode as the author of a “He’s Just Not That Into You” type book. She was funny I guess. But the best part was Marshall’s “bang, bang, bangity bang, bang, bang, bang, bangity bang…”
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY: One of the best episodes EVER! They one-upped their geekiness from last week (comic books + Stan Lee = pure geekiness) with an episode revolving around the guys fighting for possession of a Lord of the Rings ring. It’s nice to have an episode where all the characters are equally involved in the story, as opposed to having it be Sheldon-centric most of the time.
  • GOSSIP GIRL/90210/MELROSE PLACE: All three shows were back after quite a lengthy hiatus (about 3 months). Nice to see them back because it means I have something else to watch Tuesday nights (re: 90210 & MP). I don’t know but Gossip Girl and 90210 didn’t really do much for me. Well, neither did Melrose really, but at least with Melrose we finally got to see Auggie & Violet (Colin Egglesfield & Ashlee Simpson’s characters) leave. And David’s storyline for the episode was soooo predictable. Right after Lauren said (paraphrasing), “Just let it go, please” at the hospital, you just knew he was gonna go straight to her phone and find out who the guy who drugged her was.
  • MODERN FAMILY: Before this week’s episode, there was a promo that aired during the Oscars and it was just HILARIOUS. The gist of the promo is that they’re playing charades and naturally, Cam & Mitchell are awesome at it. This week’s episode was just a continuation of the show getting consistently funnier. I just love this show. If you haven’t watched it yet, you are missing out.
  • THE OFFICE: One word – Megadesk. While Jim and Pam were on leave, Dwight reorganized all 3 desks to make a command station – surveillance, gaming, business. At the end of the episode, Jim (in classic prank/retribution mode) converted the desks into Quad-desk, where 2 desks served as a base for the third one on top and between the 3 is a small mini desk. Also great, Andy’s shout-out to HIMYM!
  • COMMUNITY: Another show which references a current show that I also love. Jeff (Joel McHale’s character): “We always watched shows that she wanted to watch! I hate Glee! I hate it! I don’t understand the appeal at all!” I love Glee, but the line was just too funny. Also hilarious? Senor Chang has a brother who’s a rabbi!
  • SURVIVOR: This season is so great…but also so frustrating. We have the supposedly best players ever, but a lot of them are being idiots! The Heroes, for one, need to get their act together and learn how to beat Boston Rob at puzzles, because clearly, the Villains keep winning due to Rob’s awesome skills in figuring out puzzles. The Heroes are just making it really hard to root for them. Voting out Tom instead of James, who is INJURED?! J.T. this season is seriously making me re-consider his game in Tocantins. I mean sure we saw J.T. in the forefront that season, but was Stephen maybe the one who was the true strategist? Is this how he would have played had Stephen not been there? Oy vey. Oh, and Russell found the hidden immunity idol. Somehow, this time doesn’t feel as good as when he found it the other times last season – maybe ’cause last season he found them without clues (that’s still impressive). Another thought…Courtney is utterly useless. She’s sat out like half of all the challenges so far. She’s just lucky that the Villains keep winning.
  • AMERICAN IDOL: Idol is lucky that I have nothing else to watch from 8-10 on Tuesdays (I don’t have CW, so I watch 90210/MP online later on that night) or else I would be pretty damn close to not watching it. This season is soooo…lackluster?  That’s not even the right word. Last season as it was, would have been pretty sucky had it not been for Kris Allen, Adam Lambert & Allison Iraheta (also to a lesser extent Matt Giraud – I still love his version of Part Time Lover). But this season has been ridiculous in a bad way. Why is Katelyn Epperly and Lilly Scott gone, when Paige Miles and Katie Stevens have done nothing special? Why is Tim Urban, the guy who has ruined Apologize/Come On Get Higher/Hallelujah, still here? I’m only still watching because of Crystal Bowersox & Siobhan Magnus, and to a lesser extent Andrew Garcia, Didi Benami, Lee Dewyze, Big Mike. Those are my top 6; if any of them get the boot early, this season will be an even bigger travesty than it already is. [I am so ready for the summer when all this is over and I can get back to my regular SYTYCD in its rightful summer place]. Final note: after 3 weeks of performances, can we add to the list of “songs that should never be sung again on Idol unless by the original artist,” anything by Kelly Clarkson or James Morrison.
  • FRINGE: So it’s not on again until April 1st, but it got picked up last weekend for a third season. BEST. TV. NEWS. EVER! Now, if we could do something about the show’s timeslot for next season…

That’s all for this week. Next week, most of the CBS shows are either in re-runs or not airing at all due to March Madness. FlashForward will be back on Thursday. On Greek, we meet Cappie’s parents! (I feel like this part should have prefaced with Jeff Probst or Phil Keoghan saying, “Next time on…” ahaha)