Objectivity and Fandom: When Being a Fan Means Being a Critic

Consider this: You’re a fan of a certain show/band/actor/whatever, you will support them wholeheartedly, try to convince others of their awesomeness, and along the way because of your fervent fandom, you become blind to their faults and refuse to consider their flaws. Ever have that happened, to any degree? See, I’ve always considered myself a different type of fan; I mean, as a fan of MANY things, I don’t go stereotypical crazy fangirl. I’ll get excited but it wouldn’t be like “OH MY GOD! *flailing*” Even when it’s something that I’m a HUGE fan of, it never gets to the point where I’m blind to their faults and imperfections – I pride myself on still being objective. Take for example, Justin Timberlake. I love JT, love his music – there are some songs I love more than others, but for the most part, they’re all good to me. His movie career, on the other hand? Well let’s just say there’s been a lot of more misses than hits.

I ask and preface all this because I’ve had a weird feeling lately. I’ve had a few conversations lately about Maroon 5, plus my ongoing internal dialogue every time I listen to the new album, and every time a different thought/observation comes up. I’ve already given my thoughts on V with my review and I had said that as a whole, it’s a solid pop album. I was talking to a friend, who is a Maroon 5 fan, and she reiterated that she’s not a fan of the new music, which is something I completely understand. Again, I replied by saying that, “It’s nowhere near as good as Songs About Jane or Hands All Over, but it’s a solid pop album.” For some reason, that discussion about V, and then later on about music in general, lingered in my mind. On the one hand, I believe I’m still being objective by saying that V isn’t as good as M5’s old material. On the other hand, I found myself defending the album, still giving it some sort of praise. I mean, generally speaking, I do like the pop-ier side of music – it’s what I grew up on – but I also don’t like the majority of what is on the radio these days; a lot of it is just blah. Point of the matter is, I started to question my ability to be objective (or in other words, my sociology/over-analytical brain started kicking in). By calling it a solid pop album, was I just finding a reason to like it because I’m a big Maroon 5 fan and don’t like the idea of making myself seem like a bad fan if I don’t like the album? Have I already grown accustomed to this new Maroon 5 sound, that at the end of the day I’m essentially now grading them on a curve? Have I been unfair to compare them to their previous work, as opposed to treating each album as a separate entity in the general music landscape? Am I just being too harsh? Am I completely over-thinking things? (Probably, on the last question.)

The stage set-up for Maroon 5's Overexposed tour in 2013. They got pretty fancy with the walk-out bridge.

The stage set-up for Maroon 5’s Overexposed tour in 2013. They got pretty fancy with the walk-out bridge.

The other day while watching the season premiere of The Voice, my brother-in-law asked me about the new M5 album and again, I answered that it was pretty good, much better than their last album. To which he goes, “Yeah? I thought the last album was pretty good” (For the record, he doesn’t really listen to music out of his own volition. It’s pretty much what’s on the radio and then the off-time of whatever my sister’s listening to). Anyways, the conversation led to us talking about the popularity issue. Thanks to Adam being on The Voice, Maroon 5 is way more popular and mainstream than they were previously. And my bro-in-law brought up the point that like a lot of things in entertainment (games, movies, TV shows), once something becomes too popular and they start trying to cater more to the newer fans, but still attempting to appease the old fans, it’s just not the same as it used to be. Which obviously got my brain turning: Have Maroon 5 REALLY gotten too popular for their own good? Not that I hadn’t realized this to some extent already when I bought tickets for their upcoming tour (nearly $150 per ticket, fees included, for lower level tickets?! Really guys? I remember when it used to be HALF that!), but to have it stated in that way just clicked in my head. The guys themselves have said as much that music is really a producers’ game right now, which is more or less why we’ve been getting such pop-ish music from them. All of a sudden, everything made sense; they are catering SO MUCH to mainstream radio that I sometimes don’t even know if I’m listening to the M5 I fell in love with. The one day I went from listening to V in my car to Songs About Jane at the office, and it was such a stark difference between what they used to be and what they are now, that it was almost unsettling.

Maroon 5 kept it fairly simple for their 2007 tour, in support of their second album It Won't Be Soon Before Long

Maroon 5 kept it fairly simple for their 2007 tour, in support of their second album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Moving away from Maroon 5, let’s talk about TV. A self-described TV addict, I’ve come to be picky about what shows I watch and spend my time on. Long-running shows are bound to disappoint at some point in time; let’s be real, there’s just no possible way for the staff writers to always keep things new, fresh and deliver in the way that we want as fans. I liken it to a form of Stockholm syndrome – they may think it’s a good idea in the writers’ room but it’s likely that a lot of the writers on staff have been there a long time and there’s no fresh blood or a different set of eyes to be critical. Then there’s the case of new shows. A lot has to be put into place to get a show on the air and to just work so viewers will tune in: cast chemistry, a solid hook, building on that hook with some smart writing whether it be for laughs or dramatic effect. It’s in my belief that almost all new shows deserve a chance because they may surprise you and there’s probably something or someone there that is drawing you in to begin with.

Stalker is a new show by Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries, The Following) that premiered Wednesday night and follows the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit as they deal with various stalking cases. It’s a CBS show, so naturally it’s a procedural, case-of-the-week type show, and it follows the similarly dark/twisted Criminal Minds on the schedule. The majority of TV critics have been pretty much saying “avoid this show like the plague” because it overdoes the violence and how it treats the women in this show is appalling. My comeback line every time I read something that trashes the show? “But, Maggie Q!” Yup, Maggie Q is already back on TV after Nikita, and because of how much I LOVED Nikita, I am going to be watching this show for Maggie, against my better judgment. I don’t typically like procedurals but, Maggie! I once was a fan of The Following, which is more of a serialized show but got similar flack for its use of violence when it premiered, until it got ridiculous, but again, because of Maggie, I’m hoping for something decent. And you know what? It was okay. Is it the best show in the world? No. It went along doing its CBS procedural thing with a Kevin Williamson twist. I can understand why so many critics absolutely hated it, but if you look past the extreme violence (obviously a ploy meant to sell the show in the first place and attempt to hook viewers in), it was alright. The best thing the show has going for it is that there’s an attempt to flesh out the main characters of Beth Davis (Maggie Q) and Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) and give them some more personality and depth than your average TV cop. Plus, there’s something interesting about it from a sociological standpoint. I’m probably giving the show more depth than I should be, in my attempt to give reason for watching it, but MAGGIE FREAKIN’ Q you guys!

Pilot

I read an article recently, which was more or less an essay, written by Talib Kweli defending Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hill is such a great artist, and ever since the release of the incredible The Miseducation of…, people have been clamoring for more. She hasn’t put an album since then, and hasn’t done very many shows either; there were a couple of times when she showed up extremely late for a show and people were outraged. In the piece, Talib Kweli talks about the relationship between artists and fans, and how it can be misconstrued. At the end of the day, artists have a responsibility to themselves, to do what they want; fans are not owed anything by the artists to do what they want as fans. I really suggest reading the piece because it’s so thoughtful and gives you a different understanding of what it means to be a fan. Reading this piece as I’m going through these thoughts and feelings, it just really brought up the things I’ve been wanting to say. Tying it back to Maroon 5, as a fan of theirs I want them to just do what’s right for them; I don’t want to see them lose who they are as artists, as a band because of this commercial success they’ve been getting.

So what’s the moral of the story/analysis/rant? Sometimes, being a fan means being a critic. You can be supportive of everything your favourites do, but remember you don’t have to like everything. You’re allowed to be objective, have opinions, and make it known. Not liking something by your favourites, doesn’t make you a bad fan – people change, tastes change, maybe the output really does suck and you’re just speaking the hard truth or it’s just not your cup of tea anymore. IT’S OKAY! There’s no need to blindly love something out of habit or just because. We’re all fans of something and with the help of social media we can revel in the successes of our favourites and dish out constructive criticism – let our voices be heard. I’m not saying our faves need to be meeting the wants and needs of all their fans out there, that would just get out of hand very quickly. Instead I say, be critical of your favourites and recognize that they’re not going to live up to all you expect from them. They are human beings too, and are allowed to do what they may feel is right for them at any given time, experiment with their music or acting roles. If you like it, great; if you don’t, whatever.

Sorry if this whole thing came out a little convoluted, I just needed to get all these thoughts in my brain out. But let’s turn things over to you: have you ever had a similar situation, wherein the definition of being a fan gets put into question? Is there such a thing as being a “bad fan”? What’s typically the “breaking point” to when you’re no longer a fan of something?

Upfronts 2014: CBS Releases Schedule for Next Season

Full disclosure: I haven’t been much of a CBS person, except for a few shows (The Big Bang Theory, Survivor, The Amazing Race, the now-finished How I Met Your Mother). I know there are a few shows on the network that I should be watching (The Good Wife, Person of Interest, Elementary), but CBS just screams “PROCEDURAL” whenever I think about it, so it takes a lot for me to watch something on the network – be it awesome actors, a VERY good hook, and/or something that proves it’s not just the same old cop stuff. That being said, the network has picked up 8 new shows that will somehow fit into the networks already packed schedule.

STALKER [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Kevin Williamson is bringing another psychological thriller to TV, with this show about two detectives who investigate stalking cases for the Threat Management Unit of the LAPD. Oh, and the detectives are played by Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q. I repeat, MAGGIE Q IS ON TV AGAIN! If anyone can get me to watch CBS, it’s Maggie.

Pilot

NCIS: NEW ORLEANS [Drama – Tuesdays @ 9]: Another NCIS spin-off. Except set in New Orleans. Kind of self-explanatory? Not interested. Sorry.

CSI: CYBER [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: The pilot for this show was planted into an episode of CSI earlier this year, which revolves around Patricia Arquette’s special agent Avery Ryan who heads up the cyber crime unit of the FBI. Another CSI spin-off (zzzz….)

SCORPION [Drama – Mondays @ 9]: An eccentric genius and his ragtag team of other super geniuses work together to defend the world against complex and unexpected threats. Robert Patrick, Katharine McPhee, and Eddie Kaye Thomas star. Many journos out there are calling this the dramatic version of The Big Bang Theory, which is to say not many are taking this seriously with McPhee’s presence in the show (I know, who says a woman can’t be beautiful AND smart? Sexist much?). Until I see more footage out of this, to get a sense of what they’re trying to do (Is it going to super serious? Or will they allow themselves to have some fun with it?), I’ll reserve my judgement.

PILOT

MADAM SECRETARY [Drama – Sundays @ 8]: Tea Leoni is the Secretary of State, who must balance her complex family life with the international diplomacy and office politics her job entails. Because that’s what it always is – a female has to find a way to balance family and work, and kick-ass doing so. I appreciate there being more female roles beyond playing the significant other, but why are there so many shows now where the focus is on how the woman balances her life between family and her job as [insert occupation here]?

THE MCCARTHYS [Comedy – Thursdays @ 9:30, after football is over]: The McCarthy’s are a loud, sports-crazed Irish-Catholic Boston family, who all live under the same roof. Laurie Metcalf, Joey McIntyre, Tyler Ritter and Kelen Coleman star. Family dynamics mixed in with sports…we’re gonna be in for a lot of yelling dialogue aren’t we?

PILOT

THE ODD COUPLE [Comedy – TBA]: Matthew Perry stars in this updated version of the classic Broadway play as bachelor Oscar, while Thomas Lennon plays Felix. So it’s the older Joey and Chandler, if Chandler hadn’t married Monica? Kidding! (Sorta.) I’d really like to see Matthew Perry get a win at some point, seeing as how both of his previous shows (Mr. Sunshine, Go On) didn’t see past the first season. We’ll have to wait and see.

PILOT

BATTLE CREEK [Drama – TBA]: All I know about this show is that it’s by Vince Gilligan (who created Breaking Bad) and stars Dean Winters and Josh Duhamel as two detectives in the city of Battle Creek, Michigan. That’s it. Not really giving me much here.

Pilot

Notables/Thoughts:

  • The Big Bang Theory will anchor Monday nights at the start of the season. Once CBS’ run of Thursday Night Football is over, TBBT will return to its Thursday slot. The Millers, Two and a Half Men (which has been announced to be its final season), and Elementary will return to their timeslots after football as well.
  • Once TBBT returns to Thursdays, 2 Broke Girls will continue heading the Monday @ 8 slot.
  • NCIS: LA moves to Mondays @ 10. Honestly, I was almost expecting CBS to do a full night of NCIS shows, but I guess even they know their limits.
  • The Amazing Race moves to Fridays @ 8, which works for me! One less thing to watch on an already packed Sunday, and something to watch Friday nights. Perfect.
  • CSI moves to Sundays @ 10, which will at some point turn over to CSI: Cyber.
  • How I Met Your Dad was not picked up, despite previous reports. Apparently, the network and the producers wanted different things creatively for the show, so it just didn’t work out. Frankly, call me bitter about how HIMYM ultimately ended, but it’s for the best. I know HIMYD was going to be a completely different entity from HIMYM, but it’s still a spin-off, and I just didn’t want to see them mess it up.

So there you have it, CBS with more of the same and minor tweaks. Relatively painless. For more on the new shows and a complete look at the schedule, check out Entertainment Weekly.

Tomorrow, The CW unveils its schedule.

NIKITA Recap: 4×06 “Canceled” + Final Thoughts on the Show

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Well here we are, at the end of the road. Nikita, one of the most underrated shows on television, has come to an end – and it was the perfect ending. It took me longer to get this post up because frankly, I was still reeling from all the emotions I had watching the episode, and just time to be able to sit down and type. So let’s start at the beginning of the episode.

We start off with a new flashback to when Nikita was first brought in to Division. After having attacked a guard twice her size, Nikita says she wants out, but Amanda tells her that she’ll come to learn that brute force will not beat deception. Amanda then asks Nikita who she wants to be: powerful and beautiful or a wild animal? We see another flashback with Michael suggesting Nikita be cancelled because she’s had four incidents in her first week at Division, deeming her to be dangerous, but Amanda sees potential in Nikita to be the best agent Division’s ever seen. Though Michael warns that if they can’t control her, she could be the one to destroy them all. To be fair, they ended up both being right.

With Ryan’s death last week (RIP Fletcher), it seems that Nikita has gone off the rails, with Alex helping her to take down The Group, starting with Mr. Jones who provided them with the names of the other members before being blown to bits. Senator Chappel has a field day when he learns that Nikita is going after The Group her way and not the “official” way – investigate, collect evidence…the standard boring stuff we see in typical cop procedurals. That does not work for Nikita, the character or the show. Though he hates to admit it, Michael (and Sam) actually agrees with Chappel that there is a right way to take down The Group, but this isn’t it; Birkhoff meanwhile, scoffs at Chappel, “Our government trained her to be an assassin…Look, if Nikita wants to take down the one percent of the one percent to zero, I say pull up a chair and pass the popcorn.” Chappel allows the boys off the base and go after Nikita. Except Slocum and his Marines have to join them.

When we get back to Amanda, she’s got a nasty scar – a departing gift from Ryan before he died. When she discusses matters with Trevor Adrian, he does what every other man she’s worked with does, and tells her to step away because she doesn’t know what she’s doing. He also essentially blames her for The Group’s undoing. But before cutting her out, Amanda did manage to convince Adrian to gather all the remaining Group members to make it harder for Nikita to find them. HA! You just helped her make it easier to take them all down Amanda. Soon enough, Amanda witnesses that Nikita and Alex have tied up the Group and feeding them the lethal neurotoxins, in order to get somebody to cough up the list of doubles.

Throughout the episode, we see Alex, Michael, Sam, each give their own talks to Nikita, trying to essentially talk her down the ledge. Alex brings it up that Nikita’s about to cross a line, that involves killing a whole bunch of people, after she’s been recognized as a hero. Sam channels his memories as Owen and talks about the time in London when he was ready to release the contents of the Black Box, but she talked him out of it. He says that if Owen was here, he’d tell her that she needs to trust the people she loves and that it’s not about her head, but her heart and soul. Then there’s Michael who pulls out the “I have nothing left. If you die…I die.” (And we all swoon and die.) When none of the talking works, Alex resorts to sparring with Nikita instead in order to stop her. But when Adrian finds an opportunity to shoot at them while they’re fighting, Nikita shoots back at all of the Group members.

After the Marines have captured Nikita, they ship her off to a supermax prison in Virginia, where she’s held down by some heavy duty restraints; unfortunately, Alex and Birkhoff (who against orders downloaded the doubles list onto a cloud server) join her in prison. We come to learn that Slocum has been working with Amanda when she shows her scarred face in Nikita’s cell. Amanda comes in to thank Nikita for giving her a new life and reminds her that they both came from abusive homes, but have managed to rise above it. But joke’s on Amanda, as Nikita gets released from her restraints and puts Amanda in them instead. Turns out it was all a ruse to make Amanda think that Nikita had gone off the rails and released the monster inside of her, that she had chosen brute force over deception. Nikita had only temporarily put down all the members of The Group and put on a show for Amanda at Adrian’s house; The Doubles arc closes down with Michael and Sam releasing the originals who were doubled. It was thanks to Ryan’s last words that Nikita knew Slocum was a double, and though she wanted to kill everybody and rip Amanda to bits, she owed it to her family for reminding her that she’s better than that. So Nikita finally gets to deceive Amanda once and for all and bestow Amanda a fate worse than death: life alone in the basement as Helen.

As we got into the final minutes of the episodes, we find out everybody gets their own happy ending. Ryan is honoured with a star on the CIA’s wall of fallen agents. Alex resumes her role as Alexandra Udinov, with Sam now her bodyguard and more. Birkhoff releases Shadownet to the world (reminds me of the movie Antitrust) and settles in for a life with Sonya (Lyndie was sadly missing from the episode because she was too busy kicking ass on Sleepy Hollow). Nikita and Michael? Well they eloped and are having some wedded bliss on a beach in Ecuador. As Nikita says in her voiceover, “The real gift isn’t freedom, it’s what we do with it. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t just sit on a beach anyways.” With that, we see the newlyweds run off and spend their honeymoon going after a guy who was trying to push a kid into becoming a soldier.

It was as perfect an ending as any fan could hope for considering the circumstances. I read the interviews with Craig Silverstein by Meg Masters of TVLine and Eric Goldman of IGN discussing what happened in the finale, what could have been, what they wanted to do but didn’t have time for, etc., and really at the end of it all, I’m just really happy/satisfied with how things ended. Sure, it would have been nice to delve into Nikita’s backstory and parents, prior to going into the foster system and wish that the season was longer so everything could have been fleshed out more, but they ended things on a spectacular note.

FINAL THOUGHTS

What else can I say about this show that I haven’t already in my letter to the cast back in March or my write-up when the cast wrapped in October. Nikita has always been an underrated show that deserved so much more than it did. It’s one of the first adult-skewing shows on The CW, something that went beyond the typical teen angst that the network needed in order to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, being the first also means that the network wasn’t particularly sure of how to market the show. But without all the teen angst and a big dose of action, it paved the way for the network to take chances on other shows that weren’t its typical type like Arrow. Granted, Arrow has the added bonus of being a known entity, it also had its own pressures to contend with. Regardless, Nikita was a trailblazer for the network, and you can’t help but wonder what could have been had the show been on a different network (I’m thinking cable because I’m not sure any of the other broadcast networks would be any better – except maybe FOX).

What may be its enduring legacy, besides being underrated and perennially on the bubble, is what it did for females on television. First and foremost, Nikita gave us the first Asian-American female lead of a TV show in Maggie Q. If Maggie ever decides to do another TV show, I would not want her to be some supporting character that isn’t given a lot to do; she’s come so far from doing/being this character that being anything less than that would just be wrong. Second, the ultimate big bad of the series ended up being Melinda Clarke’s Amanda, a woman who was severely underestimated by every one of her male counterparts, but proved to be a crazy adversary for our hero. Lastly, the show gave us a central relationship between two females, Nikita and Alex, who spent more time working together kicking-ass and taking down the bad guys than talking about their love life or fighting over a guy. The typical gender roles were pretty much flipped when in actuality, Nikita and Alex saved the men in their lives more often, bucking the usual “damsels-in-distress” that need saving. What’s truly amazing is that all these women (along with Sonya) were layered characters. They were not defined by any one trait or by their men. They were fully realized characters – smart, good at what they do, flawed, emotional, and of course beautiful in every way – everything a woman is and how they should be represented on TV.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: THANK YOU to everybody involved with the show from the beginning up until the very end, who helped make this incredible show that was underappreciated. The producers and writers – Craig Silverstein, Albert Kim, Carlos Coto, Marc David Alpert, Kristen Reidel, Oliver Grigsby, Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett, and everybody else I missed – you are all amazingly talented and the work you put in to making this show what it is does not go unnoticed by those of us who did watch the show throughout its run. The actors – Maggie, Lyndsy, Melinda, Lyndie, Shane West, Aaron Stanford, Noah Bean, Devon Sawa, Dillon Casey, Xander Berkeley, Ashton Holmes, Tiffany Hines, Peter Outerbridge, and all the guest stars over the years – you brought these characters to life and worked so hard, I will forever be in awe of everything that you did.

I wish all these amazingly wonderful people nothing but the best in their future endeavors and projects. Whether it be, Craig Silverstein’s period spy drama Turn; Matalas and Fickett teaming up and reuniting with Aaron and Noah on Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, alongside Amanda Schull and Kirk Acevedo; Shane and Xander working together on WGN America’s Salem (with Seth Gabel and Janet Montgomery); Maggie and Lyndsy with their films, Divergent & The Conspiracy on Jekyll Island (Maggie) and Moments of Clarity (Lyndsy); Lyndie continuing on in Sleepy Hollow; Dillon with his new series Remedy; or Albert Kim’s drama in development at The CW with Eva Longoria’s production company, I look forward to whatever they do in the future. They all deserve great success.

Again, thanks for all the memories and four seasons of awesome! I will miss this show dearly.

Nikita Cast @ SDCC 2013. Even though I didn't get to formally meet them and get a picture with them, they made my first trip to SDCC worth every penny.

Nikita Cast @ SDCC 2013. Even though I didn’t get to formally meet them and get a picture with them, sitting less than 10 feet away from them at the show’s final panel made my first trip to SDCC worth everything.

It’s a Wrap on the Nikita Set

So today marks the last day of filming on the set of Nikita. I poured a lot into my first letter to the cast and crew back in March when we didn’t even know if we’d get a fourth season, and I had intended on only adding to that initial post for today. But I didn’t realize how much more I had to say…so here we go again (heh).

To be honest, I’m kind of in denial about them filming the end. I have been in denial the past couple weeks with the cast tweeting about the last episodes. I think I teared up just seeing the title of 4×06, Cancelled. I mean, REALLY?! How does that one word so simply encompass the show? Holding meaning within the Nikita universe, but also a tongue-in-cheek and sad reference to the state of the show after being on the bubble (also, the title of 4×05!) all these years. SO MANY FEELINGS!

I know it’s a little silly, at 25, to feel sad about a show filming its final scenes, but I’ve never been SO INVESTED in a show like I have Nikita. The closest I ever came to being this invested was Fringe, The O.C, One Tree Hill, and Chuck (yes, I do have very varied tastes in television shows), but looking back, my fan level for those didn’t come close to how I am with Nikita and this amazing cast. I don’t want to say that Nikita changed my life because it seems a little heavy-handed, but I definitely hold a special place in my heart for this show. As I said in my letter, I never realized how important it was for me to see Maggie, an Asian-American actress be the lead in a network TV show, and on top of that, see an Asian-American writer in Albert, also co-executive produce the show. I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life as far as a career, but they inspire me to at least try and find something that would allow me to work in the hard, sometimes infuriating, but ultimately satisfying world that is the entertainment industry.

For over three years, I tried to meet them in Toronto, and go figure my closest contact with them would be at the final San Diego Comic Con panel, where I got up the nerve to ask a question (however random it was), knowing that it was probably my only chance to talk to these guys. I suppose I did sort of meet Lyndsy immediately following the panel, but my interaction with her was cut incredibly short, that it barely counted (plus I had no photographic proof of it!) Thinking about it, I obviously wanted to meet the cast because I admired them so much and just wanted to be a fan, but I selfishly also wanted to get to know them beyond the glimpses we get from Twitter and interviews. Alas, I never got the chance – but hey, at least they acknowledged my existence at SDCC! (Gotta hang on to those little things…)

Thanks again for all your hard work all these years: Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Aaron, Devon, Noah, Melinda, Lyndie, and all the former cast members and guest stars. Thanks also extended for the creative geniuses behind the show: Craig, Albert, Carlos, all the producers involved, and writers. I’m going to miss all of you being in Toronto, working on my (and a lot of other peoples’) favourite show. I wish you all the best in your future projects and can’t wait to see the end product of your hard work on these final 6 episodes. Please come back and visit Toronto, regardless of if it is for work or not, and we’ll be more than happy to welcome you back! Just, THANK YOU for everything!

And you know what, a special shout-out to all the other Nikita fans out there! We might not have been able to get The CW to give the show more episodes (or seasons!), but we helped get it this far! No one can say that we weren’t a dedicated bunch! And when these final episodes air, let’s show everybody else who weren’t watching Nikita the past few years, what they’ve been missing out on!

Now, excuse me, while I try not to cry over the end of filming. (Full disclosure: tears were already shed writing this post.)

A First-Timer’s Account of San Diego Comic Con 2013 – Day 1

San Diego Convention Centre

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 1
My first day at SDCC started in Toronto. After checking out the amazing Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert the night before, I was up and out early Thursday morning to fly to San Diego. Once arriving in front of the convention centre, it was like a huge shock to the senses. Thousands of nerds, in their finest geekwear and cosplay all descended to this one place. It. Was. Crazy. Trying my best not to look like such a newbie, I made my way in to meet up with my cousin. A short walk in the exhibit hall and we then moved onto Hall H, the biggest panel room of the con (holding upwards of 6500 people). Be it that there weren’t really any HUGE panels happening that day in Hall H, our wait to get in was no more than 30 minutes.

The first panel we got to see was Entertainment Weekly’s The Visionaries, their yearly panel which includes three directors; this year’s lineup was Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer), Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, the upcoming Gravity) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). For a fan like me, who truly cares about all aspects of Hollywood, it was really great to hear these three directors talk about the filmmaking process, along with their stories and struggles.

L-R: EW's Anthony Breznican moderates, Alfonso Cuaron, Marc Webb, Edgar Wright

L-R: EW’s Anthony Breznican moderates, Alfonso Cuaron, Marc Webb, Edgar Wright

That was followed by the slightly high-profile Summit/Lionsgate panel introducing Ender’s Game and Divergent. Ender’s Game, based on the highly-acclaimed novel, stars newcomer Asa Butterfield working alongside Sir Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford. Yeah, Harrison Ford showing up was a big deal! I, however, was mainly interested in Divergent – a book that, for the record, I haven’t read yet, but EW has done a hell of a job promoting it that I became intrigued by it. The story itself, about a future Chicago where people are divided into four factions based on their good traits, was already interesting. But then the cast that was assembled for this movie was incredible (oh hey, Maggie Q!) What I found particularly surprising at this panel was that it featured literally never-before-seen footage of the movie (they had only wrapped on the movie 2 days beforehand). I’ll tell you this: the footage they showed looked AWESOME. I’m going to have to fast track on reading the series before the movie comes out.

 

L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, author of the novel Veronica Roth, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, director Neil Burger, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller

L-R: Moderator Chris Hardwick, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, author of the novel Veronica Roth, Theo James, Shailene Woodley, director Neil Burger, Zoe Kravitz, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Miles Teller

L-R: Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, director Gavin Hood, producer Robert Orci, and Harrison Ford!

L-R: Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, director Gavin Hood, producer Robert Orci, and Harrison Ford!

We called it a day at the convention centre after Divergent, but the day wasn’t over for me. Before the Con, I had tried and surprisingly succeeded at scoring an invite to the annual Ausiello party. Me being, well, me, I wasn’t entirely prepared for parties and socializing (I am socially awkward and an introvert after all), but who I am to pass on the chance to potentially meet celebrities? To which I did. It was really cool to see and meet Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley from Community) and Retta (Donna from Parks and Recreation); they honestly could not have been any nicer. On top of that, I met and talked to some cool people too – fellow fans just hanging out and talking about what we’re looking forward to at the Con.

At the Ausiello party and got to meet Yvette Nicole Brown!

At the Ausiello party and got to meet Yvette Nicole Brown!

Also got to meet the hilariously awesome Retta!

Also got to meet the hilariously awesome Retta!