5 Fandom Friday: 5 Times I Totally Fangirled

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I was actually already planning a post about celeb encounters when Megan (The Nerdy Girlie) and Kristin (Super Space Chick) released the Fandom 5 topics for this month. Perfect! Now, I’ve always prided myself in not COMPLETELY fangirling when I’ve met people whom I admire. Part of that has to do with the fact that I’m kinda sorta socially awkward, so I have trouble talking to my own friends sometimes, let alone celebs. Also, I try my best not to embarrass myself too much; it’s hard, but I try. Regardless of that, there have been multiple instances where that truly fangirl side of me comes out, meaning my awkwardness comes out and it gets hard for me to form proper sentences. My version of “totally fangirling” is getting so nervous I act like a total dork.

1.) SDCC 2013 – Final Nikita Panel

I’ve documented this in a previous post, but essentially I got up the nerve to go ask my favourite people in the world a question at their final panel. Just my luck, someone in front of me asked pretty much the question I was going to ask, and I had to think of another question on the spot. So much pressure! If you watch the video, you can probably hear exactly how nervous I was.

2.) SDCC 2014 – Meeting Shane West

Meeting Shane West after the Behind the Music panel?! AHHHH!!!! Comic-Con trip made!

Again, I already posted about this. To recap, I went to the panel Shane West was moderating and was determined to meet him afterwards. Tried my damned hardest to keep my fangirliness in check.

3.) SYTYCD Tours

SYTYCD Tour M&G

I love SYTYCD and for seasons 3-8, I actually went to the tour. For all the shows except one, I stayed after the show and waited to meet the dancers (because I found out early on that they did this, and I went with people who were willing to wait with me). Season 3 I met Lauren Gottlieb, was pretty calm. Season 4 I met Chelsie, Comfort, Courtney, Kherington, Joshua and Katee; it was when I met Katee that I nerded out a bit mentioning that I was a fan of hers from Paris By Night (and I think I embarrassed her a little bit by bringing it up). I skipped season 5 (it was too cold to wait). The season 6+7 tour I met Kathryn, Robert, Kent, Lauren, Ade, and Allison. Allison is one of my favourite dancers and I was so bummed that I missed the season 2 tour, so I was SO EXCITED to meet her. To be honest, I actually don’t remember much of the interaction because of how excited/nervous I was, except for asking her about tWitch (who was there at the show, but not performing), and then later on finding out that they had actually started dating (and now married)! Then the season 8 tour I met Marko, Melanie, Tadd, Caitlynn, and Nick. I definitely fangirled meeting Marko because he’s totally my dancer crush, and again I had to mention PBN, which I think caught him completely off-guard.

4.) FanExpo 2013

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I know I’m repeating myself again, but gosh, all these Cons are what dreams are made of. Saw Stephen Amell twice and acted like it was no big deal both times. 15 minutes after meeting Stephen (the first time), I met Gina Torres and could barely form a complete sentence. I met Piper Perabo and Peter Gallagher at the Covert Affairs signing. With Piper, I was my usual awkward self, not really sure what to say. With Peter, I managed to get in the fact that I loved Center Stage and The O.C., and have a proper interaction with him. It’s times like this that I don’t know how my brain processes being a fangirl.

5.) General Reaction to Awesome Events/News

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Sometimes, I’m at my most fangirliest when I hear good news. That means if my favourite TV shows get renewed, particularly if they’re on the bubble (which let’s be honest, applies to 75% of the shows I watch), I’m screaming and doing a happy dance. Favourite music artists going on tour and stopping into Toronto? Ditto. My favourite music artists teaming up to do a tour (like in 2013, when Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson toured together)? FUCK YES!

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Couples I Ship

fandom.5.friday

I must say, I’m having a lot of fun doing these 5 Fandom Friday posts! This week, in honour of Valentine’s Day (even if I think it’s a totally overrated “holiday” but mainly due to the fact that I’m perpetually single and a pessimist), it’s all about the fictional couples we ship. The pessimist that I am, is still kind of a hopeless romantic, at least when it comes to my favourite fictional couples of past and present. (Although by the looks of it, I don’t really ship any current couples. At least not more than these couples of shows past.)

1.) Nikita and Michael, Nikita

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OBVIOUSLY. Favourite show, favourite couple. They would do anything for each other, which includes taking the blame for assassinating POTUS and going on the run – normal couple stuff.

2.) Haley and Nathan, One Tree Hill

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Naley had just about everything happen to them in the course of 9 seasons, with so many ups and downs, and somehow managed to make it through okay, while raising two decent human beings.

3.) Pam and Jim, The Office

Do I need to even say anything? It’s Jam! We all pretty much want what they had.

4.) Olivia and Peter, Fringe

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Alternate universes be damned! These two were just meant to be together! And then they had a kid that grew up to be a Disney princess 😉

5.) Tami and Eric, Friday Night Lights

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I didn’t watch Friday Night Lights until well after it had aired, but once I finally got around to it, I understood what everyone was talking about. In particular, the relationship and utter awesomeness that is Mr. and Mrs. Coach. They were a real couple, who were not perfect but worked out their issues like the adults they were.

6.) Jane and Brad, Happy Endings

HappyEndings (05)

So I seemingly have trouble with keeping my lists to 5, but I HAD to include Jane and Brad! Those two crazies just got each other and funny as hell.

Not everything has to be about romantic relationships though, so in that spirit, a bonus 5 non-romantic/totally platonic pairings I love. Because sometimes the best relationships are awesome friendships.

1.) Leslie and Ron, Parks and Recreation

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For 6.5 seasons, we’ve seen these workplace acquaintances grow into a wonderful friendship based on mutual respect. Ron and Leslie are complete opposites, particularly when it comes to government things, but they always seem to find common ground somewhere (i.e. their love of breakfast food).

2.) Abbie and Ichabod, Sleepy Hollow

I know there are many hardcore Ichabbie shippers, who want more out of that relationship, but frankly, I truly enjoy the fact that they are friends. The rapport that they have is like no other.

3.) Zoe and Lavon, Hart of Dixie

For all the crazy antics that happen on Hart of Dixie, it’s nice to see such a great friendship grow right from the get-go. Lavon was the first person in Bluebell to accept Zoe into the fold, but more than that, they get each other’s quirks and will begrudgingly go along with the other’s crazy plans.

4.) Harvey and Mike, Suits

The show is built on this bromance! Their natural camaraderie/chemistry is what really shines through, with Harvey sticking out his neck time and time again to save Mike’s secret from getting out. Plus, all the teasing and talking in movie quotes! They’re the best.

5.) Nikita and Alex, Nikita

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From the very beginning, these two had each other’s back. Even when they were seemingly on the outs, they were still there for each other. And when Nikita needed help at the end to take down all the members of The Group, she didn’t turn to Michael, she went to Alex. Supportive while kicking ass along the way – what more do you want?

 

Music Monday: Songs from TV and Movies

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things entertainment, so when music intersects with movies or TV, I get super nerdy about it. Last September at TIFF, I saw a movie called Can A Song Save Your Life? and instantly fell in love with it and the music in it. Fast forward some 10 months and the movie finally gets released under a new name Begin Again and I FINALLY got my hands on the soundtrack, so I could just listen to all the songs over and over again. It is certainly something special when the right song (whether written specifically for the movie or not) is played at the right moment and encapsulates the feeling of that entire scene or becomes synonymous with that movie/show.

So with that being said, here are some of my personal favourite songs from TV and movies

  1. Adam Levine/Keira Knightley, Lost Stars [Begin Again] – I’m sure I’ve said it enough at this point, but I LOVE this song. I keep alternating between Adam’s version and Keira’s version. There’s such a sweetness in Keira’s version that plays to how the song was written within the context of the movie. Adam’s more polished version of the song presents itself later in the movie, showing character growth with a slight sense of nostalgia.
  2. Switchfoot, Dare You to Move [One Tree Hill] – I could have gone the easy route and just picked “I Don’t Want to Be” because if you think OTH, you think of that song. With “Dare You to Move,” I actually remember hearing it in A Walk to Remember first, but always associate it with OTH + Nathan & Haley, their memorable kiss in the rain.
  3. Nada Surf, If You Leave [The O.C.] – Again, it would’ve been too easy to put “California” or even “Hallelujah” but instead I had to put “If You Leave.” Who could forget the scene with Seth playing out the cliche of running to the airport, chasing after Anna, thinking that she’s moving back to Pittsburgh because of him?
  4. Gina Rene, U Must Be [Step Up] – Ahhh Step Up, the movie that brought Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan together. It was a pivotal scene, with Nora telling Tyler how she imagined her senior showcase, and then they dance with the sunset in the background. It’s all cute and romantic, and stuff.
  5. Michael Jackson, The Way You Make Me Feel/Ruff Endz, If I Was the One/Jamiroquai, Canned Heat [Center Stage] – So I’m cheating a little bit here, putting three songs for one movie. BUT, these three songs were used for the finale piece in Center Stage! They go together! And I can’t listen to any one of these songs without immediately playing the scene in my head, picturing the choreography.
  6. Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, La Cumparsita (Remix) [Take the Lead] – For some reason, I’ve always loved watching a good tango, so I’ve always loved the song, even if I didn’t know what it was called when I was younger. Then Take the Lead came out and featured this AMAZING trio tango with a remixed version of La Cumparsita, which kind of became my everything. The classic tango song, updated with a hip-hop flavour, which was part of what made the movie unique.
  7. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova/Steve Kazee & Cristin Milioti, Falling Slowly [Once/Once the Musical] – Just such a beautiful song.
  8. Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty, Let Me Be Your Star [Smash] – Let this be one of the few good things to come out of Smash. The pilot capped off with this wonderful song, that set the stage for the rest of the show. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. But hey, at least we got this song and Megan Hilty from that mess.
  9. Oscar Isaac, Never Had [10 Years] – Oscar Isaac actually wrote this song for the movie (an underrated gem about friends meeting up for their high school reunion), where he plays Reeves, a musician with this hit song. The song keeps getting talked about throughout the movie, until Reeves gets convinced to karaoke his own song. The song has a great nostalgic tone that was obviously meant to work with the movie. Just watch it.
  10. Dianna Agron & Lea Michele, I Feel Pretty/Unpretty [Glee] – There once was a time when I loved Glee, before it all went to shit. I particularly loved it most when they actually picked songs that worked itself organically into the story, and not just them doing songs for the sake of it. The performance is actually still one of my favourites that they did, which was in season 2, and dealt with Rachel’s want to get her nose fixed.
  11. Jason Segel, You Just Got Slapped [How I Met Your Mother] – Now for something fun and silly. Because creating Slapsgiving wasn’t enough, the HIMYM gang created this tune to commemorate the occasion in season 3.
  12. Orishas ft. Heather Headley, Represent Cuba [Dirty Dancing Havana Nights] – I stand by my “I don’t really like the movie, but I love the soundtrack.” I just love this song.
  13. Sara Bareilles, Breathe Again [The Vampire Diaries] – There once was also a time when I loved The Vampire Diaries. Now season 1, their music supervisor had already established himself with some really good song choices. But I remember distinctly the first half of season 2, where I thought they were just on a complete roll with the music. They used this fantastic Sara Bareilles song as the coda in episode 4.
  14. Jonathan Groff/Kyle Riabko, Left Behind [Spring Awakening] – It’s a poignant song in the musical, with Melchior lamenting Moritz’ death, wondering what led to it including Moritz’ parents’ treatment of him. Obviously I love the original version as sung by Jonathan Groff, but there’s also a soulful quality to Kyle Riabko’s version which he did on his own album.
  15. Florence + the Machine, Cosmic Love [Nikita] – Season 1, Episode 17: Michael goes to see Nikita and realizes she was right all along when it came to Division. They kiss and that was the beginning of Mikita. I sigh just thinking about it.

 

 

SDCC 2014 Wrap-Up

Can’t believe another Comic-Con has come and gone! Second year in the books! It sinceriously (yes, that’s a made up word. Thank Stephen Amell) just went by so quickly, I almost didn’t want to get this post going. But here we are, already reminiscing about what happened just days ago and looking forward to next year.

BEFORE THE CON

Last year, I did a crazy thing and went to the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert in Toronto the night before SDCC, flew into San Diego the morning of and went straight into the madness. No such craziness this year. I flew in early Wednesday and gave myself time to just take it easy before the Con. Of course, me being well…me, I wanted to get more things into an already packed 5 days in SD. It is supposed to be a vacation after all! After my cousin and I went to Town & Country to pick up our badges (which was a surprisingly smooth process), we headed over to The Old Globe in Balboa Park to check out a performance of Othello, which starred Blair Underwood, Kristen Connelly, and Richard Thomas. The leads were great and I had wanted to visit Balboa Park anyways, but I admit I went to see Othello to support Noah Bean (in what would be a recurring theme of me seeing the former Nikita castmembers throughout the Con). The show itself was just fantastic and it was definitely nice to do something outside of Comic Con!

Othello at The Old Globe in Balboa Park! Had to go support Noah Bean and check out the rest of the wonderful cast!

Othello at The Old Globe in Balboa Park! Had to go support Noah Bean and check out the rest of the wonderful cast!

THURSDAY

So Thursday rolls around and my cousin and I had a game plan for the morning, which of course didn’t go EXACTLY as planned (timing was a small issue) but we made it work. It was an early morning as I went with my cousin to help her get the Guillermo Del Toro signing, but when they didn’t start doing the drawings at 9 as scheduled, I had to split (she still managed to get the signing). First was a quick trip down to the exhibit hall to check with BBC America if they were doing an Orphan Black signing (nope) and find out the Fox autograph schedule [FWIW, I really think Fox dropped the ball on how they handled the Con as a whole. What up with not revealing the full autograph schedule ahead of time?! And no appearance by the new Fantastic Four cast at the panel? Come on now.]

Behind the Music: Crime, Death and Resurrection panel with celebrity moderator Shane West! Panelists (L-R): Jeff Russo, James Levine, Daniel Licht, Steve Jablonsky, Brian Reitzell, Christopher Young

Behind the Music: Crime, Death and Resurrection panel with celebrity moderator Shane West! Panelists (L-R): Jeff Russo, James Levine, Daniel Licht, Steve Jablonsky, Brian Reitzell, Christopher Young

Shortly thereafter, I made my way to my first panel of the Con – Behind the Music: Crime, Death, and Resurrection. Being a music nerd myself, I was already interested in the panel when I first saw the schedule and then they announced the special celebrity moderator: Shane West! Just like that, the panel became a priority. The panel itself was very interesting, with all these composers talking about their inspirations, how they work, and their working relationships with different directors/producers. After the panel, I got up the nerve to go talk to/meet/get a picture with Shane, who honestly could not have been any nicer while I tried my damned hardest not to fangirl. Con trip was made on the very first day, and seriously it was gonna be tough to top that interaction. I mean 4 years of trying and failing miserably to find and meet the Nikita cast in/around Toronto and I FINALLY get to meet Shane – I was on cloud nine and you sinceriously could not wipe the grin off my face. With no other panel that REALLY interested us until later on (didn’t think we’d get into Community, the Paramount Pictures panel didn’t seem entirely promising until we found out Nolan and McConaughey made a surprise appearance), we actually ended up doing a lot of our purchases. It was then onto the Witches of East End panel, a show I thoroughly enjoy and whose cast I absolutely adore (hi Jenna Dewan-Tatum, one of my favourite dancers-turned-actresses!) They actually treated us to a lengthy preview of an upcoming episode, so there were actual spoilers being teased. I think what I loved most about the panel was seeing the cast interaction, because it definitely seemed like they’ve become family. It was all very cute. It was then off to grab some food and head back to the hotel, and despite having every intention to go out to the Female Geek Bloggers meet-up then the NerdHQ party, I just crashed. I really wanted to meet the FGB community but the jetlag caught up to me; I’m deeply sorry I didn’t get to meet everyone!

Meeting Shane West after the Behind the Music panel?! AHHHH!!!! Comic-Con trip made!

Meeting Shane West after the Behind the Music panel?! AHHHH!!!! Comic-Con trip made!

Witches of East End panel L-R: Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston, Madchen Amick, Daniel DiTomasso, Eric Winter

Witches of East End panel
L-R: Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston, Madchen Amick, Daniel DiTomasso, Eric Winter

FRIDAY

Friday was actually pretty eventful. I found out Adam Baldwin was doing another NerdHQ panel (he did one on Thursday with his The Last Ship castmates), this time with writer Nathan Edmondson in the morning, so I went to see that. They were actually promoting a graphic novel they’ve been working on that’ll be released soon which will be cool, but of course, Adam got fielded with Chuck and Firefly questions as well. I was going to get my Nerd Machine shirts after the panel but checking the time and not knowing if I had enough of it, I sprinted over back to the convention center so I could catch the panel for iZombie, a new CW show based on a DC comic that is airing midseason. Got into the room as the previous panel was wrapping up and there was no line-up! Due to some small recasting, the full pilot didn’t end up getting shown here or on preview night, but they did show a fairly lengthy video which was basically the pilot in a nutshell, and hey, more time for Q&A! iZombie is executive produced by Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) and stars Rose McIver (Tink from Once Upon a Time) as Liv, a med student now working at the city morgue so she can have access to brains that way she doesn’t have to kill…because she’s a zombie. The cast also includes Robert Buckley (Clay from One Tree Hill! Not gonna lie, I really wanted to see him), David Anders (Sark from Alias! He will always be Sark to me), Rahul Kohli, and Malcolm Goodwin. It sinceriously looks like a really fun show and I am actually really looking forward to it.

Adam Baldwin & Nathan Edmondson panel at NerdHQ

Adam Baldwin & Nathan Edmondson panel at NerdHQ

iZombie panel L-R: EP Rob Thomas, EP Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders

iZombie panel
L-R: EP Rob Thomas, EP Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders

My cousin braced the Hall H line this morning so she could check out the Game of Thrones panel, and because we weren’t going to make it to the Marvel TV panel if we wanted to get into our MUST SEE panel of the day (her 2nd b/c she got GoT) I headed on down back to the exhibit hall to take pictures of Hayley Atwell during the Agent Carter signing at the Marvel booth. I probably could’ve tried for the signing itself, but I had no idea how Marvel did the ticketing for it (at least I now know for next year though!) I have to say that the Marvel booth and how well they handle the hoardes of people and the signing were amazing. They were beyond efficient and even with Hayley taking pictures with fans, they let random people standing around the booth go for an autograph because they had gone through the initial people who had gotten tickets and still had time. I was so close to being one of those people, but not close enough. I didn’t seem as enthusiastic as everyone else around me I suppose. It’s okay, I managed to get some great shots of Hayley!

Hayley Atwell at the autograph signing for Agent Carter

Hayley Atwell at the autograph signing for Agent Carter

So before Comic-Con started, the four panels I was most looking forward to were Orphan Black, Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, and Salem; in a cruel turn of events, the first three were all scheduled for Friday…AT THE EXACT SAME TIME (technically, they overlapped within 15 minutes of each other). I had a huge decision to make: I figured OB was in too small of a room (6A really?) and as much as I wanted to see the entire Arrow cast, I missed Sleepy Hollow last year, so SH it was (John Freakin’ Noble and Lyndie Greenwood being on the panel certainly helped make the decision a little easier). Again, not really being sure as to how full 6BCF would get once the SH panel came around, I made a conscious decision to get into the room a good two panels before SH. Sat through the panels for The 100 and Falling Skies, two shows I don’t watch and though looks kind of interesting there wasn’t much of a draw for me to get pulled in. So the Sleepy Hollow panel! SO MUCH FUN! Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie with their facial expressions were my everything. Orlando Jones, ever the jokester. Katia Winter, so gorgeous. Lyndie, just being awesome. And oh yeah, did I mention JOHN FREAKIN’ NOBLE was on the panel? Just bears repeating. Tom Mison also promised he’d do his Heisenberg/Bryan Cranston impression at next year’s panel, so it’s out there, we have to hold him to it next year!

SLEEPY HOLLOW panel!!! L-R: Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, Mark Goffman, Heather Kadin, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood, John Noble

SLEEPY HOLLOW panel!!!
L-R: Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, Mark Goffman, Heather Kadin, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter, Lyndie Greenwood, John Noble

Putting to good use what I learned at last year’s Con from my Nikita fan friend, after the panel I ran out to the hallway and kinda milled around waiting for the cast to come out and go over to the break room/holding station? across the hall. For the record, my cousin and I just wanted to get a close-up picture of the cast and say “Hi”; we’re incredibly respectful fans, almost to a fault (explains why I failed miserably to meet the Nikita cast all these years). Security was tight immediately after the panel but once they had gone to the other room, it wasn’t so bad. I mean Tom Mison walked out to greet a friend shortly thereafter like it was no big deal. Lyndie walked out, getting ready to leave and I managed to get in a “Hi Lyndie!” and “Go Toronto!” for which she then turned around, waved at me, and asked “You’re from Toronto?” I probably should’ve asked for a picture, but I knew she was on her way out, and there I go again being so nice and respectful. But hey! Two days at SDCC, two interactions with former Nikita castmembers! I’m HAPPY! Oh man, that hallway though after the Orphan Black panel let out? CRAZINESS! My cousin and I managed small interactions with Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Dylan Bruce, and Maria Doyle Kennedy as they walked past: eye contact, waves, “Hi!”, complements, thank yous – literally seconds of interaction and you can tell how nice they are (seriously though, I made eye contact with Dylan Bruce and swooned lol). Trying to get a picture of Tatiana Maslany though? Impossible. There was like a mob around her. Even with us being in front of her, we were like running to get out of the way of the mob.

See? Tom Mison walked out of the holding room like it was nothing

See? Tom Mison walked out of the holding room like it was nothing

Tatiana Maslany however? I think the blurry picture says it all...

Tatiana Maslany however? I think the blurry picture says it all…

Jordan Gavaris and Kristian Bruun managed a selfie with a fan though!

Jordan Gavaris and Kristian Bruun managed a selfie with a fan though!

SATURDAY

Unfortunately, we didn’t have Saturday badges. The panels I was looking forward to (Salem, WB/DC TV, TV Guide Fan Favorites) and the signings I was hoping to try for or even just pass by and get a glimpse of (Agents of Shield, Avengers, Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, Salem, Arrow) weren’t gonna happen. But ya know what? We made the most of having no badge. Checking out some of the offsite stuff was pretty cool. All the Simpsons stuff was neat – sunscreen station? Free cotton candy? Games? Hells yeah! The Gotham zip line looked cool, and I was gonna suck it up and do it despite being scared of heights, but I saw how fast people were going and completely chickened out. It was then over to NerdHQ, just to check things out and get some merch before the Orphan Black panel. Oh yeah, did I mention I got completely lucky and scored tickets for the OB NerdHQ panel? SO EXCITED and SO MUCH FUN! Funny thing, while waiting and hanging out at NerdHQ, my cousin and I were sitting in the stands and noticed the area where the celebs were coming in and out, before/after their panels. Basically, we were trying to do our best spy work and being paparazzi ahaha. Also, we just wanted to stick around in hopes of getting in on the Smiles for Smiles. We correctly assumed that there wouldn’t be one for the OB cast (Tatiana definitely wouldn’t have had time to do it, we were holding out hope for everybody else), but was wishfully thinking that whoever was doing the Badass Women panel would do pictures. As soon as my cousin got the notification (which she didn’t even read, just saw that it said “Smiles”), she was like “Let’s go!” and we got in line not knowing who we were gonna get pictures with. Turns out it was Missy Peregrym (-Levi?), Retta, and Yvonne Strahovski! I’ve met Missy and Retta before, so not that I wasn’t excited to meet them again, but omigod Yvonne! I would’ve liked a tad bit more interaction with them (though maybe it was for the best, less time for me to get all awkward), but I understand the efficiency of keeping the line going. NerdHQ clearly knows how to handle photo ops.

Free cotton candy! Thanks FXX and The Simpsons!

Free cotton candy! Thanks FXX and The Simpsons!

Gotham zip-line. Yeah, I chickened out...

Gotham zip-line. Yeah, I chickened out…

ORPHAN BLACK panel at NerdHQ!! Love this cast so much!

ORPHAN BLACK panel at NerdHQ!! Love this cast so much!

Paparazzi shot of Jordan Gavaris heading backstage

Paparazzi shot of Jordan Gavaris heading backstage

SUNDAY

I spent another morning at NerdHQ, as I somehow managed to get a ticket for Stephen Amell’s panel. Things magically worked out, because despite that major Friday panel conflict, I still got to see a lot of my favourite celebs throughout the weekend. So yeah, sitting in a room for 45 minutes just listening to Stephen answer questions and be his charming self, was pretty much a great way to spend Sunday morning. Oh, and this is also where he made up “sinceriously,” which we’re all just gonna run with now because it’s funny. Before the panel, I made a prediction that if anyone was gonna do a Smiles for Smiles, it’d be Stephen, just because he’s super charitable, and it’s the type of thing that he’d do. And I was right! Bonus: it was only for people who were at the panel, so I didn’t even have to worry about missing the notification! Again the efficiency and swiftness of the whole thing led to minimal interaction, but I did manage a “Hi! Nice to see you again!” not that he’d remember me from FanExpo last year, but I just wanted to say it anyways. Ya know, like it’s no big deal.

Stephen Amell panel at NerdHQ

Stephen Amell panel at NerdHQ

So after all that NerdHQ goodness, I went back to the Convention Center to meet up with my cousin and our friends, and just kinda milled around the exhibit hall, making our final purchases. After going along with me to my Witches of East End panel on Thursday, it was only fair that I went along with my cousin to the Sons of Anarchy panel (even if Charlie Hunnam wasn’t there).

 

And just like that, another Comic-Con was in the books. I paced myself a little bit better than last year, but clearly I still have some work to do. I got to meet some of my favourite celebs, caught up with friends from last year, met some new friends, and most importantly, I had lots of fun. I still am really sorry that I didn’t make it to the FGB meet-up Thursday, but next year FOR SURE! (Or earlier, if there’s anyone around Toronto who wants to meet up or you L.A. folk because I know I’ve got an L.A trip in the works for early next year.) Thanks for putting up with my super long post. SDCC 2015, will be epic, I’m already sure of it!

Favourites of 2013

It’s that time of year, where everybody is getting ready for Christmas and the start of a new year. Meanwhile, entertainment outlets everywhere are doing their “best-of” lists to cap off the year. So to keep up with my own modified version of those traditions, I give you my favourites in music/movies/television of the past year.

MUSIC – ALBUMS

  • Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience [The Complete Experience] – My year in music was made all the better with JT releasing 2 new albums this year. Some people didn’t like them for various reasons (songs were too long, not dance-y enough, a little self-indulgent?), but this was hands down my absolute favourite album of the year. I may be biased as a JT fan, but as a music fan, I appreciate that he can take musical risks while still keeping his signature sound. It was perfection to my ears.
  • Megan Hilty, It Happens All the Time – Megan had been known as a Broadway actress before starring in the TV series Smash, and though the show ended up being not so great in its two-season run, it was very much agreed upon that Megan was the best part of it. So it came as no surprise that she managed to get an album recorded and released, filled with original songs and covers. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the album is, particularly with the music selection, as it wasn’t just showtunes. For the covers, I loved her version of Switchfoot’s “Dare You to Move” and then one of the originals “Walk Away” was actually a song that was co-written by Carrie Underwood and Ne-Yo! There is just an easy feeling when you hear the album and I just fell in love with it.
  • PJ Morton, New Orleans – I only came to know about PJ when he started playing with Maroon 5 during the Hands All Over days as an additional keyboardist/vocal to fill out their sound live. Since then, he’s continued working on his own music, while playing with the band in a bigger capacity (taking over for Jesse Carmichael on keyboard while he takes a break from music). PJ had signed to Young Money Records (Lil Wayne’s label) and this album is his first release with the label. For me, this was just a solid R&B album from beginning to end, that really had a throwback sound to it (almost a Stevie Wonder quality to it) but decidedly modern as well.
  • Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest – I feel as though Sara is just one of those artists who are just so damn dependable to make good music. This is her third album and you can hear the progression in her songwriting from her first album to this one. “Brave” is just a fantastic first single that follows in the footsteps of “Love Song” and “King of Anything” being sort of a pop anthem. The rest of the album is filled with wonderful piano pop that often stretches the musicality of it (I’m not sure I made sense there). Point is: she stretches herself as an artist/musician but in a way that fits into her style and personality, so it doesn’t ever feel like she’s trying too hard to do something different.
  • Matt Nathanson, Last of the Great Pretenders – What I said about Sara being so damn dependable as an artist, certainly applies to Matt as well. That the two of them released their albums on the same day this summer was a perfectly awesome coincidence. With this album, his eighth, Matt draws up a 40-minute ode to San Francisco, with all of its eclectic influences.
  • Beyonce, BEYONCE – She surprised the entire world when she secretly released this album on iTunes. I have always respected Beyonce as an artist and have really enjoyed her songs, but can’t say that I’ve been a huge fan. So I have to give her props for everything she did with regards to this album. As a whole, I think it’s her best one yet. I liked that she took different risks with the songs and that it’s a unique sound, but still completely Beyonce. There might not be a typical radio single, but who cares? When the music’s good, that’s all that matters.

MUSIC – SONGS

  • Lorde, Royals – I admittedly was late to the party in terms of hearing this song. I had heard about it but didn’t hear the song itself until sometime in the summer. I was hooked from the first listen. There’s a dynamic about the song that was just so different from anything else.
  • Megan Hilty, Bittersweet Symphony – Season 2 of Smash was a mess but for the most part, the music was still good. For some reason though, Megan’s cover of this Verve song stuck out. I already raved about Megan and her album up top, but I just fell in love with her version of this song. It’s just SO GOOD, I can’t even explain why I love it so much. I’ve always loved this song, but how they did re-did this song with Megan singing, it almost sounds like a different song
  • Ben Hazlewood, Knock On My Window – This is a case of I’m not entirely sure why it’s one of my favourites this year; I just couldn’t stop listening to it. Ben was a contestant on the first season of The Voice Australia and this track came off of his EP that he released. The song itself is pop with a very cool groove to it…and now that I think about it, it reminds me of Maroon 5’s “One More Night.” THAT’S probably why I’m addicted to it.
  • Jay-Z ft. Justin Timberlake, Holy Grail – Jay-Z & JT were just on a roll with their collaborations this year. With all the dynamics of the song, it probably shouldn’t have worked but it did. Justin sounds very melancholy starting off the song, then the hip-hop beat kicks in, with a little Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” sample put in, all serving as a backdrop to lyrics about the fickleness of fame. It is all kinds of awesome.
  • Glee, Make You Feel My Love + If I Die Young – I stuck it out until the end of season 4 of the show and I promised myself I wasn’t going to watch the show again (except the early episodes when it was good). Then tragedy struck with Cory Monteith’s untimely death. I was like everybody else, I wanted to see how the show would deal with such tragedy in their family, so I watched their tribute episode to him and his character. The episode itself was so emotional and it’s a wonder how any of them coped with such a loss. The two songs, sung in the episode by Lea Michele and Naya Rivera respectively, were particularly poignant and wrought with emotion that the tears were out of control just hearing them sing these songs.
  • Kelly Clarkson, My Favorite Things – I usually don’t listen to a lot of Christmas music, especially early on in the season; I usually limit it to a week or two leading up to Christmas. This year, all that changed and it’s completely Kelly Clarkson’s fault because she released a holiday album and one of my favourite songs on that album was this one. I’ve also never been a huge The Sound of Music fan, but good lord I love how Kelly jazzed up this song.

MOVIES

*This list is obviously based only on movies that I’ve been able to see this year. There’s many more movies that I haven’t gotten around to seeing or are too new (i.e. those darn Oscar-bait/contenders that just got released but are on several critics’ Best Of lists for the year).

  • Now You See Me – Fantastic word-of-mouth over the summer made my expectations high for when I did actually get around to watching it. It was a fun caper thriller featuring magic. The tone of the movie reminded me a lot of Ocean’s Eleven (with a slightly smaller cast of course) and though it wasn’t a perfect movie, it was highly enjoyable. Plus, bonus points for an original screenplay that’s not a remake/sequel/adaptation.
  • Thor: The Dark World – Getting Alan Taylor, best known these days for being a frequent director on Game of Thrones, to go behind the camera for this movie was a wise decision. Not to knock Kenneth Branagh for his work on the first film, but with this movie, you could really feel the scope of Asgard and the other realms. Add to the fact that there seemed to be a lot more going on in this movie than the first, everything just felt better and fuller, as if pressure had been lifted from having to make everything work. Bonus for me was getting to see Zachary Levi taking over for Josh Dallas as Fandral. Again, nothing against Josh, I just love Zac and seeing him on the big screen put a huge smile on my face.
  • Prisoners – First of all, look at the poster and check out the actors billed: almost all Academy Award nominees and/or winners. Not gonna lie, that alone made me go “Whoa” when I first heard about the movie. Then the trailer looked incredibly intense. Then when I finally got a chance to watch the movie, I saw for myself what all the talk was about after it premiered at TIFF this year. It’s a crime thriller that definitely borrowed influences from a bunch of different movies and the end result was just as what the trailer suggested – intense. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal put in incredible performances in this movie. I myself am so looking forward to attending the In Conversation With Jake Gyllenhaal and Denis Villeneuve (the director of this movie, as well as Enemy, another movie starring Gyllenhaal) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in early January, and hopefully they’ll talk about this movie
  • Gravity – Whether or not it is technically accurate doesn’t matter. Sandra Bullock gave the performance of her career here, essentially carrying the movie on her own, except for brief moments with George Clooney. The movie was exceptional in 3D, as director Alfonso Cuaron made you feel as if you were in space with Bullock. Everything was just visually stunning.
  • Philomena – I talked about this movie in my TIFF wrap-up post already, but I have to say it again, I’m really glad I was given the chance to see it. It’s not the typical movie I’d be interested in, yet after I watched it I was just so impressed by it. The fact that Steve Coogan, known mostly as a comedic actor, co-wrote the heartwarming script based on a true story, was a very welcome surprise and you also get to see a side of Dame Judi Dench you don’t normally see.
  • The Spectacular Now – I had listed this as one of the movies I was looking forward to watching in August, and boy did it ever live up to the praise. On the surface it is a love story, when Sutter (Miles Teller) the popular kid in school falls for Aimee (Shailene Woodley) the quiet girl – sounds cliche doesn’t it? On a deeper level, it’s Sutter’s coming-of-age story – how his unexpected relationship with Aimee changes him, his relationships with his family and friends, and his outlook on life. What made this movie stand out is that it’s not the Hollywood view of teenage life; this feels real with the awkwardness of dating and the anxiety of life after high school.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – One of my most anticipated movies of the year and it did not disappoint. To some, Catching Fire (both the movie and the book) can seem like a rehash of the first movie with another Games and it serving as the bridge to the third (and fourth, for the movies). It’s not completely wrong to think that way because it’s kind of true. However, you can’t deny all the character development that occurs as we’re being set up for Mockingjay. Director Francis Lawrence also proved to be a great choice to take over for Gary Ross, as he brings a different style to the film.
  • Fruitvale Station – This movie is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man wrongly shot in a subway station in the Bay Area on New Year’s Day 2009. The film itself follows the final 24 hours of his life and shows him as a young man wanting to do right by his family, but has to contend with his past. Surprisingly, knowing what was going to happen didn’t make the fateful scene any less shocking because we just spent time getting to know him. It’s certainly a testament to writer-director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan for making us sympathize with Grant’s struggles in such a way that it still does shock us when the incident occurs.

TELEVISION (NEW SHOWS)

  • Orphan Black – I was one of the idiots who didn’t watch this show when it first aired. Despite reading tweets by entertainment writers telling me to watch it, I just didn’t know what it was; I may have also mixed it up with some other show in this brain of mine. Anyways, after getting proverbially hit over the head multiple times to watch this, I binge-watched it over one weekend and was immediately hooked after the first episode (hence the binge-watch). I mean it’s sort of a sci-fi show (it deals with clones after all!), but it also has all this character drama, a hint of a thriller, which also deals with psychological/sociological ideas. Plus, Tatiana Maslany! The girl plays SEVEN different characters with such ease, you forget that it’s just her. Also, being Canadian, I was so surprised to see that this is a Canadian made/set show. I know they say it’s a little ambiguous about where the show is set, but it’s fairly obvious it’s Toronto. The funny thing about all this is that at SDCC, my cousin was all about this show trying to get the autograph signing; she didn’t get it, but I ended up trying to take pictures of Tatiana, Dylan Bruce, and Jordan Gavaris for her during the signing, not realizing I was taking pictures of people I was about to obsess over! Now I can’t wait for my next Comic-Con (be it Toronto or San Diego) so I can try harder and meet these wonderful people!
  • Sleepy Hollow – A sort-of re-imagining of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where Ichabod Crane wakes up in present day Sleepy Hollow to fight the Headless Horseman. Sounded awesome, with a dash of ridiculous, didn’t it? – which is kind of what it ended up being. It’s a show that ended up striking just the right balance of mythology, character, drama, action, supernatural, campy fun, and humour. Executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci definitely know something about that balance, having worked on Fringe, but Len Wiseman and Ken Olin also bring a lot to the table. And the cast – regulars Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones, Katia Winter; plus recurring stars Lyndie Greenwood, John Noble, John Cho – just make everything work.
  • Almost Human – I was so excited about this show when it got picked up at Upfronts back in May because it’s from J.H. Wyman, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk, the three people who were very much responsible for my beloved Fringe. Then I saw the pilot at SDCC, which re-affirmed my excitement. It’s a futuristic take on the typical procedural and that in itself just makes things more interesting because it’s a new realm of crime and technology. Add to that, the fact that this is like a buddy-cop drama, with Karl Urban’s damaged human, Kennex, being forced to team up with Michael Ealy’s emotional and wickedly awesome robot, Dorian.
  • Trophy Wife – The name has been an issue; a case you thought ABC might have learned from when they aired Cougar Town, a show that was also MUCH more than its name suggested. At times, you can have a hard time grasping how Bradley Whitford’s Pete ended up with either of his two ex-wives – the cold and stern Diane + the carefree Jackie – or his current younger wife, Kate. That suspension of disbelief aside, it’s a really funny and cute show. The dynamics between the adults, as well as the kids, are terrific. They’re all such characters that somehow work extremely well together. And yes, Albert Tsai’s Bert almost always steals the show whenever he shows up.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine – I mentioned in my fall check-in post how this cast works phenomenally well together. It was like a well-oiled machine, right from the get-go, and I count on them for my weekly laughs. I just need other people to also watch this show.

TELEVISION (RETURNING SHOWS)

  • Nikita – I’m going to keep this short. My favourite show/obsession just ended its run as one of the most underrated series in recent memory. I’m going to miss it SO MUCH.
  • Arrow – If there’s a show that just continually tries to outdo itself, this is it. Through the second half of the first season and going into the second, the writers just know no bounds. Particularly with this second season, where it seems like DC just let them go nuts with the universe and include whatever character they want. I think it’s a real testament to everyone involved with the show that they can make people like me, who don’t know the source material, still be excited about a character reveal. They’ve just done such a great job building their version of Starling City, plus Oliver’s world and relationships, that it’s very easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on.
  • The Mindy Project – Mindy is on a roll. This rom-com + workplace comedy is non-stop laughs, not just from the leads but also by the supporting characters. I don’t know what to say about it, except that more people need to be watching it! I mean where else are you going to see Chris Messina dancing to an Aaliyah song? (Seriously, watch it for yourself. It is hilariously awesome.)
  • Suits – I love this show. There’s some legal stuff that happens on the show but that’s not important. The important thing is the relationships that occur between the characters and how they seemingly riff-off each other. That, plus the pop culture references! In all seriousness though, this is a show that is the very definition of a dramedy – a drama series that infuses a lot of humour and heart. One of the best examples from this season is how they handled what seemed like a throwaway storyline involving Louis and a cat, and gave it the same depth and weight as any other legal case.

That’s it from me. Here’s hoping for the best in 2014!