Friday, July 26, 2013

TCA Summer 2013: Thursday and Friday

Picking up where we left off, Thursday morning began with BBC America. The largest presentation for that network was, of course, Doctor Who, which is celebrating FIFTY YEARS on the air! The Doctor and his Companion were present, as well as the producer, so questions from the journalists varied widely, from "Why is Matt Smith leaving?" to "what's the casting process for the twelfth Doctor?" As someone who is largely ignorant of the Doctor Who phenomenon (I actually just learned what the Police Box was at Comic-Con!), I was unable to fully appreciate the session, but it did help that An Adventure in Space and Time immediately followed, as that is a show about the making of Doctor Who.

I was actually rather intrigued by the two other series that BBC America brought: Atlantis and Broadchurch. The former will run on Saturday nights this fall while the latter begins on August 7th. The former is period, of course, with an interesting take on mythological characters such as Medusa and Hercules. The latter is more of a mystery with a lot of trauma mixed in.

After that, the Discovery Networks had their presentations, which are always a mixed bag. There's something for everyone, but I don't know that there's someone who likes everything. TLC opened with their second season of Secret Princes, a series of which I was only barely aware existed. I was very intrigued at the Austin, TX location, which actually wasn't discussed much. Then, it was on to Velocity's Patrick Dempsey documentary miniseries about Racing LeMans. I covered Velocity's panel last Winter, but ultimately decided that it wasn't for me, so I did not have high hopes for the presentation. Next was a horrifying session with Investigation Discovery called Surviving Evil. I classify it as "horrifying" because it is literally reenacting scenes where someone was in a terrible situation but managed to survive. It was rough to see just the clips and hear some basic comments about the stories, so I can't imagine tuning in for a series like this! Similarly, The Unexplained Files (Science Channel) were not intriguing for me, either.

Next up was OWN, which disturbed journalists as well. Kym Whitley is the focus of the reality series, which actually is going to start its second season before too long. Whitley "inherited" a newborn when a mentee abandoned it at a hospital, so this series focuses on how Whitley and those close to her come together to raise the child. Not only do many take issue with the fact that children too young to understand should not be exploited, but the average maturity on this series is probably in the tweens. The Discovery Channel was last, promoting Man, Cheetah, Wild, the story of a guy who lived amongst cheetahs for a year. It has an audience, but I don't think it's very wide...

HBO took up the afternoon with a sizable executive session before moving on to projects about Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson (another fellow the TCA doesn't love). Comedy Hello Ladies was seen, plus films Seduced and Abandoned and Clear History. The latter brought Larry David, whom the critics tend to enjoy, though the product itself is a bit random.

The evening event was hosted by BBC America at the SoHo House. The ride over there wasn't too bad, though the directions to the actual event after you disembarked were a bit confusing. It was fun to take photos with a Dalek and Police Box, though! The food wasn't anything too special, though there were themed cupcakes. The most disappointing part of the night, however, was how difficult it was to interview the talent. I spoke with several people the next day and all but one shared my experience. I was able to get a good one-on-one, though, so look forward to some scoop about Atlantis.

Friday began with a breakfast with Sean Combs (Puff Daddy / P. Diddy), who was there to promote his new TV Channel, Revolt. I actually had done some research on the network and had two prepared questions but the timing of the session did not allow for questions and I didn't want to try the scrum. I intend to reach out to the network, though, as I think it's a promising project.

Next up were the Viacom networks. Although TVLand pulled out, NICK and MTV still presented. I was caught a little off-guard that NICK now has a Nick Mom programming block, and that Tia Mowry (-Hardrict) is starring in Instant Mom. I don't like the concept behind the series (Examiner link), but I think I'll give the screener a try anyway, as the kids seemed pretty cute and well-written. MTV had Generation Cryo, which features a family of half-siblings in search of their sperm donor, and Nurses, about traveling nurses. Neither really spoke to me.

Starz did not bring Black Sails, like many had anticipated, but they did have The White Queen, which seemed to have varying degrees of approval in the room. I hadn't seen the pilot, but the idea that the series alternates between three different women's points of view seemed interesting. I took some notes and may develop an article. AMC brought Breaking Bad for a final appearance, with a mini-announcement that a two-hour documentary on the making of the show will come with the final boxed set. Hell on Wheels showed up to promote its third season, which many thought wouldn't happen, given the issues that the drama has had with showrunners and the like. They rounded out their panel with Low Winter Sun, a new series set in corrupt Detroit. (more on that.)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in the house to promote the new network that he's part of, Pivot. The channel launches in just a few days and features original series, syndicated programming, a topical series, a variety show, a talk show, and more. Many of the questions were directed toward Meghan McCain, who handled herself and the issues beautifully. Finally, Lifetime brought Witches of East End, which is based on a novel and features quite a few different twists to a supernatural program. Anticipate me ruminating on this one more in the future.

The evening event was at Universal Studios, which was 80 minutes away by bus during Friday night rush hour. It was a bit rough, but the ride back only being 30 minutes certainly helped. While there, The Hub wined and dined us (though the food certainly did not taste like the Wolfgang Puck cuisine that had been advertised) and tried something different - they had three fifteen-minute panels taking place simultaneously. I attended the one for SabrinaL Secrets of a Teenage Witch and was actually able to get in two questions, so you can look forward to some chatting about that, too. (or not, as the series is a bit ludicrous.) We did get front-of-line action on the new Transformers ride, but it did not impress me all that much. I did, however, get my photo taken with a transformer!
Next up: NBC, which condensed down to a single day of the tour...
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I was able to get a good one-on-one, though, so look forward to some scoop about Atlantis."

That's great! Atlantis is the show I really look forward to.
Can't wait to read what you have. :)