Sunday, July 20, 2014

My 2014 Comic-Con TV Panels

In a week, it'll all be over. San Diego Comic-Con (known by many simply as "Comic-Con") begins on Wednesday night at 6pm and runs until Sunday at 5pm. Plans for the convention begin over a year in advance, and the dates for the subsequent event are generally known before the current one ends. Online pre-registration for badges takes hours. Determining your hotel order for the lottery is a lengthy process. But what really takes time and effort is planning how you'll make the most of those four days... from panels to see to booths to visit, from autograph possibilities to sorting through shopping exclusives, from to sifting through film schedules to discerning the best off-site activities, the work involved is great. [flashback to our previous SDCC schedules: 2011, 2012, 2013.] And that's considering you've been before and don't need to learn how to get around San Diego, where to eat, and how the logistics of attending work.

Because of the amount of work involved (note that I haven't even mentioned the hours spent in lines yet), outsiders don't think Comic-Con is worth the hassle and expense. It is a pricey event (for starters, the vast majority of hotel options come in over $180/night), but it's also one of a kind. Repeat attendees share a camaraderie like no other; once you've been initiated into SDCC, you understand. You share a kindred spirit with all who swarm upon the San Diego Convention Center, whether they be comic book collectors, zombie fanatics, wannabe filmmakers, creative cosplayers, or another variety of pop culture junkie. Folks at Comic-Con appreciate the passion everyone has for something, regardless of whether there's overlap in interest, and that's what makes the ambiance of the environment truly special.

All of that said, I've painstakingly narrowed down my selections and made my schedule for how I will spend Comic-Con this year. I still have twelve television panels on my list, but I'm not going to be camping out in Ballroom 20 or 6 BCF all day to maximize my TV program exposure. Why? Because I have other interests, too, and can't wait for my geek-out moments, which inevitably happen (like after the Disney Afternoon panel last year).

So, without further ado, here are the television panels I'm hoping to see, tweet, and report on this year:

Thursday, July 24th
10:30-11:30am: Legends of TV Land (Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront), featuring Betty White, among others, who will answer questions about making history on television. Plus, a look at the animated episode of Hot in Cleveland.

11:30am - 12:30pm: Dig: A USA Network Event Series (Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront), an inside look at this fast-paced international thriller, with actors participating via satellite from Israel.

8-9pm: Psychology of Cult TV Shows (Room 23ABC), will feature several scholars and scientists and examine the cult followings of shows like Doctor Who, Firefly, and Buffy. As someone who has studied Rocky Horror cult fanatics, I'm especially interested in the scholars.

Friday, July 25th
11:30am-12:30pm: iZombie Pilot Screening and Q&A (Room6BCF), for the new CW series that will premiere midseason.

1:30-2:30pm: The Chair: One Script, Two Visions, One Winner (Marriott Hall 2), for the new Starz series. Both directors and the creator will be there, and scenes from the movies and the series will be shown. I've already written a little about this show, and look forward to more.

4:30-5:30pm: Falling Skies: Season 4 Panel (Room 6BCF), for what may very well be the final panel for this post-apocalyptic television show. I've seen the three before this one (2011, 2012, 2013), and while they're not groundbreaking and tend to show you a clip from the very next episode, they're a goof time.

5:30-6:30pm: Roar Comics: Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, and More (Room 8), because I love that some of my favorite characters are in serialized narrative format. Some announcements are also promised, so perhaps more television shows are going that way?

7-8pm: The Unexplained Files (Room 7AB), from Science Channel, will be taking a deeper look at stuff you can't believe. It's as simple as that, but still truly fascinating, plus there will be scholars, eye witnesses, and prizes.

Saturday, July 26th:
10-11am: Why Not Serious? Comedy vs. Drama in Animation (Room 9), caught my eye because I hadn't thought about how little action and adventure is in cartoons. I grew up with Danger Mouse, and The Awesomes is around, but the big 80s/90s X-Men, Batman, and the like aren't really there anymore, so I am interested in the theories as to why not.

5-6pm: The Digital Revolution: The Convergence of Television and the Internet (Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront), will hopefully offer more information than I've already been learning lately about how ratings are changing and people are "cord-cutting."

8-11pm: Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment: The Flash, Constantine, Arrow, and the World Premiere of Gotham (Hall H) may be too tough to get into, as the Gotham pilot is very highly anticipated, plus a full viewing of The Flash will also entice people, but I'm game to try.

Sunday, July 27th:
10:15-11:15am Sesame Street & Pop Culture: 45 Years of Spoofs on the 'Street' (Room 6A) is near and dear to by heart. Two new parodies (on Comic-Con and Star Wars, no less!), plus looking at how popular culture has influenced the iconic show, with muppeteers on the panel.

Yeah, you probably noticed that there are quite a few gaps in this schedule... so what else am I planning on seeing, panel-wise? Well, Thursday features a Hanna-Barbera offering I don't want to miss, plus a Goonies discussion, and a look at retro 90s stuff. Friday and Saturday I'll hit a little of the Film Festival for a little bit of old-time Disney magic, plus take in a few how-to sessions about writing television shows. And Sunday I'm back at my old scholarly ways with an anthropological study panel, plus the making of the LEGO movie. Keep checking back as we report on the many distinct facets that make up Comic-Con!
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