Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shawna's Thursday Comic Con Update #1

More and more I’m convinced that the time, energy and money required to make the most of Comic Con just isn’t worth it. After the pain of finding a hotel, which was really too far away to be at all convenient, even with trolley service, and the pain of not finding parking at the trolley stop, and driving downtown to another stop, and finally finding street parking, and then getting on the trolley, we arrived at the Convention Center a half an hour after we wanted to be.
The mob to get into the Con was maddening. Everyone is overcharged for everything – parking, food, hotels…and the entire town feels too small for this event. And every year the crowd endures, presumably because what awaits inside the Convention Center is worth more than all of the costs and hassles combined.
In fact, once the panels start all of the frustrations fade away, and you are left in a room with hundreds of others lapping at the waters of ingenuity and genius. You share space with those who are eager to learn about and support whatever new enterprises are being discussed, be they comics, films, television or games. The fanbase is ravenous and must be fed. The types of feedings vary – from small trinkets, like pins or postcards for a show, to slightly more interesting, like blow up balloon swords or Stan Lee paper masks, to the truly “priceless” – sneak peeks at what is to come. Hints, tidbits, clues and even some spoilers about what fans can expect in the future from the series/book/film/game. In many ways the intangibles, such as video clips and the Q&As can be far more rewarding than any canvas bag or mini-comic.
So starts my Thursday.

Kings Panel: The first twenty minutes of the 2 hour "Kings" pilot was shown at the top of the panel. Beautifully shot, with a $10 million budget, Kings will air on NBC in February, Kings and tells a modern day version of David and Goliath. Ian McShane, who got stuck in traffic and was unable to make the panel, plays King Silas, the man who ended the war with Gath and created the capital of Shiloh. David is played by Chris Egan (Eragon), a young soldier who fought in the war and dared to face the “Goliath” tanks of the Gath to save the life of the King’s son, taken hostage on the battlefield. The director, Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) said about the script penned by Michael Green that it was perfect. “Most scripts come to you and they’re average, but you can see the potential. The pilot for “Kings” was the same as what I received – no changes.”

Next up was an hour of listening to JMS answer questions from those who aspire to be writers, beginners with questions about agents, breaking in, and how-tos. More interesting were those questions about making writing a career, persistence and creativity. The man is a wealth of knowledge, given that writing has been his occupation since he was 17, and he was both cautionary and encouraging.
My first foray into the Ballroom 20, second only to Hall H in terms of its vastness, was for the Doctor Who / Torchwood panels. As expected, there were no hints as to what to expect in the future of the show, once Steven Moffat takes over from Russell T. Davies as executive producer in about a year. Moffat’s season won’t start airing until 2010, quite a long time to determine the future direction of the show. One thing is clear – Moffat relishes the chance to helm the show, citing repeatedly that this is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Listening to him talk about the show, it feels as if the fanboys have one of their own to rely upon, and in that they trust him implicitly to keep the show up to the quality which is now expected, and possibly even surpass it.

Of Torchwood season 3 we learn that it is unique, as is the next year or so of Doctor Who with its 4 “specials”, Torchwood will have one large story told on the canvas of 5 episodes, challenging what is left of the Torchwood Cardiff team under the command of Captain Jack Harkness to deal with more hardships. In fact, Russell T. Davies did not appear in San Diego so occupied is he in scripting the 5 episodes, which begin shooting in a month.

It was announced at the panel that BBC America will air Season 3 of Torchwood in Spring 2009, shortly after UK premiere, and that deal had only been finalized today.

Apparently all could be worse: Traffic is completely snarled on the 405 and the 5 headed down to San Diego from L.A. today. Accidents are causing guests to be late for (or not show up at all to) panels. I’m now glad that despite the melee to get into the Exhibit Hall last night, that I was here and ready to deal with today.

Next up: News about “Wizard’s First Rule”, HBO’s new series “True Blood”, and “Dexter!” Video clips of today’s panels reported here will be up later tonight and this post will be updated with the links.

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