Friday, July 31, 2009

Next Year at Comic-Con

Once again we had a great time at Comic-Con this year. We saw great panels, had a blast on the floor, & got some really good interviews. This was our 3rd year at SDCC and each year we have set out for drastically different experiences.

In 2007, our first SDCC, we had nothing planned for certain, we didn't even know for sure we'd be able to get in (thank goodness for the on-site press registration which no longer exists). A friend of ours ended up getting us some last minute (and highly unexpected) interviews with Chris Ryall (Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing), David Arquette, & Paul Reubens which we did with nearly no prep time. We spent countless hours on the floor. We waited in lines for hours to get into panels of interest (and sometimes spent hours in line only to find out we were too far down and would not make it in). We even went to the hotel next door to the Convention Center to watch a screening of Superman. We did everything on a whim and had a great time. We spent Comic-Con costume free but wore our super-hero/geeky shirts each day.

At our second SDCC, in 2008, we decided to spend all our time on the floor except for 1 or 2 panels. We did not have the patience to wait. We were unable to schedule any interviews and we were more interested in capturing the scene with our new video camera (and figuring out just how it worked) than we were in trying to snag people to talk to. We decided to focus more on the fan experience. We pushed through the crowds to try and snag all the freebies we could and we occasionally stopped celebs for pictures. We tried out demos and even stopped at a booth for a chance to get our voices in a video game (in case you couldn't figure it out we were not chosen but I hold out hope that someday I will be a voice in video games and/or cartoon). We found nooks to rest our feet and watch as Futurama's Bender pushed his way past Harley Quinn & a bunch of pirates. We laughed at the bizarre groups of costumed fanboys and fangirls congregating together. We spent time on the main floor, the artists area, the free stuff area, and everywhere else we could find. We got to have a wacky time at a fan hosted party (though we ended up being practically the only ones there and it turned out to be at a gay club which makes for a better story). No real costumes but I did wear my Robin shirt. Once again it was a unique experience.

This year we actually started planning in advance. We scheduled interviews (and even though one of the big ones fell through we were more than pleased with the 2 we ended up getting). We interviewed Cameron Rains about the new Astro Boy video game and we talked to Rod Roddenberry & Trevor Roth about "Days Missing", Roddenberry (the company), and Star Trek/Gene Roddenberry. We planned our questions ahead of time and were pleased at what amazing interviews they turned out to be (by the way, tune into Geek World this Thursday on 925kyhy, August 6, to hear them - and by the way KYHY has gone mobile so check it out & listen on your blacberry or smart phone). We looked at the schedule ahead of time and worked out the panels we most wanted to go to. Aside from Dollhouse/Joss Whedon we decided to go for the less hyped panels. We skipped Iron Man 2 because we knew most of the media outlets and bloggers would be attending so we wouldn't get any info you couldn't read everywhere else. We went to the screening/Q&A for Human Target early which gave us an opportunity to catch the tail end of the panel for Green Lantern: Blackest Night as well as having the opportunity to attend the Ray Bradbury panel (check out the previous posts to read about all the silliness we encountered) before Human Target began. We spent time on the main floor though did not check out every nook and cranny as we had in the past. I wore my Robin shirt and a mask and Dave wore his Spiderman suit shirt. Not full costumes but good enough to get the feel.

So the question is what do we do to enhance the experience next year? Well it seems to me there is only one thing that we haven't done yet, we have not yet attended any industry parties. So next year the plan is to schedule some interviews early and try to get some big stars if we can (Geek World is going to be a household name before you know it so Joss Whedon we're talking ot you - hee hee), we're going to go through the main floor and the other other sections though maybe we won't toil so laboriously over everything, we're going to look ahead and find the must-attend panels (and figure out how early we'll have to get in line to ensure we can attend), and most of all we'll go to at least one big party. In the best case scenario we'll be at SDCC with other hosts from KYHY. The only other plans to enhance the experience would be to go in full costume. Dave may not join me but I intend to buy or make at least one full costume though I'm not sure who I'll be yet. Next year's Comic-Con should once again be a totally new experience and we can't wait! SDCC 2010 we're ready for you (even if we haven't recovered from SDCC 2009 yet)!

-AnnaMay

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Comic-Con 2009 Part 5: Human Target

Going to the Human Target pilot & panel turned out to be a great idea. The pilot was absolutely fantastic and action packed (not to mention having BSG's Tricia Helfer as a guest star).

As we geeks know the best comic creations don't always translate well to live action (often times the makers of the live action interpretations don't seem to have any respect for the source material. As fanboys/fangirls we are willing to accept small deviations as long as the main characters are not altered in ways that change the meaning of the comics we love. On our show we have gone on and on about Superman Returns destroying so much of what makes the character of Superman so great. On the other hand we have been endlessly pleased that the newest Batman movies (Batman Begins & The Dark Night) took such great care to bring an amalgum of some of the greatest Batman stories to the big screen.

The makers of Human Target definitely have respect for the source material. The 1972 comic book isn't so easy to transfer to the small screen nearly four decades later but in watching the pilot the changes seemed slight and inconsequential.

The basic story as laid out in the pilot revolves around a man with a mysterious past, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), who acts as a bodyguard/detective using his skills (in the case of the pilot they showed his ability to flawlessly mimic language/dialect and martial arts/fighting) to protect the client (pilot client: Tricia Helfer). He puts himself in the line of fire time and again to keep the client safe. His friend Winston (Chi McBride) seems to work as his agent. Winston seems to have a caring brotherly concern for Chance and worries about his wreckless disregard for his own safety. Winston is not Chance's only friend. Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) takes on the legally questionable aspects of the jobs. If a place needs breaking into or pressure needs to be put on somebody Guerrero is the guy. What they do strattles the lines of legality and morality which seems to be something that will cause struggles in future episodes (especially for Winston who seems to prefer keeping things on the up and up).

We were not particularly familiar with Mark Valley before, we had only seen him in the few episodes of Fringe we watched. This is Mark Valley's first time as the star of a show and at the Comic-Con panel he seemed very nervous about fan reaction (of course that makes sense because Comic-Con reaction can sometimes make or break a show). When I spoke to him briefly at the signing after the panel he seemed truly concerned about what people thought which is one of the greatest things an actor attending Comic-Con can present. I was impressed that everyone involved seemed equally concerned that we fans appreciated the pilot. I was asked what I thought and executive producers John Steinberg, Brad Kern, & Peter Johnson listened intently as I explained my initial worry about care for the source material and followed with my pleasure at how exciting and well done the show was. They genuinely seemed to want to know what the fans wanted and where we might have found fault (personally I could not find fault in the pilot, it had action, drama, humor, suspense, & great guest stars and I can only hope they can keep that kind of momentum up in future episodes of the show).

Jackie Earle Haley has been cementing himself into the world of geek lately. From Watchmen to Nightmare on Elm Street to Human Target he is becoming somewhat of a geek icon. I thanked him for his spot on portrayal of Rorschach and he gave me a big smile and thanked me. I continued by telling him I was glad he'd be a new part of my TV schedule and again he seemed to truly appreciate it. He was really pleased to know that he had done a good job and that the fans were happy with his work. Knowing that the actors care about what they are doing and what we as fans think means the world to us.

Chi McBride is hilarious. He entered the panel high fiving the front row and joked with questioners at during the Q&A. I wouldn't be surprised if in the past he had attended Comic-Con as a fan. It's obvious that Chi chooses roles in shows he enjoys and can have fun with rather than just accepting something because it's a job. He also seems to love the fans (and we love him right back) which is so refreshing. I let him know I was pleased that I wouldn't be losing him from my TV lineup (man, I already miss Pushing Daisies) which certainly made him happy (though he was happy to begin with, nothing could have wiped the smile from his face). As with everyone else he was truly concerned with what the fans thought and he seemed to enjoy the chance to hear from people who appreciate his work.

One of the best signs for the show was the reaction of Len Wein, one of the co-creators of the original 1972 Human Target comic. He really seemed to enjoy the interpretation of his creation shown in the pilot for the 2010 series. He sat on the panel smiling and said he enjoyed the episode. Knowing that one of the creators of the comic appreciated what they did in the new show should be a sign to all fans and all those who appreciate live action comic book adaptations that Human Target is worth giving a shot to.

I hope FOX sees what a potential hit they have with Human Target. Unlike NBCs The Philanthropist this show doesn't feel like it's preaching. The action is stellar and the geek factor gives it the kind of push that could easily boost whatever ratings it gets when DVR/TIVO data is analyzed. Everyone should check out the pilot (and I'm pretty sure you'll all be coming back for more the next week). Next step is getting interviews with the cast and crew! Let's see what we at Geek World can work out!

-AnnaMay

Comic-Con 2009 Part 4: Saturday

Saturday was a great day for Geek World. We started the day with an interview with Rod Roddenberry (son of Gene Roddenberry) and Trevor Roth (in my excitement for the interview I found myself unable to speak words properly and called him Treasure, yeah I suck sometimes). They were largely promoting Roddenberry's new comic project Days Missing which is a little too complicated for me to write about here but definitely check out the interview on our August 6th show. Lucky for us Rod was willing to answer some of our Star Trek questions too and between Rod & Trevor we learned some really interesting facts about Roddenberry (the company). One of the most interesting things is that they have two divisions, one handles the comics and sci-fi aspect, the other part deals with adventures like diving. The adventure part is fascinating because it really does hold true to Gene Roddenberry's ideas of exploring new worlds (there are so many parts of the ocean humans are still unable to travel, some day we will explore new worlds but now is the time to continue exploring our own).

We spent a lot of time exploring the floor before heading to some panels. First we went to a Ray Bradbury panel but we got there early and ended up at the tail end of the panel for Green Lantern: Blackest Night. I don't know how the rest of the panel went but it ended in some hard core nerdiness. There is nothing like a huge room filled mostly with adults all holding out their fists (as though displaying their green lantern rings) joining together in the Green Lantern Oath:
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!

It was pretty awesome, hilarious, and like nothing you can experience anywhere other than Comic-Con.

The Ray Bradbury panel started next. It was amazing to see the man in person but the panel had a very strange start. They started out showing us all the things we could buy such as old paintings done by Bradbury and tickets to his stage productions. While I understand that certain fans were probably extremely excited by those things the whole thing felt unseemly. As I said on Twitter it felt more like The Things You Can Buy From Ray Bradbury Panel. After a few minutes they finally got on with the actual panel which was amazing. Ray Bradbury truly is a legend. They started by showing a video of Mike Wallace interviewing Ray Bradbury on the day of the moon landing which was incredible. Mr. Bradbury also talked about his issues with the current education system and encouraged the inclusion of comics to help teach children to read (he discussed his own experience as a child using the funny pages). He also discussed how he remembered his birth and his circumcision, it was strange but he's Ray Bradbury so it was also awesome.

Our final panel of the day was for the new show Human Target starring Mark Valley, Chi McBride, & Jackie Earle Haley (as of now it's slated for January 2010). They showed the pilot and then the panel took questions. It was really great so the next blog post will be specifically about the show and the panel.

-AnnaMay

Comic-Con 2009 Part 3: More from Friday

On Friday we spent a good amount of time on the Comic-Con floor. We started the day interviewing Cameron Rains about the Astro Boy game but ended our day at a few very interesting panels. The first panel was Dollhouse which you can read about in the previous post. Next we stayed in the room for TV Guide's Sci-Fi Hot List which featured some of Geek World's favorite shows as well as some new shows coming out this year.

Included on the panel: Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Scott Peters (executive producer, V), Rebecca Romijn (Eastwick), Kevin Williamson (executive producer, The Vampire Diaries), Scott Wolf (V), John Cho (Flash Forward), Marc Guggenheim (producer, Flash Forward), Allison DuBois (the real person behind Medium)

We love The Big Bang Theory and it's fantastic that the show is doing well (hooray for the geeks). We were both amused that Jim Parsons sounds exactly the same on the show as he does in real life. While he (and Johnny Galecki) admitted not to actually understand Physics Jim sounds exactly like his character Sheldon (though to his credit he is not whiny like Sheldon is). We didn't learn anything new about the show but it was nice to know how many fans it has.

Chuck fans should be thanking Subway (the sandwich chain, not the mode of transportation) for the return of the show. While DVR ratings may have proved the show more popular than traditional ratings it seems nobody really bothered checking that (thank goodness Dollhouse may be setting a new ratings standard) so it took Subway's innovative marketing to keep Chuck alive. The last time we saw Chuck Bartowski he was demonstrating Chuck-Fu on the bad guys as Sarah & John watched in shock. Zachary Levi seemed to imply that next season will bring more of that (at least for a while) and Sarah may now be making sandwiches at Subway. They didn't give too many details but seeing the Chuck-Fu scene again was totally worth it. Can't wait till Season 3 starts! Thank you Subway!

We got to see a clip of the new show The Vampire Diaries. It seems pretty simple, it's like the OC but with vampires: girl meets vampire, vampires brother comes to town and causes problems, girl is in vampire love triangle while dealing with high school. It seems to be a better option than shows like 90210 but the whole teen soap opera is just not our style. Even so, we like Ian Somerhalder (you may remember him as Boone from Lost but we'll always remember him in his 6 episode run on Smallville as Adam Knight) so we'll check out the pilot when it airs.

V is a remake of a classic so we were a bit worried (Dave has very vivid memories of watching it as a kid). The clip they showed pleased us both. It looks like they took great care to update the classic sci-fi story. We love Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly/Serenity) & Laura Vandervort (Kara from Smallville). We had the opportunity to meet and interview Laura on the Smallville set a while back. We were always shocked at how they shot her in Smallville because she was absolutely stunning in person but they just couldn't seem to get the camera angles right to show them off. Pleasantly it seems V does not run into that problem. Yay Laura! Even Scott Wolf seems to do a good job. Definitely something everyone should give a chance!

Eastwick is an update of The Witches of Eastwick starring Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price, & Jamie Ray Newman as the three witchy sisters & Paul Gross as the mysterious man who enters their lives. Again this is not really our style. We saw a clip and I don't think we'll be watching it but it seems to be a fill for those now disappointed with Desperate Housewives. It's hard not to compare Paul Gross to Jack Nicholson (who played the character in the 1987 movie) and while the ladies seem to do a good job it just seems like Charmed without the fun.

Flash Forward was a show we hadn't heard about before the panel. It's surprising there hasn't been more about it considering it stars John Cho (Star Trek got so much attention you'd think they'd be mega-promoting anything with the stars of the movie). The premise is that everybody on Earth passes out and has a dream of 6 months of the future but John Cho's character does not see anything. It's all pretty mysterious but it looks interesting and definitely worth giving a try.

The other person attending the panel was Allison DuBois who is the real woman behind the series Medium (which by the way is now on CBS). She has a new show coming out where she works with other psychic investigators and law enforcement to help solve crimes (apparently it's different from a lot of the other shows like it because they actually found bodies so that's pretty cool for all of us who are interested the shows about real crimes).

It was a really good panel and it's just more proof that the geeks of the world are finally starting to take over the small screen! Geeks of the World, Unite!

-AnnaMay

Monday, July 27, 2009

Comic-Con 2009 Part 2: Dollhouse

So we made it to the Dollhouse panel (if you kept up on our Twitter you saw that we waited in line for about 2 hours but we were lucky enough to get in updated in 140 characters or less). We were thrilled to see Joss Whedon live (now we have to work on getting an interview - Joss, if you're reading this Geek World loves you, same goes for you Eliza). We had the opportunity to see "Epitaph One", the unaired episode of Dollhouse. While I'd like to tell you all about it I'd rather you go buy the DVDs so that we can ensure future seasons of Dollhouse!

Any of you who listen to our show know how strongly we felt about keeping Dollhouse alive. We encouraged everyone to participate in the various campaigns to keep it alive. We were thrilled when we learned that somebody finally made the decision to check the TIVO ratings on it which revealed that the show had a huge viewership even if they didn't choose to stay in on their Friday nights to watch (that's right Fox, even the Friday death slot can't truly kill a Whedon creation). Any studio head should know by now that Joss Whedon is beyond golden. Aside from being an incredible writer and story creator he makes characters and shows that bring the kind of fan base that doesn't just go away. They are the kind of fans that watch the show, buy the DVDs, buy the soundtracks, buy the toys. They are the kind of fans that join together to form groups (there are Browncoats all over the world - for those of you who don't know those are Firefly fans, that's right 6 years after the short lived show went off the air & 4 years after the movie Serenity the fans still go so strong they can have a Comic-Con booth). Even his web musical, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, had dozens of fans in costume. There are plenty of people that will never forgive the networks for cancelling Angel and Buffy! So it's pretty clear that Joss Whedon brings in the audience even when it's not obvious and with new media and DVRs it's of the utmost importance for networks to observe the trends and not rely entirely on Nielson and other ratings that don't take new media into account. From personal experience we rarely watch anything when it's actually on, we DVR all the primetime shows we watch because work gets in the way of watching TV when shows are actually on. We know plenty of people that download their TV shows and others that wait till the DVDs come out (which we do for all cable shows since we are poor and can't afford cable). If you download a show espeically if you have to pay (as for shows downloaded from itunes) it is about 99% certain you will watch it. Same goes for shows recorded on the DVR, a DVR has limited space so if you use that space you are very likely going to actually watch what you have recorded. So if I haven't made it clear we are so pleased that Dollhouse is coming back! And we are even more pleased that perhaps studios and networks will be looking at more factors before deciding to cancel a show!

So we went to the Dollhouse panel and following the screening of "Epitaph One" Joss Whedon & Eliza Dushku took to the stage to talk about the upcoming season and answer questions. The one thing I will mention about "Epitaph One" is that it has a very special guest star from the Whedon-verse, Felicia Day from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Joss told the audience that there would be more special guest stars and specifically mentioned Summer Glau (I called it!! It seemed only logical that if Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was cancelled she'd be showing up on Dollhouse, and I hope she's a long-term character, she could make a great doll and they could use it as an opportunity to show off her dancing) as well as Alexis Denisof. I'm still hoping that they can get David Boreanaz or James Marsters or Nathan Fillion or any of our other favorites from all over the Whedon-verse (yeah, I know some of them are busy with their own shows but that doesn't mean they can't show up for an episode or two).

One of the most fun parts of the panel was when Fran Kranz (Topher on Dollhouse) & Dichen Lachman (Sierra on Dollhouse) unexpectedly showed up and joined the panel. It's so nice to see when the cast of a show really seem to like each other. They all seem to be friends which I think rocks!

I can't wait until the next season starts and I recommend that all of you pick up the DVDs to get ready!!

--AnnaMay

Comic-Con 2009 Part 1

So we are back from San Diego and Comic-Con 2009 and it did not disappoint. I updated our twitter more this weekend then the entire time we've had it. I think I'll do that ever time we do an event like SDCC. So our SDCC blog will be out of order and just a bunch of our thoughts and memories but some of the topics will be Dollhouse, Human Target, Ray Bradbury, Astro Boy video game, Rod Roddenberry, and the floor of Comic-Con.

We didn't make it to too many panels (though any panel would have been more than the zero panels we attended last year), but the panels we were at were absolutely amazing. We got video & photos at the panels & on the floor so keep an eye on our website (and I will update here on the blog and on our twitter) to see when we get them up.

As usual it was packed and we did our best to push through the crowds to try and find out all the best info to talk about on the show and best of all we got some really cool interviews that we'll be playing on the show airing August 6th. Star Trek fans, get excited because you'll have the chance to hear what's up at Roddenberry straight from Rod Roddenberry (son of Gene Roddenberry & Majel Barrett). We also had a chance to talk to Cameron Rains who has been working hard on the Astro Boy video game so get ready to learn all about it.

Geek World love Comic-Con!

--AnnaMay