Reporting from SDCC 08: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles on Thursday   

After a less than full night of sleep, Thursday dawned bright and way too early for me. Dan, from DuckyDoesTV, and Kath, from Give Me My Remote, had been stuck in Comic Con Travel Hell the night before so our original plans for the day had to be adjusted. Missing their luggage and not sure when it’d finally arrive, Kath was off to find herself some clean clothes while Dan and I headed over to the Convention Center.

A view of the KINGS panel at Comic Con, Thursday July 24th. We were already late for the Kings (NBC, February 2009) panel but Dan’s registration didn’t take long so we were able to catch the last half. Unfortunately that meant we missed the 20 minute preview that was shown but everyone seemed to agree that it looked great. In fact, folks said it felt larger than life, epic if you will. I haven’t been too interested in this show but listening to the creators and cast talk about it may have changed my mind. It didn’t hurt that Greg Grunberg was moderating and he was a natural at it. He kept things moving while also injecting humor. At one point, one of the women on the cast was talking about how she auditioned (it was done via satellite, so she’d do the scene and she’d have to wait a minute or two until the showrunners could see what she’d done and give her comments) and Greg goes, “I usually just get a call from my best friend.” HA! He also kept asking if there was some way they could work in a guy who has super mental capabilities. Heh.

When asked about the religious background to the story, the creators said that they see it more of a hero’s journey than a religious story. That the religion is just the setting, not the focal point. The show, which is shot in NY, will be out sometime in February 2009. They didn’t have an exact date or which night it’d be on but they assured us it’d be a good one.

Knight Rider
Paul Campbell and Gary Scott Thompson were flying solo when the KNIGHT RIDER panel got started. After Kings was over, Dan and I parted ways so that he could go sit in line for Dr. Who and I could wait for the Knight Rider panel. I sat through a Tiny Toons and Freakazoid session while I waited and it was actually kind of fun. The fans were a little obsessive but I know how that can be…

And then Knight Rider started! Well, sorta. See, there was a huge accident on the 5 and then there was a train accident. Both would continue to wreck havoc on panels for the rest of the day. When the KR panel started, only 2 of the 9 panelists were actually there. And Gary Scott Thompson, the showrunner, was on the phone with Deanna Russo and Justin Bruening trying to get their ETA. The other folks were all in different cars and about 10 to 15 minutes behind each other. Via the phone, Justin helped introduce a brand new Knight Rider trailer.

The trailer was… well, the room certainly seemed to like it. There was even quite a bit of cheering when, at one point during the clip, KITT transforms from one car to another. I personally didn’t think the music quite went with the action. The music was a bit faster than what was actually happening on the screening so, even though it looked fantastic, the overall effect was ruined.

For awhile, Gary Scott Thompson and Paul Campbell, who plays a new character on the show, played musical chairs and pretended to be the other cast members while they answered questions. They, along with the moderator, did a good job of making the best of a bad situation and managed to amuse us. Eventually, the others filtered in and we did have the whole cast on stage for a good ten to fifteen minutes of Q&A.

Deanna Russo and Justin Bruening talk about being on KNIGHT RIDER. As horrible as it seems, I can’t remember too much of what we learned. They have a cool “monster set” into which they can actually drive KITT and then spin it around 360 and project lasers over it. We saw a bit of this in the trailer we saw and it did look pretty cool. For those worried about some changes that have been made between the new show and the 2-hour pilot from last winter, they assured us that everything gets explained. Overall, the cast was pretty amusing and they were definitely good sports. They had just sat through hours of horrific traffic and not one of them was in a crabby mood about it all. Kudos to them!

After the panel, I jumped over to the press room for the show. Alas, I ended up leaving before I got the chance to interview anyone. Half of the cast had to leave again right away because they were needed back on set so there were lots of us sharing just a handful of folks. Since I had to try and exchange something before my later panels, I took a few photos and slipped out.

The Middleman
The MIDDLEMAN panel from the back of the room. Even with the extra time to get downstairs and back up again, I was late to the The Middleman panel. Turns out it was suffering from the same traffic woes. Only Javier Grillo-Marxuach (creator/showrunner) and Matt Keeslar (The Middleman) were on hand. Everyone else who was supposed to be there were on their way but none of them ever made it (actually, I think one of the writers came in at the very last second but I may be mixing things up).

However, both Javier and Matt are entertaining guys so the session didn’t suffer for the lack of folks on the stage. If anything, I actually think it added a sense of intimacy since it felt more like the audience was participating in a conversation with the people on stage than watching a group of people who work together talk and joke with each other (rather than the audience). That doesn’t always work… some people can’t pull off talking to a crowd for an hour by themselves but these two definitely can. Plus, the ABC Family moderator was great. He was funny and he good at chiming in with little “corporate” quips like, “ABC Family would like to note that we do not condone illegal downloading.” (In response to Javier saying, “Well, however you can get it!”) Haha.

I did not, however, pick up many tidbits. This may be somewhat due to my coming in late but I think it’s also because I’ve done a lot of Middleman coverage lately so I’ve heard a lot of the answers already. Of course, what this meant is that the panel was actually great for people who maybe hadn’t even seen the show. It was definitely the funniest panel of my day.

True Blood
Anna Pacquin and Alan Ball talk TRUE BLOOD. Ehhh, so I’m just not into this show. I don’t really know why. I lie. It’s because I’ve never been able to get into the book series on which it’s based. I know Jody likes them but there’s something that rubs me the wrong way about them. And while I know the show definitely has a different tone than the books, it’s still a little too true to the source material for me.

That said, the preview trailer we got actually looked pretty good. Too bad I’ve seen the pilot and didn’t think the trailer accurately captures what you’re actually going to get if you watch. The trailer seems to promise something a little more stylish and action-y than the final product. Which isn’t to say I won’t like the show once I’ve seen a few more episodes but so far it’s not quite lived up to the marketing I’m seeing.

The whole cast was on-hand to talk about the show but Alan Ball (showrunner), Anna Pacquin (Sookie, female lead), and Charlaine Harris (author of the book series) did most of the talking. I’m going to be completely honest… I don’t remember most of what was said. It started out being fairly interesting and I enjoyed Charlaine’s answers the most. That being said, it got tedious quick and went on way too long. Several of us were more than ready for it to be over by the end of the hour.

Kristin Dos Santos moderated the DEXTER Panel with both Michael C. Hall and Julie Benz in attendance. The Dexter panel was the real reason I sat through True Blood. Most of you know I don’t actually watch the show but a lot of you do so I was still interested in hearing it. Of course, having only seen a few episodes, a lot of what was discussed went right over my head. Dan’s post about it will definitely be so much better than these few paragraphs and I’ll be sure to link ya there as soon as he’s got it up.

Kristin Dos Santos, from E!, moderated the panel and, being a huge Dexter fan, she did a great job. She had good talking points for them and was quick to open the floor to the fans… of which there were MANY. Michael C. Hall was very funny in his sardonic way. At one point Julie Benz was hiding behind her hands because the room was cheering at a comment about her being beautiful and he quipped, “Oh, you love it.” Heh. Then, when someone asked for his favorite killing (on the show), he said, “It’s hard to pick just one.” The room was very amused by that.

We got to see a brand-new trailer for season three and then were teased about something big happening in the first episode back. They weren’t giving up any big spoilers but did finally admit that Dexter sets something in motion that he can’t control and it ends up changing his life. That’s as much as we were going to get out of them. So, you’ll just have to tune in Sunday, September 28th at 9PM on SHO to see what happens!

Finally, we learned a bit more about the new Dexter game coming out from Marc Ecko Entertainment. The game will be exclusively for iPhone and the iPod Touch. And it’ll be an episodic game so each week you’ll get different things to play. They’re hoping this’ll help make it just as addictive as the show. I’m not so sure I understand exactly how complex this will make the game but I’d check it out.

And that brought Thursday’s Con activities to a close… well, sorta. A bunch of us bloggers were invited to attend a Dexter party at the Airport Lounge. Michael C. Hall even stopped by for a bit. We probably could have gotten pictures with him but he was pretty mobbed and we were too busy enjoying the free cocktails and appetizers. It was fun to talk with the Showtime folks about their shows, how Comic Con has changed over the years, and the effect of TV blogging these days.

TV Bloggers gather for dinner during the San Diego Comic Con, 2008. We all took off from the party a little early as we had made prior arrangements to have our (now) annual TV bloggers dinner at Buca di Beppo. And that was loads of fun with lots of TV talk, joking around, and impromptu renditions of Dr. Horrible and Buffy (OMWF) songs. By the time we got back to our hotel, we were all laughing ourselves silly. Good times. Alas, Kath and Dan’s luggage still had not arrived so our plans to do a group podcast were a bust. Maybe tomorrow night (for the luggage did finally arrive around 12:30 AM).

And that, my friends, is all she wrote. Because she is now referring to herself in the third person and that’s a clear sign she needs to drag her happy ass off to bed. I’m toting my laptop with me tomorrow so look for updates throughout the day!

One Response to “Reporting from SDCC 08: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles on Thursday”

  1. 1
    Ducky says:

    Ah, the Frank picture… so creepy that he was looking over our dinner the entire time. Who knew Sinatra was such a perv with a food fetish?