Everything’s fine, I swear! Taking a little blogging break right now. See you again in the beginning of September.
After the Dollhouse panel, I came down with a serious case of the jitters. Battlestar Galactica, I thought. From the eighth frakkin row!
Kevin Smith was the moderator and he said some obscenely funny things. Every other panel member during the con tried to abide by the request to keep things somewhat clean because “there could be children in the audience.” Kevin Smith has no ability to censor himself, however, so he was dropping F-bombs like crazy. It was great!
He introduced each member of the panel as they came on stage, and it was clear from the audience noise level that nearly everybody was a rabid fan. The panel consisted of Jamie Bamber (Lee Adama), Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), Katee Sackhoff (Kara Thrace), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), James Callis (Gaius Baltar), and executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. Tahmoh Penikett (Helo) also came on stage as a “surprise”a little later in the panel. Richard Hatch was apparently not invited to the panel even though he was upstairs signing autographs. No love for the former terrorist/VP of the colonies/holdover from the original BSG series!
They opened with a preview of the upcoming second half of Season 4, which looks bitchin’ to say the least.
Kevin congratulated the panel on getting past censors with the word “frak,” but he did ask “Will we ever hear the Caprican equivalent of cocksucker?” The producers basically said no. And they just finished filming the 4th season a few weeks ago, so I would believe them (sorry, Kevin). But they did mention something about the possibility on their new prequel Battlestar Galactica spin-off series, “Caprica,” for which they screened this preview:
Exciting! It will hopefully help BSG fans to not suffer too much from withdrawal after the series ends in the spring. (*sadface*)
Back to the panel… There were a lot of funny moments and interesting tidbits about the actors and the show. Katee Sackhoff didn’t know how to respond to Kevin’s question about how she felt to follow in Xena’s footsteps as a major lesbian icon. She did enjoy telling a story about how, during the shoot for the stand-off on Caprica between Starbuck/Helo and Sam Anders & company, the director told Helo to stop shooting like a girl. Tahmoh Penikett came on stage later and rebuffed, but I believe Katee’s side of the story.
Oh, also: James Callis = hot. I dislike his Baltar character most of the time because he’s a frakked up nutter, but as an actor, Mr. Callis gets my vote. I’m soooooo jealous of Liz and Josh, who ran into him on the street later in the day and took pictures with him! His son was also there, wearing a storm trooper mask I believe, but he understandably didn’t want a photo taken of his son.
The Scifi channel actually has a video of the BSG panel on scifi.com (with spotty audio when panel members didn’t speak directly into the mic) so you can see all the moments yourself if you have 50 minutes. Well, all the moments except the preview for the second half of BSG Season 4, which I’m sorry to report that I can’t find a video of anywhere online. How far away is January? Very much looking forward to it!
The next panel received a more excited response than was elicited for Dean Koontz (sorry, Dean). The fangirls and fanboys in the audience basically went wild when Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and Tahmoh Penikett walked onstage to talk about their new TV series, Dollhouse, and to show clips from the upcoming mid-season FOX hour long drama. Tahmoh (aka Helo from Battlestar Galactica) was so excited himself that he took a couple photos of the crowd before sitting down.
Here’s the show description according to FOX:
Echo (Eliza Dushku) is a young woman who is literally everybody’s fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo’s burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.
Sort of Quantum Leap meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’m looking forward to it, despite my desire to smack Eliza throughout the panel because of her “everybody look at me, I’m the most beautiful and talented woman ever to walk the face of this earth and I know that all you geeks want me, but you’ll never have me…” attitude. Gagariffic, to say the least. I mean, take a look at this gratuitous hair flip:
Okay, she has dimples that don’t stop, I’ll give you that. But she was waaaay too touchy-feely on stage with Joss and Tahmoh for a Comic Con panel. At one point, she was talking about how she’d like to have Nathan Fillion (from Dr. Horrible) on the show, and then commented “I’d love to have a Nathan-Tahmoh sandwich…” To which Tahmoh responded “Helloooooo, Eliza!” and moved his chair closer to her. Joss looked pathetically at the crowd and said, “I’ll just be here.” (Everyone loves Joss.)
Also of note: during the Q&A, someone asked Tahmoh if Eliza’s spine glowed. The crowd, many of whom were surely prepping for the next-up Battlestar Galactica panel, roared with scandalous laughter. Everyone laughed except Eliza, and Tahmoh said to the crowd, “She won’t get that. But the answer is, I DON’T KNOW.” Then he leaned over and started whispering into Eliza’s ear… and she made a shocked “Oh my!” face when Tahmoh presumably explained the circumstances (read: sex with a cylon) that would allow him to discover whether or not her spine glowed.
Overall, I’m glad I attended that panel. It most certainly helped to know that I was guaranteed a really good seat for the frakkin’ Battlestar Galactica panel!
(To be continued…)
Saturday morning continued in Ballroom 20 with Matt Groening and a bunch of producers on The Simpsons panel. They showed a rough cut of this fall’s Treehouse of Horror XIX, part of which is an homage to Peanuts with It’s a Great Pumpkin, Milhouse.
They answered a few audience questions, and a kid asked them where they got their ideas. A good question in the kid’s mind, I’m sure, but how exactly could they answer a generic question like that after 20 years on the air? After a couple “durrrrr…” moments, Matt Groening said with all seriousness, “Family Guy.” The audience definitely liked that answer.
After the Simpsons panel ended (10:45am), I started gathering my things to leave because there was a lot I wanted to do before the Battlestar Galactica panel at 2:15. The guy sitting to my right, who had actually fallen asleep during the Simpsons panel, told me I was crazy to give up my awesome seat. “You probably won’t even be able to get into the ballroom again,” he said.
I glanced at the stage, where people in Simpsons costumes were dancing only 7 rows away from me.
“Damn, he’s right,” I thought. And then I realized that dedicated con attendees not only get in line at 6am (like the woman sitting to my left), but basically camp out in seats all day to make sure that they have close-up view of the couple panels they might actually be interested in. Which would explain why the guy to my right fell asleep during the Simpsons panel… he was really just squatting for Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse panel and then the sneak preview of FOX’s new TV show, Fringe.
So I decided to stick it out in the dark, huge ballroom through next two panels. At least the chairs were comfortable! I chatted with the woman sitting to my left, Devony, a San Diego native who tried to go to the con every year, and happily held her seat for her when she left to grab a snack and a bathroom break. She returned the favor during the Q&A half of the Dean Koontz panel.
Well, it wasn’t technically a panel – Dean Koontz took the podium and spoke about comic elements in his life and about the graphic novelization of his Odd Thomas character in “In Odd We Trust.” His nervous delivery was charming, and though I’ve never actually read any of his novels (I know, I know… but I’m just not naturally drawn to suspense novels just because they’re on the bestseller list… does anyone have a recommendation of which book of his I should start with?), his anecdotes and commentary on his life as an author were more universally interesting than I expected. This was his first comic con appearance.
(I showed that photo later in the evening to Ben, Liz and Josh. Their initial reaction was “Whoa! Check out the hair!” and then Josh made us laugh. “Look at him – he looks angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.” Then Josh made a funny face and said “DEAN KOONTZ SMASH!” and waved angry Hulk fists about. Tee hee!)
As I said, I skipped out during the Q&A session for a bathroom break, to eat a protein bar, and to pay the concessions stand far too much for a freakin’ Coke. While in line for my caffeinated beverage, I struck up a conversation with a small group chilling on the floor near me after one of the women told me she liked my “Geeks <3 Me” purse. (I love that it’s totally not weird to talk to strangers at the con… everyone’s there for their own geeked out reason, and chances are that you have at least one thing in common with most people.)
I asked them what time they’d acquired their purple Big Frakkin Bags from the SciFi Channel’s booth, since I’d unsuccessfully tried several times to get one for myself. (The SciFi Channel booth employees were basically mobbed every time they emerged from their futuristic enclosed sculpture/booth thingy, and I think were a few trampling deaths among the mobbers.) One of the guys sitting on the floor said they just got lucky that morning with their timing, and we chatted about something-or-other for a minute. Then one of the women in the group pulled out an extra Big Frakkin Bag from her bag… and gave it to me!
Thank you again, Linda, for that awesome random act of kindness. It made my day as a fangirl and as a person, gave me hope for the future of society, etc.
Next up: two more (very satisfying) panels in Ballroom 20.
I waited in my first seriously longass, snaky line at Comic Con on Saturday for about an hour, starting before the exhibit hall even opened. The Futurama panel started at 10, immediately followed by The Simpsons panel. I chatted with the middle-aged guys in line behind me who were from San Diego and learned that in a couple years, the Comic Con might move to L.A. or Vegas because it’s really become too big for San Diego.
(Vegas would be great for me… that’s a very easy drive from Utah! Though if it’s the middle of July, the weather could be quite miserable even with less humidity. San Diego weather this past weekend was in the seventies but definitely uncomfortable at times because of the high humidity; I realized how spoiled I’ve become with Utah’s delightful average 20% humidity.)
When I finally filed into the huge ballroom, the front section was already filled (with people who had been waiting in line since 6am or so). I could see a few seats open, but wasn’t sure if maybe people were just milling around… so I asked one of the ushers (who, incidentally, was a young Scotsman whom I recognized because he’d stood near me on Friday’s trolley ride into town) if there was a single seat available closer to the front. Indeed there was: 8th row, just right of center. Holy crap! (Thanks, Mom, for embarrassing me at a young age but ultimately teaching me that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”)
Before I was fully settled in my new seat, the ballroom lights dimmed and four huge projector screens (two in front, two in the middle) showed the audience a preview of the upcoming 3rd Futurama straight-to-DVD movie, Bender’s Game. If you like D&D or anything to do with fantasy genres, this will be a Futurama movie for you!
The lights came back up and the Futurama panel assembled on stage: Matt Groening, David X. Cohen (Executive producer), Eric Kaplan (head writer), Katey Segal (voice of Leela), Billy West (voice of Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Zoidberg, etc.), John DiMaggio (voice of Bender), Maurice LaMarche (Kif, Morbo, Lrr, etc.), and another guy whose name I don’t remember.
They talked about the future of the show and in response to the question “Will it ever come back on TV,” Matt Groening informed the crowd that this was the first Comic Con attended by studio execs at FOX, and if we cheered loud enough they might listen… so of course everyone cheered very loudly.
Someone else asked if Leela and Fry were ever going to get together, and while there was no Official Statement, Katey Segal informed the crowd that there was definitely some kissing in the 4th DVD. Billy West started making kissy noises and then Katey turned to him and they shared a tiny kiss on stage… to which Billy remarked in Fry’s voice, “I finally got lip!”
The panel discussed how well-educated the writers and staff were, and a ton of people have master’s degrees and three even have PhDs in various math and science fields. No wonder I love that show! The panel was over too soon… but then again, I’m definitely a Futurama fan and might have been happy to spend the whole day just watching episodes in the huge room with a bunch of other fans. At the end of the panel, while everyone else left, Matt Groening took the mike for a brief interlude between the Futurama and Simpsons panels.
While you’re waiting for Part 2, check out the photos I uploaded from Comic Con on Flickr.