Holy smokes… These recaps are a lot longer than I thought they would be. Here’s the first half of Thursday:
So. Thursday at Comic Con. After a late night on Wednesday, it was up and at it bright and early. I showed up at about 5:00 or so to get into a line. Not a specific line. Just a line.
Like I said before, Comic Con is not something you do, it’s something that happens to you.
I met the first of many, many, many wonderful people in that line – Maria. Maria ended up being something like my line wife for the weekend. At SDCC, you wait in a lot of lines for a long time, especially early in the morning. A line buddy has been a must for me in past cons. We were both planning for the legendary “Hall H” line Friday morning and agreed that whoever showed up first would hold a spot in line for the other one.
There are many unwritten rules of Comic Con. Line protocol is chief among them. I could easily do a thousand words on the unwritten rules of lines at Comic Con, but then they wouldn’t be unwritten any longer.
Maria and I chatted, we talked to our line mates, and then eventually I went to get coffee/hot chocolate for all of us when Starbucks at the Hilton opened at 7:00 am.
I was torn between two panels – “Getting into Comics the Marvel Way” and the “35th Anniversary BSG” panel. The Battlestar Galactica panel in 2011 was awesome, so I decided to hit up the BSG panel again. Besides, I knew that’s where Justin and Michelle were headed anyway. Since the doors open at like 8:00 for people to get into specific lines for 10:00 panels, knowing if there’s anyone in line to talk to can be an important guiding factor.
BSG 35th Anniversary Panel
Richard Hatch always hosts the Battlestar Galactica panel. He also always looks like he just sprinted across the entire convention center and tumbled through the curtain just in the nick of time. But I kid, Richard. Mr. Hatch is one of the best people you can find at Comic Con each year. He’s almost always up in the autograph pavilion, and I’ve found that, as long as there’s not a big line, he’s usually willing to chat for a while about Battlestar and everything else he has going on.
Joining Richard on the panel were a bunch of people who worked on various recent incarnations of BSG and Caprica. The “surprise guest” was none other than Academy Award nominee Edward James Olmos. Kevin Grazier, science advisor/consultant for many sci-fi shows was also a treat.
Two big reveals stand out to me. When asked about things in the show that caused controversy, Kevin Grazier related that he got angry mail from viewers asking how, as a science advisor, he could let pass an ending that ultimately advocated a theistic universe. In response, he said that the theistic viewpoint was something the creative team agreed on at the outset as governing rule for the fictional universe of BSG and, thus, the viewpoint of the series was completely consistent with the rules they set out at the beginning.
Also, for BSG fans, it was said that the conclusion of the first “So Say We All” speech that Adama gives was a creation of Edward James Olmos. The reactions of the actors are genuine as they slowly join him in the chant since it was the first time they heard it and weren’t sure what to do.
They ended with a trailer for Richard Hatch’s new web series “Cowboys and Engines”, which I include here not as an advocate of the quality of the series, but as a favor to Mr. Hatch for being such a nice guy throughout the weekend.
The next panel I saw was “The Blacklist”, a new program set to air Monday nights on NBC in the fall. The Official Comic Con program calls it “highly anticipated”. I don’t know whether I believe that.
I mostly went out of curiosity, since the show’s star, James Spader was in attendance. I’ve always thought he was an interesting actor who has gradually come to play a caricature over time. Based on his comments at the panel, I can tell you that’s because he loves that caricature so much, he’s chosen to live it in public.
The premise of the show is intriguing. Twenty years after a government agent goes rogue, he inexplicably returns and surrenders himself. He’s got a lot of intelligence on terrorist operations and appears to want to cooperate with the authorities who, of course, don’t trust him.
There’s a weird Silence of the Lambs homage in the show. I was going to call it an “undertone”, but it’s right there on the surface. They lock him up and he refuses to speak to anyone except a young woman who is new to the agency. The first scene where they meet is visually lifted from the Silence of the Lambs.
The show had a few unexpected moments, but the pilot was still ultra-cliché. Lots of questions, not a lot of answers. How is Spader’s character related to the young agent? Can she trust her husband? What is his agenda? Will the show be on the air long enough to answer any of these questions?
Megan Boone did a great job in the pilot, and I hope this helps her career take off. I just don’t know that network TV can support another show like this. I’ll wait until the first season ends before watching the whole series, just in case it gets cancelled mid-season.
So, there’s more SDCC highlights to come. Plus polls and more. Stay tuned…