Report from Comic-Con 2011, Part 2

By Heather S. Vina

Today, we continue my Comic Con 2011 report with the second half, which includes the Supernatural and Doctor Who panels, as well as a few others!

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD for Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Nikita, The Secret Circle, Doctor Who, Glee, Person of Interest, and Mythbusters.

Saturday

“2:00-3:00 Spotlight on Garth Ennis: Crossed, Stitched, and Beyond – Superstar writer and Comic-Con special guest Garth Ennis has created quite a home for himself at Avatar Press with the runaway success of Crossed, a brutal, uncompromising vision of a world overrun by pure, sadistic evil. As the Crossed comic series grows into a fearsome franchise featuring the hottest talents in the industry (David Lapham, Si Spurrier, Jacen Burrows), Ennis has expanded into film work, writing and directing Stitched, a chilling horror tale that premieres at Comic-Con and continues in an ongoing monthly comic book. Join Garth as he discusses his future plans with Avatar. Room 6DE.”

I went into this one because it was the panel right before Once Upon A Time, and I must admit, I was a little lost on what this comic-book writer has written. At the beginning, they showed several minutes of a low-budget version of his movie, Stitched – which, from what I was told by someone else – had been shown in its entirety, either Friday or Thursday night. The person who told me about it said that it was pretty much universally panned when it aired, even by his fans, and I can see why from the ten minutes that they showed us: It was horrible. I couldn’t even tell if the writing or plot was any good, because it was so horribly acted. Sometimes, a good story can overcome a horrible cast and sometimes, it cannot. In this case, it did not.

Basically, the plot is that some military people are trapped on another planet, where these humanoid creatures are killing people in really horrible ways. The beings have sewn-up eyes and sewn-up mouths and, basically, don’t die, no matter what you do to them. The military people (at least one man and two women, though I think there had been one or two killed before what they showed us) are desperately trying to get away.

I had the impression that they’re hoping to get financing to actually make a decent version of this movie, but I don’t think they are going to get very far, if they’re relying on what they showed us.

This guy has apparently written The Punisher, and a comic series called “The Boys“, and several others that I don’t know. The only one I’ve heard of is The Punisher, but I honestly don’t know much about that character. Garth seemed fairly…hardcore, I guess? And not interested much in writing for more lighthearted fare like DC or traditional Marvel. When asked if he would ever write for DC, he said that there was nothing there that he’d really want to write.

I couldn’t tell if he was not-too-happy to be there, or what, but he did give articulate and considering answers to the people who asked him questions, so maybe it’s just that he was a bit stiff and uncomfortable because he was up on stage, all by himself in front of a full room.

“3:15-4:15 Calling all Lost Fans: Once Upon a Time – Moderator Damon Lindelof (co-creator, Lost) introduces you to the magical story of two parallel worlds: one in a distant fairytale land, the other in a present-day reality. Following the exclusive screening of Once Upon a Time, join co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis (Lost, Tron: Legacy) and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy) along with Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), Jennifer Morrison (House), Robert Carlyle (SGU: Stargate Universe), Lana Parrilla (24), and Josh Dallas (Thor), for a Q&A about this modern fairytale turned on its head. All attendees will get a limited-edition Comic-Con giveaway! Room 6DE.”

This is a show I am interested in catching this fall and, since I have a friend who was begging me to get the scoop on it, I made an effort to attend! They showed the entire first episode and then had a ten-or-so-minute Q&A with cast and crew.

Basically, it’s about three generations of a fairy tale family, trying to overcome the curse of the Evil Witch.

It begins with Emma, a bail bondswoman hunting down one of her runners. She manages to catch him, but not before we are told how lonely she is that she has no family. It’s her birthday, of course, and she goes home and makes a wish on a cupcake for one. When she does, there’s a knock on the door and it turns out to be her ten-year-old biological son, Henry, whom she had given up for adoption, who wants her to come back home with him because he believes that she’s the one destined to save the residents of his home town, Storybrooke.

It turns out that Snow White and Prince Charming and all of the other residents of Fairytale Land (from the dwarves, to Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, Gepetto and Pinocchio, Rumpelstilskin, the Evil Queen) have been transported to the real world via a curse that the Evil Queen set on everyone in fairytale land. She wanted everyone to be miserable, so she had everyone transported to the real world, where no one would remember who they really are and everyone would be frozen in time, never happy.

Emma is Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter, who was foretold to be the one to destroy the Evil Queen and her curse, when she turns 28-years-old. And, yep, the birthday that Emma just had was her 28th. She’s been emotionally damaged by the abandonment of her parents (They had to send her away from Fairytale Land, to protect her, and the spell ended up leaving Emma abandoned on the side of the road as a newborn) and a life in foster homes. She gave up her son because she didn’t believe that she could care for him the way that he deserved. Alas, her son ended up being raised by the mayor of Storybrooke, AKA the Evil Queen herself.

It’s unclear whether the Queen, herself, remembers what happened, but it was strongly suggested that the other villain of the piece – Rumpelstilskin – does. Which would make him the only one from Fairytale Land who remembers who he is.

I enjoyed this pilot, but I have to be honest: I have a really hard time seeing how they are going to sustain this as an ongoing series. One of the audience members asked if the show’s creators had been influenced by the miniseries, The 10th Kingdom, and there are a lot similarities. I do think that this show might have been better off as a miniseries, because dragging out the ultimate goal of this story (everyone from Fairytale land remembering who they are, Emma reuniting with her parents, the Evil Queen and Rumpelstilskin being overcome, etc.) is going to get frustrating quickly, IMO.

The writers said that they have plans to do a lot of flashbacks in each episode. For example, finding out more about Grumpy the dwarf and telling a flashback story of something in his past. Which will enable the main plot to be dragged out, but will still get very frustrating, especially when you see who these characters were and you know that they won’t be remembering who they were any time soon.

The acting was all very good, from little Henry to Emma to the residents of Fairytale Land. I’ve never been a fan of Jennifer Morrison’s roles on House or How I Met Your Mother, but she does a good job making an abrasive character like Emma – who has a huge chip on her shoulder – sympathetic, which can be a delicate process. I liked Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White/Mary Margaret, I just wish that she’d put on a few pounds. Her extreme thinness was a bit distracting for me, as she didn’t look very healthy in the pilot.

Lana Parilla was very good as the Evil Queen/Mayor, but I really have huge issues with the idea of the Evil Queen being responsible for tearing apart two generations of children from their birth parents, and getting to raise Henry. I’m all for adoption, but it’s clear that the only reason that Emma gave up her son was because she didn’t feel that she was emotionally equipped to be a mother, based on her own neglected childhood. Which, of course, was because she was abandoned by her parents at birth. And her parents abandoned her to save her from being killed by the Evil Queen. Yet, the Evil Queen ends up with Emma’s son. That just really bothered me on an emotional level.

The writers are from Lost and have extensive experience in dragging out storylines and mysteries, but considering I stopped Lost about midway through season two, because of my frustration with too many flashbacks and not enough solving of the real mysteries, this isn’t necessarily a good thing for me.

I’m going to give this show a shot, but it’s on probation.

“5:15-6:00 The Secret Circle Screening and Q&A – The coven is coming to Comic-Con! The Secret Circle series stars Britt Robertson (Scream 4), Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Phoebe Tonkin (H20: Just Add Water), and Natasha Henstridge (Species) join executive producers/writers Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries), Andrew Miller (Nothing) and Richard Hatem (Supernatural) for a screening of the pilot and Q&A session. The ordinary becomes extraordinary when the new girl in town, Cassie Blake, learns that she is part of a circle of young witches living in Chance Harbor, Washington. As Cassie discovers her abilities and adjusts to her new surroundings, she uncovers some of the town’s dark secrets…which may be tied to the death of her parents. Mystery, romance and danger await. From Bonanza Productions Inc., Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, The Secret Circle premieres this fall on Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW. Room 6BCF.”

This is based on a book series, and by Kevin Williamson, who also did/does The Vampire Diaries. They screneed the entire pilot and then had a short Q&A with the cast and writers.

This was in a big room and I think a lot of people were actually there for the panel that was to come after it (and Nikita), Mythbusters. I was curious about this one because I like supernatural stories, but I wasn’t sure about the teen romance/angst of it and, yea, that might be the thing that ends up doing this show in. At least for the audience in the screening that I was in.

The episode opens up with teenager Cassie Blake being run off the road one night and ending up with a flat tire. When she calls her mom, we get the impression that Mom is overprotective. Cassie convinces her not to try and walk out to where she is. She tells her that she will change the flat and be home soon. Meanwhile, the guy who ran Cassie off the road shows up at the house, where he uses a spell to set a magical fire off in the house, killing Mom.

A month or so later, Cassie moves in with her grandmother in her mother’s hometown. Her mom was pretty quiet about her past and we find out why: She was a witch, who had been involved in a secret circle of fellow witches when she was a teenager, and something bad happened, which looks like it resulted in a few deaths, one of which might have been Cassie’s dad. The kids of those former witches are very interested in getting Cassie to realize her own power and join their secret circle, so that they can cement their power base. Adam, the son of the town drunk, who was once in love with Cassie’s mom, shows romantic interest in Cassie, but he’s also dating Diana, the nice-girl leader of the coven whose dad ends up being the one that killed Cassie’s mom. There’s the resident neighbour boy, who looks to be the “bad boy” of the group, Nick, and the resident bad girl, Fay, whose mom is the principal of the high school, and who is in league with Diana’s evil dad to try and use the kids and their circle for their own nefarious and mysterious plans.

This pilot was fairly formulaic and the acting varied from good (the parents and Grandma: Gale Harold, Natasha T. Henstridge and Ashely Crow, whom I loved in a short-lived series called “Probe“), to decent (Britt Robertson) to pretty bad (basically, all the rest of the teens). There were a lot of nuggets of potential goodness in the story (the secret of the first batch of teens and what happened with them, what happened with Cassie’s dad, what the parents are up to, what Grandma knows), but the badness of the formulaic teen-romance crap nearly overpowers it. The romance between Cassie and Adam, which is apparently “love at first sight” – despite the fact that she just arrived in town, her mother just died in a horrible fire, he’s dating an apparently decent girl, and he’s trying to trick her into joining the coven – is trite and forced. The looks and so-called longing between them were ridiculous, but the worst part was this scene in the forest, where he’s trying to show her that she has magical powers by holding her hand with a leaf in it and making raindrops float in the air. It’s really way worse than it sounds: People actually laughed in the audience at the sappiness of it and it wasn’t just a few people. Those who thought that the whole “sparkling” thing with the vampires in Twilight was bad, just wait ’til you get a load of this scene.

I actually think that they do their story a huge disservice by introducing this so-called romance into it so early in the show. I know it happens in the book fairly quickly, but on a television series, having the so-called romantic lead look like a jerk for cheating on his girlfriend, who happens to be the only nice female character on the show (apart from Cassie and her female relations), is not a good way to start. Cassie can be excused, as she doesn’t know this boy has a girlfriend until she is already interested in him, but Adam has no excuse. And though I thought Thomas Dekker was decent as John Connor in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, he’s really not very good here.

The panel guests were all very engaged and proud of their show, especially Kevin Williamson, Britt Robertson and Natasha T. Henstridge, so I actually hope that they didn’t hear the reaction from the audience to their pilot (the laughs and groans at all the wrong parts, and the mostly polite applause). But I think that they are going to need to work a lot harder, if they want to win over a serious audience made up of more than the book fans, and the preteens looking for a little power and romance by living vicariously though these shallowly written teens.

“6:00-6:45 Nikita Screening and Q&A – Nikita returns to Comic-Con with series stars Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible 3), Shane West (ER), Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass), and executive producer Craig Silverstein (Bones) for its latest mission: to unveil an exclusive video presentation and reveal classified information from the highly anticipated second season that finds Nikita and Michael on the run with a black box containing the government’s darkest secrets. Leading the hunt for them is Alex…and she knows all of Nikita’s tricks. What will the Comic-Con Q&A reveal? From Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Nikita airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW. Nikita: The Complete First Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30. Room 6BCF.”

Having been a fan of the USA version of this show, I’ve been an off-and-on viewer of it since the beginning. I actually think I am going to try and catch up with it before it comes back in September. Part of the reason is because the panel was so engaged and excited to be there.

Right after they sat down, Maggie Q said she wanted to thank the “Mikita” fans (Michael/Nikita shippers), who had apparently given her and Shane West a fanmade book celebrating their pairing, shortly before they took to the stage. I was really touched by how touched she was by the fans’ love for her and Shane’s characters, and she was sincerely grateful to them for their support. As I said with The Walking Dead cast: If you show genuine appreciation for your fans and viewers, then even if I don’t care for your show, you will earn some respect and liking from me. And Maggie definitely did that with her heartfelt appreciation.

Speaking of being touched: Lyndsy Fonseca was really touched by one of her fans’ statement that she should have been Katniss in the new “Hunger Games” movie. I don’t know the behind-the-scenes casting of that, but I get the impression from this that it was a role that Lyndsy had really wanted and she was really thankful towards the fans who had supported her in trying to get that role. It was sweet because it was genuine gratitude.

There were a lot of questions for Maggie Q in here, and it amused me how excitable and kind of hyper that she is. She was grateful for her past work in Hong Kong and on that movie circuit, and proud of her martial arts training, though not in an arrogant way. I enjoyed listening to her, but it felt like such a shock, going from the fairly low-key seriousness of Nikita, to the hyperenthusiasm of Maggie.

There weren’t a whole lot of spoilers. The biggest ones were romantic ones: The Nikita/Michael pairing feels like it will continue to be strong, despite the obstacles being on the run will shove in their way. When asked about a triangle between Nikita/Michael/Owen, Craig Silverstein said that, even though Michael and Owen will never like each other, Nikita has made her choice and it’s Michael, which elicited support from the Nikita crowd. Lyndsy joked when her “romance” was brought up with the new character coming on this season because, she said right now, her character, Alex, can’t stand him.

They all had a hard time thinking of their favourite scenes, but Maggie said that a lot of her favourite scenes involve Michael/Nikita, and she especially liked the scene where Michael comes to her lair and he finally joins her side, and they kiss. There was talk about the female core relationship on the show, between Nikita and Alex, and that that will still be a focus for next season, even though they appear to be on opposite sides right now.

All in all, it was a light-hearted and fun panel. The lowest-key member of the panel was Shane West, who wasn’t as bubbly and lighthearted as Maggie and Lyndsy, but was still engaged.

“6:45-7:30 Person of Interest Pilot Screening and Q&A – A peerless creative team is behind this new white-knuckle action series – including creator/executive producer Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and showrunner/executive producer Greg Plageman (Cold Case) – about an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes in New York City. Join these producers plus stars Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line), Michael Emerson (Lost), and Taraji P. Henson (Academy Award nominee, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) for an inside look at one of the most anticipated new shows of the fall season, including an exclusive screening of the pilot episode and Q&A. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Person of Interest will air Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS. Room 6BCF.”

I think, out of all of the pilots I saw, this is the one that I was least interested in before I saw it and yet, this is the one that I could see myself enjoying the most.

It’s fairly formulaic in some ways: two guys fighting against the law to try and save people, only with a twist that they know someone is in danger before it even happens. But it is done well and acted well, and the basic premise of the show actually entails there being some mystery to each episode that will make each storyline potentially twisty.

The pilot opens with Reese, a former CIA agent, on the subway, looking and acting like a homeless drunk. And he appears to be one. A group of thugs attack him for kicks, but end up on the receiving end when he effortlessly overcomes them and beats the crap out of them. They all end up at the police station, where Detective Carter takes an interest in how this homeless man fought so well. But before she can really grill him, he’s bailed out by mystery men in suits. They take Reese to meet Mr. Finch, who offers him a job: He knows that things are about to happen to people, but he doesn’t know what/how/why. All he knows is that someone has to intervene, and he wants that someone to be him and Reese. Both he and Reese are suffering from guilt over their pasts (Reese’s girlfriend died after 9/11 and he feels guilt because he wasn’t there to save her), and Finch figures that, together, they can work to save people and overcome some of that guilt.

The main storyline of the show is intriguing and the individual storyline of the episode, itself (who Finch and Reese have to save and why), is good as well. It’s all well-written and, for the most part, well-acted. The only thing that got a bit tiring for me was that both Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson are kind of deadpan actors and, in the quieter scenes, it was a bit too much of deadpanness. But in the action scenes, Jim was really good and believable, and it made those scenes very exciting.

Taraji P. Henson plays the female cop, who is suspicious of Reese and appears to be putting two and two together regarding this “mystery man” that shows up, and I quite liked her. She’s on the level and one of the “good guys” in the show. But I think it’s going to get a bit frustrating, watching her be two steps behind this mystery man and chasing him all over the place. I’d prefer it if they had her character end up being an ally, instead of a thorn in their side, but as of the end of the pilot, there appeared to be no steps towards making that happen. And given what Taraji hinted at in the panel, it’s not happening as of the first few episodes.

There appeared to be a lot of Lost/Michael Emerson fans at the event, because he got a huge reaction. He also received a lot of questions and it felt like a lot of those people were just dying to ask him questions about Lost (It kept being brought up in almost every question to him), but luckily, I think the screeners put a kibosh on those, as the questions always ended up being brought back around to being about this show.

There was a lame set of jokes about whether or not Jim was called “Jesus” on the set, because of his work as Jesus Christ on The Passion of the Christ, which went on way too long and was dumb.

Overall, I think this show might work much better than the other pilots I saw. It has a decent hook, it’s a crime-solving show with a twist, and both leads are good enough actors to carry the show.

And for those wondering: They do tell you HOW Michael Emerson’s Finch knows that something is going to happen, so there’s no dragging on of that mystery, yay!

“7:45-8:45 MythBusters – A Comic-Con fan favorite, MythBusters is back with their traditional Saturday evening panel. Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Belleci, Grant Imahara, and Kari Byron talk about their recent exploits and upcoming fall Mythbuster-y goodness! Room 6BCF.”

I’ve only seen this show a few times, but my sister and mother are HUGE fans, so this was a MUST! And it didn’t disappoint, even for a non-fan like me. Everyone seems to be the same as they appear on the show, and it was a hoot watching them all be so excited about their crazy experiments and the science that they all seem to love. They all have the ability to get you caught up in what they are doing, because they are all so genuinely enthusiastic and loving what they are doing. They all have different things in the works, but everyone is dedicated to Mythbusters and doing what they do so well.

Sunday

Sunday was the big day for me. It was the least number of panels that I had planned in a day (Even though Thursday ended up being only a two-panel day, I had had more planned that I didn’t make it to), but it was the biggest, with two of my favourite shows being in attendance in the same room, right after each other: Supernatural and Doctor Who.

Because these were two panels that I refused to miss, I planned to get there early. Both were in Hall H, which is the largest room in the place, at a little over 6000, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I walked over to catch the first shuttle of the morning at 6am, only to discover that, on Sunday, they didn’t start running until 8am. D’Oh!

Luckily, there was an inexpensive cab, that I already knew about, that charged a flat fee of $18.00 to get to the convention center. I split the fare with three other people, who had shown up to catch the first shuttle, too. We made it there in plenty of time and, even though we had to wait for three hours in line before they even moved us into the room, it was worth it making sure that I made it in!

“10:00-11:00 Glee – Creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy, creator/executive producer Brad Falchuk, and stars of Glee present a sneak peek at Glee The 3D Concert Movie featuring never-before-seen footage, behind-the-scenes secrets, and Q&A session. Hall H.”

I don’t watch Glee and haven’t since I checked it out a few times in the first season. None of the actors that I liked were there (the ones who were: Darren Criss, Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum, Jr., Dot-Marie Jones), but the actors who were were all nice and happy to be there. They gave out stickers (They all appeared to be the teen characters of the show) and 3D glasses, and showed about ten minutes or so of the new 3D movie. The scenes they aired focused on a girl who loves Brittany, and then a scene of Heather Morris at a Glee Concert singing, and a tiny little boy who loves Blaine Anderson, and then a scene of Darren Criss singing “Teenage Dream” at a Glee Concert. My favourite part was the little boy who was imitating Darren Criss. Adorable, just adorable! And he actually was at Comic-Con, because, later on that day, I saw him in the lobby.

It was interesting listening to Brad Fulchuk (Despite the CC listing, Ryan Murphy wasn’t there) categorically deny that Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith were leaving the show, and that Ryan Murphy had said that. I remember reading the article on that earlier online and the quotes from Ryan Murphy sounded pretty straightforward that they were all off the show at the end of this season. I get the feeling that this ran further than the writers had planned and they were trying to do some major backpedaling. But I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed that, instead of coming out and saying, “We made a mistake,” Brad kept trying to dump on the reporter as having gotten it wrong.

He also kind of seemed to be throwing “under the bus” another of his actors, Chord Overstreet. From the sounds of it, that wasn’t handled very well on their part, either, but he was quite eager to announce that it was the young actor’s choice to pursue other acting jobs, rather than continue his non-contract status at their whim. Again, I don’t know all of the details, but I wasn’t very impressed with the sounds of how things are handled behind-the-scenes at Glee, after listening to this panel.

“11:15-12:15 Supernatural Screening and Q&A – For the first time ever, the Supernatural panel will be in Hall H! Series stars Jared Padalecki (Friday the 13th [2009]) and Jensen Ackles (My Bloody Valentine 3D) and additional cast members and executive producers present an exclusive sneak peek at footage from the highly anticipated seventh season of this thrill-ride series. The panel will answer questions from the audience, show a portion of the special features from the upcoming Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season DVD and Blu-ray release (in stores September 13), and give Comic-Con fans a sneak peek at Supernatural: The Anime Series, coming to DVD and Blu-ray on July 26. Supernatural airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW and is produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television. Hall H.”

Oh, Jensen and Misha, how much do I love you both and your funny, adorable ways? So much!

As he did last year, Jensen came out and introduced us to the clip that the show had brought, which is from the episode that he directed. Let’s just say that he got a LOT of applause!

He first sincerely thanked the fans for the support and said how amazing it was for them to be in the biggest room at Comic-Con, and it was thanks to the support of the fans. He did the same thing last year, but I think this year, it was a little more overwhelming for him. I got the impression that being in a room of 6000+ people at a huge event like Comic-Con, who were there to support him and his show, got to him a little. He joked a little about the scene being focused on Sam and how there was no point to it, since there was no Dean, before he introduced the clip.

The clip he introduced was a scene of Jewel Staite and Jared Padalecki. Sam has tracked down an ex-girlfriend of his (Amy) and is holding a gun on her. He’s suspicious of what she’s up to and especially suspicious of the blood on her hand. She tries to get him to let her go by playing on their connection in the past. The scene flashes back to a scene of Young Sam (Colin Ford) and Young Amy sitting on a couch. Sam’s bemoaning having to move around a lot with his family and Amy is commiserating with him. He doesn’t want to be a freak, but she tells him that he is, but that’s okay; a lot of cool people are and so is she. He kisses her. Back to the present, Sam says that he can’t trust her; he doesn’t know what is going on and she has to show him. She finally agrees to, and goes to open a door, when the scene ends.

I’m really not interested in a Sam storyline with his version of Lisa and Ben, so I have to say that this scene did nothing for me.

The cast and writers came out and, once again, the lineup was a bit interesting. It was Sera Gamble first (who is apparently still in charge of the show, if we go by her being first), Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver, Mark Sheppard, and Ben Edlund. Last year, Jensen also came “first” after Eric and Sera, which, if we go by billing, should have been Jared. I don’t know if that means anything. Being first actor doesn’t seem to have done anything for Jensen last year, if we go by storyline and focus, but who knows? Maybe it will be something for him this time.

I do have to say that it seems like both Sera and Jensen were a little bit more reserved this year, compared to last year (I was at that panel, as well, my first year at Comic-Con). I do think Jensen was tired (He stated that this episode he directed, he was actually in it more, which meant he had more to do on top of the directing), and a little overwhelmed at being in such a large room. Not a whole lot, it was just the impression I got that he was feeling a little shy, at first, but he did seem to relax more later on. It never stopped him from being engaged or answering questions, though.

Misha, however, was utterly and completely on! I swear: That man’s wit and humour are so dry, they could beat out the Sahara, but yet, completely hilarious! The way he handled both Jared’s hyperactive humuor and jokes, and some of the questions that were thrown at of him, was perfect. I really wish that Misha had been seated next to Jensen, though, because I would have loved seeing them interact more with each other, especially after having seen some of their interactions on the press walks and in other conventions!

I’m not a big fan of Jared and sometimes, his antics can get a little too much attention-seeking for me, but he did have his funny moments. I did get a little annoyed with the way he kept picking at Misha, when he was trying to answer questions, and the way he would interrupt when others were answering questions. It felt a little too much, sometimes.

I loved the way that Misha approached the question of how it was to play Castiel as God and how he joked about how he was surprised that no one had written a God-like role for him before, because it was such a natural fit for him. How Sera had obviously noticed in him that he was so God-like, that she wrote it for him. It was hilarious, but also funny in a sarcastic way, since, at several recent cons, Misha has hinted that he wasn’t very happy for the writing for Cas at the end of last season.

I could just be projecting my own unhappiness over how Sera handled last season’s storylines, what happened with Dean (or didn’t happen with him) and what she did with Castiel, but I honestly had the feeling that both Jensen and Misha – Jensen, especially – weren’t that happy with her. When she was answering questions, Jensen avoided looking at her, for the most part. Sera, herself, was much more low-key this year than she was last year. Last year, she was more outgoing-seeming and more excited for the season. This year, she seemed much more reserved and careful with her words. I get the feeling that she’s aware that her season was not very well-received last year and she’s not thought of as highly, going into season 7, as she might have been going into season 6, given her past showrunning. I wish that I could believe that she had learned some lessons from last season and was going to right the mistakes that she made, but judging by the spoilers that have come out and the quotes that she has given, I doubt it. I think it made her more reserved in public, but not more self-aware in her biased writing and producing.

Some more spoilers: According to Jim Beaver, everything is “cool” between Bobby and Sam after Sam’s attempts to kill him. Crowley is coming back fairly early in this season (despite Mark Sheppard’s mock surprise at his return). According to Sera, we’ll find out what Cas’ “big plans” are for Crowley, “right off the jump”. Sheriff Mills is back for Bobby, and Sera admitted that Jo and Death are back, as well. She said there were more returns planned, but she didn’t want to talk about anything until the deals were closed. Castiel and Misha are back in the first two episodes, but Sera refused to say anything more beyond that, since she said it’s part of the cliffhanger. Chuck will not be back, according to Sera. Castiel is resentful of the way that his father handled things and decides to do a “better” job of it.

Jared talked about Sam suffering from his Hell memories and that there will be more focus on that. He didn’t want to get into it too much, but he is excited about playing Sam not knowing “which reality he’s in.” Sam’s out of his league and scared, and it gave Jared chills reading it.

Mark joked about getting a spinoff, called “Oh, Crowley“. Ben Edlund thinks they can do more meta, though “The French Mistake” was hard to top. He’d love to do spaceships and go into space, and do a ninja episode! That received a lot of positive response, LOL, especially from Jensen! Jensen seemed especially animated when Ben was answering his questions, interestingly enough.

Jensen shot down the idea that Dean could have any other life other than the life of a hunter, and how Dean has realized that and accepts it, now (post-Lisa and Ben), which contradicts Sera’s recent quotes about how Dean will be soul-searching. So, I’m not sure which person to believe on this one. I’m hoping Jensen, because none of Dean’s “soul-searching” has been written very well, lately, and mostly has manifested into Dean back to thinking poorly of himself and living only for his brother. So, I could do without more of Sera’s idea of Dean soul searching.

There were jokes about the fact that everyone on the show has died at least once. Jensen joked that he died 40 times in one episode, and it became so commonplace for him. When Sera said that Jensen and Jared don’t worry about it, anymore, Jared joked about how Jensen has cried in his arms many times, worried that they were killing him off. It was a cute moment.

When asked about the brothers fighting, Jensen joked about how he and Jared have no problem fighting. But also reiterated the fact that it was difficult for him to act opposite Jared as “Soulless Sam”, because it wasn’t Sam. Jared also talked about how it was difficult for him because he couldn’t react to Jensen as Dean the way that he wanted to. It was nice seeing them both in agreement with that.

There was a nice moment when a fan that is hearing-impaired commented on the fact that the actors bring a lot of facial expressions and hand gestures to their acting that are similar to American Sign Language, and asked if they would utilize ASL in the show. Ben kind of dodged the question (I don’t think he had quite heard it), but Jensen thanked the fan for it, and said how he and the other actors pride themselves on doing what they can to say things without using words, utilizing their facial expressions, and he appreciated him noticing it. It was sweet, because at the end, both Jensen and Jared thanked the questioner, using the ASL sign for “Thank you.”

Jensen fielded the standard “How are you like Dean” question, by commenting that he’s not as similar to Dean now, as he was in season 1. But they do like the same music and vintage cars.

There was an awkward moment, where a woman got up and asked Misha about being the “Antichrist” and how that informed him playing Castiel. I knew the the story of how a group of people on the Net (I really don’t know how many) started acting as if Misha was the Antichrist, and how they were going to attend one of the Supernatural conventions (I believe it was the one in Nashville?) and throw things at him, and basically attack and harass him (According to Clif, Jensen and Jared’s bodyguard, the show and Misha were informed about this, and they bumped up Misha’s security at the convention. From reports, Misha even commented on it at the convention by thanking the police for their service). So, I cringed when she first asked this question. She actually had to ask it several times, because no one quite understood it. Jensen heard it, I think; he just didn’t quite get what she was asking. He kind of had a “She’s not saying what I think she’s saying, so I must just be hearing it wrong” look on his face. I think Jared kind of heard it and was joking to Misha about it, but Misha hadn’t caught it, at first. The second time she asked it, I think he thought she was serious and looked really uncomfortable with it, but turned it into a joke about how he was a “Satanist”. He asked her to ask it again, because he still wasn’t sure what she had asked, and when she did, this time, she talked about how the church group on Twitter was calling him the Antichrist, and he visibly seemed to relax over it. I really think he thought it was one of those people, genuinely trying to call him out at the convention, but once he realized that she was making fun of it, he became more comfortable over it. He joked about how he wasn’t sure how it came out, since he was trying to keep it under wraps, but he just has to embrace it now. Jim joked about how he could always “smite” them and Misha laughed, but then said this was all ironic, as she would see in the season premiere. They left it at that.

Someone asked about the whole five-year plan. Jensen fielded it and said he was proud of Kripke for sticking to his five-year plan with the Apocalypse, and proud that he had a five-year plan and didn’t stretch it out. (And yeah, I couldn’t disagree with him more on that, no matter how much I like Jensen, LOL!) He said how the story of the brothers continues to evolve, and he has faith in the writers, and as long as they keep kicking out the stories, they will keep playing them. Sera said that they have a plan for if the series continues beyond this season and they have a plan in place if it is the last year.

At the end of the panel, they showed the typical DVD outtakes that are coming up on the season 6 box set, and a clip from the Supernatural Anime, that just came out on DVD. One was hilariously funny and one was hilariously bad. Oh, so bad. Sera spoke about how the anime drawings just “blew away” her and Kripke and, yeah…Wow, it was bad. They showed a clip from the “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2” episode, and they changed a few things: There’s no Ellen but Missouri, instead, who is a heavyset Jamaican woman, and Bobby is now an overweight clownish guy. When the Hell’s gate bursts open, no one tries to stop it but Dean, who rushes to grab the gun and then turns to confront YED. It was just…bad. I was so not impressed with this.

I was, however, much more impressed with the outtakes. They were quite amusing and, even better, no fart jokes! I can’t tell you how sick I am of the many scenes of Jared farting in the car and Jensen gagging over the smell. Once was enough for me, but the overkill of it on the outtakes has kind of ruined a few seasons of outtakes for me. So, it was really nice not to see any moments like that in what they showed us. And quite a few were actually funny this time!

All in all, it was one of my favourite panels. Everyone was involved and answered questions, and even though I’m still not sure about Sera, the rest all looked glad to be there. Misha made me laugh several times and I loved the couple of times that Jensen broke into “Dean” on stage. My only complaint was my disappointment over the fact that there were zero Dean spoilers, or mentions of what he was going to do next season. There were spoilers about Sam dealing with Hell and how it affects him; Cas dealing with being God and him wanting to do a better job than his father did; Bobby getting a romance or flirtation with the returning Sheriff Mills; Jo and Death returning; Crowley returning and us finding out what plans Cas has for him. But Dean: nothing. Not a single thing. And apparently, nothing for him in the post-interviews, either. It’s amazing to me that they can talk about what every character is doing BUT one of their two leads.

I continue to not understand the lack of respect that this character and his fans receive from the show.

“12:30-1:30 BBC America’s Doctor Who – Stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, along with writers and producers, make their first Comic-Con appearance for a panel and Q&A! They’re bringing exclusive new footage of the new season to be shown ahead of its late summer return on BBC America. Doctor Who follows the adventures of the Doctor, the mysterious traveler who journeys throughout all of time and space, picking up companions along the way and almost always sidestepping danger. From award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat and starring BAFTA nominee Matt Smith as the Doctor and Karen Gillan as his companion Amy Pond, the second season’s Part One delivered record ratings for BBC America and marked the first time Doctor Who filmed on American soil. Also starring Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston, the Part One finale ended with the unveiling of a massive secret and the words “Let’s Kill Hitler” on screen. Part One is now available on Blu-ray/DVD/iTunes, and Part Two premieres late summer on BBC America’s Supernatural Saturdays. Hall H.”

After Supernatural, this was my second-favourite panel of the convention (Torchwood was third, in case you’re curious!). I cannot tell you how exciting it was to get to see this childhood favourite of mine be celebrated and talked about on such a large stage! As it says in my bio, I’m a huge Anglophile, and I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was a kid, watching it every week on my local PBS station. It was something that I was used to being alone in loving (My mom enjoyed it with me, but no one at school watched it), so seeing it being celebrated by my fellow Americans on such a large basis was a real treat for me.

And celebrated it was! A lot of people I met in line were coming for that show (actually, both it and Supernatural). I think that the majority of the people that entered the room as soon as it opened were there for Supernatural and/or Doctor Who, because it hardly cleared out when Glee ended, but as soon as Doctor Who ended, the majority of the room left (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was next). It was quite lovely to see, as were the amazing costumes that people were wearing. I saw a bunch of Elevens and Tens, several Fours and Fives, as well. A surprising amount of Rivers and a couple of Amys. A couple of Weeping Angels and several women in TARDIS dresses. And a couple of life-size Daleks, as well!

Matt Smith was hilarious and so grateful to be there. Like John Barrowman, Jensen Ackles and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), he gratefully acknowledged the fans and thanked them for their support of him and the show, and it was lovely and sincere. Towards the end of the panel, he asked for a round of applause to be given to Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, who are leaving at the end of this season. He’s grateful to both of them for all of the support that they have given him and Karen Gillian, and wanted to show his appreciation. It was really sweet.

Everyone was very supportive of the show and grateful, and all were engaged. Other than Karen and Matt, writer Toby Whithouse, and producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis, were there. Matt mentioned that Arthur Darvill was in a play and couldn’t attend.

Matt told a story about how Steven Moffat likes to keep the big things secret from all of them. Alex Kingston had known that River was going to end up being Rory and Amy’s daughter shortly before it happened, but she was the only one, and she refused to tell them, no matter how much they begged her! He also said that, currently, Karen knows a secret that she refuses to tell him and it’s driving him crazy! It was a cute moment and Karen was excited that she knew something!

When asked what American show they’d like to cross over with, Matt mentioned The Big Bang Theory (which was kind of ironic, since neither Jim Parsons or Kaley Cuoco had any idea what Doctor Who was at their panel), and Karen mentioned Star Trek: The Next Generation. She spoke about loving that show, and how she had recently met Brent Spiner (Data) and completely freaked out over him!

The panel was asked who their favourite Doctors were (excluding Matt), and most everyone picked Tom Baker as one of their choices, except for Karen, who picked Christopher Eccleston. I think Matt picked someone else, too, but I really couldn’t hear who it was.

Piers talked about how he and Steven knew right away that Matt was the Doctor for them. Matt talked about walking out of another audition, when he heard that he had gotten the part, and he will never forget it. Both he and Karen talked about how ingrained in the national consciousness Doctor Who is back in England, so to be on it is a huge deal.

I remember when they announced who was replacing David Tennant and I watched the Confidential Episode, where they interviewed Matt and Steven was raving about him. He said the same thing that Piers did: that Matt was the right man for the job and they just knew, and after seeing him in “The Eleventh Hour”, I agreed with Steven 100%!

Beth talked about how they were having a hard time finding the right actress to play Amy, and Steven was getting discouraged, but Beth knew Karen was coming in, soon, and she told Steven that Karen would be perfect. As soon as Karen was done reading for them and walked out, Steven turned to her and agreed.

There was a young boy who had a life-size Dalek stand up and ask a question. He held up a sign that asked Matt and Karen to sign his Dalek, but the Comic-Con person manning the question line took it away from him. Matt caught that something happened, but he didn’t know what. When it was shouted out to him what the sign had said, he said that they would arrange to sign it and they did at the end of the panel. It was very sweet!

The preview they showed went so fast, but luckily, it’s up online now! I think the most shocking scene was the one with River with an eye patch, like Madame Kovarian. James Corden is back as Craig, from “The Lodger”. And supposedly, despite the name of the next episode, the Doctor doesn’t really save Hitler. LOL!

They also showed a scene from Toby’s upcoming episode, “The God Complex”. That one is up on YouTube, too, and will be episode 11 of this season.

Out of all the panels, I really sat through this one kind of in a daze. I have more solid memories of the other panels, but this one I have a harder time remembering, because it was one of those times where you’re just kind of living in the moment and loving it. Like I said, Doctor Who is a childhood favourite of mine and this was just kind of a childhood dream come true for me. That little girl who lives inside of me and remembers watching every afternoon the next half-hour part of the Doctor’s adventure, and who alternated between Four, Three and Five, and did her best to find magazines and books and fanfiction on it (in the age when there was no internet), just kind of sat there, thrilled. The adult in me knows that the early Doctor Who episodes were sometimes too drawn-out, had lousy special effects, and didn’t always end on the happiest note (It was a massive win when at least one of the non-regulars ended up living all the way through to the end!), but the little girl doesn’t care, because to her, they were awesome.

And sitting in that room with 6000+ people who felt the same way, watching the writers and producers who love the show, and the Doctor and his current companion, was awesome too.

Wrap-Up

That was it for the panels, but in downtown San Diego, in the Gaslamp district, there was a café that the SyFy channel took over and dressed up as Café Diem (from Eureka). They also dressed it up with panels of their shows. We went to eat there on Sunday after we left. The food actually ended up being lousy, LOL, but the inside was really cool, and I got a pen that said “Café Diem” on it.

And that was the end of my 2011 Comic-Con experience!

There was a lot that I didn’t get to, and a few panels that I was disappointed that I couldn’t see. Going back over the list, I thought there were a lot of fascinating-sounding panels, but there just were too many overlapping, and too many lines to wait in, to be able to see them all. But I really enjoyed almost every one that I did see, and I appreciate the actors and writers and producers who came out and really reached out to their fans and showed their equal appreciation for all of the fans’ support. I don’t know if I will make it to next year’s Comic-Con, but I am very grateful that I made it to this one!

You can also check out Part 1 of this report, as well as Heather’s review of the Locke & Key pilot.

About Heather S. Vina

Heather's been a fan of science fiction since she was five years old and developed a crush on Captain Kirk, while watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. A huge Anglophile, she loves reading and watching (and mocking!) TV, but hasn't figured out a way to make a living doing either, yet. But she lives in hope!

Heather S. VinaReport from Comic-Con 2011, Part 2