After missing New York Comic Con last year, I made it a point to return with a vengeance! Or at the very least to make the most of my time at the Javits Center on Friday and Saturday.
In the years past, my strategy was to avoid the time-suck that was the mainstage and to find panels that were more unique to con experience, things that weren’t going to end up on YouTube within the hour. However, last year NYCC instituted a wristband room-clearing policy for all main stage panels, so instead I opted to go big or go home. If a panel featured a TV show I loved, I was going to try my darndest to be there.
And the good news is, for the most part, I succeeded. Here’s what I saw and heard over the weekend:
Guests: Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse, and Executive Producers I. Marlene King, Oliver Goldstick and Joseph Dougherty
I had an internal debate over attending the Pretty Little Liars panel, it’s not something I’d typically admit to watching while discussing my taste in TV shows at NYCC. After all, there are many more shows I obsess over that would help my geek cred, but in the end I figured I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time mulling over the show’s central mysteries so I decided to embrace my guilty pleasure and attend.
Because A’s identity had been revealed and because everyone is so tightlipped about future events, the panel was fun, but not so much informative. They did show us the first five minutes from the premier episode of 6B, which you can now see here, but that was about it. Most other conversations and questions revolved around how the actresses felt about their character’s in a post-high school world. Everyone seemed to be happy about changes brought on by the time jump. Ashley Benson in particular was rooting for her character to be doing anything career-wise in New York City so she was very pleased that the writers obliged.
A portion of this panel was also dedicated to the TV show Stitchers, but I don’t watch that show so anything said or revealed was lost on me. The cast was candid though, joking that they’d be quick so we could all get to Pretty Little Liars.
Swag: Marvel exclusive Stitchers and Pretty Little Liars posters, a Pretty Little Liars drawstring bag and pin, and a Stitchers NYCC t-shirt
Guests: Alexa Davalos, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, DJ Qualls, Joel de la Fuente, and Creator Frank Spotnitz
This was an interesting panel to plan for. As a general rule of thumb you’ve got to arrive early to get into any panel you want to see. How early depends on how popular it is, but since the first season of The Man in the High Castle hasn’t dropped yet I had no sense of the level of enthusiasm. I played it safe and everything panned out just fine although the room did fill up. Based on a show of hands only a small portion of people in attendance had read the book. The rest of us were already enamoured with the series based on the pilot episode.
Frank Spotnitz, the show’s creator talked about how he was interested in telling this story because the good guys didn’t win. He originally adapted the book for SyFy but they passed on it and the pilot script lived in purgatory for a few years. When Amazon showed interest he was initially a bit hesitant because of the fan democracy aspect of their pilot process. If people didn’t like what they saw, the project would essentially be done for good. As it turns out, The Man in the High Castle was one of Amazon’s most popular pilots. Spotnitz also said that Amazon has really given him the money and time to do it right.
Other fun tidbits: The show is filmed in several places around the world including Seattle, Vancouver, and Austria, DJ Qualls joked about how it was initially weird and then weirdly normal to work with ‘Hitler’, and many of the of the cast members were interested in the project because a lot of the story’s themes still resonate with what’s going on today.
Swag: The Man in the High Castle paperback book and a pin
Guests: Clark Gregg and Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb
This was my mainstage panel of the day. I got up at 4am on Friday morning to make my way into the city in order to get in line early enough to snag a wristband. Tiredness aside, it was so worth it. Over the last two years Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become one of my must-see TV shows so I was not about to pass up the opportunity to be in the same room as Clark Gregg, Director Coulson himself.
The panel first touched on Agent Carter. Jeph Loeb shared a clip from the upcoming season, played a fun ‘greetings’ video from Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy, and then revealed the new and returning cast for season two. Lyndsy Fonseca’s Angie was notably absent from the list. Some fans in the crowd yelled out at the omission to which Loeb jokingly replied that he has friends in Hell’s Kitchen.
Next up was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Clark Gregg joined Jeph Loeb on stage to field a few fan questions. The Q&A didn’t last very long, which was fine by me since it’s Marvel and they weren’t going to tell us anything anyways. And even though Gregg was only on stage for a portion of the panel, it was obvious that he’s having an absolute ball with all of this. His enthusiasm easily rivaled that of the crowd, and it was crazy crowd.
The panel concluded with an exclusive screening of this coming Tuesday’s episode complete with Marvel suits wandering around with night-vision binoculars to keep people from recording anything with their phones. Fun was had by all.
While Friday was all about looking forward to new seasons and new series, much of Saturday for me was about looking back fondly on shows that ended well over a decade ago.
Guests: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, and Alan Tudyk
Saturday’s main stage panel options were a lot of heavy hitters including The X-Files, Firefly, and Marvel’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Despite the allure of seeing Jessica Jones early I opted for the Firefly reunion panel. I missed the 10th Anniversary panel held a couple of years ago and the Whedonverse will forever be my most beloved fandom.
Not that a reason was needed to have a reunion, but this year actually marks the tenth anniversary of the release of the follow-up movie Serenity. Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, and Jewel Staite were scheduled to be there but we lucked out and Alan Tudyk stopped by for a short bit as well. Completely driven by fan questions, the panel was an absolute riot. It was pretty much an hour of laughter as the cast answered everything from their favorite desserts to how they learned to say their lines in Chinese.
For a more complete rundown of the Q&As and other anecdotes check out this live blog from zap2it.com. My favorite though had to be Jewel Staite’s answer to what she learned from working on the short lived series: “If the network tells you that no one is watching the show, sometimes they’re wrong.” That’s a mic drop moment if I’ve ever heard one.
Okay, this is not a TV panel but it was the panel right before the All That reunion hence the reason I found myself sitting in the room. Lucky for me, and everyone else biding their time, Drawfee was hilarious. The panel is pretty much what it sounds like; the guys draw things the audience suggests.
Needless to say everything went off the rails pretty damn quickly and we ended up with some pretty hideous original superheros and caricatures. Bonus, they randomly had a sheet cake to share with everyone.
Guests: Josh Server, Danny Tamberelli, Lori Beth Denberg, and Kel Mitchell Sitting around waiting for panels can be boring, but that was not the case with this one. Apparently if you put a bunch of 90s kids in a room together and blast some music, the atmosphere very quickly turns into a good time and the party-like vibe only continued when things really got underway.
Expertly moderated by Andre Meadows (aka “@BlackNerd”), we were treated to an array of stories from the set including how they all got cast, how certain characters came to be, and what getting slimed is like (you don’t want it in your butt crack).
Here’s what else we learned: Most of Kel’s characters were based off of people he knew in real life, including some crazy uncles. Lori Beth Denberg’s Connie Muldoon voice was inspired by MST3K’s Minnesota accents. Danny Tamberelli really loved the Cooking with Randy and Mandy sketch he got to be in, when they performed it live, they just went for broke. For Josh Server, Earboy is the most referenced sketch, he also jokes that season one is him basically just him doing his best Jim Carey impersonation in every sketch. All four also agreed that the only way to end a sketch was a dance party, having the police arrive, or by jumping out of a window.
The cast still seemed to have a really good repertoire with each other and everyone was really game to get back into fan favorite characters like Ed from Good Burger and Repair Man Man Man. Lori Beth Denberg even graced us with some vital information for our everyday lives.
All in all, it was the perfect way to cap off my weekend at New York Comic Con.
My weekend wasn’t just limited to panels, here’s what else I did at NYCC.