I have finally recovered from my annual pilgrimage to San Diego's ultimate geek-fest. Yes, I only went for one day - Sunday - but that doesn't mean I wasn't exhausted! To prove it, here was my trip:
Woke up Saturday morning at 8:30, worked all day, then left for San Diego from L.A. at 8 p.m., arriving around 10:30 p.m. Met up with friends, one of which headed over with me to the Convention Center, where we parted ways to get into our respective lines, me for Sunday badge pickup, her for Hall H. This was at 1 a.m.. That's right: We camped out ALL NIGHT LONG. I was first in my line! Never been first in such a line as this before ... it was quite cool. But I maybe nodded off a couple of times for maybe 20 minutes here and there.
Went into badge pickup around 8:15 a.m., then met up with friend in Hall H line, which was INSANE!! But we got in and happily watched panels for Supernatural, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who and Community. We then spent a couple of hours walking the Exhibit Hall before heading out at the end of the Con to meet with a friend for dinner, after which we drove back to L.A. (thanks 5 Hour Energy!). Got home around midnight Sunday night.
So yeah, about 2 hours sleep over two days. Granted, my friend was there all four days and barely slept all THAT time, but still ...
Anyhoo, the panels were very cool and I watch all four shows faithfully, so that made it even better. Here are some highlights:
What can I say ... any chance to see my boys in person is a treat! There was the usual joshing, joking and teasing among the guests, which included show runner Jeremy Carver, executive producer Robert Singer and actors (pictured here L-R) Felicia Day (who was a surprise panelist), Jensen Ackles, Mark Sheppard, Misha Collins and Jared Padalecki (who is going to be a father for a second time - congrats!). A particularly funny bit was when Sheppard's name plate got knocked off the table. He got up and walked around to pick it up and on his way back, Ackles told Collins to knock it off again. He didn't ... until just before Sheppard sat down again. Sheppard then got up, picked his up and placed it, then promptly knocked Collins' off. Love stuff like this! We were treated to the always-hilarious gag reel and a scene from the first episode of the new season, but not much else. No real spoilers or reveals ... but I can live with that. Can't wait for Season 9!
Yeah, let me explain ... this. See the panel for Breaking Bad featured creator Vince Gilligan and stars Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, RJ Mitte and Bryan Cranston. When Cranston came out, he looked exactly like he does as his character Walter White ... which was weird because they finished filming the final eight episodes quite a while ago. So why keep the shaved head? Psych! He didn't. Bryan proceeded to pull off an extremely accurate - and somewhat creepy - Walter White mask, which you see above (and which he wore while walking around the Exhibit Hall with fans completely unaware of his true identity). The "face" made its way during the panel from being on the table to ending up on Bryan's mic, with Bryan conducting the rest of the talk speaking into his own mouth. Not kidding.
See for yourself:
Funny as hell but weird! The actors spoke about where their characters are now and their various evolutions over the course of the series, which begins its final 8-ep run on August 11. Again, no spoilers and frankly, I was just too damned distracted by that mask!
I was so terribly excited for this panel, having become a major Whovian over the last month (see my two-part feature story here on TV TourGuide.net). I was happy to see the latest Doctor, Matt Smith, who is departing the role this Christmas, along with co-star Jenna Coleman, actor David Bradley (who is starring in the upcoming making-of-Doctor Who special An Adventure in Space and Time) and producers Stephen Moffat, Marcus Wilson and Mark Gatiss, but ultimately I was hoping the rumor of David Tennant - a.k.a the 10th Doctor - making a surprise appearance was true and eagerly awaited his arrival ... but alas, denied. I
It was still great to hear the panelists talk about the series, which is celebrating a huge milestone this year - its 50th anniversary. The best came when we were treated to an exclusive trailer for the anniversary special that will air on Nov. 23. First, the 6,500 attendees were warned that if ANY of the footage shown ended up online in ANY capacity, the BBC would NEVER bring footage to Comic-Con again - ever. We all solemnly swore and were given the fantastic gift of seeing the return of Tennant to the role of the Doctor, giddily sharing the screen with his successor Smith. Suffice to say, CAN. NOT. WAIT. No word on who the 12th Doctor will be ... they are actually still writing Smith's swan song episode. So that, too, will be a long, hard wait. But when it comes ...
That's creator Dan Harmon in that Ironman costume. The room erupted when that was revealed (with help from show stars Danny Pudi and Jim Rash). See, in case you are unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes of Community, Harmon was fired after season 3, leading to a rather off-kilter fourth season. Many petitioned to reinstate Harmon and they were successful. He will be back as show runner for season 5. This is the show that (thankfully) will not die. It's not a ratings winner in any way and every year its renewal is a big surprise. But the show's motto of "Six Seasons and a Movie" may not be that farfetched.
Also on the panel were co-stars Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Ken Jeong, who were all clearly thrilled to have Harmon back at the helm. Here's hoping for the return of our beloved Community's true voice and spirit, cause it's damn special.
Supernatural returns October 15 on the CW.
Breaking Bad returns August 11 on AMC.
Doctor Who's 50th anniversary special airs November 23 on BBC America.
Community return date TBD on NBC.