Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: Time Lords at Petco

Before he packed Hall H on the final day of Comic-Con, Matt Smith enjoyed a more intimate meeting of fans at Petco Park with fellow Doctor Who castmate Jenna Coleman and Stephan Moffat.

First off, Nathan Fillion continued his hosting duties, and welcomed his guests. Of course, there were some people who begged Matt not to go, but if he's got to go....

It puts Jenna in an interesting situation: she is the one with the most seniority on the show, since she'll be the first Companion who sees her Doctor change bodies since Rose Tyler in 2005. She's up for it, though.
The first question was the cast being asks where they were when they found out the show had some openings. Matt said his mom texted him about the search for a new Doctor. He got the script for "Eleventh Hour" under top secret conditions, and he had to keep quiet until it was finally official. Jenna, meanwhile, recalled holding an avocado at a supermarket when she was told Amy and Rory would be leaving. Moffat, of course, was writing for the show when Russell Davies asked him to take over.

Moffat also says that each writer that tackles an episode should write as if they owned the show. They basically give their personal stamp to each episode.

The cast were then confronted with the idea of a "bucket list", which isn't as well-known in Britain. Matt said his list would include Jennifer Lawrence, and conquering time travel. Take that what you will.
They also talked about how big the fandom for Who can be. Jenna talked about two people at Heathrow who were talking about building their own TARDISes

A fan asked Matt how it feels to be the youngest man who play the Doctor, and how it's strange since the Doc is about a thousand years old. He says if you think about all the things The Doctor has seen, he has no choice but to move forward in life with youthful enthusiasm, or it'll become too much.
His only advice to the actor who becomes #12? He would just wish that person luck.
But what if that person is Nathan? Matt:  "You're going to have the best time. Please don't be better than me...."

Oh, and a Firefly fan suggested what it would be like if the TARDIS suddenly landed, maybe in the 26th century, near some Big Damn Heroes...

Moffat did admit to being a big fan of Firefly. Personally, one thing would be certain: River would be able to handle the TARDIS almost immediately if she had the chance.

So, here's the panel, a little shorter than the other ones but still chock full of Time Lord goodness

Friday, July 19, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: Clones Welcome at Nerd HQ

Much to my surprise, apparently the Whedonopolis staff couldn't get inside the Nerd HQ panels. However, I could see them live at home. That's how I can cover the Orphan Black panel with Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris (Felix) and Dylan Bruce (Paul).

Right off the bat, the crew talks about how the cast responds differently to all the sides Tatiana expresses from Sarah the troubled mom to Cosima the science geek, Alison the housewife, Beth the cop and Helena the killer. Jordan agrees, but is worried he said that in a wonky way.

Now they're asking what role would they want Tatiana to be. Jordan suggests Carrie While, while Dylan suggests Martina McFly. She does say it's tough playing against her fellow clones because there's no one there except a tennis ball. Still, she does it very well.

She was crying when she read the script for the final episode because she wasn't sure if there would be a season two. Jordan agrees, saying that it was gripping. Dylan was tempted to smoke

Tatiana says she's closer to Cosima because of how she observes and investigates everything. Jordan says none of the clones are cartoons. They are whole people, even if they are copies of one. Jordan, meanwhile, praised the set decorators for creating Felix's loft, and how it's a reflection of himself.

He also talked about how some people did like his portrayal of Felix as a gay man, but heterosexuals did not because they thought he was a clichĂ©.  He argues that Felix doesn't represent all gay people any more than Cam does on Modern Family.

She isn't sure if she has a favorite clone. She loves all of them. She also says season two will provide more information about how they know each other. Dylan hopes for more info about Beth, and why Paul is a jerk.

How about a Felix clone? Jordan isn't sure, but admits anything is possible.

At one point, Alan was looking out into the field, as if he was expecting someone. It's either zombies or a concert.

They also talk about their favorite artists, what kind of clone they'd like to add to the show, how it takes a while for Tatiana to switch personas and their auditions, and there's a surprise cover version of a Taylor Swift song by J-Swift.

Here's the whole thing. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Comic-Con At Home: In Praise of Nerd HQ

Suddenly, I'm not so sad that I can't go to Comic-Con.
If they somehow broadcast more of these panels live, or charged two bucks to see them live, it would be worth it.

Anyway, Zachary Levi has figured out that even if people head to the big con in San Diego, they can't see the panels they want because they sell out real fast.

So, why not have them available?

Here's the panel from Thursday morning featuring Seth Green and his Robot Chicken pals. It also includes two short films that will leave you stunned.

Comic-Con At Home: Reviewing Rock Jocks aka Armageddon't

Usually, during this time of the year, I would be battling two-mile-long lines and grabbing a ton of swag as part of my annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con for Whedonopolis. However, I am have to stay home because of my job limbo.

So, I'll review a movie that Geek and Sundry fans will likely see this week: Rock Jocks! I saw a postcard about it at Comic-Con a couple of years ago, and wondered if it would be a web series. Well, the movie is available at various sources, including iTunes. I checked it out, postponing the ESPYs for a while last night.

The movie's about a secret section of the Defense Department called the Asteroid Management Initiative (AMI)  that repels big meteors that threaten the Earth. It's a big job, but not well-respected. It has technology that uses satellites to fire lasers at the meteors, but it's barely above Windows XP.

The crew includes John ( Andrew Bowen, Magic City), the leader of the group who's a bit of a burnout. He's upset he has to cancel his comet-watching trip with his son and work on his day off. His second in command, Alison (Felicia Day of The Guild and lots of other things) really wants to get promoted. She's good at her job, but missing some interpersonal skills. Ken (Kevin Wu) is the son of a "Rock Jock", and has problems trying to live up to the family name. He also may have a crush on Alison. Seth (Justin Chon, Twilight)  is a smart aleck who likes to prank Kevin. He got into the group because of his video game skills. Tom (Gary Bednob) has been there the longest, and takes a nip or nine to get through the shift.

They get a visit from Austin Pratt (Mark Woolley), a bean-counter from the DOD who wants to interview the crew, and decide if they can be replaced with an automated system with a very sinister name. Seeing them in action, mostly sniping at each other and getting bored in between meteors, may make the decision easy for him.

Observing all of this is a mysterious alien called "Smoking Jesus" (Doug Jones, Buffy, The Neighbors, Pan's Labyrinth, Falling Skies). He apparently helped set up AMI, and observed how its budget's been cut to the marrow. He also sets up Rube Goldberg-type setups that actually comment on what happens next in the story.

During their shift, John wonders how he can leave to meet with his son, Alison worries she'll never get promoted, Seth exploits Ken's insecurities, and Tom rants about unpleasant things. Meanwhile, there may be a meteor shower that no one can stop. It's a more realistic, and funny, version of Armageddon, only without Bruce Willis or a soundtrack including Aerosmith.

The cast also includes Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate: Atlantis) and Jason Mewes (yep, Silent Bob's pal) as two security guards who discuss what kind of princess each would be, and the versatility of a well-known obscenity. There's also two cameos, if you look and hear closely.

Rock Jocks will be featured twice at Comic-Con as part of Geek and Sundry's programming. A meet and greet is scheduled at Jolt N' Joe's with Felicia and Jason at 4 PM. It'll be shown at 5 PM at the same place Saturday, with Felicia introducing the movie.

If you can't make it to Comic-Con, head to iTunes or Amazon. You can rent or buy the download. It will be available in DVD form next month. It's also available at, with a special package which includes the poster, HD download and two pins featuring Alison and Smoking Jesus.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Picked The Wrong Year To Skip Comic-Con

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.--Lloyd Bridges, Airplane!

I've been going to Comic-Con since 2004, when Sarah Michelle Gellar finally decided to go to plug her new movie, The Grudge. I discovered some new shows that we still remember, including Bones and Lost. It was big, but not and airy, and getting into any panel you want was a reality, not a pipe dream/deep delusion that it is today.

This year would have been my tenth straight Comic-Con, except I am still in between jobs. I send resumes to hundreds of prospective employees, and about nine out of ten of them automatically throw them away. So, I have to stay home.

This year looked like slim pickings to me compared to previous years, mainly because the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, which really packed the con in years past, are over. Not to worry, because other franchises have taken over, including Marvel, Hunger Games, and the Hobbit. TV has also taken over, with its wealth of genre shows from Arrow and Walking Dead to True Blood and Game of Thrones to take over for past classics including Buffy the Vampire Slayer (natch), Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, and Smallville.

For those who think comics aren't that important at Comic-Con anymore, think again. Some titles pull in the fans, including the perennials such as Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, but comics connected with TV shows (even Adventure Time and many Dark Horse titles) keep them as a major part of the con. Toys are also getting bigger, thanks to Mattel, when they roll out models exclusive to the con.

What I'll miss most of all if that I can't cover stories for Whedonopolis. I am at my happiest when I write a story that, for the most part, wind up as exclusives that no other internet news site has. Did any other website interview Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker just before Much Ado About Nothing premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival..and came back for the movie's first officials weekend? Did anyone else talk to the original Slayer, Kristy Swanson, when she was in Sacramento for a small con in Sacramento? I did that, and I am sure I would have found a story at Comic-Con no one else could find.

So, what will I miss?

the panel for Intelligence, featuring Sawyer from Lost as the first internet-connected secret agent,
an EW panel that includes both Matt Smith and David Guintoli (and the Grimm and Doctor Who panels, too),
the 5th anniversary of Dr. Horrible,
a panel for Agents of SHIELD which should include lots from the pilot,
Joss of course,
maybe a preview of The World's End (Pegg and Frost's version of This Is The End),
what's next for Geek and Sundry,
the Veronica Mars movie,
how Amy Acker will try to break up Husbands (think scorned ex-fiancé who won't accept being the wrong gender for one of them),
the Eric Andre Show (mostly because of how he greeted Tea Party supporters with hoods...on TV),  How I Met Your Mother,
Matt Smith with Chris Hardwick at the Balboa (will burritos be included again?),
and the annual showing of Once More With Feeling.

Granted, I'd be lucky to see half this stuff, or even a third, if I was able to go this year. I was lucky to be at the Firefly panel thanks to lining up many, many hours ahead of time. Comic-Con has gotten so big, you have to stand in line at 6 AM to see anything...even if it's for something at 6 PM. That's why if I did get a ticket to the Nerdist podcast taping at the Balboa, I really wouldn't have to go to the Doctor Who panel the next day. Of course, I would have wished I could get him to autograph a burrito but that's unlikely. Who can autograph a burrito?

Fortunately, thanks to YouTube and similar sites, someone will be smart enough to record as many of these panels as possible, and I can still see them. Sadly, I wouldn't be able to find a story no one else finds, but I can still see what happened eventually.

Missing Wondercon and Comic-Con this year has been a real bummer this year, but I am glad I am still useful to Whedonopolis. I still wrote stuff about the SHIELD show, and two articles about Much Ado in San Francisco. I just wish I had some idea about whether people are reading my stuff, or even like it. The old Whedonopolis site measured how many hits my articles got, and I knew people actually read my articles.

Then again, there's one big reason why I'm mad I can't go....the swag!
I could always use another big tote bag that's really a portable billboard to the next big TV show, movie, comic book or whatever. It's still cool.
Sure, I found really rare swag that was never offered for sale, like a t-shirt from an early Butt Numb-A-Thon Harry Knowles hosted, or a Moonite t-shirt that recalled the day they accidentally put Boston on Red Alert six years ago. Still, it would be nice to have a foam TARDIS, a Kick-Ass 2 hat, or a plastic Captain American shield or Thor hammer...or a Mockingjay pin.

I will say I have done pretty good overall. Who else has way too many Joss autographs, but still has one framed...and even a picture? Last year, I got Tarantino's autograph on a Django Unchained poster, which is more valuable since he won an Oscar for Original Screenplay. I still have the dog tags from the Inglorious Basterds premiere, and a few other posters that can't be found anywhere else.

So, I have to stay home, but someday, I'll be back. Maybe I can return in time for Avengers 2.