Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Comic-Con Post 6: Jason Lives

Saturday is the big day at the convention, and if I learned anything from last year, it was to get in the big hall (Hall H) early, and just stay there for as long as you can. You don't want to be stuck out on the floor on a Saturday.

And, as Merrill will be quick to point out to you, Saturday is the day they book all their biggest shows and panels. First up was the "Heroes" panel, which I was unable to get into last year (just too busy), and Merrill really wanted to see. Instead of going into the building when we arrived, Merrill went straight to the Hall H line to make sure we got a good seat for the show.

I went to spend money on toys, and when I came out to meet Merrill, I found him waaaaaaay back behind the entire population of Delaware, expressing frustration and sadness that we probably weren't going to get into the panel . . . which we didn't. And Clairbear was going to be there. Grrr.

Later, we talked to someone who had made it into the panel, and she told us that everybody in the cast was there (including that blond cheerleader chick), and they showed the whole first episode of next season, and there was much rejoicing. And then money rained from the sky and everybody there got exactly one wish. But ah well.

So, the panel that I was most interested in for the whole weekend was the "Dollhouse" panel, about Joss "Master" Whedon's new show on FOX, starring Eliza Dushku and Tahmoh Penikett. Merrill and I got there over an hour early, and listened to novelist Dean Koontz talk about his career and answer questions about his books. I used to be quite a fan of Mr. Koontz (my buddy Jeff was an even bigger one), but I've only read one of his books in the last decade, and I didn't care for it.
When it was time for the "Dollhouse" panel, we had maneuvered ourselves to be fairly close to the stage (my pictures came out better, at least).

They didn't give us a great deal, though. They showed the TV spot that has been airing on FOX, then opened things up to questions. But hey, Dushku looked good.
I think, to me, the most interesting moment of the "Dollhouse" panel came when a girl got up, and for her question, mentioned that although she was a fan of Joss's previous work, this new show just didn't look interesting to her at all.

Well, the crowd treated her like a Hip-Hop song at a Klan rally, with booing and jeering, and she slunk away to kill herself, but Joss seemed to think it was funny.* Instead of telling her to die in a painful, drawn-out way, he graciously took the time to explain that, even if the premise doesn't grab you, the show isn't about the premise. Just as his past shows weren't about vampires and fightscenes and spaceships, "Dollhouse" is about people, and that was the primary focus that would, hopefully, draw her in and make a fan out of her (and us as well). I thought it was an impressive response and I hope that young woman feels good about it.
They had only shot one episode, and they didn't talk a great deal about the new series, but partly that was our fault ("our" being the audience). Most of the questions weren't about "Dollhouse," and I found--at this and pretty much every panel at the show--that when someone got up to the mic, invariably they did one of two things before asking their question:
1) Tell the person or people on the panel what a big fan they are of their work. And often, name off two or three of those works that are particularly relevant. When the questioner does this, the audience applauds.
2) And worse, preface their remark with "Um, I have a question..." It really irritated me, especially after I noticed that people do that, the way you become agitated when someone points out a person that says "You know" or "Um" before every sentence.**

I understand that my misanthropy is often ugly, but a lot of people at these conventions just bother me, and stupid people always do.

A guy asked Tahmoh if Eliza's spine glowed, which was amusing, and even more so when he leaned over to explain it to Eliza, but Joss and Company weren't talking about what night it'll be on or what timeslot they got or how many episodes they were shooting, so I got up and got in the line. Right before my turn, one of the moderators (is that the word?) told me mine would be the last question, so then the pressure was on.When it was my turn, I stammered, "Wow, you're even hotter in person than you are on TV." 'Cause she, like, was. And Joss spoke up and said, "Thank you, I work out." It was good stuff. I asked how many episodes FOX was contracted for and how long, and Joss said they were going to do thirteen for sure, but with the advertising and a strong fan push . . . they might even make it to fifteen.

Unfortunately, there was a "Dollhouse" signing that had happened right after the panel--one I wasn't aware of--and when Merrill and I hit the show floor and saw Joss/Eliza/Tahmoh signing, I was quite upset. Not only was the line already capped by that point (so we couldn't get into it), but there were many burly security guys standing around to prevent people from entering the line, or even worse, taking pictures of the celebrities.
Due to that, this was the BEST picture I got.

Oddly, at the booth right next to the FOX one (which was the Warner Bros. booth), Nathan Fillion was part of a signing for the upcoming "Wonder Woman" animated film. Nathan and Joss were close enough they could see each other, but not communicate (I assume they're good friends in real life, but it's hard to know). And since the "Wonder Woman" line was also capped, I was much the same way.I'm not really able to think of what else went on that day, so I'll stop here, grab my programme, and start afresh on the next one.


*Maybe it was the reaction of the crowd that amused him, or maybe just the nuts on this young woman to get up and say the unpopular thing (much like the guy who got up at Bryan Singer's SUPERMAN RETURNS panel at 2006's to tell him how much he hated the new film).

**I've become very sensitive to this because in editing the podcast I do with my friend, I realised that I say "You know" approximately eighty times during each.

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