The San Diego Comic-Con is the premiere pop-culture convention with over 130,000 fans making the pilgrimage each year to attend panels discussing their geek obsessions. To put it another way, a population the size of Pasadena travels to San Diego to live for a week. This has the effect of increasing San Diego's population by 10%. More people attend SDCC than attend the Super Bowl - it is a big deal in fandom. So much so that it has outgrown its name, and more people will attend SDCC than purchased copies of the new Amazing Spider-Man issue #2.
In fact, for television it has become vital for building buzz and creating and maintaining meaningful connections with fans. Like most conventions, it is a great place to network and develop relationships that can lead to jobs in creative fields, with opportunities to not only learn about what is happening in your favorite entertainment media, but also to learn best practices. There is no medium where this is more true than television. Not only are there panels highlighting new shows and fan favorites, but there are also workshops where attendees can acquire skills and learn from established pros.
Here are 21 panels you might want to attend at SDCC if you are a television fan or looking for how to break in.
1) Inside The Big Bang Theory Writers' Room
Image from The DungeonsMaster
Like it or not, The Big Bang Theory is currently the most popular comedy on television and is a perfect example of how geek culture has infected the pop-culture zeitgeist. Comic-Con is one of the few places where fans can interact with the hit show's executive producers and writers and discuss the creative process. The show is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television and will be returning for its 8th season this fall, Monday nights at 8/7c on CBS. TBBT's writers and executive producers are geeks themselves - even if the actors delivering their dialogue aren't always - and listening to them discuss the challenges of writing "in jokes" for a broader audiences can be a great experience.
When: Friday July 25, 2014 10:00am - 11:00am
Where: Ballroom 20
2) Greendale Forever: TV Guide Magazine's Tribute to Community
When Dan Harmon launched Community his goal was to have "six seasons and a movie" and fans want to know whether this will become a reality. While the show has been saved by a move to Yahoo, we might still wonder whether Greendale Community College been saved? I'm certainly interested in how a move from broadcast to streaming will change the kinds of stories we get about Jeff Winger and the study group. The panel will be moderated by TV Guide's executive editor Michael Schneider, and will include Community creator Dan Harmon and members of the cast and producers who will chat about last season and discuss what the future holds for this fan-favorite comedy.
When: Thursday July 24, 2014 2:15pm - 3:15pm
Where: Ballroom 20
3) Hasbro: Transformers
What better place for the Hasbro and Hasbro Studios team to introduce a new Transformers animated series than at SDCC? The new animated series Transformers: Robots In Disguise will be airing in early 2015 on Hub Network in the U.S. and globally. Additionally, fans will get a glimpse of what is to come in the third season of Transformers: Rescue Bots, which also airs on the Hub Network. The Transformers franchise will be celebrating its 30-year legacy at this year's convention so fans can expect a couple of glimpses of never-before-seen products. Team members who are working on Transformers will spend some time answering your questions about the brand.
Maybe we should ask if anyone actually watches Hub Network.
When:Thursday July 24, 2014 11:00am - 12:00pm
Where: Room 25ABC
4) Star Blazers 2199
"Our Star Blazers!...." I can't see the words "Battleship Yamato" without that song running through my head. Recent years have seen a number of re-imaginings of classic '70s and '80s anime and the Yamato has already seen a recent theatrical release. Now it is time to bring the classic Star Blazers series back to silver screen! The Star Blazers crew will share information regarding Star Blazers 2199 movie releases at this exciting and fans will have a chance to witness the screening of episode 10 of the new TV show.
When: Thursday July 24, 2014 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Where: Room 24ABC
5) Scorpion: World Premiere Screening and Panel
This fall CBS will be releasing a new drama that at first glance will slide right into the network's existing line up of procedural titles. Scorpion is based on the adventures of Doctor Clark Savage Jr., who gathers together a bad of brilliant experts who all happen to be slightly less expert than Doc Savage...oh wait. Scorpion is based on the real life story of Walter O'Brien. The show will follow the adventures of the man with "the world's fourth highest IQ" (because humblebrag) and his company of brilliant misfits - who are slightly less brilliant than O'Brien - and use their combined genius to defend the planet against high-tech threats and the estate of Lester Dent.
The show is brought to you by the makers of Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and The Fast and the Furious, SDCC will feature the world premiere screening of the pilot episode which will be followed by a panel discussion with the real-life Walter O'Brien, and series stars Elyes Gabel (World War Z), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2), and Katharine McPhee (Smash). Executive producers Nick Santora, Nicholas Wootton, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Justin Lin will also be in attendance. One wonders when Kurtzman and Orci find the time to sleep.
When: Thursday July 24, 2014 12:05pm - 1:10pm
Where: Ballroom 20
6) Reign: Panel & Exclusive Sneak Preview
The CW interpretation of the tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, Reign, will be returning for its second season this fall. This season Mary and Francis will find themselves facing the difficulties of ruling a nation subjected to plague, famine, and religious strife. Readers of history know the exciting twists the plot might take and will take interest in the stylized representation that the CW offers, while fans of Game of Thrones will complain about how Reign is ripping of G.R.R. Martin.
The panel will begin with an exclusive sneak preview at what's to come in season 2 - if the show follows history it should not be a very happy season. The panel discussion will include cast members Adelaide Kane (Teen Wolf), Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables) and Toby Regbo (Mr. Nobody), as well as executive producer Laurie McCarthy.
When: Thursday July 24, 2014 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Where: Room 9
7) iZombie Pilot Screening and Q&A
Ever wonder what would happen if you combined Brian Lumley's novel Necroscope with hipsterism and the current zombie craze? It might look something like the CW's iZombie. The show is based on the DC Vertigo title created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and tells the story of Olivia "Liv" Moore who is 25-year-old medical resident who is on the fast track to a perfect life...until she's turned into a zombie. Now stuck somewhere between half-alive and undead - and with an eternity to study - Liv loses all traces of her former drive and ambition. She transfers from residency to the city morgue in order to eat brains with a minimum of moral dilemma.
But it turns out that there is a side effect to Liv's high fat-content diet. Liv experiences some of the memories of the corpse whose brain she eats. This creates the perfect opportunity for an undead version of Crossing Jordan. Fans of the comic will note some significant changes to the narrative as the title was translated to the new format. The iZombie panel will feature a screening of the complete pilot episode, which will be followed by a Q&A with series stars Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings), Rahul Kohli, and Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill). The show has some strong geek connections with executive producers Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) and Diane Ruggiero-Wright (Veronica Mars).
When: Friday July 25, 2014 11:30am - 12:30pm
Where: Room 6BCF
8) Gravity Falls
The Disney XD series Gravity Falls is a brilliant combination of the X-Files, Twin Peaks, and '80s pop-culture from creator and executive producer Alex Hirsch. This year's panel will feature Hirst and by series stars Kristen Schaal (Mabel), Jason Ritter (Dipper), and Thurop Van Orman (L'il Gideon). Audience members might even be able to uncover some of the mysteries of Disney's hit series (click the link to watch a great episode), like why it's premiering season 2 on the Disney Channel and then moving to Disney XD.
Find out what's next in television's most bizarre town through exclusive clips from the show's upcoming season and an audience Q&A.
When: Friday July 25, 2014 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Where: Room 6A
Clearly, Starz is looking to leverage the audience of a popular series of romance novels. This year's SDCC will be featuring a panel discussing the new TV series Outlander, which some might describe as a spicier and more violent Brigadoon. Okay, only I would do that. Panelists will include writer/executive producer Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman), author Diana Gabaldon, and a number of cast members from the show. Premium networks like Starz, HBO, and Showtime have produced some excellent genre fare of late and fans of Gabaldon's novels might be the next group to be ahead of the curve of what becomes a popular show.
When: Thursday July 24, 2014 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Where: Horton Grand Theatre
10) Marvel Television Presents
For those who want to know whether Marvel Television will continue the trend of taking cool characters from Marvel feature films and creating relatively dull television series around them, Jeph Loeb will be hosting a panel that presents Marvel Television's plans for the coming year. Loeb will discuss what is to come in the second season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and might answer whether the show will become anything more than filler between features as well as introduce fans to Marvel's new series Marvel's Agent Carter. Both series have potential - Agent Carter in particular - and members of the casts will be there to discuss the future of Marvel's live-action series with fans.
Let's hope that Loeb and crew will take some time to discuss the four upcoming Netflix Original series, including Daredevil and Power Man and Iron Fist. With a Doctor Strange film in the works, it is likely they'll want to chat about the upcoming mini-series The Defenders as well. I'd personally like to see a surprise visit from Vincent D'Onofrio, to get a good glimpse at the next Kingpin.
When: Friday July 25, 2014 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Where: Ballroom 20