Saturday, July 26, 2014

MTVP Comic-con International 2014 Coverage: The Epic Day of Panels

So as you can probably tell, we spent the day in panels on Day 2. We had to sit through many that didn’t really interest us (yes I’m looking at you Assassin’s Creed and The 100) to get the ones we really wanted. As one can imagine, there are so many panels to see that it is hard to choose. Right until we got into the room in the morning for the first panel, we weren’t entirely sure what our game plan was going to be. But we ultimately decided to stay put in one room all day. Early in the day we got to see "iZombie," and the last panel we saw was "Sleepy Hollow." Having sat in the room all day and sort of made friends with some people around us, we managed to scoot up from third row to first row for this panel. Sarah was thrilled to be that close (granted were pretty close the whole day due to getting there at 7:30am and getting into the disabled line).

The "iZombie" panel was supposed to include the premiere screening of the pilot, but because some recent casting changes have created the need for reshoots, we were treated to an "extended first look" instead. Overall, "iZombie" feels much more like "Veronica Mars" than either of us expected. The footage we saw relied heavily on voiceover, which was only slightly lighter in tone than the very noir "Veronica Mars." What was interesting was that star Rose McIver, who is from New Zealand, seemed to be basing her American accent on Kristen Bell's voice. Overall, the premise of the show is that Liv, a medical resident, becomes a zombie through the course of a horrific boating accident. Her life is turned up-side down, and she takes a job in a Medical Examiner's office so she can have easy access to the brains she needs to eat to stay sane. When she eats said brains, she temporarily gains access to the memories of the deceased, which helps her solve their murders. It's a little "Pushing Daisies" in that sense, which is just fine by us.

After the extended first look, Rob Thomas and crew came out to talk to us. Rob Thomas is pretty much a TV writing hero to both of us, so the chance to see and hear him in person was really special. Also special was the fact that the panel was moderated by Alan Sepinwall, who you might suspect is a pretty strong influence on what we do here at MTVP.

We learned that series star Rose McIver has to spend quite a lot of time in the make-up chair to achieve her undead pallor as Liv. Executive Producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright mentioned that because Rose's skin is naturally so glowing, they had to apply quite a lot of make-up to get the job done. Also, Rose herself mentioned that the make-up changes depending upon how hungry for brains Liv is. As she gets hungrier, the skin around her eyes gets darker and her eyes get redder. We saw this first hand in the extended first look.

The supporting cast all seemed to be good-natured, talented folks, but the real stand-out was Rahul Kohli. He plays Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti, Rose's boss. He figures out pretty quickly that Rose is a zombie, and he sets out to try and find a cure.

In the middle of the day, there were a number of other video game and TV panels. Relevant to your interests here at MTVP, we saw panels for "The 100" and "Falling Skies." Of note for "The 100," Isaiah Washington (formerly of "Grey's Anatomy" fame) was there, and Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond from "Lost") was not. For "Falling Skies," Noah Wyle and Doug Jones were highlights.

For "Sleepy Hollow," as you might expect, before the cast and creators came out (and they had all seven series regulars there), we were treated to a sizzle reel for season 2. It was pretty awesome and it looks like season 2 not only continues the high octane pace of season 1 but also a lot of the whit and banter. Sarah is still a little worried that the extended episode order for season 2 (18 episodes up from 13) may dilute the story telling a little but the video presentation definitely has her hopes up that it will just be that same fast-paced adrenaline-driven rush as season 1. Once the sizzle reel ended all of the famous people came out on stage and they pretty much all got raucous applause (well okay so Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie got the most).

Before we jumped into fan questions (which if you’ve read recaps of our other con experiences you know can be hit or miss), we got some good moderator questions, including a little sneak peek at what’s going on with the various characters. Tom had everyone laughing when he said that since the end of season 1, Ichabod has watched Glee and didn’t like it (and then promptly retracted that part of the statement having remembered they were both on Fox). I have to say he is a funny man in person. We can also look forward to some new developments with Katrina and Headless (and we even learned that Katrina sees Headless as he was before) and Henry/Jeremy is just going full-on evil. Evil John Noble is going to be amazing.

We also learned that some more historical figures will be filling in Ichabod’s past as well as the continued mystery of good v. evil and the founding of our nation. Some highlights include the previously announced Benjamin Franklin (who according to the creators doesn’t get on particularly well with Ichabod) and Benedict Arnold. We will supposedly learn how he became a traitor to his country. Exciting!

We had some pretty decent fan questions as well and it is so nice to hear Nicole advocate for Abbie and Ichabod to remain friends instead of progress to lovers. It just isn’t who Ichabod is and it is refreshing to hear someone say that their relationship is good the way it is. We also got a nice compliment on the diversity of the cast and some memorable statements on that topic came about, too including that the show is a multicultural approach to the apocalypse. Be sure you all tune in come September because we will be continuing on this crazy journey with Ichabod and Abbie as Sarah blogs season 2. Even though it was a long day getting there, it was a great panel to sit in on and we are so happy we made it through. It really made our Comic Con experience a blast.

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