By Susan JAMES
What a difference a year makes, especially in television. At last year’s Comic-Con, the annual, highly anticipated media extravaganza held in San Diego’s Convention Center, producers and cast of the brand new ABC television show “Once Upon A Time” faced a room of a few hundred people, screened the show’s pilot and begged for audience support. Flash forward a year later, nearly 5,000 fanatical fairy tale followers waited in line for hours to crowd into Ballroom 20 and cheer the show, its cast and producers, and the launch of the second season. Fans were given sneak peaks of upcoming characters that will include Peter Pan’s Captain Hook, Chinese warrior Mulan and Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora. The Big Question – who is Henry’s father – will finally be revealed.
Last year over at NBC’s “Grimm” panel, things were equally subdued. It was a new show drawn from fairy tales that sounded very much like “Once Upon A Time.” It featured a monster-fighting police detective played by an unknown actor named David Giuntoli. It was a toss-up as to whether it would succeed.
A year later, Giuntoli has hit the hot list and girls scream at him in the streets. “Grimm” has been renewed and tallied several thousand fans fighting to get into its panel. It will be bigger, darker and go more deeply into the Grimm mythology, promised Reggie Lee, who plays Sergeant Wu on the show. The Big Question – will Juliet survive her coma – seems to have been answered by the presence of actress Bitsie Tolloch on the panel.
2011’s Comic-Con saw fans of the forensic procedural “Bones” deeply disappointed by Fox’s unexpected, last minute withdrawal of the panel from the schedule. This year there was plenty of “Bones” to go around. Co-stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, together with writer-producer Stephen Nathan, showed up to tease season eight in front of roaring thousands, sign autographs at the Fox booth and appear on Warner Bros.’ “Extra at Comic-Con” outdoor stage set up in Bayfront Park. Nathan teased that Booth and Brennan would once again go undercover as their alter egos Buck and Wanda to solve a case in the wonderful world of ballroom dancing. The answer to The Big Question – will Brennan, who is now on the lam, return to the arms of Booth and the Jeffersonian – has to be a definite yes.
Actors and producers of USA’s popular psychic detective show “Psych” appeared in front of an enthusiastic audience which had waited six hours in line for the privilege. Creator Steve Franks teased an up-coming, two-hour musical episode where the vocally gifted cast will have a chance to show off their singing skills. Something offbeat is always going down at the “Psych” panel. Last year co-star Dule Hill demonstrated his tap dancing abilities with a bravura performance. And The Big Question – did Henry really die at the hands of trusted friend Jerry Carp, played by Max Gail – was answered by the presence of actor Corbin Bernsen on the panel.
Other sound bytes suggest that the warehouse in “Warehouse 13” may not be totally destroyed; there will be some new alphas on “Alphas” and the first episode of the upcoming season of “Dr. Who” is called “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and features the seductive wiles of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
One last hint to producers: If you want to keep viewers guessing about a character’s survival, don’t include the actor playing that character on your Comic-Con panel.
Keep those TVs on, good things are coming.