Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Comic Con: Pilot Screenings for V and The Vampire Diaries

Ah, Comic Con. Geek Mecca, if you will. Where those of us obsessed with all things sci-fi, fantasy, and pop culture-related gather together to get the latest news and scoop on our favorite comics, television shows, and movies.

Fellow tv-slutter Monkey Sri and I headed to San Diego last week and participated in our first Comic Con so we could report back on all the happs for you, our gentle reader. From Wednesday night to Sunday I spent almost every day in the San Diego Convention Center visiting as many panels as I could and taking copious notes to ensure I could regurgitate all the details. I figure the easiest way to do this is to go chronologically, which means we start with....

Wednesday, July 22*

Wednesday was preview night, when people who had signed up for 4-day passes could pick up their badges and avoid the HUGE line that forms on Thursday morning. After procuring our passes, my friend Rachel (avid television viewer and vampire lover) and I got the lay of the land of the convention center and attended our first Comic Con event: screenings of the pilot episodes for V (on ABC) and The Vampire Diaries (on the CW).

V: As any fan of Sci-Fi television knows (or really anyone who has ever watched I Love the 80s on VH1), V was a weekly drama series that ran in 1984 on NBC for one season. As everything old is new again, ABC has retooled the series and it is now slated to air in the fall of this year.

The plot of the show is basic: aliens show up one day (in a scene basically ripped from Independence Day) and inform us that they need vital minerals from our planet. In exchange they offer us some of their technology (including cures to most known diseases) and repeated promises that they come in peace. Some people welcome them with open arms, others are more questioning. It's not a huge spoiler to give away that the Vs aren't everything they appear to be, but that's all I'll say. If you aren't familiar with the prior series there are some surprises in store for you.

The show centers around an FBI Agent (Elizabeth Mitchell from Lost) and her son, as well as a large cast of other characters including a reporter (Scott Wolf), a priest, and a whole bunch of others I can't remember right now. Take from that what you will.

All in all, I really enjoyed the show. It was tense at all the right parts, had great production values, a talented cast, and appears to be modelled on a Lost and Heroes pattern where many different characters are weaved throughout a central storyline. There's nothing really groundbreaking here, like I said the images of the alien ships have been seen before, but the pilot was solid and interesting.

I was a little confused as to how Elizabeth Mitchell's FBI Agent character starts to suspect the Vs, something about stolen C4 or some such nonsense, but the show makes some interesting parallels with our modern fears, insinuating that the Vs have been present on our planet for a long time and have organized themselves into sleeper cells. And it's always nice to see familiar faces like Alan Tudyk (!!!), Elizabeth Mitchell, Morena Baccarin, and Scott Wolf. I'll definitely be tuning in this fall, and hope the show can keep up the quick pace of the pilot.

The Vampire Diaries: Oh, Kevin Williamson. You've never been able to recapture your former glory from the Dawson's Creek and Scream era. In a show that is so obviously a Twilight rip-off that Kevin Williamson basically came out and said it ("vampires are really hot right now") a high-school girl becomes enamoured with a mysterious vampire who has appeared in her town.

You've got the usual ingredients here: pretty 20-somethings pretending to be in high school, a pretty-boy vampire (who looks like a young William Shatner but didn't really do anything for me), a tortured female protagonist recovering from the death of her parents who feels disconnected from the world around her, blah blah.

There were a couple of good one-liners, but for the most part the dialogue and plot clunked along in a cliched manner. And then Ian Somerhalder from Lost showed up. He plays a vampire as well (a far more interesting one than the main character) and transfused some life into the show (get it? transfused? blood? vampires??). But once he left the screen, THUD. Back we came to reality.

In the words of Rachel, "I'll watch it, but it wasn't that good." That pretty much sums it up. Vampires and hotness = I'm there. But I'm only giving it a few episodes and if it doesn't get more interested I'm outta there.

So there you have it! Coming up from Thursday's panels: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture and Legend of the Seeker. Can you stand it??

*By the way, I'm not going to spend a lot of time writing about the general feeling or happening of the Con...that's going on my personal blog. These entries will be focused on news and reviews from the television specific panels I visited, which is after all, the focus of this blog.

1 comment:

Whitney said...

as a tv fan, i must point out the lead of vampire diaries has been playing a hs for the last 3 years on CTV's Degrassing TNG!