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My 2009 Comic-Con Adventure

NSU's Fearless Production Manager Safaris Through Precarious Panels At Comic-Con

by Harris Toser

(Continued from first page)

John Barrowman at Comic-Con 2009Naturally, talks during the roundtable turned to next season, and IF there will be a next season, and if so, will it be another five-part event like this year. Davies said it was too early to tell but he did give us some hope when he said, "It looks good." Viewership tripled for this year's season of Torchwood so judging by the numbers, things are really looking up. I asked Davies if it was up to him, would he like next season to be another five-night, continuous story, event. "I'm not sure about the number of episodes because obviously, the more episodes, the more work there is for people [laughs], but I did love the continuous story. I can't imagine going back to 'monster-of-the-week' after that….until someone at the BCC says 'we'll give you five million quid for monster-of-the-week’ and then I'm doing it [laughs]. But no, I think we've found a new muscle and energy to it now." Davies went on to explain it wouldn't necessarily have to be done in five parts, and likened things to 24, with its continuous storyline told over one season. One gets the sense the new format really brought "muscle and energy" to Davies himself. One tidbit Davies did drop is that he is now living in LA so it will be interesting to see if the next season has an American influence of any sort.

Once we finished talking Torchwood, it was time to see if we would get some Doctor Who info out of Davies and Lyn that we were unable to get out of Tennant and Davies (Davies wrote all three remaining Doctor Who and Lyn directed the The End of Time episodes). Of the finale, Lyn said, "It's moving; it's a goodbye to David, a goodbye to David and Julie. It's heartbreaking." Davies said, "Euros played the episode to Murray Gold, who's the composer, for the first viewing two days ago and he sobbed for 20 minutes." Other than this, Davies and Lyn were giving nothing away about the finale. Not even when another reporter tried to con Lyn into telling us about directing Smith in the final scenes.

Davies told us he's laying low through the end of the year and apart from the "unexpected success of Torchwood," he won't know what he's doing until next year. He currently is looking at "a lot of American stuff" in Los Angeles. Someone suggested he write an episode of Supernatural to which Davies replied "Imagine what would happen on that episode!"

Doctor Who and Torchwood Panels
I also went to the panels for Doctor Who and Torchwood. Not a whole lot more was revealed at these and both panels are on YouTube (The Doctor Who panel has over 30,000 views and counting!) I won't go into specifics but they were a lot of fun. Of course, the most buzzed about Doctor Who/Torchwood moment came from Saturday night's Doctor Who and Torchwood screenings where John Barrowman kissed David Tennant, also on YouTube with over 120,000 views.

PsychI won't lie. I've never seen an episode of Psych. Even still, it was awesome to go to the private press panel for Psych and to meet the cast, creator, and executive producers of the show. And being a West Wing and L.A. Law fan, it was also pretty great to meet President Bartlet's assistant, Dulé Hill, and Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen).

Hill (who plays Burton 'Gus' Guster) gave us some insight into the differences between working on Psych and The West Wing and acting in comedy vs. drama. "The West Wing was dramatic but there are elements of comedy in there. Psych is more comedic but there's dramatic stuff in there. It's just more of where you choose to put more of the energy. On The West Wing, the words that were written are the words that you said. On Psych, the words that are written are not necessarily the words that you say, especially if you are doing a scene with [James] Roday [laughs]. It keeps things exciting and keeps things loose. I enjoy both but I do think overall I enjoy drama more because I think drama challenges me to look within myself more."

The discussion turned pretty mundane when someone asked Roday (who plays "psychic detective" Shawn Spencer) about his first paparazzi shots that had recently appeared in print showing the actor (get this) shopping in a grocery store. Another reporter asked "paper or plastic" and Dulé Hill (Shawn's friend on the series and business partner) told us how he has five or six cloth shopping bags but always forgets to bring then on his shopping excursions. Pretty revelatory!

Roday was asked if in real life his senses have become keener since he's started on the show. After all, he is a psychic detective! Roday said "no, I think I'm going in the opposite direction. I get less keen as we go on because I get more and more worn out. It's a good thing I don’t drive in Canada where we film the show."

For me, the highlight of the panel came when Corbin Bernsen (who plays Shawn's father Henry Spencer) sat at our small table of ten, asked us all "How are you?" and turned to the person next to me asked "What are you?" Sitting next to me was a podcaster dressed as Nightwing. Apparently, someone at the USA Network must have dropped the ball on the screening process on this panel (hey, this IS Comic-Con, after all – and – they let me in too!).

More Psych photos from Comic-Con:
Psych Photo 1
Psych Photo 2
Psych Photo 3
Psych Photo 4
Psych Photo 5
Psych Photo 6

The White Album
The White Album is a really cool project where a bunch of artists, led by Russell Walks, created artwork based on Beatles songs. All 13 artists were at Comic-Con so fans could get their books signed. One of the artists, Spencer Brinkerhoff III, created a map to facilitate the hunt for the artists and several had created their own White Album mementos that were either freebies or given away with the purchase of the book.

We like this project so much we will be devoting a feature story to it in the Dec/Jan issue of Non-Sport Update in conjunction with a special UK CardCast podcast episode. Autographed copies of the book are now available for sale in the Non-Sport Update online store.

EurekaAs a fan of SyFy's Eureka, I attended Friday's panel along with a couple of thousand fans. This was quite amusing and highlighted by a phone call to star Colin Ferguson ("Sherriff Jack Carter"). You see, Mr. Ferguson could not be with us in the panel as he was in Bulgaria shooting Lake Placid 3 (yeah, really). Our panel moderator thought it would be hilarious to call Ferguson in his hotel room at two in the morning to tell him the room missed him. Placing the cell phone next to the microphone actually yielded decent audio and Ferguson was not as upset as one might expect. He got the last laugh though as he put the SyFy VP who had given out his number to the moderator on the spot asking if the series would be renewed for a fourth season. The VP genuinely seemed perplexed as how to answer this and said something like, 'I wasn't prepared to announce this here, but yes, Eureka will be back for a fourth season." And the crowd goes wild!

One other tidbit I picked-up at this one, and something that is probably known to everyone but me, is Douglas Fargo (played by Neil Grayston) not only built S.A.R.A.H., the artificial intelligence that runs Sherriff Carter's house, but her voice is actually Grayston's!

Grayston and the entire cast (save for Ferguson as mentioned above) was on hand to answer questions. One Comic-Con attendee asked Grayston about his stand-up which had been stolen during Comic-Con. As a tremendously cool marketing ploy (and most likely, a costly one), SyFy converted Maryjane's Coffee Shop in the Hard Rock Hotel, located across the street from the San Diego Convention Center, to Café Diem, the café featured on Eureka. Up to that point, only Fargo's stand-up had been lifted. Grayston wondered what the individual who had taken his character's cardboard form would do with it. Anyone check eBay recently?

More Eureka photos from Comic-Con:
Eureka Photo 1
Eureka Photo 2
Eureka Photo 3
Eureka Photo 4
Eureka Photo 5
Eureka Photo 6
Eureka Photo 7

Article Continues...
(including Burn Notice, Being Human, & more)



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