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16 March 2008 @ 10:25 pm
MegaCon 2008; other stuff  
Well, it seems my first March entry comes in halfway through the month.  So goes the nature of my professional/personal time the last several weeks. 

I won't get into a whole rant or venting spiel, but will just say that work is on an ever-descending shit-spiral, that seems to be picking up speed the last few months. Essentially, the workload combined with the kind of work my job entials day in and day out is pushing me to the end of my tolerance levels.  The new job/career path search is officially underway, because this current work is making me too old (and too bitter) way too fast.  And the zero down-time at work has joined forces with fairly busy evenings (and simply being too exhausted for Interweb play) the last month or so, thus my severe lack of updating and/or keeping up with regular commenting on my flist. For that I apologize and will try to do better.

Anyway... aside from that crap, I've been meaning to post all week about last weekend's MegaCon 2008 here in Orlando. I actually got too busy to remember to buy my advance pass online, prior to the week before (when advance ordering closed), so I had to get a ticket at the gate. I only wanted a one-day ticket for this one, as it was half the price of the three day pass, and I figured I could get what I wanted to get done in one day, and reduce the two added days of temptation to spend more $$$ on fandom stuff I really don't need.  It worked out okay for my day spent there on Saturday, but the waiting lines were horrendous. A fairly brief summation (compared to FX, anyway) under the cut:

The regular admission began at 10:00 AM on Saturday, and I wanted to get there before 11 if possible, but I was up too late Friday night, and managed to not get my ass in gear timely on Saturday. Arrived at the Orange County Convention Center around 11:15-11:20, and was stunned to see that the line for the non-advance ticket purchasing booths stretched for a good 500-600 yards, at least. I figure this was the length, because I eye-balled the approximate length of a football field from the end of the line until the first turn, and the line turned about 5 times before getting to the front stretch. The progression was fairly steady - I never was in one spot more than a minute or so, but I still didn't get through the gate until almost 1:00 PM. My advice for any future Con attendees would be to never miss the advance ordering - even for a one-day ticket. 

Once inside, the crowd was pretty formidable - more so than I think I'd seen for any of the other three shows I've been to - FX this year and last, and last year's MegaCon. The isles among the dealer booths were pretty much packed shoulder to shoulder with people everywhere, and I decided to accomplish what I wanted to get done, make a pass or two around all the booths, and then get the hell out.

I first headed to the celebrity photo-op booth, to see the schedule for the day, and saw that Erica Durance's session was just after Adrian Pasdar's. I believe his ran from about 1:15 - 2:00, and hers was from 2:00 - 2:40. I briefly thought about paying for both of them, but decided to just go with Erica (after posing with Laura Vandervoort at FX - figured this was necessary). At this point shortly after 1:00, Adrian was headed to the photo booth, and Erica had not yet gotten back from lunch. These two were pretty much the only guests I had a goal of signing anything, so I ended up making my way around the dealers for the next 30 minutes, and then headed to wait in line for Erica's photo-op.

As chance would have it, I was fairly close to the front - probably 20-25 people back, in a line that turned out to be 150-175 people long - but ended up behind a few late-teens and early-twenty-somethings who still manage to enjoy Smallville. I pretty much kept my mouth shut and just listened to them talk (two guys who knew each other and two girls who were there together), adding or commenting only occasionally. Turns out one of the girls is an admin/moderator for the Devoted to Smallville section of the Devoted Fans Network, a site of which I am still technically a member, but have not visted in well over three years. I got the vibe that most of them knew little about the Superman mythos prior to the show, and liked the teen-melodrama aspect of what it has become, so I really had to bite my tongue in order not to start my own lecture and get too hot and bothered prior to my celebrity meets.

I managed to make it to my turn after a 30-40 minute wait or so (we first had to wait for Adrian's session to finish), and the expediting of the line was fast-paced. I stepped up, said "Hi, I'm Jeff." She smiled, said "nice to meet you", and then we posed. Froggy the photo guy has been the same photographer at all the shows so far, but this picture was my own weakest, I think. He snapped the shot just as I was starting to smile, so I almost appear to be smirking, and he zoomed-in/cropped too much, so the pic seems too close-up. But I guess it's not too terrible, and ended up looking like THIS

Immediately after leaving the photo booth, I made it back to Adrian Pasdar's autograph line, which was adjacent to Erica's, and both booths had large sign-age that mandated NO photos of any kind, and there were a couple of Con staffers in each line to enforce this. Anyone whipping out cameras for snapshots - not even for posed photos, but just simple candids - were scolded and told to put the cameras away. Additionally, MegaCon still has not adopted the more efficient method of queue-ing that FX has mastered. There is still no rolling ticket-numbering system in order to reduce standing-around time, but rather each line has to queue up like a theme park attraction: first-come are first-served. It's frustrating. Fortunately, I was only a dozen or so people back in Adrian's line, and he made it back to start signing within 20 minutes or so after I got in line. 

Adrian was pretty laid back and seemed comfortable with everyone, but had what appeared to be his manager/agent/publicist right next to him the whole time, and that dude intensely scanned/perused every person and item that came to the table. It was odd. But Adrian was nice enough - though he seemed smaller in person than I expected - and didn't rush people off too soon. I got up to the table and introduced myself, shaking his hand, and he made sure the pic was to be made out to me. I had to be the dumb-question asker, mainly for conversation's sake, and said "Nathan's not really dead, right?" He smirked and replied, "Well, you never know, but I will be filming episodes this season." I realized that I couldn't really expound upon the various small problems that bother me as a viewer and hinder Heroes' development into a really quality show for me -  that I probably should just play the fan. So I told him that Nathan had become one of the more interesting characters, due to his big change in character arc from the pilot up to the end of last season. He appreciated that and said "well, that's great to hear, and if you enjoy that aspect, wait until you see where things are headed this season coming up." So that was pretty much confirmation that Nathan will be around in some capacity for season 3. His signed pic is THIS ONE. I shook his hand again and thanked him, then immediately hopped over to Erica's booth right next door.

I was in the first 10 or so for her line, since she had yet to return from her photo session, but still only had to wait around 30 minutes for her to show up. She was very warm to all the fans - plenty of whom had various Superman/Lois Lane-related memorabilia and gifts to give to her. And just like Laura Vandervoort, I think Erica's even prettier in person than she appears in photos or on TV - she actually looks a bit younger. At my turn, she recognized me, but couldn't remember my name. I introduced myself again, and she made sure that the photo was for me and - oddly enough - confirmed the spelling: "Is that the British spelling, or the normal version?" I chuckled and told her the normal way. I guess she must know some Geoffs or Geoffreys. Again, I could have made an idiot of myself by getting into all the ways that Smallville has devolved since it began, and how it often makes a mockery of the Superman mythos and the iconic characters it tries to portray. No, I pretty much buttered her up after explaining my inner fanboy. I told her that I've been a Superman die-hard since I was old enough to start reading, and that when I heard Lois Lane was being added to the show - a show about Clark Kent's formative years, long before Metropolis - I was totally against it and really had reservations about what they wanted to do with it. But I said that her portrayal of this Lois has steadily grwon on me - I was very wary and sometimes critical at first, but managed to mellow into her character and appreciate what she's been able to bring to the role, making it enjoyable to watch (not the show, just the character, but I didn't say that). She seemed genuinely tickled by that and sincerely explained that those kinds of fans - the ones that had hard-to-overcome biases against the character or parts of the show - are the ones she appreciates the most, knowing that they were turned onto something they initially were against. Her signed pic is THIS ONE.  We both thanked each other for coming and I shook her hand and said goodbye.

At this point, it was probably around 3:00 PM or so, and I was about ready to leave, but I had to wait for the print of my photo with Erica.  I made one or two more laps around the dealers, and decided to not spend any more money. No more t-shirts or action figures or swords or other art pieces this time around. The only $$$ that left my pocket was for the photo and the autographs. 

While waiting for the photo to print (which was further delayed by Adrian's long-running session prior to Erica's), I briefly wandered around the smaller celebrity meet-and-greet booths, and met Leah Cairns from Battlestar Galactica - she plays the Raptor pilot Racetrack. It was a bit awkward, as I didn't get anything signed, but told her that I'm a fan, and hope Racetrack sticks around for the rest of the show, and that I'm also catching up with Kyle XY (which she's also in season 2, I believe - I haven't gotten past season 1 yet). She was also very cute in person and thanked me for the support.  Stupidly, I left without getting a candid pic of her. 

I then headed straight across the floor to Mark Sheppard's booth. Sci-fi fans should know him as Badger from Firefly and as Baltar's attorney Romo Lampkin on BSG. I managed to get him posing for a group photo with a bunch of female BSG fans - all in costume - snapshots HERE and HERE. Again I felt a bit awkward for not getting anything signed, but he was so laid back and eagerly talking with various people coming up - there was no real line - that it was cool. I told him that he'll always be awesomely remembered as Badger - and he commented that even if he weren't in it, he just loved watching Firefly, and wished he had gotten a chance to be a bigger part of it, had it gone on longer.  I also complemented him for the memorable turn as Lampkin, and asked if he could divulge whether he would be appearing again, now that BSG has just the final season left. He said that he had not yet filmed anything for this season, but was told that his character was left wide-open on purpose, so that if they choose to have a reason for his reappearance out of the fleet they could - and that he would love to do more. He was getting to the next handful of fans so I thanked him for coming and headed back to the photo booth. No mention was made of the shameful Bionic Woman.

After standing around there for another 10 minutes, the photo finally came out, and I had accomplished what I wanted. I ended up heading out around 4:15 - 4:20 PM, and had not sat down since getting out of the car shortly after 11:00 AM. Needless to say, I was whipped, and glad to be heading home. I think for any future in-town shows - FX or MegaCon or anything else - the one-day ticket (ordered in advance, of course) may be the more economical way for me to go - especially if everyone I want to meet is there on one day. Saves me travel time and expense, as well as monetary temptation for stuff I just don't need.  I'll be on the lookout for who appears here next year.

Other than the above show stuff, the only other babbling I've got is that Lost is continuing to be sock-knocking-off fantastic this season. I won't get plot-spoilery for already-aired episodes, but  I just feel pity for anyone that will never realize the monumental nature of what this series is - how original and groundbreaking it is as a "genre" drama - and am continually impressed with the turns the story takes. We have been getting some substantial answers to questions that have been lingering for a couple of seasons now, as well as being given new questions and puzzles that we had no idea could be introduced prior to this season.  I anticipate the weekly installments of this show more than anything else I have ever watched. No lie.

Also, the best TV-related news since the strike ended must be the respective renewals of Supernatural and Friday Night Lights.  The CW must know by now that SPN is by far the best thing they have on their schedule, quality-wise, and I'm sure the stellar ratings numbers (highest of the season, if not of the series) of the last pre-strike filmed episode helped with the decision. And I don't care what kind of episode-sharing deal has to be made with NBC and Direct TV (or any other network), as long as FNL is back in some capacity. In terms of genuine overall-quality - from writing to acting to directing and overall production value - the series is THE best show since the 2004 season brought us Lost, Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica

And finally, this month's Paley Center for Media's Television Festival makes me temporarily wish I lived near L.A. The annual event has an awe-worthy lineup of show panels this year, the first notable of which was yesterday for Pushing Daisies. The event's entire lineup can be found at the official page, but I'll also c/p the list panels I'd be there for in a heartbeat, if money and distance were no object:

 

March 15 | Saturday | 7:00 pm
Pushing Daisies

In Person:

Kristin Chenoweth, "Olive Snook"
Bruce Cohen, Exec. Prod.
Anna Friel, "Chuck"
Bryan Fuller, Creator/Exec. Prod.
Ellen Greene, "Vivian Charles"

Dan Jinks, Exec. Prod.
Swoosie Kurtz, "Lily Charles"
Chi McBride, “Emerson Cod”
Peter Ocko, Coexec. Prod.
Lee Pace, "Ned"


Additional panelists to be announced.



March 17 | Monday | 7:00 pm
The Comedy World of Judd Apatow & Friends

In Person:

Judd Apatow
Tom Arnold
Andy Dick
Paul Feig
Jonah Hill
Busy Phillips
Jason Segal


Additional panelists to be announced.


March 18 | Tuesday | 7:00 pm
Chuck

In Person:

Adam Baldwin, "John Casey"
Chris Fedak, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Joshua Gomez, "Morgan Grimes"
Scott Krinsky, "Jeff"
Sarah Lancaster, "Ellie Bartowski"
Mark Christopher Lawrence, "Big Mike"
Zachary Levi, "Chuck Bartowski"

Julia Ling, "Anna"
McG, Exec. Prod.
Ryan McPartlin, "Captain Awesome"
Vik Sahay, "Lester"
Josh Schwartz, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Yvonne Strahovski, "Sarah Walker"


Damon Lindelof (exec. prod., Lost) will moderate this evening's discussion.



March 19 | Wednesday | 7:00 pm
Friday Night Lights

In Person:

Connie Britton, "Tami Taylor"
Kyle Chandler, "Eric Taylor"
Zach Gilford, "Matt Saracen"
Jason Katims, Exec. Prod.
Adrianne Palicki, "Tyra Collette"

Jesse Plemons, "Landry Clarke"
Scott Porter, "Jason Street"
Jeffrey Reiner, Exec. Prod.
Aimee Teegarden, "Julie Taylor"


Additional panelists to be announced.


March 20 | Thursday | 7:00 pm
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reunion

In Person:

Amber Benson, "Tara Maclay"
Nicholas Brendon, "Xander Harris"
Charisma Carpenter, "Cordelia Chase"
Emma Caulfield, "Anya"
Eliza Dushku, "Faith"
Sarah Michelle Gellar, "Buffy Summers"
Seth Green, "Oz"

David Greenwalt, Exec. Prod.
Alyson Hannigan, "Willow Rosenberg"
James Marsters, "Spike"
Marti Noxon, Executive Producer
Michelle Trachtenberg, "Dawn Summers"
Joss Whedon, Creator


Additional panelists to be announced.




March 24 | Monday | 7:00 pm
Damages

In Person:

Noah Bean, "David Connor"
Rose Byrne, "Ellen Parsons"
Glenn Close, "Patty Hewes"
Ted Danson, "Arthur Frobisher"
Tate Donovan, "Tom Shayes"

Anastasia Griffith, "Katie Connor"
Zeljko Ivanek, "Ray Fiske"
Glenn Kessler, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Todd A. Kessler, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.
Daniel Zelman, Cocreator/Exec. Prod.

 



March 26 | Wednesday | 7:00 pm
The X-Files

In Person:

Chris Carter, Creator/Exec. Prod.
Frank Spotnitz, Exec. Prod.

 



March 27 | Thursday | 7:00 pm
Mad Men

In Person:

Jon Hamm, "Don Draper"
Christina Hendricks, "Joan Holloway"
Vincent Kartheiser, "Pete Campbell"
Elisabeth Moss, "Peggy Olson"

Rich Sommer, "Harry Crane"
Aaron Staton, "Ken Cosgrove"
Matthew Weiner, Creator/Exec. Prod.

 



I mean, really - the Buffy reunion is worth the drooling alone - almost the entire friggin' cast, plus Joss! - but to be there for talk about Daisies, Judd Apatow's insane entourage, Chuck (moderated by Lost's exec. Damon Lindelof!), Friday Night Lights, Damages (best FX drama since The Shield), The X-Files (new film being made - awesome), and Mad Men - a show I want to get into, hearing only good things about - all of those are a TV enthusiast's dream. I look forward to reading/hearing/seeing details about what went on during each, and will be insanely envious of anyone who gets to actually be there.

I guess that's about it for now. Hopefully I won't go a few more weeks between posts again.  Oh, and since I may not be online tomorrow, early Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. It's the honorary Irish day, and I'll at least have a beer or two to celebrate.  Too bad it's not on a weekend this year. Oh well.





Kristen Bell is awesome.

 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Jeff: kristen - Reefer Madness - Mary Janej_mac179 on March 17th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
HA! Good to know. I really want to see the flick, just because it looks pretty damn funny, regardless of my girl playing the title role. I've read nothing but positive advance reviews for it so far, so I'm hoping it at least matches the humor I got out of 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.