Comic-Con, Day 2: “S.H.I.E.L.D” takes center stage

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Plus: Walking Dead, Game Of Thrones, Veronica Mars, Big Bang Theory panels pack ’em in 

One of the most anticipated television projects in years took center stage Friday afternoon at Comic-Con in San Diego.

Yes, it was ABC’s new Tuesday night series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that was the biggest attraction Friday afternoon. And it turned out there was more cheering in Ballroom 20 for this than you would find at any Chargers home game in the past eighteen years.

And why not? When Chairman of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb announced the clip of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the whole pilot, the room erupted with glee.

The program is a huge gamble for network television – especially for ABC, given how expensive this is. “We’ll be passing the donation cup”, joked ER veteran Ming Na, who plays agent Melinda May (uh Ms. Na, that’s been done – see Veronica Mars below.) For one thing, S.H.I.E.L.D. is going up against powerhouse juggernaut NCIS on CBS.

Early reviews on the web have been mixed, with a few noting the complicated storylines, the leads’ thick accents, and special effects. But one site noted the Whedonesque-like dialogue in the pilot, a positive. A huge positive.

S.H.I.E.L.D premieres September 24 at 7 p.m. CT on ABC. In the words of the NY Jets’ Bart Scott: “Can’t Wait!”

To watch S.H.I.E.L.D’s Comic-Con panel (without pilot footage), click on the video below:

One of cable TV’s most-watched series also took center stage at Comic-Con Friday with a large entourage of costumed crew on stage for The Walking Dead panel. Mentioned at Comic-Con were the increasing tensions escalating this upcoming season and there’s even hint of some hook-ups (I know, the thought of it…) Walking Dead’s new season starts on October 19 on AMC with sixteen new episodes. Here’s the trailer, presented at Comic-Con naturally.

There was a lot of excitement at the Game Of Thrones panel this year – and much of the discussion was centered on the controversial Red Wedding episode, which featured a lot of um, dying. At the panel’s start, an “In Memoriam” clip was played to Boyz To Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”, honoring the deceased characters from the first three seasons. The panel was quite lively, with a lot of zaniness – e.g. moderator Elvis Mitchell calling creator George R.R. Martin “a heartless bastard” at the start of the panel for “killing” all those characters.

Don’t believe me? Well… I have the full of the Game Of Thrones panel right here (until “they” take it down.)

The Big Bang Theory Panel was back for its seventh season at the Con, but it was quite different from those in years past. For one, most of the cast were not in attendance this time around with the exception of Melissa Rauch (who moderated the panel) and Johnny Galecki, who made a cameo appearance dressed as… Princess Lela. Stephen Hawking also appeared – via tape – and “sung” the show’s theme song (see clip below.) The panel mainly featured the show’s writers and producers and took questions from the audience. The producers and writers talked about the future of Amy and Sheldon’s relationship (Shamy!), which is moving “glacially”, they said.

For the first time in years, former UPN and CW drama Veronica Mars made a Comic-Con appearance – this time to push a new movie. Mars made history by becoming the first project to be greenlighted by a studio thanks to a Kickstarter campaign (a financial contribution from the fans.) The audience at a packed Hall H saw the trailer of the film, which you can see below. Creator Rob Thomas (no, not the Matchbox Twenty lead singer – and STOP asking me about it) noted the story and plot to the movie had a “Godfather III vibe to it” (ummm… that’s good, right?)  Thomas points out that Veronica was no longer a PI, having done no such work since the series ended, and winds up getting pulled back into the lifestyle. On the first day of shooting, Kristen Bell (Veronica) admitted she was excited – and nervous. The movie was scheduled to wrap Monday after just 23 days in production.

And now, the trailer you all have been waiting for…

Also at Comic-Con Friday: Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx introduced The Amazing Spiderman 2 movie (to see footage of the panel, click here), and speaking of “twos”, Kick Ass 2 was present at the Con Friday to packed crowds and so was Riddick… and among the titles Dark Horse Comics announced as new comic book series (on Thursday) was Buzzzkill, featuring a superhero who gains powers – by doing drugs and consuming alcohol – then blacks out. And when he wakes up, thousands of people are dead.

If Buzzkill ever becomes a movie, Dark Horse better not have Robert Downey Jr. on speed dial.