CBS Television Studios will kick off San Diego Comic-Con® with exclusive world premiere screenings of its new series EVIL for CBS and NANCY DREW for The CW on Thursday, July 18. As previously announced, cast and producers of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS and STAR TREK: PICARD will beam into HALL H for a first-ever “Star Trek” universe back-to-back panel block on Saturday, July 20.
DETAILS ON PANELS AND EVENTS (in chronological order):
THURSDAY, JULY 18
“EVIL” EXCLUSIVE SCREENING AND PANEL 12:45-2:00 PM – EVIL is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter as they investigate the church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there’s a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work. Please join series stars Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi and Michael Emerson along with co-creators and executive producers Robert King and Michelle King for an exclusive sneak peek of the first episode followed by a panel discussion. Moderated by Lynette Rice from Entertainment Weekly. EVIL will air Thursdays this fall on CBS. Ballroom 20
“NANCY DREW” EXCLUSIVE SCREENING AND PANEL 2:00-3:15 PM – Nancy Drew is a brilliant teenaged detective whose sense of self had come from solving mysteries in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay, Maine – until her mother’s untimely death derails Nancy’s college plans. Devastated by her mother’s passing, Nancy swears off crime-solving, but when a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation. A supernatural presence begins to haunt Nancy’s investigation, and she discovers that the current crime has an astonishing connection to the unsolved murder of a local girl. Whether the ghost is here to help or hinder Nancy remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Nancy’s going to have to unravel the clues from both the living and the dead to solve the crimes. Please join series stars Kennedy McMann, Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani, Alex Saxon and Tunji Kasim, along with executive producers Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu-Taylor and Stephanie Savage for an exclusive sneak peek of the first episode followed by a panel discussion. Moderated by Damian Holbrook of TV Guide magazine. NANCY DREW will air Wednesdays this fall on The CW. Ballroom 20
SATURDAY, JULY 20
“ENTER THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” PANEL 11:30 AM -1:00 PM – Over 50 years ago, the world was first introduced to what would quickly become a cultural phenomenon for the ages. “Star Trek” broke barriers then and continues to do so now, inspiring people of all generations and walks of life with its celebration of cultural diversity, scientific exploration and the pursuit of uncharted frontiers. Today, the “Star Trek” universe continues to thrive, exploring all new missions for Starfleet. CBS All Access invites you to join the cast and producers of its hit series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and be the first to hear about two new upcoming additions to the “Star Trek” universe: the highly anticipated new series STAR TREK: PICARD, starring Sir Patrick Stewart, and the animated series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS. Hall H
DETAILS ON ACTIVATIONS AND GIVEAWAYS:
“STAR TREK” UNIVERSE BOOTH: U.S.S. DISCOVERY TRANSPORTER EXPERIENCE AND “TREK” TALENT MEET-AND-GREETS – CBS All Access is bringing the “Star Trek” universe to the San Diego Comic-Con Exhibit Hall, Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 21, where fans are invited to step aboard the U.S.S. Discovery and travel to strange and distant lands through an immersive transporter experience. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet some of their favorite “Star Trek” talent in person with meet-and-greets in the booth (Booth #4237) on Saturday, July 20. Comic-Con badges are required for entry.
“STAR TREK” UNIVERSE EXCLUSIVE PINS – A number of exclusive, limited-quantity “Star Trek” pins will be available to fans during Comic-Con. All week long, a Starfleet Headquarters visitors badge will be available for those who visit and complete the “Star Trek” transporter experience on the show floor. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday, a limited quantity of pins featuring the debut of two characters from the upcoming CBS All Access animated show STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS will also be available from the “Star Trek” booth. At the “Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty” museum experience at Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts, fans can get an exclusive replica pin of the Picard family crest as seen in STAR TREK: PICARD.
“JEAN-LUC PICARD: THE FIRST DUTY” EXHIBIT – In celebration of Patrick Stewart’s return to his iconic “Star Trek: The Next Generation” role, “Jean-Luc Picard: The First Duty” is a special exhibition showcasing original props, costumes and other artifacts tracing Picard’s life and Starfleet career. Items on display include his cherished Ressikan flute, the legendary Picard family album, his Starfleet uniforms, models of ships Picard captained, and all that remains of the “Borg Queen.” The gallery also features exclusive first looks at costumes and other items featured in the upcoming CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD. Visitors will have the first chance to purchase exclusive STAR TREK: PICARD merchandise and opportunities for exclusive giveaways. The gallery is located at Michael J Wolf Fine Arts, 363 Fifth Ave., San Diego, Calif. 92101 and will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Comic-Con from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM and on Sunday from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
COMIC-CON COMEDY SHUTTLE – CBS will offer complimentary rides throughout the Gaslamp District in branded shuttles. Featured shows will include the new fall comedies BOB ♥ ABISHOLA, CAROL’S SECOND ACT and THE UNICORN. Trailers of the series will be screened for the passengers as well.
Additionally, EVIL will be offering festival-goers complimentary rides during the day throughout the Gaslamp District, while hosting “Frightseeing Tours” in the evenings in Old Town. Trailers of EVIL, a CBS original series, will be screened for the passengers, and brand ambassadors will distribute giveaways. Exclusive “Frightseeing Tours” will run Thursday and Friday nights for select fans.
STEP INTO THE “TWILIGHT ZONE” EXPERIENCE – From Thursday, July 18 to Sunday, July 21. Located in the Interactive Zone at Petco Park, fans will be transported into CBS All Access’ THE TWILIGHT ZONE as they enjoy an immersive experience not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Reserve FREE tickets at: StepIntoTheTwilightZone.com.
CARPOOL KARAOKE THE MIC – The Singing Machine launches CARPOOL KARAOKE THE MIC at San Diego Comic-Con from July 18 to July 21, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Located in space “J” at the Interactive Zone at Petco Park, fans will be able to recreate the fun of James Corden’s wildly popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment and become the star of the car as they hop inside a branded Range Rover to sing along to their favorite songs. There will also be a daily CARPOOL KARAOKE THE MIC giveaway to a lucky fan that has posted their performance on social media.
CARPOOL KARAOKE THE MIC will be available for purchase with free direct-to-consumer shipping in the U.S., including a Carpool Karaoke Popsocket.
Midnight Mass: The Blood of Life
The isolated island community of Crockett receives a mysterious new head priest, full of secrets and a brand new testament under a very unusual Messenger of God.
Meet poor Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford), freshly released from prison and wracked with guilt over what got him there, a stupid drinking accident that caused the death of his ex-girlfriend. The last thing he wants to do is go back to Crockett and the judgment of the mostly religious community there, his disappointed family, and the nightmares of his ex’s death that plague him. But where else would have him? Resignedly on the ferry, he goes.
Riley’s dad Ed (Henry Thomas) isn’t the kind of man who talks very much at all, much less about his feelings, or his very real disappointment in his elder son. Riley’s teen brother Warren (Igby Rigney) has no idea what to say to him either, and just generally keeps mum. Riley’s mom Annie (Kristin Lehman) is accepting and loving, hesitant in how to help her eldest son but never wavering in her faith in the help of our lord Jesus. Mom seems to think a good heaping dose of the Church would set Riley right but is surprised to learn that the old priest of the Parish, Pruitt, has taken an extended leave of absence from the island, and his newcomer replacement Father Paul (Hamish Linklater) is young, charismatic, and bursting at the seams to tell the whole island about the gifts he brought them, most especially what he claims as a new testament under a messenger of God.
We’ll get back to that whole ball of issues in a moment, the other interesting characters of Crockett Island. Bev Keane (Samantha Sloyan) is the nightmarish overly polite and gently, almost lovingly condescending neighbor Christian woman you’ve ever loathed, the kind of person who explains away every last thing her Church may do wrong or contradictory because, after all, God works in mysterious ways. Pfft. Of course, Bev immediately ingratiates herself as the second to the new Father Paul in their services and is the first to start covering up his transgressions as they become more rampant.
Newcomers to Crockett Sheriff Hassan (Rahul Kohli) and his son Ali (Rahul Abburi) present a burgeoning problem to the plans of Father Paul and his shadowy companion, for they are both practicing Muslims. The practical side of investigating these so-called ‘miracles’ and strange happenings falls on Hassan’s shoulders, as he already struggles with barely-concealed racism and suspicion from his fellow islanders, and of course his son is being wooed away from him by the promise of actual, tangible miracles, but from a different whole faith and God. Father Paul definitely does not practice a traditional Christian faith and relies far too much on making use of the eucharist, the ceremony of the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ turning into bread and wine and, well, consumed.
Wade (Michael Trucco) and his wife Dolly (Crystal Balint) are lifers of the island and both in general interested in one thing, the advancement of their own family, specifically their daughter Leeza (Annarah Cymone), who happens to be in a wheelchair. And that happens to be the canny Father Paul’s first real miracle-with-a-cost that he demonstrates to the astonishment of the parishioners, after a heartfelt and rousing sermon, Father Paul commands Leeza to rise, to stand, and to walk. And lo, she does. What parents wouldn’t wholly dedicate themselves to a cause after seeing this happen to their beloved precious daughter? The fringe benefits of healing, and power, the ones that come at a mighty, currently unnamed, cost, are simply a nice bonus.
Joe Collie (Robert Longstreet) is the town drunk, and while his reasons for drowning his sorrows in the sauce might be understandable, absolution wears a very different face when it comes from Father Paul. While Leeza might be willing to forgive Joe, and even as Joe begins attending the newly-formed Al-Anon meetings on the island of course hosted by Father Paul, redemption might’ve been better sought from medical professionals, and not this newfound method of religious worship.
Dr. Sarah Gunning (Annabeth Gish) is the islands’ kind of all-around medic, and this is how she and Riley’s old friend Erin (Kate Siegel), also newly returned to the island, a few months pregnant but traveling quietly alone, met when Erin comes to the Doc for obstetrics. Sarah’s older mother Mildred Gunning (Alexandra Essoe) has many medical and mental issues, and Sarah struggles in their shared home, to take care of her addled mom and balance her own life. Then Father Paul takes it upon himself to visit one of his oldest parishioners, bringing the sacred host and wine with him to give directly to Mildred, who starts looking and acting so much better under his loving care.
The show is very much a slow slow burn, with a lot of the actual action taking place in the last two episodes. Much of the beginning and middle episodes feature two people just sitting alone, having quiet and seriously in-depth conversations about heavy subjects – grief and repentance, what happens when we die, the disasters that come as a result of addictions, how our actions’ consequences reverberate to those we love around us, faith and the foibles of man, and of course, the giving of oneself over to a higher power, for strength, and guidance, and love.
Except, for the higher power that Father Paul brought back with him, to share with his beloved flock of Crockett Island, while it may be extremely powerful and full of what could be considered miraculous magic, everything comes at some kind of a cost. And when the Messenger of God is finally revealed to the shocked denizens of Crockett at Easter Mass, with Father Paul rapturing on about rebirth as the bloody massacre begins in earnest, it’s faith, not in any kind of God or religion, but faith in each other, that may save a few hardy souls.
Question the wisdom of your religious leaders along with the rest of us in a fine slow-burn addition to the Flanaverse, Midnight Mass is on Netflix now!
Saw X: It ain’t brain surgery!
Legendary executioner Jigsaw returns to exact revenge on a cadre of scam artists who promised him a bogus cure for his cancer!
First off, be aware, that this is what I call an interleaved sequel, a movie set between previous films in the franchise. In this case, Saw X occurs after the events of the very first Saw film, and before Saw II. Everybody got where we are? Good! Into the madness, we dive!
So, as we all know, John Kramer’s been diagnosed with cancer, very aggressive brain cancer, and likely doesn’t have much time left. And he’s tried everything under the sun, doing a ton of meticulous research, we’d expect nothing less from our master of the art of murder, and not one thing has worked. Yet one man from the support group for cancer sufferers, Henry (Michael Beach), offers an off-the-books supposed miracle cure, and John jumps at the chance.
Why does this nonsense always sound too good to be true? Because it is. Deleted scenes from the first Deadpool movie already told us why traveling to Mexico for any kind of medical cure is a sublimely stupid move, but Kramer is desperate. And while he might be sick and dying, John Kramer has never been what anyone could call stupid. So the villa out in the Mexican countryside, the affable cab driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto) professes surprise at Kramer being highjacked for his good, the nervous muttering from assistant Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), the side-eyeing from little housekeep Gabriela (Renata Vaca) and her tequila, and most especially the smooth and smarming reassurances of head “doctor” Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), all leave a kind of sour taste in John’s mouth.
The whole cluex4 scene is done in the style that the Saw films are known for, where we the audience are treated to cut-together explanatory scenes in a flip-flash fashion of usually about two minutes, for poor John when he realizes he’s been hoodwinked and just how badly, seems a little contrived. But then it’s entirely possible that we the audience truly expected our genius mastermind of the infamous Jigsaw murders to have realized what was happening sooner, and got enraged along with Kramer. And cheered as he prepared to take his bloody and ultra-violent revenge!
First up in our grand guignol of executions is the return of Jigsaw’s first protégé, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). And despite her avowed reverence for Jigsaw and his proven “therapy”, Amanda does waver a bit when the scammers are put through the paces of their specially-made Saw traps, and they shriek and blubber and bleed out. The appearance of the ringer of the bunch, Parker (Steven Brand), doesn’t even slow our beloved engineer of the damned down, because we knew Jigsaw would have his other apprentice waiting just off stage, the deliciously vicious Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). Even the monkeywrench of involving little-boy soccer fan Carlos (Jorge Briseno) in the traps, is just another cog in the machine that is the brilliantly plotting mind of John Kramer.
A fine addition to the Saw legends, showcasing a return to the beloved style and panache of the original Tobin Bell-starring Jigsaw films, Saw X is splashing gore and gallons of blood in theaters now!
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off,” Netflix’s latest series, is a rollicking journey through the world of video game culture, blending nostalgic references with a fresh narrative twist. Centered around Scott Pilgrim, portrayed with magnetic charisma by Michael Cera, the show skillfully integrates gaming elements into its storytelling, creating a delightful homage to the video game subculture.
The series cleverly employs pixelated graphics, power-up animations, and game-like sound effects to bring the virtual world to life. These visual cues, reminiscent of classic video games, enhance the storytelling and resonate with audiences familiar with the gaming landscape. The attention to detail in recreating iconic gaming moments is commendable, creating a visual and auditory treat for enthusiasts.
The exploration of video game culture goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes an integral part of the characters’ identities and interactions. The script intelligently weaves gaming terminology and tropes into the dialogue, effectively blending the real and virtual worlds. The series navigates the challenges and triumphs of the characters through the lens of gaming, making it a unique and engaging experience for both gamers and general audiences.
The ensemble cast, including standout performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, and Chris Evans embraces the gaming theme with infectious enthusiasm. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, adding emotional depth to the series.
“Scott Pilgrim Takes Off” successfully taps into the zeitgeist of video game culture, offering a nostalgic yet contemporary take on the gaming phenomenon. It’s a must-watch for those who cherish the pixelated roots of the gaming world while providing an accessible and entertaining narrative for a broader audience. The series takes off not only in its title but also in its ability to soar within the ever-expanding realm of Netflix originals.