NBC and Universal Television return to San Diego Comic-Con with all-star panels for its new and returning shows, including this fall’s new action-adventure series “Timeless” and freshman comedy “The Good Place,” starring Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, along with NBC’s take-over of Gaslamp Square featuring fan activities that includes an adventure ride, socially shareable activities and giveaways.
In addition to “Timeless” and “The Good Place,” panels and screenings will be held for “Blindspot,” “Grimm,” and new midseason comedy “Powerless,” along with exclusive first-looks of freshman mid-season dramas “Emerald City” and “Midnight, Texas,” as well as Universal Television produced drama series “Bates Motel.” Plus, NBC will also host its annual invite-only party at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23 on the Andaz Hotel rooftop.
Comic-Con attendees will be treated to three exciting NBC activations, giveaways, photo opportunities, exclusive content and more at Gaslamp Square (between the Convention Center and Hard Rock Hotel) starting Thursday, July 21 through Sunday, July 24.
- Go on a time-bending adventure with NBC’s new fall series “Timeless,” as fans get to ride on a “Gravitron” and take a shareable motion graphic photo that captures their time-travel experience. Your mission: to protect the past and save the future.
- Discover the world of “Emerald City,” NBC’s midseason drama series, as it takes over Tin Fish restaurant. Fans can take an animated sharable photo as an “Emerald City” character.
- Get a taste of “The Good Place” when you need a break from the heat with free fro-yo at the pop-up frozen yogurt shop.
In partnership with Comic-Con, the official Comic-Con App, brought to fans by NBC, offers attendees and TV fanatics a comprehensive mobile companion to the conference, including a dynamic schedule with live updates, interactive exhibit hall map, panel details and popular events. Plus you can collect your favorite moments and share with friends and sync your personal schedule on Comic-Con.org with the app. The app update will be available for download starting July 14 on the App Store or Google Play.
THE GOOD PLACE — (Thursday, July 21, 3-4 p.m., Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom: Sponsored by Universal Television)
From executive producer Michael Schur (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Parks and Recreation”) and director Drew Goddard (“The Martian”) comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, “CSI,” “Cheers”), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. “The Good Place” premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT Monday, Sept. 19 before moving to its regular 8:30 p.m. Thursday timeslot Sept. 22. Become a fan of #GoodPlace on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NBCTheGoodPlace/ and follow the show on Twitter @nbcthegoodplace.
POWERLESS – (Friday, July 22, 2:30-3:00 p.m., Room 6BCF: Sponsored by Warner Bros. Television)
It’s a superhero’s world. We just live in it. Join cast members Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”), Danny Pudi (“Community”) and Alan Tudyk (“Suburgatory”), along with executive producer Ben Queen (“A to Z”) and executive producer/director Michael Patrick Jann (“Reno 911”), for a screening of the pilot and Q&A covering the first comedy series set in the DC universe. “Powerless” is the story of Emily (Hudgens), a young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused when Super Heroes and Super Villains treat the city like their own personal battleground. Taking care of insurance needs one by one, Emily and her team of co-workers might not have any superpowers but they are out to make a difference in people’s lives and prove that you don’t need to have powers to be powerful! From Warner Bros. Television and based on characters from DC, “Powerless” premieres midseason on NBC. Become a fan of #Powerless on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NBCPowerless, and follow the show on Twitter at @NBCPowerless.
BATES MOTEL – (Friday, July 22 from 3:30-4:30 p.m., Room 6A: A&E Drama Series Sponsored Universal Television)
A&E’s hit drama series “Bates Motel” returns to SDCC on the heels of the pivotal season 4 finale. Join the cast: Vera Farmiga (“Norma”), Freddie Highmore (“Norman”), Max Thieriot (“Dylan Massett”) and Nestor Carbonell (“Sheriff Alex Romero”) along with creators and executive producers Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse as they reveal exclusive content from the new season. Come join us and find out what’s in store for Season 5!
BLINDSPOT- (Saturday, July 23, 12:00-12:45 p.m., Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom: Sponsored by Warner Bros. Television)
Following the shocking first-season finale, join “Blindspot” — last season’s # 1 new drama series on broadcast TV — as it returns to San Diego for its second appearance at Comic-Con! Sullivan Stapleton (“300: Rise of an Empire”) and Jaimie Alexander (“Thor: The Dark World”) star in this one-hour action thriller from Berlanti Productions and Quinn’s House, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Stapleton stars as hardened FBI agent Kurt Weller, who is drawn into a complex conspiracy when a mysterious woman, with no memories of her past, is found in Times Square, her body completely covered in intricate cryptic tattoos. As Weller and his teammates at the FBI — Edgar Reade (Rob Brown, “Treme”), Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza, “Blackbox”) and the tech-savvy Patterson (Ashley Johnson, “Much Ado About Nothing”) — begin to investigate the veritable roadmap of Jane Doe’s tattoos, they are drawn into a high-stakes underworld that twists and turns through a labyrinth of secrets and revelations — with the information exposing a larger conspiracy of crime, while bringing her closer to discovering the truth about her identity.
Join us for a special video presentation followed by a Q&A with series stars Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza, Ashley Johnson and writer/executive producer Martin Gero. “Blindspot” returns to NBC for its second season on Sept. 14 at 10 p.m., before moving to its regular timeslot of Wednesdays at 8 p.m. the following week. “Blindspot: The Complete First Season” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 2. Become a fan of #Blindspot on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NBCBlindspot and follow the show on Twitter @NBCBlindspot.
GRIMM – (Saturday, July 23, 2:30-3:15 p.m., Ballroom 20: Sponsored by Universal Television)
NBC’s hit Friday night series returns to Comic-Con! The rivalry that has been brewing between Nick Burkhardt and Capt. Sean Renard for five seasons will come to a fever pitch and change everything when “Grimm” returns for its sixth season. As if that weren’t enough, will the subtle glimpses of Juliette derail Nick’s budding romance with Adalind? How will Monroe and Rosalee handle their impending parenthood?
Join your fellow “Grimmsters” for a panel filled with Wesen, season six themes and, of course, a Q&A session with the cast and producers: David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Reggie Lee, Sasha Roiz, Bree Turner, Claire Coffee, and executive producers/writers Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt. Become a fan of #Grimm on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NBCGrimm/ and follow the show on Twitter @NBCGrimm.
In addition, Adria Arjona, who stars as Dorothy, will give fans an exclusive first look at NBC’s new Oz-reimagined series “Emerald City,” followed by an exclusive sneak peak at “Midnight, Texas,” based on the hit book series from author Charlaine Harris (“True Blood”).
TIMELESS – (Saturday, July 23, 4:15-5:15 p.m., Room 6A: Sponsored by Sony Pictures Television)
From the creative minds behind “Revolution,” “Supernatural” and “The Blacklist” comes “Timeless,” a thrilling new action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team — a scientist, soldier and history professor — who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events and uncover the mystery behind this dangerous fugitive’s actions.
Preview an exclusive premiere screening of “Timeless” and join Abigail Spencer (“Rectify,” “Oz the Great and Powerful”), Matt Lanter (“Ultimate Spider-Man,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”), Malcolm Barrett (“Key and Peele,” “The Hurt Locker”), Goran Visnjic (“ER,” “Extant”) and executive producers Eric Kripke (“Supernatural,” “Revolution”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “Mad Dogs”) for a Q&A session. “Timeless” premieres Monday, Oct. 11 at 10 p.m. on NBC and is produced by Sony Pictures Television. Become a fan of #Timeless on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NBCTimeless/ and follow the show on Twitter @NBCTimeless.
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.