Friday, April 23, 2010

San Francisco's Cuckoo for Coco...again!

When I was at Anaheim Wizard World, I called this picture, "What do Serenity and Conan have in Common?"

What do Conan and Serenity Have In Common?

First Fox threw Firefly away, then Universal decided not to give us a Serenity sequel....yet. Maybe adapting the Dark Horse comics could help?

You may say Conan O'Brien is in the same boat, but in reverse. NBC tossed him aside in favor of Jay Leno and his old yet reliable viewers, then Fox decided not to choose him because the affiliates believe endless sitcom reruns at 11 PM are the highest form of TV.

Oh yeah? You think Charlie Sheen or Jay Leno can do THIS??

They Seemed To Like It..Because They DID!

Conan wowed his fans at the Masonic Auditorium last night with songs, stories, illegal-ish appearances by some of his favorite characters, and overall unleashed fun.
My seat was a little farther away from the 10th row chair I had when he had his Late Night show at the Orpheum in 2007. Still, a balcony seat is not too bad.

View from my seat at the Masonic

Now, there's a ton of YouTube clips of Conan in action, and it's possible you could save 70 bucks by getting the experience that way.
Forget it. You have to see this live for at least one absolute reason:
there is not a chance in HELL Jay Leno could ever do what Conan is doing, and selling out as quickly as he has. NEVER! NEVER!!!!
David Letterman and Stephen Colbert....maybe, but in nightclubs somewhere.

If you have fished for Conan clips on YouTube, you know the line-up: Conan as a complete mess, then getting into fighting weight for the tour, the "Polk Salad" song,

Surprise! A Nice Picture From My Seat

Triumph, the Masturbating Bear and his new "disguise",

No, that's the Self-Pleasuring Panda from China..

the Chuck Norris lever, and the band rocking out to kick things off. There's also the inflatable bat he bought from Meat Loaf. It's almost guaranteed that's going to be outside Conan's new home studio in November.

Soon To Be Outside Conan's New Talk Show Studio

However, there's nothing better than local touches to each stop. While Seattle enjoyed Eddie Vedder and Vancouver had Seth Rogan, the 4/22 show had Chris Isaak (quite the oddball himself) and Conan doing Elvis quite well.

Conan With Chris Isaak Sing Elvis

Andy Richter even explained what he learned during his hiatus, while riding a Muppet horse, and also gave the most unusual live commercials you ever heard. Let's say they involve a Fisherman's Wharf tradition and something you'd never expect to see on Geary Street.

I wonder what Conan will have planned for Sacramento on May 6th. Mocking Governor Schwartzengger's Jingle All the Way seems likely....along with him showing up. I certainly hope they get a good musical guest, too.

My next wish...hoping to combine a CreationCon Whedon Weekend with getting tickets to Conan's second show for TBS. Hey, hoping to see the first show live would be nuts!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Anaheim: Home of Lots of Hotels

I'll say this...the Convention Center is big.
Aside from the predicted sea of celebs who will just happen to show up for Anaheim Wizard World this weekend, there's also another convention devoted to chocolate and coffee, at least. One of the security guys told me it's not unusual to see four conventions at once.
Well, it's just two this weekend. I will say Anaheim's argument that it has a mountain of hotel rooms, is a good one. Here's another: more affordable restaurants aside from the chains. Little shops. Maybe a Vons store.
Then again, if L-A wants Comic-Con, it should also get a Vons downtown. All it has is the Staples Center and a Rite-Aid. The fact there is a Metro hub nearby is helpful, but not enough.

So far, I've talked to Doug Jones, Camden Toy and Mark Lutz (aka Groo from the Pylea arc on Angel). The big guns, especially Jewel Staite, start today. Hope they have time. I especially want to hear from Miracle Laurie, and whether she thinks she can make a good Wonder Woman, as one blogger says.

I am also careful not to spend too much on action figures designed to be eBay bait. I got a Matt Smith, and may get another Buffy figure. We'll see. There are always Sunday bargains.
I just wish there were more giveaways, especially Kick-Ass. If I somehow snag a signature from Stan Lee, years after I got a picture of him at Comic-Con, that would also be cool. But first, have to get those interviews!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Now, Anaheim Awaits

Usually, when I go to Hollywood or San Diego, I stay in one place, or one city.
This is different.
The first half of my Spring holiday is done, and I am ready to go to Anaheim by train, only because I can.
I just have to squeeze in a Hollywood Walk of Fmae ceremony tomorrow, then I'm on my way.

The past two days have been fine. Kimmel was funny and sexy, or actually Alyssa Milano was. Green is her color.
The Specials mini-concert was a little shorter than I expected. Then again, they had just arrived from being on Jimmy Fallon the night before. They need practice, but they also need sleep. I just wish they had played "Rat Race" or "Message to You Rudy."
Then I spent the whole day seeing off The Bonnie Hunt Show. As usual, both tapings ran over, and were worth it. I'm a little disappointed the taping for the 4/20show didn't have Chris Kattan as I thought. If I knew that, I would have tried to get to that Streamys unofficial event.
Still, it s a BIG shame her show is wrapping up next month. There's lots of room for a show like hers, especially since Tyra Banks is leaving and Martha Stewart is going to share a cable channel, or dominate its programming. It also ends any reason to go to Culver City...for now.
I was thinking of going to Kick-Ass at the Arclight, but I didn't see any people dressed up as the main characters. I also was a bit tired. I may try to see it at the nearby AMC multiplex.

My main concern is seeing if the Anaheim Convention Center can handle Comic-Con as well as San Diego. So far, my only concern is that Anaheim lacks a downtown...and Downtown Disney doesn't count. Thanks to San Diego officials suddenly seeing they could lose their big nerd money train, they're finally starting to expand.
Anyway, I originally planned to go to finally meet Eliza Dushku. However, she's now in Central America for another goodwill mission. She even tweeted about sleeping with termites. Some may hope she'll be in San Diego for Comic-Con to talk about the season two DVD of Dollhouse. At least I can talk to Miracle Laurie about the show, if it can be done.

I had also hoped I'd talk to Juliet Landau about the response to Take Flight, and her YouTube interviews. However, she came down with the flu. So, she'll spend the weekend at home, However, more TF interviews are coming.

It's certain we'll get a zillion celebrities in Anaheim, and I will get to talk to some of them. I just have to remember this isn't like Comic-Con or a CreationCon event. This is just different, and I'll approach it that way. I will still get some interviews for Whednopolis, and maybe I'll spot some "surprise" guests. It is just the first time I'll be in Anaheim with no need for Disneyland.

Then, Conan O'Brien awaits!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Week In Cable: The Future Is Conan...and Wrestling?

It's been a very interesting week in TV, and it's only Tuesday.

Then again, having Conan O'Brien return to TV in an unexpected place would be the biggest TV story of the year. Nearly everyone was certain he'd return to late-night TV on Fox. After all, it has everything except late-night success during the week. The network itself started with a late-night show with Joan Rivers in 1986, then went on to prime-time slowly. With the prestige of 24, The Simpsons, American Idol and House, plus sports, having Conan would be the final piece of the puzzle.
Sure, the affiliates weren't sold on having Conan at 11 PM, because he wouldn't be as lucrative as endless repeats of Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men and Family Guy. Still, Conan almost had to go to Fox, because it's his only chance to make NBC regret the day it dumped him for Jay Leno. Maybe, if Conan's lucky, all of Fox's stations will air him at 11 PM by 2013. He'll understand. He has no choice.
At least, that's according to entertainment "experts".

Then we find out he has found a new home....on cable....TBS.
Wha? Who? TBS? Didn't they have wrestling at one time? They say they're "very funny", but it's just cable...not Fox, where he's supposed to be.
To be honest, I didn't believe it either, when Conan mentioned it on his Twitter feed. I thought it was a joke.
It wasn't.
So, what does this mean? Has Conan failed? Does this mean he'll never defeat Jay Leno, and make Jeff Zucker weep? Have we, as a nation, failed?
Or maybe we should look at it another way....Fox blew it!!
Or, its stations did.

I can't help but think Fox was too confident Conan would make a deal with them, and get used to the idea that only 70 percent of the nation would want him at 11 PM. This was based on one belief: we are Fox, and Conan going to cable would be a further humiliation that a wildly successful live tour could never erase. Thus, Conan will call us any....
Then, in the words of Homey the Clown, "I don't think so. Homey...or Coco..don't play that"

TBS has a lot to offer: a salary about the same as NBC, 100 percent coverage at the flip of a switch, he owns the show, web presence, anything he likes.
As for the guy who's already at 11 PM, George Lopez, he's all for it, because Conan's fans may stay for his show, too.
Also, West Coast viewers can see Conan at 8 PM, if they have the HD feed.
We sometimes forget cable is beating regular TV in many ways, especially creatively. Mad Men, True Blood, The Tudors and Rescue Me, anyone? While it's also doing well with late-night comedy, especially Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, having someone as big as Conan O'Brien would be...all together now...the final piece of the puzzle.
Conan's tour now serves as the prelude to his new show on cable, while the network prepares to promote the heck out of it. Maybe TBS will even sell ads for the show to Fox affiliates...around 11 PM, during a repeat of Seinfeld.
Now, if only I can get an "I'm With Coco" button and a TBS hat. I do have a homemade t-shirt that will serve the same purpose, though.

Now, the inexplicable....

Syfy will be ending its "reality" wrestling show WWE NXT this fall, which hopefully means SyFy will imagine greater by sticking to sci-fi.
Nope. It will be the new home for Friday Night Smackdown starting October 1st. Thus, Friday nights, the home of Battlestar Galactica, the Stargate shows and Sanctuary, now give way to Jack Swagger, Edge and Beth Phoenix.
Unless you can introduce some wrestlers that look like minotaurs, aliens or N'avi, this is a terrible idea for the network. Wrestling has pulled in a lot of viewers for SyFy, but it shouldn't end its traditional Friday fare for the WWE. Thursdays with a Sunday repeat would make more sense.
Also, what happens to MyNetwork TV now? The only original shows it has are Smackdown, Deal or No Deal, which may be on its way out, and Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader. Aside from that, it was reruns and movies. The affiliates would go back to being independents, and no one would notice.
Remember when the channel figured to be something new with tele-novelas in English and reality shows? So much for those days.
The Smackdown move is really a setback for a a network that no longer exists, and cable channel that should be living up to its name.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wondercon: Other Impressions

As my annual Wondercon weekend comes to a close, I am preparing for the Chuck press conference that NBC had the courtesy to tell us about, unlike other networks I know. While my hotel is comfortable and close to the action, next time I will choose one with free coffee and internet. Travelodge, all is forgiven.

That said, some other impressions...

James Marsters at Wondercon

James Marsters meeting with fans. He's now in the center of things on Caprica. We should know more this fall.

Pull the chopsticks, win a prize

California Browncoats have an interesting way to wait money for charity. Just choose the lucky chopsticks!

Tom Servo's Kissing Booth

This would make both fans of MST3K and Naruto wonder...a lot

Try this, Tea Party

Considering he made a census taker's life interesting in an SNL sketch in 2000, why not? He'd also demand more cowbell.

He's not Nick Cage

As you can see, Wondercon needs someone who checks place cards with the actors. Not only that, Nicholas Cage didn't use that place card. By the way, this is Columbus Short, Chris Evans and Zoe Saldana plugging The Losers

From Watchman to Boogey Man

Jackie Earle Haley, the new Freddy Krueger, and also still a Watchman and Chris Chance's best friend on Human Target

After the Dark Knight...

Christopher Nolan, a big surprise at Wondercon, and he had more footage from a very wild sci-fi flick called Inception. It has Leo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Michael Caine...and that is only the beginning

Big Daddy...and how

Kick-Ass and Hot Tub Boy

Wait's who's McLovin?

Kick-Ass will do just that. Here's some pix of Nicholas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Clark Duke, Chris Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz. Cage had some interesting things to say about how comic books have been a big part of our culture, about the came as old mythology. Johnson is actually British, and Duke is still that damn funny! I still say he looks like the son of the PC guy from the Apple ads.
And...if Joss wants to remake the original Buffy movie, he should call Chloe, especially after her Hit Girl scenes. If she can also do justice to the US version of Let the Right One In, she will hit it big.

One more thing...I am through with V. I don't like seeing Morena Baccarin so cold and stoic she makes Spock look like Jim Carrey. At least the V's from the '80s had some personality. Must be that Bliss that she uses to controls her followers. Ruins the acting.
The only interesting plotline is one of the Vs discovering he's made his girlfriend pregnant, and that it's making her do very scary things.
But after seeing Anna try to make an army by choosing a sperm donor, having the ugliest sex ever, then killing the guy like she was a Black Widow, forget it. Not even John May can save this. This is why Captain Tightpants can count on anoher busy TV season but a Companion may not.
One more thing...when Wondercon decided to show trailers before the Kick-Ass panel, the crowd loudly booed the latest Twilight movie. This is not a sign the movie will be a bomb (it'll make its usual 125 mil). It just shows their resentment towards Twilight fans who have flooded the Comic-Con crowds...and for what? Shirtless werewolves? A lot of supernatural angst?
We have that. it's called Buffy the Vampire Slayer...and Vampire Diaries, if you say.

Wondercon: A 26-Year-Old Time Lord? Sure!

Four Satisfied Whovians

Aside from Kick-Ass and Chistopher Nolan making a surprise appearance for his new film about stealing ideas from brains, Wondercon also featured the first U-S appearance of the 11th Dr. Who, Matt Smith.
Not him, of course (darn it!), but the episode "Eleventh Hour".
Folks, relax. This guy has the role down cold, and mainly because of how he handles the latest life-or-death situtaion while still recovering from his regeneration. Usually, first episodes with a new Doctor can be tricky, from Twin Dilemma to Christmas Invasion. Not here.

The way they intoduce her new sidekick, Amy Pond, is also brilliant. Let's just say they get introduced twice, but it's all because of the same problem: an escaped prisoner whose very presence threatens the Earth. Karen Gillan is quite a spirited redhead, and can certainly hold her own. They will guide the new era of Doctor Who quite well, with Stephen Moffatt as showrunner.

For those who couldn't make Wondercon, "Eleventh Hour" is coming on the 17th, with some additional footage. Americans will basically see the show two weeks after the UK does, which is still an improvement over even two years ago, when we had to see the Christmas Invasion in July. Smith and Gillan will actually visit the states next week at the Paley Center NY. Expect lots of interviews after that.
Ah, but if only they could come to Comic-Con, with San Diego in the 80's.

The First Kid On My Block....

Aside from a little thing called Wondercon, and news about silly things like movies or TV, there was something more important happening at the Apple store in San Francisco...

65 Years ago, they'd be waiting for nylons

Way back in the 40's you'd expect this crowd to get the latest shipment of nylons. Now, it's the iPad, Apple's newest invention that will change computers forever. From the early reviews, they may be right. It's a big iTouch, but imagine surfing the net, typing, and everything you can do with an iPhone with this iPad. It's even got a non-speaking part on Modern Family, for crying out loud.
While I am tempted, I'll stick with my laptop, and see if the Windows-verse has anything similar I hear Hewlett-Packard will pretty soon, and it will include what the iPad doesn't have, like an USB port, a webcam, and a less silly name.

Still, the iPad is the Breakthrough of the Hour...until iPad 2 has what it doesn't have now. or now, this man has the most famous new toy in the world, and the first to get it that day.

Bigger than getting the first HDTV

He says he can't wait to get it home and try it. At least for now, Christmas came in April for Apple fans. For more demanding computer nerds, it may come when Windows has its own version, with the webcam and USB ports.

Wondercon: Never Been To A Protest Before

Just after I arrived at Wondercon this past weekend, I saw this guy...

Say, who is this Flynn

I had heard of these guys. They think one of the most famous video game developers is hiding somewhere and Encom, the company he made, won't look for him. In fact, Alan Bradley, who knows more about the bottom line than being online, has been living on Flynn's success. He's supposed to be at a press conference at the Embarcadero near the Hyatt Regency.

Then, this started to circulate...

A pamphlet of protest

A protest meeting at the Hyatt Regency, instead of some abandoned complex? Well, I'll tag along.
Actually, this was part of a secret pan to tell the world about Flynn, and how he can be saved from the evil Encom...or worse.
However, anyone who knows more about the plot of Tron Legacy says it's a bit trickier than that. In fact, Bradley's announcement that Space Paranoids will be going online just like XBox Live means gaming is about to take a whole new affecting ours.

So, here's some of the pictures before the event started...

Press conference

Alan Bradley

Bradley himself, who looks a lot like Bruce Boxlietner...

Big announcement from Alan Bradley

The announcement of Space Paranoids online...

Imagine this in XBox Live?

Then...things take a sudden turn...

This wasn't planned

The protest group, Flynn Lives, takes the stage, saying Encom should spend its money on finding him, while his son is doing just that. Both will have a big surprise in store...

Who lives? Flynn Lives!

And to paraphrase Billy Bragg, Join the struggle while you may, the next revolution is just a website away...

The Internet Will Be Televised

That was followed by someone jumping out of a company helicopter, which I didn't get a good picture of. He landed, and there's word it could have been Flynn's son. Again, everyone is unaware where Flynn really is..but his son will find out--and how.
The "protesters" got some cool swag for their trouble, and may get more. Those who have registered with have recorded the fact there were at the protest, and plan to do more things for Flynn. After all, July in San Diego is perfect protest weather.
As for me, I applied for a fake Encom pass. Who knows when it may come in handy.
The footage of the press conference, of course, will be part of the movie. I probably won't since I had a Warner Brothers bag with me. Can't have that in a Disney movie.