Remember when Comic-Con was an annual convention where a bunch of comic book shops got together and talked about the latest Spider-Man?
Me, neither. No one does, or at least no one under the age of 40.
Two things got me to make this event an annual summer tradition: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Joss Whedon.
Whether either of them will be in San Diego in about nine weeks is not certain. After all, he has this movie to direct.
What is certain is that people will get their first looks at what most of us will be seeing this fall. Sometimes a show can have a really cool pilot, then fade out fast. That's why The Event was really the pilot episode, when the plane vanished to keep the President from getting killed--followed by a loud bunch of nothing.
Other times, it can be the start of shows that have become classics, from Lost, Chuck, Warehouse 13 and Fringe to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Being Human, Stargate SG-1 and The Guild (yes, Felicia, your show counts because it proved all the internet can be better than cable sometimes).
So, now that the Big Four and a Half networks have unveiled their fall plans, let's see which shows will likely get a panel at Comic-Con.
ABC: Castle will be the only returning show, thanks to the appeal of Nathan Fillion. Two mysteries will be discussed: will Rick and Kate get together after she recovers from what happened just as season three ended, and if his Derrick Storm graphic novel will sell more books than Nikki Heat. Three new shows will likely be featured: The River (search for a missing explorer), the Charlie's Angels reboot, and Once Upon a Time (what if part of Maine was the home of fairy tales). I think Angels will get more attention because of the legacy of the old show and even the movies.
NBC: Like ABC, only one returning show, Chuck. Fans of the show will be speculating what will happen next for the Bartowski Gang. Two new shows may get a panel: Grimm, a crime drama where fairy tale characters are involved, and Awake, where a man lives in two realities after an accident. I'd throw in the new version of Prime Suspect with Maria Bello as a wild card.
CBS: Hawaii Five-O may be back. It was a popular panel last year. Big Bang Theory is a lock for a return. One dark horse may be A Gifted Man, about a surgeon who gets life lessons from the ghost of his dead wife.
CW: Hellcats will not be here. Nikita will, and a lot more than just a new episode. Supernatural will also be back because the girls just love those Winchester Boys. Vampire Diaries will also be back. The new Kevin Williamson show, Secret Circle, is certain to get a preview.
To most people, though, there is only one CW show everyone wants to see: Ringer. It's the only show because of Sarah Michelle Gellar, making a long-awaited return to TV as a girl who impersonates her rich twin sister, only to learn sis also made too many enemies. It will air Tuesdays at 9, which happens to be when Buffy used to air way back when.
The only question is whether she'll be there to promote the show. She hasn't been in San Diego since The Grudge. If she is there, they'll need Petco Park and Hall H and the Sails Pavilion to accommodate everyone who wants to see her.
FOX: As usual, this network will dominate the TV side of Comic-Con. It's a mix of animation domination, returning shows and two high-priced rookies. The veteran dramas include Fringe, Bones and Glee. The animated shows include The Simpsons to Family Guy, along with two new ones, Napoleon Dynamite and Allan Gregory.
Most of the attention will be on Terra Nova, where a family goes back to prehistoric times to save Earth's future, and Alcatraz, where several inmates from that prison somehow travel to the future. Terra Nova got an early look at Wondercon, and more special effects scenes will be featured to get people to watch this show on Mondays. Alcatraz has the backing of JJ Abrams, and Jorge Garcia for the Lost fans.
Cable shows will also be featured including Doctor Who's second half of the 2011 season, Being Human, Warehouse 13, Eureka, True Blood, Game of Thrones, Torchwood: Miracle Day, and even Weeds. (ETA: I forgot about Alphas, a new Syfy show where people with enhnced abilities join together against evil. It will premiere before the con).
TV networks of today are dominating Comic-Con the way neighborhood comic book stores did when Comic-Con fit neatly in a local hotel.