From a brief look at the San Diego Comic-Con schedule – and the fact that our first crack at this narrowed down the number of panels to a lean thirty-seven – this year is the year of television. From TV taking over the massive Hall H, to some significant anniversaries for the King of Comic-Con, Mr. Joss Whedon, you’d need five DVRs just to fit all the awesome content coming your way in one packed weekend. Luckily, we managed to distill the list down to the hottest, biggest panels you’ll want to check out each day of Comic-Con. Consider this your official TV schedule for 2012:
Luckily, there’s only one thing on Wednesday, but it’s a doozy: screenings of several highly anticipated geek TV pilots, and also, 666 Park Avenue:
6:00-9:45 Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings— Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television proudly continue their annual Preview Night tradition, with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of five of the most highly anticipated TV series pilots of the 2012–13 television season: 666 Park Avenue, Arrow, The Following, Revolution and Cult.
Thursday starts late, and is nice and light.
2:30-3:30 MTV’s Teen Wolf— Cast members Tyler Posey, Dylan O’Brien, Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Holland Roden and Colton Haynes, along with executive producer Jeff Davis, present an exclusive first-look at a new episode, followed by a Q&A session. Stay for the don’t-miss world premiere trailer of MTV’s upcoming scripted comedy series The Inbetweeners. Room 6A
Yes, we know we’re paying the corporate piper a bit with this one, but last year’s panel was packed to the gills, and the show has only gotten more popular since then. Get in line early for this one, or you may be forced to wolf out.
5:00-6:00 Archer: Screening and Q&A— This animated half-hour comedy revolves around the spy agency known as the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and the lives of its self-involved employees. Series creator Adam Reed (Sealab 2021) and the show’s voice actors discuss their daunting and enigmatic work of espionage, reconnaissance missions, wiretapping, and undercover surveillances-which are all actually unmitigated occasions for the ISIS staff to undermine, sabotage, and betray each other for personal gain. Panelists include H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers) as the highly skilled yet incredibly vain master spy “Sterling Archer,” Aisha Tyler (The Talk) as Archer’s fellow agent and ex-girlfriend “Lana Kane,” Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) as the easily intimidated comptroller-turned-ISIS-agent “Cyril Figgis,” Judy Greer (Arrested Development) as the loquacious secretary “Cheryl Tunt,” and Amber Nash (Frisky Dingo) as the discordant director of human resources for ISIS “Pam Poovey.” Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Beyond being possibly the funniest show currently on television, the cast of Archer is a hoot… And given that they don’t usually record the show together, this should work as a sort of cast reunion as well. Sploosh.
AKA, the day of Hell for TV fans. We hope you’ve packed lots of granola bars, and a colostomy bag for this Sophie’s Choice of a Day.
10:00-11:00 Community: School is Back in Session— Joel McHale (The Soup), Gillian Jacobs (The Box), Danny Pudi (Chuck), Yvette Nicole Brown (Family Guy), and Alison Brie (Mad Men) from the hit Sony TV comedy have graduated to the Convention Center in advance of their fourth season. Join your favorite Greendale study group for a panel and Q&A to find out firsthand what surprises are in store for the show’s return to NBC this fall. Ballroom 20
Sure we have reservations about the upcoming Dan Harmon-less season of Community; but we have no reservations about the talented, hilarious cast. If you want to be extra jerky, you can put together a bingo based on the “cast talking points” memo that got circulated last month, and see how many crop up over the course of the hour.
11:15-12:15 Join the Revolution! Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra— The cast and crew of Legend of Korra offer an in-depth discussion of Nickelodeon’s hottest new series. Executive producer and creator team Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino (Avatar: The Last Airbender) are joined by co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos (Avatar: The Last Airbender) as they discuss the creative process that brought the first book in the Korra series to life. You’ll also get to hear from your favorite characters as talented voice actors Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin) and Seychelle Gabriel (Asami) will be featured on the panel and renowned voice director Andrea Romano (Avatar: The Last Airbender) will direct the actors in a live performance from the series. And if you’re extra nice, Mike and Bryan may even drop a hint or two about Book 2. So don’t miss out! Ballroom 20
The whole awesome cast of Nick’s hit Avatar spin-off on stage? We’re there. I mean it: we’re probably there covering this for MTV Geek (or one of our co-writers will be). This one’ll be huge, given the first season just wrapped a successful run.
12:30-1:30 Firefly 10-Year Anniversary Reunion— Calling all Browncoats to unite! It has been 10 years since the crew of the Serenity took flight in the now infamous show Firefly. Science Channel will reunite, for the first time ever, Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew from the ship. Join Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and many more for a trip down memory lane, some special surprises, and exclusive Science Channel giveaways. SHINY. Ballroom 20
This is, quite possibly, the most anticipated panel in Comic-Con history. With Whedon on a high post-Avengers, and the entire cast in attendance, if they don’t announce Serenity 2 – or at least a web series – expect San Diego to be burning by 1:35pm.
1:25-2:25 AMC’s The Walking Dead— Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, and introducing Danai Gurira as Michonne and David Morrissey as The Governor join executive producer and showrunner Glen Mazzara, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, and special effects makeup supervisor and co-executive producer Greg Nicotero in a panel moderated by Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist, Talking Dead). The panelists will discuss the wildly successful second season of The Walking Dead and what to look forward to in season 3, debuting this fall on AMC. Join the panelists for a one-on-one Q&A session and an official sneak preview of season 3. Hall H
We’re trying very hard not to overlap here, but Comic-Con did us an anti-solid, and scheduled the end of the Firefly panel at the same time as the beginning of the Walking Dead panel, making sure that any true geek will need to figure out how to clone themselves before next weekend. Expect most of the excitement to surround the new, sword wielding Michonne and The Governor… Nothing that concerns you guys, I bet? Right?
2:45-3:45 Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A session— Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, HBO’s Game of Thrones series concluded its 10-episode second season on June 3. Created and executive produced by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the series follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime. Season 2 of the hit series told an epic story of duplicity and treachery, nobility and honor, conquest and triumph, set in an enthralling world of intrigue, seduction, and magic. Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, production of season 2 also took place in Croatia and Iceland. Some of the cast featured in the second season and appearing on this panel are (in alphabetical order) Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark. George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series, moderates with executive producer Carolyn Strauss. Hall H
Last year felt a little bit like one was attending Game of Thrones Con, so it’ll be interesting to see how dominant HBO’s series will be after the even bigger second season. It’ll also be interesting to see how big this will be without default star Peter Dinklage in attendance – unless he’s a surprise guest. Still, you know you want to be there.
4:15-5:15 Entertainment Weekly: Powerful Women in Pop Culture (aka Women Who Kick Ass!)— Fan-favorites Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), Sarah Wayne Callies (Walking Dead), Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast), Nikki Reed (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2), and Anna Torv (Fringe) open up about the power and privilege of playing characters that have redefined the rules for women. Basically, a discussion with women who kick ass. Moderated by EW’s Lynette Rice. Ballroom 20
One of the beauties of Comic-Con is the little side panels that bring together diverse creators or personalities into one room. Enter this panel, which throws some of the coolest women on TV into a discussion about kicking butt. We’re mainly excited to see Torv and van Straten interact, though the rest are a nice bonus.
6:45-7:45 AMC’s Breaking Bad-— Executive producer and showrunner Vince Gilligan appears with the cast of Breaking Bad, including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, R. J. Mitte, and Jonathan Banks. In a panel moderated by TV Guide’s Mike Schneider, Vince and the cast talk about what it’s like to shoot one of the boldest and most intense dramas on television, and how they are preparing for the final 16 episodes of the series. Join the panelists for a one-on-one Q&A session and an official sneak preview of Breaking Bad season 5, premiering Sunday, July 15 at 10ET/PT. Ballroom 20
I don’t know if this is a geeky show, but people sure geek out about it enough – and their first appearance at Comic-Con will probably be their last, so that makes it an EVENT.
7:00-8:00 And Then What Happened? Serialized Shows That Ended Too Soon— You saw every episode, you followed every storyline, you hoped against hope that they’d get another season…and they didn’t. What would have happened if the show had kept going? Hear writer/producers Andrew Chambliss (Once Upon a Time), Scott M. Gimple (The Walking Dead), Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost), and Jose Molina (The Vampire Diaries) talk about the stories that weren’t to be on such shows as Dollhouse, FlashForward, Firefly, and The Middleman. Room 7AB
How cool does this panel sound? Finally, closure that will definitely be satisfying, and not make you angry for years. Seriously, though, if they do actually lay out what SHOULD have happened on these shows, this will be an interesting look behind the curtain.
Still big for TV, but the major stuff is out of the way. After Friday, Saturday should be like a vacation.
10:30-11:30 Marvel Television Presents— Marvel’s head of TV, Jeph Loeb, brings the scoop on season 2 of the hit animated series Ultimate Spider-Man, along with a never-before-seen episode…and a glimpse of the other heroes joining Marvel Universe on Disney XD! Plus, get the update on other hot Marvel Animation Studios projects, including Marvel Knights Animation, Marvel anime-and more surprises from Marvel Television. Room 6BCF
This should finally answer those pesky “Is Earth’s Mightiest Heroes actually cancelled?” questions, right? Plus, let’s see if they give an update on some live action, fingers crossed.
12:00-12:45 Futurama— Futurama cannot be killed! Join the cast and crew of the Emmy-award-winning series for world premiere footage of the all-new season on Comedy Central. Plus: Wear your Futurama-themed costume for the chance to win slightly valuable prizes! Scheduled panelists include creator/executive producer Matt Groening, executive producer David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West (Fry, Zoidberg, Professor Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan), Katey Sagal (Leela), John DiMaggio (Bender), and Maurice LaMarche (Kif Kroker, Calculon, Morbo). Ballroom 20
Our first San Diego Comic-Con, the only panel we actually waited in line for was Futurama… And it was worth it. The hilarious actors truly love their show and each other. If you like animation, this is a must-see panel. Hence its inclusion on this list, you guys.
1:00-2:00 A Conversation with Bryan Fuller— Acclaimed television writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller (Heroes), the creative force behind Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me, for a Q&A with fans as he discusses two of his highly anticipated projects, Hannibal and Mockingbird Lane, both at NBC. In the midseason drama Hannibal, one of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The recently shot pilot Mockingbird Lane is an imaginative reinvention of the 1960s comedy The Munsters. Room 7AB
Fuller, if you couldn’t tell from the blurb, is over-seeing some of the more fascinating projects rocketing your way to TV. The chance to hear about his quirky take on these tried and true properties is one you can’t miss… Plus, we’ll just cross our fingers a million times for some news on Pushing Daisies.
3:00-4:00 Being Human— This panel is a beast. Stars Sam Witwer (Aidan), Meaghan Rath (Sally), and Sam Huntington (Josh) join executive producer Anna Fricke to discuss the forthcoming third season of Syfy’s hit series about a vampire, a ghost, and a werewolf-all just trying to be human. Moderated by Drusilla Moorhouse (Zap2It.com). Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
Please let us know if you can see Sam Witwer’s chin dimple from the back of the Indigo Ballroom, because we’re pretty sure its visible from space.
4:15-5:15 EPIX Originals: William Shatner and Roger Corman— Two legends of the entertainment world take to the Comic-Con stage to preview their latest projects. Get a gander at the EPIX Original movie, Roger Corman’s first-ever made in 3D, Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader, in which a meek college co-ed is transformed into a gigantic cheerleader. Then take a sneak peek at William Shatner’s Get a Life!, an EPIX original documentary based on Shatner’s hugely popular book, in which he examines the cultural phenomena of Star Trek, its fan-following, and his own role within it. To top it all off the panel will be moderated by “Mr. Comic Book Men” himself, Kevin Smith. Room 6A
There is no way Kevin Smith interviewing William Shatner and Roger Corman can’t be the most bizarre thing to happen at Comic-Con. That, or this is a pitch for a reboot of TekWar.
6:00-7:00 Revolution Pilot Screening and Q&A— What would you do without it all? In this epic adventure thriller from Supernatural’s Eric Kripke and J. J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man films), a family struggles to reunite in a post-apocalyptic American landscape: a world of empty cities, local militias and heroic freedom fighters, where every piece of technology-computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights-has mysteriously blacked out…forever. After the screening, there will be a special Q&A with creator and executive producer Eric Kripke and series stars Billy Burke (Twilight films), Giancarlo Esposito (Once Upon a Time), and Tracy Spiridakos (Being Human). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Bad Robot Productions, Kripke Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television, Revolution will air Mondays at 10/9c on NBC this fall. Room 6BCF
Finish off your day with a look at our most anticipated pilot of the Fall. The pedigree is excellent – the creator of Supernatural, LOST, and Director of Iron Man – the cast is great, and the only way it could fail is if…. Well, lots of ways, but we’re holding out hope here.
We’re almost out of here guys, just hang in there for one more day.
10:00-11:00 Fringe Screening and Q&A— Fringe returns to Comic-Con for its farewell panel to celebrate its fifth and final season. Series stars Anna Torv (The Pacific), Josh Jackson (Dawson’s Creek), Lance Reddick (Lost), Blair Brown (Altered States), Jasika Nicole (Take the Lead), and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), along with executive producer J. H. Wyman (Keen Eddie), offer a Q&A with fans and an exclusive video presentation. Don’t miss the discussion about the climactic conclusion of this critically acclaimed thriller. From Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Fringe airs Fridays at 9/8c on FOX. Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 4. Hall H
The last season of FRINGE, and the show moves to the giant Hall H. While we’ll miss departed producer Jeff Pinkner, we’re stoked to see the whole cast together one more time… Every iteration of ‘em.
11:15-12:15 Supernatural Screening and Q&A— Series stars Jared Padalecki (Friday the 13th ) and Jensen Ackles (My Bloody Valentine 3D), recurring guest stars Misha Collins (Ringer), Jim Beaver (Justified), and Mark A. Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica), executive producer Jeremy Carver (U.S. version of Being Human), and consulting producer Ben Edlund (The Tick) return to Hall H to answer questions from the audience about what’s in store for the eighth season of this thrill-ride series. Fans will also see an exclusive video presentation featuring series highlights, as well as a portion of the special features from the upcoming Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season DVD and Blu-ray release, in stores September 18. The eighth season of Supernatural will premiere in October on its new night, Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW. The series is produced by Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television. Hall H
After a fun season that won a lot of will back, the Winchester Boys return to Comic-Con, guaranteeing we’ll be parking our butts in Hall H all day long.
12:30-1:30 BBC America’s Doctor Who— The Doctor and the Ponds land in San Diego. BBC America’s Doctor Who stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Arthur Darvill join award-winning lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat (Sherlock) and award-winning executive producer Caroline Skinner (The Fades) for a Comic-Con panel and Q&A. As fans eagerly await the new season’s premiere, BBC America is making sure Steven Moffat brings new footage to reveal on the big screens in Hall H. Ahead of the new season, BBC America will premiere new Doctor Who specials-The Science of Doctor Who, The Women of Doctor Who, The Timey-Wimey Stuff of Doctor Who, and The Destinations of Doctor Who-as part of the Supernatural Saturday programming block starting Saturday, August 4 at 9pm/8c. For those new to Who, the previous two seasons from Steven Moffat are available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download. Hall H
Last year, hearing thousands of fans FREAK OUT at the Doctor Who panel might have been our number one best Comic-Con moment of 2011. This year, here’s hoping we get actually find out when the show is premiering… And maybe even a surprise appearance by the new Companion?
2:15-3:15 Buffy Turns 20: Celebrating 20 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer— Once upon a time, Buffy Summers became the Slayer, the Chosen One who proved a young heroine could battle the forces of darkness instead of playing damsel in distress. Stars from the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Nicholas Brendon, Clare Kramer) join forces with Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, writer/producer Jane Espenson, illustrator Georges Jentry, and the original Buffy herself (Kristy Swanson, star of the 1992 motion picture), not to mention a surprise guest or two, to celebrate 20 years of slayage. Room 6BCF
Will the surprise guest be Joss Whedon? Would that be the most awesome thing ever? Yes.