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San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Saturday

I’ve talked before about how front-loaded the programming schedule was for Comic-Con 2011. In my analysis of the schedules, it was hard-pressed to find a panel I didn’t want to attend, and Saturday and Sunday it was nearly the opposite.

I also wrote how I was expecting a surprise from Hollywood, as it seemed they were clearing the schedule for something. But up through Saturday, they’ve stuck largely to the schedule.

But part of the magic of Comic-Con is those moments you don’t expect – ending up in a panel just for kicks or by chance and finding some memorable moment that defines the con for you. Today was a great opportunity to stumble upon one of those moments.

Alas, I just didn’t find it.

I started the day at the Marvel Television panel, looking for some confirmation and maybe some surprises of some live action Marvel television shows. And there were indeed some announcements, but the projects are just too early in development to have shown anything to the audience. But Jeph Loeb, EVP of Marvel Television, did confirm that there is a Jessica Jones show in the works for ABC, and that Carol Danvers and Luke Cage will be the main characters. He also confirmed a Cloak and Dagger live action for ABC as well, which would take place in post-Katrina Louisiana. And yes, The Hulk is in development for ABC, but there was no mention of Guillermo del Toro attached . Jeph said the show would focus on the relationship between Betty Ross and Bruce Banner. Over on ABC Family, a series based on Mockingbird is in development for a younger audience. We were then treated to a ton of information on the new Disney XD animated series Ultimate Spider-Man. Paul Dini, of Batman: The Animated Series fame, is involved in this one, as is the animation studio responsible for Ben10 and Generator Rex. It looks great, and has a lot of star power attached. One thing I loved is that they are finally pulling Spider-Man into the continuity of the Marvel Universe. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America will all appear as cameos, as well as Dr. Doom and other characters from the Marvel library. And Spidey will be mentored by Ultimates-era Nick Fury (read: the one based on Samuel Jackson). J. Jonah Jameson will be voiced by J.K. Simmons, who played the character in Sam Raimi’s Spidey films, and Clark Gregg will be reprising his movie role of Agent Coulson in the animated series. With the upcoming Avengers film next year, Marvel sure is trying to integrate their flagship character into the continuity any way possible.

The nightmare lines of Ballroom 20 and Indigo Ballroom continued today, so the next panel I ended up in was for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. I never saw the show, but it’s proved very popular at this year’s con, with offsite parades, an Adventure Time-themed pizza restaurant in the Gaslamp, and a filled-to-capacity panel that actually filled the room during the previous panel. At the panel, fans of all ages had an extensive Q&A with the voice actors and creators, got a sneak peak at the upcoming season, confirmed that a season three has already been green-lit, and we all got Fin hats!

Closing out today I caught two television premieres for the new series Grimm and The Secret Circle. Grimm, airing on NBC this fall, comes from the writer/producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Bruce Greenwalt, so I was immediately interested. Grimm also received the most votes from our readers via Twitter for shows they wanted to hear more about. The premise is the latest trend in Hollywood, taking classic stories and fairy tales and reimagining it for a modern audience. In Grimm, the main character is from a long line of Grimms – yes, from the Brothers Grimm – where their fairy tales were actually real, and they were in charge of fighting off the evil demons and monsters told in their stories. The pilot played upon the classic Little Red Riding Hood. It started out very promising, very dark and very scary, combining modern serial killer stories with a supernatural slant. Think Millennium from Chris Carter, where the lead character has an uncanny sense of seeing the evil lurking in humanity, but with a mix of fairy tales as the supernatural elements. But it went off the rails from there. A fight with the scene with an elderly “Grimm” (think Slayer) was unintentionally laughable, and the acting throughout was pretty poor. The lead character befriends a “blutbad”, basically a big bad werewolf who urinates on his wood fence to mark his territory and provides comic relief. The premise of the series has potential, as it has a lot of classic material to use, but the cast and the writing is ultimately going to let this one down come fall.

The second premiere I saw was for Kevin Williamson’s The Secret Circle airing this fall on the CW. I love The Vampire Diaries and Williamson is a superb writer, so I had high hopes for this one. Again, I was disappointed. But unlike the mess that was Grimm, The Secret Circle is merely mediocre. It’s about a society of witches living in a small town with many secrets. But unlike The Vampire Diaries, this cast skews really young, there aren’t any known stars, and it’s pretty sterile in comparison. It felt like an ABC Family series more than something hip and edgy as the CW is known for. Unless you love witches, you could probably find better shows on television to spend your time watching.

And that was it for me today. Hopefully we’ll get some reports from the Cowboys and Aliens premiere and post those to the site soon.

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