Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DanielleTBD's 2013 TCA Diary: Food, Food, More Food, and Surprise Fandom Infiltration...

There is nothing stranger at TCA than the combination of The CW and Showtime presenting on the same day. Okay, well, maybe PBS is stranger-- they always bring a random Sesame Street character or koala-- but I don't attend PBS days so I don't speak from experience. But when it comes to The CW and Showtime, they're both a part of the CBS family and therefore they are lumped together as kind of the red-headed step-children to follow CBS' day (and CBS' party). 

The ballroom is usually pretty empty in the mornings for The CW. Maybe it's because everyone's still sleeping off the party, or maybe it's just because few of us are in The CW's demo, and fewer of us who are are morning people. Personally, The CW is where I get most of my traffic, so I'm always happy to be there, whether they're presenting new shows or fun, hodgepodge panels like the "Bad Boys" or "Kick-Ass Women" of the network (to be honest, I wish they'd do more of those, it's a good way to bring returning talent, and it is a unique look at the similarities between their programming and performers).

The CW kicked off the day by leaving a Cronut at every reporter station. I dug into mine before realizing they were assorted, and I could have swapped my sugar and frosting one for a chocolate iced. Oh well, I quickly crowdsourced and collected the spares. The CW also handed out Capture hoodies and hand-warmers which I just found amusing because the ballroom is cold, but again, with fewer bodies in the room for their panels, it's even colder (lack of body heat). 

Breakfast was an "eat and mingle" with the cast of Whose Line which meant I could finally take a few minutes to talk to Aisha Tyler about her new book and whether she'd find a way to work "Fratman" onto the second season of the improv show. From there, the network delivered Mark Pedowitz with some news about a potential Arrow spin-off and the tidbit that Caity Lotz is coming on the show as not only Black Canary, but also Laurel's sister. The former of which producers talked about with select press after the day's presentations, but the latter was something that was supposed to be kept a deep secret to "surprise" fans on-air. Pedowitz is the President of the network, so it's hard for producers to do anything about getting mad at him, but I would just like to go on record and say that once upon a time (PaleyFest) in the spring, Marc Guggenheim teased a "third option" between the black and white "she's alive or dead" aspect of the lost Lance sister. I pitched that she could be off on an island of her own, training ala Ollie, only to return as the Black Canary. In fact, I hoped so because it would give him more of a reason to be bonded to her-- you know, past the "I just want to sleep with you" lust that plagued his playboy youth. But now that things have leaked, will they alter or downplay plans to come up with something even bigger and better?

Panels for The CW were for shows I had done one-on-ones for yesterday (as mentioned in yesterday's recap blog), so I uploaded video and made sure I started doling out my content immediately after the panel ended, rather than write up the panels. This allowed me to live-Tweet them instead, and I could gauge the amount of interest in the show and specific elements/actors based on the amounts of interactions-- and new followers (or unfollows). It still allowed me to work up an appetite for Showtime's Dexter themed lunch.

It pays to have friends in high places because I was tipped off that though there would sadly be no Dexter talent available at the event (odd since there's usually a farewell panel for final season shows), there would be copious amounts of show swag available for taking home. And regardless of show theme, they always provide a candy bar, so I was expecting lots of blood red cherry stuff.

The candy bar ended up being Masters of Sex themed (no guilt, just pleasure) and a great selection of candy from yesteryear to match the time period. Everything else from Dexter, though, was bloody and perfect as expected.

Walking outside, my eye was equally drawn between the candy bar, the cupcake display (see above), the claw machine full of swag we could try and win, and the kill table photo op. Naturally, I went for the sweets first, then the swag, then the photos...and eventually the food.

The line for the swag claw machine was longer than the line for the food, and we only got one try at winning something. But if we didn't catch anything-- or if we caught something that we didn't want-- a Showtime rep would open the machine and just hand us whatever it was we wanted. Still, I really wanted to earn that "I'm a Dexter-holic" long sleeve sleep shirt, and I was baffled by the fact that I couldn't figure out how to lift such a light, easy to grasp bagged item.

'We Have Thoughts' hasn't had time to vodcast since the start of the summer, but if you saw Marisa's and my kill table photo flipbooks, you may know why. In mine, I was all too happy to stab her repeatedly with a rubber knife, while in hers, I couldn't bother to stop checking emails long enough to feel the stabbing she was doing. I can't speak for her, but I was certainly channeling Shannon Elizabeth from Scary Movie in mine; you know, when she just kept talking and talking even though she had been beheaded? You just have to commit to your task, obstacles be damned!

Listen, I get it: to the outsider it seems weird to talk about the food rather than the celebrities present. If Michael C. Hall had been in attendance, I would have been all over him (I mean, not literally, I am a professional), but he wasn't, so my big thematic "full circle" questions about the final season have to continue to be only speculative until the episodes unfold. Name-dropping makes me feel a little icky, but honestly, after a week of these really long, promotional days, we go a little bit punchy and these "ordinary" party perks become the more newsworthy items.

Although something interesting did happen when The Borgias fans took advantage of the gathering of not only a large amount of press people, but also the Powers That Be at Showtime, including David Nevins. In the past the world "fan" has been a dirty word at TCA, actually inspiring boos or the sucking of teeth from some of the more old-school journalists in the room. This time around, though, many more journalists were willing to play ball. A few days ago someone posted the NCIS' fans passionate plea regarding Cote de Pablo's exit on her work website, and here The Borgias fans' attempts at being heard were brought up in the executive session, too. But with stunts like theirs, it was a little hard not to acknowledge.

First, simply enough, they sent an email around asking for support in getting The Borgias renewed or a movie happening or-- something. I admit, since I'm not a TCA member, I didn't receive the email, so I only have the information second-hand, and there's a reason hearsay isn't admissible in court. It was probably akin to the NCIS email, only this wasn't an email alone. I did witness the plane they hired to hover over the hotel while we were enjoying a beautiful outdoor lunch. The plane was dragging a banner that asked Nevins to "Sho" fans he cares by saving The Borgias. And per Nevins, he also met a man dressed up and protesting the cancellation outside the hotel-- though when Nevins asked him what he thought of the finale, the man admitted he didn't see it; he was apparently paid to be there. Nevins said he wished the fans would save their money.

This is not the craziest thing I've heard of fans doing, but certainly I've never witnessed them doing anything at TCA. I hope this doesn't give people ideas or next year we'll have lots of randoms with signage outside the hotel. As it was, we apparently had Cult's biggest fan amongst us; a journalist asked Mark Pedowitz about the show not delivering the answer on the key mystery by the end of the season and then managed to bring the show up again when talking about the new programming since a few of those actors have moved onto other, newer CW shows.

I guess a "I miss The L.A. Complex" sandwich board wouldn't have been as off-base as I thought.

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