Who's NOT going to Comic-Con (and why)
Given how many TV shows are headed to Comic-Con this year, it's almost easier to compile a list of series that are not going. Of those, there's a few surprises in the mix -- shows you could reasonable expect to trek to San Diego based on who else is on board, but, for one reason or another, will stay home. Sometimes when shows don't make the cut, it's not because its network or studio didn't try, but because the Comic-Con overlords quietly rejected their submission. Did that happen in one of these cases? Maaaybe...
Subject to studios changing their minds, here's a rundown of the curiously absent:
Why you'd think it would be there: It's a J.J. Abrams spy show. I mean … it's a J.J. Abrams spy show. There's really no other way to put it.
Why it ain't: It's a spy show -- but more about martial romance rather than, you know, explosions. Rumor has it Abrams will still be at the event, possibly paired on a panel with Joss Whedon.
CBS' $#*! My Dad Says"
Why you'd think it would be there: If CBS can make a case for "Hawaii Five-O" and "Big Bang Theory" going, it could make a case for "$#*! My Dad Says." It's based on a Twitter account (whose author's like-titled book is currently a bestseller) and stars Captain Kirk. You put Shatner on a panel, the room will fill up.
Why it ain't: The pilot is being re-shot with a different lead (the son, not the dad). If a series is new, and you don't have a pilot to show the audience, it's tough to justify a panel -- unless your show happens to be titled...
HBO's "Game of Thrones"
Why you'd think it would be there: It's perfect for Comic-Con -- an epic fantasy action-drama based on a beloved book series. You could pack a room with one nervous producer in a chair.
Why it ain't: A cluster of medium-sized reasons tipped the network into not paneling the show: The show isn't premiering until sometime next year, possible even after Comic-Con 2011. Like "My Dad Says," the pilot is being reworked. Also, production starts in Northern Ireland the Monday after Comic Con, which makes for rough timing. With HBO having a "True Blood" panel, expect the network to screen a trailer during that sure-to-be-jammed event instead.
Why you'd think it would be there: It's Syfy's new supernatural drama series, hello.
Why it's not: Syfy will offer a screening of "Haven" as a double feature with "Eureka," but no panel. The network is already making a really heavy Comic-Con commitment, especially for a cable network-- "Stargate Universe," "Eureka," "Warehouse 13," "Sanctuary" and "Caprica" are all going. Since "Haven" is a new show without an pre-existing following or notable stars, it might have had a tough time drawing a crowd anyway.
Conan O'Brien's new TBS talk show
Why you'd think he would be there: A talk show host at Comic-Con? Normally no. But this is Coco. And this is Coco's year. And if Comic-Con fans are watching late night, they're watching O'Brien (well, or Jon Stewart … or Stephen Colbert), with TBS wanting to make as big of a marketing splash as possible.
Why he's not: O'Brien's reps say he is not planning on attending Comic-Con, without specifying a reason. Perhaps the reason is simply: because he's a talk show host (or feels there's better ways to spend his time after already doing a touring stage show and prepping his new program).
Why you'd think they would
there: Because you have any knowledge of TV geekdom.
Why they're not:
Good question. Both were in San Diego last year and are certainly on
demographic target. BBC Worldwide produces the shows and notes the titles will
have a presence (the "Torchwood" comic book, a "Dr. Who" screening), but no
TV panels. For "Dr. Who," the show is currently in production and the
season will have just finished airing, so the timing wasn't great. For the Starz upcoming "international
version" of "Torchwood," things are still early in the development
process, with star John Barrowman having a scheduling conflict and -- oh forget it,
they should be there.
Postscript! I am going to Comic-Con. This year I'm moderating two panels: Fox's action-drama "Human Target" and Starz' epic "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." More details on both coming soon...