8:21pm PT by Jean Bentley
Comic-Con: All the New Show Reactions, Ranked
More than a dozen new TV series are hosting panels this year at San Diego Comic-Con, and many of them will debut their premiere episodes to thousands of fans at the annual pop culture confab with the hopes of delivering the next breakout hit and cutting through a scripted landscape that includes more than 450 originals.
The Hollywood Reporter is on the ground in San Diego to gauge the immediate and often knee-jerk fan reaction to each pilot episode, extended sneak peek and first-look trailer. Below, THR's assessment of the audience reaction to each first look, ranked from tepid acceptance to fan favorite.
Bookmark this page as we will be updating it through Sunday after each panel presentation. Which rookie will be crowned the most-buzzed-about at Comic-Con? We'll find out ...
11. Krypton (Syfy)
Premieres: 2018 (date TBD)
Starring: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo, Ian McElhinney
Logline: Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather (Cuffe) — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.
Reaction: Typically, Warner Bros. Television screens most of its highly anticipated shows in a four-hour Preview Night event on Wednesday (for example: last year included The CW's Riverdale and the original, un-retooled version of DC Entertainment's now-canceled NBC sitcom Powerless). But not this year. The studio opted instead to show a handful of brief trailers, two animated series and a midseason ABC drama about a crime-solving magician (yes, really). So instead of the debut episode of Syfy's Superman prequel, Krypton, fans were treated to a two-minute trailer (shown at the end of a 10-minute stretch of trailers). It was received to polite applause, and an informal poll of viewers streaming out of Ballroom 20 when they realized they wouldn't get to actually see the show called it "disappointing" and "a waste of time."
10. Black Lightning (The CW)
Premieres: Midseason (date TBD)
Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams
Logline: Jefferson Pierce (Williams) is the titular hero who hung up his suit and his secret identity years ago. But with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
Reaction: The same problem that plagued Krypton also cursed Black Lightning (and the fact that the trailers started playing at exactly 6 p.m. on Preview Night, which not all badgeholders can access, didn't help). Two veteran tween girl attendees who drove in from Phoenix with their father were excited for the show regardless — which got a few "woos" in addition to the same polite applause Krypton received — though disappointed they didn't see more than a trailer. (It's also worth noting that The CW has yet to film an entire pilot as the younger-skewing network picked up the drama to series based only on a short pilot presentation.) Remarked their bewildered dad as they exited the ballroom, "I looked at my watch and it was all done by 6:13." (For the record, the entire night of screenings was finished in less than two hours, far earlier than the advertised 10 p.m. end time.)
9. Deception (ABC)
Premieres: Midseason (date TBD)
Starring: Jack Cutmore-Scott, Amaury Nolasco, Vinnie Jones
Logline: When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black (Cutmore-Scott) has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, influence and illusion — the FBI. Using every trick in the book and inventing new ones, he will help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals while staging the biggest illusions of his career.
Reaction: The midseason magic-based drama doesn't debut until 2018, but still managed to get the best crowd reaction simply by being the only full-length episode to premiere at WB's preview night. While there weren't too many moments at which the crowd could laugh or gasp (the oohing and aahing at the magic tricks was taken care of by the audience in the show itself), plenty of people did look up from texting on their phones.
8. Ghost Wars (Syfy)
Premieres: Fall (date TBD)
Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Kim Coates, Avan Jogia, Kristin Lehman, Meatloaf
Logline: Set in a remote Alaskan town that has been overrun by paranormal forces, the series focuses on local outcast Roman Mercer (Jogia) who must overcome the town’s prejudices and his own personal demons if he’s to harness his repressed psychic powers and save everyone from the mass haunting that’s threatening to destroy them all.
Reaction: The trailer inexplicably debuted after a half hour of the cast discussing the brand new, never-before-seen series instead of before the panel, so while it got appropriate reactions to some of the scares and gore (gasps, etc.), most of the crowd seemed a bit slow to take it in.
7. Inhumans (ABC)
Premieres: Friday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.
Starring: Anson Mount, Iwan Rheon, Serinda Swan, Eme Ikwuakor, Isabelle Cornish, Ken Leung
Logline: Marvel’s Inhumans explores the never-before-told epic adventure of the royal family including Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii where their surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them, but Earth itself.
Reaction: Four new scenes debuted in Ballroom 20 to plenty of cheers and applause, but the first screening at an IMAX pop-up event immediately after drew polite applause at the end (but also a few laughs at certain moments).
6. Happy (Syfy)
Premieres: 2018 (date TBD)
Starring: Christopher Meloni, Patton Oswalt
Logline: Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the series follows Nick Sax (Meloni) – an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man – who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse named Happy (Oswalt).
Reaction: The trailer saw cheers and laughter at specific moments, along with widespread applause and even some whistles at the end. A full scene from the pilot got strong applause in the room.
5. The Gifted (Fox)
Premieres: Monday, Oct. 2, 9 p.m.
Starring: Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung, Coby Bell, Emma Dumont, Blair Redford, Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White
Logline: Family adventure series The Gifted tells the story of a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.
Reaction: The tense first 15 minutes played to a hefty applause, but the new trailer received applause, cheers, and even a standing ovation from a handful of fans in Ballroom 20 (which, to note, would host the fan-favorite Outlander panel after).
4. Ghosted (Fox)
Premieres: Sunday, Oct. 1, 8:30 p.m.
Starring: Adam Scott, Craig Robinson
Logline: A cynical skeptic (Robinson) and a genius "true believer" in the paranormal (Scott) are recruited by The Bureau Underground to look into the rampant "unexplained" activity in Los Angeles — all while uncovering a larger mystery that could threaten the existence of the human race.
Reaction: Primed by an intro from Robinson and Scott, the crowd laughed in all the right places.
3. The Orville (Fox)
Premieres: Sunday, Sept. 10, 8 p.m.
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J Lee, Mark Jackson, Chad L. Coleman
Logline: A live-action, one-hour space adventure series set 400 years in the future that follows The Orville, a mid-level exploratory spaceship. Its crew, both human and alien, face the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of everyday life. The ensemble series stars MacFarlane as the ship’s Commanding Officer and Palicki as his ex-wife, who’s assigned as his First Officer.
Reaction: An extended scene and new trailer had some audience members legitimately guffawing--every joke landed in the (admittedly small) room.
2. The Defenders (Netflix)
Premieres: Friday, Aug. 18
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Charlie Cox, Finn Jones
Logline: Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil (Cox), Jessica Jones (Ritter), Luke Cage (Colter) and Iron Fist (Jones). A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal – to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.
Reaction: The premiere episode went over gangbusters—yes, even the Iron Fist parts.
1. Star Trek: Discovery (CBS All Access)
Premieres: Sunday, Sept. 24
Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Jason Isaacs, Anthony Rapp, Michelle Yeoh, James Frain, Rainn Wilson
Logline: Star Trek: Discovery will follow the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life-forms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the franchise's well-known ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.
Reaction: Despite any fears that Trekkies wouldn't embrace the new crew, the new trailer that debuted in Ballroom 20 went over well (to a huge, positive reaction).