Comic-Con 2016: 7 New Shows to Watch Out For

9:00 AM 7/20/2016

by Kate Stanhope

Powerless S01E01 Still - Publicity - H 2016
Chris Large/NBC

Powerless S01E01 Still - Publicity - H 2016

In recent years, Comic-Con has become a huge platform for movie studios and television networks to spread the word on their biggest and brightest upcoming projects. Months before having to convince the public to tune-in for a series premiere, or put down the cash for a movie ticket, Hollywood capitalizes on the rapt audience waiting to be wowed at the annual San Diego convention by bringing exclusive first looks for attendees in hopes of winning hype and lots of good will from attendees.

That's become especially important for TV networks and studios in recent years as #PeakTV makes it harder for new entries to break through the clutter and as TV panels continue to outnumber movie panels during the four-day event. Ahead of this year's Comic-Con, which kicks off Wednesday with the annual preview night, THR takes a closer look at which new shows to watch out for:

  • 'American Gods' (Starz)

    As the man behind cult favorites like Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies and most recently Hannibal, Bryan Fuller is no stranger to the Con. This summer, he returns with not one but two highly anticipated new projects, CBS All Access' Star Trek reboot and Starz' adaptation of Neil Gaiman's popular graphic novel. While news related to the former will only be one part of the Star Trek 50th anniversary panel, the American Gods panel will be devoted solely to the TV series. Fuller and select cast members will preview what's to come ahead of the show's 2017 debut. (Friday, 3:15-4:15 p.m., Room 6BCF)

  • 'Designated Survivor' (ABC)

    Jack is back – and we're not talking about 24: Legacy (also coming to the Con on Sunday). ABC's new hourlong drama toplined by former 24 star Kiefer Sutherland will screen publicly for the first time, followed by a Q&A with stars Maggie Q and Kal Penn. Although not exactly the sci-fi-friendly material Comic-Con is known for, Designated Survivor is one of the biggest swings of the fall season. The drama, which centers on cabinet member who becomes president after a devastating U.S. terrorist attack kills the commander-in-chief and the rest of Congress, was ordered straight-to-series back in December and has been building up buzz within the industry since ahead of its September launch. Will potential viewers follow? (Saturday, 7-8:30 p.m., Horton Grand Theatre)

  • 'MacGyver' (CBS)

    Another big question mark heading into the Con is the forthcoming reboot starring X-Men: Apocalypse alum Lucas Till, which has undergone a major creative overhaul since being picked up to series. The first pilot was scrapped entirely, with all two but regulars (Till and George Eads) subsequently parting ways with the project. James Wan (Mortal Kombat) came onboard to direct the revised pilot, with new writer Peter Lenkov (Hawaii Five-0) and new series regulars Justin Hire and Sandrine Holt, in June. It remains to be seen just how different the new footage that will be screened at the convention will differ from the teaser CBS released in May. However, the biggest question is whether fans will like what they see ahead of the show's September debut. (Thursday, 12-3 p.m., Ballroom 20)


  • 'People of Earth' (TBS)

    Conan O'Brien has made previous trips to the Con to broadcast his TBS late-night show from San Diego, but this year he'll also be there to preview his new half-hour series with former writing partner Greg Daniels of The Office fame. The two are behind the new alien comedy People of Earth, which focuses on a support group to write about the members' supposed alien encounters. Fans at the panel will get a first look at the pilot for the new series – Daniels' first series since Parks and Recreation went off the air last year – before its debuts later this year. (Friday, 2-2:30 p.m., Room 6BCF)

  • 'Powerless' (NBC)

    Comic book shows are old hat on the small screen, but will superhero fans flock to a comic book comedy? Powerless is the first such experiment. Set in the DC Comics universe, the workplace comedy centers on the regular folks working at an insurance company who grapple with being powerless in a world of superheroes and villains. Fans will get to see the entire pilot, which is set for a midseason bow on NBC. It also helps that the series features Comic-Con favorites like Firefly alum Alan Tudyk and Community grad Danny Pudi, who are no strangers to the San Diego Convention Center. (Friday, 2:30-3 p.m., Room 6BCF)

  • 'Riverdale' (The CW)

    Although based on the popular Archie comics series, Riverdale is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. With no official trailer posted online, and no pilot episode sent to critics, this will be the first public screening of the series. Attendees will recognize one familiar name behind the scenes – Greg Berlanti is now a heralded figure among the Comic-Con set thanks to his universe of DC Comics shows including Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and now Supergirl – but Riverdale is a much looser adaptation of its source material. The drama has been described as a darker and more subversive interpretation of Archie, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the gang with a batch of relative newcomers stepping into the roles. Will attendees give this series a PR boost ahead of its midseason debut? (Saturday, 6:30-7:20 p.m., Room 6BCF)

  • 'Son of Zorn' (Fox)

    Yet another ambitious comedy from Last Man on Earth duoPhil Lord and Chris Miller, the upcoming live action/animated hybrid comedy centers on an animated warrior named Zorn from the distant mystical land of Zephyria who must re-acclimate to the mundane reality of life on earth after 10 years away. Fox has been the longtime home of beloved animated characters like Homer Simpson and Phil Griffin, but how will viewers react to such this unique blend of animation and live-action, as well as fantasy and grounded storytelling? Attendees will find out when Comic-Con goers get a first look at the series. (Saturday, 5-6 p.m., Indigo Ballroom)