Five episodes in, The Flash has turned out to be a lot of fun. There are a few things that still bother me (the dead-mother plot being in every.single.intro., for instance, but it kind of has to be), but so far nothing has pulled me out far enough to stop me from enjoying the action and characters.  I love that they’ve gone all-in on it instead of dipping one toe in at a time like Warner Bros. usually seems to do.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seriously leveled up this season. I’m a couple of episodes behind, but damn, this show has been knocking it out of the park. And I like that they’ve (mostly) been avoiding Idiot Ball tropes — if someone does something stupid, it’s because it makes sense for the character, not because the plot requires it. For example: So many shows would have had Coulson trying to keep his mental issues under wraps from everyone for half the season, but you find out right away that he’s told May, has her documenting it, and has Skye investigating it.

Grimm really needs to decide whether Wu knows about Wesen soon, or things are going to blow up. Or maybe that’s what they’re going for.

Castle almost lost me during the season premiere with the disappearance/amnesia mystery, but they pulled back from the brink by giving us (and Becket) solid evidence to support his story. They’ve managed to avoid falling into frog-eating clone territory. Still, since the show is mostly a standard police procedural, the only reasons to watch it are (1) the characters’ banter, which is still intact, and (2) the occasionally crazy plots. Speaking of which, “Meme is Murder” just barely managed to avoid being a Very Special Episode about how Snapchat Can Kill You! (tune in at 11). Barely.

Once Upon a Time….I want to like this season more than I do, but it’s just been dragging on.

Weaving the past and future from Frozen into the OUAT mythology has been interesting, particularly the way the Snow Queen was set up. Anna is probably the best cast — she’s absolutely the same character as in the movie, and even when her actions or speech *should* seem affected, it comes off as being natural for her. Elsa comes off as a slightly different, but still valid, interpretation. Kristoff just comes off as awkward.

But remember that thing I was saying about the idiot ball? Most of the time, characters do things because the plot requires it…or stand there not doing something because the plot (or a commercial break cliffhanger) requires it. Regulars, side characters, and guest stars alike. Except when the character motivation is the plot motivation, in which case rather than show it through action, they announce it loudly like a character in a fighting game.

(And they are totally wasting the Knave of Hearts. He was great in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but so far he’s been nothing but a one-note joke here.)

And this wraps up the daily reports! Only a month late!

Optimus PrimeSunday morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego. We got up early (though not as early as Katie got up on Saturday) to check out of our hotel, store our baggage, and move the car to another lot. I suspect the Sheraton would have let us keep the car there an extra day, since it was self-parking; but I’d already prepaid for Sunday through the convention, and as it turned out the other lot was cheaper anyway. Of course, since pre-paid parking was new this year, it wasn’t entirely clear what we needed to do other than leave the printout where it was visible. (More on that later.)

After eating rolls and fruit from home for most of the con, we went out to breakfast at the Broken Yolk Cafe. (I keep wanting to type Burnt Toast Diner.) They’d decorated for the convention — including thematic T-shirts on some of the servers — had good food (more varied, if not as good as Cafe 222), and were very busy, but we managed to beat the rush.

Then we walked through the streets of San Diego to the convention center one last time.


Downtown San DiegoI figured there would be a line for Castle (especially since they had the entire cast present, and Nathan Fillion by himself is a big draw at Comic-Con). I wasn’t expecting it to run down the hall from the larger 6 rooms, out onto the balcony, zig-zag a bit under some tents, then head back along the convention center and wrap around the end, next to the gigantic air conditioners. At least the morning cloud cover hadn’t burned off yet, so we weren’t out in direct sun.

Castle Supporting CastIt took a long time before the convention started letting people in, but when we finally got to the front, I decided I’d head out and make Sunday the day I finally really explored the main floor, while Katie went in for Castle and then Merlin.


Elves or FairiesThe staff directing traffic didn’t seem to know what to do with someone who left a line, though, and treated me as if I was trying to cut through it. This was the only time I ran into this kind of problem, fortunately. The rest of the time, traffic management was a lot better than it has been over the last few years!

Hawkgirl and Green LanternFirst I figured I’d try to pick up the No Ordinary Family T-Shirt for which I’d gotten a ticket at the preview the day before. Sometimes events will hand out freebies as you walk in, or will go down the aisles passing them out to the audience. Sometimes they’ll give you a ticket, which you then take to the “fulfillment room” to exchange for swag. It’s usually somewhere out of the way, and since actual programming has expanded to fill more of the rooms in the convention center itself, this year it was pushed out into a room in a small convention center at the Marriott hotel complex. The line for the fulfillment room stretched out the building, down the hill, and through a parking structure — and wasn’t moving, as far as I could see. I decided I didn’t want the shirt that much. (I went back later and there was no line at all. My best guess: it had only just opened, and the line was the backlog.)

The Floor

Once I shook that off, I headed to Artist’s Alley. I hadn’t quite made it there yet this year, probably because it was shoved all the way to the far end of the convention center. My goal: to find Flash artist Francis Manapul and ask him for a sketch. There were only about five or six fans ahead of me, but it takes time to do a sketch (unless you’re Sergio Aragonés), so it took the better part of an hour.

Green R2D2Around noon, I started my final exploration of the exhibit hall, the first systematic tour I’d attempted all weekend. The plan was that I would start at one end and work my way to the other, where I’d meet Katie and we’d head out for lunch and then home.

I checked out displays by artists and toy sellers, skimmed the movie and game studios, worked my way through the comic book publishers’ area, and finally decided to call it quits with a good fourth of the floor left to go, figuring I’d covered that part well enough on my earlier passes.

Leaving San Diego

Pool and Convention CenterWe ended up having lunch at Bareback Grill, the land of burgers and double entendres (yummy, but be sure to order your burger at least medium, even if nobody asks), then went to pick up the car. The structure was mostly automated, with a gate to get out, and there was no apparent way to trigger the gate without getting a ticket — and no way to get the ticket without feeding money into the machine. Money that we’d already paid ahead of time. Fortunately there was a button to call for assistance, and after we showed the guard our printed receipt we were let out with no further problems. Still, prepaid parking could have been handled much more smoothly. (Maybe by not including structures with this kind of payment system?)

Then a quick stop for coffee, and we were on the road, returning from another year at Comic-Con!

This was Sunday, July 25, 2010.


So, it took a lot longer than I intended, but this wraps up my coverage of this year’s Comic-Con International. Well, almost. We’ve both got notebooks with funny quotes, and we’ve only posted the ones from Leverage, “Twisting Genres” and “Once Upon a Time (Epic Fantasy)” so far, so you can expect a humor post or two at some point. Other than that, we’re done!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series!

»Full index of Comic-Con 2010 posts and photos.

Richard Castle: Heat WaveHah! It turns out those ads for Heat Wave during Castle aren’t fake: ABC actually had someone write the Nikki Heat book as a tie-in.

The first time I remember seeing something like this was with (appropriately enough) Murder She Wrote, with a paperback mystery novel credited to Jessica Fletcher. In that case, though, the show had been on for years and was a television staple. DC Comics got into it in 1997 with The Life Story of the Flash, credited to Iris (West) Allen, which had previously been referenced in the comic books.

More recently, Lost had an in-universe book published in the real world: Bad Twin was billed as the final novel by one of the passengers on Oceanic 815 who didn’t make it through the first episode. I actually read that one. It was interesting enough, though it had little to do with the show beyond the presence of the Widmores.

  • TV: Castle good. Bones OK but more Katie’s thing. Still undecided on Glee. Excited about Flash Forward. Not sure on Heroes or Dollhouse.
  • The “Mind the Gap” monster in Neverwhere sounds a lot like the smoke monster on Lost now.
  • Speaking of smoke, I’ve been trying to figure out where all the crud in the air is coming from today. Norco maybe?
  • Flash-only sites are also invisible to smartphone users, even with iPhone & Android.