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Psych's James Roday and Dulé Hill

Comic-Con Day One Report: Psych, Burn Notice, and More

Plus: Female Power Icons and Green Lantern: First Flight Screening

Jul 29, 2009 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Burn Notice
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And so it began. After months of build up the San Diego Comic-Con was finally here. Of course, everyone knows that it could now also be named Hollywood-Con, due to all the Hollywood movie and TV show panels that often overshadow the comic book-related ones. That is not to say that there aren’t plenty of comic book-related events too, many of which were packed, but it’s hard for comic book writers and artists to compete with the luster of stars of both the big and small screen.

We learned last year that it was best to avoid Hall H, where many of big Hollywood movie panels happen. You have to wait in line for hours before Comic-Con even opens each day for any hope of seeing the panels in Hall H. In fact, this year a bunch of fan girls camped out overnight just to get into the panel for the forthcoming Twilight sequel, New Moon. Having Twilight at Comic-Con didn’t go down well with many of the geeks, and later in the Con a bunch of attendees were spotted sporting signs that read, “Twilight ruined Comic-Con!” Not sure if Comic-Con was really ruined, but I get the sentiment (I am sure that the first Twilight was not a good movie and that, based on its initial trailer, New Moon doesn’t appear to be all that more promising). So while we may not have made into Hall H to see panels on Twilight, the new Tron sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar, or Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, here’s a rundown of what we did see during day one of Comic-Con.

Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture:

We made it down to San Diego by around 2:00 p.m., just in time to catch the tail end of the Entertainment Weekly: Wonder Women: Female Power Icons in Pop Culture panel. The panel featured Sigourney Weaver, Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell (now on the new V reboot), Star Trek‘s Zoe Saldana, and Dollhouse‘s Eliza Dushku. When an audience member bemoaned the lack of gay and lesbian superheroes, Weaver responded, “I think it’s a mistake to look to Hollywood ever as a breaker down of cultural morays.”

Burn Notice:

The panel for USA Network’s Miami-based hit show Burn Notice began with a video shot exclusively for Comic-Con that featured Comic-Con spy tips from Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan). Westin advised what to do if there were two Comic-Con panels happening at the same time that you wanted to see, advising the audience on how to delay one of the panels. Actor Michael Shanks, who has guest starred on Burn Notice, moderated the panel and the guests included series creator/executive producer Matt Nix, co-executive producer Alfredo Barrios, and actors Bruce Campbell, Seth Peterson, and Jay Karnes. Alas, neither Donovan nor actress Gabrielle Anwar were in attendance. Campbell got a standing ovation when he was introduced and he definitely stole the show. When an audience member yelled, “I love you” to Campbell, he responded, “Who said I love you? Come up here!” Campbell then reached into his pocket and gave the man some money.

“Why is a spy show being paraded in front of a bunch of freaks and geeks?” asked Campbell. He answered his own question by explaining that it’s because of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Horror, because his character’s name is Sam Axe, emphasis on “Axe.” Sci-fi, because “if you’ve ever been to Miami, you know there’s lots of aliens there.” And fantasy, because Campbell’s character sleeps with lots of Miami rich women, “and that’s a fantasy to me.”

When asked how he was most like and least like his character, Campbell responded that he wears the same shirts as Axe, but that “my wife doesn’t let me sleep with rich Miami women.” Later Campbell joked that he’s asked creator Matt Nix to write Dead Notice, an Evil Dead/spy combo.

Nix revealed that the bad guys on Burn Notice are often named after the show’s directors and restaurants on the show are named after the writer’s children. “The way the show is written, Bruce calls us and tells us what to do,” Nix joked.

Then the audience got to ask questions and Campbell’s jokes continued. After a girl tried to pick him up, Campbell joked about some of the attractive women in costume at Comic-Con: “There’s a Zena out there I want to boff really bad and there’s a Pikachu that’s hotter than hell over there too.” Campbell doled out more cash to an audience member who suggested that his character Sam should kick more ass on the show, only for Campbell to realize it was the same guy he already gave money to earlier. “Now I know why they shine bright lights in our faces [at Comic-Con],” joked Campbell, “so that we can get scammed. It was the same guy!”

Turning more serious, Campbell’s advice to one aspiring filmmaker was simply, “Don’t copy anybody, make people copy you.” Campbell also explained that all of the explosions on Burn Notice are real. “Matt Nix will not let digital explosions be used on this show. Matt just blows shit up.” To which Nix revealed that they accidentally blew a house off its foundations, when the explosion was intended to be much smaller. Nix also said that they wouldn’t be opposed to making a Burn Notice theatrical movie one day, as they sometimes want to do much bigger stunts than their budget allows.

Campbell usually has a cameo in each of the films of his old friend and collaborator, director Sam Raimi (the Spider-Man and Evil Dead movies), but Campbell was nowhere to be seen in Raimi’s recent horror film, released this summer. “No, I was not offered a role in Drag Me to Hell,” said Campbell with mock annoyance. “Am I happy about that? No. Will Sam pay for that? Yes. Because he’ll have to put me in Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6.”

Campbell again gave money to an audience member, this time because they asked Nix if someone helped write the show’s funny lines, implying that Campbell helped. Then Campbell said, “Thank you for watching, because if you didn’t, we wouldn’t be here right now. We’d be in the ballroom over there watching something on the new Twilight.” The panel ended with another Michael Westen spy tip video, this one on how to score the most free swag at Comic-Con.


The panel for USA Network’s hilarious show Psych, which is about a detective who pretends to be psychic, also started with a funny intro video. In the video all of Psych‘s main actors are convinced that they are the star of the show, instead of James Roday, and that the show revolves around their character. The panel featured the show’s creator (Steve Franks) and most of its major actors (James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Tim Omundson, and Corbin Bernsen). Predictably, the panel was all laughs.

Dulé Hill said that his character, Burton “Gus” Guster, might get a girlfriend at some point, but he joked that he was too picky in terms of the actresses he’d like to play that part: “For some reason, Halle Berry doesn’t want to come do our show.”

A preview of the show’s fourth season was shown and the panel revealed that the fourth season might be slightly more serious than previous ones. In the trailer, it appeared as though James Roday’s character, Shawn Spencer, may go missing at some point. It was also announced that guest stars for the fourth season would include James Brolin, Christine Baranski, Rachel Leigh Cook, Robert Patrick, and An American Werewolf in London‘s David Naughton in a werewolf-themed episode. “Biff is in the house!” James Roday later exclaimed, explaining that Back to the Future‘s Thomas F. Wilson (who played Biff Tannen in that movie trilogy) would also be guest starring this season.

Psych is known for its many obscure cultural references. “Some jokes are for all of you and some are for two of you,” said Roday. Most of Psych‘s references seem to stem from the ‘80s and when asked what are some of his favorite ‘80s movies references that they’ve worked into the show, Roday cited Clive Barker’s horror film Nightbreed (which, um, technically came out in 1990) and the 1986 slasher flick April Fool’s Day (which incidentally featured Thomas F. Wilson). “The funny thing is, your characters are way too young for the ‘80s references you’re doing. No one’s figured that out yet,” added series creator Steve Franks. Roday and Hill are both, in real life, children of the ‘80s and in their early to mid 30s, but apparently their characters are meant to be younger than that. “I always look on them as brothers,” said Hill about the characters of Gus and Shawn. “Brothers from a different mother,” Roday added.

One audience member asked, “Are you a fan of delicious flavor and which flavor do you find most delicious?” To which Hill answered suggestively, “I would say, for myself, I like chocolatedark, dark chocolate.” Maggie Lawson then responded: “We will officially be the dirtiest panel of the day.”

Another audience member asked which genre they’d most like to spoof on Psych, one that they have yet to spoof. Roday responded: “I think I speak for all of us when I say porn.” In all seriousness, they said they’d like to do a musical episode one day and to illustrate this Hill got up and tap danced for the audience. “We are doing a Twin Peaks episode next year,” Franks also let slip.

“Today is my ninth wedding anniversary…if everybody could say happy anniversary to my wife,” Franks later requested of the audience, to which we complied. Psych‘s first season included an episode that took place at a Comic-Con-esque comic book/sci-fi convention and so Franks was also incredibly happy to be taking part in Psych‘s first ever Comic-Con panel. “This is really a huge dream come true to be here today,” he said, and added that he was surprised by how many fans filled the room (which has a capacity of around 4,000)Franks was originally convinced that the panel should’ve been moved to a smaller room. The panel concluded with the hilarious promotional video of Roday and Hill singing the Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson duet “Ebony and Ivory.”

Green Lantern: First Flight World Premiere:

We ended our first day of Comic-Con with the world premiere screening of the direct-to-DVD animated feature film Green Lantern: First Flight. Producer Bruce Timm (known for his work on the great animated Batman and Justice League shows) introduced the screening. In one of the truly geekier moments of Comic-Con 2009, Timm asked the entire audience to stand and recite the Green Lantern oath (“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight…” etc.), which we did. Then a special video message from actress Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) was played. Helfer voices the character of Boodikka in the film and was not able to make it to Comic-Con for the panel on Green Lantern: First Flight that took place the next day.

The most refreshing aspect of the film itself was that it didn’t waste much time retelling the origin of how Hal Jordan becomes Green Lantern. This was already covered extensively in the recent animated movie Justice League: The New Frontier, and so Jordan becomes Green Lantern before the opening credits. Most of the film takes place in outer space and centers on Hal Jordan (voiced by Christopher Meloni) being trained by the Green Lantern Corps and being mentored by Sinestro (voiced by Victor Garber). Sinestro slowly turns from being the most trusted Green Lantern in the Corps to the infamous villain fans know and love. While not quite as strong as the recent Wonder Woman straight-to-DVD film that was also directed by Lauren Montgomery, Green Lantern: First Flight featured as much action and depth as can be squeezed into a 75-minute long animated film and will likely be casually enjoyed, if not passionately loved, by most Green Lantern fans.

And so went our day one of Comic-Con 2009. One down, three to go.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Burn Notice panel here.

Check out a full gallery of photos from the Psych panel here.

Check out a full gallery of other day one Comic-Con photos here.


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April 10th 2013

Thanks for sahinrg. Your post is a useful contribution.