We are right in the midseason for network viewing and while there are many good geek offerings, it is possible that you have not heard about three awesome shows on Comic-Con HQ. The video streaming channel came from the idea that there needs to be a real home for all things that swirl around the biggest convention out there, San Diego Comic Con. Along with getting the full crowd attending experience, the site branched out into new original content: Con Man, Kings of Con, and Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest.
Admittedly, I had been behind on all these great shows myself. That all changed after getting an invite to the ‘Headquarters’ winter showcase at the historic Paley Center. Excited to get out for the evening, my fellow geek mom Photographer Kendra Moras and I jumped at the chance to rub shoulders and ask questions alongside many of our favorite genre stars and invited guests from the geek-centric community.
Driving a distance, Kendra and I finally found reasonable nearby parking. Here is a tip when visiting Beverly Hills: even the lamp stores have valet service! Once inside the beautifully geek-chic decorated center, we found our spot on the ‘step and repeat’ press line. There were some tight moments fighting to share the press space. We soon forgot the battles while chatting with Nathan Fillion, who is returning as Jack Moore for Con Man season 2, sharing jabs again with creator Alan Tudyk as they continue to poke fun at true-life convention experiences and life as an actor in Hollywood.
Though in Con Man the comedy is kicked on high, some of the plot lines and behind-the-scenes shenanigans really rang painfully true for me. In a funny full-circle way, I know a bit more about the seedy underbelly of convention life, after spending a year on the con circuit myself. This time came after being the superhero Hygena on the Syfy show Who Wants to be a Superhero? Season 2.
There was no doubt that all the hilarious magic from the first season had returned in season two. Tudyk and Fillion are amazing together. The show has spawned a comic book and a video game. Lots of Hollywood’s geek icons, including Seth Green, Tricia Helfer, Felicia Day, Sean Astin, and Wil Wheaton lined up to get a small part in this show, the very series that the major networks passed on – or more accurately, didn’t understand – which led Alan and show producers to successfully crowdfund and eventually find it a new home on Comic-Con HQ.
Here is a quick breakdown concept of the show:
Wray Nerely (Tuydk) is a struggling actor who starred as a spaceship pilot on Spectrum, a canceled science fiction series that went on to become a cult classic. Wray’s good friend Jack Moore (Fillion), who starred as the ship’s captain, has become a movie star. Frustrated by Jack’s success and his lack thereof, Wray travels the science fiction convention circuit, makes appearances at comic book stores, and visits pop culture events. He navigates the odd people and incidents he encounters along the way while learning to love the fans he has.
Next up on our red carpet were the stars of the Comic-Con HQ show Kings of Con. The cheeky series is based on the what a celebrity (of sorts) goes through while riding the international fan convention wave. The show’s stars are Richard Speight and Rob Benedict. Inspired by their experiences on the Supernatural experience, it’s part improv, part scripted comedy with parts filmed guerrilla style at Supernatural Conventions. Their Indiegogo campaign raised $100,000 in less than 48 hours. When the campaign ended after one month, $279,905 had been raised by 5,081 people.
These two were totally charming on the panel. I got to ask them just how meta the show is and if this press night would end up in one of the episodes. They coyly answered that ‘one never knows’ and that they agreed it is often weird promoting a show about fan and press interactions that is about those same interactions.
Lastly, and well worth the wait, we got to see an episode of the new Comic-Con HQ Mark Hamill series Pop Culture Quest. The show is admittedly a passion project of our favorite collector and Last Jedi. He freely confesses to being a huge lifelong hunter of collectibles. The show will follow him as he meets with some of the biggest fan collectors all over the planet. Delightful as ever, it was a real treat to listen to Hamill share his knowledge of the comic book collecting and old Hollywood movie world. He reveals that he is not a Star Wars collector but his son is and he understands the drive that keeps fans gathering toys, books, Jawas, and lightsabers.
I got to take a photo with Hamill (Nerd Goals) and ask him a bit about where his collecting desire came from. He explained that he was one of seven kids and his family moved around a lot, since his father was in the Army. Like anyone faced with moving, his mother would tend to purge toys and things to make room for a new home and life. Many of these toss-aways were Hamill’s dear collections. I told him that I had a similar experience after being taunted by my older brothers about collecting Empire Strikes Back action figures. Under that pressure, I gave my entire collection I bought myself with hard-earned babysitting money to the younger neighbor kids. We took a moment of shared grief as he put his arm on my shoulder in a knowing gesture. He too felt the regret and loss that keeps us ever in search of childhood replacements. Of course, mine just happened to include a Luke Skywalker figure. The weight and joy of this epic moment have stuck with me.
Kendra and I stuck around after this amazing panel to chat with other community members, pose for a selfie, and take joy in the festive geek evening. I am happy to report that parking was only a mere five dollars and no shoes were worn out walking miles to get to the humble garage.
Thank you to our friends at Comic-Con HQ for inviting my photographer and me to this special night. We have shared the fun with all our communities and hope you join in on the laughs too.
Now that you have finished this post, go and binge-watch all three shows. You’re welcome.