Comic Con Smooching, plus:NBC Leapfrogs Critics, But Props to Fox & ToonNet

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After 17 days of TCA, I was too ill with a severe cold to make my annual pilgrimage to Comic-Con this year.  The air conditioning in the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton was often set at near-arctic temperatures, ostensibly to keep everyone awake.  (Note to networks: it only makes us sick.) 

Next time, I’m packing a down vest.

In any case, I missed the big smooch that caused much twittering and tweeting, and squees of delight on livejournal.  A new fanfic couple has been born?  During the Comic-Con StargateContinuum panel, Ben Browder laid one on his co-star, Michael Shanks.  Here’s a vid of the panel’s intro.

Click here to see a report and a pic.  Be sure to click on the "spoiler" button to bring up the snaps.

ETA:  the moment is also recorded here in a detailed recap on the Stargate Solutions blog.  (nice reporting from Michelle on this blog.)

In other news: NBC screened a full episode of Heroes at Comic-Con, leapfrogging the critics at the recent TCA press tour.

A similar incident during the summer press tour last year triggered much "caterwauling" among the crics.  After ABC head-honcho Steve McPherson withheld information from the television press so the net’ could instead break a Lost scoop at Comic-Con, the critics wanted to know if they were merely "chopped liver."

From Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes: "What Are We, Chopped Liver?"

The caterwauling of TV critics was so horrible when ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson blew the tops off their heads by refusing to divulge scoops about "Lost" before the next day’s comics convention, his publicist finally cut short the news conference.

This year, during the ABC executive session, McPherson breezily reassured the critics there would no repeat of 2007 missteps and all was forgiven.

"The other note is remembering last summer when I was here," recalled McPherson, "I called [Lost executive producers] Damon and Carlton, and there will be no new announcements whatsoever at Comic-Con from them."

This summer, it’s NBC that decided to give the critics the heave-ho.

Comic-Con devotees were treated to the season premiere of Heroes while the television press got crumbs - a mere two-minute clip on closed circuit, airing in our rooms at lunchtime or at 6:45 a.m.

Contra Costa Times critic Chuck Barney, on his "TV Freak" blog, protests:

Hey, no fair. My bosses spend lots of money to send me to the TV critics tour, where NBC had almost no footage for us to preview. Then, just a couple days later at Comic-Con the fans get to see the entire first episode of the new season of “Heroes”! I see how we rate.

Yeah.  Exactly Chuck.

On the other hand, props to Fox and Cartoon Network for their TCA presentations.

Fox organized a low-key but classy, late-night screening of Fringe (J.J. Abrams’ paranormal science extravaganza), complete with full bar and hot hors d’oeuvre.  ToonNet screened a complete, spectacular episode of Clone Wars to a packed house.

Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan, who has more energy than ten of us put together, blogged the full Heroes at Comic-Con story.

Maybe this is why NBC didn’t screen Heroes for the critics.  Says Maureen:

In any event, I’m posting  a lot of spoilers about the “Heroes” season premiere, “The Second Coming,” later in this post, but for those who don’t want to read the full recap, I’ll say this: It was OK. It wasn’t terrible, though any scenes involving Suresh, especially if he’s saying the word “research” a lot, tend to make me slide into a coma…Two caveats: The first episode of last season was OK too, then the season itself devolved into a muddled mess. So I’ll reserve judgment on whether “Heroes” is “back in a big way,” as Kring assured the crowd it was.

All in all, it doesn’t sound encouraging.

FYI: the fan bloggers can sometimes be just as harsh, if not harsher, than the critics.  So, I’m not sure NBC did itself any favors.

ETA: Aaron Barnhart, in his "what’s working/what’s not" sidebar, placed the Heroes snub in the "What’s Not" column.  Says Aaron:


"Heroes." NBC blew off the TV critics tour in L.A. and showed the 3rd-season opener to fanboys at Comic-Con instead. Because the last thing a fourth-place network needs is more viewers.

Exactly.

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