Saturday, August 10, 2013

SDCC 2013 Day 1 Recap: Nothing Important Happened Today Except A Morning Fracas and A Pair of Gorgeous Dimples

Rumour has it that there was an X-Files 20th Year Reunion on the afternoon of Day 1 of Comic-Con at a venue called Ballroom 20.

Red Dot Diva cannot reveal details about the so-called event at this moment.

There was also talk that a couple hundred people or so camped out at the entrance of the San Diego Convention Center the night before for this particular reunion.

Several photos of these people turned up on Twitter. Some were shown snoozing in sleeping bags, and others were chatting the night away while sitting on mats or foldable chairs on the pavement.

Apparently, a pic of Red Dot Diva and her roomie-friends - Sara, Felicia and Chelle as part of the crowd who were "camping out" had also surfaced. But Red Dot Diva says that said photo was not about the camp-out but a social experiment that they can't really talk about.

However, what Red Dot Diva can truthfully recount is an unhappy incident that happened early morn of Thursday.

This Must Be A Conspiracy!
For many years, people lining up were usually let into the convention center about 7 AM. Around 5 AM, Sara and Red Dot Diva took some of their belongings and returned to the Hilton Bayfront to shower and freshen up before the line was expected to move inside.

When they returned 45 minutes later, the ushers had already moved the line inside the center and Felicia was in possession of Sara's bag, which had her convention badge inside! Panic ensued as Sara tried to frantically explain to security and ushers that she was present overnight, and that they should let her in so that she could prove that she was a badge holder. A security guy was particularly snarky and barked that he had heard that line 25x already.

Calls and text messages were made to Felicia but as everyone knows, mobile and wifi connection inside the center is iffy and at certain places, there were dead spots. As it turned out, Felicia ended up carrying a couple of bags, and as the line continued to move, she did not have a spare hand to check her mobile devices.

Sara insisted that a more senior official be called out to resolve the matter, and that a straightforward simple way was to have a security person escort her inside, retrieve her bag and allow her to show them her badge. And if she was not a badge holder, they could bar her from entry into the convention for the rest of the week. An official emerged awhile later but waffled about the solution offered.

Chelle and Red Dot Diva decided not to waste time arguing and tried to find out a way in to help Sara get her bag. As part of her efforts, Chelle got chastised by a woman and her friend when she tried to explain to them about how we needed to help Sara. Red Dot Diva knew that talking to strangers like these was futile because all one could see were two women trying to cheat the system and get into the building without lining up or camping out.

She pulled Chelle away quietly, and managed to sneak themselves into the line a couple of people down, in front of a few young men who didn't bother about such inane drama or just didn't notice. And that was how Chelle and Red Dot Diva managed to scurry down the corridors inside the building trying to look for Felicia, who was already in the B20 line at the balcony under the white tents. Through one of the glass doors, Red Dot Diva spotted Felicia looking out anxiously and she managed to enter through the the doors with security's permission to retrieve Sara's backpack.

She then quickly texted Sara to say that she got the backpack and will come down the corridor again towards the main entrance to the B20 line. Sara's bag was super heavy for Red Dot Diva's petite frame but she finally managed to half-drag it and met up with Sara - who also eventually had a security personnel with her. This is where the most ANNOYING thing happened: When a relieved Sara opened her bag to get the badge as proof, the security person had already lost interest and walked away without even taking a peep at whether Sara's bag was legit!

Why go through all the hassle with all that without even bothering to check Sara's badge?! (Red Dot Diva is soooo glad her friend was firm and did not back down easily!)

Unlike Hall H where ushers constantly gave the people in line updates on when to pack up or stand up to compress the line, there were no instructions or warning whatsoever for B20. In fact, when Red Dot Diva and Sara rejoined Felicia and Chelle under the tents, they found out that there were a few others who had friends caught in the same predicament.

So for those who might be lining up for B20 next time, take note! It might not seem to be a good idea to head back to your hotel room or car to pack up those sleeping bags or blankets as they may herd the lines into the building without warning! Maybe one should not even think of going to the bathroom just before 5:30 AM!

At 8:30 AM or so, the line was moved again inside the carpeted area of the convention centre. While waiting, Red Dot Diva and Sara spotted Jeremy Rutz from uber-popular website SDCC Unofficial Blog near the front of the line. After many years of attending Comic-Con, they have finally managed to say quick hi's to each other in person!

Everyone was allowed into B20 at about 9:30 AM, and by the time the attendees settled down, the day's program was running about 15 minutes late.

The "Intelligence" Panel
First up at 10:15 AM was the panel for "Intelligence", a new CBS TV series that stars someone Red Dot Diva misses muchly on screen after "Lost" ended - Josh Holloway.

Red Dot Diva thought the preview screening of the pilot was passable. There wasn't much of a wow factor, but it had lots of techno-mumbo-jumbo gadgety thingies and cool action sequences to keep most audiences suitably entertained.

The series was about an intelligence operative, Gabriel (Josh Holloway) who has a microchip implanted in his head, and therefore, could see and interpret all kinds of digital information and run through sequences of events like a virtual evidence wall. (That in itself isn't a new plot device. The Protectors in Showcase's scifi series "Continuum" are already doing that.)

While doing his job, Gabriel is still searching for his own personal answers - particularly the one about his wife who seemed to have been involved in a terrorist bombing. To ensure that he toes the line somewhat during investigations, lady boss Lilian (Marg Helgenberger) partnered Gabriel with a no-nonsense ex-secret service bodyguard, Riley O'Neil (Meghan Ory). And here is one of the reasons why Lost/ Once Upon A Time fans would like the series - there is some nice chemistry brewing between Gabriel and Riley right from the get-go.

After the pilot screening, the moderator introduced the panelist on stage. As expected, a very clean-cut Josh Holloway, showing off some lean biceps in an all-black simple tee and cargo pants - received the most fangirly screams. And gosh were Josh's dimples so twinkly in real life, they could probably be seen from another galaxy! Red Dot Diva thinks those gorgeous dimples deserve their own show credits.

As Josh's Dimples flashed and charmed the audience, the moderator asked Josh if he felt like 'Cyber Sawyer' while filming "Intelligence". To which, Josh replied "No." But continued to reveal that he had been joking with his brother saying that he is one of the most computer-illiterate person around. "And the only way I would use a computer is if it's jammed in my head. So it's a funny dichotomy that they would pick me to be a super-computer guy."

Josh added that he liked being in the series because it had "hot strong women characters" - which Red Dot Diva also highly approved, by the way. It was empowering to see Marg Helgenberger kick-ass as a woman in-charge of the Clockwork project. And Josh's statement itself was greeted with cheers from the crowd.

The crunch time came when Josh was posed a very tricky question: "Which do you think is more painful? Gabriel's loss of Emilia or Sawyer's loss of Juliet?" Josh gave a low laugh and then said poignantly, "Wow. That is not fair." And then after a pause, he said, "The loss of any love is tragic." Awwww...

Both leading ladies Meagan Orpy and Marg Helgenberger looked beautiful on stage, and Red Dot Diva thought Marg especially, was a very poised and articulate lady.

As a last question, the series' creator and Executive Producer Michael Seltzman was asked if he could reveal some of the villains who have been conceived for the series. Seltzman turned all super-secretive and said that people would have to tune into the series to find out.

"Intelligence" is expected to premiere in February 2014. Here's the behind the scenes video for it:

Next up was a panel on the teen-y, inter-galactic kind of Romeo and Juliet rip-off called "Star-Crossed". Red Dot Diva had very little interest or patience for such romance-based drama serials and probably slept through half of it.

However, since the day's program was still running 15-20 minutes late, she was getting concerned about a crucial secret operation related to a couple of FBI Special Agents that was supposed to happen in the Exhibition Hall at noon. Tick-tock, tick-tock...

How was Red Dot Diva able to complete her mission and yet return to B20 in time to investigate if the X-Files 20th Year Reunion panel actually happened?

Tune in to Part 2 of SDCC Day 1 Recap.

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