Unlike what they keep reminding us every week on Game of Thrones, summer is coming, and with it, a new batch of conventions for lovers of film, television, comics and other things I do not care about so much.
The first stop of this convention train is MCM Comic Con in London. I must say I was slightly disappointed with the October 2014 edition, which was a bit unorganised and somewhat chaotic, as one my colleagues pointed out. But this time I went with the hope of enjoying some interesting panels and the presence of the name I love saying out loud the most: Sylvester McCoy. So this is how it all went down yesterday and today:
On Friday afternoon, I barely had 20 minutes to take a look at the comic village (which had been condensed, making it easier to spot what one wanted to find) before rushing towards the Platinum Suites to attend Gillian Anderson’s panel. Being there more than an hour earlier, I sat through two more talks, one with the very young talent Raffey Cassidy, star of the upcoming Tomorrowland who dazed everyone in the audience with her charm, and the Anime Limited Panel, which, okay, sorry, I don´t know anything about Anime: I was waiting for Scully!
Finally, Ms Anderson and director Jon Wright showed up to talk about the not-too-successful film Robot Overlords (I struggle pronouncing the title). The movie didn’t have much success when it was released in theatres back in March, and it was clear that nobody in the audience wanted to talk about it -except someone who asked Gillian if she would work with something other than robots, to which the witty and straightforward actress replied in the most perfect way, as she did with every question.
Just when I thought nobody could be more captivating that Anderson, two people proved me wrong on Saturday morning: Tyler James Williams and Kristian Bruun. Unfortunately, the schedules were poorly organised and they were both cut short. Williams, of The Walking Dead fame, was very close to the fans and even showed up early because he knew they were waiting. The actor talked about the style of the show and how some things are even more graphic before the final cut, before stating that in the show “everyone will die. By the end, there will be no one left.” But of course, before his time was up, the MCM staff came to tell him that there had been a schedule “issue” and that he had to finish, which upset both him and the fans. Then it was Bruun’s turn. The actor, known for his role of Donnie in Orphan Black, wasn’t told he was supposed to come to talk. Nobody from the organisation went to him to bring him to the press room: it was because he checked his phone and saw people tweeting that they were waiting for him that he realised he was expected to be there. But half an hour later, there he was, exuding charisma and charm for just 12 minutes until the staff came back and said he had to leave. Disgraceful. This is my least favourite part of the convention, and I feel sad for the fans and for both actors, who wanted to spend time with them and answer their questions and weren’t given the chance.
Two more panels followed, both about TV shows. The first one was for the upcoming ITV series Jekyll and Hyde, starring Tom Bateman as the titular character. But the highlight here was a sun-kissed Richard E. Grant, who even though he didn’t get to speak much, whatever he said was on point and witty (like describing his character as “a little grumpy old fucker”). The other panel was about BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, a miniseries that premiered last week. I was looking forward to this one mainly because of its writer/showrunner, Peter Harness and its director Toby Haynes, two great artistic minds that have worked in Doctor Who and Sherlock. The clips they showed from the second episode captured my attention, even if the panel itself lost a bit of interest in its second half.
Overall, this edition of the Comic Con has improved in many aspects since the last one, especially in the comic village, but it could still do a lot better when it comes to organising its guests’ schedules, because those little things can sadden fans that might have travelled miles to see their idols.
Anyway, I got a Marvel notebook and a Darth Vader one, and a Funko toy of Oberyn, so everything will be fine.
Oh! And I saw Mr McCoy, but being the way I am, I didn’t dare go to him to tell him how great I think he is. Maybe tomorrow.
Let’s all be thankful for Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith.