TCA Winter ’15 (BLOG): ‘Mars’ attacks and ‘Cyber’ hacks

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Alabama Worley and Dawson Leery together at last

Is there life on Mars? That was my big question leading into Sunday’s 2015 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour sessions.

I’m not a totally soft Marshmallow, thinking that maybe we’ll get more Veronica Mars after the movie that Kickstarted the fan fervour again. But I am a well-preserved one and by that I mean my focus on the show never deteriorates with time, even as Rob Thomas and the cast move on to other things. That’s why I simply had to talk to Thomas after the panel for his new show iZombie and see if he plans to bring any former Veronica Mars cast members on for cameos. And that I did, getting myself some sweet scoop about the Season 1 involvement of Wallace and Dick (er, Percy Daggs and Ryan Hansen), as well as another non-Veronica tidbit that I’ll be sharing when I get a chance to write it. (I will say that it’s not particularly juicy, but it’s something that will interest fans of Thomas’ other work….)

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Is this the new, undead Veronica Mars?

What’s pretty cool is that even if Thomas hadn’t been there, I would have been psyched to talk about iZombie. Having checked out two episodes on the hotel screener feed the night prior, I can firmly say that it might be my new favourite CW show and I just got into the wonderfully hilarious and heartfelt Jane the Virgin. During a small scrum, Thomas told me and a few other journalists that essentially what the CW wanted from him next was the next Buffy or Veronica and that’s what I would classify iZombie is for sure. Sure, it has the gimmick of its lead being of the brain-eating undead, but the tone of the writing and characterization of the character (played by the lovely Rose McIver!) is right in line with those other shows, two of my favourites of all-time for their female empowerment and complex portrayals of what that means. Definitely watch out for it when it debuts on the CW in March.

I was too wrapped up in my iZombie love and Mars attack on Thomas to really get into the other CW panels presented, but I don’t think anyone noticed because they were honestly enthralled by a HUGE joint panel for Arrow and The Flash. I will say that I haven’t been able to get into either show, and I was a tad disappointed that of the two rows of cast and crew members, there was only one woman (Katie Cassidy) on stage for that session. I know they dubbed the panel “The Heroes and Villains” but is Emily Bett Rickards (a.k.a. Felicity on Arrow) not worth of the former title? It would have been great to hear her insight on being a saviour for smarts as opposed to supernatural strength.

Speaking of strength, in order to regain mine, I dodged the tailgate party that The CW held after its final panel of the afternoon (The Messengers) to take a short break in my hotel room before heading to a press screening of that night’s Golden Globes. I was going to nap, but instead caught up on a few work and personal things and ended up leaving my room with a lot less stress than I came in with. As much as it is a blast to be up here with people who care about TV as much as you do, it’s also a ton of work and constantly. Sometimes you gotta take a step back in order to regain your place and get ready for the next uphill climb.

Two people who didn’t seem winded at all Sunday evening were Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who completely ruled their–sob!–final Golden Globes hosting gig. I started off live-tweeting the show via my Twitter feed and Cinefilles‘, but I eventually got so into watching with my fellow critics, particularly my pal and gloriously snarky Fresh Fiction writer Gwen Reyes, I fell out of it. So I will take this moment to say a few things I should have said then. 1. I am so beyond happy that Patricia Arquette won for Boyhood, but upset she didn’t thank her fellow Dream Warriors. 2. I need to start watching The Affair and Transparent, obviously. 3. You need to start watching Jane the Virgin, obviously. 4. We all need to stop being afraid to talk about Bill Cosby and the Sony Hack. As Amy and Tina proved, those topics can make for funny fodder, and we all need to laugh in the wake of all the horrific things that happened in Paris.

I’m hoping to be less afraid myself as I head into my first full week at the winter TCAs. I attended a few panels this morning and did kick myself for not being more forceful when in a scrum with Arquette following her CSI: Cyber session or slipping her a napkin that said “You’re so cool” on it. But I did get to talk to Nina Tassler about that Supergirl show. And I am very happy I made time to see Yvette Nicole Brown after the Odd Couple panel, however, as she proved to be even sweeter than you may have imagined she might be watching her play Shirley all these years. I’m not sure how I feel about that show in general, but I’m anxious to see her move on to something new, particularly as she says this gig allows her to take better care of her father, who is now suffering from dementia. I’m also anxious to talk to the Community crew at a Yahoo panel tomorrow about how much they miss her.

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She isn’t serious and don’t call her Shirley!

Although these past few days have ruled in their own respective ways, I am most excited for the next couple coming up. In addition to the Community panel and one for Joe Dirt 2, tomorrow we head to the set of Jane, which should be fantastic, and not just because there will allegedly be a grilled cheese truck in tribute to the title character’s favourite food. And this afternoon we get to talk about female sexuality with some women from Showtime shows (Shameless, Masters of Sex and The Affair). Isn’t it ridiculously awesome that we can go from talking about explicit female-positive sex scenes to visiting a show that is forced to eschew them for the purpose of the leading lady’s opposing beliefs? I’m just proud to be reporting on an industry where both are allowed to exist, and moreover, be respected and analyzed critically.

On that note, I better take off the headphones and get ready to listen in on the Showtime executive panel. Got to ask about my favourite sexually liberated Twin Peaks resident Audrey Horne, right?!

 

Emily is covering the 2015 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour live from the Huntington Langham Hotel from January 9 – 18. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne

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