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Friday, July 20, 2018

Comic-Con Heavy on TV

Written by Jon Williams

Comic-Con International kicked off yesterday in San Diego. Beginning in 1970 and initially focused primarily on comic books, SDCC has evolved into a preeminent pop-culture showcase extravaganza that goes far beyond just comics (although they are still a large part of the show) and into the realms of movies and TV. Here is a quick look at some of the television titles, both beloved favourites and soon-to-be breakthroughs, that will be holding panels and releasing news as the convention progresses through Sunday.

A natural outgrowth of comics is into animation, a format that is often associated with children’s entertainment. A number of animated children’s television shows will be at Comic-Con. One of those is Adventure Time, the beloved cartoon whose tenth and final season is all set to wrap up, with just the series finale remaining. Lego’s animation has become quite a force in entertainment, and Lego Ninjago will be represented at Comic-Con as well. Fans will also be able to hear about the upcoming seventh season of Voltron: Legendary Defender, a reboot of the classic Voltron series from the ‘80s. Another reboot comes in the form of DuckTales, the new adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. And in a bit of surprise news, it was announced yesterday that Star Wars: The Clone Wars will return for one final 12-episode arc to complete the series.

Of course, cartoons aren’t just for kids anymore, and animated entertainment for grown-ups is very much on Comic-Con’s agenda. The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom in American history, animated or otherwise, and at Comic-Con will be looking ahead to its 30th season. In addition, creator Matt Groening (who also created Futurama) will be presenting his new series, Disenchantment. Similarly long-running Seth MacFarlane staples Family Guy (going into its 17th season) and American Dad (13th season) will be represented, as will Bob’s Burgers (9th season) and Archer (10th season).

Horror television is a genre that has seen quite a bit of growth lately, and that will be reflected in big panels for both The Walking Dead, which will undergo some big changes in its upcoming ninth season, and Fear the Walking Dead, which returns for the second half of its fourth season on August 12. Carrying on the zombie theme is Z Nation, soon to return for its fifth season. From the mind of Stephen King comes the second season of Mr. Mercedes, based on his book trilogy, as well as Castle Rock, a new series not directly from King’s writings but set in and around a town that features prominently in many of his works. Also making the leap from the page to the screen are The Passage, from Justin Cronin’s vampire trilogy, and Nightflyers, based on a novella from Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin.

Then there’s sci-fi and fantasy TV, which has perhaps the largest presence at this year’s convention. The granddaddy of them all is Doctor Who, which will have a huge panel in preparation for its eleventh season and first female Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker. Fans can also look forward to panels on Star Trek: Discovery, the latest series in that massive universe, as well as the Trek-inspired homage from Seth MacFarlane, The Orville. Legion and The Gifted both tie into the X-Men universe, while Preacher is adapted from the Vertigo comics series. A Charmed reboot is coming this fall, and fans of witches can also look forward to A Discovery of Witches, adapted from Deborah Harkness’s novels. Finally, The Magicians, a series based on Lev Grossman’s novels, recently wrapped its third season and will return next year for a fourth.

And there are also plenty of shows that don’t easily fit into any of these categories. Riverdale makes perfect sense for Comic-Con, as it is based on classic Archie Comics characters. Breaking Bad’s panel will celebrate ten years since the show premiered, and the spinoff/prequel, Better Call Saul, will be there as well to focus on the upcoming fourth season. The surreal life-after-death comedy The Good Place will look ahead to its third season, while the historical drama Vikings prepares for its midseason premiere. And the trend of reboot continues with a new iteration of Magnum P.I. coming in September.

That’s a lot of TV—and that’s just a small portion of all the movie, comic, and other pop-culture media properties that will be exhibiting at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year. What are you and your patrons looking forward to hearing about? Let us know, and stay in touch with CVS Midwest Tape for all the latest news as these shows and more make their way onto DVD and Blu-ray.