The Great Light of Dark Matter

29 06 2015

DarkMatterPicSince 2009, long-time blog followers of Joe Mallozzi, executive producer/writer of the beloved Stargate franchise, have been reading about the comic book story that we came to know as Dark Matter, co-written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (his long-time writing partner). It came to life in a comic book series in 2011/2012 followed by a graphic novel both published by Dark Horse Comics. In the fall of 2014, his blog readers were treated to frequent updates as preproduction for Dark Matter began, the comic book/graphic novel now turned television show produced by Prodigy Pictures (Jay Firestone and Vanessa Piazza who also served as executive producers) for the Syfy Channel. Our appetites for updates were insatiable. It beckoned the return of space-show-loving fans’ beloved Syfy Fridays (with Defiance and Killjoys as part of the trifecta powerhouse). It has been such a privilege to see this original work evolve over all these years.

In the lead up to the premiere on Friday, June 12 on the Syfy Channel in the United States and on Space in Canada, entertainment sites and bloggers who had access to the screener were receiving it very well. The internet was abuzz with Dark Matter love. It was no surprise that the ratings were high as well, with a rating slightly higher than Defiance (Killjoys would not premiere until June 19).

Episode one set up the show, both characters and players, as all shows do. The cast included ONE (a.k.a. Jace Corso) played by Marc Bendavid (Bitten, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Hard Rock Medical); TWO (a.k.a. Portia Lin) played by Melissa O’Neil (Broadway’s Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar); THREE (a.k.a. Marcus Boone) played by Anthony Lemke (Lost Girl, The Listener); FOUR (a.k.a. Ryo Tetsudo) played by Alex Mallari, Jr. (True Justice, Debug); FIVE (a.k.a. The Kid) played by Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Stargate Atlantis); SIX (a.k.a Griffin Jones) played by Roger Cross (Arrow, Motive, Continuum); and The Android played by Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, The Guard). Some aspects did deviate from the comic series but only insofar as some characters’ sexes and a tweak of the crimes they allegedly committed. Otherwise, it stayed true almost word for word. While I really enjoyed the comic book series, it was nice to see it play out visually as a TV series.

Episode one opened similarly in the way the world of Stargate Universe was revealed to us—a walkthrough of the ship, going down corridors, although that was apparently not the intent. The ship, after all, is also a character. The dialogue from the script of episode one and the comic book issues 1 and 2 were pretty much word for word. By the end of the episode, the characters learn of their real names, but still have no memories of their past history that the computer screen was sharing with them. The computer-retrieved footage of a sketchy figure, who could be obviously identified as actor David Hewlett, appeared to the shipmates. Stargate fans will rejoice in seeing this beloved actor again.

Who has racked up the most bodies? In the TV show, the numbers are never revealed of their alleged crimes. On the comic book page, the true numbers belonging to FOUR (Ryo) and TWO (Portia) are obscured by the heads of those characters, but as far as ONE (Jace), THREE (Marcus), and SIX (Griffin) are concerned, these were their numbers:

Jace (ONE): 212 counts of murder, 279 counts of assault, 75 counts of kidnapping, 130 counts of trafficking, 309 counts of theft. (In the show, the crimes were the same as the comic book).

Marcus (THREE): 123 counts of murder, 175 counts of assault, 13 counts of kidnapping, 42 counts of smuggling. (In the show, his crimes were murder, assault, kidnapping, and piracy).

Griffin (SIX): 36 counts of murder, 107 counts of assault, 13 counts of piracy. (In the show his crimes were murder, assault, and smuggling).

In the show, Ryo (FOUR)’s crimes were murder, assault, piracy. Portia (TWO)’s crimes were murder, assault, arson, theft, and piracy. There was no file for The Kid.

By episode 2, the actors were fitting well into the skin of their characters. Some questions were answered; more questions appeared. Other mysteries remained unsolved. Stargate Atlantis fans were also pleased to see Torri Higginson appearing on the series. Another science fiction favorite, David Richmond-Peck, also had a role in this episode. Hopefully we will see more of them in future episodes.

What was clear by the end of episode 2 is that the witty banter and humor of what we loved about the Stargate universe is in Dark Matter. People who loved the action sequences from Stargate would love the action especially in this episode. People who love seeing women in roles that are commanding and powerful would be fulfilled. People who liked the comradery that was part of the Stargate world would be satisfied in this aspect as well. It’s all packed inside this wonderful gift of a show. The only thing missing is you.  Be a part of the great light of Dark Matter.

(Dark Matter airs on Friday nights on Syfy at 10 pm eastern/9 pm central time). 





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 2)

4 11 2013

Please read here for Part 1 of the interview:  https://pbmom.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/celebrity-corner-bart-montgomery-promotional-wizard-part-1/

How long do you get to work on a particular preview before it goes to air? Have there ever been close calls to deadlines? Can you share anything specific if you did?

Usually you get a week to work on promos for a show during the regular television season. You want to finish promos for an episode at least a week before the episode airs so there’s time for viewers to see them. On launch promos for new shows you get a longer time frame, perhaps weeks or months because you have the pilot episode already. For returning shows, you have to wait for production to start before you can get material to cut promos with.

There have been some close calls when it comes to a promo making air. Back in the day when I was doing promos for “America’s Most Wanted,” we would promo the specific fugitive that the show was looking for and sometimes viewers would see the promos, recognize the fugitive, call the police and the fugitive would be arrested before the actual episode could air. This would throw everything off and we would quickly have to produce new promos featuring a different fugitive. I remember having an hour to produce a new promo and finishing just in time for the new promo to be slapped into a tape machine and broadcast. Haven’t had to do that in a long time, thank God.

(X-Files Promos)

How do you decide which way to take a preview? I noticed that just recently on Twitter you asked viewers what they wanted to see in a preview and you got a pretty good response–no spoilers, action, explosions, relationships, which I think pretty much covers all aspects.

Ideas on how to approach doing a promo will usually come to me while I’m watching an episode. I take lots of detailed notes on dialogue and shots that I like. For “Fringe” alone I’ve taken around 2000 pages of notes. Notes make things move faster during an edit session because it’s easier to find what you need.

During most of my career I’ve never really had an occasion to ask fans of a show what they’d like to see in a promo / trailer. Twitter provided the perfect opportunity to learn what fans thought about how a favorite show is being sold to them. I asked fans questions when I was working on “Fringe” and the responses were very helpful. The music we used in the final “Fringe” promos was suggested by a fan. Fox has always been a leader in embracing new technology. Twitter is a wonderful tool for promotion and linking fans together and with “Fringe” it really showed. There are some AMAZING “Fringe” fans in the Twitter-verse and I am still awed by what they were able to pull off.


(Fringe Promo–Thanks @NataliaQuique)

I think that in some aspects part of your job is sales. You have to sell a show in a very specific short period of time. I think it is very reminiscent of commercials for products except people are usually flipping through commercials on their DVRs. Would I be right to think that while flipping through these commercials they have to see this preview of an episode and want to stop and look at it before they continue flipping through the products to get back to their show? If so, that’s pressure!

Television promos and trailers can be considered an art form but in the end yes, you are selling something. Promo producers are acutely aware that viewers are very adept at wielding the DVR remote. I try to have at least one shot in whatever promo I’m producing that will entice a viewer to stop fast-forwarding through a commercial break and rewind the DVR to watch the entire promo. Sometimes a few frames of a promo will be all you have to promote a show so you’ve got to really think about what you’re putting on the screen. It has to be interesting. It has to be compelling because most everyone is an expert at watching television and people know when you’re messing with them. The audience knows when you’re not being honest. They may not be able to quantify exactly why something in a promo or trailer isn’t quite right but they know something’s wrong. Make sense?

Alcatraz Promo

Have there ever been moments where after a piece airs you feel you could have done things a little differently, or is there no second guessing yourself in this line of work?

Yeah, I have thought of better ways to do a promo after the fact. Sure, there are a times when I feel that I absolutely nailed it but they’re rare. Given time you can find a million different ways to make a promo so there is some second guessing, I suppose.

I remember a particular promo I did for “The X Files” that had a shot in it that I thought was really cool. I didn’t stop to consider that younger viewers might be frightened by this shot. It was just a cool creepy shot to me. So the promo aired and I got a few irate e-mails from some parents who didn’t appreciate having to explain the “coolness” of this particular shot I’d used to their children. They were right. I learned from that mistake and don’t think I’ve ever repeated it.
Second guessing has its merits the trick is to do your second guessing before the promo airs.

With all the changes coming so rapidly in the way people view television, do you have any thoughts about the future for promotional clips?

Yes, things are changing fast in the world of television viewing. I think the future of what a promo will look like and how it will be viewed will evolve depending on one thing and that is when a viewer records a show on a DVR or streams it off the internet, will that viewer be able to fast-forward through promos. We all know that right now if you record a show on DVR, you can blaze through anything by fast-forwarding. Will that continue to be possible? We’re already starting to see disabled fast-forwarding in video on demand and streaming. Will that extend into all viewing options? Only time will tell.

Regardless of what happens, my personal philosophy regarding promos is this: Most everyone who watches television is an expert at watching television. Even if they can’t quantify why what they’re watching promo wise feels wrong or out of place, they will know something is not right. Viewers know when they’re being messed with because they’re experts at watching television. So, if you’re viewing a recorded show and a promo begins to play, that promo had better somehow grab your attention from the first frame and be compelling enough so that you don’t fast forward through it, you just have to watch it. It’s as simple and complex as that.

The future of promos will be interesting. I suspect there will be many new options explored for enticing viewers to watch new shows as well as established ones. Ten years from now who knows what the promo world will look like? It’s certainly changed a lot in the last ten years. One of the most exciting things to me is fan participation. It’s amazing to see fans up-loading promos of their favorite shows to the internet and sharing them with others or creating their own fan made pieces. It’s really cool. When fans get involved in this way, great things happen and as a promo producer, it’s really a lot of fun to watch!

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

Bart next to the Headless Horseman costume from Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to thank Bart for being SO generous with his time and his answers and to @NataliaQuique for being the ultimate uber-Bart-fan who gave me an idea and a push in the right direction.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know him better.  I sure did!





Celebrity Corner: Bart Montgomery: Promotional Wizard (Part 1)

1 11 2013

For a brief period of time from August 2008 until November of 2008 I had the tremendous opportunity to be part of a live newscast for Fox 26 Houston for a segment once a week called “Your Family Matters.” Other women within the community were also invited. While I was not on every week, because I had a unique perspective of being a mother of a child with a disability or politically because of my no-party affiliation, I was often selected for a particular topic as part of a group. I was captivated by all the elements that went into a production of a newscast. Every job is important. About the same time, I found a blog by Joseph Mallozzi who was an executive producer and writer on the series Stargate. Oftentimes he would feature a Q&A of different people working on the show. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more of all the elements that went in to creating a popular series. Occasionally I get a chance to ask questions of people working on a show. Occasionally they graciously indulge my request for an interview. What I am learning is that their stories are far more fascinating.

One such person is Bart Montgomery. Many of us on Twitter got to know him as the man behind the promotional pieces for Fringe on Fox Broadcasting. He became a rock star to us (although the modest man he is, I imagine that he would blush that I have said that). I wanted to know more about his career and how he makes certain decisions that lead him to create the videos that lead the viewer to decide whether or not it is something they might want to view. The answers were so terrific that I had to break this up into two parts. Here is the first of two. Enjoy!

What is your official title at Fox?

Senior Writer/Producer, Fox On-Air Promo Creative.

How long have you been with Fox?

I’ve been with Fox for 16 years, first from 1990 – 1999 then from 2006 to present.

BartsEditBay

Where the magic happens!

How did you get into this particular field of work? Was it something you studied for in college, or something that you got on-the-job experience? If you didn’t study for this particular field in college, what was your major?

I studied Film and Television production at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There isn’t a university level course that I know of that deals with producing television promos. It’s kind of a specialized thing that you learn on the job. I mean, you can learn the basics of television and film production in college and that will help you in promo work but in my university experience, I never studied anything as detailed as promo or trailer production.

To tell the truth, I kind of fell into producing promos by chance. I had moved out to Los Angeles to get into the film and television business in some capacity. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet but just wanted to get involved. Unfortunately I arrived in L.A. during a writer’s strike so there was no work to be had. Every show and film set was shut down. After a couple of weeks looking for work, a friend of mine from college who was living in Florida and knew I was looking, told me that a friend of hers in Florida had a sister who was working at a promo / trailer production company in Hollywood. She told me that I should contact her friend’s sister so I did. I met her the next day and she hired me on the spot for the high profile job of runner / tape librarian. I had a masters degree and I was running around Hollywood picking up and delivering video tapes. Exciting huh? It does prove, however, that when it comes to getting a job in Hollywood, it IS who you know.
After several months working as a “runner” I was delivering tapes to an edit session for one of the company owners, a man named Geoff Calnan, who is a legend in the promo business. I kid you not, he is a promo master and anyone reading this has seen his work. I had dropped off the videotapes that were needed for the session and Geoff turns to me and asks me what I wanted to do in the company. Without thinking I replied, “I want to do what you do, produce promos and trailers.” I remember he looked at me for a moment and said, “Okay, you’re doing the next promo for “Superboy.” “Superboy” was a syndicated show that we had the promo contract for at the time. So, that was the first show I ever produced a promo for and it launched my career. I’ve even found some of my “Superboy” promos on YouTube— Go figure.

You do/have done the previews for episodes like The Following, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Almost Human, Touch, and X-Files. What are some other shows?

Well, in addition to the shows you’ve listed, I can give you a short overview. I’ve produced promos for “America’s Most Wanted” “Beverly Hills 90210” “The Simpsons” “Married with Children” “Millenium” “Harsh Realm” “24” “Family Guy” “Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles” to name a few.

Is it a team effort to produce the one preview or do you work on a particular project/episode by yourself while others are working on other episodes?

Usually each producer is assigned a show to write and produce promos for. Sometimes, especially when a show is first launched on the network, several producers will be assigned to produce multiple launch promos. But, most of the time, there is a single producer for each show.

Fox is a very creative place to work. They give you a lot of freedom to try different approaches. I’m biased of course but I think Fox is the best network on television and I’m proud to work here. There, I said it.


(Space Above And Beyond within a commercial block)

Do you get to choose the music for a particular preview? If so you must have to listen to quite a variety and be very knowledgeable about current trends. Do you hear something and think, “That would be great for such-and-such show” or do you file it away for a different time in the future?

Yes, as a producer I usually select the music for the promos. There are times when someone at a higher level will have a specific music idea or there may be a new music track being offered at a reduced rate by an established band looking for exposure that we’ll use but most of the time it’s me listening to various production music libraries. I’m always listening to current popular music tracks looking for ways to use songs that that I think would be good for a show I’m working on. More often than not, I’ll find something really good that I’ll file away in my mind for possible use later. I remember listening to Pandora one morning on the way to work and hearing a song by the band Collide called “Am I Here? I just had to use it and it became the track I used for the “Fringe” Season 4 launch promos so sometimes it’s just pure luck that you find exactly what you need musically. I’ve used music from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash and everything in between. One band I’m dying to use in a promo / trailer is Garbage, just haven’t found the right situation yet.

(Come back for Part 2 in the next day or so.  The best is yet to come!)





Series Finale for Touch on Fox

11 05 2013

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Fox Broadcasting confirmed what we all had been expecting: Touch would not receive a season 3 renewal. Friday, May 10, 2013 would be the series finale.

I think we could see the writing on the wall from the beginning of season 2. It was supposed to be aired in October 2012. Then it got bumped to January of 2013. Then it was pushed to Friday, February 1, 2013. Then it was changed to Friday, February 8, 2013. People in the science fiction community believe the Friday night slot is the place where shows go to get the final nail in the coffin. It was true for Fringe.

There was very sparse advertising for the show’s premiere. The shows the network had more faith in, like The Following, The Mindy Project, Ben and Kate, and New Girl got far more advertising both on-air and with the use of social media.

The first season struggled. Although 12 million viewers tuned in to watch it on Monday, a sweet day in the past for Kiefer Sutherland when he was on “24”, viewership quickly declined and it was moved to Thursday night after Idol, hoping to give it an American Idol bump. Fringe had that same progression. Monday to Thursday to Friday. For years now, people have been critical of the antiquated Nielsen structure to determine number of viewers and to target 18- to 49-year-old men. As a woman, that is really insulting to me. I have as much buying power as my husband, if not more. People have new viewing habits. The days of an actual TV in a home are limited as people go to the internet to watch TV shows now. But the methods advertisers base their rates are still built on the old model. In February, it was reported that Nielsen was going to roll out a new system. It would include people who watch over broadband, XBox, Playstation. Then next phase of the program would include any type of video viewing. It is also adding a new viewing measurement for social media to include people participating in tweeting and those exposed to those tweets (I am thinking this sounds similar to Klout). But it is too late for many of our cult favorites. Fringe would have benefited greatly from the massive fan support on social media.

The story also struggled. The biggest mistake was calling Jake autistic. After the first episode, many of my friends tuned out, turned off by the unrealistic portrayal by Hollywood AGAIN of their beloved children. At first, the show was about finding people who were hurting and help restoring happiness and wholeness to their lives. Shows are often a reflection of the times we live in. I think this is why The Following has had tremendous success–it is a very dark show. Then mid-season, Touch started building into it a mythos that sounded promising but moved a little bit too slow for an audience who needs to be on the edge of their seat an entire show to go out and convert others to watch it. When season 2 was introduced, people who gave up by the end of season 1 did not care to tune back in to see all the wonderful changes that were made. The story pace was quicker. It was building the mythos quicker, resolving things (like finding Amelia) in a timely manner, introducing an element of evil vs. good in the plot. Without a massive campaign saying, “Come try the show out again.”

Shows struggle in their first year to find their footing. I know this is true of Stargate Universe. It came from a franchise that had phenomenal fans and a lengthy history of good ratings, 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, 5 years of Stargate Atlantis, 2 Stargate DVD movies. With the success of Battlestar Galactica, they wanted to try a storyline they had really wished to pursue on Stargate Atlantis but could not–the heroes were trapped without any way to contact Earth or the original SG-1 team for help. By the end of season 1, Stargate Atlantis knew it needed to connect back to Earth. In Stargate Universe, they used a unique way to do this. There was an active campaign from within the Stargate community to boycott the show and point out all the flaws. Free speech still governs our society and they had the complete freedom to express their opinion. Whether it played as a factor in the ultimate demise of Stargate Universe remains unclear. I do know season 2 of Stargate Universe was better than season 1. Season 2 of Touch was better than season 1.

I was concerned for the finale. In the last episode, Amelia and Jake had been kidnapped after Martin’s car was hit. Would we have a finale where someone’s life hung in the balance, and the viewers would not have resolved whether or not a character would live or die? Would they be endings that would leave us at peace? Would the people in season 2 who were evil or sometimes evil and sometimes good receive justice? Would a new threat be introduced? Would Avram be found or locked away somewhere that we will never know if he is freed?

After watching the show, I have a feeling Tim Kring saw the possibility that this show would not get a season 3, and he decided to write the final episode, giving emotionally invested fans a story to leave in peace. He gave us just that. And the ending was a sweet acknowledgement of the first episode with the same narratives. I did cry at the end. However, it was not like the finale of Farscape where I was so disgusted with the abrupt cancellation and the inability of the writers to give fans a proper ending that I talked about it for years and, in fact, boycotted the network (in my narcissistic narrow world, I thought it would matter) for years, missing out on Stargate SG-1 for quite awhile.

Coming on the heels of hearing of Touch’s demise was the immediate rumors that Fox Broadcasting is now in talks with Kiefer Sutherland about reviving “24” in a “limited fashion.” Some on the internet think it might be a 13-episode series. Some think it might be the movie he was hoping for. For others, they are speculating that a miniseries might work. With the number 13 episodes, I now wonder if they plan for this to be tied in with The Following next year given its phenomenal ratings as that would be about the number of episodes. The first episode could give us background for the new story and then the episodes could still be in a full-day fashion with each episode being: “The following takes place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.” which would be more realistic in Los Angeles or New York traveling times (or wherever they plan for it to take place). Twelve episodes of 2-hour increments would give us “24”.

And so it goes….another well-written show that goes into our history. I want to thank the cast and crew for producing a type of show I was craving, something I cared deeply about. But in the end, thank you for giving us a happy ending.

TouchbutterflyThankYou





Comicpalooza Houston 2012 — Stargate Panel Part 2

28 05 2012

This is the last 14 minutes of the panel. Enjoy!  Transcript is going to be forthcoming of the entire 45-50 minute panel. 






Comicpalooza Houston 2012: Stargate Panel Part 1

28 05 2012

I am not a professional videographer, and do not own high-tech equipment. However, I hope you enjoy this. I was not able to videotape the entire panel, but I do have a transcript of the entire panel forthcoming. That takes a little more time, so please enjoy what I can share with you!  I also apologize for the laughing.  It is hard to not laugh.  And about the camera movement.  I kept freaking out that the camera battery was about to go out and the only way to recharge it is in a computer with a USB port, which I did not have.   I kept pulling it up to make sure it was recording. It did die abruptly.  Lesson for next time:  Bring the table-top tripod. 








Celebrity Corner: Comicpalooza Houston 2012

27 05 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Compicpalooza2012

Expecting 15,000 people this weekend, Comicpalooza’s mission “is to provide the best and biggest annual multi-format pop culture convention in the southwest region of the United States, serving not only the fans of comics, science fiction, fantasy, video and table top gaming, anime, music and film, but also as a trade show and showcase for the studios, publishers, and manufacturers in those industries.” Now in its fourth year, it is still showing some growing pains. People were complaining about the length of the line just to buy tickets to get in. Some were complaining of the disorganization of lines for people with prepaid tickets versus those waiting to get in versus those with VIP passes. While some truth may be in those statements, coming this far in 4 short years is phenomenal. The community needs to continue to support this group by attending and by providing them with some constructive feedback.

Last year I found out quite unexpectedly that Houston had its own convention. Here I was spending money to go out of town when I could support a wonderful event in my own backyard. On my Twitter feed, some in the Houston, Texas area did not know it was going on this weekend. It’s not too late. There is one more day. Let’s spread the word for next year. Memorial Day weekend seems to be the date, much like Dragon*Con is over the Labor Day weekend.

This was my second convention. Last year I attended Women of Sci-Fi in Plano, Texas. When I saw how empty the convention center was (because I lucked out and got in the right line at the right time), I immediately went to work on my new collection of pictures. I got the most important things done first. I wanted to tell the people who affected my life in some way over the years how much I appreciated them. Why the urgency? I did this because my 16-year-old son, Patrick, who is severely affected with autism and other disabilities, was having an enormous amount of difficulty lately. Being nonverbal, he is really unable to share with us what is wrong–like if he has a headache, stomachache, etc. The last 3 days have been rough. His communication comes out in the form of behavior and not the good kind. I was unsure if our respite care worker was going to be calling for us to come home, or worse yet, that he had a seizure, which might also account for his behavior of late.

And you wonder how a cute kid like that can go from Gizmo to Stripe in a matter of 30 minutes? The pretty lady on the left was his teacher this past year (she actually stayed an extra year to work with him–isn’t that sweet?)

First stop was to Christopher Judge. Stargate has had a profound impact on my life. I was a bitter Farscape fan, pissed off that the SciFi Channel (now Syfy) cancelled Farscape to take Stargate from Showtime. Thinking that my boycotting the channel would make any difference whatsoever, my narcissism prevented me from discovering a terrific show for years. Yes, years. When my 500+ satellite channel offering one evening revealed NOTHING ELSE to be on, I started turning it to this show for “background noise” while I was working. I don’t remember which story it was, but I remember one show caught my attention, and slowly melted the bitterness in my heart. I caught up on all the episodes pretty quickly.  On March 25, 2009, I joined Twitter because Stargate Universe was in production and Joe Mallozzi said on his blog that David Blue was there. I wanted to be able to hear all the details about the new show, so I joined. The rest is history. I have made more than 165 Stargate-fan connections, have met some of these people, and some of them have become a tremendous support system for my personal life.

Christopher Judge

Turning the corner, Rachel Luttrell from Stargate Atlantis was not there yet, but Richard Hatch was. I became a fan of his at the tender age of 7 or 8. We were living in Hillside, New Jersey at the time and my sisters and I would come home from elementary school for lunch (you know, back in the OLD days). “All My Children” happened to be on. There were no DVRs let alone VCRs so if you weren’t live-viewing, you missed it. My sisters needed to use my body as an antenna to get better reception because the rabbit ears with the rotary dial weren’t working all too well. They were cruel to me like that. Yes, I cried when they said Philip Brent died in Vietnam, making the war as real as it possibly could to a child that age.  I grieved with Tara Martin grieving for Philip.  Flash forward to 1979 when the original Battlestar Galactica became one of the most ambitious shows of that time with these amazing visual effects that rivaled Star Wars (Episode IV). I had split crushes on both Apollo and Starbuck, Apollo the hero figure, Starbuck the beginning of my attraction to bad boys. My foster father would often threaten me that I would not be allowed to watch it unless I did XYZ. That’s behavior modification at its finest–immediate compliance. However, he thought that was quite funny, so the list of XYZ things I had to accomplish in order to watch the show bordered on the absurd. The editor in me noticed that Comicpalooza misspelled “Galactica” as “Galatica” on his sign and he made me laugh as he tried to climb the chair to fix the mistake. No one was more thrilled when he signed on to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica as Tom Zarek, a character with so many dimensions. It was thrilling to see the evolution of his career from Philip Brent to Tom Zarek.

Hilda Bowen (a.k.a. PBMom) and Richard Hatch

Another iconic figure for me has been Claudia Christian, whose portrayal of Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5 secured a place in annals of role models for women in science fiction. My sister turned me onto the show. Seasons 2-4 were my favorites. I sobbed during the Shiva scene; I felt my heart break when Marcus died (Oops! Spoiler alert.)  Chills went up my spine when she said, “Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanova. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me.” I thought of this dialogue every time I battled the school district to get my son the services he needed. As we chatted, I learned new things about her, totally oblivious to the line that was forming behind me. She has a CD out “Once Upon A Time” which I bought. Her new book, Babylon Confidential is expected out November 6, 2012, a biography of her life which I am eager to read. Click on that link to preorder your copy now. There are free excerpts available and more will be emailed to you per the instructions on that page. I find it ironic that she discovered “The Sinclair Method” that helped her overcome her addictions (and maybe I’m watching Touch on Fox a bit too much looking for connections).

ClaudiaChristian

Claudia Christian of Babylon 5 with her new book coming out November 6, 2012 called “Babylon Confidential.” About a journey in her own life. Links are in the body of the report.

I backtracked to Rachel Luttrell who was looking lovely and was pregnant (which I did not even notice until the panel later in the day). Here was yet another woman who was able to be a powerful female lead without becoming too Ripley-like. We talked about her trip to Berlin and discussed why she is not on Twitter more!  Ivon Bartok’s Captain Starship was discussed.  It was such a pleasure to meet her, and obvious what I said above about Stargate applies to her as well and all the connections I have made. Conscious of the line forming behind me, I took her picture and then left.

Rachell Lutrell

Another picture of Rachel in the Raw

Last stop was to Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn who are here to promote The Victim, a new psychological thriller coming this fall. Read more about it at the link and follow their links on Twitter.  

Finally we were off to meet my Twitter friend @etee and his family.  We are known to each other from having pithy Tweet-Ups about American Idol and other shows.  He is as funny face-to-face as he is on Twitter.  Although social media is the norm these days, face-to-face interaction is still required to make those connections complete.  His face will remain mysterious since he did not one taken of him (at least he thinks there wasn’t).  Snicker, snicker.  I would not do that to him.  I always get permission.  He will be blogging for Tubular TV soon.

Throughout the day, people passed by that had some wonderful outfits. Here are some of my favorites:

The best way to look “In cognito” would be to look like Johnny Deep in a costume. Maybe Johnny does that all the time. He is a dead ringer for him. Dead Ringer? Will that be the name of the Pirates 5 movie? Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Ringer.  I call Trademark.

Only in a Fringe Alt Star Wars universe where the world has gone mad and Elmo giggled too much.

The first panel was Babylon 5 with Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown (Na’Toth). Without any introductions from Comicpalooza staff, they jumped into things. When they discovered that the audience would have difficulty asking questions, Claudia handed her microphone over to the volunteer for people to come up and ask. (Note to Comicpalooza: Have microphone stands with a microphone in the middle of the row for people coming up to ask questions next year). Their panel was supremely entertaining. Having only been to two conventions in my lifetime, I had not heard the story of the psychofan who actually shot Claudia during one convention (and she didn’t press charges!). I have their panel on video and will put it up on YouTube soon, as soon as I chop it down into smaller segments. Caitlin Brown shared how she got the role of Na’Toth.

Claudia Christian and Julie Caitlin Brown of Babylon 5

My husband and I decided to head over to Hilton Americas to have lunch at The Cafe. At mid-meal we looked up and Claudia and Caitlin were coming to eat. I waved as they passed our table. After hearing that story, I was thinking in the back of my head–okay, not stalking–we were here first. We finished our meal and departed, stopping at the bathrooms on the way. I guess when I came out of the bathroom Claudia had already come in, but I was outside the men’s room waiting for Jeff. When she came out, still having the stalker story fresh in my head, and made sure to comment that husbands complain about their wives that take so long in the bathroom. The story about the psychofan was terrifying. I admire her bravery because if I had been in her shoes, I likely would never attend a convention again. People do not understand the concept of boundaries.

We saw some more great outfits. I took more pictures, but I think my camera had a malfunction.

Lizzie and Jennifer

James and Magi

Maicie Rawlings. Love her hair color, costume, ink and smile.

The Stargate panel with Rachel Luttrell and Christopher Judge was at 3 p.m. but a line had already formed long before to get in. While sitting in the 2nd row, I noticed a young lady with a uniform on in the front row and asked her if that was an authentic Stargate uniform. Nope. It was the real deal. Her name was Nathalie (last name withheld for her safety) and she was recently commissioned into the Air Force. I hope she felt like a rock star at that moment because I was deeply humbled by her. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, and although I know it is a day we are supposed to remember the service men and women who died to protect us and serve us, I think we should never forget those who are putting themselves in harm’s way now and in the future. The awe I felt and the gratitude–I don’t even remember the fumbling babble that came out of my mouth. I wanted to put my arms around her and give her a hug (because I’m a hugger), but I did not want to freak her out. Claudia’s psychofan story reminded me of boundaries. God Bless You, Nathalie (if you are reading this).

The real deal. Newly commissioned Air Force. Thank you Nathalie for serving. I will keep you in my heart and prayers, always.

The line had become long for questions. There is a great love for Stargate here in Houston.

Once again there was an issue with the microphone in the audience. This time the staff came up with a third microphone and people were able to line up to ask questions. My question was, “I’m a regular on Joe Mallozzi’s blog, and he talks a LOT about all of you. This is your chance. Do you have any secrets you want to out about HIM?” And boy did they let off some steam (just joking). If you follow his blog, and you should, then everything they said about him you already know. Rachel treated us to some of talented vocals.

Lighting here not good; Chris & Rachel’s panel

It was ice cream time. While standing in line, a man and his son walked up behind us and while it seemed 99% apparent to me that his son had autism, I mouthed the words to him so as not to embarrass his son if that were not the case. We started talking about autism and Patrick and our experience and his family’s experience. An hour flew by quickly. As if he left, I told him that some things in life were not coincidence and I think we were meant to meet. I gave him my email address and I hope I’ll hear from him. I really need to stop watching Touch on Fox (doubtful).

It was about 5:15 and time for us to head home after a long day. Comicpalooza is still here tomorrow, Sunday, May 27 including Lasertag with the stars for charity and sword training with Nick Gillard of Star Wars (extra fee).

Thanks for doing all this, Comicpalooza.  See you next year.  Written transcripts will be posted soon as well partial video of the panels.  I thank you for stopping by and enjoying the details.  Before next year, I WILL have size 6 or 6-1/2 combat boots to wear with my Stargate Universe uniform.

Cover Art of program: 

The back cover of the program book.

The creative page of the program booklet. I was impressed with this.