Another year has come and gone for New York Comic Con (NYCC). There were great exhibits, panels, interviews, parties, and exclusives. Even though NYCC did not sell out Thursday, the exhibit hall and the convention hall were still full of excited fans looking to score an exclusive or autograph or great artwork. Yet my favorite part of NYCC continues to be the chance to catch up with old friends and preview coming attractions for television, as well as the opportunity to meet my favorite authors.
Emergence – ABC
Emergence, one of the most exciting new series this season, brought their primary cast, as well as a new episode to NYCC. Emergence centers around a mysterious, young girl, Piper (Alexa Swinton) who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. Piper is rescued from the crash site by Sheriff Jo Evans (Allison Tolman). This begins a series of incidents where Piper is being pursued by strange and mysterious people who work for a ruthless billionaire who will stop at nothing to recover “his property.” The cast revealed insights into their characters such as that there is still something between Jo and her ex-husband Alex Evans (Donald Faison). However, the entire cast made it clear that there is much more to come. One example of more exciting revelations for the future is that the new episode divulged a key point about Piper: she is part bionic. The series is only getting better. For more on Emergence, check out FoCC’s previous coverage here.
Servant – Apple TV+
One of the great thrill masters of our time, M. Night Shyamalan, gave a sneak peek of his new thriller, Servant, at the Hammerstein. This is a story of a family dealing with grief in what can only be described as a truly creepy fashion. The series stars Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) as Dorothy Turner, the mother; Toby Kebbell (Kong: Skull Island) as Sean Turner, the father; Nell Tiger Free (Game of Thrones) as Leanne Grayson, the nanny; and Rupert Grint (Harry Potter Franchise, Snatch) as the brother-in-law, Julian Pearce.
Shyamalan showed a clip that both scared and teased the audience with what could happen in the Turner household in the coming season. Shyamalan explained to the audience that there would be few gotcha moments but the series with its 30-minute format would be a slow burn as the season progresses. Still, the revelations would provide their own thrills as the season progresses. The series creator, Tony Basgallop, agreed with Shyamalan’s assessment. Basgallop was actually surprised when a scene in the clip shocked the audience. He was looking for the fear which grows as more information is revealed. Any shocking moments, which might cause audiences to scream, were not his intention. In any event, the series is worth a watch for fans who have Apple TV+.
Watchmen – HBO
HBO premiered the first episode of Watchmen in the Main Hall at NYCC 2019. The first episode was an incredibly violent commentary on life today. The acting was incredible, with great production values and spot-on writing. The series stars Academy Award-winning actress Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Angela Abar/Sister Night; Don Johnson (Miami Vice) as Chief Judd Crawford; Tim Blake Nelson (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) as Looking Glass; Jeremy Irons (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Adrian Veidt; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) as Cal Abar; Jean Smart (Legion) as Laurie Blake; Hong Chau (Downsizing) as Lady Trieu; and Louis Gossett Jr. (The Good Fight) as Will Reeves. Damon Lindelof is the phenomenal showrunner of the series.
This is not Zach Synder’s Watchmen or Christopher Moore’s Watchmen; this Watchmen belongs to Damon Lindelof. It is a violent update of the Watchmen universe that is unafraid to take on contemporary controversial issues such as racism and income inequality. The standing ovation that the audience gave the cast and showrunner after the screening signified that viewers are ready and waiting for this brutal commentary on present-day life. Watchmen continues the HBO tradition of high-quality, compelling drama. Plus, HBO threw an incredible Watchmen party behind the convention center. As a parting gift, HBO gave party attendees Watchmen watches.
Exhibit Floor and Artist Alley
The NYCC exhibit floor contained the usual suspects such as Marvel, IDW Publishing, Hero Within, DC Entertainment, Funko, and so many more. The crowds on the floor were quickly making their way to the booths and exclusives of their choice.
This year, Del Rey, the publisher of science fiction and fantasy books, became caught up in the exclusives fever when they offered books not yet published. The authors of these exclusives, Delilah Dawson (The Princess Beard) and Peter Hamilton (Salvation Lost) were there to sign these and other books. For Peter Hamilton, one of the greatest living authors of space opera, it was a rare trip across the pond from England to sign books and take part in panels.
For fans of comic book and fantasy artists, the NYCC Artist Alley offered a wide and varied selection of art. The list of artists went from A to Z. The only complaint that some fans voiced was that space for the Artist Alley seemed a bit cramped. Once the construction is completed in 2021 of the expansion of the Javits Center, word on the street is that the Artist Alley space will be expanded.
NYCC continues to be a unique and exciting experience. It is not San Diego Comic-Con, yet it has a unique flavor all its own. Where else can one see such great cosplay, encounter such an incredible collection of artists, meet their favorite author or star, and eat the ubiquitous and delicious New York City pizza? NYCC is experiencing growing pains as the convention center expands but this only means that it will be better in the future. NYCC is the must-see convention on the East Coast.
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