Take a look at any post-Emmys content from the past two ceremonies – 2011 and 2012 – and you’ll notice a pattern: a glaring distaste for the undeniable dominance of ABC’s Modern Family. “How could they steal that Emmy from Parks and Recreation?!” “Why didn’t Girls win? It’s so much more original!” “Does Eric Stonestreet really need two trophies?” “Julie Bowen again?! [Scoffs]” It’s a veritable mine field of Modern Family complaints out there, but as we established last week, Modern Family has earned that spot at the top, whether we like it or not. And now that the comedy has won three consecutive Outstanding Comedy Series Emmys, it’s officially reached streak status. And, as was the case with Frasier and 30 Rock before it, it’s going to take something incredible to dethrone it.
When Frasier was at the top of the Emmy heap – a good five-year period from 1994 to 1998 – the ceremony could have been easily renamed The Frasier Awards (sound familiar, Modern Family dissenters?). David Hyde Pierce and Kelsey Grammer have got sets of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy and Outstanding Actor in a Comedy statues – which comes in handy when you need the security of a spare Emmy. It took the likes of Ally McBeal, an offbeat legal dramedy made legendary for its numerous and often mind-boggling pop culture contributions, and later Will & Grace, with its open, primetime celebration of the gay lifestyle in a landscape that was widely ignorant, to stop the Frasier streak. Later, NBC’s TV-loving sitcom 30 Rock enjoyed the success of three years as the Outstanding Comedy Champion until newcomer (at the time) Modern Family usurped its political-reference-laden throne.
Now that Modern Family has joined Frasier and 30 Rock’s little club, we may be able to gain a little insight into what keeps them there and what put them there in the first place. While 30 Rock and Modern Family do run concurrently, they have the least in common. 30 Rock rakes in lower audiences – even in its heyday, it was hovering between 6 and 8 million viewers, numbers first-place networks balk at – and it garnered a great deal of its appeal from the fame of its two stars: Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. The humor wasn’t necessarily family-friendly, and the scripts were filled with rapid-fire references. It was, however, a show about making television, which is exactly what most Emmy voters do or used to do. 30 Rock was primed for that crowd.
Frasier, however, was an interesting specimen. It was a spinoff, which should have given it a black mark, but didn't, thanks to its originality and multi-faceted appeal. The series had its rock in Grammer, who brought Dr. Frasier Crane over from classic sitcom (and fellow Emmy bait) Cheers; it had its edge its high-brow, hoighty-toighty subject matter to elevate its level of discourse; and it had its Joe Schmo, family-friendly comfort zone thanks to Frasier’s father and his irresistible little dog, Eddie. With that, it snagged us all: old, young, stubborn, elitist, family-minded. We all flocked to Frasier on NBC’s Must See TV lineup, and the Emmys simply trailed along after us. That is what Modern Family is accomplishing in its big moment.
Still, it’s not strange for TV fans to be aggravated by something so mainstream getting a pat on the back for being, well, so mainstream, especially when fringe dramas are the Emmys’ bread and butter. Everything nominated in 2012, from Game of Thrones to Breaking Bad to Mad Men and the winner, Homeland, is high in buzz and low in ratings. When we’re seeing a niche drama get its due praise while smaller comedies like Girls go unrewarded in the face of Modern Family’s ubiquity, fans can’t help but feel a little cheated on behalf of their favorite shows. But they shouldn’t. The fact is, Comedy and Drama on television are two very different ballgames.
According to media scholar and professor of television and pop culture at Sycracuse University, Robert Thompson, it’s not about size, it’s about which playing fields are better suited to each genre. “[Drama] desperately needs the candor and frankness when it comes to sexuality and violence and that kind of thing and the networks are having a harder time doing that,” he says.
Because of FCC regulations and stricter standards, we simply won’t see drama that hits as hard on CBS as we will on AMC or HBO. It simply isn’t available to the networks. “If you’re a network and decided to do a series about the mafia, why bother? You can’t do the kinds of things or have those people talking the way they would and doing the things that they would,” Thompson adds.
In other words, no Mafia leader is going to tell you you’re “freaking” dead. In fact, that’s what Emmy voter and finals judge Richard Dobin told Hollywood.com at nominations time: “The stuff that happens on cable is richer and therefore a better audience experience,” he said. The upper cable networks may not enjoy the audiences that networks like ABC and CBS see regularly, but they’re simply a better place for drama. Numbers have nothing to do with it. Comedy, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. “Reality and Comedy are two of the things that network TV can still do, even with its content limitations,” Thompson says. Just because comedy certainly benefits from the freedom of no network constraints doesn’t mean it needs that freedom. Whereas the opening of the drama circle that includes HBO, Showtime, AMC, and FX actually crushes the networks' abilities to compete in the more serious genre, cable’s uptick in great comedy only widens the playing field, morphing the definition of “great comedy” into a subject with kaleidoscopic range. It makes sense then, that when awarding the “best” of the year’s comedies, Academy voters look to shows like Modern Family, whose appeal is the widest without losing its topical nature and quality of writing. “It pulls off something that is almost impossible to pull off today, which is to have a program that is both hip and funny and enjoyable by adults and college students for that matter, but that also is pretty much family-friendly across the board,” Thompson says. And it’s true — Modern Family appeals to everyone. Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican (just ask President Obama and Ann Romney, both of whom have professed their love for the series in the past). Like Frasier, it doesn’t stray too far from a sitcom format with which most folks are comfortable (though it can certainly thank The Office for paving the mockumentary way); it’s consistently filled with jokes that hit a variety of comprehension levels, from slapstick to topical jokes to the simplicity of a good mind-boggling juxtaposition; plus, it’s got a character for folks at every stage of life to relate to. And then there’s intangible element that so often goes along with a big sitcom: All these elements make Modern Family, as Thompson calls it, “old-fashioned,” akin to greats like The Cosby Show and All in the Family. Naturally, besting a show with this many Emmy magnets on its side isn’t going to be easy, so get your sighs and scoffs out now: It’s looking like we’ll be living in Modern Family-land for at least a little while longer. Looking at the scope of new and emerging shows this fall, there are a few gems, but none poised to take the TV world by storm the way Modern Family’s surprisingly poignant and funny first season did. Go On has got the funny and a little of the heart; The New Normal has the sweet family stuff down pat and a little star power to bring it along; Ben and Kate has powerful elements of sweetness coupled with a dash of absurdity, as does the excellent New Girl, which stole our hearts last season. None of these newer series, however, packs quite the punch that a behemoth like Modern Family can. They’re all great in their own ways, but they’re miles away from becoming the next Friends or Frasier. They simply aren’t built to cast as wide of a net as the Dunphy-Pritchett clan can. Something will best the ABC hit, but it’s not likely to happen in the next year. Unfortunately, that means the Emmys just might continue to bore us for the next few years. But perhaps we’re all missing the point. The Emmys weren’t actually created to entertain us. They were created to reward “excellence” in television, and excellence isn’t exactly something you can measure in a graph or chart. Thompson says the Emmys are simply a reflection of what the majority of people in the television industry regard as “excellent,” and clearly, they’re sold on Modern Family. “That’s interesting – that doesn’t mean the award should go away, but it’s not like science has been applied to this stuff,” he says. What we need to realize is that the Emmys aren’t the only measure by which a series can be considered “good” or even “great.” It’s simply a great, shiny measure we all happen to watch on TV every year. And like any good show, it has the ability to stir up drama in even the unlikeliest of situations: like when even a lovely little family-oriented show winning another award merits our unrelenting ire. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credits: Getty Images; ABC; Showtime] More: Emmys 2012: Who Will Win and Who Should Win Can 'Modern Family' Be Beat or Is It Simply the Best? Emmys 2012 Burning Questions
Thursday's Comic-Con Schedule Highlights
The Thursday schedule for Comic-con 2010 in San Diego has just been released, and it's chock full of programs and events guaranteed to quicken the hearts of geeks worldwide. In case you couldn't make it to sunny California for this year's convention, here are all the movie and TV - related highlights for the Thursday, July 22 schedule. Keep checking back at Hollywood.com, where we will be keeping you updated on all of the event's entertainment-industry happenings. (Full schedule available at the Comic-Con website.)
10:00-11:00 DreamWorks Animation: Megamind
DreamWorks Animation makes its Comic-Con debut with Megamind. The characters Megamind and Metro Man are jettisoned to Earth as babies when their home planets are destroyed. Megamind crash-lands inside a maximum-security prison, where he evolves into the wicked and diabolical genius he is today, while the dashingly handsome superhero Metro Man grows into the universally adored savior of Metro City, beloved by every man, woman and child -- and especially the city's ace reporter Roxanne Ritchi. These life-long archenemies will rewrite superhero movie lore when they challenge each other to the ultimate showdown of Good vs. Evil! Megamind stars Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Jonah Hill and director Tom McGrath join forces to unveil footage from DreamWorks Animation's November 5 release. Hall H
10:30-11:30 Danny Elfman
From Pee-Wee's Big Adventure to Alice in Wonderland, composer Danny Elfman discusses his 25-year collaboration with director Tim Burton. Their legendary partnership includes such films as Beetle Juice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Joining Mr. Elfman will be Warner Brothers Records executives to announce their plans to celebrate this quarter-century milestone. Room 6BCF
10:30-11:30 TheOneRing.net Talks The Hobbit movies
Chris Pirrotta, Cliff Broadway, and Larry D. Curtis, staff members from TORn (the gold standard of fansites and a consistent breaking news source) talk about the latest on the two coming Hobbit films, including mainstream news, spy reports, and rumors. Special guests are a possibility; audio and visuals are a given with a Q&A and all sorts of fun. Room 7AB
10:45-11:45 Cuckoo Nest Films: Hoohah! Heroes Behind the Heroes
This preview of the new film Hoohah! Heroes Behind the Heroes delves into the lives of the creators responsible for writing and drawing some of comics' most beloved heroes and villains, from the whimsical and humorous to the terrifying. It's through their stories in comic books that we come to know these writers and artists on a personal level. Panelists Amanda Conner (Power Girl), Mark Evanier (Groo the Wanderer), Bill Morrison (Simpsons Comics), Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), and Scott Shaw! (Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!) engage in a discussion and Q&A session with director Jerry Hogrewe. Room 6A
11:00-12:00 That Chris Gore Show
Attack of the Show's film expert Chris Gore promises a glimpse into geekdom and a raucus Q&A. Gore will show a preview of his upcoming documentary, present a sneak peek of his new show, and finally answer the burning question, what is the greatest DVD of all time? Room 5AB
11:00-12:00 The Clockwork Girl
The Clockwork Girl is in production as a stereoscopic 3D computer generated feature film based on the comic book series published by Arcana. Producer Sean O'Reilly will talk about how CJ Entertainment financed Dreamworks Animation in 1995 and is now behind The Clockwork Girl through Luximation Animation. Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) and Sean Covel and Doc Wyatt (Napoleon Dynamite) talk about the feature film and show an exclusive featurette for The Clockwork Girl. Room 9
11:15-12:45 Walt Disney Pictures: TRON: Legacy
Returning for an unprecedented third year to the fans and convention that started it all, Walt Disney Pictures is pleased to present a special insider look at the upcoming TRON: Legacy. Panelists include filmmakers and talent from the film: director Joe Kosinski, producers Sean Bailey and Steven Lisberger, and cast members Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Bruce Boxleitner. The discussion, moderated by Patton Oswalt, is set to include exclusive glimpses of the film, as well as a Q&A involving all panel participants, along with special surprise guests. Hall H
1:00-2:00 Ape Entertainment
Learn about Ape Entertainment's current and upcoming Dreamworks Animation line featuring Shrek, Penguins of Madagascar, and Megamind, as well as other Kizoic all-ages brand titles, including Pocket God, based on the bestselling iPhone application. And don't miss out on the big announcements of properties coming to Ape Entertainment/Kizoic in 2011, and receive a free comic book simply for showing up at the panel. Room 9
1:00-2:00 USA Network's Burn Notice
Bruce Campbell (Sam Axe), Matt Nix (creator and executive producer), and Alfredo Barrios, Jr. (executive producer) host a panel discussion and answer questions about the creative process of evolving an embryonic idea into a finished episode of cable's #1 show. Fans will gain an intimate look inside the world of Burn Notice, complete with war stories from the writer's room and filming on location in Miami. Exclusive video content will include tips on how to survive Comic-Con from your favorite burned spy, Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan), highlights from all four seasons and an exclusive sneak peek at upcoming episodes. Ballroom 20
1:00-2:00 Sony Pictures Entertainment: Battle: Los Angeles and Salt
Two great new films from Sony Pictures Entertainment are showcased in this Hall H presentation!
Battle: Los Angeles: When unknown forces suddenly and mercilessly attack the City of Angels out of nowhere, it's up to a local Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and a new platoon of unseasoned soldiers to meet the threat. As the invasion hits the streets of LA, these Marines become our first and last line of defense in an intense battle against an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before. Appearing in person are Michelle Rodriguez, Aaron Eckhart, Neal Moritz, and director Jonathan Liebesman.Salt: Opening in theaters everywhere tomorrow, Columbia Pictures brings an exclusive and surprising look at Salt to Comic-Con today, featuring some very special guests. As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture, but her efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: "Who is Salt?" Hall H
2:00-3:00 Walt Disney Animation Studios: Character Creation!
Throughout the years, Walt Disney Animation Studios has brought us some of the most memorable, unique, and appealing onscreen characters. Disney Animation's upcoming release Tangled introduces a fresh and irresistible new bunch. Nathan Greno and Byron Howard (directors), Glen Keane (animation supervisor), and other artists from Tangled discuss the creation of their unforgettable characters. Room 5AB
2:15-3:15 USA Network's White Collar
Moderated by White Collar's very own conspiracy theorist, Willie Garson (Mozzie), the audience will have a chance to interact with creator Jeff Eastin, stars Matt Bomer (Neal Caffrey), Tim DeKay (FBI Agent Peter Burke), Marsha Thomason (Agent Diana Barrigan), Sharif Atkins (Agent Clinton Jones), and co-EP Jeff King. Fans will get an insider's look into the challenges of writing in Los Angeles while shooting on the streets of New York. In addition to having questions answered about the exciting upcoming season, fans will also view exclusive video content featuring a sneak peek at new episodes in season 2, as well as a video of Neal explaining the ins and outs of how to pull off the perfect con. Ballroom 20
2:15-3:15 Summit Entertainment: RED
Summit Entertainment presents a sneak peek of exclusive footage from RED. They used to be the CIA's top agents -- but the secrets they know just made them the Agency's top targets. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren star in RED, an explosive action-comedy based on the cult DC Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis. Join him, director Robert Schwentke, and the film's stars as they share footage from the film and debut the final trailer before it's ever in theaters. Hall H
2:30-3:30 State of the Geek Report: From Avatar to Zardoz
A panel of experts examine the state of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in film and TV, from the living-ever-longer-and-prospering Star Trek franchise to the future of Star Wars to what the success of Avatar means for the future of movies. Some of geekdom's biggest luminaries, including Steve Melching (The Clone Wars), Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), Steve Kriozere (Elvis Van Helsing), Jeff Bond (former Geek Monthly editor), and Bill Hunt and Todd Doogan (Digital Bits), talk about the lackluster state of sci-fi film and television, the rise, fall and rise of Star Trek, and the hits and misses of 2010 that made their midicholorian (and cholesterol) counts rise to dangerous levels this summer. Room 4
2:30-3:30 A Decade of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies and More: The Animated Insanity of Radical Axis Studios
The team from Radical Axis -- animators, artists, and amateur magicians -- celebrate the studio's 10th Anniversary with a look back at its body of work that includes Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, and other cartoon insanity. Scott Fry (CEO), Craig Hartin (VP of production), and Todd Redner (animation director) are joined by friend/collaborator Matt Maiellaro (co-creator, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) for a no-holds-barred Q&A with USA Today's Whitney Matheson. Room 6A
3:30-4:30 USA Network's Psych
They're back! Always an unpredictable and hilarious event with the creative team behind the most-watched comedy series on cable TV! Enjoy some face-time with series stars James Roday (Shawn Spencer), Dulé Hill (Burton "Gus" Guster), Maggie Lawson (Juliet O'Hara), Tim Omundson (Carlton Lassiter), Kirsten Nelson (Chief Karen Vick), and Corbin Bernsen (Henry Spencer). Joining the cast will be Steve Franks (creator and executive producer), Kelly Kulchak (executive producer), and Chris Henze (executive producer), moderated by Psych's resident funnyman Andy Berman (co-executive producer, ex-actor, and longtime writer). The team will provide an all-access pass to USA's hit series, which launches its 5th season this summer. The stars and producers will share Season 5 secrets and stories from the set and answer questions about the show's development and production process. Expect special video presentations created exclusively for Comic-Con, never-before-seen outtakes, and a Season 5 exclusive preview. Two lucky audience members will find fame and fortune again this year when they win the honor of having a guest character named after them in a Season 5 episode! There will be exclusive surprise giveaways, including limited-run Comic-Con T-shirts designed by the creative team behind Psych! Ballroom 20
3:30-4:30 Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries
A discussion with geek gods J. J. Abrams (Star Trek) and Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) on the future of pop culture. EW presents an in-depth conversation with these two creative geniuses about how technology, gaming, and global culture are reshaping how we tell and consume stories on television, film and the web. Plus: Is the superhero movie waning, or is it on the cusp of reinvention? And what do they think the pop culture universe will look like a decade from now? Moderated by Jeff "Doc" Jensen. Hall H
4:30-5:30 Transformers Prime
The talent behind Transformers Prime -- executive producers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Jeff Kline -- the new animated series from Hasbro Studios, showcase exclusive footage and character reveals followed by a Q&A session. This original series will premiere in 2010 on the new television network The Hub. Room 7AB
4:45-5:45 Our Heroes Have More Fun: the Anti-Heroes of Showtime
The 21st century anti-hero has become one of the driving forces in recent pop culture. When it comes to the television anti-hero, Showtime has the winning formula. Hear firsthand from the showrunners, creators, and actors who have helped define this phenomenon. Dexter's Michael C. Hall and showrunner Chip Johannessen (24) delve into the phenomenon of Dexter Morgan, the serial killer you can't help rooting for; David Duchovny and Tom Kapinos of Californication discuss why Hank Moody is the "bad boy" we love despite his obvious shortcomings; and Mary-Louise Parker and Jenji Kohanof Weeds interpret pot-dealing soccer mom Nancy Botwin's moral decisions, as the line between right and wrong is not always as simple as black or white. Plus: Nurse Jackie—despite a little pill-popping along the way—is a smart no-nonsense nurse, who if you're ever taken to the hospital, you had better hope she's the first person you see. With heroes like these, who needs villains? Breaking the occasional promise, law, or commandment is all in a day's work, and one thing's for sure - Showtime heroes never let doing the right thing get in the way of having a good time. Ballroom 20
4:45-5:45 Lionsgate: The Expendables
Prepare to have your ass kicked by The Expendables, the biggest action movie this summer! Lionsgate presents exclusive scenes and the inside scoop on every punch, kick, and bloodied lip from the most iconic cast of heroes and villains ever assembled, including the director, writer, and star Sylvester Stallone (Rambo), along with Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier), Steve Austin (The Condemned), Randy Couture (Scorpion King: Rise of the Warrior), and Terry Crews (Gamer). Hall H
5:00-6:00 Adult Swim: Children's Hospital
Check out the Children's Hospital panel and hear from the show's creative team led by Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and Jon Stern (producer of The Ten and Scotland, PA). They will be joined by members of their ensemble cast of comedic heavyweights, including Lake Bell (How to Make It in America, It's Complicated), Erinn Hayes (Parenthood, Worst Week), and Rob Huebel (I Love You Man, Human Giant). Childrens Hospital explores the emotional struggles and sexual politics of a group of doctors charged with healthy libidos. Their dedication to their personal lives is relentless, interrupted only by the occasional need to treat sick children. Room 25ABC
6:00-7:00 Showtime's Dexter
What's next for America's Favorite Serial Killer? If the dramatic season finale left you in an, OMG-what-just-happened frenzy, you don't want to miss this killer panel! You'll see the exclusive world premiere of the new season's trailer, then moderator Ralph Garman (KROQ entertainment reporter) presides over a revealing interview and Q&A session with the stars and executive producers of Dexter. Featured panelists include Michael C. Hall (series star/executive producer), Jennifer Carpenter (Deb), Desmond Harrington (Quinn), and executive producers John Goldwyn, Sara Colleton, Chip Johannessen (24), and Manny Coto (Star Trek: Enterprise). The new season premieres September 26, at 9:00 pm ET/PT only on Showtime. Ballroom 20
6:00-7:00 Universal: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Genre-bending filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), graphic novel author Bryan Lee O'Malley, and the cast of Universal Pictures' Scott Pilgrim vs. the World provide a sneak peek of summer 2010's epic of epic epicness. Joining Wright will be our hero, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera of Superbad); Scott's two current girlfriends, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead of The Thing) and Knives Chau (Ellen Wong of Unnatural History); his band, SEX BOB-OMB: Kim Pine (Alison Pill of Milk) and Stephen Stills (Mark Webber of Broken Flowers); SEX BOB-OMB super-fan Young Neil (Johnny Simmons of Jennifer's Body); Scott's awesome roommate, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin of Igby Goes Down); and four of Ramona's seven evil exes: Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha of Fair Game), Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh of Superman Returns), Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman of Funny People) and Roxy Richter (Mae Whitman of Parenthood); plus Scott's younger sister, Stacey Pilgrim (Anna Kendrick of Up in the Air), and the obnoxious Julie Powers (Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation). Q&A to follow. Hall H
7:30-8:30 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
Sing along with your fellow fans at this screening of the original three acts of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, hosted by the California Browncoats, complete with lyrics books and call backs! Dr. Horrible stars Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) and Felicia Day (The Guild) and was written by Joss Whedon (Serenity), Jed Whedon (Dollhouse), Zack Whedon (Fringe), and Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse). Room 6A
8:00-11:00 BBC America: U.S. Premiere Screenings of Doctor Who and Being Human
Catch the all-new season opener of Being Human, written by Toby Whithouse and starring Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow, Aidan Turner and Sinead Keenan and the two-part finale of Doctor Who, written by Steven Moffat and starring Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. Room 6DE
8:15-9:15 The Sushi Typhoon: The Best in Japanese Genre Movies
Horror, sci-fi, action, and splatter comedy films from Japan have become the most popular new genre in fandom. From the creators of Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl, Suicide Club, Ichi the Killer, Battlefield Baseball, Meatball Machine, and many others comes The Sushi Typhoon, an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of Japanese genre moviemaking about to hit U.S. shores in partnership with Funimation Entertainment! Director Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), actor Masanori Mimoto (The Ultimate Versus), actress Mika Hijii (Ninja), and producer Yoshinori Chiba (Yatterman) are on hand for a special launch presentation introducing American audiences to the new label, featuring guest Q&A's, trailers for Alien vs. Ninja and Mutant Girls Squad (both screening on Friday night at SDCC), and an exclusive preview of Nishimura's upcoming zombie epic Helldriver, including an exciting first look at footage from the film! Room 5AB
10:00-12:00 World Premiere of Lost Boys: The Thirst
The Frog Brothers return to Comic-Con with holy water balloons ablazin' for the world premiere of Lost Boys: The Thirst, the latest high-energy, action-packed adventure in the ongoing franchise. Original cast members Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander present the first-ever screening of the cult classic's third film, in which the lost boys and girls of San Cazador prepare to party under the Blood Moon -- while an alpha vampire conspires to turn these unsuspecting ravers into an army of undead. The only thing that stands between him and the annihilation of the entire human race are the infamous vampire-fighting Frog Brothers. Expect some serious bloodsucker butt kicking. And Warner Bros. is providing the free popcorn! Indigo Ballroom, San Diego Hilton Bayfront.
Actor Richard Crenna, better known as Sylvester Stallone's former commander in the Rambo movies, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. Crenna, 76, died of heart failure resulting as a complication of pancreatic cancer. The actor first gained attention as a squeaky-voiced juvenile on radio serials, including A Date with Judy and Burns and Allen, and as the dimwitted lovesick teen Walter Denton on Our Miss Brooks. He grew up to star in such TV series as The Real McCoys and Slattery's People. Crenna moved into feature film in the early '80s, starting with the steamy film noir remake Body Heat and later in The Flamingo Kid and First Blood. Crenna had beaten cancer once already, but was diagnosed with thyroid cancer about five years ago and was struck by fatal pancreatic cancer late in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Penni, daughters Seana and Maria, son Richard and three granddaughters.
Robert Downey Jr., who was at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend to promote the dark comedy The Singing Detective, told reporters that his bouts with cocaine addiction and subsequent jail time have not only made him older and wiser, but a better actor. "My frequent appearances on Court TV have brought me to another level than just always 'the acting guy'... I think I've become very, I don't want to say real, but I'm very tangible to people...because of my fallibility."
Actor Steven Seagal may testify in a racketeering trial targeting the mob and is expected to eventually take the stand in the prosecution of Peter Gotti, brother of the late mob boss John Gotti, and other alleged members of the Gambino crime family, The Associated Press reports. The star's troubles began when he had a falling-out with his former business partner, Julius Nasso, whom authorities allege was a Gambino associate who turned to the crime family to help him settle the score.
The Directors Guild of America will honor Gangs of New York's Golden Globe-winning director Martin Scorsese with a lifetime achievement award during its 55th annual awards ceremony March 1, the AP reports. Scorsese's directing career spans more than four decades and his work includes Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, Mean Streets and Goodfellas. Scorsese, 60, is being honored for nurturing young filmmakers and his fight to preserve the legacy of motion picture.
Filmmaker Spike Lee, who was a keynote speaker Saturday at two events in Lauderhill, Fla., told teens at the Boys & Girls Club that he didn't laugh at jokes aimed at civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. in last year's comedy Barbershop. "To me, some things aren't funny," Lee said. "If our young children grow up thinking this, and that's all they know about (Parks and King), then we're in trouble."
The NBC news magazine Dateline will dedicate a special edition next month to pop oddity Michael Jackson's face and how it has dramatically changed over the years along with the highs and lows of his career. Jackson's Los Angeles publicist told Reuters she is outraged at the concept. "I think it's horrible that NBC is planning on doing a special on Michael Jackson's face," she said. "The network should focus on more important issues in the world."
NBC president Jeff Zucker said the network's hit comedy Friends, now in its ninth season, will positively, absolutely end its run after its upcoming 10th season. "Yes, that will be the final season. Even I acknowledge that--the 10th and final year of the best comedy on television," Zucker said at NBC's winter showcase for television critics. "The door is not open after that." NBC struck a deal last month with Warner Bros. Television to bring the show back in the fall of 2003 for 18 more episodes for a reported license fee of $10 million per episode.
Fox has officially picked up the drama pilot Skin, which uncovers the adult film industry. According to Reuters, Skin, is described as a "modern-day Romeo and Juliet" set in Los Angeles against the backdrop of the world of Boogie Nights. It centers on the daughter of a porn industry mogul who falls in love with the son of a district attorney, whose quest is to take the porn king down. The project comes from Jerry Bruckheimer and Jim Leonard, whose TV credits include Thieves and Night Visions.
A record collector in London says he has found a previously unknown recording--a jam session between Beatle John Lennon and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger--which he plans to auction off next month, Reuters reports. Auction house Cooper Owen said the old blues song, Too Many Cooks, features Jagger on vocals with Lennon singing backup. It was recorded during Lennon's so-called "lost weekend," an 18-month period he spent in 1974-75 estranged from wife Yoko Ono when he made few recordings of his own and occasionally with such rocker friends as Elton John and David Bowie.