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[07/21/06 - 12:00 AM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "Heroes"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

12:30 pm: First off, I must apologize - various travel snafus prevented me from getting to San Diego in time for the "Kyle XY" panel. But enough about my foibles, on with the show!

12:31 pm: TV/movie/comic-writer/producer extraordinaire Jeph Loeb takes the podium and excitedly intros "Heroes." They're going to show us the "director's cut" of the pilot, a version he stresses won't ever be shown again! (And not a TiVo in sight!) He also mentions that he left "Lost" to be a part of this show, i.e. it's that good. (I should also note that there's at least 2,000 people in attendance, with another 600 or so having been turned away at the door.)

12:36 pm: Before the screening though we meet creator Tim Kring, artist Tim Sale (whose paintings are used throughout the show) and the cast - all but two of which (Greg Grunberg, Hayden Panettiere) are present (they're off actually shooting the show, the slackers). Milo Ventimiglia and Masi Oka however show their solidarity by wearing T-shirts that say "Grunberg Is My Hero" and "Hayden Is My Hero" respectively.

12:39 pm: And so to much applause the pilot begins and hey - it's nothing like the screener I saw! Actually all of the original pilot's scenes are present but they've cut in a major subplot that intros Grunberg's character - Matt Parkman, a sad sack L.A. cop who can hear people's thoughts - as well as a new thread regarding another guy with mysterious powers named Sylar (not confirmed but I believe it's Miguel Ferrer in a voice cameo) whom Sendhil Ramamurthy's character tracks down. (Still no Leonard Roberts though.) All in all, it's about 15 minutes of new footage and it without a doubt adds a lot to the show, providing a new sense of urgency to the proceedings as well as tying together several other subplots. I won't spoil all the specifics here, but for those who really want to know check out the tag at the bottom of the page.

1:50 pm: As you'd expect with this audience, the pilot goes over like gangbusters. Masi Oka's Hiro Nakamura - a Japanese corporate drone who discovers he can bend space and time - appears to be the breakout character. There wasn't a scene with him that didn't feature the audience laughing and/or cheering.

1:51 pm: Gah! There's only 10 minutes left at the panel! It looks like it will run long, making my trek over to the "Battlestar Galactica" panel at 2:00 pm quite the last-minute ordeal.

1:52 pm: Kring, Loeb and co. re-emerge in time to take a few questions.

1:53 pm: When asked about "what's the deal" with her character (whose mirror image seemly has killed a pair of thugs in the pilot), Ali Larter explains: "What the producers have hinted at is that there's actually going to be a duality in my personality. And [it] could possibly be a separate molecular human being, or a doppelganger or it could just be I'm some sort of sociopath." That's right folks - she used molecular, doppelganger and sociopath all in the same sentence - I'm officially in love with Ali.

1:56 pm: A fan asks if Masi - who speaks only in Japanese in the pilot - is fluent in said language, he responds: "[Insert lengthy sentence in Japanese here] ...and that's how the season ends."

1:58 pm: Kring is asked if he's got a multi-year plan for the show and if he has any reservations about killing off characters. A blunt Kring says, "The truth is we'll be on as long as we can stay on. There is no set ending. We're not setting up a central premise where there's an end point. As long as the stories keep on revolving around these characters then we can spin those stories out forever."

2:01 pm: A young girl asks where she can get a "Grunberg Is My Hero" T-shirt, to which Milo takes off his own and throws it to the girl. The audience explodes. Seriously, can the cast of "Heroes" be my friends?

2:05 pm: Grunberg has texted Milo from the set of "Heroes," which in turn he reads to the crowd: "I wish I was there but I'm making superhero magic on the set right now, looking strapping, making super love to the camera, giving some superheroic dramatic acting and super noshing on the super craft service table... Don't tell Tim I was noshing on craft service. Don't believe a word Masi says, he's a big liar. Well I miss you Comic-Con, let's catch up soon - how about Monday nights at 9 on NBC this fall?" Grunberg and I totally need to go bowling some day.

2:07 pm: When prompted what attracted him to the project, 10-year old Noah Gray-Cabey exclaims: "I'm a 10-year-old who's got superpowers! I was all over this one!"

2:09 pm: Another audience member asks if he can have Ali's shirt. No dice.

2:10 pm: On that note, I'm off to fight the crowds to get to the "Battlestar" panel on the other side of the convention center.

Epilogue: Okay for those dying to know, here's a brief breakdown on the new scenes (look away if you don't want to know). The fire in Odessa, Texas which causes Hayden Panettiere's character to play hero apparently was caused by a group of terrorists stealing something - a cell of which the LAPD (including Grunberg's Matt Parkman) is on the trail of in Los Angeles. A sweep of their suspected hideout turns up nothing, that is until Parkman "hears" one of terrorists hiding. His discovery however draws suspicion from his supervisor (Michael Milhoan) and the feds (led by Stacy Haiduk) as it seems Parkman is something of a perennial beat cop (i.e. his big "get" doesn't jive with his history of SWAT test failures and marital troubles). From here we also meet a member of said cell (apologies as I didn't recognize the actor) with his own unique ability - he can emit radiation from his hands (forcing them to remain bandaged most of the time), a trait which gave his wife cancer. We also meet another mysterious figure named Sylar, whom Mohinder's character's (Sendhil Ramamurthy) father had been taping his conversations with. There's also a handful of other small scenes, some of which are too juicy to spoil here as they set up future plotlines. Overall, these additions definitely add several new dimensions to the show and here's hoping viewers will get to see them all.

Note: A special thanks to my pal Gord Lacey of TVShowsonDVD.com for saving the day and snapping pictures of the panel.





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· HEROES (NBC)
· SAN DIEGO COMIC CON (TFC)









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