TORONTO – Just like any Comic Con south of the border, Fan Expo Canada is a celebration of everything nerd.
There were autograph signings and photo opps available with sci fi stars (if you were willing to fork over the cash), the chance to make your own anime plush toy and more buxom babes in costume than anywhere else in the city. The four-day event took place at the Metro Convention Centre and it is estimated that there were over 80,000 in attendance.
Just like other Comic Cons, many of this year’s advertised stars including Dexter‘s Jennifer Carpenter, 90210‘s (or should I say Old Navy’s) Jason Priestley/Luke Perry and True Blood‘s Sam Trammell cancelled at the last minute, but their absences were effortlessly handled. Organizers swapped Trammell for True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis and sessions with stars from new shows Arrow and Revolution were quickly added. CTV also contributed a last-minute Q&A with Matthew Grey Gubler and AJ Cook from Criminal Minds which drew the biggest crowd of the weekend.
The misconception about Fan Expos is that they are just about Star Wars and Star Trek. While Captain Kirk and Chewbacca are beloved at these events (and rightfully so), there is really something for everyone as they are now more about general fandom than any one specific hobby, appealing to comic connoisseurs, horror fans, TV couch potatoes and video game addicts alike. Fan Expo Canada did an admirable job in separating the event into Comics, Sci Fi, Horror, Anime and Gaming areas to allow devoted fans of each genre to enjoy exhibits and guests exclusively for them while also being able to discover new areas of interest.
It wouldn’t be a Murtz review without filling you in on what really went down during my adventures.
It starts with the Rachel Nichols story.
Rachel Nichols is the star of Continnuum on Showcase. I primarily remember her strong appearances on Alias and Criminal Minds and while she joined both shows in the middle of their runs, there is no denying the fact that she is the face and star of Continuum. The one-hour cop drama focuses on her character, Kiera Cameron, a police office from 2077 that is trapped in present day, searching for convicted futuristic criminals known as the Liber8. Kiera’s primary mandate is to stop the terrorists before they alter the course of history forever. Think of it is as Back To The Future meets Alias with a cooler twist. At Fan Expo, Showcase announced that the show would be renewed for a second season. Pretty much a no-brainer considering the show’s record-breaking ratings, averaging 1 million viewers per episode and pushing Showcase into the Top 10 for specialty channels.
Nichols was charming to meet in person and in the process of getting a picture to include with this article, surprised me with a kiss on the cheek. Unfortunately, since my photographer had already wrapped the camera, there was a miss on the kiss and the resulting life-altering murtzment. Luckily, this was fixed by asking Rachel to do it again (saving me from having a Continuum coronary). I look forward to catching her on the second season of Continuum (expected to begin shooting in 2013).
Rachel Nichols – Continuum Coronary
Next, I made a quick stop at the photo opps to fulfill my teenage dream of meeting Dana Scully from The X Files (aka Gillian Anderson) and Lafayette (aka Nelsan Ellis) from True Blood. While Anderson looked quite different with blonde hair, she will always retain Scully’s iconic status and is a trailblazer in terms of the precedent she set for females playing lead agents on procedural dramas.
As for Ellis, he certainly wasn’t the flamboyant showman that he plays (to be expected), but the actor was certainly more subdued than I thought he would be. He did flash the Murtz sign which immediately won points with me.
An interview with the stars of Criminal Minds was next on the agenda and it was a pleasure to talk to Matthew Grey Gubler and A.J. Cook. I have no problem admitting that Criminal Minds is a show that I was wrong about, initially seeing it as just another CSI knock-off. Now, many marathons later, I can openly confess that I had mischaracterized it. The show is intoxicating and features some of the best writing and most unique storylines on television. Season 8 premieres on September 25 at 10 p.m. on CTV. Here’s the interview.
Criminal Minds’ Reed & JJ!
From there it was off to interview the stars of Citytv’s Revolution. The post-apocalyptic adventure series from Jon Favreau, J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke sees a family attempting to reunite after every single piece of technology in the world has blacked out forever. That means no cell phones, no computers, and no lights. Revolution premieres Monday September 17 at 10 p.m. on Citytv. Here’s the interview.
Revolution‘s Charlie & Miles Matheson
On Sunday, I was back at Fan Expo to talk to the cast of Arrow. The series, (loosely based on the Green Arrow comic) stars Canadian Stephen Amell along with one of the strongest young supporting casts I have ever seen (next to TNT and Bravo’s Dallas). Willa Holland (The O.C.), Katie Cassidy (Melrose Place) and Colin Donnell (Pan Am) joined Amell at the Convention and after screening the pilot episode, the show is one of my top picks for the upcoming season. Arrow revolves around billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Amell) who returns to Starling City after being presumed dead for the past five years. He attempts to reconnect with his sister Thea (Holland) and best friend Tommy (Donnell) while also attempting to reconcile with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Cassidy). He creates the superhero persona of Arrow to right the wrongs of his family.
I was particularly interested in talking to Katie Cassidy, who is the best actress on television. She shined as Ella Sims on Melrose Place and had a notable stint on Gossip Girl as well. Capable of playing any role effectively, Cassidy has been one of the people that I have wanted to interview for many years. She was an absolute delight (as was the entire cast) and you can look forward to that interview soon.
Katie Cassidy… Best Actress On Television
Before leaving, I made a quick stop at the Anchor Bay booth to meet Crystal Lowe from A Little Bit Zombie. The rom zom com (romantic zombie comedy) follows the adventures of Steve (Kristopher Turner) who becomes infected with a virus during a weekend get-away with his fiancée Tina (Lowe). While he attempts to satisfy his hunger for human brain, his bridezilla-to-be insists that the wedding move forward. More info on the movie is available at ALittleBitZombie.com.
A Little Bit Zombie‘s Crystal Lowe
All in all, it was a great weekend at the Fan Expo. Of course, no comic convention would be complete without a ‘Murtz With Hot Girls In Costume’ gallery.
Stay tuned for the interviews!
Tags: Arrow, Fan Expo Canada, Gillian Anderson, katie cassidy, murtz, revolution, Stephen Amell