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Comic-Con 2011 Day 2 Recap: FALLING SKIES & NCIS: LA

Amy K. Bredemeyer - July 23, 2011


On Friday at Comic-Con 2011, Room 6BCF hosted much-anticipated panels for FALLING SKIES and NCIS:LA. Even though FALLING SKIES is new, the series had a cult following in search of backstory, spoilers and tidbits. Fans of NCIS: LA came out to learn about the technology featured in the show and meet the cast.



The FALLING SKIES panel began with a video presentation of already-aired clips, ending with the conclusion of last week’s episode, “Sanctuary, Part 1.” For this new series, which has been cable’s top launch of 2011, fans listened intently to the first question addressed to the entire panel: "What is your favorite episode?" Star Noah Wyle favored the pilot, while Sarah Sanguin Carter (Margaret) and co-executive producers Mark Verheiden and Darryl Frank preferred the final episode of the first season. Panelists answered most fan queries with lines like “You’ll find out,” “Be patient,” and “Keep watching,” since the burning questions dealt with back stories of the characters, intentions of the aliens, why the skitters want the children, and the future of Tom and Anne’s relationship. The audience did learn, however, that there will be no flashbacks of the alien invasion, which caught quite a few spectators by surprise.



Will Patton, who portrays Weaver, created several mysterious moments by revealing very little when asked about the inspiration for his character, Weaver's soft spot for Jimmy, and his favorite quality of Weaver.


The crowd was moved when co-star Moon Bloodgood revealed that Wyle left a note for her attached to the bloody handprint she left on the bulletin board in the episode “Silent Kill.” The message? “This is when Tom fell in love with Anne.” That scene was also one of Wyle’s favorites from the whole season.


Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) leaves her mark in the

"Silent Kill" episode of FALLING SKIES.



And, speaking of favorites, Drew Roy’s favorite quality about his character Hal is his bravery, and Collin Cunningham likes how Pope is so driven -- though “fearlessness” was a close second!


Cunningham continued to captivate the audience throughout the Q&A session. First, when asked what's nice about playing a bad guy, Cunningham pointed out that “Nobody thinks of themselves as a bad guy… it’s a fantastic part to play. This guy’s got depth; he’s incredibly intelligent.” Later, when an audience member inquired about the cast’s initial reactions to the skitters, Cunningham immediately responded “I flipped out” and that he thought “that’s one ugly-looking thing.” Carter, on the other hand, noted that she kept saying “I think they’re really cute” and that they “kind of look like little pugs.”


One of the skitters from the "Sanctuary, Part 1" episode of FALLING SKIES.


After reiterating the fact that the drama series has been renewed for a second season, Frank revealed the entire second season has been storyboarded and that they also know where they want the series to end. Justin Falvey, another executive producer, added that the second season will give perspective on what has happened elsewhere because of the invasion. Between these notions and being treated to two clips from upcoming episodes, the audience was left on the edge of their seats.


Later in the day, the "Teching Out with NCIS: LA" panel opened with a video showcasing gadgets from the show. Another clip followed, with stars Eric Christian Olson and Daniela Ruah welcoming the audience and apologizing for not being there in person, as they’re shooting next season’s premiere at the moment. However, CBS did bring 75 sailors as special guests, who the audience welcomed with a standing ovation.


The technology used in the show was a main focus for the first part of the panel, with creator and executive producer Shane Brennan providing many facts about how the show functions with the latest tech advances. For instance, NCIS: LA is the first scripted drama to sign a contract with a defense contractor – Lockheed Martin. Brennan also shared that Lockheed does give the show access to some software still being developed, and they once got a call that a particular item became classified, so they had to change the name to use it on the show. The statistic that left the crowd saying “wow” however was that 75% of what is seen is real technology, and the other 25% is technology in development.


The cast of NCIS: LA is also really big into technology. Twitter and Instagram are hits with the group, though some prefer sharing pictures (Renee Felice Smith) and others prefer interacting with their followers (LL Cool J).


The majority of the fans addressed their questions to LL Cool J. When asked about what clique he was part of in high school, he responded that he “got along with the bullies but preferred to hang out with the nerds – they talked about more interesting things than how big they were.” And, in giving advice to young artists, he powerfully stated that you should “never, ever limit yourself, and don’t let someone put a period where you want to put a comma.”


LL Cool J in NCIS: LA.


He wasn’t the only one sharing memorable lines though. Smith mentioned that her favorite line has been “Sorry you almost got frelted” and Barrett Foa’s favorite is “I broke the internet.”


It was revealed that no crossovers with NCIS are planned for next season. And the only thing close to a spoiler? Someone will be shot in the opening episode of next season. The room seemed torn over whether or not they wanted to know who it would be, but that information was not shared as time ran out.


Comic-Con continues through Sunday, with various panels and previews throughout the conference in multiple locations. And, if you’re looking for an LL Cool J autograph, head to the CBS booth on Saturday between 11:30am and 12:30pm. 

Amy K. Bredemeyer is the founder and editor of the television blog TheTalkingBox. She has an MA in Theatre from Florida State University, and is a freelance dramaturg in the San Francisco Bay Area.