This Thursday, Comic-Con International will return to the San Diego Convention Center with a vengeance. Do you like comics, movies or video games? Then San Diego is where you want to be.
However, the TV panels are one of the main attractions to this year’s con. Last week, we ran a nearly comprehensive list of over 50 TV panels being held at Comic-Con. But the truth is that there is simply no way to go every panel that you want to see. And if you want to make it into Ballroom 20 or Hall H, be prepared to come early and wait hours in line.
To better help you survive the coming frenzy, we’ve assembled a list of the top ten TV panels for this year’s convention. These will be the panels that are exceptionally difficult to get into, but any one of them could be the highlight of your Comic-Con experience.
FRIDAY JULY 13
Firefly 10-Year Anniversary Reunion
12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Ballroom 20
Long before The Avengers gave Joss Whedon his due among the masses, the screenwriter-turned-director was making his name on television with “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” But while those shows had multi-year runs, Whedon’s sci-fi series “Firefly” lasted a single year on Fox.
And yet “Firefly” has an enduring following of Browncoats ten years later. For this year’s show, almost all of the series stars are reuniting at Comic-Con, including Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and even Whedon himself.
AMC's The Walking Dead
1:25pm – 2:25pm @ Hall H
Remember what I said about not being able to make every TV panel? If you want to see the cast of “The Walking Dead,” then you will have to skip “Firefly” and get in line early.
But if you brave the undead horde outside of Hall H, you’ll see “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman and executive producers Glen Mazzara and Gale Anne Hurd alongside Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira and David Morrissey.
Zombie makeup effects guru Greg Nicotero is also on the panel with moderator Chris Hardwick of “The Talking Dead.” And the first trailers from season 3 are expected to debut here.
Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A session
2:45pm – 3:45pm @ Hall H
Immediately following “The Walking Dead” panel in Hall H, HBO will take the stage to promote the new season of George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones,” with Martin himself moderating the panel with series stars Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Michelle Fairley and Alfie Allen.
Because the third season hasn’t started production yet, don’t expect any new footage. But it may be your only chance to see the cast together before next year’s Comic-Con.
Spartacus: War of the Damned
5:45pm – 6:45pm @ Room 6BCF
If you don’t have enough sword fights in your life, head upstairs after the “Game of Thrones” panel and look in on the preview for the third and final season of “Spartacus” on STARZ. Liam McIntyre and Manu Bennett are the only two confirmed members of the cast appearing with series creator, Steven S. DeKnight.
This panel will also debut the first footage from “Spartacus: War of the Damned;” which is coming to STARZ in January 2013.
AMC's Breaking Bad
6:45pm – 7:45pm @ Ballroom 20
Admittedly, “Breaking Bad” and Comic-Con don’t seem to have a lot in common. But when AMC decides to bring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to San Diego to celebrate the upcoming fifth and final season of one of the best shows on television… then the line starts behind us and goes around the convention center. Twice.
Creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan will also appear alongside Cranston, Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, R. J. Mitte and Jonathan Banks before showing preview clips of the new season.
SATURDAY JULY 14
TV Guide Magazine: Fan Favorites
1:00pm – 2:00pm @ Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
This is the Superstar panel of the con and the only place you can see Matt Smith (“Doctor Who”), Nathan Fillion (“Castle”), Joel McHale (“Community”), Maggie Q (“Nikita”) and David Giuntoli (“Grimm”) together on stage!
Oh… and Tyler Posey too, I guess. You guys watch, “Teen Wolf” on MTV, right?
True Blood Panel and Q&A session
4:30pm – 5:15pm @ Ballroom 20
Aside from “Game of Thrones,” this is the most popular HBO series at Comic-Con. Get in line early… super early.
It’s not clear if Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer or Alexander Skarsgård are coming this year, but almost the entire main cast has been confirmed, including Ryan Kwanten, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Joe Manganiello and Chris Meloni.
SUNDAY JULY 15
Fringe Screening and Q&A
10:00am – 11:00am @ Hall H
If you love TV and you’re at Comic-Con on Sunday then the only place you need to be is in Hall H, for three blockbuster television panels back-to-back-to-back.
First up is the cast of “Fringe,” coming to Comic-Con for a final bow before the last season comes to Fox. That means that Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole and Blair Brown will all be on hand with executive producer J. H. Wyman.
Expect tantalizing clues for the new season and possibly new footage as well.
Supernatural Screening and Q&A
11:15am – 12:15pm @ Hall H
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are back for more, and this year they are joined by Misha Collins, Jim Beaver and Mark A. Sheppard. Returning favorite and consulting producer, Ben Edlund is also back alongside the new “Supernatural” showrunner, Jeremy Carver.
BBC America's Doctor Who
12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Hall H
Ask your Doctor if Comic-Con is right for you.
Failing that, come by and see Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, executive producer Caroline Skinner and even showrunner Steven Moffat for a fond farewell to Amy and Rory Pond as well as previews from the heavily anticipated seventh season of “Doctor Who”!
The angels have the phone box. So, whatever you do… Don’t. Blink.