The Sunday panel schedule at Comic-Con has always been less exciting than other days at the San Diego institution, but the announcement of this year's lineup is almost depressing for anyone who could only acquire a Sunday pass. There is absolutely no major movie studio presence and the biggest network show is "Ghost Whisperer" with star Jennifer Love Hewitt taking one for the team so the press actually have something to write about.
With Hall H closed, the convention gets an indie flavor as Sundance Film Festival favorite "Paper Heart" is the highlight of the movie panels when it presents at 1:00 PM in Ballroom 20. Charlyne Yi, who was a crowd favorite at the "Superbad" presentation a few years ago, will be joined by producer/co-wrtier Nick Jasenovec and co-star Jake Johnson to discuss the flick that questions whether true love exists. At this time, sadly, co-star Michael Cera has not been announced as attending (Hint to Overture Films: If you want to fill up the room, I'd figure out a way to get Cera down there.)
Another Sundance entry, the comedy "Mystery Team," will preview immediately before "Paper Heart" at 12:30 PM in Ballroom 20. Writers and stars Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson, producer Meggie McFadden, and director/editor Dan Eckman will be joined by a very special VIP moderator who just may find his home here at HitFix.
Following "Paper Heart" will be "Alien Trespass," the homage to classic 50s Sci-Fi flicks starring Eric McCormack and Jenni Bard who will both be on hand to take fans questions. That presentation begins at 1;30 in Ballroom 20.
The Television side is considerably stronger on Sunday, but nothing compared to the mammoth influx on Friday and Saturday. Beginning at 10:30 AM in room 6BCF, Comic-Con favorite "Smallville" will provide a sneak peak at the show's amazing ninth season with current showrunners Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders and cast members Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley and the new villainous Zod, Callum Blue.
At 1 PM, also in room 6BDF, Jennifer Love Hewitt returns to the convention with co-stars Jamie Kennedy, David Conrad, Christoph Sanders and, yes, Camryn Manheim to talk all things "Ghost Whisperer" as the series enters it's fifth season.
"Supernatural" will also be returning to San Diego this year with a panel at 11:45AM in the popular room 6BDF. The show's creators will be on hand with some previews of the upcoming season and will be joined by stars Misha Collins and Jim Beaver, but Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are disappointingly skipping this one out.
On the positive side, the Brits will get their moment in the sun on Sunday (no pun intended) as both "Dr. Who," with series star David Tennant and writer/creator Russell T Davies, and "Torchwood" star John Barrowman, talking about their BBC America series. Those panels are both in Ballroom 20 beginning at 10:00 AM and 2:15 PM respectively. The cable network will also trot out the stars of it's new Sci-Fi drama "Being Human"in the afternoon panel.
And that's about it.
Considering how jam-packed the lineups for Thursday and Friday are, Sunday's schedule is a huge step back for the convention, especially on its 40th anniversary.
More surprisingly is that any of the major stars and talent appearing on the earlier days could have guaranteed a packed Hall H all to themselves and been the top story on Monday's entertainment news shows if they moved to the final day of the weekend. Yes, last year's "Friday the 13th" panel was half full, but that was not a star-filled flick. Hopefully, for the convention's sake, it will be re-addressed in 2010.
Lastly, NBC sent out a note to the press a few weeks ago promising a Saturday offsite event for "Heroes," a show that credits its initial buzz and popularity partially due to the fantastic reception it received at Comic-Con in 2006. The official Comic-Con Saturday schedule, though, makes no mention of such a panel. One thing is clear, they could certainly make a splash moving it to Sunday.
Look for continuing coverage on HitFix up to and through Comic-Con 2009.