SAN DIEGO - Apologies for the midday silence, but the Comic-Con organizers, in their infinite wisdom, decided that duct-taping all power outlets in Ballroom 20 would somehow prevent forest fires. Or something. They also decided that the convenient water bottles keeping attendees from getting dehydrated were a bad idea. And they had volunteers going through the aisles in Ballroom 20 telling people to put away cell phones that weren't even turned on.


Comic-Con, kids.

Anyway... It's time for Comic-Con's Vampire Weekend, or else least a Vampire Afternoon.

Up first? The CW's "The Vampire Diaries"...

Get ready for the madness, after the break...

3:33 p.m. Lest you forget, "The Vampire Diaries" will return to The CW on Thursday, October 11.

3:34 p.m. We're starting with a clip package from last season, culminating in the fantastic twist ending to last season. [I don't know if the fantastic twist ending will pay off fantastically, but I know that the ending was fantastic.]

3:36 p.m. I wish the moderator didn't have to begin by saying "I'm a huge 'Vampire Diaries' fan and I'm not ashamed to admit." Why would it require shame? It's a good show. It has been for 2.5 seasons. Move on. 

3:37 p.m. Our panelists: Steven "Don't Call Me Steve" McQueen, Zach "The Only Normal Human Left On The Show" Roerig, Paul "I Americanized My Last Name" Wesley, Nina "So Pretty" Dobrev, Ian "About To Dominate This Panel" Somerhalder, Julie "I Write the Thing" Plec, Michael Trevino and Kevin "Our Actual Moderator" Williamson. The loudest applause were for Somerhalder. By a wide margin.

3:41 p.m. They've been shooting for a week. "It's only a week, so we're still in good moods," Wesley says. "And we just got the second script and it's pretty damn good," McQueen says.

3:41 p.m. Williamson went to Twitter for questions. People want to know where the season is going. "Everything just feels so fresh. It feels new. It feels familiar in all the right ways and it feels different too," Plec teases. They're gearing up towards graduation this season. Not that anybody actually goes to school anymore on "Vampire Diaries."

3:43 p.m. "Season 1 Tyler, even I despited the character. He was a douchebag, a complete a-hole," Trevino says, recalling the character's journey. He says that he knew that he had a werewolf arc coming from the beginning. He went from douche to werewolf to hybrid. "And now... now... I get to play around," Trevino says. "It's a season of changes," Williamson promises. 

3:44 p.m. What does Elena think about her changes this season? Dobrev's enjoyed playing Elena and Katherine as different. "So how do you make Elena the vampire version of herself that's different from Katherine?" she asks. "I think she's going to be defined by her experiences," she says. "And Elena's had some pretty crazy experiences." She adds, "I think everything's going to be heightened. She's constantly going to be struggling with herself."

3:45 p.m. Williamson and Plec joke about how hard they've tried to make people hate Damon and it hasn't worked. Where are things going this season? "Damon, you would have thought at 170+ years old would think before he does something. He doesn't. He just doesn't," Somerhalder says. He notes that Damon spent a couple seasons trying to be different, but... "He's not a nice guy. Yes, he has a heart at time, but he's not." This season will be him telling people that he's going to be himself.

3:48 p.m. And who will Stefan be this season? "I always lean towards the dark side," Wesley says. He enjoyed playing Stefan's Ripper side last season. "The truth of Stefan is he's so dark and he's so twisted and he's so dangerous and he covers it up with this sense of good will, but the reality is that the darkness is so intense he doesn't know what to do with it, so he just rips people's heads off. And bunnies."

3:50 p.m. Is this the Season of Matt? "I don't know if this is the Season of Matt, but this is the season of matt  trying to stay human," Roerig says. "I'm human! I see dead people, but I'm still human," McQueen protests. Roerig things that Matt may offer himself to Elena to help keep her from eating people.

3:50 p.m. Is Jeremy ever going to find love? "Yeah, I have the kiss of death," admits McQueen. "Jeremy's been going through this voyage and he's lost a lot of people and he's failed to protect his sister," McQueen lists.

3:51 p.m. "Look. For every 'Please let it go this way' piece of feedback, I get another 'No, please let it go that way' piece of feedback," Plec says of the show's 'shipping. "It actually took me by surprise," she admits, comparing this to watching a sporting event and finding yourself rooting for the underdog. "When I'm watching love triangles, I like to be able to root for both of them," Plec says. "That's why I say I'm Team Salvatore."

3:52 p.m. What is the worst part of doing Dobrev's job? "Honestly... Yeah... There's nothing terrible about my job... The lack of sleep, maybe," Dobrev says. "It's the shirtless scenes you have to do and then there are all these cookies at lunch," Trevino says.

3:54 p.m. If they had to vote for who they wants to kiss or have sex with, who would it be? Roerig says he wants to be with Sheriff Forbes. "I want to jump in bed with Elijah," Wesley says. "Between the two characters, I feel like I made out with everyone in the cast... Katherine should hook up with Elijah," Dobrev says. "They're both strong. They could both beat the crap out of each other and throw each other around," Somerhalder agrees. 

3:56 p.m. Favorite scenes last season? McQueen enjoyed using a crossbow in Episode 10. "I liked the underwater stuff," Dobrev says. "It's cool. You feel like you're doing a big action movie," Dobrev adds of the scene, which was filmed at a "police training navy place." "What we have on a daily basis is what a gigantic feature film has on its set," Somerhalder says, comparing it to a $50 million movie. Plec's favorite scene was the candle-light vigil for Alaric.  

3:59 p.m. Audience question time! The first person talks about how hot the EW cover was. Apparently Julie joked at some point that she'd write herself in as a love interest. She asks Julie to go down the row and say something we don't know about each member of the cast. She tells us Steven McQueen is "a goofball who has a heart of gold." Zach "has grown into a true man" and he also hunts turkeys. Julie calls Paul the funniest person she's ever met and says Nina will rule the universe. Julie suggests that Ian has done everything. "You're the guy from the Dos Equis commercials," Wesley tells Ian. Michael is very loyal to his childhood friends and "he stands up for women, too." "That's because he loves the ladies. A lot," Somerhalder adds.

4:02 p.m. A questioner, briefly censored for just wanting Trevino to look at her, asks about the return of Katherine. "Katherine will not show her little face until Klaus is no longer a factor," Plec teases. The panelists rail against the censoring.

4:03 p.m. Did Nina struggle to keep Elena's transformation in the finale a secret? "I'm so proud that it didn't get out," she says. "I was surprised. I don't even read the script. I just read my lines," Somerhalder. How did everybody on the stage find out? "You told me three or four episodes before," Nina tells Julie, who says that Elena's transformation had actually been pitched to the studio and network for the end of Season 2. 

4:05 p.m. A fan was really attached to Alaric and wonders if he might appear in flashback episodes at some point. "He definitely has contractually with his other show permission to appear. We certainly don't like living in a world without Matt Davis in our family, so I would say it's possible," Plec says.

4:06 p.m. A fan asks Ian if he liked Brazil. He did. He says that he got around on a helicopter, which draws mockery from his peers. "It was a pretty incredible experience. It's hot down there. Ow! And I don't mean just the weather, baby!" Somerhalder says.

4:07 p.m. A deaf fan asks asks about Bonnie's witching mentor? Or about Esther's mentor? It becomes a back-and-forth with Julie Plec and the translator? It turns out that the question about The Original Witch is going to be a big question this season, but Julie won't say anything more.

4:09 p.m. Will Damon be happy that Elena is a vampire? "It could be a lot of fun. The really cool thing is... she's now, Elena was a badass girl and now she's a badass vampire girl and she can take care of herself finally," Somerhalder says, expecting that this will add a really interesting dynamic with the core trio. "The three of them are quite possibly going to learn a lot together," he says. This leads to joking about speedy vampire sex.

4:11 p.m. Will we see Meredith and the Kitsune Twins? Meredith will, apparently, be in the show, but the Kitsune Twins will not. These are characters in the book. I don't know anything about them.

4:13 p.m. Will the show get more adult this season? "How much more adult can we get?" Plec ponders. We've reached the point in the panel at which the panelists notice their placards that warn about audience members under 18. This happens at almost every panel. "Under 18? 18? You can vote. You can go to war," Somerhalder says. 

4:15 p.m. Last question. If they were all in the Hunger Games Arena, who would they kill last? Steve says he'd kill Zach first. "I'd take you out first," Paul says to Steve. Plec says that she'd team with Kevin to make sure they could both survive. "I would create an alliance with Zach, because he can hunt turkeys," Dobrev says. "You know what I would do? I would just kill 'em all. I'd sit down, have a drink, smoke a cigar, read the New York Times and just enjoy the silence. That's what I would do," Somerhalder says. Trevino agrees that he would also team up with Zach. "I'm a city boy. I wouldn't survive," Trevino says. 


That's all, folks...


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.