On Looking Ahead to Shore Leave

Shore Leave is four months away, and yesterday I started to brainstorm panel ideas for the convention.

I scribbled fifteen ideas on a notepad — it was either that or pay attention to a discussion by Baltimore’s methheads about how a woman’s pelvis is made of sponge — and last night I pared the list down and wrote out descriptions.

For anyone who’s curious — or anyone attending Shore Leave as a guest who sees something that interests them — here’s what I pitched to the Shore Leave peeps:

Thirty Years Since Sci-Fi’s Greatest Year
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Blade Runner. Tron. The Dark Crystal. Conan the Barbarian. The Thing. Released in a single year, these films made 1982 the best year for science-fiction films, ever. What made these films so spectacular? Why have they continued to entertain and inspire at the span of three decades? Come celebrate the greatest year for science-fiction cinema!

I Believe In Sherlock
The second season of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ updating of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes aired this spring on PBS’ Masterpiece. What has made Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the consulting detective so appealing? What has made Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson so captivating? What can fans expect from the third season, and what of the forthcoming series Elementary on CBS?

Everything is Better with a TARDIS
Doctor Who is a unique television program in that it can cross genres from story to story, moving from sci-fi space opera to historic costume drama to contemporary settings without missing a beat. The panelists will discuss non-Whovian movies and television series that would work as Doctor Who stories and speculate on which existing characters would work as companions. Get a different view of your favorite stories by dropping the Doctor into something like Blade Runner, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, A Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, and many more, and discover what makes a good Doctor Who story work!

What Is a Weekend?: The Magic of Masterpiece‘s Downton Abbey
For two years PBS audiences have been captivated by the world of Downton Abbey, with its noble aristocracy headed by the Earl of Grantham and its serving class led by the unflappable Mr. Carson. Audiences have swooned to the romances of Matthew and Mary, Mr. Bates and Anna, and hissed at the machinations of Miss O’Brien and Thomas. What has made this British import such a hit in its two seasons, and what can fans expect from the forthcoming third season?

Star Trek: The Four-Color Frontier
As Star Trek fandom prepares for the next theatrical adventure of the starship Enterprise, IDW Publishing is chronicling the adventures of the crew in the rebooted timeline in their ongoing Star Trek comic by reimagining classic episodes and spinning new stories. Elsewhere, IDW has also boldly gone where no comic book has gone before with stories that bring the crews of the Enterprise into contact with the worlds of the Legion of Super-Heroes and Doctor Who. For fans unfamiliar with IDW’s Trek tales, what can they expect from a Star Trek comic? And for longtime fans, what’s to come in the months ahead in these four-color pages?

The Hobbit: A Long-Expected Film
This December Peter Jackson returns to the world of Middle-Earth with his long-awaited film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, nearly a decade after Frodo Baggins cast the One Ring into the fiery chasm of Mount Doom. What can audiences expect of the return to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, and will Jackson recapture the Middle-Earth magic?

Barsoom Rising
In March, Pixar visionary Andrew Stanton released his first live-action film, John Carter, based on the Martian novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Despite weak reviews, the film was warmly received by Burroughs fans and science-fiction fans as a century-old novel, A Princess of Mars, was brought up to date for modern film audiences. Did JOHN CARTER work? What could the film have done better? Is there a future for this franchise? And did the film lead audiences to discover the work of Burroughs?

Beyond Watchmen
Twenty-five years ago Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons revolutionized comic book storytelling with their graphic novel, Watchmen. This summer, DC Comics controversially revisits the world of Watchmen with a series of mini-series, Before Watchmen. Why has DC Comics decided to return to the world of Watchmen? What do these characters say to modern audiences? Are the Before Watchmen series worth the controversy? The panelists discuss the comics, the work of Alan Moore, and more!

Yes, I really did pitch a straight-up “Let’s talk about Downton Abbey!” panel. What can I say? I like the show, and why not? 😆

Last year I pitched a similar number of panels for Shore Leave — then ended up on nine panels and eleven hours of programming. I barely saw anyone at Shore Leave last year; I was always rushing to another panel. Hopefully, I won’t be on a similar number of panels this year, but if I am, I’ll soldier on, because that’s what I do. :h2g2:

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