Lionsgate links with Comic-Con for streaming service

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For anyone unable to get badges to San Diego Comic-Con this year, Lionsgate and Comic-Con are giving subscribers unprecedented access to the pop culture mecca with the launch of Comic-Con HQ.

The ad-free subscription service, which launches Free Beta Access on May 7 (Free Comic Book Day) will feature live and exclusive coverage from San Diego Comic-Con July 20-24. It will also include original and unscripted series, daily and weekly entertainment commentary.

“For nearly half a century, Comic-Con has served as the definitive common ground where the fans of genre entertainment come together to express their passion for comics and pop culture,” said Seth Laderman, EVP and General Manager for Comic-Con HQ. “Comic-Con HQ aspires to extend that exchange 365 days a year, bringing everything we love about Comic-Con to the world in ways never before seen and experienced. The new platform will provide a year-round destination to enjoy all facets of the community and access the vast diversity of content the world has come to expect from the largest and longest-running pop cultural celebration of the year.”

Since SDCC attendees often wait hours (or days) for a coveted seat in Hall H or Ballroom 20, panels won’t be live-streamed. But, CCHQ will offer other exclusive programming and live-streams, including airings of select Comic-Con panels, and immersive access to the convention floor and sanctioned events never before available to the public such as the Masquerade and the Eisner Awards. Members will enjoy interviews and previews available only on CCHQ in a growing library of new and archival panels, bonus features, behind-the-scenes previews and more. 

Programming will include: A 1:1 interview series from G4 alum Adam Sessler (“X-Play”); fellow G4 star Kevin Pereira (“Attack of the Show”) and his company Attack Media will executive produce an entertainment pop culture news show and a late night talk show format; and the scripted comedy show “Kings of Con,” is inspired by real-life fan convention experiences and features “Supernatural” stars Richard Speight and Rob Benedict.

“CCHQ is welcoming both attendees and fans new to the Comic-Con phenomenon to join our community and enjoy all aspects of the experience in ways never before imagined,” said David Glanzer, Chief Communications and Strategy Officer for Comic-Con International. “Lionsgate is a terrific partner in this venture and uniquely qualified to provide quality programming that speaks directly to our fans. We’re excited to see what we can accomplish with a dedicated Comic-Con channel 365 days a year.”

More news about upcoming programming and partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks. Anyone can now pre-register for free beta access on www.Comic-ConHQ.com to enjoy a full platform of programming starting May 7 via their browsers and iOS/Android devices. The paid subscription service will roll out across more connected devises in the months to come such as Roku, AppleTV and Xbox One, with additional devices and distribution platforms becoming available throughout the year.

The Name Behind Your Childhood

If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with his work, even though you may not know his name and have never seen his face. You’ve probably doodled or sketched the characters he made famous, or maybe had their likeness on your pillowcases. The toys you grew up playing with were based on the characters he had a part in bringing to life.

His name is Tom Cook. No? Doesn’t ring a bell?

Tom animated and directed some of the most incredibly popular animated cartoons of the 1970s and 1980s. His work includes everything from “He-Man” and “She-Ra” to “Brave Starr” and “Ghostbusters.” Now retired, Cook was a recent media guest at Pittsburgh’s “Steel-City Con,” where he was welcomed by thousands of happy fans, excited to finally put a face to the name they saw on every closing credit of their youthful Saturdays and weekday afternoons.

Tom Cook discusses his animation during a panel at Pittsburgh's "Steel-City Con"

Tom Cook discusses his animation during a panel at Pittsburgh’s “Steel-City Con”

Cook was a bus driver, content with his job, before he became an animator. He saw an ad for a college art course at a local school and thought he would like to expand his talent for sketching into something a little more substantial. In a short time, the teacher told him that they were looking for animation assistants for cartoons that were being developed for network television. Cook kept his bus route, but decided to take the step of faith into following his passion, or at least an attempt to test the waters.

Cook’s first animated sample was “The Flintstones.” Prior to his career change, he would draw Fred Flintstone from different angles, seeing how the positioning and movement would look. He began familiarizing himself with how muscles and bone structure can look by studying the work of Jack Kirby and the characters created by Stan Lee in various comic books. He saw that animating could show a level of human realism and still work as a cartoon-type of character.

Because he wanted to be a full-time animator and work as much as possible, he went to Filmation Studios, which supplied us with his most well-known years of work. He did the animation for “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” and “Heathcliff,” as well as most of the Saturday Morning cartoons that were popular in the 1970s and 1980s. He says the most difficult to animate was “The Smurfs,” because there were so many of them in every scene. “It’s not that I disliked them,” he said, “you just always had to draw so many.”

Cook worked on movies, like “The Cunning Little Vixen” and the “Roger Rabbit Short: Tummy Trouble,” which was associated with the movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” He says his favorite character to animate was always “Thundarr the Barbarian,” which aired on both, NBC and ABC. Cook enjoyed the realistic look and movement of the character.

Cook has made appearances at conventions all across the country, sometimes appearing with the actors who gave voices to the characters he animated. Although he misses 2-dimensional animation, when it made way for the digital animation we see today, Cook was able to transition smoothly, because he was familiar with computer animation programs and was able to help in the training of other artists and animators.

“Many of the animators,” Cook said, “ignored the change and went from making more than $100K a year to having to take jobs as security guards because they were unable to learn to adapt.”

Since retiring, he began playing drums for a worship team at his local church and got married. His wife knew he was an artist, but wasn’t married to him during the time he was animating. She was surprised when she attended a convention with him recently and a fan came up to tell him he was a legend. He has since used that to his advantage with her in saying, “Legends shouldn’t have to take out the garbage around the house.”

Travel Options Offer Affordable Alternative in Some States

Recently, my wife and I were in San Diego, California. The public transportation there is among the best in the country, so our plans for downtown included taking a trolley or a bus, rather than driving and trying to find parking. We had heard of Uber, but really had very little idea as to what it was, other than some sort of taxi service.

We stopped by an information station, which was set up just outside of Petco Park, to ask which trolley or bus would be the best to get us back to the house we were renting. The lady at the counter asked, “Have you tried Uber?”

We had previously used taxi services around our home region, but were dissatisfied with the outdated, overpriced and slow service. We weren’t too enthused to even hear about an alternative, but we were immediately interested when she told us our first ride would be free, thanks to a referral system that the company has.

We signed up for the app and hailed our first Uber ride. The car was not only clean, the driver was extremely friendly, offering us bottled water and arriving to pick us up within 2 minutes. Uber drivers usually don’t even accept tips, as everything is done via credit card on your mobile app. We were hooked!

We decided to forgo public transportation for the remainder of our trip, using Uber and the alternative company, Lyft (which works the exact same way) for every trip we needed during vacation. The average cost of a 20 minute trip was $11, but since we both had the app, we had 2 free trips with Uber and 2 free trips with Lyft, saving us nearly $50.

I thought, “Surely there are some drivers who are not as professional, or have dirty cars, or not as courteous.” After ten trips via the services of Uber and Lyft, we didn’t encounter a single issue. The longest we had to wait for a driver was seven minutes and that was because they encountered traffic on their way.

When we arrived back at the airport, we called a cab to take us to our car, which we parked in a garage about five minutes away. The cab took more than 15 minutes to arrive at the airport, the door didn’t work, the trunk was not clean when we put our baggage in, the car had an odd smell and there was no bottled water waiting for us. The worst part of it was, the cost for this quick trip – including tip – was $18.

Charleston and Huntington are two of the most populated cities in the state of West Virginia. Having an Uber or Lyft service could possibly offer a viable alternative for consumers who want a fast, affordable option for transportation, particularly with some KRT routes being removed and gas prices higher than surrounding states.

Ant-Man Overshadowed by Humor

Ant-Man promotion covered each city street lamp in San Diego this past weekend. Though Marvel had very little presence themselves at the San Diego Comic-Con, they did send symbols of their featured movie premiering this weekend across the globe. After seeing the movie, I understand why they were hesitant to show up.

Comic book movies are meant to be a heroic journey of discovery with a nemesis who the audience comes to hate. This was Marvel’s journey into comedic, over the top sarcasm and cute pleasantries. Mind you, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t their best effort.

The movie follows an out of work ex-con, just released from prison, for a Robin Hood type of crime against a large corporation. He has a daughter with his ex-wife, played by the incredible Judy Greer. The step father, of course, has a vendetta against Paul Rudd’s character, which leads to a second incarceration.

Not to give anything away to those who are looking forward to seeing this film, Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) recruits Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) to stop his former company, now controlled by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from using a shrinking ray that minimizes the space between atoms from falling into the wrong hands (Hydra). The problem isn’t that the storyline is just weak compared to other Marvel properties, it’s that it tries too hard to be cute. The humor goes too far and becomes almost a parody of itself. Scott’s daughter becomes a pivotal character, which would be fine, except the language in this movie makes it unacceptable for children. So who is the target audience?

There is a pretty impressive performance given by Michael Douglas. He is a redeeming quality of an otherwise mediocre (for Marvel) movie. Evangeline Lilly plays his daughter, Hope. She has been distanced from her father because of the death of her mother, the former Wasp character from the Avengers comics. Lilly plays a tough, hard-nosed character who works to eventually attempt to double-cross the bad guys.

As with any Avengers movie, there are cross overs. Be sure to stay past the closing credits for a view, albeit a small one, of Captain America’s next project. You’ll also recognize ABC’s Agent Carter and Tony Stark’s father early on in the movie.

Overall, I’d guess that most people will like this film more than I did. Personally, I will give it a solid B-, but you be the judge for yourself. Ant-Man is rated PG-13 for strong language, action and violence.

How Conan O’Brien Won Comic-Con

San Diego was brimming with the core target audience of late night talk shows last week. 18 to 30 year olds who are looking for entertainment value and willing to spend money to get what they want. Comic-Con is a pharos for the men and women who venerate entertainment of all sorts. It was only a matter of time before one of our modern day late night hosts willingly gave the fans what they were asking for.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEE MADDY – Conan O’Brien looks over notes between segments.

Conan O’Brien announced earlier this year that he would be taking his show on the road, as he did in Texas the previous year, to San Diego. This notion was brilliant, as the convention would be filled with casts, writers and directors promoting their films and television shows. The Hunger Games final entry, “The Mockingjay: Part II” and the latest installment in the X-Men franchise, along with the Batman vs. Superman release were highly visible productions all over town, adorning the cover of magazines and the side of trollies and cabs. Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead adorned the side of buildings and bus stops, as zombies were about the convention floor, scaring guests and giving fans photo opportunities.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEE MADDY – Conan and the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II pose for a photo during commercial break.

What Conan did made sense. He traveled a couple of hours away from his regular locale to one of the most pleasant cities on earth, to 1,600 fans per night the convenience of a smaller version of what those who had waited in line for 12 hours at Hall H – Comic-Con’s largest panel -had seen. He also brought his A game when it came to his comedy. His monologue perfectly paralleled the week, allowing the audience at home to ascertain and get an impression of what those lucky enough to get attendance badges were able to see. He covered the gauntlet with his banter, satirizing everyone from fans of anime to Star Wars, without ridicule.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEE MADDY – An awkward hug between Liam Hemsworth and Andy Richter is one of the best things you’ll ever see.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEE MADDY – Conan O’Brien, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson take time for a few dance moves during the break.

As if attendees weren’t fortuitous enough to get into the historic Spreckles Theater, where Conan’s show was recorded, Conan and the toy company, Funko gave each individual in attendance a free, exclusive Conan toy. They varied each night, from a Batman Conan to a zombie Conan, along with others, but it was SWAG that people were happy to receive. Throughout the city, Conan would stop and talk to fans, taking photos and telling jokes. Politicians couldn’t have done it better. Conan won over the entire convention, from celebrities to each genre of fandom.

We were fortunate enough to meet Conan a couple of times on Thursday. Even after the show, he came into the audience and hugged my wife and me. It was genuine appreciation for the fans he certainly had gained from the week of shows. He had created, through his week of “Conan-Con” shows, a way to give back to the audience. That’s something that is unusual in any media market, or at least on this level.

Besides the cast members of the highlighted shows, guests dropped by each night, unannounced. The unofficial mayor of San Diego Comic-Con, Seth Green, had a light saber duel, Chris Parnell dropped by to sign his fictitious book, saying that it was the least expensive booth to rent at the convention and Wolverine auditions took place, with everyone from Nick Offerman to SDCC favorite, Patton Oswalt.

In all honesty, there was no one who could have done it better than Conan. His approach was palpable and natural and the fans at SDCC would be the first to know if it was anything but. The only way to improve on Conan’s 2015 visit to San Diego’s 46th year of Comic-Con would be if he made it a yearly event for his show.

The Dark Swan takes flight on “Once Upon A Time”

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY "Dark Swan" billboard by Petco Park promoting season 5 of "Once Upon A Time" at San Diego Comic-Con

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY
“Dark Swan” billboard by Petco Park promoting season 5 of “Once Upon A Time” at San Diego Comic-Con

As soon as we passed Petco Park on our way to San Diego Comic-Con, we knew “Once Upon A Time” would have a huge presence. A larger-than-life building wrap featuring Jennifer Morrison as The Dark Swan greeted us as we made our way to the convention center.

The cast teased Dark Emma and what’s next for the residents of Storybrooke during the Comic-Con panel, which also included co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook), Emilie de Ravin (Belle), Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin), Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) and Rebecca Mader (Zelena/The Wicked Witch).

During the Season 4 finale, we saw Emma, the savior who once broke Regina’s curse, sacrifice herself after the evil that was drawn from Rumplestiltskin by the apprentice was accidentally set free. Regina, who has been on the path to redemption after a lifetime of evil deeds, had first stepped forward to allow the darkness to tether itself to her. But Emma, knowing how difficult turning from the darkness was for Regina, made a “split-second” decision to take on the darkness herself.

With Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) after the press event for "Once Upon A Time." Photobomb by Colin O'Donoghue (Captain Hook).

With Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) after the press event for “Once Upon A Time.” Photobomb by Colin O’Donoghue (Captain Hook).

“I think if Regina were the only person in danger, she [Emma] would have made the same choice,” Morrison said. “But it’s important that the darkness was threatening the whole town.”

“There is some fun to the villainy, I’ve spent the whole hiatus digging out my thoughts about it … Emma went through a lot in her life, she’s always tried to be a good person and now she’s tethered to the darkness she’s free of that. I feel like she’s going to face some of the darkness and figure out how to overcome it and not just suppress it,” she said.

One of the themes throughout “Once” is characters being able to get a second chance, another shot at getting their happy endings. Regina was told throughout her life that she would never be happy and she began to believe that, causing her to do horrible things. Over the years, Emma and Henry, Regina and Emma’s son, have shown her there’s a better way.

“I think deep down at one point she felt she could never truly be happy. And that’s why she was so bad and evil and committed all of these horrible acts. And it’s being surrounded by the heroes, I guess, and really Emma and Henry that have changed this sort of perception . . . she’s come full circle. But I think it’s having the familia support that’s really given her hope,” Parrilla said.

With Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen) after a Comic-Con event for "Once Upon A Time"

With Lana Parrilla (Regina/The Evil Queen) after a Comic-Con event for “Once Upon A Time”

Last season was also a departure for Snow White and Prince Charming, the very epitome of goodness and kindness throughout the series. After learning Emma would be born with the potential for darkness, the couple had the apprentice cast the darkness out of Emma and into Maleficent’s unhatched dragon egg, which turns out to be a human child. When Emma learns of their betrayal, she questions everything she knows about good and evil, about what makes a hero and what makes a villain.

O’Donoghue said complete redemption for Captain Hook has been a challenge. “For Hook, he’s been battling darkness for hundreds of years. He found love with Emma, so he’s desperately been trying to hold onto that and be the better man to keep her heart sort of safe, much like Charming and Snow, he wants to protect her. But, he has been a villain and his girlfriend’s nasty now . . . in a good way … so who knows what’s going to happen. He’s really struggled to stay on the right path. It will be interesting to see where he goes now.”

Dark Emma disappears at the end of the finale and the others in Storybrooke are tasked with finding Merlin , the only person who can bring Emma back to the light. This journey will take the group to Camelot, which exists in a parallel universe and timeline. Elliot Knight will step play the legendary wizard and viewers can also expect to see King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and Guinevere (Joana Metrass). Viewers will also meet Merida from Disney’s “Brave” and the cast promises she will make an appearance in the first few episodes of the season.

Season five of “Once Upon A Time” premieres at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 on ABC.

Seeing the X-Men in a New Light

The Reading Theater in San Diego is steeped in history and beauty. When the sun hits the marquee just right, the colors change and its nearly like a transposition of seasons instead of a sunset. During San Diego Comic-Con, it’s hard to notice this as you are hustling by trying to get to your next panel destination, but while we stood in line for the “X-Men: Days of Future Past – Rogue Cut” for what will be its only cinematic airing, I noticed the marquee and realized I was in for something unique.

We were there with the initial intent of covering the release as press, so we were first in the door and quickly nestled on the back row of theater 8 with a popcorn and a Coke, waiting beside other photographers with valuable camera equipment they were using as pillows after a long day of convention walking. Other members of our media line were simply hoping to catch a glimpse of director, Bryan Singer and see what he had to say about the film’s purpose, since it was a simple 15 minutes of added story.

The director of the X-Men film discusses the changes he made to this new cut of his film.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY The director of the X-Men film discusses the changes he made to this new cut of his film.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY Cosplayers filled the street during San Diego Comic-Con just a block down from where the Rogue Cut would be showing.

For me, this was a chance to see the movie in a different light, much like the marquee in front of the theater.

Singer came in to a standing ovation. Rightly so, he created a masterpiece with this film. 20th Century Fox has done something extraordinary with this classic Marvel Comics tale. Singer said, for him, it was a chance to show how just a few changes in perception, camera angles and added minutes could greatly alter a film. It gave editors a chance to replace some clips they loved and the audience to see Anna Paquin’s beloved character, Rogue in a very heroic, yet distressed, volatile and somewhat tired state.

For most of the movie, there aren’t any changes and shouldn’t be, but the changes you’ll notice come late in the film. Not giving anything away, Rogue is needed. Her powers of soaking in the power of other mutants is the only thing that can serve the X-Men on their quest to “fix” the past. This cut gives us a chance to see more of Patrick Stewart’s Professor X character and Ian McKellen’s Magneto in action sequences that are amazing. The dynamic of the movie is changed without hurting the original intent.

For true fans of the film, it is worth the X-tra purchase. There are tons of bonus features and the blu-ray makes your purchase a good one. We were fortunate to get it early from the Fox booth at Comic-Con, but you can pick it up anywhere today. If you’re a casual fan, you may not be impressed enough with the changes to spend the money on this, however, you’re probably not reading a review of the Rogue Cut if you’re a casual fan.

As we left the theater, it was dark and the street lights and night life had replaced the convention goers from earlier. The marquee was bright, but the light only blended with other bright lights, blue and red police lights, and headlights from traffic as they waited for mass crowds to cross the street. The theater’s ominous presence faded into the background of an evening of animated reality.

The Art of A Movement

When I was in the fifth grade, I drew a picture on a sheet of notebook paper during my free time after our lesson. A cranky substitute teacher, Mr. Ball, walked around the class and saw that I was using my time to draw. He crumpled the paper in his wrinkled hand and threw it in the waste basket by his desk. I don’t remember what his lesson was on, but to this day, I remember that moment. I remember it every time I start work on a painting that someone is paying me to do, or whenever I finish designing art for a musician’s album.

Art and music programs are often considered expendable when it comes to school budgets. For years, they’ve been cut, trimmed, downsized, or left for dead by bureaucracy and politics.

Flash forward to a beautiful 70 degree July morning in California, 2015.

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 held a large panel, teeming with a crowd of educators, children, cosplayers and people of all ages, with Congressman John Lewis. Lewis is a civil rights icon who actually cosplayed as himself to the convention, only himself 50 years ago as he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He wore a replica of his trench coat, a backpack with the same contents he had that day and the same style of khaki pants he had worn when he made his historic and march and was met with violence and hatred.

Congressman Lewis, along with artist Nate Powell and co-author Andrew Aydin, has written a series of graphic novels depicting his unbelievably powerful life story and a first hand telling of the civil rights movement. The books are being used in schools as a way to allow students to see more than just the few talking points that the civil rights era is generally given. The stories cross a broad range of emotions and time periods, from his childhood and beyond. Powell’s art delivers a first-person view in the second book, from a point of view of the ones who were throwing the punches. The art is driving, the stories are powerful, the history comes alive.

“You can’t sugarcoat history, or the way people were treated. White people were arrested right beside me and put in a separate jail. You have to tell that.” Lewis went on to say the actions of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired him to get into trouble in a good way. “Good trouble” as he called it.

Co-author, Andrew Aydin, approached Lewis about a graphic novel of his life in passing in 2008. Other members of congress laughed at the idea, but Lewis saw it as a great way to reach young people, offering hope. Aydin said that this was actually not the first time the civil rights movement was addressed in the form of a comic book. In 1957, Martin Luther King was a part of editing a comic book of his own life.

The March books are already being used in 40 schools and colleges. The books are breaking barriers and opening doors of opportunity for teachers to address the decades of change that the movement has brought about in a way that is very unique. A teacher from San Diego mentioned during the panel that she is struggling to teach the second book because it is so powerful and emotional. She asked for advice on how to approach the book with her students. Powell said, “The second book is ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ It’s darker, but it’s necessary to the story.” That resonated with the crowd. There has to be a struggle for there to be an outcome.

Lewis was asked what the most pressing point of struggle is today and how can we address it. He said that there are several, but he saw student loans and education as something that demands our attention. “People are spending a fortune on education in this country, only to graduate and have to work just to cover the costs of that education. Martin Luther King’s dream has not been realized. We also need to raise the minimum wage.” The solution, from Lewis’s perspective, is that people must “continue to cause trouble in a good way.”

This took me back to the story of Mister Ball, the cantankerous old substitute who threw my artwork into his trash can, with no regard for the work I had put into it, or how I would grow up to work in the art field as a professional. Congressman Lewis had his own versions of mean ol’ Mister Ball. Lewis caused trouble, in a good way. Disturbing the status quo can break the chains of traditional hypocrisy, bigotry, or malevolence in any form. It occurred to me that Congressman Lewis prioritized education as one of the most important struggles today. The cost of furthering an education, the educators themselves and the approach to education all were key elements in the panel discussion and a dynamic allocation to the answer of causing trouble is through art.

Art will find a way to live on in schools, as will music and creativity, in spite of cutbacks and budget adjustments. The Mister Balls of the world will come and go, but there will always be a student causing trouble, in a good way.

‘Colony’ will keep viewers guessing

“Lost” creator Carlton Cuse brought his new sci-fi series “Colony” to San Diego Comic-Con Friday. The USA Network drama reunites Cuse with “Lost” star Josh Holloway and “Walking Dead” alum Sarah Wayne Callies. The first 11 minutes of the series was screened although both the invaders and their motives remain a mystery. The story begins after the arrival of a mysterious invading force.

Holloway and Callies said storytelling made the decision to return to television an easy one. Holloway stars as a former FBI agent Will Bowman, who along with his wife, Katie (Callies) struggle to reunite their family after being separated from one of their sons in a not-too-distant future in Los Angeles as an invasion changes the world they once knew. Cuse said Holloway’s character was asked to collaborate with the new regime.

“Storytelling. Ultimately, that’s what I look for as an artist. Does it move me? Is it an involuntary choice? I’m compelled to do something that moves me . . . when I read the script I was like ‘Wow, this is storytelling'” Holloway said in an interview Friday.

Residents in this new world are forced to make a choice, with some choosing to collaborate with the occupation and others taking a stand against it. Peter Jacobson (“House”) joins the cast as Proxy Snyder, a character he described as not a bad guy but rather “a normal guy who sometimes does the wrong things.” Jacobson said viewers won’t see the invasion in the pilot, but the trailer shows things that are “not of this Earth.”

Cuse promised more answers about the invasion and occupation as the show evolves. He said it’s not a typical dystopian world like “Blade Runner.” He said the rules of society have all been upended. Cuse added that a majority of Los Angeles remains intact after the occupation, much like the Nazi invasion of Paris during World War II. Executive producer Ryan Condal said the show will focus more on how the occupation has affected residents rather than visual images of the invasion.

“It will be more ‘war stories’ . . . it’s much more interesting to us to see the character impacts than revisiting it visually,” Condal said.

Holloway said he loved the pacing of the story and how the details unfold. Callies added that she thought it was a courageous story to be telling.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY "Colony" cast and crew discussed the new dystopian drama at Comic-Con Friday. From left, executive producer Ryan Condal, executive producer Carlton Cuse, Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies and Peter Jacobson.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY
“Colony” cast and crew discussed the new dystopian drama at Comic-Con Friday. From left, executive producer Ryan Condal, executive producer Carlton Cuse, Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies and Peter Jacobson.

“There are quite literally no good guys and no bad guys in this story. And I think that’s a level of moral complexity that I believe . . . What constitutes terrorism, what generates terrorism. What it is like to be an occupied United States. Those are really interesting questions and Carlton and Ryan are viciously smart. They’re not afraid of them . . . They’re using this as an opportunity to ask complicated questions with more than one answer.” Callies said.

Holloway said the show offers a different perspective and challenges viewers to question who comes first — your family, humanity — when life as we know it is threatened.

“Colony” is set to premiere on USA Network in mid-October.

 

Big changes ahead for “Archer”

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY The cast of FX's "Archer", from left, creator Adam Reed, actors Chris Parnell, Lucky Yates, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, executive producer Casey Willis and Amber Nash.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY
The cast of FX’s “Archer”, from left, creator Adam Reed, actors Chris Parnell, Lucky Yates, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, executive producer Casey Willis and Amber Nash.

The cast and producers of FX’s “Archer” remained tight-lipped about season 7 of the animated spy comedy. Unlike past years at San Diego Comic-Con, creator Adam Reed didn’t preview the first episode for the Con audience.

“We’re sort of keeping it under wraps. We’re a little behind in production. We normally have the premiere episode ready for Comic-Con. But we’re doing something a little different next year and we’re creating a lot of new elements. There’s a lot of drawing going on . . . we’ve recorded two episodes so far and we’ve already had Patton Oswalt in one episode and J.K. Simmons in another episode. So we’re getting very lucky with our guest stars,” Reed said.

Reed was joined by producer Casey Willis and stars H. Jon Bejamin, Jessica Walter, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer, Amber Nash and Lucky Yates.

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY Judy Greer voices Cheryl Tunt on FX's "Archer."

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY
Judy Greer voices Cheryl Tunt on FX’s “Archer.”

Greer, who voices Cheryl Tunt, said “there are some major changes coming, everyone sort of takes on a new role and Cheryl’s one of those people.” She says she was speechless when Reed told her the new concept and praised him for being fearless and constantly reinventing the show.

Yates, the ever-inventing Dr. Krieger, said his character is “towing the Krieger line, he’s on his own path, whatever path that is for whatever Krieger we got.”

Despite the ambiguous future, Tyler can’t see Lana Kane saying goodbye to the world of espionage. Even after recently becoming a mother, Tyler said Kane is “incredibly ambitious and having a child didn’t change that . . . it’s the same dynamic for a lot of ambitious women out there . . . yeah I had a kid, but I didn’t die and I want to keep moving forward in my life.”

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY Aisha Tyler voices spy Lana Kane in FX's "Archer."

PHOTO BY DUANE MADDY
Aisha Tyler voices spy Lana Kane in FX’s “Archer.”

Season 7 of “Archer” will premiere early next year, which gives you plenty of time to catch up on your binge watching.

Links to our interviews with the cast, creator and executive producer of “Archer” are below. Be advised that portions of the responses contain adult language and gestures: