The geek mecca of San Diego Comic-Con opens its doors tomorrow morning, and I... won't be going. This will be the 35th SDCC I've missed in 35 years. I know, it's shameful. I just find it hard to justify the cost of international flights from the UK, and, frankly, queuing for six hours alongside a 42-year-old man dressed like Optimus Prime doesn't interest me. Neither does watching a few world premieres in that kind of cramped environment, even to see a table of distant celebrities answer questions.
There are delights to be had (usually improvised moments of hilarity, or unexpected surprise appearances and footage reels), but it's also hot, expensive, involves lots of waiting around for things to start, and a lot of the big Hollywood studios aren't going this year. Even Doctor Who hasn't bothered to materialise, and they have a particularly big year ahead with Peter Capaldi's debut as the Time Lord.
However, if time and money wasn't an issue (oh, and I learned to embrace cosplay without finding it so embarrassing on other people's behalf), here's a run-down of the panels I'd want to attend, and questions I'd love to hear asked.
LEGENDS (12:30PM, Room 6A) Exclusive screening of this TNT pilot, with a Q&A to follow. I presume Sean Bean and Ali Larter will be there. Obvious fan question: would Sean Bean like to reappear on Game of Thrones?
COMMUNITY (2:15PM, Ballroom 20) To celebrate the NBC comedy's move to Yahoo!, creator Dan Harmon will be joined by producer Chris McKenna and stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, and writer/star Dino Stamatopoulos. Obvious fan question: will the show be ruder now it's online?
HANNIBAL (4:45PM, Ballroom 20) 'Embrace the Madness' panel with creator Bryan Fuller, directors Steve Lightfoot and David Slade, producer Martha DeLaurentiis, and stars Caroline Dhavernas, Scott Thompson & Aaron Abrams. Moderated by the UK's very own Jonathan Ross, weirdly. Obvious fan question: who's definitely dead after the season 2 finale?
PENNY DREADFUL (6PM, Ballrooom 20) Creator John Logan will discuss his Victorian horror drama, with stars Josh Hartnett, Reeve Carney & Harry Treadaway. I heard a rumour Eva Green will be there, too. Obvious fan question: is Dracula on this show?
GAME OF THRONES (1:40PM, Hall H) Q&A with George R.R Martin in attendance, and hints of season 5. Obvious fan question: what happens if GRRM dies before finishing the books. (I dare someone to ask.)
OUTLANDER (2:15PM, Room 6A) Starz's new show has a panel, with creator Ronald D. Moore, author Diana Gabaldon, Caitriona Balfe, and stars Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Graham McTavish & Lotte Verbeek. Obvious fan question: what's your favourite time-travel Star Trek episode, Mr Moore?
BATES MOTEL (3:30PM, Room 6A) The Psycho prequel show has a panel with creators Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, and stars Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Olivia Cooke & Nestor Carbonell. Obvious fan question: when will Norman start dressing like his mom?
SLEEPY HOLLOW (5:45PM, Room 6BCF) Creators Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci will be joined by producers Len Wiseman, Mark Goffman & Heather Kadin. Q&A with stars Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Orlando Jones & Lyndie Greenwood will follow. Obvious fan question: how can the Headless Horseman see anything?
THE INTRUDERS (8PM, Room 7AB) World premiere screening of BBC America's new sci-fi drama. Stars John Simm, Mira Sorvino and Millie Brown will be joined by producer Julie Gardner & creator Glen Morgan. Obvious fan question: are you just ripping off Being John Malkovich?
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2.50PM, Hall H) Exclusive footage from the comic-book sequel. Directors Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller will be joined by the cast. Eva Green, too? Obvious fan question: can I get a signed copy of that Eva Green poster the MPAA banned?
TRUE BLOOD (5PM, Ballroom 20) Q&A with Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Brian Buckner, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Nelsa Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Chris Bauer, Carrie Preston, Anna Camp, Nathan Parsons. I'd heckle from the back. Obvious fan question: why does this last season suck so much? (It will never be asked.)
CONSTANTINE (5:15PM, Room 6BCF) Pilot screening. Q&A with stars Matt Ryan, Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford, with creators Daniel Cerone & David S. Goyer. Obvious fan question: where's Lucy Griffiths? (I dare someone.)
AMERICAN HORROR STORY (7PM, Room 6DE) The FX hororr's debut at SDCC. Coven stars Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Michael Chiklis, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Emma Roberts will be joined by producer Tim Minear. Obvious fan question: can the cast of Glee join the show now?