San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Preview Night — Future Worlds and Familiar Faces 2

Featured: CW's "Reign" is a creative interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots (played by Adelaide Kane) in her younger years prior to the marriages which would define a country.

Featured: CW’s “Reign” is a creative interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots (played by Adelaide Kane) in her younger years prior to the marriages which would define a country.

SAN DIEGO — July marks a special time for residents living in “America’s Finest City” as fans from around the world descend to celebrate the annual Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC.) An event lasting almost a week, Comic-Con officially starts Thursday and ends Sunday.  However, those lucky enough to purchase the coveted “Preview Night” four-day passes start Wednesday. What makes “Preview Night” so special? Attendees are given advance access to the exhibitors’ floor where they can get first picks of special items as well as most notably exclusive television screenings like the annual “Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings” hosted by Warner Bros. Television; the world premiere event gives attendees a first look to some of the most anticipated TV series arriving in the upcoming fall and mid-seasons. These screenings have not only produced some of television’s most loyal fan followings, but also critical acclaim.  Series like “Lost,” “Heroes,” and “Fringe” have all made their debuts at “Preview Night” during Comic-Con. This year is no different as Warner Bros. Television presented: series trailers for “Reign,” “Star-Crossed,” and “Hostages,” episodes of FOX’s “Almost Human,” TheCWs “The100,” “The Tomorrow People,” and “The Originals”  along with a special viewing of new digital series from “Heroes” star Milo Ventimiglia “The Paranormal and Extraterrestrial Squad: P.E.T.”

DIGITAL SERIES (Coming Soon, CWTV.com) producers Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) & Russ Cundiff along with creators/stars John Dale & Michael Hobert highlight  debuted their new digital series about the misadventures of a group of ex-community college students searching for paranormal and extraterrestrial (PET) activity. The series was light-hearted and funny with its night vision equipment and SyFy “Ghost Hungers” feel about it. It’s a great parody reflection our society’s fascination with the unexplained. It’s definitely worth a look at Comic-Con this year.

TRAILER TIME

The range of emotion and depth between the trailers for TheCW’s “Reign,” “Star-Crossed,” and CBS’s “Hostage” are well-intended but leaves much to ponder.

“Reign” (“TheCW”) Thursdays 9 p.m.

“Reign” is a creative interpretation of Mary Queen of Scots (played by Adelaide Kane) in her younger years prior to the marriages which would define a country. The little shown reveals what one would expect within a royal court: political intrigue and seduction. But a word of warning for history buffs, this is not your academia brand of historical drama. Like most series you’ll find on TheCW, the cast members for “Reign” are gorgeous, the love stories appear indulgent with no skimping on the sex, and appears to gloss over the brutality of its times. Also, it kind of throws a wrench with the inclusion of Nostradamus. Yes, that’s right.  It pushes the melodrama up a notching making Nostradamus presence feel almost misplaced, but in all fairness if his character doesn’t get too embroiled with the storylines, it may just work. The production value of “Reign” is soft and leans heavily on the romantic elements, not so much to the brutality. Yet some questions remains like, will “Reign” live up to the violence and controversial topics of its time, like religion? Or will it fall into the trappings of heavy handed love triangles?

“Hostages” (“CBS”) Monday 10 p.m.

From the political turmoil in 16th Century Europe to the modern power struggles in the United States. “Hostages” stars Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders, a surgeon who finds herself caught in dire circumstances after she is chosen to perform an operation on the President of the United States.

Dylan McDermott also stars in this series as Duncan Carlisle an FBI agent gone rogue. He takes Dr. Sanders’ family hostage and will only release them if she essentially murders the President during surgery.  A series of thrilling action sequences later, and it is clear there’s no shortage of suspenseful moments.  It will be interesting to what end, and for how long the storylines will continue after the situation with Dr. Sanders’ family is resolved.  Overall, it was a well-paced trailer but not out of the ordinary as fans of “24” will find this very familiar ground.

“Star-Crossed” (“TheCW”) MidSeason

“Star-Crossed” is a sci-fi love story very much in the tradition of “Romeo and Juliet” set in the distant future where aliens co-habitate with humans. The upcoming series stars Aimee Teegarden as Emery, a human high school student, and Matt Lanter as Roman who is one of the hundreds of aliens who descended upon earth. They are called “The Orion 9.” Fans of “Roswell” will be drawn to not only the parallels but the chemistry Lanter and Teegarden but the similarities in their characters’ struggle with breaking the rules society has placed upon them. Overall, the trailer is solid and shows potential.

"Star-Crossed" is a sci-fi love story very much in the tradition of "Romeo and Juliet" set in the distant future where aliens co-habitate with humans.

“Star-Crossed” is a sci-fi love story very much in the tradition of “Romeo and Juliet” set in the distant future where aliens co-habitate with humans.

THE PILOTS :  THE SHORT LIST SUMMARY

With the exception of “TheVampire Diaries” spin-off “The Originals,”  it’s clear the future for mankind isn’t bright. In fact it’s downright dark and grim. The series of pilots chosen for “Preview Night” brought a lot of drama, action, and memorable fight sequence. The special effects were worthy to note as it aided the story along rather than distract from it. All the series captured Full reviews to follow, but in the meantime here is an overview.

“The Tomorrow People” (“TheCW”) Wednesday 9 p.m.

In a revival of the British series of the same name from the 1970s, “The Tomorrow People,” revolves around Steven Jameson (Robbie Amell) who discovers that he is one of a small group of people who have genetically inherited advanced abilities ranging from teleportation to telepathy. It’s “X-Men” with the kind of drama reminiscent of “Heroes.”  The series stars: Robbie Amell as Stephen Jameson, Luke Mitchell as John Young, Aaron Yoo as Russell, Peyton List as Cara, Mark Pellegrino as Jedikiah Price, and

Madeleine Mantock as Astrid

“Almost Human” (“FOX”) Monday 8 p.m.

There are some series which debut during Comic-Con that leave a mark indelibly on your mind.  “Almost Human” is a smart, character driven science fiction series which explores the concept which puts into question: What is it to be human? “Almost Human” depicts a world where humans and robots (“synthetics”) are a part of everyday life.  John Kennex(Karl Urban) is a detective who returns to work after a two year coma,  and discovers he is required to have a robot synthetic partner. Not one to want for change or robots, Kennex reluctantly agrees to the new terms, and finds middle ground with his new “synthetic” partner Dorian (Michael Ealy) as they solve crimes together. The series stars: Karl Urban as John Kennex, Lili Taylor as Captain Maldonado, Mackenzie Crook as Rudy Lom, Michael Ealy as Dorian, Michael Irby as Richard Paul

Minka Kelly as Valerie Stahl

“The 100” (“TheCW”) MidSeason

Those who read “Lord of the Flies,” received a glimpse into the chaos of what happens when kids are isolated from the rest of the world with no governing rules.  For the series, “The 100” the island is a space station, and the children are actually teenage criminals sent to Earth as test subjects to see if the is habitable after a nuclear holocaust destroyed all mankind.   The series stars: Eliza Taylor as Clarke Walters, Henry Ian Cusick as Councillor Kane, Paige Turco as Councillor Abigail Walters, Kelly Hu as Callie “Cece” Cartwig, Isaiah Washington as Chancellor Jaha, Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia Blake

Thomas McDonell as Finn Collins, Devon Bostick as Jasper, Eli Goree as Wells Jaha, Christopher Larkin as Monty Green,Bob Morley as Bellamy Blake

“The Originals” (“TheCW”) Tuesday 8 p.m.

With the success of “The Vampire Diaries,” it was inevitable the series would generate a spin-off. In this case, “The Originals”  moves its focus from the little town of Mystic Falls and towards “The Big Easy” of New Orleans. For fans of the series, “The Originals” is a repeat of the episode from last season with extra added scenes.  This series will center on the original vampire family:  Rebecca, Klaus, and Elijah. In “The Originals” the series will focus on Klaus’ rise back to power as he takes on the city’s head vampire, and former apt pupil of sorts Marcel (played by Charles Michael Davis.) Joseph Morgan as Niklaus Mikaelson, Daniel Gillies as Elijah Mikaelson, Claire Holt as Rebekah Mikaelson Phoebe Tonkin

As Hayley, Daniella Pineda as Sophie Deveraux, Charles Michael Davis as Marcel, Danielle Campbell as Davina.