First up was Shameless, which featured four panelists: William H. Macy (Fargo, Jurassic Park III), Justin Chatwin (War of the Worlds), Emmy Rossum (Day After Tomorrow, Dragon Ball: Evolution ), and executive producer John Wells (West Wing, ER, Southland). The event was moderated by Mike Schneider, the Los Angeles bureau chief for TV Guide. In a candid Q&A led by Schneider, the cast and Wells described how they came to find their roles within the Gallagher family, dysfunction included. Macy clearly carried the show (and panel) with his lengthy film and TV career, and, sadly, the panel did not fair well with the crowd. I have not seen the show myself, and it seemed as though many of my fellow attendees in Ballroom 20 had not either.
Next came Homeland, an upcoming show that deals with the repercussions of the war on terror on America and its people. Led by panelists Morena Baccarin (V, Firefly) and executive producer Howard Gordon (24, The X-Files), the audience had a chance to see a trailer for the new show, which features Claire Danes (Terminator 3), Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers, Life), Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Criminal Minds), and Morena Baccarin. Unfortunately, the panel lasted for only 10 minutes; however, it was enough time to pique the interest of the crowd.
Prior to the Dexter panel taking the stage, the audience was shown a trailer of Season 6. (Call **DEXTER to download app and see the trailer.) For the third year in a row, KROQ's Ralph Garman moderated Showtime's hottest panel, including Michael C. Hall (Dexter/executive producer), C. S. Lee (Masuka), David Zayas (Batista), James Remar (Harry Morgan), guest star Colin Hanks (Peter Jackson's King Kong, Roswell), and executive producers Sara Colleton and Scott Buck. Led by Garman, the conversation amongst the panelists was brief, leaving more time for Q&A from the audience. In, perhaps, the biggest surprise of the panel, one of the fans to ask a question turned out to be upcoming Dexter actor, Most Def. The actor happily joined the panel to share his experiences on the show.
Aside from the footage shown in the Season 6 trailer, little was discussed about the content of the next season. The trailer itself showed only a montage of clips from the show laid to a track of "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. Personally, I was a bit unhappy with the trailer, feeling as though I didn't understand any of what I was watching. In addition, the Depeche Mode song seemed out of place and cheesy. (On a side note, Showtime has been running a religious-themed media campaign for its shows this year, which seems both out of place and confusing. The connection behind the campaign and the content of the shows has yet to be explained.) Pair that with the fact that little was discussed about the upcoming season, I was left a bit disappointed.
Overall, the Showtime panel was largely a disappointment, with half of Ballroom 20 left empty of attendees. Sadly, it seems that Showtime may be losing its spark this year. Let's hope that Dexter Season 6 will bring an exciting group of show despite its media launch at Comic-Con.