NYCC 2018: Netflix and Chills Main Stage Panel
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Friday night at New York Comic-Con featured one of the most anticipated panels of the event: Netflix and Chills. The two-plus hour panel gave the Javits Convention Center Main Stage crowd insight and previews into four of the biggest upcoming series coming to the streaming service this Fall and in the near future. We were treated to stars of The Umbrella Academy, The Haunting of Hill House, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Moderator Josh Horowitz had his hands full with all the guests in an amazing night for the NYCC main stage crowd.

The Umbrella Academy

[NYCC 2018. Photo by Patrick Lewis/StarPix for Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix. Used with permission.]

First off were the stars of The Umbrella Academy, based off the comic book series by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. In a surreal moment, the incomparable Oscar-nominated and award-winning Mary J. Blige was there along with Cameron Britton (Hazel), Aidan Gallagher (Number 5), Ellen Page (Vanya), Emily Raver-Lampman (Allison), Tom Hopper (Luther), Robert Sheehan (Klaus), and David Castaneda (Diego). After, we got to check out the preview of the show, which reminded me of a cross between X-Men and Harry Potter full of superheroes, superpowers, and super problems. The cast members were hilarious with each other, especially with the youngest member of the cast Aidan Gallagher, who they joked was really the oldest, as he was dressed in a suit and is already a Goodwill Ambassador at the UN. Horowitz asked Mary J. Blige about joining this project:

“I always wanted to do something like this where I got to be a superhero or supervillain or an assassin. I wanted to learn martial arts, I wanted to learn how to shoot a gun, yeah this was perfect. I picked up some skills.”

Horowitz drew the (pretend) ire of the crowd by continually bragging about having seen episodes of the shows, but he mentioned some great dances to look forward to and Robert Sheehan said that was his first thing to do on set, was walking on and immediately doing a dance number. The also joked with Tom Hopper (Dickon Tarley) on Game of Thrones about his physique and gym regiment. After showing us another preview, they announced The Umbrella Academy will be hitting Netflix on February 15, 2019.

The Haunting of Hill House

[NYCC 2018. Photo by Patrick Lewis/StarPix for Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix. Used with permission.]

Next up was the panel I was most excited for: the cast of The Haunting of Hill House, by visionary horror director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Gerald’s Game). We were joined by Carla Gugino (Olivia), Michiel Huisman (Steven Crane), Henry Thomas (Hugh Crane), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crane), Elizabeth Reaser (Shirley Crane), Kate Siegel (Theodora Crane), and Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crane). They showed one clip from the show that had the main stage audience screaming in fear and gave me legitimate goosebumps. The show is based on the story by Shirley Jackson and is premiering on Netflix this coming Friday, October 12th.

The cast discussed their favorite horror films, including shout outs for Flanagan’s Hush and The Shining. They discussed their characters, all members of the Crane family living inside the most haunted house in America, and talk about how it affected them. Oliver Jackson-Cohen described screaming while watching a scene despite knowing what was happening. Siegel (who is married to and collaborates with Flanagan) talked of the director’s passion and respect for the genre and his true desire to scare his audience.

They succeeded with one of the great real-life jump scares I’ve ever been a part of. The two screens were located to the left and right of the stage. They turned down the lights and showed a second terrifying clip of the show and when the lights went on and heads spun back to the stage there were ten zombie women just standing off there and the camps FREAKED OUT! Stay tuned to Geeks of Doom for reviews of the series.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

[NYCC 2018. Photo by Patrick Lewis/StarPix for Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix. Used with permission.]

Next up was a discussion with Louis Leterrier and Lisa Henson about The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the return to magical world of the Dark Crystal, which came out in 1982. Henson is daughter of the legendary puppeteer and creature designer Jim Henson, and they discussed how true to the original they are going with this 10-episode series coming in 2019. There is no CGI used and they use real puppets and real puppeteers, only using green screen technology to erase the human actors. They showed an amazing video detailing the extensive world of the Gelfling and the Skeksis. This upcoming show is a prequel. As the father of a 7-year old, I can’t wait to introduce her to the original film and then watch this series when it debuts next year.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

[NYCC 2018. Photo by Patrick Lewis/StarPix for Netflix. Photo courtesy of Netflix. Used with permission.]

The creator and writer of the popular CW series Riverdale brings another classic character back to TV. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was there with the cast of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, basing it more on the comics than the ’90s show with Melissa Joan Hart. The series stars Kiernan Shipka (Sabrina), Ross Lynch (Harvey), Miranda Otto (Zelda), Lucy Davis (Hilda), Michelle Gomez (Mary Wardell), and Chance Perdomo (Ambrose).

If you didn’t watch the ’90s show or read the Archie comic, Sabrina is a half human/half witch who is turning 16 and about to take part in an ancient ritual that will upend her life. That life includes a boyfriend, friends at school, and a mystery surrounding her parents’ death. They discussed the new show and the different takes on old characters. That including Salem the cat, which we learned was actually three different felines. Aguirre-Sacasa was asked by Horowitz about the potential for a Riverdale/Sabrina crossover since they exist in the same universe and he told us that anything was possible. Then came the biggest surprise as they premiered the entire first episode for the crowd.

While we’re not supposed to spoil anything I can tell you that the episode was like Harry Potter mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1. And there are some really scary images and moments towards the end. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina debuts on Netflix on Friday, October 26th.

The Netflix and Chills panel may have been my favorite of the year at NYCC. It gave you two and half hours filled with huge celebrities, tons of sneak peaks, clips, scares, and a whole episode of one of the most highly anticipated shows. If Netflix wasn’t dominating the TV/streaming landscape before, they soon will be.

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