One of my favorite things about Comic Con is just how much the convention has to offer any given TV geek. In addition to having the opportunity to celebrate our favorite shows while surrounded by other fans, there's an opportunity to discover new interests. For example, I have SDCC to thank for my love of Spartacus, having decided to give the show a second chance after encountering numerous fans of the Starz drama at the convention.

The booths, the panels and the all of the costumes give fans plenty to look at and enjoy. And then there are the things we might not plan for but prove to be especially enlightening and enjoyable. The discovery and appreciation for something new is a priceless souvenir and well worth the lines and crowds. A couple of years back, I attended the Spongebob Squarepants panel, and while I wasn't a regular viewer of the series, the information shared in the panel about the animation process and voice-work was fascinating, and it stuck with me. That's Comic Con. We can try to plan every minute of the event, but some of the best moments happen while waiting in line, wandering the floor or attending a panel you hadn't planned for. That's where this list comes in...

We're one week away from Preview Night! It's crunch time and as I was perusing the schedule, mapping out my own SDCC battle plan, I came across a few panels I thought TV fans might consider making time for. These are the ones that might not be on your radar yet, either because they're scheduled in one of the smaller rooms, or because they feature shows that aren't airing yet (excluding major network series due out this fall). "Smaller" is definitely a relative term at SDCC. While the rooms in which these panels take place aren't exactly tiny, they fall short of the massive size of Hall H and Ballroom 20. But, while the room may seat fewer people, the talent featured in these panels is huge, as is the potential for something really interesting. Here are a few "smaller" panels worth considering as you plan for SDCC this year...

The Character of Music - Thursday (7/12) 6:00 p.m. - Room 5AB
As you may have surmised by the title, this one focuses on music in film and television. A panel like this is a prime example of an opportunity to understand more about what makes some TV shows as great as they are. And based on the people who will be in attendance (Arrow's Blake Neely, Supernatural's Chris Lennertz, and Looper director Rian Johnson), there's definitely a genre focus here. It sounds like "The Character of Music" will give sci-fi/supernatural fans the opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for what goes into the music, and learn more about the process of doing the score for a TV show or movie. There's probably something here for anyone who loves great sci-fi, as the music can be a crucial aspect to setting the tone of a scene.
The Character of Music— Composer and executive producer teams discuss the dynamics of music in film and television. Blake Neely (Arrow), Chris Lennertz (Revolution, Supernatural), Joseph Trapanese and Charlie Bean (TRON: Uprising), and Nathan Johnson and Rian Johnson (Looper) discuss their working relationship, how music plays a character in their stories, and the intense process of scoring their projects. Moderated by Anne Cecere, director of film and TV relations of BMI, and Chandler Poling, founder of White Bear PR. Attendees will get a sneak peek into their work and receive fun giveaways.Room 5AB

Defiance - Friday (7/13) 6:45 p.m. - Room 6DE
Defiance - Syfy's upcoming TV show and video game venture - is in production and as it isn't due out until next year, there's a good chance you haven't even heard about this series yet. But it's a Syfy original program with an actual sci-fi focus, centering on an earth where humans and aliens are attempting to co-exist after a universal war. That alone has my interest. And beyond the intriguing premise is Syfy's attempt to bring TV and gaming together with this project, as the narrative of the TV show will inform the game and vice versa. We have to wait until next year to see how this ambitious endeavor will work out, but SDCC attendees can see the cast and learn a bit more about the TV show at the panel Syfy has set up for Friday.
6:45-7:45 Defiance— Syfy and Trion unite television and gaming in the biggest entertainment event of 2013: Defiance. Grant Bowler (Nolan), Julie Benz (Amanda Rosewater), Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jamie Murray (Stahma Tarr), Kevin Murphy(executive producer), Nick Beliaeff (SVP, development, Trion Worlds), Rob Hill (senior producer, Trion Worlds), and Mark Stern (president, Syfy original content and co-head UCP) discuss how Defiance defies everything you know about conventional storytelling. Moderated by Geoff Boucher (Los Angeles Times). Room 6DE

And Then What Happened? Serialized Shows That Ended Too Soon - Friday (7/13) 7:00 p.m. - Room 7AB
At a convention filled with TV fanatics, it seem only fitting that there be a panel that explores the topic of the shows that ended too soon. Fittingly enough, the Firefly reunion panel will be taking place earlier on Friday in Ballroom 20, but I expect that one to be a bit more focused on celebrating the show than it is lamenting its demise and discussing what might have been, which is what "And Then What Happened?" seems to emphasize by its description. These are the series that left us hanging. Among those featured in this panel are Dollhouse's Andrew Chambliss, FlashForward's Andrew Chambliss and Scott M. Gimple, The Middleman's Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Terra Nova's Jose Molina.
7:00-8:00 And Then What Happened? Serialized Shows That Ended Too Soon— You saw every episode, you followed every storyline, you hoped against hope that they'd get another season...and they didn't. What would have happened if the show had kept going? Hear writer/producers Andrew Chambliss (Once Upon a Time), Scott M. Gimple (The Walking Dead), Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost), and Jose Molina (The Vampire Diaries) talk about the stories that weren't to be on such shows as Dollhouse, FlashForward, Firefly, and The Middleman. Room 7AB.

A Conversation With Bryan Fuller - Saturday (7/14) 1:00 p.m. - Room 7AB
He's the man behind Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls. That alone makes Fuller well worth his own panel at SDCC, but he also has series Hannibal and the Munsters reimagining Mockingbird Lane in the works. Both projects have an enormous amount of potential to be something great for television. Those who want to learn a bit more about what Fuller has in the works, and hear what he has to say at this panel. The description doesn't promise any sneak peeks, but who knows what might be shared at this one? At the very least, it should be especially interesting to hear what insights Fuller has to share with his fans on his past and upcoming work in television.
1:00-2:00 A Conversation with Bryan Fuller— Acclaimed television writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller (Heroes), the creative force behind Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me, for a Q&A with fans as he discusses two of his highly anticipated projects, Hannibal and Mockingbird Lane, both at NBC. In the midseason drama Hannibal, one of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The recently shot pilot Mockingbird Lane is an imaginative reinvention of the 1960s comedy The Munsters. Room 7AB

Espenson: An Anagram for Openness - Sunday (7/15) 12:00 p.m. - Room 7AB
Jane Espenson is all over Comic Con this year, and that's fitting as her work is all over TV. The former Buffy co-executive producer has contributed to some of the best shows in recent television, including Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and Torchwood. She's featured in numerous panels this year, but this one is all about Jane. In addition to getting to hear what she has to say about her past work, she'll also discuss the second season of her webseries Husbands. If you're sticking around the convention on Sunday, this one sounds well worth checking out.
12:00-1:00 Espenson: An Anagram for Openness— Writer Jane Espenson (Once Upon a Time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Husbands) discusses past and current work with moderator Jenna Busch (Zap2It). Artwork from an upcoming Buffy comic will provide the first look at an anticipated new character, and Husbands' Brad Bell (Pop-Up Videos), Sean Hemeon, and Jeff Greenstein (Will and Grace, Desperate Housewives) will be on hand to discuss the upcoming season 2. Attend to learn which sci-fi superstar is joining the Husbands cast. Room 7AB

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