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‘Con Man’ Trailer: Insights, Cameos, and Easter Eggs

conmaniconAlan Tudyk’s and Nathan Fillion’s IndieGoGo-funded webseries Con Man had a huge Hall H panel during San Diego Comic-Con this past week. During the panel, he premiered the trailer for the upcoming show.

The trailer highlights the satire of the series for Tudyk and his co-star Nathan Fillion.

  1. Spectrum, the sci-fi series Tudyk’s character Wray Nerely is known for, parodies Firefly, the show Tudyk and Fillion are best known for amongst the geeks of sci-fi conventions. Like Firefly, Spectrum was cancelled too soon and gained a cult status afterwards. In the trailer, various people ask Nerely is they’re going to make a Spectrum movie. Firefly was resurrected for the big screen in the film Serenity.alan-nathan-deck-crop-143647
  2. Like in the trailer, Fillion has gone on to bigger stardom. In Con Man his fame is in films, while in real life, Fillion has been the star of the hit t.v. series Castle.
  3. Meanwhile Con Man minimizes Tudyk’s post-Firefly fame by his character Nerely bemoaning that Spectrum was the best thing he’s ever done then showing him doing what appears to be animation voice-work. In real life, Tudyk is a rock-star voice actor, having wonderfully villainous roles in massive hit films Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.alan-voicework
  4. As is shown in the trailer, Tudyk’s and Fillion’s characters hope to work together again. Con Man was in part an excuse for Tudyk to actually make that wish come true.

Other Easter eggs, jokes, and cameos from the trailer:

  1. Spectrum isn’t all Firefly. The soundtrack and alien/supernatural presence, plus the red and black flight suits are similar to Farscape, another cult sci-fi show that was cancelled and later resurrected due to rabid fan fervor.
  2. Nerely’s accompanied at the convention by Felicia Day, Geek Queen, best known for her webseries The Guild and her role as Penny in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.
  3. Sean Austin, who will forever be Samwise Gamgee aka “the fat hobbit” from The Lord of the Rings encourages Nerely to embrace being a “space pilot” because it’s “better than reality.”
  4. The bartender who scoffs at Nerely being able to “play thirty” is Casper Van Dien, known in sci-fi circles as the star of the satirical masterpiece Starship Troopers, from which Firefly borrowed costumes to outfit their Alliance troopers in the episode “The Train Job.”
  5. The fabulous Gina Torres is playing the recording engineer in the scene where Nerely is performing voice work for an animated feature. Torres played Zoe on Firefly who was married to Tudyk’s character Wash.
  6. When Nerely attempts to get a seat on an airplane, he asks a man if he happens to be a sci-fi fan, and that man tells him to “F**k off.” That bearded, sunglasses-wearing jerk is Wil Wheaton, high king of geeks and known best for his role as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  7. Fellow judge Sean Maher comments, “Oh, he’s sexy.” Maher played Simon on Firefly. He shared publicly that he was gay just a few years ago.
  8. Michael Dorn, aka Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation, reads Shakespeare while Seth Green, known best as Oz on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and as writer and director of Robot Chicken to sci-fi con-goers, humors Nerely’s bad joke.
  9. Tricia Helfer, who is known for Cylon Number Six on Battlestar Galactica, plays a Helfer lookalike on Con Man. Nerely talks on the phone about how he met a woman who looks just like that hot, hot cylon then underlines the fact that all of the cylons were hot.
  10. Amy Acker shows up as Nerely’s wife? Acker co-starred with Tudyk in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
  11. Speaking of Joss, he appears as a crew member shaking snow and his head.
  12. When Nerely brags that he’s doing a movie with Jack Moore (Fillion), the guy who asks if it’s a Spectrum movie is Milo Ventimiglia, who played Peter Petrelli on Heroes.
  13. Henry Rollins agrees to do Nerely’s movie, but only on the condition that there’s no crowdfunding–which is funny because Con Man itself was crowdfunded.
  14. When Nerely opens his Spectrum doll, the placement and pose of the doll’s right hand suggests masturbation, that he’s a wanker.
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The Joy of Shipping

What this is not: an effusive demonstration of devotion to UPS, USPS, or FedEx. That’s not the shipping I mean.

I’m talking about (relation)shipping, the act of desiring a fictional couple to get into a romantic relationship. Generally speaking, this couple is one that is being kept apart for various reasons: there is something “wrong” about them being together (Logan and Veronica on Veronica Mars, Buffy and Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), their relationship must remain platonic for professional reasons (Mulder and Scully on The X-Files, Mal and Inara on Firefly, Castle and Beckett on Castle), or the show is just milking the romantic tension (see all the above but also Maddie and David on Moonlighting, Sam and Diane on Cheers). Alternatively, this could be a couple that the show gives only a hint of an attraction, allowing a kind of camp or slash reading which could allow for non-hetero sexual pairings, like Xena and Gabrielle on Xena: Warrior Princess prior to the final seasons where their relationship became overt canon.

imageI love the charge of electricity in a great shipper couple. I shipped Mulder and Scully hardcore for many years, even going so far as to read fanfiction that would take them down romantic, non-canonical roads. I would pour over screenshots like the one from “Post-Modern Prometheus” on the left there and watch video clips on YouTube. Talented shippers often show their enthusiasm through images and videos splicing together key moments for the couple.

I think my last shipping excitement was for Logan and Veronica back in 2006. So imagine my joy when a few nights ago the feeling hits me again.

We are midway through season 3 of Once Upon a Time, and I find myself inexplicably pulled into the throes of shipping once again with Emma and Hook. To add to the wrongness of it, my husband has found Hook despicable. But he’s so cute with his tousled hair and black eyeliner. Of course, he’s exactly wrong for Emma, which is exactly what makes him so right. He’s the bad boy type with his black leather duster and his hook hand. But he’s also a great match for Emma. They get each other, understand each other’s tricks. As a former bails bondsman, she’s used these tricks as well as foiled them many times over. There’s clear chemistry. And, he’s not unlike Neil was 12 years prior–a thief and a liar, a criminal with a heart for Emma.

Is this line a Princess Bride reference, making Hook the Dread Pirate Roberts and Emma Buttercup? Suits them.

Is this line a Princess Bride reference, making Hook the Dread Pirate Roberts and Emma Buttercup? Suits them.

But coming to the shipping so late means that some of my normal shipper activities are risky. I realized this when simply seeking out the video clip of the S3.E5 first kiss. Though there are plenty of fan-made videos, images, and fanfic to indulge in, to do so means opening myself up to all of the spoilers for the episodes we haven’t caught up with yet. Boo.

I’ve found OUAT to be a mixed bag, but the shipping has renewed my interest and then some.

Emma + Hook 4-Evah!