Why Dragon Con Is A Playground For TV Fans

Dragon Con

I spent my Labor Day weekend posing for photos with Dipper Pine, zipping around the crew of Battlestar Galactica as they meandered around packed hotel lobbies, hugging Brienne of Tarth and sitting in a room with a group of like-minded fans having an in depth discussion on why we all still loved Lost. It was a magical four days that could only happen at Dragon Con. Dragon Con is an annual event that takes place in Atlanta, Georgia every Labor Day weekend. Even with humidity thick enough to slice and slap on a sandwich, fans of all things genre turn out in costume to spend a weekend celebrating the fandoms they love. This year, an estimated 63,000 fans descended on Atlanta to take over Midtown and I was one of them.

Dragon Con 2014 happened to be my first Con ever. While I hope to venture out to San Diego to see Comic Con for myself in 2015, Dragon Con is going to be a tough act to follow. Where Comic Con is largely about Hollywood making us aware of upcoming projects (in spectacular fashion), Dragon Con boasts an intimacy that makes it ideal for fans to meet and converse about their passions. While there are panels and stars from the comic book, literature, film, science and paranormal arenas, I was there for the TV experience.

You see, before I was paid to write about TV, I wrote about TV. And discussed TV…I discussed TV endlessly. The hours I wiled away on the Internet chatting with friends about gender representation, formulating Lost theories and sharing moments of what we all fondly know as “squee” are precious to me. These days, watching TV is my job and I simply do not have as much extra time to engage in the types of TV discussions I once did. However, Dragon Con gave me four days to indulge myself.

My favorite event was the aforementioned Lost fan panel. No cast members were present, it was just a small room packed to capacity with people who all wanted to go back. With our two excellent moderators leading the discussion, the attendees joined in by sharing ideas about potential Lost spin-offs, who (and what time periods) we would want to revisit and vehemently defending Kate Austen (my Con buddy and Kate Austen supporter led that discussion with passion and grace). The most wonderful part of the panel was the sense of safety and belonging it fostered. By the end of the hour new friends were made and everyone left knowing Lost was still lingering in the hearts of many fans, some of whom broke out their hoodies and Dharma jumpsuits for the occasion.

The lovefest continued as I attended an X-Files panel celebrating 21 years of the series. Elsewhere, other Con goers said goodbye to Warehouse 13, discussed the future of Grimm and geeked out with members of the Whedonverse who were on hand for everything from Firefly to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panels. Even the two celebrity panels I attended with long, winding lines paid off. While in (an epically long) line for Sir Patrick Stewart, I spotted an amazing Dexter and victim costumed duo, and once inside Stewart talked briefly about his upcoming Starz comedy Blunt Talk while also fielding Star Trek questions like, “What is the ideal temperature on the bridge?” (The answer for the curious was not as cold as it was in the morning nor as hot as it was the rest of the day.)

Meanwhile, as I waited to see Cary Elwes, I met a fellow Psych-o who tipped me off to a weekly Psych rewatch happening on Twitter. Every Wednesday, fans and sometimes the series’ stars are reuniting online to watch and discuss the genre-bending Psych and keep the fandom alive. Inside, Elwes made it clear he loved his time on the show as he cheekily confirmed that he believes Despereaux was the greatest art thief of all time and not the head of MI6.

In between meeting a wonderful Amy Pond (who was cleverly adding Silence count marks on her arms throughout the day) and my new Psych friend, I found myself amazed and humbled by the sheer amount of TV fans dressed up as their favorite characters. Not only were they dressed up, they were happy to stop and discuss the characters, take photos and generally just have a moment of mutual geeking out. Even the Brienne of Tarth who I lost my head over and hugged played along, and the Dipper from Gravity Falls lit up at being recognized. Even I got in on the act as I donned my Sherlock cap and shamelessly grinned every time someone complimented it.

Even though it was a crowded, sweaty long weekend, my Dragon Con experience was akin to being wrapped up into a big TV fandom hug. During my last night, I attended the Harry Potter themed Yule Ball with my friends and tried not to get teary when two Doctor cosplayers (a Four and an Eleven) danced together. That one moment summed up the entire experience for me– Dragon Con can be a playground for TV lovers, where even impossible timey-wimey dreams can come true. It’s an event by the fans and for the fans, and even the celebrities who show up are fans. Dragon Con is not as big as Comic Con, but it has enough love fueling it to fill both of the Doctor’s hearts.

If you are interested in attending Dragon Con 2015, tickets are on sale now at the official DragonCon website.

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