April 11, 2014

Top Ten Depictions of Conventions in Movies and Television

by Patrick Delahanty, Senior Editor

We've researched dozens of TV shows, movies, and online series to find how conventions are depicted and we've put together a list of our ten favorite depictions of conventions in media:

10 - The Big Bang Theory - "The Bakersfield Expedition"
Aired January 10, 2013
The guys head to a comic book convention in Bakersfield dressed as Star Trek: Next Generation characters while their girls investigate the world of comic books. After Raj suggests a stop at Vasquez Rocks for photos, their car is stolen and they have to start hitchhiking in costume. Although they never actually get to the convention, the anticipation of the convention as well as the road trip experience really hits home.

9 - Supernatural - "The Real Ghostbusters"
Aired November 12, 2009
Sam and Dean are tricked into attending a Supernatural convention where fans dress up as the brothers. But the entertaining event is soon disrupted by a ghost. Seeing the fans treat Sam and Dean as fellow cosplayers is fun as is the fans' discovery that what happens on the show is based on real stories. This sort of putting the show within its own fictional universe has also been done on shows like Deep Space Nine, Sliders, and Stargate SG-1 and it's still fun.

8 - Community - "Conventions of Space and Time"
Aired February 21, 2013
In support of Troy and Abed, the study group heads to InspecTiCon, the annual Inspector Spacetime convention. Trouble begins when the group meets up with Abed's "pen-pal" whose shared passion for Inspector Spacetime comes between Abed and Troy. Meanwhile, Annie leaves the convention floor to enjoy the luxuries of the hotel while Jeff relaxes in the bar with Lauren, an Inspector Spacetime fan. If you've ever been to a convention with a group that includes someone who is there to meet up with an online friend, someone who just wants to take advantage of the hotel amenities, and someone who's not actually interested in the con and just wants to hang out at the bar, then you'll probably find parts of this episode very familiar.

7 - The Guild (season 5)
Premiered July 26, 2011
The guild travels to a gaming convention where they deal with hotel issues, conflicting desires to see different things at the con, bump into a number of celebrities, and ultimately make their mark on the costume contest. If you've been to a convention of significant size, you've probably seen some of the celebrities featured in this season of The Guild. Look for cameos from people like Richard Hatch, Kevin Sorbo, Grant Imahara, Nathan Fillion, Colin Ferguson, Brent Spiner, Eliza Dushku, Rick Fox, Stan Lee, and many more!

6 - Fanboys
Premiered February 6, 2009
Fanboys is the story of a group of Star Wars fanboys who are determined to infiltrate Skywalker Ranch and steal the rough cut of Episode I. It features a bunch of cameo appearances by actors from Star Wars and other films. Eventually, the fanboys must meet up with a contact at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas to get the information they need to break into Skywalker Ranch.

5 - Chasing Amy
Premiered April 4, 1997
Chasing Amy is a romantic comedy by Kevin Smith about sexuality, sexual history, and evolving friendships. The movie begins at the fictional Manhattan Comic Con where Holden and Banky are promoting their new "Bluntman and Chronic" comic. It's here, after a panel room is cleared out, that Holden meets Alyssa Jones, a fellow comic artist, for the first time.

4 - iCarly - "iStart a Fan War"
Aired November 19, 2010
Carly, Sam, and Freddie finally get to attend Webicon and take Spencer with them. However when they arrive, Spencer meets an old nemesis played by Jack Black. Meanwhile, Carly and Sam's panel erupts into a fight over which of the two girls are dating Freddie. Clearly based on San Diego Comic Con, Webicon has a big dealers room, panels, plenty of costumes, and is packed. A lot of the content of the episode is actually in-jokes, from the "Creddie" and "Seddie" fans fighting over which of the girls Freddie should be with down to Spencer's addiction to an RPG which is similar to Jerry Trainor's love for playing World of Warcraft. Cosplayers will be amused and frustrated by Jack Black's nitpicking of Spencer's costume having the jewels in the wrong order.

3 - Futurama - "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"
Aired April 21, 2002
Fry learns that Star Trek had been banned on Earth centuries earlier and goes on a quest with Leonard Nimoy's Head to find the last remaining episodes. He encounters the re-embodied cast of the original TV show who are prisoners on the planet of a very devoted fan. On that planet, he forces the Star Trek cast and the Planet Express crew to participate in a Star Trek convention until the end of time. This episode is great because it reunited the entire cast of The Original Series (except DeForest Kelley, who had passed away in 1999, and James Doohan, whose agent said "No way!"). It has been called one of the best Futurama episodes as well as one of the best TV episodes of 2002.

2 - Castle - "The Final Frontier"
Aired November 5, 2012
When a body is found at a sci-fi convention, Castle and Beckett are warped into the heart of fandom -- a world of egotistic celebrities, diehard costumed fans and enough drama for two galaxies. For convention fans, this episode's first few seconds will grab you with a cameo appearance of the episode's director, Jonathan Frakes. A lot of Castle fans were also fans of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and this episode certainly delivers for them as well. There's cosplay from several of the main cast too, so even if you've never seen Castle before, it's worth seeking out this episode as soon as it's on Netflix or DVD.

1 - Galaxy Quest
Premiered December 25, 1999
The film parodies the television series Star Trek and its fandom. It stars Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, and Daryl Mitchell as the cast of a defunct television series called Galaxy Quest. You'll also see Justin Long, the "I'm a Mac" guy, in his feature film debut as a fanboy. An alien race asks the actors for help, believing the show's adventures were real. The fans, the actors, the fake convention, it's all so well done and such a fun movie for anyone in fandom who can laugh at themselves. This movie is a cult classic and that's why we've picked it as number one on our list. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now.

So that's our top ten list. There's plenty of other conventions seen in other shows and movies. There's CSI, The Simpsons, Freakazoid, Dexter's Laboratory, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and a whole lot more. What shows and movies do you think belong on this list? Let us know!

You can watch our countdown of this list on AnimeCons TV.