Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re a pretty big fan of television. One of the awesome perks of Netflix’ growing popularity over the last few years is that TV has become “cool” again. Old friends who barely ever watched TV before now binge watch shows and may even turn to you for recommendations. It should come as no surprise then that the increased quality of (and interest in) TV has created some very cool opportunities in the past few years to give you, the fans, a peek behind the scenes and a chance to get closer to the stars.
Here’s a list of some of the best festivals, conventions, and otherwise all-around awesome events for TV fans. You might not be able to afford all of these events, but if you can make it out to any, you’re guaranteed to have a great time! I’ll start with the events that haven’t passed yet this year.
ATX Television Festival – Austin, TX – June 5-8, 2014
This festival created for the fans, by the fans, is in its 3rd year (or “season” as they fittingly call it.) We’re all familiar with music festivals, so just imagine this as the ultimate experience for TV lovers. Over the course of a weekend, you get the chance to attend panels, Q&As, and screenings, often with a majority of whatever shows are being featured there.
Orphan Black, Bates Motel, Fargo, Justified, and Orange is the New Black are just a handful of the current shows that will be represented this June.
They’re also known to reunite past shows, and just last year they hosted Boy Meets World and American Dreams reunions. Cast members from Roswell, Everwood, and Hey Dude are all appearing at the festival this year.
For more information on the ATX Festival, check out http://www.atxfestival.com/
Comic Con International – San Diego, CA – July 24-27, 2014
I’m including this here because in recent years television and movies have overshadowed the original comic elements of the convention. There’s even smaller Wizard World type of conventions across the country to check out, but this is the big one.
Just last year, How I Met Your Mother had its first (and last) panel at SDCC which attracted a hugely unexpected crowd of fans camping out to save their spots in line. Other staples of the convention usually include popular series like The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries.
The exact schedule isn’t released until much closer, so if you are interested in going, check out http://www.comic-con.org/cci
Paleyfest – Los Angeles, CA – March 2015
I’m often jealous of people who get to attend any of these TV-centric events, but Paleyfest was especially incredible this past March.
There was a Lost reunion panel for its 10 year reunion this year! Not to mention, just about every other show I watch had panels.
As with all of these events, it appears to be extremely possible to meet your favorite actors at Paleyfest. Fans of any of the shows can usually watch a livestream of the panels online, but we’re missing out on the chance to run up to the stage as soon as it is done and be able to meet the talent on stage for pictures and autographs.
Check out past Paleyfest panels and stay tuned for information on 2015’s festival at http://media.paleycenter.org/paleyfest-2014-lineup/
Upfronts – New York, NY – May 2015
The 2014 upfronts were just last week, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Fox Fanfront. The deal with upfronts is that they’re usually closed to advertisers, critics, and obviously the actors from their respective networks. Fans always gather outside of the entrance and hope to catch the attention of some of the kinder actors on their way in or out of the presentations.
Fox has taken the upfront experience one step further for its fans. This was the second year they hosted the Fanfront, and it was definitely cool to check out. Glee has some hardcore fans who camped out all night to insure their spot up front because Darren Criss was slated to perform but I arrived around 7am and didn’t think I had too bad of a spot in line.
After getting checked in and receiving a swag bag, we were brought inside of the extremely hot tent and seated in bleachers as they showed the premiere of the new Fox show Riot on screens. There was a carpet set up for the celebrity arrivals, and as soon as Darren made his appearance, all bets were off. Gleeks rushed the barricades and stayed put the entire time. This was a slight inconvenience to those of us who figured they’d be told to sit down and we’d all get our turns when our favorite actors were coming out. That wasn’t the case, but I was at least able to get a few autographs. Chris Messina is the nicest guy, in case you were wondering!
Hopefully Fox will continue this fun new tradition of the Fanfront next year. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter around the beginning of May next year to see when any official RSVP emails are posted. It’s completely free to attend, but you need to RSVP in advance.
Comment below if you’re inspired to add any/all of these awesome events to your own calendar!
[Photo via Getty Images]