The 2020 San Diego Comic-Con, the largest fan convention in North America and one of the biggest promotional events of the year, has been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced on Friday. The event, which pulls in upwards of 130,000 participants each year, was scheduled to be held from July 23–26.
© Denis Poroy/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
The cancelation is the first in the event’s history, but organizers say the event will return from July 22–25, 2021.
The decision follows the April 14 press conference by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in which Newsom said that “large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers” are “not in the cards” for the foreseeable future.
While Newsom declined to provide a concrete timeline, he said, “When you suggest June, July, August, it is unlikely” that major events in the state would return.
Indeed, in their announcement, organizers pointed to Newsom’s remarks as a central reason to cancel Comic-Con for 2020.
“Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, [organizers] had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer,” Comic-Con International, the company that oversees San Diego Comic-Con, says in their statement. “Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.”
Comic-Con was one of the last significant entertainment functions scheduled over the summer to change course after the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak forced billions of people to stay at home. Starting in early March, every major studio had already pushed its summer 2020 movie slate into this fall and 2021, and key events like the Cannes Film Festival, the TV network upfront presentations, and the Entertainment Electronic Expo had all either been canceled or postponed past the summer.
On March 12, Comic-Con International announced that the organization was postponing its smaller fan convention WonderCon, which was scheduled to take place in Anaheim, California from April 10–12. No replacement date for that event was set, however, and organizers on Friday announced that WonderCon will also be canceled for 2020, and will return from March 26–28, 2021.
Founded in 1970, and given the moniker San Diego Comic-Con (or SDCC) in 1973, the annual convention of comic book fans, writers, and sellers ballooned in size in the 2000s with the explosion of big-budget genre entertainment in Hollywood. The four-day convention has been a critical promotional tool for feature films and TV shows for over a decade.
But given the near-total suspension of work within the entertainment industry — not to mention widespread anxiety about the safety of mass public gatherings — it was unclear how many studios and networks were even going to participate in this year’s SDCC.
More to come.
Related slideshow: The Best TV Shows to Marathon While You’re Self-Isolating:
Fleabag Succession High Fidelity
At the end of particularly long days, my old roommate and I used to turn to each other and ask “what’re you feeling for comfort food tonight?” We were rarely ever talking about actual food, but the TV we liked to turn to when we just needed something consistent and good, something we either didn’t have to pay close attention to, something to pass the time.
It’s hard to know what to do in a crisis, let alone one unfolding as rapidly as the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us — hopefully most of us! — are self-isolating at home in hopes that we can prevent it from spreading more than it already will. So if you’re staring down weeks of quarantine, there are a few ways you can pass the time — and many, many TV shows that can burn through as many hours as you need.
To help narrow the field down a bit, here are some of the shows I’ve recently enjoyed and/or turned to most often when I just need some comfort food. I’ve also organized this list by the lengths of the shows — short, medium, and long — so you can decide just what kind of TV marathon you’re game for.
SHORT WATCH: Everything’s Gonna Be Okay
Hulu, 6 episodes
The first season of Josh Thomas’ new Freeform dramedy, about a young guy (Thomas) having to take care of his teenage sisters (Kayla Cromer and Maeve Press) after their father suddenly dies, makes for a watch as quick as it is delightful. (Also, love this title right now.) And as a bonus: if you like this show, you just may love “Please Like Me” (3 seasons, 18 episodes total), Thomas’ first show that is also available right now on Hulu.
SHORT WATCH: Fleabag
Amazon Prime, 2 seasons, 12 episodes total
If you haven’t watched “Fleabag” after all the hype and Emmy wins, now’s the time to see what all the fuss is about. If you have, now’s the time to blaze through it all again, the better to admire just how many jokes and moments of pathos Phoebe Waller-Bridge packs into every scene.
SHORT WATCH: High Fidelity
“High Fidelity,” Hulu, 10 episodes
Zoe Kravitz steps into the role John Cusack once embodied as Rob, a disaffected record store owner sifting through the wreckage of her five biggest heartbreaks. The Hulu update of the 2000 movie that’s more fun the more you commit to it (a phrase Rob herself would probably laugh at, but never mind).
SHORT WATCH: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
Apple TV Plus, 10 episodes
From the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” team, “Mythic Quest” throws classic TV hijinks into a gaming company headed up by Rob McElhenney’s earnest, but lowkey megalomaniacal boss. It’s sharp and very funny, with a stacked cast including “Community” star Danny Pudi and Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham (yes, really) having the time of their lives.
SHORT WATCH: Next in Fashion
Netflix, 10 episodes
This new fashion competition show — hosted by Tan France and Alexa Chung — is basically “Project Runway,” sure, but it mostly ditches any sort of forced challenges in favor of an unlimited fabric closet and most petty drama between contestants for genuine encouragement. The results are stunning, and the season goes fast.
SHORT WATCH: Pen15
Hulu, 10 episodes
One of last year’s best surprises was “Pen15,” a seemingly ridiculous show starring two thirtysomething women (creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle) as their eighth grade selves that quickly proved itself to be smart, hilarious and maybe a bit too insightful about just how weird it is to be a teenager.
SHORT WATCH: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Netflix, 4 episodes
This series explores the four basic tenets of cooking with journeys to countries where they drive the cuisine (Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United States). There’s never been a better time to get better acquainted with the basics of food and what can make it delicious, and no better guide to that journey than host Samin Nosrat.
SHORT WATCH: Watchmen
HBO Go, 7 episodes
As fair warning, Damon Lindelof’s twisty take on a comics classic would make for an extremely intense marathon. But its intricate storytelling, bizarro world and sly Easter Eggs could also be very fun to absorb all in one glorious go.
MEDIUM WATCH: American Vandal
Netflix, 2 seasons, 16 episodes
This underrated gem of a mockumentary series took on true crime tropes, but at two different high schools dealing with surreal mysteries like an errant graffiti artist who spray paints graphic images on every car in the parking lot before disappearing into the ether (#WhoDrewTheDicks). Though it sounds very silly (and it often is!), “American Vandal” told a hell of a good mystery story, and ended up being one of the better and least condescending depictions of Gen Z possibly ever.
MEDIUM WATCH: Better Things
FX on Hulu, 4 seasons, 35 episodes and counting
Pamela Adlon’s semi-autobiographical show about raising three daughters is one of FX’s — and TV’s — best. Frank and thoughtful, the world of “Better Things” would be a lovely one to get lost in for a while when you need it.
MEDIUM WATCH: Élite
Netflix, 3 seasons, 24 episodes
You’ll hardly find a more immediately addictive suggestion on this list than Élite, a Spanish teen drama that, at its best, feels like “Gossip Girl” mashed up with “Big Little Lies” divided by “Skins.” Come for the murder mystery, stay for the deliciously twisted teens, say goodbye to a full day of your life and thank “Élite” later.
MEDIUM WATCH: Man Seeking Woman
FX on Hulu, 3 seasons, 30 episodes
I have a soft spot for this perceptive Simon Rich comedy, which combined sketch and serialized storytelling to take on basic relationship and dating troubles with a wonderfully bizarre point of view.
MEDIUM WATCH: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Acorn, 3 seasons, 34 episodes
If you want to be whisked away to another world entirely, try Miss Fisher’s 1920’s world of murder and debauchery, starring Essie Davis as a highly intelligent flapper detective. (Acorn is currently doing a 30 day free trial, during which you could also watch the upcoming Miss Fisher movie, “Crypt of Tears.”)
MEDIUM WATCH: Sex Education
Netflix, 2 seasons, 20 episodes
Laurie Nunn’s deeply empathetic series follows Otis (Asa Butterfield), a shy high schooler who discovers that the knowledge he’s absorbed over the years from his sex therapist mother (Gillian Anderson, resplendent as per usual) comes in handy with his confused peers. What makes “Sex Education” great is that it’s interested in every kind of teenager, not just the ones we’ve seen on TV a million times before.
MEDIUM WATCH: Succession
HBO Go, 2 seasons, 20 episodes
I’ll be honest: I initially watched three episodes of “Succession” before shrugging that it wasn’t for me, and then a year later, dove back in to see why so many friends were obsessed with it and quickly became just as obsessed. Jesse Armstrong’s whipsmart drama is wildly funny and perceptive about how power and those who wield it work — or, as “Succession” proves, often don’t at all.
LONG WATCH: Bob’s Burgers
Hulu, 11 seasons
One of the most consistently great and joyful comedies on TV right now is “Bob’s Burgers,” the animated Fox show about a proudly weirdo family that owns a burger restaurant. Come for the jokes, stay for the increasingly ambitious musical numbers.
LONG WATCH: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel
Both on Hulu, 7 and 5 seasons respectively
If you’re a sci-fi/fantasy/vampire fan who somehow hasn’t already embraced this twofer, both “Buffy” and “Angel” are streaming on Hulu just waiting for you to dive in. If you have, maybe try going back and forth between the shows to watch them as they originally aired (starting with “Buffy” seasons one through three, before starting the fourth season and “Angel”’s first).
LONG WATCH: Cheers, Frasier
“Cheers” on Netflix, 11 seasons; “Frasier” on Hulu, 11 seasons
Now this classic double-header is a real commitment. With all 11 seasons of both “Cheers” and spinoff “Frasier” available to stream right now, you can start with “Cheers” and hop to “Frasier” when the doc moves to Seattle, or just blaze through both these iconic comedies however you want.
LONG WATCH: Jane the Virgin
Netflix, 5 seasons
The madcap CW telenovela makes for a thrilling marathon thanks to its many twists, turns, and tendency to get swept up in romance. If you like reading earnest, pulpy novels with stories that don’t quit, this is the show for you.
LONG WATCH: Mad Men
Netflix, 7 seasons
If you’ve always said that you’d “get around” to “Mad Men” eventually only to have time keep marching on, good news! All seven seasons are available on Netflix. (As fair warning, this one can get real depressing after too many episodes in a row, so make sure to take breaks, maybe by checking out January Jones’ Instagram, which is perfect, by the way.)
LONG WATCH: Golden Girls
Hulu, 7 seasons
An ideal comfort watch, the entirety of “Golden Girls” is available for you to throw on as you cook, clean, puzzle, or whatever it is that needs doing inside the confines of your own home. Few shows on this list, or any other, can match its wit and warmth.
LONG WATCH: Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Private Practice, Scandal: aka, The Shondaland Special
All available on Netflix
There’s a reason that the Shonda Rhimes ABC block has endured and multiplied for thing long. Any show boasting her name as a producer is just about guaranteed to be a propulsive, addictive ride that will keep you entertained for as many hours as you need it.
LONG WATCH: Survivor
CBS All Access seasons, 1 – 40; Hulu, seasons 1 – 34
Behold: the Mount Everest of TV marathons. “Survivor” is without a doubt one of TV’s most defining shows, having churned out 40(!) seasons since its 2000 debut. It’s also one of TV’s most sneakily fascinating as it puts a magnifying glass on human interactions and ingenuity. While not every season is a winner, some seasons — like “Heroes vs Villains,” “Fans vs. Favorites,” “David vs. Goliath” — make for extremely compelling TV. And hey, if you’re ever in the mood to watch some people rough it harder than you, “Survivor” is where it’s at.