Amazon Prime’s Truth Seekers, Utopia & Marvel 616- Comic Con@Home Recaps!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

It's Comic Con time again folks, and while yes, the event itself as we all know and love it has been cancelled, there's still plenty of news coming out of the new Comic Con@Home event, which runs until Sunday night. 

One of the more anticipated shows coming out this year, as least for us devotees of the "The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogyis Amazon Prime's new show, "Truth Seekers", reuniting Simon Pegg & Nick Frost from "Sick Note's" James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. All were on board for this exclusive new peek at the show.

The panel started with a quick teaser trailer that didn't reveal any release dates but overall looked like an interesting genre mash-up, with co-creator Simon Pegg saying that while funny, the horror is played straight. The show comes from Serafinowicz & Saunders's obsession with UFO's, and that it revolves around a crew of "Broadband installers", which they said is the most mundane job they could imagine. Frost also mentioned that the premise form the show is partly due to his and Pegg's love of "The X-Files" and that them doing something in this vein has been a long time coming. 

In the show, Frost's character, Gus, is obsessed with the paranormal after the death of a loved one and is driven by a desire to reunite with her, with him uploading all of his paranormal encounters to YouTube. His day job – natch – is as an aforementioned broadband installer for a company called "Smile", run by Pegg's character, who sports a truly hideous wig, which he says was a "deal-breaker' for him. Pegg mentioned he only crops up in a few scenes every episode, so this isn't the full-fledged Frost-Pegg reunion you might be expecting. The real co-star here seems to be Samson Kayo as Gus' colleague Elton. The legendary Malcolm McDowell also shows up, as does Susan Wokoma & Emma D'Arcy. 

Intriguingly, Pegg mentioned that he and McDowell bonded over being in Star Trek, with Pegg the new Scotty, while McDowell infamously killed Kirk in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS. He mentioned McDowell told him a William Shatner story that, well, Pegg says isn't repeatable despite prompting by Frost, although Pegg seemed to suggest ol'Bill was something – well- it got bleeped out so…

Next up was Amazon's star-packed panel for their new eight-episode thriller, UTOPIA, which is centered around comic fans who discover a conspiracy from one of their graphic novels is real. The panelists were Gillian Flynn, who created the show,  and stars John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, Sasha Lane, Ashleigh LaThrop, Dan Byrd, Desmin Borges, Javon “Wanna” Walton, and Jessica Rothe – who genre fans should remember from her awesome star turn in HAPPY DEATH DAY. 

First, they showed the show's trailer, which introduced the creepy premise and seemed, to me anyway, to play like a cross between OUTBREAK and "Stranger Things" and looks like it could be a smash for Amazon Prime. Flynn said the show is at its core a "conspiracy thriller" with a graphic novel holding the secrets to what's happening in the world they live in, something that has unexpected relevance in these days of turmoil. Of course, the show is based on a British TV series, and Flynn said that where that show took it's cue from graphic novels and that world, her take is more gritty and nasty, with her cue coming from seventies paranoia thrillers. 

For his part, Cusack, while aware of the show, was intrigued by Flynn being attached to the series, and said it only took him reading a few of the scripts to jump on board, saying it's sophisticated, audacious, crude and shocking as hell. His character, Dr. Christie is a guy trying to make the world a better place "from the 1% down", by preserving the future through his company and a need to be in service to the world and not just to take – meaning he's not your "normal" billionaire. Sasha Lane who plays Jessica Hyde, who, by contrast, is like a "feral cat", looking to find her dad and the answers to where she comes from. Rainn Wilson, who was reluctant to give too much away by describing his character, praised the show's sense of humor, and the fact that he's playing this small, neglected guy who winds up connected to a global medical conspiracy and becomes more of an unlikely hero.

From there they went around to everyone, with Jessica Rothe revealing that at one point, the show winds up at Comic-Con! How meta! In fact, the first two whole episodes center around the Con. Everyone seemed pretty excited about the show, but Rainn Wilson gave it the hardest sell reminding people that, "if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, not only do you get to watch the show, but you can order dog food and socks and get them the next day. It's crazy!" I gotta say, after this panel, I'm sold, even without the dog food and socks!

Next up was the new Marvel-centric documentary series 616. Marvel's 616 panel brought together a first look at the Disney+ documentary series which is aiming to be the equivalent of ESPN's ongoing series 30 For 30. 616 looks back at different aspects of the world of Marvel Comics with a unique vantage point from different filmmakers. Some are fans, like Paul Scheer, while others proclaim to have never read a comic book before, like Community actress Gillian Jacobs. Both Jacobs and Scheer helmed an hour-long entry in the docu-series. Jacobs' episode, titled "Higher, Further, Faster", looks at the legacy of female characters in Marvel history. Scheer's entry "Lost and Found", takes a much different approach by having the actor/comedian recreate forgotten characters.

Disney+ docu-series got a strong start with their recent Mandalorian behind the scenes series which was as epic as the show itself. Marvel's 616 is executive produced by Sarah Amos (Marvel's VP of Development and Production for New Media) and Jason Sterman (owner of production company Supper Club). From the clips shown during the panel from Jacobs and Scheer's episodes, this is a pretty unique platform to explore very specific facets of Marvel Comics. Keep in mind that this series is focused on the comics and not the Marvel Cinematic Universe which could easily garner its own anthology.

As the sole panel offering from Marvel this year, I was hoping for a lot more content than we got. Still, Marvel's 616 looks like it could be a cool way to learn more about the source material that inspired the biggest shared cinematic universe of all time. No release date was announced but expect Marvel's 616 to debut on Disney+ before the end of 2020.




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.