FX has one of the most prestigious and exciting slates of television shows of any network. From the high-octane thrills of The Strain to the suspenseful mystery of Fargo, 2015-16 will be an exciting one for the cable channel. This network is one to watch, especially now that it’s expanded to FXX and several ambitious streaming services.
Like many TV networks, FX is staging a presentation at the 2015 International Comic-Con. Comic-Con presentations tend to come with standard tropes: a celebrity or journalist moderates a panel of stars and creative people behind your favorite series. Sometimes they show new footage, sometimes they just talk about what’s coming up next. For Comic-Con attendees, these panels are rarely the most novel part of their experience, though they translate well to fans across the country who don’t have the privilege to attend.
This year, FX is expanding on its more conventional presentation with an additional attraction - the kind of experience that you can only have if you attend the convention. The FX Fearless Arena will be a theme park consisting of “massive activations” for some of the network’s most anticipated new seasons and new shows, including The Strain, Fargo and The Bastard Executioner. The arean will cover all of Hilton Bayfront Park next to the convention center, marking the first time an attraction of this size has been mounted at this location.
The Strain will feature a two-and-a-half minute virtual reality experience featuring Kevin Durand (who plays Vasiliy Fet on the hit show). At “Escape the Forest”, fans anticipating Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner will don a high striker and a crossbow to square off in battle. A 20-foot inflatable snow globe with a Waffle Hut facade will preview the new season of the anthology series Fargo. And there are other smaller attractions as well: a Kwik-E-Mart truck to celebrate FXX and FXXNow’s deal with The Simpsons; a water fountain shaped like the Dolphin Puppet from Archer and an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia sunscreen station. Sweepstakes will offer the opportunity for prizes.
For the majority of fans of these shows, these attractions won’t mean much. However, for the people who pay money to endure the massive crowds and corporate excess of SDCC 2015, this attempt at a unique fan experience is a worthwhile endeavor. In some ways, there’s not much difference between watching a panel online and seeing it in person, especially if the panel is crowded and the crowd is noisy. But FX has seemingly found a way to promote its wares and give fans something to talk about.
It’s always possible that these rides will be lame, or that the attraction is too ambitious or enticing to sustain the enormous crowds. Still, the attraction's description indicates that FX is capitalizing on its fans’ enthusiasm in a way that serves the fans as much as the audience.
The FX Fearless Arena will be open to fans from Thursday, July 9th to Sunday, July 12th at SDCC 2015 in San Diego, California.