Whether it’s because of a pandemic, money issues, or just bad timing, it sucks when we can’t make it to our favorite fan conventions. Fortunately, if we want to recreate that classic convention experience—all we have to do is turn on the television. These are the five best movies and TV episodes set at fan cons.


It’s like you’re really there, baking in the San Diego sun!
It’s like you’re really there, baking in the San Diego sun!
Image: Comedy Central
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Futurama: “Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences”

This season six episode of Futurama kicks things off because it actually brings us to San Diego Comic-Con! Well, a non-trademark infringing version of it anyway. Fry heads to the convention to promote his new comic book Delivery Boy Man, while Leela and Bender try out for the costume contest. Bender wins, of course, because he’s dressed as “every nerd’s fantasy”—meaning Leela.

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“Troy and Abed doing cosplay.”
“Troy and Abed doing cosplay.”
Image: NBC

Community: “Conventions of Space and Time”

In this episode of Community, Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) see their friendship strained at a con for their favorite British space and time-traveling hero: Inspector Spacetime. Season four might be wildly divisive in the Community fandom (and for good reason), but that doesn’t change the fact that this episode is a fun tribute to the Doctor Who fandom. Plus, it features a cameo from Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer. It also has a tongue-in-cheek reference to the failed American version of Doctor Who. Although in this world… it actually happened.

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What comic con hasn’t involved chit-chatting with a pirate?
What comic con hasn’t involved chit-chatting with a pirate?
Image: RobotKittenGigglebus Entertainment

The Guild: Season 5

The Felicia Day-led web series—now available to watch on Netflix—features a whole season at a comic convention (filmed at Long Beach Comic Con). This lets audiences experience every level of con life—whether it’s visiting the panels, checking out booths, going to the afterparties, or just bothering comic con staples like Nathan Fillion and Neil Gaiman. And, just like any classic comic con story, it ends with a cosplay contest. Complete with a flying dirigible!

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“Stop gawking and prosper.” That’s not me, that’s the show.
“Stop gawking and prosper.” That’s not me, that’s the show.
Image: The CW

Smallville: “Warrior”

This one is where things get a bit meta. Clark Kent, an actual superhero, visits a comic con surrounded by folks cosplaying as superheroes. He’s trying to stop a kid from gaining magical abilities by reading an enchanted comic book (DC’s Zatanna guest-starred in this one), but he can’t help griping about how weird and artificial comic cons are. That is, until he spots Lois Lane dressed up as... Wonder Woman.

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I’m guessing whatever’s happening here was not part of the show.
I’m guessing whatever’s happening here was not part of the show.
Image: DreamWorks Pictures

Galaxy Quest

It’s the quintessential convention story. A group of stars from a canceled sci-fi show make their living on the con circuit... until they’re whisked away by aliens who believe they have the power to actually save them from an extraterrestrial threat. The movie ends exactly where it begins—at the Galaxy Quest convention, with the stars of the show taking a bow to thunderous applause after saving the entire universe… and getting their show renewed. It’s enough to make you wish you were there too.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

brainlock-2
Brainlock can NOT FKG reply on kinja

I had to laugh at a couple clips. First, the tease of the Deadpool booth from a few years ago. A friend was stationed at a booth across the way. At first, he was psyched to see it. That turned into horror as he was assaulted by “9 to 5" every eight minutes ALLLL weekend long. LOL

Then, an acting friend of his had a cameo in that Community episode. They’re both Whovians, so it was extra special for those two.

(Friend#1 and his new fiancee ran into newly crowned Doctor Matt Smith on an SDCC elevator, so he was the first official invite to their wedding! Before the Pond’s!
Friend#2 had a Dalek on his breakfast table...and probably poked fun at this whole experience on his own show, if it weren’t for those meddling kids taking it over! You may have seen his wife on that current Patton Oswalt doc. I’ve seen him in a few home video bits. No, not Tom, even if they’ve all been on Reno, too.)

/

Oh, and wasn’t there a CSI-? episode set at a not!Trek convention, featuring several scifi regulars? One of the “writers” was murdered in the fictional bridge set, and they figured out Who before Howdunit...which turned out to be slamming his head into the nav console, which had a secret “rising” scanner in a compartment they had overlooked in the console. Flip the right switch and...bloody scanner corner.

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