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WIRE Buzz: Buffy cast set for virtual Q&A; Apple TV+ free originals; new zombie flick

By Jacob Oller
For All Mankind

As entertainment conventions and film/TV productions around the world remain shut down under the coronavirus lockdown, some events are taking creative approaches to the situation. Some, like SXSW, are screening films with partners like Amazon. Others, like convention company Wizard World, are taking things 100 percent virtual.

One of these Wizard World Virtual Experiences is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel event (not really a panel, since everyone’s going to be online) featuring a free 45-minute live video Q&A with cast members James Marsters, Amber Benson, Clare Kramer, Elisabeth Röhm, Emma Caulfield, and Camden Toy. The moderated Q&A will stream on Twitch, Facebook Live, and YouTube.

Where otherwise fans may have lined up to get an autograph, they’ll now be able to pay for a few minutes of exclusive facetime with their actor of choice or get a recorded video message. They can also still get autographs (just shipped to their homes). As cons continue to adapt to the new normal of the pandemic, an all-online comic con doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Q&A takes place on April 11 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Next, streamer Apple TV+ is looking to familiarize those with the company’s hardware with its original series offerings with a unique new strategy: make them free. Apple decided to make a handful of its original programming available for free, without a subscription, through the Apple TV app — for a limited time.

According to Deadline, this offering includes a few genre options for fans looking to spice up their small screen. M. Night Shyamalan’s twisty horror Servant and spacefaring alt-history For All Mankind join kid-focused programs Helpsters and Ghostwriter for those looking to change up their streaming diet.

These shows have welcomed critical acclaim, especially the creepy baby-oriented Servant and the Ronald D. Moore-created NASA adventure — both of which are already working on future seasons.

These shows are available to watch for free now.

Finally, while conventions adapt to the coronavirus, the rest of the industry tries to cope in its own way. For the world of horror, that means looking to timely fiction dealing with the times at hand. Contagion did it relatively straight, but genre has always loved a dangerous disease. It's no wonder a pandemic-focused script just got snapped up at Lionsgate.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the zombie-horror 16 States is headed to the studio from Don’t Breathe writer/director Fede Álvarez and writing team John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Thankfully the story, which involves a mother attempting to brave a zombie pandemic to get to her family, originated last year (which allows the project to avoid the morbid honor of being directly inspired by the coronavirus) but didn't spark a bidding war until last weekend.

As The Walking Dead soldiers on and The Last of Us heads to HBO, a renewed interest in all things zombie-adjacent may be coming to pop culture. 16 States, which boasts I Am Legend as a tonal influence, does not yet have a production timeline.