It’s no secret that the ladies of Chickster are big TV fans. Huge, in fact. That’s why the locally grown ATX Television Festival has been on our radars since it was founded in 2012. Over the years, ATX has brought talent—both on-camera and behind it—from our favorite small-screen shows right to our hometown for informative, interactive and rollicking panels that give us a glimpse into the real people behind our favorite shows.
In 2015, Season Four of ATX brought us a panel devoted to our absolute favorite show—”Gilmore Girls.” And while we don’t know for sure if the overwhelming attendance and buzz surrounding the reunion of the best mother-daughter team in TV history is the reason the show is now getting a Netflix reboot, we will be grateful to ATX Festival forevermore because of it.
While a “Gilmore Girls” reunion seemed unbeatable, co-founders Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson outdid themselves for Season Five, which runs June 9-12, by reuniting the casts from another of our favorite fast-talking shows of the early 2000s—”The West Wing.” Super scribe Aaron Sorkin along with Bartlett staffers Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Janel Moloney, Joshua Malina and Richard Schiff and EP/director extraordinaire Thomas Schlamme will reunite at the Paramount on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to revisit the world of the passionate political utopia we now more than ever wish could be real.
The festival kicks off Thursday night with the debut of the USA Network series “Queen of the South,” followed by the debut of TV Trivia Night, and continues through Sunday afternoon. The first panels of each day begin at 10 a.m. The main action of the festival takes place downtown at the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel, the State Theater, the Paramount Theater and the Alamo Ritz, with auxiliary events found in other locales around town.
From Thursday to Sunday, badgeholders and walk-up attendees will be treated to panels that include screenings of beloved shows past, present and future as well as Q&A sessions with actors, showrunners and others involved behind-the-scenes. Our picks for Friday include “Younger,” “Casual,” “What is YA TV?,” “Breaking Story” and “A Conversation with Noah Hawley and Beau Willimon.” And of course, Friday night wouldn’t be complete without some “Friday Night Lights,” which returns to the city that formed its backdrop for the annual “FNL” community screening, this year taking place on Panther Field itself out in Del Valle. Saturday is the most jam-packed day, and aside from “The West Wing” reunion, we recommend “A Conversation with David Simon and Tom Fontana,” “First Timers,” “UnReal,” “Ugly Betty” Reunion and “Keeping the Romance Alive.” On Sunday, the action wraps up with a romp through “The OC” Script Reading/Writers’ Room Reunion, “Terriers,” “Preacher” and “Fargo” music panel.
In addition, there are also several industry-centric panels designed with both those angling for a chance to work in television and those who just gosh-darn love TV in mind.
Like any good festival, the ATX Festival includes some secret happy hours, after-parties and the like, so stay tuned to their Twitter account and you might just find yourself drinking next to your favorite TV star.
For more information and a full guide to the ATX Festival, click here.
Are you attending the ATX Festival this year? Which of these shows are your favorites? Are there any you’d love to see come to ATX in the future?