Five Deeper-Cut Panels to Catch at ATX TV Festival

It’s go time, TV nerds

credit: Pexels

The buzzy TV show premieres, the first looks at season finales, the starry cast reunions – those are probably the reasons most folks decide to attend ATX TV Festival, the long-running local monument to all things small screen.

This year’s fest, which runs Thursday through Sunday at various Downtown venues, has plenty to offer on all those fronts, including the world premiere of Julio Torres’ new HBO show Fantasmas, U.S. premiere of Orphan Black: Echoes, the Hacks season three finale, and two reunion events from shows that saw their popularity swell once they were available on Netflix – a Suits retrospective featuring much of the main cast (last we checked, a certain duchess does not appear on the confirmed list of panelists) and a Halt and Catch Fire 10-year anniversary conversation.

That’s all well and good, but we’re here to make the case for the deeper cuts. Less big names, more big topics to chew on. The inside baseball industry talks. The extremely niche programming. Craft conversations. Real “history of TV” deep dives.

Trial by Content Podcast Taping

Is it sacrilegious to push a podcast at a TV festival? Nah. Anybody who’s listened to The Ringer Network’s Trial by Content knows this show’s dedication to TV (also film and pop culture, at large) runs deep and runs true. The three hosts – Austinite Neil Miller (Film School Rejects), Joanna Robinson, and Dave Gonzalez (the latter two co-authored bestseller MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios) – have their TV bona fides; they previously podded about Lost and Game of Thrones. This live taping will see them debate about the worst TV series finale of all time. (Thursday, May 30)

Presidential Forum: On TV, the Industry, and What’s Next

Five of the top TV execs in the business – Nicole Clemens (Paramount Television Studios), Lisa Katz (NBCUniversal Entertainment), Erin Underhill (Universal Television), Katherine Pope (Sony Pictures Television Studios), and Karey Burke (20th Television) – sit down with Variety’s Emily Longeretta to talk about the state of the industry. Spoiler: The state is not great! There’s too much TV and too many platforms, and good shows are going unnoticed. There aren’t enough jobs, and younger generations of writers and craftspeople can’t break into the business. Everything feels broken, which is usually a good time for innovation and risk-taking. How interesting this panel turns out to be will come down to how forthcoming the panelists are. (Friday, May 31)

Bottle Episodes 101

Back in January of last year, in a post aptly filed under the category of “Yelling,” Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk heroically climbed atop a soapbox and made the case that everybody’s been using the term “bottle episode” wrong: “It’s a stand-alone episode!” she wrote. “I’ve been yelling into an unfeeling, uncaring cavern of bottle-episode misappropriation.” Now she can bring the yelling to a more intimate venue, along with Rolling Stone TV critic Alan Sepinwall, to break down what it is, what it isn’t, and how it’s evolved alongside the industry. Believe me, the ATX TV Festival crowd is exactly the crowd for this discourse. They will feel! They will care! (Friday, May 31)

The Monologue Case Study With Mike Flanagan

I see dead people.
Here’s Johnny.
It’s alive.

The history of horror has some memorably succinct lines. But what the Flanaverse presupposes is: What if monologue instead? Mike Flanagan – creator of hit Netflix horror shows The Fall of the House of Usher, The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Bly House, and Midnight Club – delivers a craft talk on writing and directing the epic monologues he’s become famous for. (Friday, May 31)

TV Pre- and Post-Roe: A Look at Abortion Stories Over 50 Years

The Chronicle is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night's special Norman Lear tribute. Click here for details.

In 1972, Norman Lear’s CBS sitcom Maude broke ground when its lead character (played by future Golden Girl Bea Arthur) found herself unexpectedly pregnant at 47 and decided to have an abortion. Fifty years later, as reproductive rights are being aggressively attacked in Texas and across America, it’s an ideal time to interrogate how abortion stories are told onscreen then and now. Panelists include Rina Mimoun (showrunner, The Girls on the Bus), Kerry Bishé (actor, Halt and Catch Fire), Caissie St. Onge (executive producer, Busy This Week), and Erica Rosenthal, Ph.D. (director of research, Norman Lear Center). This panel is one of several being presented by Hollywood, Health & Society, a program from USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center that consults with the entertainment industry on storylines about health, safety, and security. The festival will also include a closing night tribute to Lear, who died in December at the age of 101, with live script readings of Maude and spinoff Good Times, one of the first portraits of Black family life on TV. That’s a high note to go out on, and an aspirational one too. Here’s hoping for better times in the industry this time next year. (Saturday, June 1)

ATX TV Festival Season 13 runs May 30-June 2. Passes and info at

Binge all our coverage of the fest, from the feisty first year to the latest breaking news about 2024, at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Kimberley Jones
Robot Dreams
Dog and Robot find companionship in this lovely and touching Oscar-nominated animated film

June 14, 2024

Arts, Comedy, Theatre, Movies, and More Recommended Weekend Events
Arts, Comedy, Theatre, Movies, and More Recommended Weekend Events
Jackie and Foxy Brown?! Yes please!

June 7, 2024


ATX TV Festival 2024

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle