Friday, October 24, 2014

O'BSERVATIONS: TELEFFLUVIA


Just a few quick O'Bservations about some of the other new TV shows this season:

'A TO Z'
This is the type of sitcom NBC might have parked in the 8:30 berth during their halcyon "Must See TV" Thursdays, between 'Friends' and 'Seinfeld'. Like the other shows they tried there, it would not have been up to snuff in comparison to the shows buffering it, but I think it would have done better than others (like 'Union Square' and 'Madman Of The People'). This slight romcom has plenty of cache with me because I like Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti so much from their earlier series, and they fit comfortably together.
 
'black-ish'
I enjoyed the first episode, but I don't think this is as universal a viewpoint as the powers that be are hoping for. I just didn't feel like it was made for me. I still have the second episode in the queue, but I have no clue when I'll get to it - which doesn't say much for it making my permanent collection of shows to record. I wish it well though. It's part of Earth Prime-Time and could conceivably continue without any help from ye olde Monitaur.
 
'MANHATTAN LOVE STORY'
I didn't have any problem with the debut episode and don't foresee any impediments to its remaining in Earth Prime-Time. I just got tired of the voiceover motif quickly, however, and don't think I'll be a regular viewer. I found the main actress refreshing, if that's anything.....

'THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA'
I checked out the pilot just to fulfill my televisiological O'Bligations, but I trust the opinions of some of my favorite online TV critics and of course they were right. It's a bit of a knuckle-dragger in its presentation - that whole "Wow! She's a cop and she takes care of her family!" attitude.

However, I did like the solution of the case and I'll admit I didn't see it coming even though it was quite similar to the pilot episode of 'The Glades' (much missed here at Toobworld Central). 'The Glades' did it better, but it was the performance of Enrico Colantoni that sold the premise. (I should have remembered one of my rules about TV pilots - the main guest star is only there to sell the series and will have to be removed in some way.)

'CRISTELA'
I only made it through the first fifteen minutes of this and it felt like the full half hour. It was lowest common denominator comedy with a main character who just wasn't that compelling. But to steal one of the best historical jokes ever (even if it may be apocryphal) and then play it to the back benches with an air of braggadaccio as though they came up with it first, I knew I had to bail. I'm just glad Sam McMurray showed up before I deleted the recording, but the material was beneath him.

BCnU!
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

O'BSERVATIONS - "THE FLASH"



When I was a kid, I didn't read many comic books (just couldn't afford them), but when I could find the dimes to do so, I'd always get the latest copy of "The Flash".  Sure, I loved the look and the powers of the Scarlet Speedster, but I was more fascinated by the members of his Rogues' Gallery - those costumed no-goodniks that bedevilled Barry Allen's hometown.


And it looks like we're going to get the 21st Century updates on many of those villains, with the Weather Wizard making a short first and last visit to the series' debut.  (Hopefully he either survived his encounter with Detective Joe West or there is the hint that there's another out there with the same powers.)

Thanks to casting notices being considered hard news, we know that we'll be getting Captain Cold and Heat Wave in upcoming episodes.  The pilot also had hints of Professor Zoom, aka the Reverse-Flash, all over the episode.  So we can probably look for that storyline to be explored in depth as time goes by.  


The producers of the show should remember Chekov's rule about the gun - if you show a gun in the first act, you damn well better use it by the third.  I bring this up because of that shot of the damaged cage at STAR Labs with the ID plate for "Grodd".  Maybe we won't get the same backstory as in the comics (Gorilla City?  I doubt we could find it in the main Toobworld!), but we damn well better get Gorilla Grodd in before the season ends!

And we already know that the Nuclear Man, Firestorm, will be in the show as well.  (I'm hoping that he'll still retain some of the outlandish physical features from the comic books - my one complaint about the look of this new 'Flash' is that everything has been subdued into a dark, minimalist hipster fashion sense.  So far, the Flash costume isn't working for me.  It would have been much better if it had the same design but was a brighter crimson.)

I have one "wish-craft" - I want to see Captain Boomerang on the show.  And even better, wearing that ridiculous costume as seen above.  Sure he was a hokey villain, but my nostalgia meter kicks into overdrive thinking about those days reading about his battles with the Flash.

PROFESSOR ZOOM?

Earth Prime-Time already has its own version of the Flash (with that show's Barry Allen now playing the father to this new hero), and so Grant Gustin (who plays Barry/Flash) must find a new home in the Toobworld Dynamic.  What better TV dimension than Comic Book Toobworld?  (Any better nicknames for that world are welcome!)  

'Gotham' already exists in that world, since - for better or for worse - the 1966 campfest of 'Batman' already occupies Earth Prime-Time.  And since Batman is already cited in so many other shows as exiting/having existed, there's no way a show about life before the Batman could share the same universe as those other TV series.  


'Gotham' airs on Fox, while 'The Flash' is on the CW, so there's no way they could ever cross over.  But at the very end of the debut episode, we caught a glimpse of a newspaper from ten years into the Future, which has a headline about a proposed merger between the Wayne Foundation and Queen Industries.  And this suggests that 'Gotham' and 'Arrow' - the series which helped launch 'The Flash' - share the same dimension.

Even though I can't use this for the main Toobworld, it looks to be a fun show to follow.  One bit o' trivia I did like - the TV channel that was seen for later news reports was 52 - the umbrella title for the latest streamlining revamp of the DC comics line.

BCnU!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TELE-FOLKS DIRECTORY - SENATOR CRESTON COLLINS



'THE NAME OF THE GAME'
"THE INQUIRY"


The power and influence of Senator Creston Collins began to diminish in January of 1969 when his behavior on the Senate committee vetting Glenn Howard for an important post in the government was seen for what it truly was - a hateful attempt to tarnish Glenn Howard's reputation and integrity.

It was never stated in the episode, but I believe Senator Collins represented the good people of Maine.  (And there's just something about him that gives off that G.O.P. feel.)  A first name of "Creston" smacks of old money and a distinguished lineage that could probably be traced back to the Mayflower.

COLLINWOOD
The Collins Family of Maine has deep roots, especially in the seaside community of their ancestral home, Collinsport.  For the most part, members of the Collins family have been pillars of society.  But it was not always so.

How could it be, when the family can count witches, warlocks, ghosts, zombies, a werewolf and at least one vampire among the ranks?

OTHER SHOW CITED:
'Dark Shadows'

BCnU!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TUESDAY NEWS DAY: THE AMERICANIZED "AKTA MANNISKOR"




When Microsoft abandoned its plans for streaming TV, one of the potential shows that was orphaned was 'Humans' which was based on a Swedish series called 'Akta Manniskor'.

From Wikipedia:
The story takes place in Sweden present time in a parallel universe, where the use of consumer-level androids is commonplace. The androids, known as hubots, are used as servants, workers, and company. While some people embrace this new technology, others are frightened by what can happen when humans are replaced as workers, company, parents, and even lovers. A moderate political movement against the spread of hubots calls itself "real humans", with some members using the derogatory term "Pacmans" to refer to hubots.

Specific models are designed for various roles, each with different features. Hubots are usually programmed to recognise and obey their owner and can learn skills and pick up knowledge through observation of humans. Hubots have become common in many workplaces, especially for repetitive tasks, and have replaced human workers there.

Though they are designed to look like humans in every way, hubots are usually easy to recognise as they have bright flawless skin, glossy hair and unnaturally bright (usually very blue or very green) eyes. All Hubots also have a USB-like port in the back of their neck which is used for programming and data. The button to activate or de-power a hubot is located under the left armpit, as is a standard wall plug cord for recharging purposes. Hubots require only electricity to survive and must recharge regularly, during which they enter a sleep-like state. Their skin feels similar to human skin and is kept at body temperature but beneath the skin, they have metal components and contain a blue fluid/lubricant known as HubFluid.

Hubots are designed to be docile and obedient and are programmed with a set of rules called "Asimov" protocols that prevent them harming humans. However, some hubots have been modified beyond the legal protocols to make them better lovers or as bodyguards. Such practises are illegal in Sweden and those who modify the programming of the hubots are known as "home-brewers". A small, low-funded branch of the police is set up to investigate hubot related crimes, known as E-HURB. Hubot-human sexual activity is taboo but not uncommon and many hubots are programmed for limited sexual activity. Those who pursue sexual relationships with hubots are derisively called "Hubbies".

Further to this, some hubots (those reprogrammed by hubot creator David Eischer) seem to have started to develop feelings, desires and their own goals as their programming has allowed them to develop free will and independence from humans. However, they are still often naïve and unworldly and sometimes fail to understand the nuances of complex human behaviour.


Thankfully, both shows had identified themselves as being set in the "parallel present", or as 'Dark Shadows' would put it - in the "Para-Terra".  I would have had to make such a decision for it as well, because there is currently no place in Toobworld for the accepted and integrated presence of these life-like androids in society.  (This is the reason why I had to banish zombies to Zombie Toobworld and vampires to Nosferatoob.)

There are such "replicants" on Earth Prime-Time, but they are a mere handful and hiding their presence from the Toobworld at large.  Jana Loren ('Twilight Zone' - "The Lateness Of The Hour"), Questor ("The Questor Tapes"), Hymie ('Get Smart') and "The Man" ("Project Tin Man") are just a few of such characters who are blending in as best they can.

I'm hoping I'll be able to find a copy of 'Akta Manniskor' (love the look and sound of that title!) with English subtitles.  (Amazon offered a different region DVD but it had French subtitles).  And then I'll have to check out 'Humans' when it finally airs on AMC - mayhaps the two series can share the same world since owning hubots seems to be a global phenom......

BCnU!

Monday, October 20, 2014

LITTLE BIG SCREEN - KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!


'Franklin & Bash'
"Kershaw vs. Lincecum"


"Everyone who hears the name of Infeld Daniels Franklin and Bash
 will kneel like Superman before Zod."
Jared Bash
'Franklin & Bash'

It's long been established in the Toobworld Dynamic that after Superman's death in the early 1960s, all of the details of his life - as both Superman and as Clark Kent - were revealed in a tell-all biography by Jimmy Olsen, Superman's "pal".

The official version of Superman's life in Toobworld will always be the George Reeves series 'The Adventures Of Superman'.  Unfortunately, the show never got beyond the Krypton/Smallville origin story for the Man of Steel and never featured any of the villains from the comic books of that era.  

Toobworld Central has speculated in the past about who would have played those villains had they appeared on the TV show - RG Armstrong as Lex Luthor, Michael Ansara as Brainiac, Billy Barty as Mr. Mxyzptlk.  But I never thought to include General Zod, mainly because his first appearance in the comic books came in 1961.  However, now we know he definitely existed in Earth Prime-Time back in the 1950s, although his confrontations with Superman were never seen on the screen.

Since Jared Bash never referenced the movies or the comic books, Toobworld Central will always take the position that he was talking about an actual person within the "reality" of Earth Prime-Time.  And so General Zod did exist in the TV Universe.


There is no connection to the details of Zod's life to be found in the comic books or the movies, both separate fictional universes from Toobworld.  Although "life" for Zod began in the comic books, they have to be looked on from an Earth Prime-Time perspective as being fictionalized stories based on events from Toobworld.  (The fact that he didn't make his first appearance in the comic books until after the death of Superman helps to foster that claim.)

As I mentioned, 'The Adventures Of Superman' really dropped the ball when it came to depicting characters from the comic books.  I mean, there's only so many times you can watch a different Ben Welden character throw his empty gun at the Last Son Of Krypton!  An appearance by Zod would have made for a welcome change of pace.

But who would play General Dru-Zod?


Keeping it within the timeline of the Trueniverse because we're dealing with actual actors, my Number One choice would be Michael Rennie, best known in Toobworld for playing the televersion of Harry Lyme from "The Third Man".  And I think the look he would sport nearly a decade later on 'Lost In Space' would be perfect for the Kryptonian warlord.

What do you think?  Do you have any other actors in mind from that time period who might have been better as Zod?  Let me know!

BCnU!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

THEORY OF RELATEEVEETY - A COUPLE OF CRABBES



Inspector Reid of 'Ripper Street' was able to save a young woman from being lobotomized by Dr. Karl Crabbe.  He wanted to prevent her from revealing his involvement in an underhanded scheme.  Crabbe ended up in the prison wing of the asylum and eventually served as a Hannibal Lecter to Reid's Clarice Starling.  

By 1889, Dr. Crabbe was in the asylum, visited by Inspector Reid in April of 1890.  By that point in his life, Karl Crabbe may have had at least one son to carry on the family name, someone who would have been an adult by then.


If Dr. Crabbe had more than one son, one of them was the great grandfather of Middleton Chief Inspector Henry Crabbe.  With his wife Margaret, Crabbe was also the proprietor and head chef of the 'Pie In The Sky' restaurant (which he wanted to devote his time to instead of to his police work.)


BCnU!

Friday, October 17, 2014

TELE-FOLKS DIRECTORY - ELISABET MATTSON, SWEDISH WRITER


'CRIME OF PASSION'
"NO MORE MURDERS"


Elsbet Matts was a romance novelist living in Skoga, Sweden, during the 1950s.  The only book of hers mentioned was "Their Last Summer" (That was the English translation.  In Sweden it was titled "Deras Forra Sommaren".)  Her books were usually dark romances about poor women falling in love with older men and they were not well-received by the critics.  

"Elsbet Matts" was just her nom de plume.  Her name was actually Elisabet Mattson and her brother was Yngve Mattson who sold components for conveyor belts.

Because of a brief affair with Colonel Holt, Elisabet became pregnant.  She put the child up for adoption and Colonel Holt and his wife adopted him, naming him Thomas Holt.

As to possibilities of fictional books in other TV shows being works by Elsbet Matts, most of those to be found in the list at Wikipedia were either not in the same category as romance novels or attributed to other writers.  But there was one possibility:

"The Long Journey Home" which Beans had overdue from the local library.  Perhaps when he checked it out, he had no clue that it was a romance novel.


However, after finding herself involved in a double murder investigation in which the son she gave up for adoption died, I think Elisabet Mattson adopted a new guise as "Dame Margot Woodhouse".  Under that name she wrote a series of murder mysteries which were then translated into English for her American publishers, Whitestone Publishing.  Forty years on, near the end of her career, it was apparent that her talents were fading, based just on the title of her last book: "Death Rinses Out A Few Things".

SHOWS CITED:
  • 'Crime of Passion'
  • 'Even Stephen'
  • 'Dream On'
BCnU!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

HISTORY, CHANNELED: "COLUMBO" & LADY ASTOR


'Columbo'
"Dagger Of The Mind"


When visiting police official Lt. Columbo expressed an interest in the late Sir Roger Haversham's umbrella, his butler Tanner gave the briefest history of it - that it had been a gift from Lady Astor.  Looking over the umbrella, Tanner pointed out the engraving, which by that point was quite faded and worn down with age.  And of course, the material of the umbrella had been replaced many times over.

From Wikipedia:Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, CH (19 May 1879 — 2 May 1964) was an American-born socialite who made a second marriage to Waldorf Astor as a young woman in England. [Her first husband was an American, Robert Gould Shaw II, and they divorced.] 

After Waldorf Astor succeeded to the peerage and entered the House of Lords, she entered politics, in 1919 winning his former seat and becoming the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons. She served in Parliament as a representative of the Tory Party from Plymouth district until 1945, when she was persuaded to step down.

Astor's friendship with George Bernard Shaw helped her through some of her personal problems, but his own nonconformity created problems. They held opposing political views and had very different temperaments. However, his own tendency to make controversial statements or put her into awkward situations proved to be a drawback for her political career.
  
Click here for more about Lady Astor.

(Personally, after reading about her in Wikipedia, I found her to be a hateful person.)


Sir Roger Haversham must have met Lady Astor through his own friendship with the playwright Shaw.  Sir Roger may not have owned his own theatre at the time, but was already making a name for himself as a producer of theatrical presentations.

Nancy Astor was portrayed in two mini-series: 'Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years" (played by Marcella Markham) and in "Nancy Astor" (portrayed by Lisa Harrow).  

Since so many historical figures are portrayed by different actors in both, I'm loath to consider either one for official inclusion into Earth Prime-Time.  However, when Sir Roger knew Lady Astor, she probably resembled Marcella Markham at that age.....



BCnU!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

O'BSERVATIONS - "MULANEY"


'Seinfeld' made its debut twenty-five years ago.  

I'll give you a minute to absorb that.

Recovered, have we?

When 'Seinfeld' started out, it took a little while for it to find its sea legs.  But I think once the show recast the role of Frank Costanza, swapping out John Randolph for Jerry Stiller, it was firing on all cylinders.  

'Mulaney' has the basic blueprint of 'Seinfeld' - a stand-up comedian basically playing "himself" and he hangs out with three friends.  Jane is the new version of Elaine (and even played by a former 'SNL' player), while the other two are variations on Kramer and George: Instead of living next door like Kramer, Motif is John Mulaney's room-mate.  And instead of being his childhood buddy like George, Andre the human Furby is his weed dealer.

 

Normally, I'd say that 'Mulaney' should be given the same opportunity to grow and find itself.  But it should be starting at the same level as 'Seinfeld' did when that series ended.  Didn't they learn anything from that series in the sixteen years since it went off the air?  They had nine seasons of comedy gold to study as their blueprint!

I have a Facebook friend named Joe Bua who had this to say about the pilot:

John Mulaney is going to have to become a much better actor if his show is going to work. I watched it twice. If these scenes with Martin Short are to work he's gotta bring his game up. Fingers crossed, I like his standup a lot and there are some great jokes in the pilot. Seaton Smith and Nasim Pedrad can carry him through their scenes but he's gotta hold more of your attention in those scenes with Short than he did in this episode.


And I have to agree.  

But at least 'Mulaney' contributed to the expansion of Toobworld with the TV show for which John Mulaney writes.  


'Celebrity You Guessed It' (I'm assuming there's a regular version of the show as well.) is hosted by Lou Cannon (played by Short), who is insanely popular with the ladies who watch daytime TV.  And we got to see a film clip of Dean Cain's televersion as part of that show.  Cain's participation in that quick bit added to his League of Themselves tally which also includes 'Living Single' and 'Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23'.  This makes him eligible for eventual induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.


Since Sundays are part of my "weekend", I'll probably continue to check this out.  But that's only while the CBS schedule is screwed up by football.  Right now I'm watching 'Madam Secretary' and 'The Good Wife' live because I can't trust recording it due to impossibility of the NFL games to end on time.  So I'm recording 'Masterpiece Mystery!' and 'Mulaney' to watch later.

It's not much of a recommendation but it's the best I can do at this time.  Hopefully the writing (and Mulaney's acting) will get sharper....

BCnU!