Sunday, November 14, 2004



The alternate universes I've postulated for Amos Burke, Joey Barnes, and the Lone Ranger are just theories of mine. There are shows which actually deal with alternate dimensions as their central theme - 'Sliders', 'Otherworld', 'Land Of The Giants'..... 'The Twilight Zone' had quite a few episodes touching on other dimensions; one of them no more than a cornfield.....

You know, this is like 'The Twilight Zone';
Where the guy wakes up and he's the same,
But everyone else is different.
Which one?
They were all like that.

But some of the best inter-dimensional episodes were usually stand-alones, and they didn't always come from genre shows. 'Star Trek' did "Mirror, Mirror" with evil counterparts to their regular characters, and it was a theme that 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' returned to for five of their own episodes:
1) "Crossover"
2) "Through The Looking Glass"
3) "Shattered Mirror"
4) "Resurrection"
5) "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Hercules, on his legendary journeys, also visited this same mirror universe back in the Age of Legend. In that otherworld where the basic nature of the regular characters was turned on its head, Hercules was a ruthless tyrant known as the Sovereign. And Ares was no longer the god of War, but the Elvis-like (Elvissian?) God of Love! (Episodes "Stranger In A Strange Land" & "Stranger And Stranger")

Like I said, it wasn't only the genre shows that explored the concept. In the episode "Sliding Frasiers" (a reference to the Gwyneth Paltrow movie "Sliding Doors"), 'Frasier' explored two different versions of the psychiatrist's Valentine's Day. In one, he met a beautiful artist; but in the other, Frasier stayed home lone.

The alternate dimension viewpoint also focused on Niles and Daphne: they either fly to Hawaii or stay home because of Niles' allergies.

And just a few weeks ago, the 'Law & Order' corner of the TV Universe dabbled in the dimensional differences when 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' showed two versions of an episode featuring arch-nemesis Nicole Wallace. In one, she lived. In the other; she died.

Viewers then voted as to which ending would be officially part of the main TV Universe. And they overwhelmingly voted that Nicole should live. So it's off to the mirror-universe for the version in which she did.

By opening the door to the concept of an alternate universe for the police procedurals, 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' makes it easier to accept that the same situation could befall its sister shows, the original 'Law & Order' and 'Law & Order: SVU'

Which makes it easier to claim that a recent episode of the 'L&O' mothership actually was taking place in an alternate dimension; perhaps even the "evil mirror" world. Because sure as bleep it couldn't have been what's happenin' now in the "real" TV Universe!

But more on that in the next installment......


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