Saturday, September 25, 2004


Even though he failed his first foray into the field of forensics, Greg Sanders was given a second chance by his Crime Scene Investigations boss, Gil Grissom. But that second chance was based on the fact that Greg had found quite an able replacement in the lab.

Her name was Chandra Moore. She was capable, efficient, talented, and cute as a button. But she preferred her working surroundings to be quiet, placid, and totally under control.

Ain't gonna happen in Vegas, Baby!

And so she quit, vowing to go back to Connecticut.

And that's when I was filled with hometown pride.

Not just because I'm originally from the 5th State of the Union, the Constitution State, the Nutmeg State, and the home state of Joyville.

But because I'm from the same city in which the Connecticut Forensics Crime Lab is located.

In 1979, the Crime Laboratory was renamed the Connecticut State Forensic Science Laboratory, and Dr. Henry C. Lee was appointed as its Chief Criminalist. State-of-the-art techniques and new forensic procedures were implemented.

To accommodate this expansion, the Laboratory was divided into two units: (1) Criminalistics, containing serology, instrumentation, trace, and arson and (2) Identification, containing fingerprints, firearms/toolmarks, polygraph, voiceprints, documents, and photography.

New initiatives include examining and analyzing critical evidence related to bio-terrorism acts. Several new techniques are also in development, including the implementation of space-age technologies from work with NASA and the use of teleforensics.

The Laboratory, situated in Meriden, Connecticut, is presently staffed with 37 administrative and scientific personnel assigned to the following areas: Fingerprints, Documents, Imprints, Firearms and Toolmarks, Photography, Chemistry, Arson, Instrumentation, Trace, Biochemistry, DNA, Image Analysis, and Reconstruction.

And apparently, one of those assistants was a young lady named Chandra Moore. In the TV Universe, she will once again be a part of that team soon enough.

Chandra's flight from the Las Vegas crime labs and her vow to return to Connecticut made it sound as if it's almost pastoral back in the Meriden crime lab; that maybe it all takes place in some wooded glen as opposed to the hustle and bustle of Sin City. But that's far from the cold case....

The annual Laboratory budget is more than 3 million dollars; 80% of which is allocated to personnel services. The Forensic Science Laboratory conducted approximately 500,000 examinations on physical evidence from more than 8,000 criminal cases and special investigations during the last year.

Those services were provided to 147 local police departments, 179 fire departments, 12 state police troops, 12 Public Defender's Offices, 14 State's Attorney's Offices, and 25 other state agencies. Forensic Laboratory personnel are an integral part of the team called in to investigate police-related shootings.

In addition, the Laboratory continues to assist numerous other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in their case investigations.

As part of the continued commitment to professional excellence, Laboratory personnel presented several research papers and case studies at both national and international meetings during the past year.

This is probably how Chandra Moore came to hear Warrick Brown deliver his treatise on toenail identification at a seminar. Of all the CSI's whom she met during her brief stay in Vegas, Warrick was the one guy she most enjoyed meeting.

Her boss at the Meriden forensics laboratories is Dr. Henry Lee. Since the mid-1990s, Dr. Lee is best known through his testimony in many high-profile cases covered by Court TV and other televised news outlets.

But he also starred in his own series. Earlier this year he appeared in 'Trace Evidence: The Case Files Of Dr. Henry Lee'.

And he has also been portrayed by an actor (Jim Lau) in 'American Tragedy', a TV-movie from 2000. This was a re-enactment of the behind-the-scenes maneuvers by the "Dream Team" representing OJ Simpson.

From there, the Toobworld trail meanders through other portrayals of the Juice as well as his many appearances as himself on TV.

I'm sorry to see Chandra Moore leave 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigations'. (Can't they just make that 'CSI: Vegas' by now?) Reiko Aylesworth would certainly have brought an alluring spark to the blue-lit sterility of the Vegas crime lab.
Maybe Zuiker and Co. can go the 'Northern Exposure' route with a smaller, laid-back variation on the 'CSI' theme. Perhaps Reiko Aylesworth could become a central cast member as they explore the quirky Nutmeggers that might make up a CSI team in Connecticut.

At the very least, let her character of Chandra Moore show up occasionally to give courtroom testimony on 'Judging Amy'!


Friday, September 24, 2004


With six networks, hundreds of cable offering, and the premium channels, the stakes are hight to get eyeballs glued to the tube. There's not a new show on the Fall 2004 sked that couldn't benefit from some added exposure via a crossover with an established series.

So with that in mind, I'm going to look at the new offerings on each of the networks and see which of their telecompatriots could forge the best linkup.

Today it's CBS in the batter box. We'll let the Eye step up to the plate and see what we can pitch:
'Clubhouse' - Yeah, there was a reason for the bad baseball metaphor. The network's new feel-good coming-of-age drama centers around a teen who discovers his true worth while working as a batboy for the New York Empires baseball team.

Who will be playing opposite the Empires? Established, real-life teams? How about fictional teams from TV shows past, mentioned only over the intercom for the in-joke? 'The Bay City Blues'? The Pioneers of 'Hardball'? Maybe even the Comets. You know.......

Manager: Suarez, I've got good news. I'm taking you out.
Pitcher: I thought you said you had good news.
Manager: I do. I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico. Give me the ball.

Since they're a team from New York, it could be another freshman drama that provides the best crossover hopes for 'Clubhouse'. Let's say a murder takes place in the stands right in the middle of a game. Who ya gonna call?

No, not 'Law & Order: SVU'! No, not 'NYPD Blue' - well, yeah, technically, you are. But the people you want sifting through all the peanuts and Cracker Jacks are the forensic scientists of 'CSI: NY'.

Otherwise, the Girardi Family could come to the stadium to see a game and God appears to Joan (selling foam fingers?) to cryptically coach her in helping somebody on the team before the final out.
('Joan of Arcadia')

'CSI:NY' - This show doesn't need any help from me. Even thought it's going head-to-severed head with the original 'Law & Order', this show is going to make it without any special outside help from a crossover.

But even so, you know the gang from 'CSI: Miami' will show up again to interact with them.

(Don't hold your breath for the Vegas team, however. They're all a little touchy and not so feely about crossovers over there in Sin City.)
('CSI: Miami')

'dr. vegas' - Even so, this show better hope for a crossover with their fellow Vegas drama. Friday nights are... dicey enough as it is. In order to keep an audience you have to bring them in first. And what better way than to see Rob Lowe reunited with Jorja Fox for a little spice during an investigation? (Although I don't think they ever had any scenes together in 'The West Wing'.)
('CSI: Crime Scene Investigation')

'Center Of The Universe' - Where is this show taking place? Beats me. Some nameless sitcom suburbia; maybe just around the corner from Wisterian Lane?

Since CBS seems to have a chubby guy cluster in Queens, NY, I would have guessed that this show would end up there as well. I'm probably wrong; it wouldn't be the first time. But wherever it's located, John Goodman and family are going to need some high voltage crossover guest stars to help them survive in that time slot, one of the most competitive of the week. Of course, better writing and definition of the characters would help even more......

Or maybe they live near Los Angeles? Because of this show's producers and their past work, I could see Alan and Charlie dropping by to visit their old buddy, John Barnett's brother played by Diedrich Bader.
('Two And A Half Men')

'Listen Up!' - Ray Romano plays a sportswriter in Queens, NY. His show is running its victory final lap this season and hopes to go out on a high, showered with audience adoration.

If so, he better steer clear of this show. Even so, it's the only hope 'Listen Up!' probably has to survive; Jason Alexander's character of sportswriter Tony Kleinman needs to get the seal of approval from Ray Barone.

Not that Ray Barone needs to do it in order to curry MY favor! With appearances on, and connections to, 'Becker', 'The King Of Queens', 'Cosby', and 'The Nanny', Ray Barone is already guaranteed a seat in the pantheon of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. He may even be afraid that crossing over to 'Listen Up!" might be a detraction from eligibility.

Yeah, like the celebs are aware of my little Hall of Fame. I really should start taking my medication again......



In the debut episode of 'CSI: NY', the "survivor" of a madman's experiments was taken to Angel of Mercy Hospital.

This must be the hospital where the patients in all of the NYC-based dramas go in the series premieres. In the very first episode of 'Third Watch', Jerry Mankowitzwas taken to Angel of Mercy Hospital while the show's cast stood by in in vigil.

And while doing the research into that bit of trivia, I found a disturbing link which involved the Angel of Mercy Hospital in Los Angeles. The hospital serves mostly the black community in the inner city district, and it's operated on a shoestring budget by the county.

But that's only what they want you to think. In truth, LA's Angel of Mercy Hospital is run by a spy organization known as SD-6. Sloane, the leader of the rogue operation, must have figured that SD-6 wouldn't attract much attention with its own hospital in such a woeful urban area. The CIA finally learned of the connection once undercover agent Sydney Bristow was flown there from Buenos Aires for medical attention.

Angel of Mercy, NYC - 'CSI: NY' & 'Third Watch'
Angel of Mercy, LA - 'City of Angels' & 'Alias'


Thursday, September 23, 2004


As much fun as it is to watch a crossover between two (or more!) TV series, it can't be forgotten that these "Very Special Episodes" weren't concocted just for the audience's pleasure. The crossovers exist to either hype or prop up at least one of the shows involved, and of course to garner ratings. It all comes down to business as usual.

With six networks, hundreds of cable offering, and the premium channels, the stakes are hight to get eyeballs glued to the tube. There's not a new show on the Fall 2004 sked that couldn't benefit from some added exposure via a crossover with an established series.

So with that in mind, I'm going to look at the new offerings on each of the networks and see which of their telecompatriots could forge the best linkup.

(Actually, I'm a firm believer in Television Without Borders, that shows should cross over with others from outside their home network. But I'll keep this real; it's not likely that the suits would cross over with a rival's show somewhere else on the dial.

Well, not exactly, as we'll see.....)

Let's work our way through the nets alphabetically. Today we look at ABC:

'The Benefactor' - It might seem odd to give consideration to a (so-called) reality series, but I find these shows more fictional than the scripted series.

To interact with Mark Cuban, their showcase millionaire, ABC should bring in that daytime dynamo; the man who knows how to handle those who want to be a millionaire - Regis Philbin.
('Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', ''Live With Regis & Kelly')

'Wife Swap' - FOX may have pulled the rug out from under this show by stealing the idea and getting their version on the air first ('Trading Spouses'). So ABC should raise the stakes and make a bold move in their execution of the idea.

In an episode featuring Sam Saboura, the producers should steal a page from the movie "Face/Off". Use plastic surgery to exchange the identities of two wives and then send them to each other's family. See how long it takes before anybody figures out the that there was a switcheroo.

And if the ruse makes it to the bedroom, save that episode for Sweeps! Homina homina homina!
('Extreme Makeover')

'Lost' - Even before it aired, this highly anticipated adventure already has crossover links to two TV-movies - 'Nowhere To Land' and 'Code 11-14'. Both of those flicks were set on board a plane in the fictional Oceanic Airways livery. But the Oceanic Airways brand name is probably best known for a theatrical release - 'Executive Decision', which starred Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, and Oliver Platt.

Since 'Lost' will be taking place on that not-so-deserted island, it's not likely there are many options for it to have any crossovers with the current crop of ABC shows. (Unless, of course, somebody from Wisteria Lane saw them off at the airport - see the entry on 'Desperate Housewives')

But as this is a show co-produced by JJ Abrams, the logical step would be to tie it into his spy show. And the fact that Terry O'Quinn is one of the co-stars as Locke..... Who knows? Maybe he's actually FBI research specialist Kendall.

Then again, Gary Grunberg had a quick cameo as the pilot in the pilot. He seems to appear in all of the shows of his childhood buddy Abrams. So since he wasn't appearing as his 'Alias' (or 'Felicity'!) character, we can probably assume O'Quinn isn't either.

But it doesn't have to be a human link, however, so you don't have to take Jennifer Garner away from her other duties for a quick cameo. Maybe it's a connection through something that will turn up in the cargo or in the mysterious jungle that links to SD-6 or to the Rambaldi mysteries.

'Desperate Housewives' - I don't think we're ever going to find out exactly which suburban town is the location of Wisteria Lane. But as the character of Mike Delfino, a plumber, recently relocated there from Los Angeles, I'm going to assume the show takes place in California.

That doesn't leave many options for crossovers with the other dramas. 'Alias' roams all over the world, but this 'Knots Landing'/'American Beauty' hybrid soap wouldn't mesh very well with a spy actioner. (Then again, that new guy Mike Delfino may be hiding something - apparently he's got something to do with the suicide that kicks off this show.)

And as for 'NYPD Blue' and 'Boston Legal', just by their titles alone we know they are planted firmly on the East Coast.

It looks as though 'Lost' may be the best bet for any kind of crossover with 'Desperate Housewives'. How could we work that? Just have one of the characters (and I'm thinking of Lynette, the former businesswoman who traded in "the boardroom for boredom") mention that the authorities still haven't found the wreckage from a flight on which she had either a relative or a former co-worker.

'life as we know it' - Then there's always this boy's version of 'My So-Called Life' as a possible match for those 'Desperate Housewives'. Gabrielle is giving her 17 year old gardener lessons in love, so if both shows do take place in the suburbs of Los Angeles, then maybe this high school would provide happy hunting for her underage trolling.

And her best bet will probably be Ben Connor, who's already obsessed with his English teacher, Monica Young. He'd be ripe pickin's for any LeTourneau wannabe from Wisteria Lane.....('Desperate Housewives')

'Rodney' - It's a shame that ABC treated Drew Carey so shabbily as his sitcom finally petered out of steam over the summer, after being such a ratings grabber for the network in earlier years. Because this series about a struggling wannabe stand-up comic could have used an appearance by a famous funnyman in the local nightclub to help set the tone for the show. And that comic could have given his blessing to Rodney in an attempt to convince us at home that he really is funny.

Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much hope for a crossover with any of the other sitcoms on ABC. Maybe Faith could show up at a soap stars convention or a store opening ('Hope & Faith'); perhaps anchorman swoops in to cover a breaking story for his network ('Less Than Perfect').

But this is Tulsa, folks. I'll apologize to any Okies who may stumble across this essay, but what I'm going to say is hardly a 'City Confidential'. There's a reason why the city was the butt of jokes for half a season on 'Friends'.

Half a minute..... There's the route 'Rodney' should go! With a very well-publicized in-joke making a connection to the late mega-hit from the peacock rival. Somebody should make mention of a guy named Chandler who was in town for a short time working for one of the big nameless conglomerates. Maybe his wife was spotted on one of her conjugal visits to Tulsa, shopping for shark videos to use as a sexual aid.......

It's either that or give 'Rodney' mesothelioma from working all those years in a fiberglass factory and get Denny Crane to fly into town to represent him.......
('Boston Legal')

'Complete Savages' - The show hasn't aired yet so I have no idea in which city this sitcom is supposed to be taking place.

All of the other ABC sitcoms are spread across the country:

'8 Simple Rules' - Detroit area
'According To Jim' - somewhere in the Midwest
'The George Lopez Show' - Los Angeles
'Hope & Faith' - Columbus area
'Less Than Perfect' - New York City
'My Wife And Kids' - Stamford
'Rodney' - Tulsa

So unless Keith Carradine's firefighter (and father of the Savage family) is battling blazes in one of those cities, there's not much chance of a crossover with any of them.

But this is the show that does make kind of a strange crossover with a show on a rival network. Savage son Kyle dreams of one day appearing on NBC's 'Fear Factor'.

This makes the gross-out dare program a part of the TV Universe in much the same way 'Jeopardy' has become for so many other shows. It's a TV show for the viewers in the TV Universe, just as it is for us watching at home in the real world. And because it's not a fictional series in which the characters should be existing in the same world as those in the show that mention it, then there's no fear of a dimension-destroying Zonk to worry about.('Fear Factor')

So that's my prognosis and suggestions for ABC crossovers. It's not likely they'll be acted upon, but so be it. At least I tossed my breadcrumbs upon the waters.

But I do have one big wild suggestion for the network that will prove a bit meatier, chum. (Sorry.)

It's a bold headline and ratings grabber that would be perfect for a week during Sweeps, and which could involve every single (fictional) series on the sked no matter the genre.

However, I'll save that for the eventual "Suggestion Box" essay coming soon.




"I just read the Daily News and swear by every word."
- Becker/Fagen

And that's especially true when it comes to David Bianculli, their TV critic/essayist.

Here's what he had to say about ABC's scheduling of the premiere of 'Lost':

Just when you thought ABC had found its way by developing "Lost," one of the best series of the new season, the network shoots itself in the foot by scheduling it all wrong.

"Lost," premiering tonight at 8, stars Matthew Fox of "Party of Five" in a tightly wound, fabulously filmed drama about a group of survivors stranded on a remote island after their passenger jet crashed several time zones off course.

The version sent to critics for preview was a tautly structured two-hour pilot, a superb movie-length thriller that generated momentum, mystery and importance as it went along.

It's the sort of program ABC should have premiered as a two-hour Sunday movie, or at least televised on any other night in one complete sitting. The beginning hour of "Lost" gives you first impressions of the characters and the island; the second hour shreds most of those first impressions, and makes you look at almost every person, and everything else, in a different way.

So what does ABC do with this brilliant new series premiere, written by series co-creators J.J. Abrams (of "Alias") and Damon Lindelof and directed by Abrams? It chops the premiere into two one-hour chunks, spacing them a week apart. The first half, including its brilliant opening nine-minute sequence of the immediate aftermath of the crash, is shown tonight. The second half, which looks at everyone and everything through a much darker prism, will be shown next Wednesday.

This may end up being the dumbest ABC scheduling move, and the biggest waste of a valuable TV asset, since the same network oversaturated its airwaves years ago with endless editions of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
I can't wait to see what the overnights were because I believe ABC screwed up big. They got greedy.
If they wanted to premiere 'The Bachelor' with a two-hour opening, then fine. But they should have then bumped the premiere for 'Lost' to another week. Or vice versa.

Perhaps it just goes to show what a craftsman JJ Abrams is; perhaps every hour of this series will feel like it's ended way too soon for the week. But in this case, the premiere was made with a rhythm for a two hour TV-movie.

From the description of that second hour, for which we now have to wait a full week, I think people just joining the series for the first time (after great word of mouth from their friends) may end up confused and alienated by who these people are. Especially since we will apparently be now seeing totally different sides to their characters.
If the rest of the viewing audience was anything like me and the group of friends with whom I watched tonight, ABC was lost to them as soon as 'Lost' was over. We switched back to the Yankee game (Hooray, Toronto! Go Red Sox!) and then checked out Veronica Mars, a smidgeon of the 'Law & Order' season opener, and then mostly 'Dr. 90210' for the gross factor before finally settling down to the season premiere of 'CSI:NY'.

'The Bachelor' never stood a chance.

So that's why I'm waiting to see how the ratings turn out. How could 'The Bachelor' possibly merit a two-hour grand opening and yet 'Lost', one of the most eagerly awaited series - by one of the most talented creators in the business today, - gets chopped in two and treated so cavalierly?

I used to agree with the maxim that TV network programmers should be nibbled to death by ducks.

Now I think they should be marooned in the jungle on the island of 'Lost' with whatever those monsters may be.

Here's one last thing Bianculli had to say:

"But if 'Lost' crashes because of ABC's off-course scheduling, everyone involved in "Lost" should walk away proud."

A great show, ill-served.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Ever since I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website, it's always been a pleasure to get emails from Hugh, an online pal who's probably just as crazy about the idea of a TV Universe as I am.

So until the time he decides to go into competition with me via his own internet presence, I'll be sharing his views with you.

Enjoy the ride across the Hughniverse!
On your blog, you said, "And for some reason, 'Cosby' seems to have been a victim of sitcom apartheid."

Well, it did have a spinoff with _A Different World_ and have crossovers with it in its first couple of seasons, but the better connection was put forth in the 1990 season, when Cliff met the Muppets. It was actually a sly promotion for the Jim Henson Hour, which was just coming on at the time, and it featured Digit, a now oft-forgotten Muppet but one of the new characters being used on that program. I know, you'll tell me this is just a bad dream Cliff had after eating spicy food. And you're right, most of the show was a dream. However, at the very end of the episode, after he's woken up, Cliff went to the fridge and found Muppet versions of food there to talk to him. This was not a dream, so the Cosby show does join with the Muppets.

An incomplete rundown of Muppet series:Pierre the Rat & Sam and Friends (both from local tv in DC)The Jimmy Dean Show & Our Place (both with Rowlf)Sesame StreetSaturday Night Live (first season)The Muppet ShowFraggle Rock (also an animated show)Muppet Babies (and Lil Monsters, its component in its 2nd season)The Jim Henson Hour (and therefore the Storyteller and Storyteller: Greek Myths, which were part of the anthology)The Ghost of Faffner Hall, Muppets Tonight

Plus, they've made appearances on Larry King Live, The Tonight Show (including Kermit guest-hosting for Johnny), Ed Sullivan, Flip Wilson, etc., and they were featured on variety shows from everyone from the Osmonds and Julie Andrews to Nick & Jessica last year. Tonight, they are to be at the Emmys. The Muppet gang have had their share of specials (such as Sex & Violence and the Valentine Special, up through the Very Merry Muppet Christmas two years ago) as well as crossed over to the Cineverse, as you know.

This list just hints at Henson Productions. There have been other crossovers as well:Luke Skywalker and the Droids on the Muppet Show tie to the Star Wars Universe (the Droids were also on Sesame Street; you mentioned some televerse connections on the blog--don't forget the Clone Wars cartoons on Cartoon network)Hamlet (Mel Gibson) on Sesame Street (he re-creates his movie role), as well as--
Jughead Jones tying to all the Archie series (and arguably Sabrina, although it's more a stretch)
Beetle Bailey and Sargeant Snorkle linking to their strip (and, in the news comics world, it's tied to Hi & Lois) and other King Features Strips
Superman and Batman & Robin (from the Filmation cartoons)

Also, Ed Grimley was on Muppets Tonight!, giving a reinforcement to SNL, and bringing in ties with SCTV and Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley.
I left some things off the Muppet list, like Bear in the Big Blue House, the Animal Show (which, since it was originally part of the "FOX Clubhouse", might be argued to tie in with those other shows), Animal Jams (the evolution of that show), Big Bag, Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (which opens up several directions too) and CityKids.

One interesting near miss (not really a zonk, as you'll see) was the summer kids' series "Crayola Kids Adventures". Produced a few years ago, it had kids in versions of classics, including Gulliver's Travels and "The Trojan Horse". The show was supposed to feature a pair of muppet character hosts, but they never used the muppets (despite using them in promos), so I guess it's a Might-Have-Been. When I do something for you on Odysseus, I'll bring this show in.

One last bit or two of Muppety goodness:Kermit is in some new commercials (the last I saw was a PSA for eye disease, believe it or not--nothing like having a ping-pong eyed one tell you to see the opthomologist)When I was recounting Muppet links, I forgot one big one--the Fonz and Richie were in a SesSt. segment for brushing your teeth.
That gives a direct link to Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Out of the Blue, Mork and Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachi, plus the animated HD Gang and L&S and Mork shows. I count Love American Style and its revamp in that cross, so any other shows coming off of it/them are tied in.

I've never asked your take on anthologies actually. I tend to like the idea of an "anthology rule", whereby all shows under an anthology's title are linked. Seldom does an anthology or variety show spinoff a program (Simpsons from Tracey Ullman, Mama's Family from Carol Burnett, Family Dog from Amazing Stories), but it comes in handy when it does occur.

Also, I don't have any notes in front of me, but it seems like 77 Sunset Strip (or another of those similar shows) actually came from an anthology, same as The Rifleman (which in turn spun off Law of the Plainsman). The reason it all just crossed my mind is that CBS in 1987 ran a summer showcase of flopped pilots. They had numbers viewers could call at the end to try and win the show a spot; none made it. Two I can remember were Puppetman, a Henson Production which could fit well with Greg the Bunny and a version of the Saint, which then was turned into a series of tv-movies. I think some were on CBS Late Night.

Monday, September 20, 2004


It appears that my dream of placing 'Jack & Bobby' in the same universe as 'The West Wing' have been dashed, by nothing more than a handful of "Kerry-Edwards" campaign buttons.

So now that we have to deal with the McCallister boys as denizens of Earth Prime-Time, we should examine the world facing the future McCallister presidency nearly forty years from now.....

At some point between 2000 and 2050 AD, the Earth is looted by aliens.
('Buck Rogers')
If this looting has already begun, the aliens are probably using stealth, under the cover of war. It was probably the aliens who looted the Iraqi museums and cultural centers after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"Stuff happens." I think Rumsfeld is working for them.......

AIDS virus cure is found.
('Mercy Point')
At least President McCallister will not have to worry about the devastating AIDS crisis by the time he takes office. But of course, the microscopic world is constantly evolving, and there will always be a new viral threat - as demonstrated by the African plague of 2018. ('Jack & Bobby')

Complete map of the human brain specifically identifies all physiological and emotional centers of activity.
('Mercy Point')

The War of 2012 is waged, in which Conan O'Brien loses his freakishly long legs.

The Russians experience a totalitarian coup, perhaps due to their involvement in the War of 2012.
('Babylon 5')

The Pokeball is invented. Pokemon trainers appear.

The first civilian lunar colony is established at Mare Tranquilitis.
('Babylon 5')
Of course, there had been secret military installations since the 1960s; even the spy agency CONTROL held secret meetings on the lunar surface. ('Get Smart')

(For those who may be wondering, the fuel waste dumps on the far side of the moon did indeed explode at the turn of the millennium, triggered by a laser blast from a 7-Up spokesman. However, that did NOT cause the moon to break free of its orbit. The events depicted in 'Space: 1999' were the coma-induced fantasies of Commander Koenig who barely survived those blasts.)

The colonization of Mars is begun.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')
"Colonization" might be too optimistic a term. A few individuals had served as pioneers on the Red Planet by this time. ('The Ray Bradbury Theater')

But more likely this next wave would be a military beachhead meant to secure Mars for use by humans. It would be decades before their presence would stir up conflict with the Mysterons. ('Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons')

Pokemon League is established.

First Lunar Colony established [specifically] for mine workers and families.
('Mercy Point')

Ireland and Northern Ireland are reunited, mostly due to the political use of violence.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')

The Iraqis undergo a totalitarian coup.
('Babylon 5')
I blame Haliburton. Or maybe Howell Industries. ('Gilligan's Island')

Advances in genetic technology make human organ growing and cloning possible.
('Mercy Point')
In actuality, the cloning of humans has been going on in the TV Universe since at least the 1970s. But those were either rogue experiments or secret government operations. ('The X-Files', for example)

By this point in time, the government probably felt it was safe (politically as well as scientifically) to announce that the technology was viable.

The 52nd state is admitted to the Union.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')
Popular thinking would figure this to be Cuba, and that the 51st state must have been Puerto Rico. But as this is the TV Universe, I'll go out on a limb and say that it will be the Isle of Jantique ('Going To Extremes'), which probably became a U.S. territory in the wake of the War of 2012.

The last gasoline-powered motorcycle is built.
('Babylon 5')

The New United Nations declares that no Earth Citizen shall be made to answer for the crimes committed by his race or by an ancestor.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')
Except for the court of public opinion then, President McCallister would not be held accountable for his mom's pot smoking, grade fixing, or the murder of her Mexican busboy husband.

(Yeah, surrrrre he just took off before Bobby was born! I think the police department in Hart, Missouri, should investigate that odd patch of cement in the basement!)

Energy depletion crisis on Earth. Global Environmental Alliance is established to resolve the crisis.
('Mercy Point')
Gas reserves depleted on Earth.
This could be the crisis that propels McCallister into the White House.

Interesting that both shows picked the same year for this cataclysmic event. Good science fiction writers have always been able to correctly extrapolate the future. (DC Fontana accurately predicted in a 'Star Trek' episode that the first moon landing mission would be launched on a Wednesday!)

So what do they know about this energy crisis that the rest of us don't know? I blame Dick Cheney and his secret cabal of advisers!

Television is no longer a form of entertainment on Earth.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')
I probably won't be alive by this point, but Life wouldn't be worth living anyway.....

The world is at war with the mysterious Varauta army.
As opposed to the "army" of Vanuata, the Islands of Fire. "They came at us with spears!" ('Survivor')

Lunar Colony is expanded to accommodate Earth's growing population.
('Mercy Point')

Vice President Karen Carmichael leaves office.
('Jack & Bobby')
From her appearance in the pilot, I don't get the sense that Karen Carmichael left office in disgrace. It could be that President McCallister died in office, and Carmichael was then sworn in as President. (But an onscreen graphic should have properly identified her as 'President Carmichael'.)

Again, thinking in terms of the TV Universe, she may have resigned the office to accept the leadership position offered to her by the residents of the Lunar Colony mentioned above.

Much of Southern California, including Los Angeles, sinks into the Pacific after the Hermosa Earthquake.
('Star Trek: The Next Generation')
And so the crossover with the world of Steely Dan lyrics takes place.......

"Tried to warn ya!"


(Today's entry would not have been possible without Edgar Governo's invaluable website "The History Of Things That Never Were". It is a launching pad to fictional timelines for TV shows as well as for movies, books, comics, and video games. You should check it out; the link is on the left side of this page.)

Sunday, September 19, 2004

"Weekend News Update"

The WB's "Smallville" is set to introduce a number of familiar faces from comic book mythology when its new season begins. In addition to Erica Durance's previously announced multi-episode stint as Lois Lane, the series has found an actor to play the Flash.

As already reveal in some comic circles, Kyle Gallner ("The District") will play Bart Allen, alter ego of the speedy Flash in the episode "Run," airing in mid-October. Bart is described by The Hollywood Reporter as a street kid who plays by his wits.

The character is currently only slated for a single episode.

('Smallville' takes place in one of the alternate dimensions of the TV Universe; probably the same one that houses 'The West Wing'.

In the main TV Universe, The Fastest Man Alive and The Man Of Steel weren't contemporaries, however. 'The Flash' appeared nearly forty years after 'The Adventures Of Superman' had taken place. And 'Batman' made a name for himself in those years in-between.

Only in the comics would all three be true contemporaries.)
Fox has picked up an untitled drama about a small-town Midwestern family that is uprooted when the mother wins a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Multigenerational drama is a hot genre at Fox thanks to the strong appeal of "The O.C."

"What we like so much about this project is that it not only captures the youthful voice but also taps into adult story lines," said Jennifer Nicholson-Salke, senior vp drama development at Fox's sibling studio 20th Century Fox Television. "It's great way to do a family show with the backdrop of politics."
Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
He's the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She's a CIA agent in need of a plausible cover story. Someone upstairs in the government has the bright idea to have Mr. Ambassador and Ms. Agent marry, and therein lies the premise of a comedy-drama in the works at Fox Broadcasting.

Former "Sex and the City" scribe Amy Harris wrote the script, partly inspired by the scandal over the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame as the wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson in various media reports shortly after Wilson wrote a newspaper op-ed piece critical of the Bush administration.

"It just got me thinking about how amazing it would be to be an ambassador's wife as a cover for a CIA agent," Harris said. "I've always loved caper shows like 'Alias' and 'Remington Steele,' and I was thinking how funny it could be to have two people who don't even know each other forced into the most intimate relationship of all and having to fake it." Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
Italian producers began shooting a television film about the life of Pope John Paul II in southern Poland, where the pontiff grew up and began his church career.

The film crew began shooting scenes Saturday of a young and athletic Karol Wojtyla kayaking in Lake Dobczyce near Krakow, where he served as bishop from the 1950s, said Marcin Marcinkiewicz, a spokesman for the producers.
"Karol, the story of a man who became pope" is to be broadcast in two 90-minute segments on Italian television.

The film is adapted from a historical account by Italian writer Gian Franco Svidercoschi, with the first part set during World War II and the second in postwar Poland. While most of the movie will be filmed in Poland, some scenes will be shot at the Vatican.

(With another TV movie about his life which starred Albert Finney, and his testimony during a murder trial in Rome, Wisconsin ('Picket Fences') and the loss of his ring to Sophia Petrillo in Miami ('The Golden Girls'), Pope John Paul II was already slated to join the TV Crossover Hall of Fame someday. This will be icing on the cake!)___________________
On Tuesday, the city of New York named a tiny access road leading to the "Law & Order" studios at Pier 62 just that. Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater & Broadcasting, said "Law & Order" -- which begins its 15th season next week -- has pumped more than $700 million into Gotham's economy.

Moreover, the show has sparked three spinoffs, including the soon-to-bow "Law & Order: Trial by Jury." Wolf, who was presented with the official street sign, was accompanied to the event by NBC Universal Television Group prexy Jeff Zucker and "Law & Order" cast members including new recruit Dennis Farina.

Beginning this season, all "Law & Order" shows will be officially part of the city's "Made in NY" campaign and will use the "Made in NY" logo in their credits.

(Which certainly explains why Mayor Bloomberg will be seen in the season opener this coming Wednesday!)____________________
Germany's state-run radio is broadcasting in a new language - Klingon.

The popularity of the show in Germany and abroad prompted Deutsche Welle network to offer online reports and audio clips in Klingon.

The station said the language will be added to the existing 30 languages that they already use on their homepage.
"We wanted something special to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the site," said a spokesperson.

The Klingon reports on the Deutsche Welle website are supposed to underline the station's philosophy of multicultural, intergalactic openness.

"We should celebrate our 10-year presence in the online universe with a cross-border language," DW director Erik Bettermann said. "This should help users from other galaxies get an impression of Germany."

(Germans and Klingons.... Like Yente would say, it's the perfect match!)
Traylor Howard, who's starred in such shows as "Boston Common" and "Bram and Alice," is joining the cast of USA Network's "Monk."

She'll play a single mom and former bartender named Natalie who becomes neurotic detective Adrian Monk's (Tony Shalhoub) new assistant. Howard essentially replaces Bitty Schram, who left the show a couple of weeks ago.

"Every successful series changes over the course of its life," says Jeff Wachtel, head of original programming at USA. "We were fortunate to have Bitty Schram in our cast for two and a half seasons, and we are thrilled to have Traylor Howard join our cast now."

(I wish Ms. Howard all the luck in the world. I'm still going to miss Bitty Schram though.....)___________________________
Drummer Kenny Buttrey, who recorded hits with Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Jimmy Buffett, died Sunday. He was 59.

Family members said he died of cancer at his home.

Buttrey worked much of his career in Nashville recording studios, providing the percussion for albums including Dylan's "Nashville Skyline" and "Blonde on Blonde," and Young's "Harvest."

"He told me the other day that the two songs that were his favorites were 'Lay Lady Lay' with Bob Dylan and 'Heart of Gold' with Neil Young," said his wife, Cheri Buttrey.

Buttrey's other drummer credits include Buffett's "Margaritaville" and Robert Knight's R&B single "Everlasting Love." He also played with the Southern rock group Barefoot Jerry.

(I added this because I'm wondering how long had Buttrey been suffereing from cancer. A few years ago, Dharma Liberty Finkelstein Montgomery had auditioned for Bob Dylan himself to be his new drummer. Did they already know back then in the TV Universe that they would eventually lose Kenny Buttrey?)



Jennifer Lopez didn't add anything to her standings in the League of Themselves, that hardly exclusive club of folks who portray fictionalized versions of themselves on TV. She's already appeared as herself on this aging gay chucklefest, which already made the connection to her job as a Fly Girl on 'In Living Color'. So this return gig was a case of Been There Done That.

Spread the booty - er, bounty, JLo. Show up on some other programs where you can play yourself. HBO has two possibilities: 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Entourage'. The late, great 'Action' would have been a fantastic place for you to shine as well.

Next week, Janet Jackson appears on the show as herself, and I'm surprised more shows haven't landed her a guest spot as her own self even before her wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl earlier this year. Not that her nip-mishap will be mentioned during her appearance. The producers figured that after all this time, it's a case of Been There Done Tit For Tat.

In other news concerning the League of Themselves, Harry Dean Stanton joins Sean Penn and Elvis Costello in Charlie's group for male bonding. And he came away with the better reviews from several TV critics. With that deadpan delivery and off-kilter undercurrent to his personality, he should be utilized more often as a himselfer.

(Note to self: don't use that word. Sounds like what you call a masturbator in temple......)