Saturday, November 13, 2004


CBS news has fired the producer who cut into "CSI: NY" to report the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The staffer, a female senior producer, broke into the crime drama shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday with the report from "Up to the Minute" anchor Melissa McDermott, outraging viewers who missed the end of the show.

According to a source, the producer failed to follow standard procedures that require a senior CBS News executive to be consulted before interrupting regular programming. The fact Arafat already had been reported near death for several days also figured in the network's decision. The source said the producer disregarded explicit, advance instructions that breaking news of Arafat's death -- if it occurred during prime time -- was to be reported with a news "crawl" at the bottom of the screen.

"Arafat had been literally on his deathbed for a week. Everyone knew he was going to die. It was just a matter of when," the source said.

CBS apologized for the interruption Thursday, saying an "overly aggressive" staffer "jumped the gun on a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news."

CBS declined to comment on the firing yesterday, but the network rebroadcast the episode last night.

If she broke explicit rules that had been set, then yeah, I guess I'd have to go along with the dismissal. But it's not like the infamous "Heidi" interruption of a football game back in the sixties. There wasn't much chance for the audience to get the info they missed before CBS re-broadcast the episode two nights later. With that live football game, the news of who won would have been revealed at any other source for information. And who really wants to see a taped replay of a game's finale... unless you're a 2004 Red Sox fan?

I'll be curious now to see what the ratings were for that 'CSI: NY' episode from both Wednesday and Friday night; to see how they stacked up.

CBS had already yanked 'dr. vegas' from that Friday timeslot for the November Sweeps.... I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the audience actually increased to watch the repeat of the episode after all the attention it got for being pre-empted!




To conclude the trilogy about TV shows that present two different TV universes*, we hearken back to Yesteryear, where we hear the cry of "Hi Ho, Silver!"

Heap big problem, Kemosabe - there are two men making that cry.

'The Lone Ranger' began its run on TV with Clayton Moore as the Masked Man. But when contract negotiations broke down between Moore and the producers, John Hart was brought in to assay the role of the Lone Ranger.

The suits must have thought that since the character was hidden away behind a mask, then the kids in the audience would never be able to figure out that there had been a switcheroo.

But as my Iddiot friend Stan could tell you, they noticed.

The experiment lasted two season, but it was obvious from the ratings that they couldn't pull the wool over the kids' eyes. So they brought back Clayton Moore to once again pull the mask over his eyes.

So instead of an alternate dimension at the beginning or the end of the episode, we now had a series that displayed the variant in the middle of the show's run.

But there's another splainin for the Lone Ranger who looked like John Hart. That's because he was John Hart, playing the Lone Ranger on a TV show that was seen by the populace of TV Land. What we saw during those two seasons were episodes from the Toobworld version of the Lone Ranger legend.

[Something similar happens all the time in the literary universe. One of the best examples is "Venus On The Half Shell". This book was written by Philip Jose Farmer as 'Kilgore Trout', the fictional author chronicled in various stories by Kurt Vonnegut.]

This splainin comes in handy decades later when John Hart appeared on shows like 'Happy Days' and 'The Greatest American Hero' as the man who portrayed the Lone Ranger on their TV shows.

It wouldn't be the only time we got to see the TV shows that the people of TV Land watched. Just recently there was a TV movie about the Brady Bunch, which had Mike Brady becoming President of the United States. Using the actors from the movie versions of the story, most likely they're the version known to other TV characters as 'The Brady Bunch'.

[It's always been my contention that the likes of the blended families who became 'The Brady Bunch' were the inspiration for a TV show within the TV universe. That's why so many other shows ('Day By Day' & 'The X-Files', for example) refer to 'The Brady Bunch' as a TV show and not part of their own universe.]

So Clayton Moore's portrayal embodied the real Lone Ranger in Toobworld, while John Hart was not the real thing but an incredible simulation.

But if the idea that a TV show we watch is watched by TV characters we watch is too much data input for your 2.0 mind, go back to the simpler splainin of the alternate universe. It will prevent your head from spinning so much that you'd want to put a silver bullet through your brain.

And on that cheery note....


*This trilogy of essays dealt with series that had full season pickups for their alternate dimensions. Next time up, we'll look at a few "singular" shows.....

Friday, November 12, 2004



The second example of two TV dimensions within the same series begins its story in an episode of 'Make Room For Daddy' ('The Danny Thomas Show'). Danny Williams flew out Hollywood where he was supposed to be met by a public relations agent named Joey Mason. Mason was a put-upon young man, harried by the pressures of the job and the demands of his extended family. Although nothing seemed to go right for Joey, somehow is all worked out okay in the end.

This episode served as a spin-off to showcase Joey Bishop, who played Joey Mason. But when 'The Joey Bishop Show' debuted, he was now known as Joey Barnes; same job, same family, same life. The names may have been changed, but they were occupying the same space in the TV Universe. Like Lazarus A & B in 'Star Trek', the premise of the TV world was faced with a cataclysmic contradiction.

Okay, so only to me, but still! Something had to give.

A solution finally arrived by the second season of 'The Joey Bishop Show': the premise about Joey Barnes working as a public relations agent was scrapped; everybody else in the Barnes family was "disappeared".

Joey Barnes was now a newlywed TV talk show host broadcasting from New York. Based on conversations during that second season, it was apparent that Joey had been hosting his late night TV show for several years.

Now we had two Joey Barneses and a Joey Mason leading the same life as the West Coast Joey Barnes. So like soap in a wet fist, we just squeeze out that first season of 'The Joey Bishop Show' and plop it into the alternate dimension. This way we can keep both Joey Mason and the second Joey Barnes, even though they look alike, and just pray that Ellie Barnes never made the mistake of going to bed with Joey Mason!

Some might think that by airing in the first season, the episodes about Joey Barnes the PR agent should be given preeminence; that Joey 1 should stay in the main TV dimension.

But Joey 2 lasted longer, with at least 2 more seasons (moving over to CBS for the last one). And Joey and Ellie took in a boarder during that last year - Rusty Williams, the son of Danny Williams.

Danny Williams is an integral character of the TV Universe, linking his show to 'The Andy Griffith Show', 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Show', and its own sequel, 'Make Room For Granddaddy'. So he must be kept on Earth Prime-Time!

Danny already knew Joey Mason and now his son was living with Joey Barnes 2, so it's almost as if it had been decreed from on high......

Son of a gun!




We usually think of only the sci-fi and fantasy shows when it comes to the concept of a parallel universe: 'Star Trek', 'Sliders', 'Land Of The Giants', 'The Twilight Zone', etc.

But parallel dimensions must be considered a mainstay in other genres as well. Take 'The West Wing' for example. Since Josiah Bartlet is the President of the United States on that show, it must be relegated to another dimension. George W. Bush is the current president in Earth Prime-Time, as established in shows like 'Whoopi' and 'Jack & Bobby'.

And in the main Toobworld, Josiah Bartlet is a surgeon at Boston General. ('St. Elsewhere')

Some TV shows have thrust the concept of an alternate dimension upon themselves by altering their basic concept so much that entire seasons of a series have to be considered as a separate entity taking place in another universe.

I have several examples, but for this entry, I'll just bore you with one.....

In order to cash in on the secret agent craze of the 1960s, 'Burke's Law' jettisoned the scenario of a millionaire playboy Chief of Detectives in Los Angeles and lost all but the main character. Instead of solving murders in his debonnair style among a bevy of famous guest stars, Burke was now a spy working for "The Man".

And yet, when 'Burke's Law' returned in the 1990s, Amos Burke was still in charge of Homicide, working alongside his son Peter. Based on the age of the actor who played Peter (Peter Barton), he must have been born before the original series aired. But Burke didn't get around to marrying Peter's mother until after the series ended.

There's a great un-filmed episode in that. She probably kept secret for a few years the fact that she bore Burke's baby.

In my opinion, the Powers That Be must have decided that we (the viewing audience at home) should follow the adventures of a different Amos Burke. Since Amos Burke 1 ('Burke's Law') was already telecast, and since he is the one who returned to the airwaves in the 1990s, shouldn't we assume that he is the dominant figure, and thus a member of the main TV Universe?

Amos Burke 2 ('Amos Burke, Secret Agent') would then be relegated to an off-shoot world, perhaps the Earth of 'The West Wing' or the Evil Mirror Universe of 'Star Trek'. (And for alls I know, they are one and the same.)

That's all for now, Possums. I'll save the next example for a later entry.



There's a new show in development called 'Utopia'. It’s an hourlong drama about a 16-year-old boy named Jamie who lives in a small, isolated and contented Midwestern town called Utopia. But in Utopia, "Something is Not Right". And Something needs to be done about that.

The show lies tonally between 'Buffy' and 'The O.C.', with a trace of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale".
TV Land and sardonic, cat-loving alien Gordon Shumway -- better known as Alf -- have struck a deal for six more episodes of 'Alf's Hit Talk Show', which debuted as a special in July. Ratings were good enough to warrant more episodes.

Long-time 'Tonight Show' sidekick Ed McMahon will serve as Alf's co-host for the half-hour show, which debuted at 11 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 5.

Merv Griffin and Joe Mantegna were Alf's first guests. Tom Green, Bryan Cranston, Doris Roberts, and musician Leon Redbone are set to appear in future episodes.
Jimmy Smits returned to ABC's 'NYPD Blue' for one last appearance, targeted for the November sweeps period - even though Smits' Bobby Simone died early in the show's sixth season, in the episode titled "Hearts and Souls."

Smits appeared in the 'NYPD Blue' episode titled "The Vision Thing."

According to an ABC source, the show's team initially hoped that Smits' appearance could be a surprise. However, ABC decided to promote the mystery of the Smits return in an effort to goose the rating for the Emmy-winning drama, which has struggled in its final season against NBC's 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and 'Judging Amy' on CBS.
Bravo is moving forward on 'Queer Eye for the Straight Girl' which won't premiere until January 2005. The Fab Five will be replaced by the Gal Pals, a quartet of lifestyle healers in place to help uncertain women as they undergo transformations in anticipation of major life-affirming events. The Gal Pals are Robbie Laughlin, Danny Teeson, Damon Pease and Honey Labrador (the first female to provide a 'Queer Eye'), whose specialties are symbolically described as The Look, The Life, The Locale, and The Lady.
Boycie and Marlene, two of the best-loved characters from BBC hit sitcom Only Fools and Horses, are to reunite for the spin-off Green, Green Grass. The BBC confirmed that a pilot episode about the dodgy car dealer and his long-suffering wife is being filmed. If the pilot, written by Only Fools and Horses creator John Sullivan, is a success it will become a series.

The actors, John Challis and Sue Holderness, are the only ones from the original series taking part. The stars of Only Fools and Horses, David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, will not be involved.

Green, Green Grass will see Boycie and Marlene moving out of Peckham for a more refined life in the country, along with their son Tyler.
UPN is adding "Cuts" to its midseason schedule.

The network has picked up the comedy pilot, a spinoff of its sitcom "One on One," with a six-episode series order.
"Cuts" revolves around Flex's barber brother and a corporation heiress managing a barbershop together.

The characters were introduced in an episode of "One on One" last season, which served as a backdoor pilot for the project.
And saving the best for last.....

Channel 4 of the UK is searching for volunteers to take part in a documentary which will show the decomposition of their bodies when they die. The documentary, the first of its kind in the UK, will be produced in conjunction with London's Science Museum and supervised by scientists.

The experiment will need the full consent of the donor and their family.

The controversial programme, Dust to Dust, was announced as part of Channel 4's forthcoming winter season.
Channel 4 says the documentary, which will take place in a "secure and secret location", will help forensic pathologists with their work.

"This is a scientific experiment," said Kevin Lygo, Channel 4 Director of Television.

"It's an absolutely valid subject to examine death and see what happens to the body."

He added: "The scientific community admits that they are woefully uninformed about what happens to the body when somebody dies."

"There will be nothing salacious about it."

But he added: "We don't mind controversy."


Thursday, November 11, 2004



While discoursing on the alternate versions of Henry VIII, I neglected to mention a third candidate. This Henry can be found in the two-part, final season opener for 'Bewitched': "How Not To Lose Your Head To King Henry VIII".

In trying to free a nobleman trapped in a painting, Samantha Stephens got twitched back to the court of Henry VIII. The trauma of time travel made her lose her memory. And because she was now in a time before she was born, Sam also had no access to her powers.

Without the aid of holographic Al Calavicci and his handheld Ziggy, Sam's husband Darrin learned that she would end up changing History. Sam would become yet another wife for Henry, and in the new timeline she would lose her head.

Everything worked out okay in the end, and Sam and Darrin made it back to their own time with no apparent damage to the timeline. But it's my contention that the timeline for Earth Prime-Time was never in danger. That's because they had not only gone back in Time, but that they were also shunted into another dimension as well.

In these episodes, Henry VIII, as played by Ronald Long (a favorite TV character actor), was something of a buffoon. His saving grace was that he was eclipsed by the idiocy of the sycophants surrounding him.

Low-wattage intelligence was pandemic in this universe, and that would be the factor that sets it apart from all other TV dimensions. ('Sliders' showed that a parallel Earth could be differentiated by the most trivial of details - like chin hair being standard for women.)

This tendency towards dimwittedness would affect all of the characters in this TV dimension (which I have dubbed "Earth Prime-Time 4 Dummies). Both the fictional characters as well as those based on historical figures and other real-life folk would all have opened up a big can of dumb-ass. As such we've found the perfect dimension to store some sitcoms which portrayed a few US Presidents in a very bad light, lit by a dim bulb.

First up there's 'The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer'. (The "P" is pronounced.) In this world-view, Abraham Lincoln was a runty, randy Chief Executive who wanted to fourscore with the ladies. This Washington's Abe had washboard abs, and he engaged in telegraph sex.

And then there's 'That's My Bush!'. Dubya was more like Dopey, invoking every sitcom cliche for the (knuckle)head of the family since the days of Stu Erwin. I think the only one he missed was the collision with the mailman because he was late for work, a la Dagwood Bumstead. (And 'That's My Bush!' could have upgraded that cliche by having the President collide with the Postmaster General.)

I reject the idea that this dimension was created by Sam's alteration of the timeline. It had already been in existence at least since the days of the Roman Empire. Gary and Wyatt were also shunted into that world to rescue Chett during the reign of Emperor Timidius. As it was during the years of Henry VIII, everybody's IQ during that era had significantly dropped by at least XXIV points........

So, anyway, gang.....

That explains why there's such a vast difference between the Henry VIII as seen on 'Bewitched' and the monarch portrayed in 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII'.

It shouldn't be so difficult to accept that Sam and Darrin crossed over to an entirely different dimension. After all, it's the type of activity in which James Kirk and Quinn Mallory also dabbled.

But in the Toobworld timeline, Samantha Stephens did it before them both.

The sisters are doing it for themselves!


Wednesday, November 10, 2004



The death of a Vegas high-roller in a chartered jet on a runway at Logan Airport in Boston brought together the casts of 'Crossing Jordan' and 'Las Vegas' for the crossover of the week.

It played out like a "Marvel Team-Up" comic book: It began with initial suspicions and antagonism until they came to a mutual appreciation of each other's talents which they called upon to defeat the bad guys.

They even found a way to get the leads to intermingle, commingle and generally make kissy-face without screwing up the continuity of either show.

This was the first official crossover for either show although both of them have dabbled with the concept under the radar. 'Crossing Jordan' made reference to the local church of St. Eligius ('St. Elsewhere') and posited a new line of work for Herbert Viola, the character played by Curtis Armstrong on 'Moonlighting'. (And he never struck me as the leather mask type!)

And as for 'Las Vegas', they have a slew of unofficial crossovers thanks to the League of Themselves members; those people who appear as themselves in fictional settings. As a matter of fact, this crossover had a new one with Snoop Dogg in da house as he scouted the Montecito Casino for locations to use in his new music video.

Other links for the Snoopster include:
'The Tracy Morgan Show'
'Just Shoot Me'
'The Steve Harvey Show'

I have another, more personal, reason to consider this crossover to be A Very Special Episode......

They aired on the nights of November 7th and 8th. November 8th would have been my Dad's 75th birthday.

And the character who kicked off the plotline for the crossover was named Tommy O'Brien, just like my Dad.

Unfortunately for both of them, they were in the same state of existence......

I miss you, Dad.




Noted sci-fi author Lin Carter coined the phrase "Para-Terra" to describe an alternate dimension that correlates to, but is not the same as, the one in which the original Earth is located. And that's what we have thanks to TV shows like 'Sliders' and 'Star Trek' and several episodes of 'The Twilight Zone'. The nice thing about all those countless parallel dimensions to the main TV Universe is that there's always a place to tuck away a TV show which has been remade.

And it's usually on the Toobworld known as Earth Prime-Time Delayed where a later version of an original TV show gets relocated. Past examples include 'The New Addams Family', 'Dark Shadows', and 'Sea Hunt'. On the other hand, the 'Burke's Law' [of the 1990s], and 'Bret Maverick' are continuations of their originals and so would remain in the original TV Universe.

It's a ploy that can work for a specific character as well; one who has been recast several times over. This usually happens only to historical figures like Abraham Lincoln or Adolph Hitler, whose lives keep getting the TV movie or mini-series treatment.

Take President John F. Kennedy, for example. It seems like a year (or TV season) doesn't go by without at least one version of the New Camelot being produced.

We could always say that each and everyone of those versions of JFK belong in the main Toobworld, and that any differences in physical appearance due to casting can be shrugged off as variations due to historical perspective. Those are all big words and they sound deep, so people should buy that argument. But what the bleep, there are all those parallel dimensions that need their own Kennedy mythos, so why not spread around the wealth? (Just don't ask me to choose among them for the one to elevate into the main TV Universe and leave the others not ready for Earth Prime-Time. I can't be that discerning.)

If it's a situation where that historical character is dramatized to interact with fictional characters within a TV show, like when "Bill & Hillary Clinton" met Fran Fine ('The Nanny'), then it should be relegated to the main TV Universe of Earth Prime Time, and the historical perspective argument should be invoked.

A current case in point is the life of King Henry VIII. Earth Prime-Time already has the remarkable Keith Michell, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of the much-married monarch in 'The Six Wives Of Henry The VIII'. And as the Caretaker of Toobworld, I see no reason to depose him.

But now 'Masterpiece Theater' comes along with a new look at Henry's need for a good marriage counsellor several decades later. I see no reason why His Majesty, as portrayed by Ray Winstone, couldn't be the master of his domain over in the world of Earth Prime-Time Delayed.

That perpetually late dimension shouldn't feel as if it's second-rate or that it's getting hand-me-downs, however. After all, they get an Anne Boleyn who looks like Helena Bonham Carter....

And that ain't too shabby, Your Highness!

Tele-Toby The First

Tuesday, November 9, 2004


November 8th, 2004 would have been my father's 75th birthday. I marked it by having breakfast with my cousin Maggie and her husband Ed before they left by train to Florida, and then I went to the ABC studios to watch a taping of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'.

They say that there are two things which you should never see being made - laws and sausages. In my novel-in-progress about Toobworld, I added "TV shows" to that group. But I was lucky in this case, as the whole proceedings went by painlessly enough.

I was invited by a fellow Iddiot, Brian-El, who was going to be auditioning that day for a chance to be a contestant on some future episode. I was seated on the aisle in the last row up, but behind Meredith Viera, so there's a good chance I may be seen when they do audience shots.

During the audience warm-up, comic Paul Michael Mercurio singled me out, claiming that I wasn't giving him anything during the reaction practices. He wanted to hear a "ha-HA!" from me and I obliged him with a "ha-HA!" that would have made Nelson Muntz proud - if he had been a pirate. I may have scared off Mercurio, but the audience gave me a nice round of applause.

Sitting at home, the game doesn't look all that hard, and from the audience it doesn't seem any more difficult. I'm sure though that it's quite a different story once you're seated opposite Meredith.

Still, I couldn't believe the questions for which they needed help from the audience, or phoned a friend, or missed completely, or even just walked away from. But then again, I would have been wrong when it came to identifying the culminating celebration of the High Holiday period in the Jewish faith. (The answer was "Yom Kippur" and even with the "50-50" elimination, I would still have gone with Rosh Hashanah. But what do I know? I'm a lapsed Catholic; I don't even know all of my Holy Days of Obligation. Or, as we say in the O'Brien Clan, "O'Bligation".)

The two episodes I watched were the 499th and the 500th. (Quite frankly, I didn't even realize it was still on the air.)

It seems that whenever I go to shows and sit in the audience, there's something epochal about them. My friend Scully and I were in the audience for the 100th episode of 'The Late Show With David Letterman' and we can be seen getting copies of Dave's vacation picture from the Letterman Himself.

This show, even if I show up on screen or not, has no bearing on my own personal quest to join my own TV Crossover Hall of Fame. First off, I'd be pretty desperate to include it unless I was the actual contestant.

But I am already well qualified to induct myself. (Oh, is THAT what they call it now?)

1] I was made a citizen of Joyville on 'The Hap Richards Show' and I still have the original document to prove it.
2] I appeared on 'The Ranger Station' and proudly proclaimed myself as "Toby Hans-# O'Brien". (My cousin, Laurie Hansen, had just given her name before me and I was suffering stage fright.)
3] At many of the hockey games when Gerry Miller was a player, I was often seen in the stands as a hockey fan. (The TV movie 'The Deadliest Season'.)

These two episodes of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' won't be seen until March 24th and March 25th, 2005, so make your plans accordingly!

One nice bit of Toobworld cross-pollination: one question was about a celebrity who answered the jury questionaire with "I have been a resident of Chicago since 1983, and I have a little talk show."

The contestant, David the Drum Major, pointed out that he watches the show every day when he should be at work instead, and so he knew it was "Oprah". Meredith Viera then demanded to know if he watched 'The View'. Ya gotta be smart to be on this show, so of course David said yes!

By the way, they announced during one of the breaks that my brother Iddiot Brian-El (aka Brian Leonard) passed the auditions and will be a future contestant on the show.

As we say around Toobworld Central, Mazel Tob!


Tele-Toby Hans-#

Sunday, November 7, 2004



Don't try to get in my head.
You won't like the mess.
Alan Shore
'Boston Legal'

The Crossover of the Week is between the CBS soap opera 'As The World Turns' and a commercial for Tyson chicken products. We wrote about it yesterday and gave it its own entry in the blog.

This way, we can devote more space to a TV event that's helping to flesh out the TV Universe......

As part of a plan to link UPN's 'Star Trek: Enterprise' more closely with the original 'Trek' series -- 'Enterprise' is prequel to the 1960s cult favorite -- the current series launched a mini-arc that features characters and actors from across the whole history of the science-fiction franchise.

"Borderland," was the first of three episodes guest-starring Brent Spiner. He played the android Data on the first 'Trek' sequel series, 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' and in several 'Star Trek' feature films, most recently 'Nemesis' in 2002.

From TV Guide:
“Brent Spinder begins a three-episode stint as an unsavory geneticist with ties to Data, his Star Trek The Next Generation character. In keeping with Trek continuity, Spiner’s Arik Soong is an ancestor of Data’s inventor, Noonien Soong.

But Arik is a far more menacing figure. He’s in prison for creating “augments,” physically and intellectually enhanced humanoids first developed during the Eugenics Wars (remember Khan?). Here, Archer tries to avert bloodshed by enlisting Arik’s aid in locating the mutant-eers (led by Alec Newman), who have seized a Klingon vessel."

Soong created Khan-like superhumans 20 years prior to the events of this episode by defrosting a bunch of genetically engineered embryos from the late 20th century and raising them as his own. Ten years later, Soong was captured, tried and imprisoned - but they never found his “kids” until now.

Obviously, the Soong family is particularly enamored of Khan Noonien Singh, as Arik Soong's grandson will name his own child after the genetically enhanced dictator - Noonian Soong.
('Enterprise' & 'Star Trek' & 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' & 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine')

The show is sticking to the continuity of the orginal Kirk-Spock-McCoy series, which established that Khan ruled and enslaved a good chunk of Earth between 1992 and 1996.

In our world, the alternate version was that of the ethnic cleansing in the Baltic states and the horrors of Somalia.
('Enterprise' & 'Star Trek')

There are three new ads for the California Milk Advisory Board, which continue the "Happy Cows" storyline.

This time around, the cows play a prank on a farmer, try to avoid the shade cast by the single cloud in the sky, and lose interest halfway through a hotly contested foot race.

They are no ordinary cows, but bovines with brains. And although they do not walk upright and wear clothes like humans, they may still be related to the cows that were given an evolutionary boost by a meteor's radiation in 'Cows'.

'Cows' was the failed pilot for a comedy series in the UK, created by comedian and actor Eddie Izzard. If it could be compared to anything, I'd have to use 'Dinosaurs!' as the example since it would have shown the foibles of the human race as seen through the lives of these intelligent, humanoid, happy cows.
('Happy Cows' & 'Cows')

From The West Wing Continuity Guide:
"If Bartlet's granddaughter, Annie was 12 six years ago during the pilot of the series, how can she be starting high school the week before The Birnam Wood takes place?"

Tristan Weir emailed us to point this out. We do not have an explanation. Are we to think she has been held back in school or has she been so sick she couldn't keep up with her grade level or is she and or us in some kind of time warp?

Maybe he was so concentrated on getting these people together that Bartlet misspoke and meant to say, "Annie started her last year of high school last week" and he just left out the words "her last year of".

The West Wing Continuity Guide is at:

Edwin Poole of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt grew up watching Perry Mason. In fact, Perry came to him in a dream to tell him that he should take a murder case pro bono.

Edwin Poole may have been fried mentally (He came to work one morning wearing no pants, no underwear.), but his craziness wasn't presenting him with visions of a TV show that should have been part of the reality in the same universe where he resided.

Poole said he grew up watching Perry Mason. Mason was a very famous lawyer; his exploits in the criminal justice system in Los Angeles were the stuff of legend. He probably appeared often in the newspapers and on early local TV out there.

Nothing so far suggests that Edwin Poole could not have been raised in Los Angeles; maybe he moved to Boston after law school. [He wouldn't have been the first - several of the lawyers in the firm of Cage & Fish were not originally from Beantown. ('Ally McBeal')] So that's probably what he meant when he said he grew up watching Perry Mason. It had nothing to do with any television show.

As to him saying that Perry came to him in a dream..... Well, the guy is nuts, remember.
('Boston Legal' & 'Perry Mason')

Ford’s retro-hip 2005 Mustang debuted in a new commercial this past week. And it resurrected the late icon Steve McQueen in a fashion that's reminiscent of "Field Of Dreams".

“If you build it, he will come,” whispers the voice from Beyond to a corn farmer in Chilliwack, British Columbia. He then carves a racetrack into the crops and pulls the Mustang up to the starting line.

And then McQueen, who famously drove a Mustang in 1968’s "Bullitt", swaggers onto the racetrack to take a spin. The blipvert concludes with a tagline that fits both man and machine; “The legend lives.”
('2005 Mustang')

Apparently, in the TV Universe this would actually be the ghost of the late actor. But it should not be linked with the appearance of a TV character he once played back in the fifties. When Ranger Walker was visited by the ghost of bounty hunter Josh Randall a few years back in celebration of CBS TV's fiftieth anniversary, we were able to splain it away rather than let it become a Zonk.

Walker had been dreaming the encounter with the ghost of the real Josh Randall, not with the actor who portrayed him on TV. Walker must have been reading something on Randall's life and then nodded off at his desk.

So even if Josh Randall and Steve McQueen are two separate people in the TV Landscape, Randall was only the stuff dreams are made of. But McQueen? He's the boogieman, baby!
('Walker, Texas Ranger' & 'Wanted: Dead Or Alive') Plus:

The Donnas performed in San Francisco.

The Black-Eyed Peas did Ed a favor in 'Las Vegas'.

Stephanie Beacham (ex-Sable, "Dynasty" and "The Colbys") will appear as herself on 'The Bold and the Beautiful' in November.

An empty city street is steadily filled with a procession of characters from film and real life, beginning with an armor-clad gladiator. He is joined by a cast of thousands including Little Orphan Annie, a father recording his son's first bike ride, and a fearsome but well-behaved creature from Alien. All and sundry, of course, converge on a leafy street and ultimately in the living room of a media-savvy family.
('Digital Joy' - Intel's Pentium 4 technology and Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center)

Dr. Gregory House practices medicine at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey.

The song that Charlie Pace wrote, and which became a big hit for the band Driveshaft, - "You All Everybody" - was inspired by a comment by made by an audience member on an episode of Maury Povich's "talk" show.

Just in case you're still not sure of 'Jack & Bobby' 's political sympathies, each episode begins with a montage of 20th-century presidents in their youth: [Franklin] Roosevelt, JFK, etc., but it all stops at Clinton.

This being Hollywood, evidently that's the last president the producers can bear to think about. The argument could be made that in an election year, they didn't want to influence the race. But I'll bet that if Kerry wins, his adolescent mug will be added to the lineup. Don't count on Bush's making it, though, if he's reelected.
— Catherine Seipp is a writer in California who publishes the weblog Cathy's World. She is an NRO contributor.

The forensics team in Boston worked under deadline to prove that a man being held in custody for a possible drug bust might in fact be a long-sought serial killer.

They figured out that he struck only during the phases of a "Blue Moon", the second full moon in a month's period, which only happens every couple of years.

But the readout on Nigel's computer placed the date as November 1st of this year, and there was no "Blue Moon" at that time. The last "Blue Moon" was back in July, and the last full moon before that episode was on the 27th of October. There wouldn't be another one until the end of November.

But it's just another example that Toobworld is NOT the Real World, and we shouldn't be expecting events that transpire on TV to accurately reflect what happens here at home.
('Crossing Jordan')

Full Moons in 2004
January 7th Full Wolf Moon 10:40 am
February 6th Full Snow Moon 3:47 am
March 6th Full Worm Moon 6:14 pm
April 5th Full Pink Moon 6:03 am
May 4th Full Flower Moon 3:33 pm
June 2nd Full Strawberry Moon 11:20 pm
July 2nd Full Buck Moon 6:09 am
July 31st Full Sturgeon Moon 1:05 pm
August 29th Full Fruit/Barley Moon 9:23 pm
September 28th Full Harvest Moon 8:09 am
October 27th Full Hunter's Moon 10:07 pm
November 26th Full Beaver Moon 3:07 pm
December 26th Full Cold Moon 10:06 am

From the TV Chat in the Washington Post:
West Coaster: I'm shocked there isn't more outrage that we on the West Coast got an edited (no lip-synch) version of the Ashlee snafu. One of the biggest TV moments of the year, and we missed out -- thank God for the Internet. So I'm wondering if SNL snips skits for the West Coast when other things go awry, and isn't part of being "live" showing everything, warts and all?

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, there are SO many questions for Lorne Michaels, who has been very very quiet. It's outrageous that they edited out the vocal track for the West Coast feed of last week's 'SNL' so that it would look to viewers as if Simpson had become flustered because her "band" started to play the wrong song, instead of the truth, which is that she came unglued because she'd been caught in the act of lip syncing. Shame on 'SNL' and Michaels for doing that...

Hall member Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, added to his roster on the last Friday before the presidential election, by appearing on CNN and debating with Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. The two debate antagonists had already been caught off-guard once earlier in the month by Jon Stewart of 'The Daily Show' who took them to task for the way they conducted their program, so they might have figured that they would fare better against a puppet.

Boy, were they wrong! Triumph got off the best line: "Jon Stewart made you hees beetch!"

In case anyone was interested in who the other 'Trek' inductees have been up to this point, here's the rundown of the year so far:
January - Captain James T. Kirk
February - Lt. Uhura
March - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
April - Commander Montgomery Scott
May - Yeoman Janice Rand
June - Zephraim Cochrane
Birthday Honors - The Cast Of The Original 'Star Trek':
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichole, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
July - Ensign Pavel Chekov
August - Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
September - Gene Roddenberry
October - The Tribbles
November - Ambassador Sarek

Well, that's it for another week. Please stay tuned!