Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Writer/Producer Bryce Zabel expressed an interest in seeing an essay I wrote for the old Tubeworld Dynamic website back in 1999, which envisioned a link between his show 'Dark Skies' and Glenn Gordon Caron's 'Now & Again'. It was an easy link to create since both featured Eric Close in the lead roles.

Unfortunately, my disk containing the files for 1999 was corrupted. (Luckily my Western showcase for that year was kept on a separate disk!) So I had to take the basic premise and rewrite it. That effort follows.

Mr. Zabel has visited my site in the past, so hopefully he'll return and see this rejiggered spotlight on my Toobworld past.......


Just as challenging as finding new splainins for "recastaways" (those characters whose features have been altered by casting changes back in the Real World) is the search for new splainins for lookalikes.

It's o'bvious as to what causes many TV characters to resemble each other... as far as the Real World is concerned - the same actors keep getting cast over and over again. It's a process I've dubbed "urichosis", named for the late Robert Urich. (Mr. Urich just might hold the record for the number of leading roles in prime time series. Even if he doesn't, I like the sound of "urichosis".)

As for splainins regarding lookalikes, one can only depend on the excuse of "identical cousins" just so many times.
But there are plenty of other options:

dimensional counterparts
time travelers
plastic surgery
transporter malfunctions

And then within categories like those above, there can be variations.

Take for example two main characters portrayed by Eric Close - John Loengard in 'Dark Skies' and "Michael Newman" in 'Now & Again'.

Technically, there was never a chance they would be mistaken for each other should a character from one show happen to bump into the Eric Close character from the other series. 'Dark Skies' aired its last episode in 1997 and 'Now & Again' began broadcasting in 1999. So the two characters were at the peak of their resemblance to each other - in the Real World. But in Toobworld, they were separated by decades, as 'Dark Skies' was set in the 1960s while 'Now & Again' took place in the year that it aired.

You may have noticed that I put quotation marks around the name "Michael Newman". That's because it was an alias for the character. Originally he was Michael Wiseman, a bloated, middle-aged schlub who accidentally fell in front of a subway train.

Now only his brain survived, and it was housed in a new super-body that closely resembled John Loengard, a man caught up in the nightmare half-truths of the alien conspiracy throughout the 1960s. That's because Newman's body was cloned from the DNA collected from Loengard.

But John Loengard was an ordinary man, trapped in extraordinary circumstances. How did his clone become nearly impervious to cellular damage? And how did Dr. Theo Morris get hold of such DNA?

In the final episode of 'Dark Skies', we learned that Loengard volunteered for a dangerous Majestic 12 mission - that he would take the place of the next known target for alien abduction. (That man was Governor Ronald Reagan of California.)

Loengard was abducted as expected; and the last we saw of him, he was still trapped - with his augmented, age-accelerated son - inside the Hive's mothership.

We know the aliens were experimenting on human subjects, infecting them with ganglia that would eventually render them as empty thralls subservient to the Hive.

Perhaps there were other experiments for which they now had John Loengard as their test subject.

More than likely, Majestic 12 and the Government were able to rescue John Loengard, his son, and Juliet. We don't have any televised proof of this, as the series ended on a cliffhanger.

But I imagine producers are nothing if not optimists, so Bryce Zabel and his partners must have had a plan of rescue to keep the show alive.

In execution of that rescue, I think Majestic 12 was also able to capture alien data and files that would prove useful to the humans as well. And that would include the information gathered about the experiments conducted on John Loengard's cellular structure.

In the thirty years since, Government scientists continuted the research, using that same DNA of Loengard's; cloning it over and over again for fear that they would not be albe to recreate the same results using someone else's DNA.

Based on his age, I don't think Dr. Morris was in charge of the the research from the very beginning. He just happened to come up through the ranks of the scientific team over the years to finally oversee the project just as they were finally able to transplant a brain into the superhuman shell that at least superficially resembled a man from the 1960s named John Loengard.

And what of Mr. Loengard himself?

I'd like to think he's still out there, fighting the good fight against the alien conspiracy. Look how many things he could have investigated, either working with or working against Majestic 12:

The Watergate break-in
The Iran-Contra deal
The assassination of John Lennon
The death of Pope John Paul I (and the election of a Polish Pope)
The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The plane crash of JFK, Jr.
The Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal

Perhaps an older actor could portray Loengard as he might appear today - Robert Wagner, perhaps? - and he could team up with the mirror image of his younger self, "Michael Newman", for a TV movie that might provide closure for both series at the same time.

Think of the potential for ratings based on the publicity surrounding such a concept!

Well, I'd watch anyway.....



WordsSayNothing said...

Milli Vanilli? I don't know if anyone would really care about that.

Toby said...

Well, of course, first off... it was a joke to cap off the list.

But remember, there was the 'Dark Skies' episode in which the Beatles appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' was used by the Hive in their plot to control the human populace.

So why not a storyline in which the dubbed recordings of Milli Vanilli had subliminal messages inserted by the Hive?

And maybe the death of the guy from Milli Vanilli wasn't a suicide after all; maybe he knew too much about the "Truth"....