As far as the Real World is concerned, the SS Poseidon sank beneath the waves last night on NBC. But within the realm of Toobworld, that event hasn't even taken place yet; it will capsize just moments into the New Year, due to a terrorist explosion.
(In the Cineverse, it happened over thirty years ago and will happen again next year. In the literary universe, it happens anew every time somebody reads the novel by Paul Gallico.)
Like the tagline for the TV movie put it, the only hope for survival was up. But not everyone who began the trek towards the hull at the bottom of the ship survived the journey. It wasn't because of how strong they were physically, but their strength of will and spirit. And even then some perished because they had the inner strength to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The TV movie focused on this small band of passengers and as the Poseidon sank deeper, it was assumed that almost everybody else would go down with the ship.
But this is Toobworld. And in the TV Universe, lots of things happen off-screen that we are never aware of. So it's my contention that there were other survivors who escaped... and many of them were probably not even on the passenger manifest.
For precedent, just take a look at the televersion of the Titanic. There are at least five examples of TV characters who were on board the doomed ocean liner and yet were able to escape without resorting to taking up precious space in the lifeboats.
What was their secret? Time travel. And I think they will all be drawn to the Poseidon come New Year's Eve.
THE DOCTOR (DAVID TENNANT) - 'DOCTOR WHO'
Ideally, it could be any one (or more!) of the ten incarnations of the Gallifreyan Time Lord who could have materialized the TARDIS on the ceiling below decks of the Poseidon. (The ship's upside down, remember.) However, three of the actors who played the Doctor have passed away, and Time in the Real World has not been kind to several of the others who assayed the role. For the most believable presence, it would have to be either Christopher Eccleston, who was Doctor Number Nine... Number Nine...... Or David Tennant, who currently wears the mantle of the Time Lord.
And since it's unlikely that Eccleston will be returning to the role any time soon, that practically leaves Tennant by default.
I've always believed that the TARDIS has some kind of precognitive intellect; it knows where to take the Doctor just in the nick of time to avert some kind of disaster. Obviously it didn't arrive before the explosion took place, or the Doctor might have saved the day. So perhaps it brought him there afterwards to counter an even greater threat - the Sea Devils!
Making their first known appearance in Toobworld in 1973 (1972 in the Real World), the Sea Devils had previously battled the Doctor during his third incarnation. There had been some suggestion that there were other colonies around the world and these Sea Devils might have come from one of these nearby the disaster.
The Sea Devils would have seen the capsized vessel as befitting them for a future home. It would also give them access to human technology which they could exploit for the eventual conquest of Earth. (And any human corpses they found would be stock for the larder.)
Swimming in through the blast-hole, the Sea Devils would have found the tenth Doctor waiting for them. And he would not have been without allies.....
JEFFREY JONES (MEENO PELUCE) - 'VOYAGERS!'
Jeffrey Jones first teamed up with time traveler Phineas Bogg on his adventures in 1982. Following the linear time line of Toobworld, he would now be 35 years old. He could have materialized on board the ship at any time in his biological life, but I always side with using the original actor whenever possible.
Now that he was grown up, Jeffrey was probably a Time Agent in his own right, with his own Omni device. But the explosion that sank the Poseidon might be used to splain away the loss of Jeffrey's former mentor Phineas Bogg.
The actor who played Bogg, Jon-Eric Hexum, perished in a bizarre gun mishap over 21 years ago.
TONY NEWMAN & DOUG PHILLIPS (JAMES DARREN & ROBERT COLBERT) - 'THE TIME TUNNEL'
I think Tony and Doug are still trapped in the Time-stream, even after thirty years have passed. The Time Tunnel was a government-sponsored project, so of course there would be a major screw-up.
'The Poseidon Adventure' took place decades after they first entered 'The Time Tunnel', so there would have been no way for them to be forearmed with knowledge that would have been ignored by Captain Gallico anyway (their standard method of operation).
Doug and Tony may not have been yanked out of harm's way in time either, since tech support wouldn't have known what was about to occur. So it is possible one or both of them could have perished.... something to consider for the eventual demise of either actor.
But unless the Time Tunnel was locked in to the spirit as well as the cellular structure for Tony and Doug, then it would send the corpse hurtling through the Time-stream along with the surviving partner. Blegch!
SAM BECKETT (SCOTT BAKULA) - 'QUANTUM LEAP'
The only reason we know Sam Beckett didn't leap into one of the core group of survivors in 'The Poseidon Adventure' is because we didn't see Scott Bakula among them, which is a given rule for the viewing audience.
But he could have leapt into the life of one of the people in the background; just after they went off-screen, around a corner, into the bathroom.
And once Sam Beckett showed up, his holographic companion, Admiral Al Calavicci (as played by Dean Stockwell) was sure to follow.
It wouldn't have been the first time Sam leaped into a situation involving the sinking of an ocean liner, nor would he have been new to the experience of living the life of someone doomed to die. Why he was dropped into this situation would need the computation skills of Ziggy and Gooshie to figure out, but it would all be part of the plan by the Great Bartender in the sky......
DOCTOR BOMBAY (BERNARD FOX) - 'BEWITCHED'
Every time the witch doctor was summoned for a medical emergency, he was always coming in from some wild, hedonistic event, like a safari or a masked ball. Being on board the Poseidon for New Year's Eve would have been plausible for his dance card.
And once they noticed that he was among the passengers, Bob and Wendy Fate would have succumbed to the temptation to sink the Poseidon.
Why? Because of his similarity to both a passenger and a crew member on board the Titanic in the Cineverse. (See 'Titanic' and 'A Night To Remember', respectively.)
ANDREW, THE ANGEL OF DEATH (JOHN DYE) - 'TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL'
Although Bishop Schmidt was struggling with his own inner conflicts, we didn't see angels Monica or Tess there to help him with his moral quandary. But more than likely Andrew was present to help ease the passage of all those about to perish.
And if we didn't see actor John Dye among the actors on board, it could be that he had assumed a different mortal form. Hey, he's an angel. He can do that sort of thing.
JONATHAN CHASE (SIMON McCORKINDALE) - 'MANIMAL'
Say what you will about the show. But as the 'Manimal', Jonathan Chase was a hero. If he had been on board the ocean liner, you know he would have stayed behind rather than save himself, in order to save as many people as he could before it was too late.
However, once the inevitable could no longer be denied, Chase would have had no alternative but to assume the form of some kind of sea creature and escape through the blast hole.
Probably passing the Sea Devils as they showed up......
MARK HARRIS (PATRICK DUFFY) - 'MAN FROM ATLANTIS'
The amphibious humanoid wouldn't have been on board the Poseidon originally. But he may yet show up once it was under the surface (and probably after its classification was changed from a rescue to a retrieval mission).
Working with his colleagues from the Foundation for Oceanic Research who were traveling on board the submersible named "Cetacean".
Also helping out with the investigation would be.....
LEE CRANE (DAVID HEDISON) - 'VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA'
Long retired from active service, Crane might still have been connected with the Nelson Institute for Marine Research.
(Based on the show taking place circa the "future" of 1973, Admiral Harriman Nelson more than likely passed away near the end of the 1990s.)
Or it could be that Crane was also working for FOR with Mark Harris.
For that matter, FOR and NIMR might have been consolidated into one research facility as a cost-cutting measure for both institutes.
So that concludes my look at 'The Poseidon Adventure' and the hypothetical place it might occupy in the Big Picture, the Great Link, of Toobworld. I hope you enjoyed the voyage with me as your captain.
(Not to be confused with the Kiddie TV host seen on 'The Lone Gunmen')