Saturday, January 28, 2006


By now you should all know that in Toobworld, the lives of characters continue in their universe, despite the cancellation of the shows which featured them. Every so often those characters are called back to duty ("Rescue From Gilligan's Island", "Mary And Rhoda", the return of Anthony Fremont and his mother on 'The New Twilight Zone', etc.), and obviously they weren't held in stasis all that time waiting to be recalled.

But now we have an interesting twist on that premise. 'Reunion' was a year-by-year flashback spanning twenty years in the lives of six friends from high school. In the present day, one of those six had been murdered and during the course of the investigation each episode featured a flashback to a specific year.

As the show progressed, we eventually learned that the murder victim was Samantha, but as the show was cancelled while it was only up to the early 1990s chronologically, we never found out who the killer was.

So in this case, these characters had lives already played out and which were vital to the outcome of the plot's resolution, but it's never going to be filled in for us. And that's mostly because the creators of the show were winging it as they went along.

Fox President Peter Liguori announced who was supposed to be Sam's killer. "The best guess at that particular time was that it [the killer] was going to be Sam's daughter [Amy]," he said. With the show cut off so early in its run, there was no way that possibility could be wrapped up in any kind of quick finale resolution, as Amy was just a little kid by the last aired episode.

But Kristen of E! Online said, "I have it on high authority that at the last minute, right before the show was canceled, they were planning to change the killer to someone else."

Here's how Zap2It reported the story:

When FOX lowered the boom on "Reunion" in late November, the show's creator says there was no way to resolve the show short of a full season because of how "intricately plotted" it was. It was so intricately plotted, in fact, that the question of who committed the murder at the show's center was still up in the air.

That, at least, is the word from FOX Entertainment president Peter Ligouri, who on Tuesday (Jan. 17) addressed the show's early demise with reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.

"'Reunion' was particularly cumbersome in terms of trying to provide an ending for the audience," Ligouri says of the show, in which each episode represented a year in the life of six friends, one of whom ends up dead. "How [creator Jon Harmon Feldman] was laying out the show to gap those additional 14, 15, 16 years was an incredibly complex path. There were a number of options, and he didn't make a definitive! decision on which option he was going to go with as to who the killer was, and there was just no way to accelerate that time."

Feldman himself hinted at that in a statement following the show's cancellation, saying that solving the mystery of who killed Samantha was "partially reliant on characters we haven't yet met -- and events we haven't seen."

Ligouri says the network and the show's team talked about several ways to go with the killer's identity, but "the best guess was at that particular time that it was going to be Sam's daughter," whom she gave up for adoption early in the series. The why of the murder remains a mystery.

In Lee Goldberg's view, and I agree with him, this is "why the series didn't work. If the show's writers didn't even know whodunit or why, then what were they writing about? If the clues led nowhere, how did they expect the story to actually payoff in the end? Is it any surprise viewers didn't get hooked by the mystery since it, um, actually didn't exist?"

But those missing years need to be filled in, not just for those few fans of 'Reunion' but also for the sake of Toobworld. An event happened - Samantha was murdered. It didn't happen in a vacuum; there had to be a reason. No matter whodunnit, there should be some kind of resolution to complete the storylline.

And that brings me back to an idea I suggested right after the first news of the show's cancellation. Jon Harmon Feldman should sit down and write out the missing gap of the 'Reunion' story in novel form. And it should be published and sold as part of a DVD package of all of the episodes that were broadcast as well as those that never saw the light of day.

I think it's a unique strategy that might solve the problem in making boxed DVD sets of TV series with no definite conclusion marketable. Shows like 'Coronet Blue', and 'Nowhere Man', and the second version of 'The Fugitive' had their fans who would love the chance to see those storylines at long last resolved.

And presenting these resolutions in novel form gives the show's creator the time to cover everything, rather than trying to cram it all into one last tie-up episode, as the creators of ABC's 'Push, Nevada' were forced to do. (Two minutes after the show ended, the interactive puzzle of the show was solved by a viewer who won the big jackpot offered by the show. Within the next 24 hours, over 10,000 other viewers also called in, hoping to win.)

So that's my idea, and I'm throwing it out there one more time. If not for 'Reunion' than who knows, maybe Glen Gordon Caron can use it for 'Now & Again'.......


1 comment:

bill said...

Great idea. Our house would definately buy anything Caron put out on Now & Again. I'd also like something for Cupid.