Saturday, January 14, 2006


Tonight (Saturday 1/14 @ 10 pm), AMC will premiere a new series called 'Hustle'. It's new to the American shores; it was shown by the BBC back in 2004.

It's about a gang of con artistes who only choose as their marks those who have more than they should have, who have more than their fair share, or who are dangerously greedy. They never go after those people who can't afford it or who are basically good in nature. They are the enforcers for Karma.

Maybe they can cross over with 'My Name Is Earl'.

But in an interview in the NY Daily News with Marisa Guthrie, Robert Vaughn had a different crossover in mind.....

"I thought, well what if Napoleon Solo finished his work, got his retirement pension and then realized he couldn't live on it. How could he live in the wonderful world of girls and cars and jewelry? He couldn't.

"So rather than go way outside the law, what does he do? He becomes a con man."

In Vaughn's mind, there's a possibility that his character of Albert Stroller, the "roper" who finds the mark for the team to take on, is in reality Napoleon Solo from 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'.

It's an intriguing idea, but it all depends on how the characters' lives are fleshed out as the series progresses. This could be a show rich in background detail on each character, peeled away in layers over time, as we have been seeing the last two seasons with 'Lost'. Or they could be parsimonious with the information... information... information.... as happened with Number Six on 'The Prisoner'

Either way works well for Toobworld purposes. With a wealth of trivia, there could be no end to the number of links with other TV shows that could be forged. At the same time, a dearth of detail leaves pretty much a blank canvas upon which conjecture could be made.

Let's go back to Number Six - we know his birthdate, we met his fiancee, we know he takes no sugar in his tea. That's about it.

So what stops us from thinking Number Six was John Drake of 'Danger Man' (and Number 12 was Nelson Brenner from a 'Columbo' episode)?

Okay, besides McGoohan on occasion.......

Other actors have played this connection game in the past. Scott Bakula thought it would be cool if his character of Jonathan Archer on 'Enterprise' had the middle name of "Beckett", which would have made him a possible relative to Dr. Sam Beckett who was working on his own possible method of time travel in the late 20th Century.

However, as for Albert Stroller being Napoleon Solo, right now I'm leaning toward the idea that they are not the same cool dude. I think there's way too much info out there about Solo that prevents us from making that connection.

Albert Stroller could still be the alias for one of Vaughn's other characters. Personally, I think it more likely that he could be Harry Rule from 'The Protectors'.

Despite my preferences, a higher chance of compatibility would be with any of his one-off characters from TV movies and guest appearances on various shows - even as Jim Darling, Laura Petrie's old flame from an episode of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'. Whad did we really know about him and what he had been doing since he knew Laura?

But he definitely could NOT be an alias for the character Vaughn played in an episode of 'Diagnosis Murder' ("Discards"), Alexander Drake. True, he was a spy and thus fitting the argument Vaughn made for Solo. And the name of "Alexander Drake" already sounds like an alias; like he had cobbled together the identity by stealing the first name from Alexander Mundy ("It Takes A Thief") and the last name from John Drake ("Danger Man").

However, as shown in that episode of 'Diagnosis Murder', there wasn't a lot of potential for a future with that character.......

Closing Channel D.......

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