Saturday, April 29, 2006
It appears Hoover has revived their blipvert for the FloorMate which featured actor Trevor Goddard as an Australian Outbacker. Based on one poster's response at the Blog of Death, they were showing the ad well into 2005, two years after Goddard's death by overdose. (Maybe accidental, maybe not.)
I'm of two minds on this. Perhaps it might seem like Hoover is making money off a dead man. But at the same time, acting in commercials IS acting. Actors do good work, hard work, in them. Actors in old movies and TV shows eventually die - sometimes even before their work first premieres - yet we don't expect those films and series to be yanked off the air forever.
So why should we insist on it for actors in TV commercials? I bet viewers have no trouble enjoying his two years worth of work on 'JAG' as Mic Brumby, even if they no he's dead. So why should a commercial be any different?
Unless of course, the actor is appearing as him or herself. That can just be creepy, like when Jerry Orbach appearing in a blipvert for weeks after he passed away.
A couple years ago I saw an ad for a local New York furniture company which had the late comedian Phil Foster as its pitchman. And by that point, he had been dead for at least a decade. It felt like a broadcast backwash that had bounced back to Earth's airwaves from who knows where.
Maybe there was an encrypted message in the commercial, returned from outer space......
"SEND MORE PHIL FOSTER!"
Probably the leading tele-cognizant in Boston would have to be Alan Shore. He not only knows he's in a TV show, he could probably quote which episode he's currently involved in.
This past Tuesday, Shore was reunited with a former colleague, Chelina Hall, and he immediately lapsed into reverie about their last encounter:
"I think it was a Sunday. Then I was taken off the air; you went off to make movies; then I was switched to Tuesdays."
In response, Chelina added, "And here we are, with old footage."
When last they met, Chelina kissed Alan; so it's pozz'ble he transmitted this power of tele-cognizance to her as a contagion.
To buttress this idea, Alan also kissed his assistant Melissa Hughes a few episodes ago. And what happened? Melissa gave Alan this warning about Chelina:
"Don't fall for her. She's just a guest star."
Denny Crane has exhibited tele-cognizant abilities in the past, but I'm not about to suggest that he ever kissed Alan. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
But if rumors about the direction his character may take before the season ends are true......
It's pozz'ble; it's pozz'ble.
I decided to accept an anonymous poster's challenge to check out Tori Spelling's sitcom on VH1, which is supposed to be based on her life.
And... I kinda liked it.
I can bet Tori's Mom must hate it though. No wonder she was threatening to sue her own daughter.
Not something I'll go out of my way to watch on a regular basis, but if it's on just before or after 'Love Monkey', I'll make sure I program the tape to catch it as well.
Yeah, it's Zonk!ful, with references to 'Beverly Hills 90210' ("Donna Martin graduates" was quoted.), 'Charlie's Angels', and 'TJ Hooker', but when you have TV shows featuring either actors playing themselves or storylines set in the bidness, Zonk!s come with the territory.
And it gives Tori the chance to idealize the guys who will go down on her, so more power to her, I guess.
So that means I'm giving you a hummer......?
As we officially learned with his return to 'The West Wing' last week, Sam Seaborn didn't win the California 47th congressional seat in Orange County four years earlier. (But I think we all knew that.)
Sam now lives in Los Angeles where he works for a law firm and is engaged to be married. When Josh Lyman showed up at his law firm to ask Sam to come back to be the deputy chief of staff, we never learned the name of the law firm for which Sam works.
The place didn't have the feel of MacKenzie-Brackman of 'L.A. Law', but there's another established Toobworld firm it could have been. As we'll have confirmed before the season ends, the 'Boston Legal' firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt has affiliate offices in the City of Angels. (Roberteh Wagner will play Ashley Goldman, the Hollywood face of the law firm. It's my hunch he's had a much closer relationship with Denny Crane than Denny would ever admit to.)
And even if it turns out Sam doesn't work for them, perhaps his fiancee does. (Wouldn't it be cool if we found out his fiancee is that former call girl who was working to become a lawyer?)
THE LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES
The Aimee Mann Band
She Wants Revenge
And, by the way, that was 'Sopranos' creator David Chase sitting across the aisle from the Italian hit men on the plane back to the old country.
On 'The Sopranos', Chistopher cited the resume of his proposed movie's screenwriter to Sir Ben Kingsley: "Nash Bridges, Hooperman, Law & Order: The SUV"...
This wasn't the first time in which 'Nash Bridges' caused a Zonk!, as I seem to remember 'Veronica Mars' mentioning it on her show.
As for dismantling these explosive contradictions to the integrity of the TV Universe, I'll have to do the usual song and dance - that these titles don't necessarily refer to the same shows we know in the Real World.
Roger Catlin has a great list of his favorite TV shows from India:
Among those, I liked:
“The F Files”
“Karan the Detective”
“Office Office” (A Ricky Gervais clone?)
“The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy”
(Maybe Mandy and Billy's friend the Grim Reaper can face off against Kali, the multi-armed goddess of death.)
IN THE NEWS
Jewel performs on 'The Young and the Restless' May 31, celebrating the memory of Cassie Newman, one year after the young girl's death. Nice way to also plug Jewel's new album at the same time.....
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has been taken to hospital in New Zealand after injuring himself while on holiday in Fiji.
A band spokeswoman said Richards had suffered a "mild concussion" and was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Media reports in Australia and New Zealand said Richards had hurt his head when he fell out of a palm tree.
Maybe once he heard that Sir Mick Jagger had been cast in a pilot for a new sitcom, Keith got jealous.
Because it sounds like he was auditioning to be the new Gilligan.....
Friday, April 28, 2006
This is because those two series are set in different TV dimensions. However, she does connect 'Love Monkey' to 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' since they are in the same dimension.
Aimee performed at the Bronze, a local club in Sunnydale. (The two songs she performed there were "Pavlov's Bells" and "This Is How It Goes".)
In the episode of 'Love Monkey', she hinted to Tom Farrell that she had mysterious powers, and based on the events in that 'Buffy' episode, she may be right - or at the very least, she's been around them long enough to recognize them.
After yet another vampire ruckus at the Bronze, Aimee Mann muttered, "Man, I hate playing vampire towns."
More than likely that means she's played Cleveland, where another Hellmouth is located.....
The premise revolves around a gang of men who plot to rob the rock star. The show would feature Jagger in various scenes in future episodes - if the show gets a green-light for production.
Jagger will join the ranks of other televersions like Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carey, Dean Martin (in 'Half Nelson'), Charlie Ruggles, Charlie Farrell, and the Divine Miss M who have played fictional versions of themselves on a regular basis in TV series. But like Dino, he won't be the main focus of the show.
This will be a spin-off from 'Prison Break' ('Prison Break: Proof of Innocence') which will be more about a friend of L.J., the son of Lincoln Burrows. (I don't think he'll actually appear.) The main character will be Amber McCall, a friend of his who is trying to find proof of his innocence after he's framed for murder.
Here's what else Brooks Barnes had to say about this new market:
The company has also produced three other mobile series, with about 25 episodes each. Although the market for cellphone drama is still small in the U.S. -- only about 3% of the people with cellphones have versions that can play video clips regularly, according to consulting firm Yankee Group -- it is growing fast, sparking a boom in TV production for the super-small screen.
All of the TV networks are rolling out content -- CBS Corp. is working on a soap opera for mobile phones -- along with some upstarts such as Two Minute Television Inc. So far, most TV content on cellphones has been news footage.
Fox's efforts haven't been without controversy: The executive producer of "24" complained that the mobisodes -- made with nonunion actors and writers to keep costs down -- weakened the franchise when they came out last year. "They were by definition really kind of amateurish because they were nonunion," says Howard Gordon, a "24" executive producer. "That may be why we're not doing year two of them."
[Note from Toby: This is the first acting credit for the actress playing Amber McCall. I get the feeling she's non-union as well.....]
Lucy Hood, president of Fox Mobile Entertainment, says "24: Conspiracy" was a creative success. She notes that it is nominated for a special Emmy Award and has been translated into six languages and distributed in 25 countries.
Ms. Hood says the company has learned a lot since the "24" phone shows. The "Prison Break" mobisodes, which will be available to Sprint customers starting this week, are two minutes long, twice as long as those for "24," allowing for better story and character development. For instance, the main character is a goody-goody ("I have to help! He's my friend!") but intrepid (she cuts through police tape to snoop on a crime scene) and when the going gets tough, she flirts.
"Prison Break: Proof of Innocence" wasn't written by the same people who work on the regular series, and the mobisodes won't feature actors from the show, although the original producers have veto power over anything.
Three or four mobisodes will be released each week beginning this week and will be available free to Sprint customers who have paid for a video package. They will be available on demand to watch anytime. After two weeks, they will be made available on Toyota.com.
From executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick ('Battlestar Galactica'), writer Remi Aubuchon ('24') and NBC Universal Television Studio, this new series is set over a half a century before the events that play out in 'Battlestar Galactica.'
The people of the Twelve Colonies are at peace and living in a society not unlike our own, but where high-technology has changed the lives of virtually everyone for the better. But a startling breakthrough in robotics is about to occur, one that will bring to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with a mechanical body to create the first living robot - a Cylon.
Following the lives of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas (the family of William Adama, who will one day become the commander of the 'Battlestar Galactica') 'Caprica' weaves corporate intrigue, techno-action and sexual politics into television's first science fiction family saga.
This will place three series in the same TV dimension; parent show 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Firefly' being the other two. (For more on why/how 'Firefly' shares the same dimension with 'Galactica', check out Thom Holbrook's excellent "Crossovers & Spinoffs", one of the top links there to the left.)
It would be nice to fill out that particular dimension a bit, so that it's not so void of TV shows. Therefore, as far as I can see, since 'Firefly' is set in the future, and 'Galactica' hasn't reached Earth yet, for the time being I see no reason why it can't share the same dimension as 'The West Wing', 'Mr. Sterling', and 'Smallville'.
I could always be proven wrong later, but that's the wonderful thing about Toobworld - it's always in flux.
It's starting off with 1,000 entries and fans can edit the content to help it grow.
The senior VP of SciFi.com, Craig Engler, says, “It gives our viewers a place to vent their enthusiasm. We have viewers who often know more about our shows than we do.”
I'm not surprised. Network executives are the same all over.
May they be nibbled to death by ducks.....
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Apparently, in the wake of Annie Parisse's abrupt resignation from 'Law & Order', creator Dick Wolf can't find a replacement for her because of the rumors that the show may not be coming back.
But here's the crossover kicker: Apprently S. Epatha Mekerson walked off of a "crossover" episode with the sister show 'Criminal Intent' because she didn't like the way her character was being written.
The woman has been playing Lt. Van Buren for about fourteen years or more. If anybody knows how the character should be portrayed, it's her.
When they let us out for lunch, I walked out to find myself in the background of a demonstration by those old ladies who caused a disturbance at the Times Square recruiting office. Their protest against the war was dismissed by the judge and they were celebrating outside by chanting:
We'll never be divided!"
I wish at least one of them had been wearing a Hell's Grannies leather jacket.....
[This was the basis for the plot of "The Verdict", an episode of 'The Bold Ones - The Lawyers'.]
I started jury duty today. I'm spending my days inside the title of a TV series: '100 Centre Street'.
This is why I pulled the Toobworld manuscript out of the mothballs. It gave me something to pass the long stretches of tedium in the jury pool until I was called to sit in a courtroom at 3 pm.
I can't speak about that case just yet, but if I get seated for it, that quote above will come into play. Because it was specifically asked of the jury if they could look beyond what they thought of the particular law and just judge whether or not it was broken.
I was hoping my service would only last the day; I've been lucky in that regard in the past. But it looks like I'm there until at least Monday.
And that's playing hob with my opportunity to see the first two episodes of the new season of 'Doctor Who' with David Tennant, courtesy of the Brokeback Boys. Hopefully this weekend.....
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
"Dinosaurs and human beings lived on the Earth at the same time."
"What? Like the Flintstones?"
While Tony Soprano was in the hospital recovering from his gunshot wound to the gut, he was visited several times by an evangelical minister named Reverend Bob Brewster. (1)
As seen in the quote above, Pastor Bob believed that the dinosaurs and the humans existed on Earth at the same time. For his part, Tony didn't put up much of an argument, preferring to take a high road and let the fundamentalist enjoy his opinion.
But the thing of it is, Pastor Bob and Tony live in Toobworld, not the Real World. And as such, Pastor Bob is actually correct - humans did live during the same time as the dinosaurs. However, this wasn't so much because of divine intervention, but instead because of a handful of temporal accidents.
In other words, time travel.
In the beginning, dinosaurs did rule the world; developing their intelligence and evolving their humanoid attributes. They had a civilization similar to our own today... which of course isn't saying much. (2)
While they were still the dominant life form, humans began to evolve as Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon men and were constantly underfoot like vermin to the dinosaurs. (Although some of them kept humans as pets.)
Due to a cataclysmic explosion, the climate of the planet shifted and brought about an end to the reign of the dinosaurs. This explosion was triggered by an E-space native named Adric who thwarted the plans of the Cybermen to alter the course of the Earth's history. An ice age began and for the most part the intelligent saurians were wiped out. (3)
A race of lizardmen survived, however, in a hidden valley dubbed by Professor George Edward Challenger to be "The Lost World". They were humanoid reptilians most likely evolved from velociraptors. (4) Others may have been swept into an altermate dimension, where they evolved into a race of saurians known as "Sleestaks". (5)
However, the proto-humans didn't exactly jump on this chance to bang the rocks together and evolve into the dominant life forms on the planet. In fact, they were dying out.
It took the crash landing of a transport spaceship from Golgafrincha to jump-start the evolution process. The transport's passenger manifest was full of phone sanitizers, management consultants, marketing executives, and other unnecessary members of Golgafrinchan society (as well as a human from 1981 and his friend, a humanoid from a planet near Betelgeuse). (6)
More than likely there was eventually some breeding between the two species, giving rise to the modern version of Man. In this, they may have also had an influx of genetic contributions from the crew and passengers of Flight 33, an airliner whose odyssey took them from the early 60s to the Jurassic Age and back to the late 1930s. (7)
Their fate is unknown, but it could be that they once again returned to the so-called Stone Age. By this point, their fuel would have been expended and they'd have no choice but endure a forced landing among those early humans and the waning dinosaur population.
Two other humans thrust back to the age of the dinosaurs would be Charles Grover, M.P., and Professor Whitaker, who were originally attempting to transform the world of the 1970s into a "Golden Age" when civilization had not yet taken hold. (8)
The contributions of the humans of Flight 33 and the Golgafrinchans on board Ark B were cultural as well as genetic. They would have taught those early humans, and their own descendants, how to speak English, for example.
This splains why several generations later, two lost astronauts named Mac and Hector were able to converse with a tribe of cavemen they encountered after their Scorpio EX-1 spaceship hurtled back in Time. (9)
Eventually Mac and Hector returned to their own time in the mid-1960s, and they brought along with them the caveman family who had befriended them - Gronk and Shad, and their children Mlor and Breer. (10)
In the forty years since they've been living in modern-day Los Angeles, Mlor and Breer must have been educated so that they could be fully integrated into society. And while living amongst modern humans, they more than likely fell in love with their virtual descendants and raised families of their own.
Unless of course they were gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.....
However, even with the influx of the genetic material from their mates, the children of Mlor and Breer would still have been part Cro-Magnon. And there might have even been some evolutionary back-sliding in their offspring. They would have still been intelligent, but their physiognomy, like their supra-orbital ridges, would have reverted to a more primal development.
They didn't hide their existence, but the general populace was mostly unaware that they were still around, as evidenced in a rather embarrassing TV commercial for car insurance. (11)
(Over in the TV dimension geared to comedy sketches, one "Skits-oid Man" was the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. He also did his part in keeping the caveman bloodline alive in modern society.) (12)
Meanwhile, the evolved dinosaurs didn't die out either. Armed with holographic devices to disguise their appearances, these dinosaurs live among the humans, work alongside them, and have taken human names as their covers. (13)
If they have fully integrated themselves into human society, there must be several TV characters who could be in reality dinosaurs disguised as humans. And I have rounded up the usual suspects:
Miles Drentell, advertising executive (14)
Dale Cooper, FBI agent (15)
The Prophet, leader of a polygamous community in Utah (16)
Bull Shannon, court bailiff (17)
Bree Van deCamp, housewife (18)
and just for the name alone -
Peter Dragon, movie producer (19)
I can't prove any of them are actually dinosaurs in disguise, but when has that ever stopped me?
It's unlikely Tony Soprano knows that there are cavemen living in the same world as he does, let alone "dyno-men". But I would not be surprised to find out that he's dealt with at least one mobster who was not too far down the evolutionary chart from his more primitive forebears.
For instance, Big Pussy Bompansiero would have fit right in with Boss and Clon in Gronk's village. And Christopher Moltisante does seem to have that unibrow thing going on......
1 - 'The Sopranos' - "Fleshy Part Of The Thigh"
2 - 'Dinosaurs!'
3 - 'Doctor Who' - "Earthshock"
4 - 'The Lost World' - "More Than Human"
5 - 'The Land Of The Lost'
6 - 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'
7 - 'The Twilight Zone' - "The Odyssey Of Flight 33"
8 - 'Doctor Who' - "Invasion Of The Dinosaurs"
9 - 'It's About Time' (first half of the season)
10 - 'It's About Time' (second half of the season)
11 - various "Geico" blipverts
12 - 'Saturday Night Live'
13 - "Anonymous Rex"
14 - 'thirtySOMETHING'
15 - 'Twin Peaks'
16 - 'Big Love'
17 - 'Night Court'
18 - 'Desperate Housewives'
19 - 'Action'
And when the king of the dinosaurs wants a 90-inch television set,
He's going to get a 90-inch television set!"
Monday, April 24, 2006
That in itself wasn't shocking - the "13 Weeks" concept is fast fading into legend. But that the Eye Network pulled it from the lineup before letting the fourth episode air was a surprise - because the showcase for one of the biggest stars on CBS was going to be prominently featured.
'THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN'
Luckily VH1 came to my rescue so that I could be "Linking the Monkey". (That just sounds so wraaaaaung!)
There's something to be said for monopolistic synergy, after all......
Tom Farrrell's manuevers to get his latest clients onto the Letterman show were nearly derailed by his re-involvement with the gorgeous lead singer of Gladwell. (A horrible band name, I think - it made me picture trash bags full of dietary cookies!)
Tom tried several schemes to get Gladwell heard by the show's booker (a very pregnant and very good Samantha Bee. If she doesn't return to 'The Daily Show' after she weans that Jason Jones spawn, somebody should get her cast into a sitcom ensemble!) He impersonated one of the delivery guys for Hello Deli, which was a great use of the location. All that was missing was an appearance by Rupert Jee.
David Letterman never made an appearance in the episode, but the presence of the "gap-toothed TV Boy" was definitely invoked. We did get Paul Shaffer, however, whose fictional televersion has known Tom Farrell for twelve years. And yet Tom still didn't know how to spell Paul's last name.
[I wonder what Toobworld event could have happened in 1994 at which Paul and Tom first met..... Any ideas out there?]
Like the 'Today' show, the 'Tonight' show, 'Jeopardy', 'Wheel Of Fortune', 'Password', and many other TV shows, 'The Late Show' has a fictionalized presence in Toobworld. And as such, it serves as the conduit to now link 'Love Monkey' to 'The Nanny', 'Murphy Brown', and 'The Larry Sanders Show'. (Both 'The Nanny' and 'Murphy Brown' have definitive links which connect them officially to the established views of the TV Universe in several different interpretations.)
So there you have it, this week's Top Crossover. And yet it's the altar boy in me that somehow feels guilty for "Linking the Monkey".
I keep checking the palms of my hands....
Sunday, April 23, 2006
What did I know? I was a little kid!
But I tossed over the Man of Steel in a single bound when 'Batman' premiered in the mid-sixties, and even though it was campy and is now dated, I still hold it as the high-water mark.
Why? The bad guys!
If you're going to create a TV show about a comic book super-hero, make sure you bring along the super-villains that made the original comic book so popular.
The closest 'The Adventures Of Superman' ever came to having the colorful and bizarre adversaries of the comic books would be the Mole Men, maybe a robot or two.
And yet there were so many of the classic Superman villains who had already made their debut before 'The Adventures Of Superman' premiered in 1951:
Lex Luthor (Action Comics #23 - 1940)
The Prankster (Action #51 - 1942)
The Toyman (Action #64 - 1943)
Mr. Mxyzptlk (Superman #30 - 1944)
Unfortunately, other favorites didn't make their first appearance until the series had ended in 1957:
Bizarro Superman (Superboy #68 - 1958)
Brainiac (Action #242 - 1958)
Metallo (Action #252 - 1959)
But with that first group of "super-villains", they were still ordinary enough to fit within the budget of 'The Adventures of Superman'; and would have brought a dash of color even in the black-and-white productions. It's not like we were looking to bring in Darkseid and Doomsday from the future of the comic book to bust Supes upside the head... and the planet along with him.
Each of these villains could have still been molded to fit the general tone of the series as it was eventually produced, but we wouldn't have to be subjected to the site of C-List gangsters throwing their guns at Superman week after week.
As such, I wanted to present my suggestions for casting these roles within the framework of the original show; using actors of that time period who were working in the industry on a regular basis. No big stars - the budget for the show would never be able to afford them. Just a group of actors who were making their mark in Toobworld back in the mid-1950s.
LEX LUTHOR - R.G. ARMSTRONG
Not much I can say on this suggestion, and at the same time, I can't say enough. RG Armstrong is one of the best character actors to ever grace the small screen, and was still active up to the time of the 'Cybill' sitcom. I don't think a week could go by back in the fifties without him showing up as a villain; at home in modern dramas as well as at home on the range in Westerns. He would have the power and bearing to carry off the role of Superman's greatest foe.
(In later years, he got the chance to be a comic super-villain when he portrayed Pruneface in "Dick Tracy".)
MR. MXYZPTLK - BILLY CURTIS
(Billy Curtis previously appeared on 'The Adventures of Superman' as one of the Mole Men as well as playing the lead role of "SuperPup"! And he has the best credentials for playing colorfully impish characters with his role as the Mayor of Munchkin City in 'The Wizard Of Oz'.)
You could go two ways with the Toyman - wistful and gentle or manic and blustery. Both would be humorous, but no less deadly to either Superman or those who know him like Lois and Jimmy.
I'd prefer the blustery Billy Gilbert for the role, but if you did want to go the kinder, gentler route, another option might have been Ed Wynn.
BILLY GILBERT or ED WYNN
I'd prefer the blustery Billy Gilbert for the role, but if you did want to go the kinder, gentler route, another option might have been Ed Wynn.
Again, this role could go in several routes and I have three suggestions for the actor to play the role.
First off, you could have gone with a definite name in burlesque, Broadway, and the movies:
JOE E. BROWN.
Or you could save a few bucks by going for a few up-and-comers in the TV biz: either cash in on the growing popularity of kid's show host Soupy Sales, or pluck a young comic from his 'Cellar' on a local L.A. station - Johnny Carson.
SOUPY SALES or JOHNNY CARSON
As for those other super-villains who didn't come into existence until after the show went off the air, we can still play a bit o' "What If?"
METALLO - LLOYD BOCHNER
Metallo was a robotic body with a human brain encased within it, and which was covered by a flesh-like skin. Lloyd Bochner was just starting out as an actor on television and I've always felt he had that ultra-cool, emotionless, nearly Vulcan-like demeanor down pat. And as he was in his thirties during that time, he carried a well-toned physique that could have suggested a robotic body beneath his skin.
BRAINIAC - MICHAEL ANSARA
While he was busy playing Cochise on 'Broken Arrow', Ansara could have dumped the long-haired wig, dabbed on some green skin paint and played the Captor of Kandor, the city from Superman's home planet of Krypton.
BIZARRO - GEORGE REEVES
Finally, George Reeves could have been able to stretch a bit on the show by playing his mis-shapen clone, the Bizarro Superman
If you want to see artistic renderings of these characters (and plenty more!) from the pages of the various Superman comics, check out this directory of Superman artists.
Up, up, and BCnU!