Saturday, August 12, 2006


In a BBC Online article about Freema Agyeman joining 'Doctor Who' as med student Martha Jones, there was this teaser about what to expect in the third series under Russell T. Davies' tenure:

Writer and executive producer Russell T Davies has promised "new thrills, new laughs and some terrifying new aliens".

"The Doctor and Martha are destined to meet William Shakespeare, blood-sucking alien Plasmavores, The Judoon - a clan of galactic stormtroopers - and a sinister intelligence at work in 1930s New York," he said.

First off, I do admire RTD's creation of names. In the past we've had Jabe, the Slitheen, the Face of Boe, and the Iolus. So I like the sound of The Judoon.

But I'm really excited by the prospect of the Doctor visiting New York City in the 1930s. I realize we are forty years too late to revisit Edith Keeler as played by Joan Collins, but why can't we have some references to that classic 'Star Trek' episode of "City On The Edge Of Forever"?

Two suggestions - recreate the mission run by Edith Keeler, or at least mention it by name. And perhaps show that poster which was promoting a boxing match. (That same poster was seen years later in an episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.)

Even if RTD doesn't come through with that fan-geek's dream, the two shows are already connected. The Second Doctor visited an isolated human colony on the planet Vulcan. (I guess the Vulcans tolerated their presence so long as they didn't intrude on the Vulcan way of life elsewhere on the planet.) I suppose it was due to that visit and perhaps from other contacts with the Vulcans when the Doctor learned the technique of the mind-meld which we saw demonstarted in the episode "The Girl In The Fireplace".

At any rate, if there's no in-joke connection to 'Star Trek' in that upcoming episode about 1930s New York, I'm sure I'll be able to find some kind of missing link to other TV shows which have a connection to that time period.

Perhaps they could show Fillmore High (the school where Edith Baines Bunker attended, as did the kids in 'Head Of The Class'), or perhaps the police stations for either the 27th or 15th Precinct ('Law & Order' & 'NYPD Blue'). Maybe they could walk past DelFlorio's shop decades before it became a front for U.N.C.L.E. headquarters.

And if they needed to use a medical facility, Manhattan General would be perfect! ('Naked City' & 'Kay O'Brien')

Anything's pozzble!



In order to thoreau-ly simplify the Toobworld concept (Sorry about that, Chief!), I will have to address the issue of Zonks. Zonks are those moments in a TV show which ruin the fantasy of an inclusive TV Universe in which all TV shows share the same dimension. Most Zonks occur when one TV show makes reference to another TV show AS a TV show, when both shows should be sharing the same reality.

The most common Zonks are caused by references to 'Star Trek' and 'The Twilight Zone'. Many shows that become pop culture touchstones end up getting heavily referenced in future shows, like 'Gilligan's Island', 'The Brady Bunch', 'The X-Files', and currently 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost'.

Here are a couple of major Zonks from 'Seinfeld':

Jerry has the name of Superman's father ("Jor-El") as his PIN code.

On that same show, Kramer appeared as one of the secretaries in the sitcom 'Murphy Brown'.

I used to run around trying to come up with splainins as to why a character on one TV show should mention another TV show when it should be sharing the same universe. (Or in the case of 'Star Trek' Zonks, be set in that character's future so that he shouldn't even know about it.)

And some of them I will stand by. For instance, the two Zonks from 'Seinfeld'. In the main Toobworld, it's my contention that the Man of Steel is dead. And after he passed away, it was discovered in the papers and files of Clark Kent all the secrets of his other identity. Probably Lois Lane wrangled a book deal out of it all.

As for 'Murphy Brown' as a sitcom, perhaps the "real" Murphy Brown - whom we saw in action on the Real World sitcom, led a life interesting enough to warrant a sitcom based on it. And that it found in an actress named Candice Bergen, somebody who bore an amazing resemblance to the TV journalist. (Obviously her tendency to fire and hire a long string of secretaries was deemed worthy of inclusion in the televersion of her life.)

But those two splainins were fairly simple and didn't take any backbreaking effort to twist myself in knots and bend over backwards in order to supply some pretzel logic for the answer. And that's happened in the past until it just got all confusing.

So instead I plan to simplify, simplify, simplify when it comes to Zonks.

First off, longtime readers may have noticed that I dropped the exclamation point as part of the name. That was based on a frame grab graphic that I used to use in the old Tubeworld Dynamic website. (By the way, the term "Zonk" comes from the game show 'Let's Make A Deal'.)

So here's the general rule I'm going to use from now on when the need arises to splain away a Zonk.......

In the TV Universe, every TV show from the Real World has a counterpart in the TV schedules for Toobworld. That means that characters from the TV shows we watch are also watching their own versions of real-world TV shows.

But it doesn't necessarily mean that they are watching the exact same show as we would be watching. Usually the reference made to a real-world TV show has only enough detail to satisfy a punch line. Although we get the intended reference while viewing at home, it could mean something entirely different to the person who said it.

Here's a recent example.....

While trying to prove that a string of suicides were in fact the work of a serial killer, 'Psych' private eye Shawn Spencer was drawing equations on a large, clear plastic board.

When asked if that was doing any good by his partner Gus, Shawn replied that they used the same technique every week on 'Numb3rs'.

Okay, so we know he was making a reference to the CBS TV show which stars Rob Morrow as an FBI agent and David Krumholtz as his genius mathematician brother who uses his knowledge to help his brother solve crimes.

But how do we know that's what Shawn was actually referring to? Perhaps he was talking about another TV show with the same title but which was actually a program that really did deal with mathematical equations and how to solve them; some kind of PBS or public access show?

And for that matter, how do we know the name of the show was spelled the same, with that stupid number "3" in place of the "e"? We didn't see it written down; so for all we know, Shawn was saying "Numbers".

This will help splain away all those shows which have featured 'Star Trek' conventions ('Frasier', 'Nurses') and dreams ('The Wonder Years'). Of course, since that show is set in a future the people of today don't even know about yet, another splainin will have to be found to cover how they knew about Jim Kirk and Spock hundreds of years before they were born.

(I'm thinking that the Great Bird who came up with the 'Trek' idea in Toobworld is probably from the future himself, and decided to capitalize on the knowledge of his own true "history" for profit.)

Hopefully, this new simplification will result in far fewer Exedrin headaches for me........


"As you simplify your life,
The laws of the universe will be simpler
Henry David Thoreau


Finally got around to watching the original version of "The Omen" after holding the Netflix copy for about 2 1/2 months. (They're making their money off of me!)

I'm not the 21 year old who saw it when it first came out, so it didn't have the same effect on me as it once did. But I did get a kick out of seeing two actors from two of my favorite cult TV classics of the 1960s:

Patrick Troughton, who played the doomed little priest, Father Brennan, was the Second incarnation of The Doctor in 'Doctor Who'. At the time I first saw this movie, I had no clue what 'Doctor Who' was. It had not shown up in America yet except for the Peter Cushing movies.

And then there was Leo McKern, unbilled as Carl Bugenhagen near the end of the movie. He was the best remembered of the Village leaders known as Number Two in 'The Prisoner'.

Two Two's in a manner of speaking......

I suppose fans of the "Harry Potter" movies were just as pleased with the remake of "The Omen"; to see two actors in the same scene who also appeared in the same movie - David Thewlis played the doomed photographer Keith Jennings and Michael Gambon was Bugenhagen this time around.

In "Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban", Thewlis was Professor Lupin and Gambon was Professor Dumbledore.....


Friday, August 11, 2006


Mike Douglas, who drew on his affable personality and singing talent during 21 years as a talk show host, died Friday on his 81st birthday, his wife said.

Douglas' afternoon show, which aired from 1961 to 1982, featured his ballad and big-band singing style, other musicians, comedians, sports figures and political personalities, including seven former, sitting or future presidents.

"People still believe 'The Mike Douglas Show' was a talk show, and I never correct them, but I don't think so," Douglas said in his 1999 memoir, "I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show."

"It was really a music show, with a whole lot of talk and laughter in between numbers."

Douglas did about 6,000 syndicated shows, most 90 minutes long, and estimated that at its peak the show was seen in about 230 cities.

Douglas fondly recalled when Tiger Woods, who as a preschooler was already drawing attention, appeared on the same 1978 show as Bob Hope, an avid golfer. "I don't know what kind of drugs they've got this kid on," Hope quipped, "but I want some."

Tim Brooks, television historian and executive vice president of research for Lifetime Television Network, said Douglas was "an outgrowth on the 1950s mentality of politeness."

"Even when America was getting kind of angry in the 1960s and 1970s, his show was sort of an oasis of politeness," Brooks said. "It got you away from some of the turmoil in life."

Douglas was genial most of the time, but confided in his memoir that his composure was sorely tested one week in 1972 when former Beatle John Lennon and wife, Yoko Ono, were his unlikely guest hosts. One of the guest celebrities they selected was well-known anti-war activist Jerry Rubin.

"He just got on my nerves. It sounded like this guy hated the president, the Congress, everyone in business, the military, all police and just about everything America stands for," Douglas said.

He recalled becoming confrontational with Rubin. But Lennon "picked up the mantle of Kind and Gentle Host, and he did it quite well, reinterpreting Jerry's comments to take some of the sting out and adding a little humor to keep things cool," Douglas said.

Returning home from service in WWII, he became a featured performer on the radio and eventual television program, "Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge." Kyser gave him his stage name.

As the rock 'n' roll era began to emerge in the late 1950s, his style became less marketable, so he started looking for a way to energize his career. He briefly hosted "Hi, Ladies!", a daytime television program on WGN in Chicago.

In 1961, Woody Fraser, a Westinghouse Group W program director who had known Douglas in Chicago, recruited him to a Group W station in Cleveland (then KYW) to host a talk and entertainment program. The show syndicated starting in 1963 but had a limited budget, and Cleveland was not a frequent destination for well-known potential guests. The show moved to Philadelphia in 1965 and to Los Angeles in 1978. Three years later, Group W replaced Douglas with a younger singer, John Davidson.

At the very beginning of her career, Rosie O'Donnell watched Jerry Seinfeld perfom on 'The Mike Douglas Show'. Then she went to a comedy club and used all his jokes to great acclaim.

"The Mike Douglas Show" continued in syndication under Douglas' control until he retired in 1982 to North Palm Beach, Fla. Douglas appeared as a guest on several talk shows but spent much of his leisure time on the golf course.

"The Mike Douglas Show" .... Himself/Host
Mike Douglas Presents (1984) (TV) .... Host
"The Love Boat"
- Rhino of the Year/One Last Time/For Love or Money (1983) TV Episode
"Knots Landing"
- Svengali (1982) TV Episode .... Himself
"The Greatest American Hero"
- The Two-Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Fast Ball (1981) TV Episode .... Himself
"The Mary Tyler Moore Hour"
- Episode #1.1 (1979) TV Episode .... Himself
"The Jackie Gleason Show"
- The Honeymooners: The Honeymoon Is Over (1969) TV Episode .... Himself
- Episode #3.4 (1968) TV Episode .... Himself
"The Music Show" (1953) TV Series .... Himself
"Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge" (1949) TV Series (as Michael Douglas) .... Himself



Sci-Fi Pulse has an interview with Ron Moore about the future of 'Battlestar Galactica'. And while the information about the upcoming spin-off 'Caprica' was of interest in a Toobworld sense, it was the last question which caught my eye:

Given that there is still a large chunk of the fan base that would like to see some sort of continuation of the original series in perhaps a straight to DVD format, and also given the fact that Tom DeSanto remains interested in continuing the original story. Do you think that the two Universes would be able to co-exist without either side of the fan base losing out, and given that should this other project ever get greenlighted would you yourself support it, given that you could not really see a way to go for updating the original story when you started this journey back in May of 2002?

I have no problem with Tom or anyone else who wants to do a revival of the original cast and characters or do some kind of continuation. If they can get a good story together and get the pieces lined up to do it, then more power to them.

Mighty big of him, considering his version wouldn't even exist if it hadn't been for the original, no matter how reviled it might be today by some quarters.

But since the original 'Battlestar Galactica' was broadcast first, that's the version that is a part of the main Toobworld. The latest incarnation is kept in the dimension of remakes that take place decades after their counterparts, Earth Prime-Time Delayed.

If DeSanto was to pick up the story for the original 'Battlestar Galactica', he has to deal with the Galactican people being on Earth for the last 26 years. They've been here among us since the events chronicled in 'Galactica 1980'.

As such, a faction of them were probably the ones truly responsible for the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s. (In the Real World, these were the ethnic cleansing conflicts in the Balkans.)

The others have disappeared into the midst of humanity and assumed normal, average lives among their Terran kin. Some of the Galacticans have probably even had children by Earthlings, and those children are making their mark in Toobworld as they come of age.

It can only be a theory for now, but perhaps 'Kyle XY' was engineered from the fertilization of a Terran egg with Galactican spermatazoa. Or vice versa, I'm not picky.......

You can read the full Pulse interview here.



At the end of this month, I'll be celebrating my second anniversary for Inner Toob. It was as a spur of the moment decision to start one back then. My friend Sean created his blog to chronicle his family's life in Taiwan, so I decided to take a stab at one as well.

Figured at best I might post once a day about the TV Universe, just to keep my hand in.

Well, here we are nearly two years later, and today I posted my 1200th entry!

Viva Le Toob!



Even if you didn't see the premiere of 'Three Moons Over Milford' on ABC Family, you probably know the premise: a comet has shattered the Moon into three huge chunks. Nobody has any definitive data, but it's assumed that any one or all of the chunks could come crashing down to destroy all life on Earth at any time.

As such, people all over the world are abandoning their old ways of life to follow their dreams while they still have a chance. And the series focuses on how the people of Milford, Vermont, (founded in 1738) are doing just that.

Well, with such a bold plot detail, obviously 'Three Moons Over Milford' must be relegated to some alternate TV dimension, as Earth Prime-Time must resemble Earth Prime when it comes to the Moon (as well as to the Presidency).

But which TV dimension should it be?

No matter which dimension we choose, no new TV series could be located there if there's even a chance that the Moon might end up in a shot.

So TV dimensions which have TV shows currently in production have to be eliminated. These dimensions would include the following programs:

'Doctor Who'
'Prison Break'
'Stargate SG-1' & 'Stargate: Atlantis'

I'd also exclude several other TV dimensions because there is always a chance more TV shows will be added to their ranks in the future:

Earth Prime-Time Delayed ('Battlestar Galactica', 'The New Addams Family', 'L.A. Dragnet')
Earth Prime-Time MOTW ('Vanished', 'Washington: Behind Closed Doors', 'Prime Target')
Earth Prime-Time Doofus ('The Secret Files Of Desmond Pfeiffer', 'That's My Bush!')

A few weeks ago I suggested that the dimension that housed 'Commander In Chief' could be the same world in which all sentient life was extinguised by 2012. This was due to an Alzheimer's-like condition that a team of scientists inflicted on the population in order to wipe out all forms of aggression. (This was depicted in an episode of 'Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes'.)

But that tragic event was far enough in the future to avoid being a continuity problem for 'Commander In Chief'. While the series is canceled, there is still a possibility of perhaps two TV movies to pick up the story and wrap it all up neatly.

Since the Moon's destruction has already occurred on 'Three Moons Over Milford', we can't place it in the same dimension - otherwise it would be the only topic of discussion in Mackenzie Allen's Oval Office.

(Oddly enough, the actual destruction of the Moon has only been seen so far in the show's previews. When we first meet the residents of Milford, the splintering of our planet's satellite occurred at least several weeks in the past.)

I suppose it's the kind of situation with which Aaron Sorkin would have had a field day. He would have had his characters from 'The West Wing' discussing all the options and ramifications of this disaster while walking down corridors really fast.

But I also like to think that someday, perhaps a decade from now, there might be some kind of reunion TV movie for 'The West Wing'. And if so, I don't want to waste time imagining what those characters might have done in that situation. It would be just my luck to revisit them in an update and find them all gathered for a memorial to their late boss at the Bartlet Presidential Library under a hazy full Moon.

Every TV dimension has its Superman. 'The Adventures Of Superman' of the main Toobworld have already ended, as he passed away from Kryptonite radiation poisoning. (That's my theory at any rate, which also splains away a plot discrepancy from 'Crime Story'!) Meanwhile, the Man of Steel from the world of 'The West Wing' is still a young man of college age in 'Smallville', Kansas. And the Superman whom we saw as a 'Superboy' in the 1980s would be residing in the dimension of TV remakes, so we'd eliminate him as well.

But perhaps the world of 'Three Moons Over Milford' is the same dimension in which 'Lois & Clark' took place. And even though the general populace of that Vermont town doesn't know about it, perhaps Clark Kent's altar-ego is the only thing that's keeping those three giant chunks of green cheese from crashing down through the atmosphere.

Let's hope so. Because I rather enjoyed the pilot episode and would like to see it hang around for awhile....



'Eureka' & 'The Dead Zone'

The traits that make a TV character a hero are not genetic; they can't be passed on to other family members. So many times we've seen the heroes of TV shows contend with siblings, cousins, parents, and their own children who are on the wrong side of the law.

And there are those heroes who never have to deal with their villainous kin because their paths never cross; they can be found on different TV programs.

Before Jack Carter was "promoted" from being just a US Marshal working out of the Los Angeles area to becoming the Sheriff of 'Eureka', Oregon, the Feds must have done a thorough and extensive deep background check on him.

And the fact that he had a megalomaniac cult leader as a first cousin probably didn't reflect badly enough on Jack personally to disqualify him for the job.

Nathan Carter set up his missionary compound on the other side of the country, in Maine. He took the name "Cyrus" and proclaimed himself to be the first prophet of the Book of Revelations. It was always Cyrus' plan to destroy the compound in a mighty conflagration, killing himself and all of his followers.

Thanks to the intervention of Johnny Smith and his power of 'The Dead Zone', all of the cult members were saved. Only Nathan Carter perished by his own wish.

For this Theory of Relateeveety, I made Jack and Nathan first cousins. There is a strong enough resemblance between the actors Colin Ferguson (who plays Jack Carter on 'Eureka') and JR Bourne (Nathan in 'Vortex', the latest episode of 'The Dead Zone') to think that they might play brothers. But 'Eureka' is still in production. As such, other family members besides Jack's daughter may show up in town, or they may be mentioned.

The death of a crazy cousin might pass unmentioned; but people would offer condolences and probably even inquire ghoulishly about the loss of a sibling; no matter how crazy they might be.

There is still a possibility that we might get to meet Jack Carter's dad some day on the show. So I can't go theorizing just yet as to who he might be. But perhaps his uncle, Nathan's father, might have been a hero from World War II by the name of Sgt. Andrew Carter ('Hogan's Heroes')......


Thursday, August 10, 2006


Brannon Braga isn't very popular among the sci-fi geeks out there in fandom and on the net, but I'm sure he couldn't care less. At the TV Guide website, he's written an article detailing what would have happened had his series 'Threshold' been allowed to not only finish out its initial TV season, but in the second season as well:

"We had tons of other stuff planned: Molly was going to get excluded from the very project she’d created, thanks to an overzealous politician. But she would still have been secretly working with the Threshold team members. She’d have hooked up with a vigilante, who’d become sort of a love interest for her. Together, they’d uncover a conspiracy to blow up Threshold’s headquarters, so she would have to save her team from the outside.

After that, another probe would be shot down and would then send out a signal calling in 80 more alien probes. That would have led to Season 2, and when these probes arrived, all hell was going to break loose."

Braga also had details for other members of Molly's Threshold team:

Dr. Nigel Fenway - When Molly ends up in a coma, her plan calls for Fenway to become the new team leader. He was also going to become romantically involved with a new team player who was to be played by Catherine Bell.

Arthur Ramsey - After sleeping with an alien-hybrid stripper, Ramsey was going to spin out of control.

The DVD boxed set which will be released this year will include the dozen episodes that were filmed, even though only eight of them aired on American TV. (Apparently, this means that in other countries - like Finland where 'Threshold' was staggeringly popular in the manor, Squire! - their audiences got to see the full run.)

Those remaining four episodes will be considered part of the established canon for the series in Toobworld. As the technology grows (and this includes mini-episodes for cell phone download), the concept of Toobworld has to broaden and adapt.

But I'm not so sure we should concern ourselves with Braga's vision how how the show would have continued; I think we can disregard that outline he laid out about all hell breaking loose with eighty more probes showing up. It's not that I don't think the "action" of the series doesn't continue even though the show is cancelled - that goes against the very core of Toobworld belief. No, it's more that such a plan means we'd have to find some way to splain why no other TV show in the Great Link was showing any concern about this massive alien invasion.

I'm perfectly happy thinking that the work of the 'Threshold' team continues on a case-by-case basis, secretly behind the scenes. That way there's no reason to come up with splainins as to why Jack McCoy isn't prosecuting alien hybrids on 'Law & Order', and why 'The Unit' hasn't been called out to do battle against these alien probes.

Someday perhaps, maybe 'Threshold' will be revived in much the same way that 'Star Trek' and 'Battlestar Galactica' were brought back to TV life (although 'BG' has to be set in an alternate universe since it's a complete re-working of the original concept and has no place in the main Toobworld). And then, whatever that vehicle might be - sequel series, TV movie, even a theatrical release, - we'll have to accept whatever past history they present to account for the missing years.

But as things stand now, that's not very likely. It would have to take massive sales of the coming DVD boxed set for the suits to even consider that option (as was the case for 'Family Guy' and 'Futurama').

There's another old TV classic, long buried in the past, which has had a similar outline discussed by its creator - 'Coronet Blue'. And in this case, I'm more inclined to accept the creator's outline for what would have happened had 'Coronet Blue' not been cancelled.

It was my "Iddiot" compadre Stan L of the Idiot's Delight Digest who alerted me to this:

"As per an interview with Larry Cohen on 'Branded', the complete second season DVD set,

LC created 'Coronet Blue'
It was the name of a Russian spy ring to which the main character belonged.
He was a Russian trained to be a double agent /spy for the Russians while masquerading as an American.
He decided to defect and was pulled out of the Hudson River after his former colleagues tried to kill him for defecting.
All he remembered was the name of the spy ring, Coronet blue

Now, I have no problems with Larry Cohen's vision of how the show might have turned out. It seems perfectly in keeping with what was officially established in the series as broadcast.

The same could be said for Braga's descriptions about the alien probes arriving en masse. But as I stated earlier, that would have played hob with the general overview of an integrated TV Universe. Cohen's vision could have been easily absorbed into Toobworld's history and not have any widespread effect on what was happening in other shows.

And besides, as the main character (the amnesiac who took the name of Michael Alden) himself worried that he might not like the person he used to be once he found out the truth, the revelation that he was a Russian spy would be a great direction for the show to have taken.

Especially for the times in which the show was first released, whereas Braga's plan would have been better suited for a Toobworld in which there was no future possible for new TV shows to come along.

Let's see if we survive past December of 2012 before we worry about using the alien probe invasion.....



On this week's episode of 'Eureka' ("Alienated"), we learned who Beverly Barlow is working for - a group identified by Congressman Arnold Faraday as "The Consortium".

It could be that The Consortium could be the same as "The Majestic Consortium" (aka "The Syndicate") which was the central authority of the shadow government hounding Agent Mulder's efforts to expose the Truth on 'The X-Files'.

SCULLY: Who are you?
I'm a member of a kind of consortium. We represent certain global interests.
What kind of interests?
Interests that would be extremely threatened by the digital tape that you are no longer in possession of.
Threatened enough to murder?

As we learned in 'Dark Skies', the Majestic Project was founded in 1947 by President Truman after UFO wreckage and alien corpses were recovered near Roswell, Arizona. Apparently, the Majestic Consortium seems to be an offshoot of this initial effort.

The leaders of this Consortium were known as the "Council of Elders" and they would meet in a private club on West 46th Street in New York City (not too far then, from where I work - which is also on W. 46th.)

According to 'The X-Files', the Majestic Consortium administers several initiatives for the recovery and study of alien technology:

UFO Recovery Operations
UFO Technology
Operation Paper Clip
Delivery Systems
Black Cancer Inoculation Project.

The men who ran the "shadow government" of the Consortium were secretly allied, high-ranking government officials and wealthy businessmen like Congressman Faraday and the Well-Manicured Man, who were operating unrestrained at the highest levels of power. And they were hiding from the world an alien colonist plot to repopulate the earth, as well as their own plans and stake in that inevitable future.

(The alien takeover was to commence about the year 2012, at which time the Syndicate would have seized control through FEMA. FEMA has the power to suspend constitutional government upon declaration of a national emergency. But it looks as though Hurricane Katrina may have quashed those plans.......)

To carry out murders, cover-ups, sabotage, and other dirty work, the Consortium used an unknown number of henchmen commonly referred to as the Men in Black. The Men in Black of the X-Files were merciless protectors of the conspiracy.

On 'The X-Files', prominent Men in Black agents included X, Alex Krycek, the Crew Cut Man, and Quiet Willy. But obviously not all "Men In Black" were male, as it looks like Beverly Barlow is operating as a Man In Black agent in Eureka, Oregon.

As a high-ranking member of this Consortium, Congressman Faraday's mission to Eureka was to gain access to something (which was dubbed "the artifact") stored in the top secret Section 5 of Global Dynamics. The Consortium thought at first that this artifact could be alien in origin, but Nathan Stark, who is in charge at Global Dynamics, informed Faraday that it was terrestrial in design. They just didn't know yet who created it.

Whatever it is, it could have been created by the Dharma Initiative and might have been meant for use on the island as seen in 'Lost'. But we may learn eventually on 'Eureka' what this artifact actually is, so that theory must be put on hold.

As we saw in an episode of 'The X-Files', most of the Council of Elders were killed in an ambush by a group of alien Rebels working against the eventual colonization of the Earth. However, in later episodes it became apparent that the Consortium had regrouped and had adjusted their focus on new agendas.

And it looks as though the espionage undertaken by Beverly and Faraday in 'Eureka', Oregon, is part of that new agenda.....


"When everyone is out to get you,
Paranoia is only good thinking."
Dr. Johnny Fever
'WKRP In Cincinnatti'

Wednesday, August 9, 2006


Paul Willson showed up near the end of this week's episode of 'Entourage' as a blackjack player whose gamesmanship helped Vinny and Ari recoup their losses and make a healthy profit.

The character was never named; he was just a guy playing cards.

So why can't we assume he was on vacation in Vegas from Boston? And that his regular gig was to hang out at a bar in Beantown that went by the name of 'Cheers'.....?



In this week's episode of 'Eureka', Henry Deacon explained Occam's Razor to Sheriff Jack Carter. I'm not going to rewind the tape to get the exact quote, but basically it's the belief that when you have two theories available to splain something, you go with the simplest one.

I think that's the way I should be working on my Toobworld theories. That's one reason why I chucked all of my ideas about the new version of 'Doctor Who' and how to integrate it with the rest of the main TV universe. Instead, I've decided that since the series returned with the Ninth Doctor, we've been watching his altar-ego in another dimension.

Recently in the Idiot's Delight Digest, my fellow "Iddiot" David H had this to say about a similar topic, "Einstein's Paradox":

The Solving of Einstein’s Paradox
Einstein believed that everything could be explained
With one simple explanation
And although he explained some things
He could not explain everything
Thus he thought what he had explained was wrong
Those that thought Einstein’s explanation as to the things
He did explain was right
Believed that it was not right that
Everything had one simple explanation
And thus they thought Einstein’s explanations
Of the things he could explain were right
His belief in one simple explanation
Of everything had a priori to be wrong
And given that they were able to explain things
In such a way that they believed could only be explained
If there was no one simple Explanation of everything,
They have successfully made their own explanations
Of things that Einstein could not explain
Seemingly proving that Einstein’s belief that everything
Had one simple explanation was wrong

Now it turns out that the intellectual heirs of those who were not trying to come up with a single simple explanation have concluded that the only way for Einstein’s explanation of the things that he could explain, and their explanation of the things that they could explain could only be true if there is one simple explanation of everything, though since Einstein’s belief became so discredited, Einstein left no intellectual heirs, and without Einstein or an Einstein intellectual heir, none is around capable of figuring it out.
dh 7/06


I don't know.....

I read something like that, and all I can hear in my head is the voice of Gracie Allen.......


"There's so much good in the worst of us,
And so many of the worst of us get the best of us,
That the rest of us aren't even worth talking about
Gracie Allen
'The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show'


While waiting around after work this morning before a scheduled appointment at 10:30 am, I picked up a new DVD for the library of Toobworld Central....

The Best Of 'Not The 9 O'Clock News'

This was one of the bright spots in the 1980s Britcom wave. Mel Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys-Jones, and Pamela Stephenson before they went off to fame on their own. And it was probably the impetus for an American version, 'Not Necessarily The News' on HBO.

Now THERE's a fake news show I wish would be packaged in a Best Of DVD set!




Dr.Mahesh Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy works for the Massachusetts State Coroner's office. He is known to his friends and colleagues as "Bug". This probably stems from the fact that he is a forensic entomologist, but more than likely it was because nobody wanted to pronounce "Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy".

Bug has always felt guilty over the death of his brother, who was killed after being struck by a car. Their parents had left Bug in charge, but his brother got out of the house while Bug was babysitting.

But what if his brother didn't die? What if the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital were able to revive him before they reached the emergency room?

And what if one of those paramedics was of sub-continent descent, and was married to a woman who couldn't have children of her own, yet always wanted so badly to raise a child.

Maybe this paramedic wanted to please his wife so much that he became somewhat unbalanced upon seeing this child that could pass for his own son.

A plan born of desperation might come to that paramedic - to steal Bug's brother so that his wife could raise it as her very own.

First off, he'd have to kill his partner; he couldn't have any witnesses. Then he would have to sneak into the morgue to steal the corpse of a boy of a similar age to Bug's brother. Afterwards, he drives the ambulance out into the woods, planning to claim that he was taking a shortcut, and there he crashes it so that it burns both bodies and makes it look like he was thrown clear of the crash.

Meanwhile, he's contacted his wife to come to the location and he gives the still unconscious boy into her care to take home with her. When he regained consciousness, they would have told him that it was his family who died and that only he survived. And that they would be his new family now.

Reinforcing this information into him over and over and soon Bug's brother would have totally believed it to be true.

Sound implausible? Hey, soap opera writers like James Reilly cut their teeth on plots like that and then come up with stuff even more unbelievable.

It's Toobworld, baby!

The paramedic and his wife have the last name of Shandar, and they name the boy "Siddhartha", after the prince who became the Buddha. And just to make sure that no questions are asked, they suddenly just pack up and move out to a new location where nobody knows them at all. And that's how it would have stood for a few decades.....

But every so often you hear these strange stories about the coincidences that surround twins or siblings who are raised apart from each other. And the same must have happened with Bug and "Sid" Shandar.

Despite the trauma of his early years, Siddhartha grew up well-rounded and very assured of himself and his abilities. He became a physician and found himself drawn to Boston, where he worked at General Hospital which was the more prestigious of the teaching hospitals in the Boston area (St. Eligius being the other, of course).

And so there it stands, two medicos in Beantown who have no idea that they are related to each other as brothers. It seems hard to believe that somebody who knows Bug hasn't yet run into Sid and noticed the striking resemblance between the two men, but Boston's a big town with many hospitals in the area. Still, it's only a matter of time......

This entry was made possible by the fact that Ravi Kapoor played both roles. And it seems almost fated - look at the titles! 'Gideon's Crossing'! 'Crossing Jordan'! It's kismet!


(Many thanks to Jerome Holst and his TV Acres website for the info used in this piece.)


19 year old pop singer Jesse McCartney used to play JR Chandler on 'All My Children' until 2001. Now he's come back to Pine Valley... but not as JR. JR Chandler never left town; instead he was not only recast but also subjected to a malady dubbed by TV Guide blogger Daniel R. Coleridge as SORAS: Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome, so now he's 27 years old!

So there's no chance that Jesse will feel like he's looking in a mirror should he meet JR on Sept. 12th. (He already appeared on the show yesterday.) That's the type of situation faced by the tele-versions of Brandy Norwood, Lucille Ball, Art Carney, Robin Williams, and Jackie Gleason (among others) when they met the characters they played.

This situation on 'AMC' is more like that of Larry Miller, the comic actor who appeared as himself in an episode of 'Law & Order' after two memorable appearances as a nightclub owner who murdered both of his wives.



I love 'Kyle XY'; it's my favorite new show of the season (although 'Eureka' is a close second). But they're really pushing this product placement for Sour Patch Kids, their main sponsor, to the point where it's beginning to annoy me.

Don't annoy me. You wouldn't like me if I was annoyed.....

This past Monday, Kyle sat down to a hearty breakfast of Sour Patch Kids in milk. Blecch!

Bt they're not the only ones guilty of being so blatant about product placement. In the latest episode of 'Monk', Sharon Lawrence guest-starred as a real estate agent who leased a new car every year.

After she extolled the special features on her new Buick Lucerne which was the impetus for her hiring Adrian Monk as a private investigator, the show went into a commercial break. And what was the first blipvert out of the box? You guessed it!

I think that if 'Columbo' ever remade "Fade In To Murder" in which the killer was an actor who played "Inspector Lucerne" on TV, then the name of "Buick" would probably be invoked every ten minutes.

They'd probably even force Columbo to start driving one!


Tuesday, August 8, 2006


Warning: there are spoilers within for the second season of 'Doctor Who'........

All I came up with this week were crossovers from promos and commercials, stuff that I can slip into the mix any time. As for what happened last week, I was hoping to make a connection between the finale of 'Hex' and the pilot for 'Fallen' (coming as a mini-series next year), but I've yet to watch the ABC Family TV movie about Teen Nephilim. I promise I'll have that for next week.

In the meantime, I think I'll turn the reins of "The Crossover Of The Week" over to the guy who actually discovered a link in a recent episode of 'Eureka', Mark T....

Mark wrote to me two weeks ago:

"possible cross (don't know if it's too random) - in the second episode of Eureka, when Jack is entering the (control complex? section 5?) with Allison (the place where her husband heads), the loudspeaker announces something about the trajectory of 'satelite 5'. If you have it tivo'd, please reconfirm.

Before I could go to the videotape, Mark responded with his own answer:

"ran thru Eureka again - it's definitely Satellite 5. The exact phrase (over the loudspeaker twice) is "Local dynamics - satellite 5 online in three - Local dynamics - satellite 5 online in three"

Mark's a good lad; a well-intentioned disciple of his Toobworld master. But he has made one small error - I believe the loudspeaker is saying "Global Dynamics", the name of the company hidden on the mountain behind the town, - rather than "local dynamics".

Still, his heart was in the right place, so the thrashing will be commuted to thirteen hours of Toobworld community service.

And that is punishment indeed, as Mark so looks forward to the thrashings.....

Mark continues:

"Satellite 5 was the 'media ship' as well as the battleground for last seasons finale."

Mark's referring to several episodes of 'Doctor Who' from last season, in which the show was revived with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the Gallifreyan Time Lord.

In "The Long Game", the Doctor, Rose, and Adam visited Satellite 5 where they found that the development of the human race had been stunted by the manipulation of their incessant news broadcasts. The human face behind this plot was a villainous fellow known as "The Editor"; but the true nasty was a sentient carbuncle on the ass of humanity known as the Mighty Jagrafess.

In short order, the Mighty Jagrafess was dispatched, thanks to an ambitious newswoman named Cathica and a living dead undercover agent known as Sookie.

The Doctor and Rose revisited the space station about one hundred years later in "Bad Wolf" (Part One of the season finale), only to find that Satellite 5 had been rechristened "The Gamestation". Now it telecast nothing but reality show competitions and game shows non-stop to the human populace below.

Again the purpose of the satellite was being twisted to serve a different agenda - the true Masters behind the scheme were the Daleks, newly reborn from the ashes of the Time War with the Gallifreyans. The Doctor thought they had all been destroyed along with his own people at the end of that war; after all, he had initiated the cataclysm. But the Dalek Emperor had survived, falling through a temporal wormhole to regroup and rebuild a new army of Daleks made from the pulp of humanity's waste.

Only by Rose's sacrifice when she looked into the heart of the temporal vortex - which no one is meant to do, - were the Daleks destroyed once again. But the power she had absorbed was killing her, so the Doctor took that energy upon himself to save her. This heroic act ended up "killing" him however, and he soon regenerated into the tenth incarnation of the Doctor, played by David Tennant.

And that's how the first season of the renewal ended, by trumpeting its new beginning for Season Two.

So that space station, the scene of so much conflict with alien races nearly 500,000 years into the future of Toobworld's present day, could thus trace its humble beginnings to a small, unassuming town in Oregon by the name of 'Eureka'.

There in Section 5 of Global Dynamics, secret tests were being conducted on one of the components of Satellite 5, which would go on to mutate through add-ons and rebuilds until it would finally become the multi-level residence and broadcasting complex revered and reviled many centuries into the future.

So there's this week's crossover:


It's a pity though that by the time we revisit Satellite 5 in the future, it more than likely is the dimensional doppelganger from an alternate TV dimension. That's because I've finally come to the realization that the Gallifreyan we know as The Doctor has either fled to this alternate dimension via "sliding" after the Time War, or he's always been a resident of this world rather than the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time.

That's not to say that 'Doctor Who' never took place in the main Toobworld; I believe the entire run of the original series and the FOX TV movie to boot were all presented as though they occurred on Earth Prime-Time.

But once we were reunited with the Doctor in the form of Christopher Eccleston, we were now in a different dimension - one in which Tony Blair gets murdered by an alien family named Slitheen; in which Big Ben is demolished by a stunt space-ship; and in which Harriet Jones, MP of Flydale North, becomes the new Prime Minister.

Last year I bent over backwards with splainins on how the Doctor and Rose ended up in an alternate dimension for the episodes "Aliens Of London" and "World War Three", and how Blon Slitheen (aka Margaret Blaine) rode an interdimensional surfboard out of that dimension in order to bring her storyline back to the main Toobworld in time for the episode "Boom Town".

But with this new season, it was as if Russell T. Davies was intent on making sure all of my theories would be forever bolluxed - not that I'm a paranoid fellow.....

With "The Chrismas Invasion", Harriet Jones was now installed as the Prime Minister, which goes against the setup in Toobworld proper; and then we were re-introduced to former companion Sarah Jane Smith (::sigh::) who knew about that holiday attack by the Sycorax.

I would have been happy with doing the pretzel logic routine of coming up with splainins as to how they kept bouncing back and forth between dimensions: how the Sycorax invasion happened in both dimensions (easy enough to do since there was no mention of Prime Minister Jones in "School Reunion"); and noting that most of the episodes were set in the future or the past where there was no need to bring up the alternate government of Great Britain.

But with the two-parter "The Rise Of Steel" and "The Age Of The Cybermen", RTD slit me up a treat. The Doctor pronounced that sliding between dimensions was no longer possible without the other Gallifreyans being alive to power that ability with their very existence. (My opinion? The Gallifreyans were always full of themselves.)

So this couldn't be the Doctor of the main Toobworld, bouncing back and forth between dimensions in his TARDIS (as it should be able to, since it's acronym stands for "Time And Relative Dimension In Space"!) Unless he was purposefully lying to Rose to spare her feelings and to keep her safe with her reconstituted family, there was no way the Doctor could ever go vortex-hopping again without sundering the wall between dimensions.

Even then, I could have worked with that theory - that he was lying to her, - if it weren't for my feeling of certainty that we have not seen the last of Prime Minister Harriet Jones in connecton not only to the Doctor, but to the Torchwood Institute in the coming spin-off series as well. (During Part One of this year's finale, the Doctor and Yvonne Hartman discussed Harriet Jones and Torchwood's role in the destruction of the Sycorax.)

So I think I should abandon even the hope that this is still the original Doctor who was able to "slide" through the vortex to the alternate dimension of Rose Tyler's before the mass death of the Gallifreyan population caused the dimensional barriers to be sealed forever. (There's a mouthful, and no mistake!)

I think he always belonged to that dimension.

That's not to say I'm giving up on the Doctor ever having lived in the main Toobworld. I will still contend that the adventures we know of Doctors One through Eight took place in the TV universe of Earth Prime-Time. But thanks to 'The Simpsons', which is set in the Tooniverse, we know that the Doctor has counterparts in other dimensions. And these other Doctors shared the same adventures as did the original Doctor, right up until the terrible and deadly Time War.

That's why the Tenth Doctor knew the Sarah Jane Smith and K9 of Rose Tyler's dimension: his adventures with her were a common thread for all of his dimensional counterparts.

As for the Time Lord of the main Toobworld, I like to think he's out there, but we just haven't met him yet. And that he has gone through his ninth and tenth regenerations so that he did once resemble Christopher Eccleston and now resembles David Tennant. For all I know, he also teamed up with the Rose Tyler of Earth Prime-Time.....

It's just that if they did do battle against the Family Slitheen, Tony Blair never got killed and Harriet Jones never became the Prime Minister. This would then alter certain elements of other stories told so far ("The Christmas Invasion", "Army Of Ghosts") to bring them in line with the political "reality" of the main Toobworld.

Can we ever hope to see that version of the Doctor, rather than the one of Earth Prime-Time/Rose (which could also be the same dimension for 'Prison Break', 'The Agency' and 'The District')?

It's pozzble, it's pozzble, as Mushrat would say to 'Deputy Dawg'. But if so, I think it will have to wait until the RTD regime has relinquished the reins, and new producers can realign the British government to reflect that to be found here in the real world of Earth Prime.

One nice thing about this theory is that you can't be too sad for Rose Tyler, now trapped in yet another dimension (one which I think can be linked to 'The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne') with the new, blended version of her family. Perhaps it's true that she will never see the version of the Doctor that she knows again. (But then again, this is sci-fi; anything can happen!)

But that doesn't mean her dimension lacks its own version of the Doctor. After all, as she told him at their final parting of the ways, she was now working for Torchwood. As the Doctor then dubbed her, she was now "Rose Tyler, Defender Of The Earth".

Well, Torchwood only came into existence because of the Doctor's actions in the episode "Tooth And Claw". The Doctor of the Cybus dimension probably participated in that adventure just as he did in Rose's dimension, perhaps even as he did in the main Toobworld. But in Rose's new dimension, the Doctor saved Queen Victoria from that alien lycanthrope without Rose as a companion, since she never existed in that dimension before.

Ow. My head hurts. I can just imagine how you must feel........

So where was I? Oh yeah. The Crossover of the Week. This is a blog post about the Crossover of the Week.

All of that doggerel I just unleashed upon you doesn't negate the crossover. Satellite 5's origins lie in the secret laboratories of Global Dynamics in Eureka, Oregon, and one day it will be transformed into a symbol of the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. And this will be true in almost all of the dimensions of Toobworld.

Oh, and here's another little nugget of a possible crossover connected to all of this.....

Remember my wish-craft last week about wanting Jackson Roykirk of 'Star Trek' fame and infamy to show up in 'Eureka'? I think this Satellite 5 project would be the perfect place to find Roykirk working, now that the launch of Nomad is about four years behind him!


Thanks again to Mark T for alerting me to the mention of Satellite 5 on 'Eureka'. And thanks to Mark and the other Brokeback Buddy, Michael C, for making it possible for me to see 'Doctor Who' long before the rest of America finally got to see it on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Thanks to them, I don't have to be stuck with the rest of those losers......

Monday, August 7, 2006


Besides the two TV versions and the film adaptation, 'Twelve Angry Men' was finally produced on Broadway back in 2004. Do a Google image search and you'll see that there have been plenty of college and community theater productions of it as well.

So I thought it might be nice to have a little Toobworld fun with our own staging of the play. To truly make it a Toobworld enterprise, all of the characters come from TV shows set in New York City.

I wanted a cross-section of all types of characters from NYC TV shows, and figured on that also meaning that I would have characters from not only sitcoms but from dramas as well - medical programs, cop shows, and lawyer/private eye series.

But then I remembered a late-night special that aired on ABC back in the mid-1970s. Back then, ABC presented original specials on Friday nights - some of them taped mysteries; others musical variety shows. And there was one in which Stanley Kramer asked three of his stars from "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" to perform dramatic monologues.

Sid Caeser played Captain Queeg from "The Caine Mutiny", doing the "strawberries" speech. Jonathan Winters was Willie Loman of "Death Of A Salesman", in a scene where he confronts his boss. And Buddy Hackett assayed "Cyrano de Bergerac" in a tuxedo rather than in swashbuckling costume. As for the legendary proboscis, he let his own rather distinctive blob of a schnozz play the scene as is.

Kramer's point in the special was that comedy was already difficult and that skilled comic actors were more than capable of handling dramatic roles. So I decided to follow that theme and looked for just characters from NYC-based sitcoms to populate the jury room.

I could have claimed that characters in Toobworld could still be alive even though the actors who played them were dead. But this is an exercise which I'd like to actually think could be seen on TV one night during Sweeps, 9 pm Eastern, 8 pm Central. Therefore, I only picked TV sitcom characters whose actors are still with us here in the Real World.

Besides, it would have been too easy to pick Archie Bunker for Juror #10......

And although I did add in some racial and ethnic diversity, I held true to the title of the piece and considered only male characters. Otherwise I would have loved to have added Brenda Morgenstern of 'Rhoda' to be Juror #2.

Best part of all is that none of these characters are actually named in the play (unlike in the movie), so that we could get away with this casting and those who owned the original rights to the characters couldn't say boo. Not my fault you can recognize who the character is by who is playing the role!

Let's take it clockwise round the table.......

JURY FOREMAN - Martin Tupper, 'Dream On'
Brian Benben is adept at displaying an easily flustered management style. He's better at romantic slapstick, but he's not going to get much action in the jury room. This would be the first rewrite of a juror's occupation (The foreman is a high school coach; Martin is a book editor.), but it won't be the last. There's just not much call for high school coaches in sitcoms. Jack Warden is dead, and besides, his coach from 'Mr. Peepers' lived in the Midwest. 'The Waverly Wonders' took place in Wisconsin, and Chet Kinkaid worked out in California.

After all the hassles from trying to manage this jury, Martin Tupper would probably be glad to get back to his editor's office... even if he would find Toby Pedalbee lying in wait for him.

JUROR # 2 - Jody Davis, 'Family Affair'
There wasn't much call for bank tellers in sitcoms. Alan Young was a possibility, despite his age. But I don't know where the single sitcom year of his TV show was supposed to take place. (The show was a sketch comedy the other years.)

So I decided to create a bank teller; not from whole cloth, but by taking a sitcom child of the past and imagining his future laid out in banking. You'd be surprised by how many of these tabula rasa-farians there are in Toobworld - sitcom children of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s who are now grown up and open to whatever destiny a writer wished to impose on them. (There I go, enabling fanfic again!)

The reason I chose Jody Davis over other sitcom kids from the NYC area like Adam Stephens, Joey Stivic, and Ricky Ricardo, Jr. is due to Johnny Whitaker. He had - and still has - such a unique look that you would know him as Jody Davis. Since we wouldn't be identifying these jurors by name, every little bit helps to make the connection in the audience's mind.

JUROR # 3 - George Jefferson, 'The Jeffersons'/'All In The Family'
This is the juror who holds out against a "not guilty" verdict until the very end. Blustery, obnoxious, not afraid to force his opinion on the others. And as he had problems with his own son, it's easy enough to imagine that George would be remembering his own past relationship with Lionel when trying to force through a guilty verdict.

JUROR # 4 - Jimmy James, 'NewsRadio'
I almost chose George Costanza of 'Seinfeld' for this, mostly because he has a look that's very reminiscent of EG Marshall. But Juror #4 must be cool under pressure and George wouldn't be able to cope. Besides, as a convicted felon, maybe he can't serve on a jury. (At the very least, I think both sides would be wary about choosing him.)

Jimmy James, like Juror #4, is a successful businessman who wears glasses (a key point for the character in the movie version, and that's the script I'd be using). And even though he sometimes seemed off the wall in his own show, he would be methodical in laying out the points of the case as he sees him.

It's because I picked Jimmy James for Juror #4 that I had to abandon the idea of using Dave Nelson from 'NewsRadio' to be the foreman of the jury. Didn't want more than one character from a sitcom.

JUROR # 5 - Willis Drummond, 'Diff'rent Strokes'
Juror #10: He was born in a slum. Slums are breeding grounds for criminals. I know it and so do you. It's no secret, children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society. Now, I think...
Juror #3: Brother, you can say that again. The kids who crawl out of these places are real trash. I don't want any part of them, I'm telling you.
Juror #5: Listen, I've lived in a slum all my life.
Juror #3: Now, wait a minute...
Juror #5: Please, I've played in backyards which were filled with garbage. I mean, maybe you can still smell it on me.

Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis?

When this fantasy production reaches this point, those statements will have added resonance for the audience, and their meaning will have been altered from the original context just by the casting of Todd Bridges as Juror #5. The audience will know that Willis may have started out life in a slum, but once he and his brother Arnold were adopted by Philip Drummond, they were set for life.

And memories of Bridges' troubled personal life will certainly make it believable that he knows how to handle a switchblade!

JUROR # 6 - Richard Karinsky, 'Caroline In The City'
This juror is supposed to be a painter; more than likely he's supposed to be a house-painter, a simple working man. But why not tweak it a bit and instead make him the colorist for a comic strip who was at heart a frustrated painter?

I also think that there should be one juror who at least suggests the possibility that he might be gay. (On the show, Richard pined for Caroline and eventually dated her, but I think he was in denial.) However, there's no way I'd ever let "Just Jack" of 'Will & Grace' loose in that jury room. Even Juror #8 would vote guilty in seconds flat just to avoid being trapped in a room with that man-eater. ("Oh! I thought it was 'Twelve Hungry Men'!")

JUROR # 7 - Jackie Fisher, 'Chicken Soup'
Here I'd be asking for a re-write as to what kind of salesman Juror #7 was. In this day and age, marmalade seems just too antiquated. It should be something frivolous however, to show how good a salesman he was. So why not pajamas, which is what Jackie Fisher did until he gave it up in 1989 to volunteer at a community center. It could be that he returned to his former profession after the series was cancelled. After all, how much money could he have saved up just by selling pajamas?

JUROR # 8 - Ted Mosby, 'How I Met Your Mother'
In both the 'Studio One' presentation and the movie version, Juror #8, who stands alone at the beginning against a unanimous vote of "guilty", is said to be an architect. The most famous TV architect would have been Mike Brady and Robert Reed might have been good in the role, but he's dead in real life and Mike Brady lives (lived?) in California. There might have been another good choice from 'For Your Love' if the sitcom wasn't set in Chicago.

Ted Mosby would be the only sitcom character from a show currently on the air, which is why CBS should have first dibs on this concept. Ted's also a NY-based architect and he appears to have the chops to find the inner strength to stand alone against the majority as an everyman hero. His best friend on the show, Barney, has stated in the past that Ted thinks too much and this is a quality that Juror #8 actually does display during their deliberations.

And Barney would be so proud to see Ted finally "suit up"!

JUROR # 9 - Robert Petrie, 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'
It's hard to envisioin Rob Petrie without seeing him in the mind's eye as a human Slinky of youthful energy. But Time marches on in Toobworld and he'd be probably turning 81 this year just like his portrayer. Even then, he's still full of rubber-band vitality, but there's nothing that says Juror #9 has to be feeble and infirm.

And as we learned from the reunion movie from a few years back, Rob and Laura have moved to a large condo apartment in Manhattan. It's their son Richie who now lives in the house back in New Rochelle.

JUROR # 10 - Louie dePalma, 'Taxi'
Belligerent, loud, obnoxious, and somewhat revolting in his prejudices, who better than Louie dePalma to rail against "them"? Small as he is, Louie can easily fill the room with his pompous tirade and collapse in defeat with resonation.

JUROR # 11 - Jawaharlal Choudhoury, 'Head Of The Class'
Juror #11 is a foreigner, usually played as someone who came over from an East European country. But to add a bit more ethnic diversity to the cast, I'd enscript "Jawa". Fifteen years before, he was a transfer student from India, and an honors student at Fillmore High School. (Crossover alert - that was Edith Bunker's high school!)

"Jawa" is another juror who should have his occupation updated. Instead of a watchmaker, I'd make him a software designer to reflect his high IQ.

JUROR # 12 - Chandler Bing, 'Friends'
The role calls for a junior ad exec who could be easily swayed to change his alliances several times over, and this description is tailor-made for Chandler. Before the series ended, he had changed careers and started working in advertising, and it's not hard to picture him vacillating between one camp to the other.

Now, he and Monica had moved to the suburbs by series end, but perhaps he took an apartment in the City to have a place to crash after a long bull session for a client's product. And that's how he mistakenly gets on the rolls to be called for jury duty. (Perhaps he then decides not to contest it in order to get out of something unpleasant at work - like maybe an unwanted encounter with a client? Janice's husband, perhaps?)

And maybe he works for McMann & Tate!

COURT OFFICER - Bull Shannon or Roz Russell, 'Night Court'
A no-brainer, and thus the perfect role for Bull......

But okay, here's where I throw a bone to the ladies. Choosing once more from the 'Night Court' bullpen, the court officer could also be Bull's co-worker, Roz Russell.

JUDGE (VOICE ONLY) - Matthew J. Sirota, 'Sirota's Court'
Judge Harry Stone of 'Night Court' might be the knee-jerk first choice, but Michael Constantine as Judge Sirota carries the vocal weight to appear in voice-over to instruct the jury in its duties.

I may have been having some fun with these descriptions of who I would cast in this new production of "Twelve Angry Men", but I just want to stress that they would all play it straight. There are a few humorous moments in the script and these pros would definitely find them. But I think every one of my choices is also skilled enough to delve deep for the passion and the drama of these men struggling to confront their own images while deliberating on the fate of a young man.

So which sitcom characters might you have picked to be seated on this jury? Let me know your suggestions.....


Sunday, August 6, 2006


Over Japan... At about 0930 hours, the first atomic bomb (nicknamed "Little Boy") is dropped on the city of Hiroshima by a specially equipped B-29 from the 509th Composite Group of the US 12th Air Force and piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets. The plane is named by Tibbets after his mother, Enola Gay.

The bomb is a uranium fission weapon and the yield is in the region of 20,000 tons on TNT. Sixty percent of the city is destroyed in the blast and the firestorm that follows. About 80,000 Japanese are killed. Many more are severely burned and others become ill later, from exposure to radiation.

It is not the most devastating bombing attack of the war but the economy of the effort involved in sending only one plane on a mission to destroy a city shows only too well the complete change in military and political thinking which has begun.

Two TV movies chronicled aspects of this historic and horrific event which occurred 61 years ago today.

Broadcast in 1980, this movie told about Colonel Tibbets and his crew as they prepped for the mission to fly to Japan and drop the bomb on HIroshima. Patrick Duffy portrayed Tibbets and his crew and fellow officers were played by Billy Crystal, Gregory Harrison, Gary Frank, Stephen Macht, and Walter Olkewicz.

Robert Walden appeared as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Ed Nelson was President Harry Truman. (Also in a small role was Leslie Moonves who went on to become the Grand Poobah of CBS and the CW.)

Until the release of the movie "Jaws", most Americans probably weren't aware of the tragic fate suffered by the crew of the USS Indianapolis, the ship which delivered the bomb to be used on Hiroshima. But once they heard the haunting remembrance by Captain Quint (Robert Shaw), they could hardly forget it.

After they delivered the atom bomb to its secret destination of Tinian in July of 1945, the Indianapolis headed to Okinawa. But on July 30th, - the 47th birthday of Captain Charles Butler McVay, his ship was struck by torpedoes and sank. Those who died in the explosion or the sinking may be considered the lucky ones of those who eventually died before any rescue came.

Because the mission had been so highly classified, there was no record of the Indianapolis' whereabouts. (This was the belief for a long time, but later it was revealed that the Navy had lied and that three SOS messages were received but three different commanders failed to act on them.)

By the time rescue arrived on August 2nd, many of the survivors had been eaten by sharks. It took until August 8th to rescue all of the survivors - out of a crew of 1,199, only 316 men survived.

Later, Captain McVay was made the scapegoat for the Navy and was court-martialed for his actions that led to the ship's sinking. It took nearly fifty years and the dogged determination of a 12 year old boy doing a school project to finally clear Captain McVay's name.

But by then, it was too late. Dogged by mental health problems after his life was ruined by the Navy, Captain McVay took his own life in Litchfield, Connecticut, in November of 1968.

Stacy Keach played Captain McVay and his father portrayed McVay's father. Carrie Snodgrass portrayed McVay's wife and among the actors who played crew members of the Indianapolis were Richard Thomas, Steve Landesburg, Bob Gunton, Tim Guinee, Gordon Clapp, Jeffrey Nordling, and David Caruso.

The movie aired in 1991.



In 1976, CBS donated the first half hour of "Twelve Angry Men" to the Museum of Television & Radio. As it was broadcast live back in 1954, there was no tape on standby to air, and the second half was feared to be lost.

But in 2003, a complete film copy of the telecast was discovered in the collection of Marjorie Liebowitz Finch. Apparently, her father - a famous lawyer and jurist, - had requested a copy of the program from a friend at the network; and luckily enough for us, that friend came through so that we could all now see the complete production.

"Twelve Angry Men" was presented on the 'Westinghouse Studio One' program on September 20th, 1954. It was written by Reginald Rose and directed by Franklin Schaffner, and among its actors were Robert Cummings, Edward Arnold, Franchot Tone, and Walter Abel; with Vincent Gardenia in an uncredited turn as the court officer.

Last week, Turner Classic Movies showed the film adaptation of "12 Angry Men". Whether it had long planned to do so, or was perhaps added in to the schedule as a salute to Jack Warden (Juror #7) who passed away on July 19th, I don't know. But I watched it again, as I always feel compelled to do, and promised myself to finally watch the original TV production at the MT&R.

I've always loved "Twelve Angry Men", ever since 6th Grade when we did a classroom reading of the piece. I got to be one of the jurors, but after all these years I can't remember which one. I think it may have been Juror #4 the precise businessman best known to audiences as played by EG Marshall in the film version. The trained actor in me hasn't been completely extinguished yet, so I'd like to try my hand some day at the role of the bigoted Juror #10 (Ed Begley in the film) to see if I could understand how he could feel that way. Besides, that's a really juicy monologue he has!

Had we done the staged version at the old Meat & Potatoes Theater Company, I'd more than likely get Juror #2, the mild-mannered bank clerk. But that would be okay too, since every role in this play has depth and weight.

I won't bore you with a synopsis of the plot; you can always check out the movie yourself. Or visit this site. Suffice to say, twelve jurors must decide the fate of a young man accused of murdering his father. Only one juror is a holdout with his vote of "not guilty". One by one, he must persuade the others to come around to his way of thinking.

The original production was an hour-long episode of 'Studio One', including the commercials featuring Betty Furness for Westinghouse. The movie was expanded with additional material to make it about 90 minutes.

Reginald Rose adapted his own teleplay and it's those revisions that make the movie the stronger version. But the original script was powerful in its own right and went on to win the Emmy Award for Best Written Dramatic Material (Reginald Rose), Best Direction (Franklin Schaffner), and Best Actor in a Single Performance (Robert Cummings in the role later played by Henry Fonda in the film.)

Certain bits of business and speeches were re-assigned between the two versions; the most significant being the discovery about the woman's eyeglasses. As with all of the revisions, it plays stronger in the movie version as it becomes more personal and instrumental in swaying Juror #4 into changing his vote.

In the original, it's #6 who notices that #2 can't see without his glasses. (Sounds like an episode of 'The Prisoner'!) In the TV version, the woman wore her glasses during her testimony; in the movie it plays out in discovery like a mystery, what with all the business about the impression of the "red dots".

Of course, by rewriting this scene to give it to Numbers 4 and 9, Jurors #2 and #6 are robbed of that moment in the movie. But Ed Binns as #6 does get a good scene with Fonda as recompense. John Fielder, meanwhile, still nails the role of #2 with each line, especially when he calls Lee J. Cobb (as #3) a loudmouth. It's almost as if he was laying the groundwork for his future role as Mr. Peterson, the "hostile mouse" on 'The Bob Newhart Show'.

Another revision gave the movie version a timeless quality betrayed only by the costumes, lack of A/C, and the introduction of the second switch blade. Instead of tickets to a ball game - as was the case in the movie, - Juror #7 has tickets to see "The Seven Year Itch". I'll bet quite a few people today don't even know it was a play, let alone that a movie was made of it.

That #7 was a marmalade salesman is probably the only revision for the movie that doesn't work and I'm surprised they kept that in for the 1997 version on Showtime.

One last difference between the original TV version and the movie adaptation, and it's a major one. In the movie, we actually see how much Juror #3 has invested of his memories of his own son into the case so that it becomes extremely personal. This is missing from the original; although we know that his relationsip with his son has always been rocky and that he hasn't even seen him for two years.

But in the movie, his grief over this loss overwhelms him and he tears his son's picture into pieces. In the TV version, however, Franchot Tone finally just waves away his last bit of resistance to the will of the others and it looks like he'll vote "not guilty" just to be done with them all.

Still, Lee J. Cobb (and I would imagine George C. Scott in the Showtime remake) barges through the role like a bull elephant as he tries to force all of the others to his viewpoint. Franchot Tone is more subdued in comparison.

But I will say this about Tone's performance - his version of Juror #3 is the more dangerous one, like a coiled rattler ready to strike. And this image is brought home by the ending. Remember in the movie, Jurors #3 and 8 are the last to leave the jury room, and #8 helps #3, overcome with defeat, into his jacket.

In the teleplay, Franchot Tone picks up the second switchblade and flicks it open, holding it as though he would really use it this time. And there was that interminable second, even though I knew better, where it looked as though he really would do so.

Okay, so here's a few notes that are of a more Toobworld oriented aspect about the 1954 production of "Twelve Angry Men".

Norman Fell played the jury foreman, but in the credits he's listed as Norman Feld.

Unlike the coda to the 1957 movie, none of the Jurors have names at all revealed to us. Therefore, they could be anybody in the TV Universe who happened to be living in Manhattan at that time.

For instance, I mentioned Vincent Gardenia as the court officer..... What if he turned out to be McNab, Archie's old neighbor on 'All In The Family, who sold his home to the Jeffersons? Then, after he retired from the court system and moved away from Queens, he wound up in Santa Barbara, California, where his grandson "Buzz" would develop a working friendship with Shawn and Gus of the 'Psych' Detective Agency.

Since this was a live production, mistakes were bound to crop up. But I'm not sure it was a mistake when Robert Cummings stumbled over one of his first major speeches as Juror #8. Instead, it felt real to me, as if he was tripping over what he had to say as he slowly gained the confidence to continue.

But there was one doozy of a mistake! At one point, one of the cameras eases into view on the right hand of the screen. All of the actors ignore it, but the audience certainly can't! Eventually word must have been relayed to the cameraman and he pulls back.

So how do we splain this away for Toobworld?

It was invisible to the naked eye of the jurors, but was actually there in the courtroom to monitor them. Perhaps it was sent from the future; part of the equipment used by the time-traveling news team of 'See It Now', or by the quantum leaping researchers who work with Dr. Sam Beckett. Or they could be the monitor devices used by aliens back in the 1950s to study human behavior.

Like I said, the camera was invisible to the jurors and thus can be ignored by us as well since it never comes into play to mean anything.

At the very beginning of the play, we see all the jurors in the jury box as they listen to the instructions put forth by the judge in their case. We hear those same instructions again at the very end, but this time we are looking at an empty jury box.

I can't say for certain, as there was no credit given for this, but I could swear that the voice of the judge was supplied by Will Geer. Is there anybody out there who could verify this for me?

With the film cast, only one actor remains alive - Jack Klugman, who played Juror #5, the young possibly Jewish man who grew up in a slum. As of November, 2004, according to an article by Harry Haun, only one actor remained alive from the original TV broadcast: Will West, who played Juror #12. (His SAG name for the movies was Larkin Ford.)

Two of the actors from the original production went on to recreate their roles for the movie version - Joseph Sweeney and George Voskovec. Usually it's the other way around, like Richard Widmark as 'Madigan', Yul Brynner as the King of Siam, and Gary Burghoff as Radar O'Reilly in 'M*A*S*H'.

The title drawing for this production was reminiscent of Picasso and was painted by Howard Mandel. I don't know if he was (or is) any relation to Howie Mandel of 'St. Elsewhere' and 'Deal Or No Deal' fame. But I do know this - that painting would fit right in at the 'Night Gallery'!

We never see or hear the prosecutor of this case. But in my Toobworldly heart, I'd like to think it was an up and coming ADA in the Manhattan court system who probably thought this was going to be a slam dunk case; an easy conviction.

I'd like to think that young prosecutor was able to rise above this setback on his eventual journey to become the Manhattan District Attorney until just a few years ago - Adam Schiff of 'Law & Order'......

The defense attorney is thought to be ill-equipped to handle the case, perhaps not even very good. So it definitely can't be the Prestons of 'The Defenders', another creation of Reginald Rose. But it could be Daniel J. O'Brien of 'The Trials Of O'Brien'.

Not that I want to besmirch the abilities of a family member, even if he is fictional......

You may have noticed that I hardly mentioned the Showtime version of the play. That's because I've yet to see it. I'll have to check Netflix and see if it's available to add to my queue. Afterwards, I'll share my thoughts on that in connection to this version. But definitely I'd have to say that the 1997 version must be relegated to Earth Prime-Time Delayed, while the 1954 original is to be found in the main Toobworld.

Several TV shows have used this play as a template for episodes featuring their main characters. Among them would be 'The Dead Zone', 'Monk', '7th Heaven', and 'All In The Family'. If you can think of any others, let me know........

Finally, here is a list of the jurors and the actors who played them. In brackets you'll find the actors who played them in the movie version in order to help you visualize their characters better.

JURY FOREMAN - Norman Fell (Martin Balsam)
JUROR #2 - John Beal (John Fielder)
JUROR #3 - Franchot Tone (Lee J. Cobb)
JUROR #4 - Walter Abel (EG Marshall)
JUROR #5 - Lee Phillips (Jack Klugman)
JUROR #6 - Bart Burns (Ed Binns)
JUROR #7 - Paul Hartman (Jack Warden)
JUROR #8 - Robert Cummings (Henry Fonda)
JUROR #9 - Joseph Sweeney (both)
JUROR #10 - Edward Arnold (Ed Begley)
JUROR #11 - George Voskovec (both)
JUROR #12 - Will West (Robert Webber)