Saturday, October 7, 2006


For most of the new shows, this was Week Two in the new season. A lot of people wait to decide on make or break with the third week, but life is short. Nasty and brutish as well. So I made my choices based on the first two episodes (three, in the case of 'Studio 60' and 'Jericho'.)

Apparently the audience is responding to 'Jericho' on CBS - there was an uptick in the ratings numbers for the second week. Probably because the show about a town isolated by nuclear attacks on nearby big cities is not a procedural. It's not weighted down with heavy mythology. And it's not a serial that you have to commit to.

With so many cities apparently destroyed by nuclear blasts, it's not likely much will change about the town's overall situation if you happen to miss a week.

(We learned about 6 more cities destroyed in blasts, only three of which were named: Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Diego.)

The news is not so good for 'Kidnapped' over on NBC at 10 pm. It's a great, well-made movie-quality series and people just weren't watching it. A big problem (pun intended) is the lead-in - "The Biggest Loser". What was NBC thinking by putting this on such a competitive night as Wednesdays? Sure, they probably didn't have much of a chance with an expensive dramatic series in the 9 pm slot once 'Lost' returned, but this is a piece of dogbleep!

They should have kept 'Law & Order' - with a built-in audience from 16 years of loyal viewing - at the 9 pm slot, even though it stumbled there last year when it was moved in. But starting off the year in that time-slot, after a chance to acclimated to it over the summer, would have given the audience the time needed to adjust. (Even though I hate coddling those babies!) And it would have been a great lead-in for 'Kidnapped'.

Also, people probably didn't want to commit to another serialized show, not when the overly-hyped 'The Nine' was about to premiere. (Boy, were they sold a big one with that show!)

I fear more for Leopold Cain when it comes to the network than I do when it comes to the kidnappers.

And so the network gave the producers of 'Kidnapped' only thirteen episodes to wrap up the storyline. At least there'll be closure. Unfortunately, the show's been banished to the graveyard of prime time lineups: Saturday night.

But at least this way, those who really are hooked into 'The Nine' can also enjoy 'Kidnapped' as well.

'Brothers & Sisters' wasn't bad second time out of the gate, but it really didn't give me much reason to come back a third time. Hard to keep up the momentum after killing off a major character played by such a good actor as Tom Skerritt. Rachel Griffiths continues to shine though as Sarah.

The second episode of 'Heroes' felt more like part two of the pilot, but it really built on the introductory premise and made me eager to see more. Not all of the characters are fully realized yet, or even seem worthy enough to continue following. But others more than make up for them and I'm sure eventually they'll be up to speed once the disparate storylines begin to gel.

Especially worthy of notice are Hiro Nakamura and Claire Bennett. Hiro is just so full of joy and so fun to watch, that I think the show could have focused on hiim alone. But maybe that's me.

And Claire's family dynamic is so full of menace, that she might as well be on the 'Lost' island - especially considering her "Daddy issues".

Finally, there's 'Studio 60'. Three episodes in so far on this one. I don't think I've had so much of a drop in enthusiasm for a show from one week to the next. The pilot was fantastic; blew me away. "The Cold Open" was mostly "meh". I didn't think much of the Gilbert & Sullivan parody and that dropped even more once I saw a transcript of the lyrics. The execution exceeded the material.

And when Jordan tried to pass off the fictional 'Studio 60' as being all-important to the movie studio advertising dollar, that really bothered me. I'm not in the business, but even I know that it's the Thursday night PRIME-TIME lineup that matters more for those adverstisers. The fight is basically over by 11:30 on a Friday night!

Also, I think Steven Weber and Amanda Peet are great in their roles, but aren't there other shows playing on the NBS network that might need their attention? The fictional 'Studio 60 ' is taking up too much of their time. They should have been hired on only a recurring basis, but now with contracts signed......

By the third week, it became truly apparent that Sorkin's method of writing it all himself is going to cripple him when you're trying to show behind the scenes of a comedy sketch show. Sorkin can't write funny! He can write witty things, and things that can be humorous, but when you're supposed to be belting one out of the park to get an actual laugh, he's totally lost. He's lame. Okay, he sucks.

Proof? The sketch for "Science, Schmience". It was over-written and even had it been pared down to key words to trigger humor (ask Buddy Sorrell for a list of those), it still wasn't funny. It was Sorkin, through Matt Albie, preaching his views on intolerant religious beliefs. Harriet Hayes could have and should have pointed this out to Matt since she is such an ardent (or strident) woman of faith.

But she was probably blinded to the problems of the skit because she has no concept of what should be funny. I don't care how many times Sorkin hits us over the head with how talened and funny "Harry" Hayes is supposed to be, we've yet to see evidence of it from the actress.

I would not be surprised if she is a good actress in some other part; this is probably not her fault. Sorkin has set the bar too high in our expectations of what she should be like, and Ms. Paulsen is never going to be able to match that.

But, truth be told, I did find the bear joke funny.

So as the new TV season begins to gel, I have to say that of these shows - all of which I was eagerly anticipating, - only 'Heroes' and 'Jericho' are working for me.

I'll continue watching 'Studio 60', however, even though Sorkin's smug attitude is seeping through and it's annoying the hell out of me. But the main reason I'm sticking with it is because there's nothing really of great import to watch at the time otherwise.

And that's hardly a recommendation.......



Broadcasting & Cable posted a story on the first of October about similarities between NBC's 'Heroes' and a book by Salman Rushdie called "Midnight's Children".

Published in 1981, it tells the story of 1,001 children all born at the exact same moment in India. "Every one of whom was, through some freak of biology, or perhaps owing to some preternatural power of the moment … endowed with features, talents or faculties which can only be described as miraculous … powers of transmutation, flight, prophecy and wizardry."

I can almost hear the voice of Mohinder Suresh providing the voice-over as he does in the TV show.

And speaking of Mohinder, he shares his last name of "Suresh" with the doctor who delivered the narrator at birth.

Here are some other similarities listed by B&C:

Nikki of 'Heroes' appears to have a Jekyll/Hyde relationship with her mirror image.

One of the characters in the book can step into and emerge from any reflective surface.

Hiro can teleport himself through Time and space without the need for a clunky TARDIS.

In the book, another character has "the gift of traveling in time."

I wouldn't be surprised if out of the 999 others, Rushdie came up with characters who could fly or be indestructible, read thoughts or paint pictures that come true. There are only so many variations really on super-powers; it's just a matter of what you do with them.

This week, Entertainment Weekly took a look at each of the characters on 'Heroes' and found a corresponding superhero to match, not only from the biggies of DC and Marvel, but also from Alan Moore's excellent "The Watchmen".

(They skipped over Mohinder Suresh, though, as he doesn't display any super-powers. But with the computer program he found this week that belonged to his late father, he can track down all of these super-powered characters. That's a lot like having your own personal Cerebro from "The X-Men" on your laptop.)

Tim Kring, who created 'Heroes' claims he's never even heard of Rushdie's book, and putting my own perspective into play, I can believe that. Whoever heard of Rushdie in a general sense before the Ayatollah placed that fatwa on him years back?

According to the article, Kring said "that one of the 'tragedies' of being a TV writer is having little time to be 'a leisure reader by any stretch of the imagination.'

I believe that. I sometimes have a hard enough time getting through the paper, and I'm just a TV blogger!

Not that someone might still seek to sue over the matter; if not Rushdie, then perhaps his publisher. Such claims have hardly stopped litigation over plagiarism in the past. But then some creators of classic comic book super-heroes might step up to sue Rushdie. It'd be a messy business which only 'Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law' could solve.

In the end, it doesn't matter in the overall Toobworld-view, in much the same way the facts about the solar system didn't matter to Sherlock Holmes because they didn't have any impact on his line of work.

Unofficially, televisiology is my line of work, and what matters is what is up on the screen. 'Heroes' is part of Toobworld; "Midnight's Children" is not.

At best, I could posit that Rushdie's book is the equivalent to 'Heroes' in the literary universe, in much the same way that the movie "An American President' is the Cineverse doppelganger of the TV show 'The West Wing'. Similar, but not the same thing.

And even if litigation came along that knocked 'Heroes' off the air, (highly unlikely considering it got the full season pickup, a great sign of support from NBC), it still wouldn't matter to Toobworld.

Once broadcast, the show becomes a permanent part of the TV Universe and not even cancellation can ever erase that. We might not be able to see them anymore on our TV screens, but those characters would continue to live their lives; making Toobworld a better place.

And better for us that it's the characters of 'Heroes' and not Peripheral Vision Man of 'Studio 60'!



On Monday, October 2nd, TV critic and columnist Alan Sepinwall posed the following question about a fantasy crossover:

At what point will NBC have a "Heroes" / "Friday Night Lights" crossover where Claire gets run over by one of Kyle Chandler's players?

It's a funny idea, but if 'Heroes' does as well as expected (NBC has already given it a full-season order), the suits of the Peacock Throne may insist on such a crossover... despite the sense of ultra-realism displayed in 'Friday Night Lights'.


Friday, October 6, 2006


Like a lot of 'Lost' fans, I was right there for the season premiere Wednesday night. And as I expected, I found more questions than answers in "A Tale Of Two Cities".

Here's one:

There must have been more to the casting of Julie Adams as the elderly woman who lived among the Others if they were going to bring her out to Hawaii. Could it be that she's Karen DeGroot 36 years on?

I had another question which I posed to my friend Mark:

"My one big question - where are those survivors who were taken? Cindy, the kids, etc?"

His reply:

"Two words - 'fish biscuits'. Only took the bears two hours to shit them out."

A lot of people say that with this show, it's the journey not the destination.

Might as well have some fun along the way.



Sometimes I think a TV show can be so over-hyped in advance that it can't possibly live up to the buzz.

'Studio 60' was that show these last few weeks.

'The Nine' is that show now.

I don't know why it was being compared to 'Lost'; the flashback concept is too tenuous a hook to hang that comparison. Other than that, the only thing they really have in common is that they're both on Wednesday nights.

To me, 'The Nine' is just a relationship and/or character drama with a twist - the missing 52 hours of the bank hostage crisis. Even though little snippets of what happened during those 52 hours will be slowly revealed in flashbacks, I don't get the sense that this is a show you MUST come back to each week to get the whole picture.

But there's another reason why I just didn't feel it, and this goes back three years with that time-slot - not the specific hour, but which show precedes it. 'Lost'.

When 'Lost' premiered in 2004, it was on at 8 PM. I would then switch over to NBC for 'The West Wing' at 9 PM. As it is for a lot of people, I think 'The West Wing' is one of the greatest TV shows ever made.

And yet I would have to tape it each week that year because I just couldn't get into watching it; not after having just seen 'Lost'.

Last year, when it moved to the 9 o'clock hour, I don't think I even bothered with any of the choices for 10 PM. 'Law & Order', 'CSI:NY', 'Invasion'. At least not on any regular basis.

Instead, I wanted to go online and find like-minded spirits who just went through the adrenaline rush of a new episode of 'Lost'. This usually meant hanging out at "The Fuselage" board.

I'm not sure that will happen so much this year. There certainly wasn't anything that made me gasp or feel the need to talk about what I had just seen in the season premiere. But I still didn't feel as if I could just switch off that 'Lost' euphoria and watch some other show.

This is why I think 'The Nine' is going to bleed more and more viewers each week, and it's not the fault of the show. And if the audience hasn't abandoned ABC for the computer, then they may be rewinding their tapes to watch it again in case they missed something. (I know. I used a VCR; I'm archaic.)

I also think that some of that preview hype from the critics was due to the fact that they get to watch it on screeners without commercial interruption. I know it couldn't have been just me that thought there was way too many blipvert breaks in the episode. There seemed to be more than usual for 'Lost' as well, but when you're hyped on a show, you don't mind waiting through the ads until it gets back.

If you're not really caught up with the characters as might have been the case with 'The Nine', then you could get lost channel surfing during the commercial interruption and never make ti back in time to matter.

I'm sorry the real victim here is going to be 'Kidnapped'. I think people stayed away from it right from the beginning because they knew two weeks down the road 'The Nine' would be premiering and it was getting all this publicity buzz. So why invest in another serialized drama that would be abandoned before it really got started?

And now 'Kidnapped' has been ordered to wrap it all up in 13 episodes, rather than going the distance. But unlike 'Reunion' last year, at least they get to bring closure to the story.

I wish they weren't scheduled against each other because I'm sorry now I abandoned 'Kidnapped' for this.

Don't get me wrong; it is a great show and that's mostly because of the performances. But I should have remained loyal to 'Kidnapped', a show I already was enjoying, and see it play out to the end.

I better start checking those Bravo skeds.....

But I will say this for the debut: John Billingsley better get nominated for best supporting actor for his role as Egan Foote, based on just that opening scene he did!

Here are just a few Toobworld notes:

I've mentioned this before somewhere, if not here then in some other TV forum, that I hope they make some connection to 'Lost'. Mention of Oceanic Airlines or St. Sebastian's Hospital in L.A.; perhaps Nick worked with Ana Lucia Cortez on the LAPD; something. And they better - it would be one way for ABC to hold onto the audience from 'Lost' if they knew there was supposed to be a connection.

Which reminds me - if anybody out there is watching 'Six Degrees', have they made any allusion to 'Lost' yet? Seems like a natural, considering JJ Abrams' involvement.

Wouldn't it be funny if Matthew Fox and Scott Wolf, as their respective surgeons, passed each other in a hallway during a 'Lost' flashback for Jack?

Or maybe in a restaurant.... That way we could hear the announcement, "Party of Five!"

Or maybe not......

Another way to go with a 'Lost' connection regarding Ana Lucia - the two sisters, Eva and Frannie..... they could be Ana Lucia's cousins.

One trivia addition to the TV Universe from the show (aside from the characters) - the bank, Fidelity Republic Bank.

Maybe several decades ago they absorbed the bank at which Mr. Mooney, Mr. Cheever, and Lucille Carmichael worked. ('The Lucy Show', of course!)



Even though their attempt with 'Blade' failed (the series was canceled a week ago), Spike is gearing up for another original series. This time it's about a group of Minneapolis cops assigned to handle people with genetic mutations that render them violent and destructive.

'A.M.P.E.D.' will star Lee Tergesen Tony Curran, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Troy Winbush and Josh Biton. And it will be produced by Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan, both executive producers on 'The X-Files'. (Not that the credit guarantees success or quality - Spotnitz also brought us the new version of 'Kolchak'.)

They don't have to spell it out, but I can see this being theoretically linked to an earlier series which starred Debra Messing, before she went on to acclaim in 'Will & Grace'.

That show was called 'Prey'. The next step in Mankind's evolution was 1.6 percent different from the rest of humanity in their DNA makeup, which had global warming as the catalyst. Messing played the research assistant to the scientist at a Pasadena university who first discovered the truth about these mutants, and who was murdered for that knowledge. Messing and her team found themselves practically alone in their hunt for these mutants because they had already infiltrated much of the government and the media.

So even before it gets out of the box, 'A.M.P.E.D.' has made a theoretical crossover. And even better, that will link it to yet another series, the latest incarnation of 'The Invisible Man', which ran on Sci-Fi a few years ago.

One of the actors from 'Prey', Vincent Ventresca, went on to star in that Sci-Fi show. In one episode of 'The Invisible Man', the mutant character played by Adam Storke, was held in a prison cell. Although never named, it was strongly suggested that this was the same character.

And we can pretty much go on from there with a theoretical link of "relateeveety" that a villain named Stark from the Chrysalis organization was kin to Nathan Stark of Global Dynamics in 'Eureka', Oregon. And 'Eureka' has made theoretical links to 'Dark Skies', 'Doctor Who', and 'The X-Files'.

But I'll give it a rest. I understand. Sometimes even I get a headache from it all......



A comment from one of the blogs I frequent:

Have you ever felt like there was an actual TV land? I watched 'How I Met Your Mother' at 8:30 and 'Heroes' at 9:00, and the actress who played Ted's mom on HIMYM is the same who played Peter's mom on 'Heroes'. I think she was even wearing the same outfit.

But there is a difference in tone between "Your father and I have been divorced...[for] nine months" and "Your father committed suicide".

Posted on Oct 3rd 2006 by Chris W

He's referring to Christine Rose (sometimes credited as "Cristine Rose"), whom I first saw in 'Picket Fences' as Lydia Brock, Sheriff Jimmy Brock's first wife.

But Chris W brings up an interesting point about the internal "life" of Toobworld. Both of those shows take place in New York City, and so far there's no reason to think that they take place in alternate TV dimensions. Wasn't there ever a chance that both characters might run into each other? Or at the very least, one of them would have been mistaken for the other by somebody who knew them.

I don't think there's any hard rule on this. When an actor plays more than one character, there may be something about each of them that is invisible to the eye of the viewer at home in the Real World, but which differentiates them from the other characters played by that actor. This must especially be true in shows where certain guest stars kept re-appearing on the same show, sometimes at least once every TV season.

Vito Scotti on 'Columbo', for example. (Although to give all of those characters he played the proper Toobworld twist, they could all be clones of the mad scientist Dr. Balinkoff from 'Gilligan's Island'.)

Speaking of 'Columbo', in my Toobworld novel I mention how the Lieutenant, as played by Peter Falk, differs from his earlier starring role as Daniel J. O'Brien in ,The Trials Of O'Brien'. You can see it in his eyes, or lack of one.

Falk played O'Brien as though he had two eyes, even if the glass one wasn't always aimed properly. And as such, the character had two eyes.

Columbo may have started out that way, but at some point he did lose an eye. He even refers to this fact in the 25th anniversary episode, "A Trace Of Murder", when he refers to himself and his associate with "Three eyes are better than one."

As for the two maternal roles played by Christine Rose last week, nothing more should be made of their resemblance to each other, other than that it was just a slight genetic occurrence. Being no more than recurring characters at best, there's really no need to craft some elaborate splainin.

But if one had to, I suppose it's always possible that they're identical sisters, at least identical cousins. Being cousins would seem more likely, and not very close, as Ted's Mom on 'How I Met Your Mother' lives out in Ohio and doesn't get back to NYC very often.

But then you should drag in all the other characters she has played in the past as well, from 'Picket Fences', 'Providence', ,Charmed' and 'Grace Under Fire' to one-shots like 'Saved', 'Crossing Jordan', 'CSI' and 'NCIS'. And on and on......

Better to just stick with the internal differences splainin and be done with it!


Thursday, October 5, 2006


Having seen the season premiere of 'Lost' last night, I went back to to check out what was offered up as hints for the episode. And there was this:

08/18 - Sawyer is surrounded by something through which he shares a connection with Jack’s father.

That was courtesy of Kristin of E!Online.

Took a few seconds, but..... did she mean "bars"?

Gaaaak. Was she that desperate to post a clue that day to make that up?


Wednesday, October 4, 2006


(There is a BIG spoiler for this past Monday's episode of 'Vanished' in here.....)

I started watching 'Vanished' right from the pilot because I knew a friend of mine was going to have a small (as it turned out, VERY small) role in the fourth episode. And I wanted to be up to speed just in case the plot was going to matter for her scene.

But afterwards, I kept watching because even though I recognized that it wasn't a great show, I still got pulled in by the mystery's historical puzzle. And since 'Heroes' was also re-playing on the Sci-Fi Channel, I knew I could stay with 'Vanished'.

I was also keen to do so because of a rumor I heard about future events on the show. The online rumor wasn't very specific, but combined with other stories about the show, casting etc., I was able to figure it out. And it was going to be a biggie.

The rumor had it pegged as happening by the 10th episode, but with the baseball playoffs disrupting the FOX schedule, I figured this past Monday night would be the time to have it happen, as a big sendoff before the hiatus.

And it happened.

I call it the "Janet Leigh Event".

It wasn't the first time that the Janet Leigh Event has happened in a TV series. Soap operas have resorted to it for years. My first exposure to it was the season (and series) finale for 'Nichols', and I still haven't seen it. It's one of my Toobworld Holy Grails.

The Janet Leigh Event for 'Nichols' was triggered in an attempt to retool the show, but by that point it was all over but for the official cancellation. And even then, it wasn't a true Janet Leigh Event since James Garner would have still been involved with the series... but with marked changes.

Perhaps the earliest example of the Janet Leigh Event in prime time would probably be in 'Naked City'. The latest example before 'Vanished' was probably 'Deadwood', and that was dictated by historical fact. It was dictated by current events in the Real World with the sitcoms 'The Royal Family' and '8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter'.

Have you figured out what the Janet Leigh Event is yet?

You kill off your main character and the show keeps going.

('Murder One' and 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' utilized watered-down versions of the Janet Leigh Event, in that Teddy Hoffman and Mary Hartman respectively were replaced by new characters without having to die and the shows continued for another season.)

On Monday night, FBI Agent Graham Kelton was gunned down outside the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Now that's a surefire way to bring viewers back after the baseball hiatus! (And I've got the feeling that a certain show, making its highly anticipated return, will pull the same stunt at the end of its initial six episode arc.)

Conveniently, that last episode of 'Vanished' also introduced the FBI agent who will pick up the investigation, played by Eddie Cibrian.

I have to say that this turn of events should be a boost to the career of Gale Harold, who played the doomed agent Kelton. After several seasons of acclaim as Brian on 'Queer As Folk' (which may have also hindered his future opportunities), and a turn as Wyatt Earp on 'Deadwood', this sensational exit from the show could not only give him some buzz, but also keep him from being tarred by association should 'Vanished' vanish.



Haven't done one of these in a while.....

While at the comic book store to pick up the latest shipment for the pseudo-kid, I got myself a trio of boots.....

These two episodes are a couple of months apart, but they feature Julie Newmar playing a wealthy young siren named Vicky Russell.

This should be a great time-waster at work, where I don't have to keep focused on the plot and instead do at least a little work.

If you've never seen a Turkish rip-off of some famous genre film, you're missing some great unintentional comedy. The MST3K bots would have had a field day with some of these movies. "Superman", "Star Trek", "The Exorcist" and even "Young Frankenstein" have been remade by Turkish hacks. And now I have a new one to add to my collection:


Apparently, all those nasty rumors you've ever heard about Munchkins actually happen in this movie!

I've got a lotta viewin' to do!


Tuesday, October 3, 2006


I don't think I've ever had such a full plate for recording with so many different networks before. Oh, I've filled up six-hour and even eight-hour tapes before in one night. But usually with one long program, or at best two or three different networks represented.

Tonight I'm taping from 8 pm to 2 am; each hour a fresh episode; and each hour on a different network.

Here's the lineup:

8 PM - 'Friday Night Lights' on NBC

9 PM - 'Veronica Mars' on the CW (Is "the" supposed to be capitalized, like it was for The WB?)

10 PM - 'Boston Legal' on ABC

11 PM - 'nip/tuck' on FX

12 midnight - 'Eureka' on Sci-Fi

1 AM - 'The Street' on BBC-A

Good thing I'm off on Wednesday nights. After watching all of that, and in order to prepare for the premieres of 'Lost' and 'The Nine' later that night (with 'Jericho' leading the lineup), I'm gonna need a nap!



In the pilot episode of 'Ugly Betty', Betty Suarez was first denied a job interview at Meade Publications because of her appearance. But she wouldn't take "No" for an answer. She kept climbing those marble steps, determined to present the reasons as to why she should be hired. Anybody else might have just given up right away, but Betty persisted, calling upon some inner strength.

And where did she get this wellspring of spunk?

"So here’s the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power… now? In every generation, one Slayer is born because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men.

This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power.

Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny.

From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer.

Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up.

Slayers… every one of us.

Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
- Buffy Summers
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'

It's the Toobworld conceit that Willow's spell was far more powerful than in just creating Slayers. The spell endowed all girls to face insurmountable odds and overcome all obstacles.

'Veronica Mars' is another girl who has tapped into her Slayer potential; channeling it so that she can bring justice to the guilty. For instance, she was empowered to face a gang of Fitzpatrick family bikers with aplomb, despite the overwhelming odds. Had they been demons, she would have faced them with equal bravado.

Dr. Allison Cameron, a member of the medical team led by Dr. Greg 'House', realized her full Slayer potential recently when she took the life of Dr. Ezra Powell. True, the man was dying anyway and every breath was an agony, so that her death-stroke deliverance of a fatal injection of morphine could be seen as a blessing.

But she may have been responding to a deeply-buried need to administer justice as well - Dr. Powell had irradiated babies in the name of research back in the 1960s without regard for notification of their parents. Despite how many lives his research may have saved, he also exposed those babies to deadly health risks down the road in Life.

And it's the Toobworld belief that Willow Rosenberg's spell was so powerful that it permeated the dimensional weil to affect young women on all the myriad Earths of the Multiverse.

This is why Rose Tyler was the first truly strong and independent female Companion (from Earth) to travel with the Doctor in all the years of 'Doctor Who'. (Toobworld Central already decreed that the adventures of the Ninth and Tenth incarnations of the Doctor take place in an alternate dimension from the main Toobworld.)

Of course, the argument could be made for Ace as well, who accompanied the Seventh Doctor back on Earth Prime-Time. If so, perhaps Willow's spell transcended Time as well as Space and Ace was imbued with its power while the TARDIS traveled through the time-stream during its issuance.

Who else in Toobworld might have gained the potential of inner strength from Willow's spell? Perhaps Harriet Hayes, one of the players in the 'Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip' repertory company?

How else to explain that everyone considers her to be talented and funny, when she has so far failed to demonstrate that she is?

It could only be through the overwhelming dominance of her will power, thanks to Willow's spell, that "Harry" has been able to get as far as she has in show business......


Monday, October 2, 2006


As was the case with 'Heroes', the third time was the charm for getting the chance to see 'Ugly Betty'. Having missed both the Thursday (because of 'My Name Is Earl' and 'The Office') and Friday ('Doctor Who') broadcasts, I caught it on SoapNet Saturday afternoon.

Man! I love this network synergy!

I'm not sure if the experiment will continue, as is the case with 'Heroes' getting a second shot on Sci-Fi Channel. But I hope it does, because my first option will remain the NBC sitcoms.

Not that 'Ugly Betty' needs me in any way but to say what a good show it is. Its debut came thisclose to matching the numbers posted by 'Survivor' on CBS. And my viewing choices came in third.

About two weeks ago I was convinced that ABC had made a mistake in its scheduling strategy by moving 'Ugly Betty' from the Friday graveyard to the highly competitive Thursday night. My mistake was looking at 'Ugly Betty' from my perspective. I'm certainly not in any of its target audiences and because I usually take a Toby-centric view of the world, I made the assumption that everybody would be watching 'Earl' and 'The Office'.

Besides the fact that I just wanted to sample the show, I wanted to catch it for Ashley Jensen, who won my heart as Maggie Jacobs in 'Extras'. Thankfully, as Christina she's one of the good guys in 'Ugly Betty', an ally for Betty Suarez at Mode magazine.

And there are plenty of others in the cast of interest - Tony Plana, whom I first noticed in 'Bakersfield, PD', as Betty's father; Ana Ortiz from last summer's Iraq drama, 'Over There', as her sister; and Eric Mabius as Betty's skirt-chasing boss. Even Vanessa Williams and her sycophantic aide Marc are fun to watch despite being a bit cartoonish.

The scene stealer though will be Mark Indelicato as Betty's nephew who is a fashionista in training. ("I don't want to eat flan; I'll get fat.") EW magazine already aimed their gaydar at his character.

But of course the one to watch is America Ferrara as Betty Suarez. Her combination of determination, optimism, and even the bouts of pathos make it impossible not to. (Her ghastly personal fashion sense and that overload of dental grillwork are factors as well!)

When I mentioned the pathos, I didn't mean that Betty should be pitied. You can tell from the strength of her spirit that no matter what might befall her, Betty will ultimately triumph.

There are also a couple of mystery subplots going on so that it won't always be Betty vs. the Mode medusas (Modeusa?), which could become tiresome fast.

It also looks as though the show will be a great showcase for cameos. The pilot had two - Gina Gershon as a cosmetics queen client, and Salma Hayek as the maid in a telenovela that Betty's father likes to watch. This was a recurring bit throughout the hour and it may show up again in future episodes, perhaps with other Latino stars in typical telenovela roles.

After only one episode broadcast so far, 'Ugly Betty' will wind up the season as one of the best new shows of this TV season.

As for the Toobworld notes.....

Mode is a magazine published by Meade Publications. When Betty went for her job interview, she had her sights on working at just about any other magazine published by the corporation than Mode.

So if there are other magazines being published by Meade Publications, perhaps we'll see copies of them around the office. This way, we could possibly get subtle links to other TV shows in which magazines played a role.

Blush was the magazine around which the comedy of 'Just Shoot Me' took place, and I think it would be likely they'd have copies of the competition around the office. And if there's any one magazine from the world of TV that I would wish Meade Publications would claim as one of their own, it would be Manhattan Magazine.

That's the publication for which Sarah Jane Smith was working when she first met the Doctor on 'Doctor Who'!

Another competitor for Meade Publications would be the Glenn Howard empire from 'The Name Of The Game'. Perhaps it might get mentioned someday in the show.

Various fictional cosmetics lines and fashion houses from the past could also be revived and reused in the show in a similar... um, fashion.

Here's a future casting suggestion for exec producer Salma Hayek (as if she's ever going to take my suggestions!): should they ever need to hire family members for the character of Christina, then Lynn Redgrave should be at the top of the list.

When Christina introduced Betty to two other average-looking women who worked for the magazine at lunch, a Zonk was used to describe the quartet:

Marc: It's a bizarre version of Sex and the City.

But to avoid the Zonking, I'm going to assume that within the framework of the TV Universe Marc was referring to the book by Candace Bushnell, rather than the TV show. 'Sex And The City' as a TV show takes place in the same universe as 'Ugly Betty'.



Near the end of the second episode of 'Brothers & Sisters', Sarah went to see her Uncle Saul, the financial manager of the family business, Ojai Foods. She handed him an ultimatum: they would only have six months in order to get the company's financial records back into shape (after her late father raided the pension fund). And if they were not successful, she would go to the Federal authorities to report her father's misdeeds and probably throw the company into bankruptcy.

Did anybody else get a 'Columbo' vibe at that moment? That was exactly the type of scene which launched so many episodes of Peter Falk's show. As soon as Sarah said that, the ghost of Lew Ayres flashed before my eyes!

And don't think the fact that she's his niece might stop Saul from keeping her from ever going to the Feds. Jarvis Goodland had no qualms about killing his nephew for his inheritance in "The Greenhouse Jungle"......


Sunday, October 1, 2006


Speaking of the man who inspired this year's celebration of 'Law & Order':

Turner Network Television (TNT) will pay tribute to the late stage and screen star Jerry Orbach in a month-long airing of "Law & Order" episodes featuring the actor as Detective Lennie Briscoe.

"In honor of what would have been the actor’s 71st birthday on Oct. 20," reads the TNT release, the network celebrates "I Love Lennie" starting Oct. 2 and running throughout the month.

The event featuring the three-time Emmy Award nominee will include back-to-back episodes airing Mondays 8-11 PM (ET) and Tuesdays 8 PM-midnight. (Check your local listings.) Daytime episodes which will air Oct. 2-6 at 2 and 3 PM will focus on crucial moments in Lennie Briscoe’s life and career.


It's October and the big event for this month has always been Halloween. 'Bewitched' and especially 'Roseanne' always had episodes centered around the "holiday" just as other shows celebrated Christmas.

This year, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame is paying tribute to the cast of 'Law & Order' in memory of the late Jerry Orbach. And with October's entry, we wanted to induct a character who might suggest the spirit of Halloween.

In the past, the inductee in October has usually been a monster of some sort - Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein's Monsters, Lee Harvey Oswald.

The 'L&O' character I have in mind for induction could conceivably be cast as the Frankenstein monster in some future production. And there's something about him that might strike fear in a little kid that might stumble across him in a darkened alley - that deep voice, the bald head, the sombre manner....

Dr. Emil Skoda.

Hell, even that name summons up images of Dracula's Castle!

So, it's with good-natured ribbing that we're inducting the psychologist who works for the District Attorney's office into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

Dr. Emil Skoda has appeared in about 42 episodes of 'Law & Order', the main show in the franchise. In the beginning, he alternated with earlier inductee Dr. Olivet, but when she lost favor with ADA Jack McCoy, Dr. Skoda was called upon almost exclusively.

The cops at the 'Special Victims Unit' have had occasion to call on his services as well, even though they usually have Dr. George Huang available. He's appeared in at least six episodes of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'.

He also appeared in an episode of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', but apparently never got the chance to show up in either 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' or in 'Conviction'. (By that time in the career of the actor who played him, JK Simmons was deeply involved in filming 'The Closer' out in Los Angeles.)

But there is an episode of a TV show in which we might assume that Simmons was appearing as Dr. Skoda, even if it was on another network.

In 'New York Undercover', Simmons played a psychologist in the episode "Mob Street" (February 12th, 1998). (Two years earlier, he played Sgt. Treadway in the episode "Unis".)

'New York Undercover' was broadcast on the FOX network, but it was a production by the Ubermeister of the 'Law & Order' franchise, Dick Wolf. And Dr. Olivet appeared on the show in an episode as well. So it is an established part of the franchise, whether the two networks like it or not.

So I'm thinking it's safe to consider that psychologist played by JK Simmons to be Dr. Skoda.

So Happy Halloween to our latest member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!


And since we've hit the half-way mark for the year, we'll start running the complete list of the 2006 inductees so far......

January - Lennie Brisco
February - Anita Van Buren
March - Donald Cragen
April - Mike Logan
May - Jamie Ross
June - Dr. Elizabeth Olivet
B'day Honors - Faith Yokas
July - Rey Curtis
August - Ed Green
September - Dick Wolf
October - Dr. Emil Skoda


I had to wait for the third go-round to see NBC's 'Heroes' premiere this week. I'm waiting to see the big shocker for 'Vanished', to see if I'm right as to what's going to happen. So that's why I had to skip the Monday night premiere of 'Heroes'. (As for the first repeat on Tuesday night, I opted for 'House' instead.)

Luckily for me, the third time's the charm and I taped it Friday night on Sci-Fi Channel. Hopefully, this is a situation that NBC will continue, because I don't want to miss out on this show.

'Heroes' looks like it will fit in nicely in Toobworld. At least for a while, I imagine the various characters will be keeping a low profile, so it will be understandable if characters in other TV shows set in New York City never mention the super-powered people around them.

It looks like the producers have all the subplots well thought out. The shadowy operative that has some furtive interest in the work of Mohinder Suresh and his late father has a closer connection to the situation than he might even suspect.

And the six degrees of separation seem to be more interesting in this show than in the series that's all about the phenomenon, 'Six Degrees'.

None of the characters are the typical choice for potential heroes; the closest might be Milo Ventimiglia as a male nurse who feels the need to fly; and Hayden Panatierre as the indestructible cheerleader.

He's got that Peter Parker vibe going on and - combined with her Wolverine-like healing capability, she's got that Buffy Summers spunk in spades.

I love spunk!

Now, for the Toobworld notes.....

I have that issue of "X-Men" mentioned by Hiro: #143. I'd say the two-part story was the pinnacle of the collaboration between Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin.

Yeah, I was a comic book geek as well as couch potato.

We're not likely to see any crossovers with any of the other dramas on NBC, although I'd say 'Medium' and 'Las Vegas' could have an outside chance. But it's not likely their heroic powers are ever going to be investigated by the cops at the 2-7, even the SVU.

Still, it's the sort of cosmic occurrence that might gain the attention of John Munch of the Special Victims Unit. It's right up his alley!

You know what show might yet connect to 'Heroes'? The NBC soap opera 'Passions'. Why not? They've dealt with demons, witches, and living dolls; super-heroes would fit right in. Such a crossover might even make more sense than the one between 'Passions' and 'Las Vegas' two years ago.

One way that NBC can do a subtle crossover between 'Heroes' and their other NYC-based series would be in props. In various locations there should be campaign posters for Nathan scattered about - on office walls, in deli windows, attached to lampposts, on construction barriers.

'Heroes' can return the favor by putting the NBS logo in the corner of the screen whenever news footage of the heroes in action is shown on TV.

The premiere had one long Zonk over in Japan as Hiro and his friend discussed 'Star Trek' and Mr. Spock in particular. In fact, his friend told Hiro to use the Vulcan neck pinch on the club bouncers who dragged him out of the women's room.

Toobworld has many of the TV shows we watch. There's no way around it since there are so many pop culture references made to them in various series. But there are variations in them to differentiate them from the real shows.

For instance, the 'Murphy Brown' we watched actually exists in Toobworld as a living character. 'Murphy Brown' as seen in an episode of 'Seinfeld' was the TV show that was based on her real life.

With all of the 'Star Trek' references over the years, we're presented with a new wrinkle - they're talking about/celebrating a TV show that's based on real events that won't be happening in Toobworld for almost 400 years.

Here's the Toobworld Twist: the televersion of Gene Roddenberry was given inside information from the future, or perhaps he was even from the future himself when he created his "wagon train to the stars" premise. (Notice I didn't capitalize "wagon train".)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. 'Heroes'. This is a post about 'Heroes'.

Anyway, so long as Sci-Fi gives me the escape hatch to see each episode again, I'll be able to watch both 'Heroes' and 'Vanished'. If it came down to an either/or showdown, I'll have to stick with 'Vanished' for that anticipated payoff.

But 'Heroes' doesn't need me for the time being in order to keep flying. It's a great show and will be one of the big hits of this season.



There are about 145 mentions in Google for "intellectual reach-around", a phrase that pops up in the Gilbert & Sullivan parody that capped the second episode of 'Studio 60'. (It was one of the few really clever things from "The Cold Open", along with the countdown clock.)

The Stuffleuffagus blog thinks that the phrase will be in wide use quite soon.

I'm wondering how long will it take before some bloggist uses "Intellectual Reach-Around" as the name of their blog.......

Just sayin', is all.