Friday, January 19, 2007

THE MEASURE OF "THE UNIT"

I had never seen an episode of 'The Unit' before; it's been one of those shows I could just as easily follow along by reading episode guides as much as by actually watching it. Even with the participation of David Mamet and Shawn Ryan, I still figured I could afford to give it a miss.

But with the description for this past week's episode ("The Broom Cupboard"), I figured I should check it out for its impact on the overall TV Universe.

I didn't specify Toobworld, as that usually connotes a reference to Earth Prime-Time. Well, because of this past week's episode, 'The Unit' can no longer be considered as part of the main TV dimension. (If it ever could - like I said, I never watched it before.)

The main character of Jonas was summoned to the White House where he met with the President of the United States in a legendary broom cupboard which supposedly has a rich history to it. (I'm surprised mention of it never came up in 'The West Wing' - if it actually exists.)

The President was played by William H. Macy (who has a long history with Mamet) and was never actually named. He is listed only as "The President".

But if this had been Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time, then Jonas should have been getting his marching orders from George W. Bush (perhaps as played by Timothy Bottoms). As I mentioned in yesterday's post about '24', the POTUS of Toobworld must be the same as the POTUS of the real world.

So that shunted 'The Unit' into its own dimension, but it may not have to reside there all by its lonesome for too long.

When 'Prison Break' first began and the character played by Patricia Wettig schemed her way into the Oval Office, I suggested that it might possibly share the same dimension as 'The Agency' and 'The District'. Those CBS shows shared a crossover, and since the President in 'The Agency' was definitely not the same as in the real world, that meant 'The District' had to be shipped out as well.

'Prison Break' had enough of a span between itself and those two series so that it could believably follow them in a timeline.

But now I'm thinking that 'The Unit' would make a much better fit with 'The Agency' and 'The District' than 'Prison Break' does. First off, all three shows are from the same network, CBS. The producers of 'The Unit' would thus have a somewhat easier time of it cutting through the legal red tape to get one of those characters (especially someone from that fictional version of the CIA) "revived" and brought on for at least a guest-starring role, if not a recurring appearance.

Also, all three just have that feel to them that they all came from the same network. It's ineffable; I can't splain it; but it's there. And from that, one might then get the sense that they all belong to the same TV dimension.

Because 'The Unit' airs on Tuesday nights, I always assumed that at some point down the production line, there would be a crossover with the show that precedes it on the sked: 'NCIS'. It may yet happen some November, or February, or May. (It would be definitely a sweeps-worthy stunt.)

If that should ever happen, then the dimension for 'The Unit' would expand by at least three more series. 'NCIS' was a spin-off from 'JAG', and the character of the Secretary of the Navy (as played by Dean Stockwell) was a carry-over from another Bellisarius production, 'First Monday' (about the Supreme Court).

If there were other crossovers or spin-offs, I apologize for overlooking them.

But as it stands right now, 'NCIS' remains in the main Toobworld, where I hope one day it might have a crossover not only with one of the shows in the 'CSI' franchise, but also with 'Without A Trace', 'Close To Home', or even 'Shark'.

One other note about possible connections to 'The Unit'. The character of the President was never named. So if there's ever a show in the near future which just doesn't feel as though it belongs in Earth Prime-Time, and in which the President is mentioned but not named in an episode, then perhaps we might consider that show's President to be the same one played by Macy in 'The Unit'.

For now, the designation of that TV dimension will be "Earth Prime-Time/Unit". And it will have no connection whatsoever to UNIT, the secretive force attached to the United Nations which already has theoretical connections to 'A Man Called Sloane' and 'The Man/Girl From U.N.C.L.E.', as well as actual links to 'Doctor Who', 'Torchwood', and 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'.

Unless of course, one should present itself.....

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

And now I'm off to learn more about that broom cupboard!

2 comments:

Brent McKee said...

The closet is real, at least as far as the Nan Britton story goes. Warren G. Harding would occasionally do the nasty with his mistress, Nan Britton in a closet off his office, although most of the time he'd slip away from the White House to a house he'd set up for her. I don't know about the LBJ story - that particular closet isn't in the West Wing because the West Wing hadn't been built at the time of Harding.

I would certainly put NCIS in the main Toobworld for a couple of reasons. I believe that Director Sheppard mentions a meeting with "Condi" (Condoleeza Rice) in one episode. More to the point, as a JAG spin-off it has ties with Bill Clinton, since JAG had a couple of episodes where stock footage and special effects put him in the show.

Incidentally, Have you noticed the high turnover in Presidents on 24? Since the end of the David Palmer administration "four" years ago they are on their fourth president:
- John Keeler: shot down in Air Force One, alive on that day but presumably died.
- Charles Logan: Acting President after Keeler shot down, presumably took power after his death, resigned in disgrace.
- Hal Gardner: appointed Vice President by Logan; replaced him following his resignation.
- Wayne Palmer: defeated as yet unnamed Republican, possibly Gardner.

Toby said...

I couldn't find anything else about the closet either, except for the Harding story.

Shames to find out my north of the border tele-migo knows more about the history of the White House than I do! Ha!

If 'NCIS' did get tossed over into another dimension for one reason or another, it wouldn't effect the situation with Condoleeza Rice - she'd have a doppelganger.

That example of Clinton would need some splainin however should that happen, especially if they ended up in the '24' dimension.

No need to worry about it now though!

Thanks for writing, Brent!