Thursday, January 10, 2008


Years ago with the old Tubeworld Dynamic website, I ran a list of TV characters I wanted to see come back. They didn't have to come attached with their old shows; I just wanted the chance to visit with them one last time.

That list included:

Doctor Bombay - 'Passions'

The Andorians - 'Enterprise'
Lt. Columbo
Jim Rockford

Emma Peel
Dr. Joel Fleischman
Honey West
Agent Dale Cooper
The Riddler

As you can see, some of the characters did indeed come back. (Not that I had anything to do with it!) When I posted the list, both Lt. Columbo and Jim Rockford had just finished up some TV movies, but I was greedy and wanted more. With Lt. Columbo, I got two more beyond that list, but even now I'm still not satisfied.

As for the others, Anne Francis came close with a character similar to Honey West in the revival of 'Burke's Law', and I don't count Uma Thurman's version of Emma Peel. It's Diana Rigg or nothing!

Sadly, I have to drop The Riddler from the list as we've lost Frank Gorshin since then. But at least he was able to come back as a costumed villain on 'The Black Scorpion'!

Last year I printed another list of new candidates, characters I'd like to see return for one more bow:

The Minbari
Zoe Heriot
Gotham City
James West
Ford Prefect

Of them all, I got quick results with the Minbari, who showed up in the direct-to-DVD 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales'.

Again, James West and Ford Prefect, as played by Will Smith and Mos Def respectively, do NOT count. It has to be Robert Conrad (who missed a perfect chance for a return engagement in 'The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and David Dixon!

And I don't want the Gotham City of the Tooniverse or of 'Birds of Prey' - neither one of those are from the main Toobworld. (It's my contention that 'Birds Of Prey' would be in the alternate dimension of TV remakes, with ties to the Tim Burton movie of 'Batman', just as the original series had ties to the 1966 'Batman'.) I want the Gotham City of old, filmed on the phony back lots.

So, giving up on my greedy O'Bsessions, the revised list would be:

Zoe Heriot, 'Doctor Who'
Gotham City, 'Batman'
Dr. Joel Fleischman, 'Northern Exposure'
Honey West
Mrs. Emma Peel, 'The Avengers'
Agent Dale Cooper, 'Twin Peaks'
James West, 'The Wild, Wild West'

Ford Prefect, 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy'

There were characters whom I never listed and didn't realize how much I missed them until they were brought back anyway, without my "divine intercession" on their behalf:

Rob and Laura Petrie - 'The Dick Van Dyke Show Reunion'
Fox Mulder and Dana Scully - working on a new 'X-Files' movie now!
Number Six - 'The Prisoner' showed up on 'The Simpsons'. Tooniverse, sure, but hey! It was still McGoohan!

So as we get this new year underway, I'd like to add a few new names to the list:

Brother 'Cadfael'
I'm five episodes into the thirteen episode run of 'Cadfael', all based on the novels by Ellis Peters. That left seven novels still to be adapted! Sir Derek Jacobi is still with us, and can bring us a Cadfael that many more years older since we last saw him. And PLEASE! Could we have Sean Pertwee return as Hugh Barengar? The series took an awful hit when his role was recast, twice over.

Best vehicle for his return: 'Mystery!'-styled movie showcase spread throughout the season a la 'Columbo'.

'The Time Tunnel'
We don't need the participation of James Darren, Robert Colbert, or Lee Meriweather, although it would be nice. I just want that original set back - the big cavernous soundstage with only a few computer banks and that big chrono-cornucopia. Sure, the computers can all be updated - I'm sure they would have to be after all these years. But I want the sense that this is the same facility as from the original series, with perhaps a new crew of techies and engineers and military personnel and a couple of new explorers caught in the temporal rift.

Best vehicle for its return: an episode of 'Eureka', where it's been reassembled at Global Dynamics.

Dr. Sam Beckett, 'Quantum Leap'
Speaking of time travelers..... We wouldn't even need the participation of Scott Bakula on this one! Just the opportunity of seeing those blue coruscating lights as Sam leaps into an established character on some series. Then for the next hour that character acts out of character as Sam tries to set right what once went wrong. We just keep seeing it from the other characters' perspectives and all they see is the person they used to know.

Best vehicle for his return: I think 'Supernatural' would be the perfect fit for this; have Sam leap into Sam - that way, you don't have to worry about the name change nailing it down. (And that way, it's more homage than rip-off!)

Ann Marie, 'That Girl'
We've seen Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern come back in a TV movie. So why not the girl who opened the door for them in TV Land? Which girl? That girl!

Marlo Thomas showed up this season in an episode of 'Ugly Betty' and proved that she could revisit her most famous role and update Ann Marie for the 21st Century. (There was a great in-joke as her character was seen in the audience at "Wicked" and they would cut to her reactions as Elphaba sang "I'm Not That Girl".

Best vehicle for her return: a TV movie as Don Hollinger's widow, still trying to make it as an actress in character roles as her daughter tries her hand in the field. Sure, maybe it's a retread of 'Mary and Rhoda', but so what? It could still work if given a fresh angle.

John Drake, 'Danger Man'
This is kind of a cheat, because as far as Toobworld is concerned, John Drake WAS Number Six of 'The Prisoner' and I promised not to keep harping on those characters who've already returned. However, it would be easier to bring him back as former NATO/MI5 agent Drake rather than as his later identity and thus avoid all of that baggage. And with the world in such deep trouble, espionage-wise, as it is, Drake's experience would make him a valued advisor... even if he did harbor ill feelings about the way he was treated after he resigned.

Best vehicle for his return: 'Spooks' ('MI5' in the U.S.), should that series continue.

And finally.....

Dr. Miguelito Loveless, 'The Wild, Wild West'
Yes, I know Michael Dunn is dead. But the character lives on, even into the 21st Century. It's been the contention of Toobworld Central that Dr. Loveless had Gallifreyan DNA in his blood on his father's side - Mr. Rourke of 'Fantasy Island' was his father, a Time Lord, and sired him while he was in Spanish California during the time of 'Zorro'. (Don't get me started on that whole theory.) Of course, on his mother's side, he was descended from Alexander, the character from the 'Star Trek' episode "Plato's Stepchildren" who visited Earth millennia ago.

We saw Dr. Loveless pop up in Toobworld outside of his nine appearances on 'The Wild, Wild West' in such shows as 'Get Smart', 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent', and the TV movie "Goodnight, My Lovely". And each time he was using an alias. He was last seen in the Toobworld timeline in 1974-75 when he tried to take over the Seaview on an episode of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' as "The Clown". By the end of that episode he appeared to have been killed, but had the show run a few minutes longer, I think we would have seen that he was revived, as so often happened after his near-death experiences versus James West. (The combination of Gallifreyan, Sahndaran (Platonian), and human DNA took away his ability to change bodily appearance upon regeneration.)

As for bringing him back without the original actor, I think a recastaway could be acceptable in this case. For that splainin, it could be that he needed plastic surgery and so now he looks like a whole new person. Still diminutive, true, but it would be more believable than just slapping on a false beard as he once did on 'The Wild, Wild West'.

And the actor I have in mind to assay the role? Warwick Davis, who starred in "Willow" and was featured in "Ray".

Best vehicle for his return: 'Chuck'. Who better to match wits with a seasoned evil genius with an off-beat look as well as outlook, than an offbeat, very unseasoned secret agent?

So that's this year's Wish-craft crop of characters I'd like to see return to the Toob - should the writers' strike ever get settled, of course!

Toby OB

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