Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I thought I might try my hand at lists, like a Top Ten for Toobworld. But just to be different, and since I'm such a fan of 'The Prisoner', I'm opting to go with a Deep Six list.......

With the WGA strike winding down, I thought I'd bring attention to those characters who began life in another universe, that of the written word.

These are my choices for those characters who were served well by the translation to Television, and in one case even transcended the original source material.

I limited my list to six choices because A) I didn't want to mimic Dave's Top Ten List and B) there would be no stopping once I got started.

I gave serious thought to a lot of books which were adapted for Television. (And during the Seventies there were plenty!) Authors like Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Robert Ludlum, Mark Twain, Taylor Caldwell, Jules Verne, Jonathan Swift, Tom Tryon, and Danielle Steele all enjoyed excellent adaptations of their works. (There were some who were not so fortunate - Philip Jose Farmer and Ursula K. LeGuin among them.)

And the characters I had to leave behind! Horace Rumpole, Father Brown, Jeeves and Wooster, Ebenezer Scrooge, Brother Cadfael, Miss Marple, Phileas Fogg, Potato Brumbaugh, and the Walking Dude....

But these are the six whom I think exemplified the category of crossover characters.....

Probably the most recognizable fictional character in the world, mostly due to the illustrations by Sidney Paget that appeared with the Conan Doyle stories in the Strand. Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson may have the most televersions of any fictional character as well, especially with the retellings of "The Hound Of The Baskervilles". But it's Jeremy Brett as the Great Detective who best exemplifies the role.

Bit of a cheat here - Claudius is the only character on this list who is also historically real. But as seen through the vision of Robert Graves, Claudius breathed once again in the novel "I, Claudius". Sir Derek Jacobi completed the process in bringing the stuttering Roman emperor out of the lifeless, dusty Past.

I've got a serious addiction to these adaptations starring David Suchet, and I don't know what I'll do once I run out of the episodes already out on DVD! The brilliant Belgie with his little gray cells has been played in the past on TV (as well as in the movies), but this version gets the blessing of Toobworld Central to represent Earth Prime-Time.

I will freely admit I wasn't a big fan of this show, but if it hadn't been for the HBO series, the novel by Candace Bushnell might be in the remainder pile by now. And here it is, so many years later and now a theatrical film with the same actors from the show is about to hit the Cineplex! And a lot of that has to be credited to Sarah Jessica Parker in the role of Carrie.

I had a fear that too many adaptations of other Larry McMurtry books about these two old cowboys might dilute the power of the originals in "Lonesome Dove". But after the latest mini-series, based on "Comanche Moon", I don't think that's possible. It keeps coming back to the legends played by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones whom we met near the end of the trail.....


Personally, I prefer Donald Sutherland in the movie version, but Alan Alda did a great job of taking over the role and expanding it. He became a voice of insane reason from the fifties as seen throughout the seventies and into the eighties.

Well, that's my first Deep Six list. It's a category that will crop up whenever the mood strikes.

Let me know who you'd nominate for the best of literary characters on TV.

Toby OB

1 comment:

Mercurie said...

I'd have to go with Cadfael, Jeeves and Wooser, Richard Sharpe, and Horatio Hornblower myself.