Saturday, August 2, 2008


Forget everything I said about the integration of Degree deoderant into that episode of 'Eureka'; even winking at the blatant product placement with obvious humor couldn't save a similar moment in this week's episode of 'Psych' ("Daredevils!"). It was forced and labored as Gus mused on how much he'd love a coffee once he saw the sponsor's logo on the uniforms for Dutch The Clutch's road crew.
So we got to see that the logo was for Dunkin' Donuts while Shawn and Gus bickered over what Dunkin Donuts made them think about. The dialogue was all as clunky as these sentences have been.....

Toby O'B


When Dalek Caan utilized the emergency temporal shift to escape the Doctor in 1930, he was able to break the time lock on the Last Great Time War and rescue Davros from the Nightmare Child. (See my previous posting about that.) However, the effort broke Caan's mind and left him with the facility for the Second Sight.

Among his prophecies were:
  • “…he is coming, the three-fold man. He dances in the lonely places; oh, Creator Of Us All, the Doctor is coming.”
  • [Davros paraphrases] “…the Children of Time will move against us.”
  • “…he is here, the Dark Lord is come.”
  • “…I flew into the wild and fire; I danced and died a thousand times.”
  • “…death is coming, oh I can see it. Everlasting death for the most faithful companion.”

As you can see, most of those prophecies were about the Doctor. It could be argued that "He dances in the lonely places" could also refer back to when Jack was a Time Agent and keeping his "dance card" quite full with all manners of humanoids and aliens, no matter the gender - if there even was one. But as it's bracketed by other references to the Doctor, we'll keep it simple and say it was the Doctor as well. (I just don't think he was very good at "dancing"....)

And of course, the Children of Time would be the Army of the Doctor: Donna, Jack, Martha, Sarah Jane, Rose, Mickey, and even Jackie. (I would have loved it if Wilf Mott had been able to go along for the ride!)

But it's that last prophecy that has had online community of 'Who'-fans buzzing, even after the final episode aired.

Exactly who did Caan mean by "the most faithful companion"?

Most people think it's a reference to Donna Noble. The Donna Noble who had grown so much during this past season to become one of the greatest Companions ever on the show, had been reduced to her personality and memories from before even the Christmas special "The Runaway Bride". In order to save her mind from burning out due to the power of the Time Lords it now housed, the Doctor had to perform a Vulcan mind-wipe, a little trick he must have picked up when he was on Vulcan at some time. (A definite 'Star Trek' connection there, really. He was on the planet visiting a swamp-based colony of humans when he began his first regeneration in "The Tenth Planet". The Vulcans probably avoided them and let them live in that undesirable land mass as if it was a reservation.)

So anyhoo, that could be what Caan meant by the death of the most faithful Companion. But not many people are happy with that splainin. They wonder why Donna would be considered the most faithful of all the Companions the Doctor ever had. Especially since we don't have any clue how long Dr. Grace Holloway stayed with the Doctor. (I'm leaning towards the idea that they remained lovers and she stayed with him until her death. And the experience of a finite, mortal love was why the Doctor was resistant to declaring his love for Rose.)

Here's my idea....

I think Dalek Caan was talking about himself.

He could rightly consider himself the most faithful companion of Davros. After all, he risked his life to rescue the creator of the Daleks from certain death in the Time War. And his insanity became insight when he realized the futility of the Dalek existence, and so planned for this eventual onslaught to lead to his own death.

For Caan, everlasting death would be a gift.

I'm just sayin', is all......

Toby O'B


"But you were destroyed,
in the first year of the time war at the gates of Elysium.
I saw your command ship fly into the jaws of the Nightmare Child.
I tried to save you."
The Doctor
'Doctor Who'

Faults I may have with Russell T. Davies and his handling of 'Doctor Who', but I do give him his props in various areas. First off, that he was able to revive 'Doctor Who' from its long slumber and in such a way as to make it probably more popular than it ever was.

And then there's his creative turns at coining names. The Moxx of Balhoon, the Clan Slitheen, Raxicoricofallipatorius, Klom, Adipose -# Well, that was just lazy, or maybe the TARDIS translation of their name in their native language.

And then in "The Stolen Earth", the Doctor mentioned the fate of Davros in the jaws of the "Nightmare Child". (I'm wondering if he was inspired by the KISS Psycho Circus computer game?)

No other mention is made of the Nightmare Child, but even so, the TARDIS Wiki had a splainin as to what it was:

The Nightmare Child was an area large enough for a ship to fly through the mouth of, it was near the Gates of Elysium, during the Last Great Time War. Davros' ship was damaged near the Nightmare Child and the Doctor witnessed him fall into its jaws, and attempted to save him.

Dalek Caan, who escaped from 1930 using a temporal shift flew into the jaws of the Nightmare Child, saving Davros in the process. (DW: The Stolen Earth)

[Retrieved from]

But they don't offer any official authenticity for this interpretation, or their source for making this claim. So I think whoever wrote up this splainin must have made it up from whole cloth. Which is fine, (I'm about to do the same thing!), but say so.

I'm thinking the interpretation of the Nightmare Child is wide open, and until it is finally specified within the show itself, (perhaps in a "Time War" movie starring Paul McGann? My Little Buddy Sean would be so happy!), then we can speculate on our own interpretations of what exactly was the Nightmare Child.

And of course, with me being a televisiologist who believes in most TV shows sharing the same spatial plane of existence, I have my own suggestion for the Nightmare Child:
Here's how "The Doomsday Machine" was described in the 'Star Trek' Wiki, "Memory Alpha":

The doomsday machine, also referred to as the planet killer, was an automated, self-propelled weapon capable of destroying entire planets. It was encountered in 2267 by the Federation starships USS Enterprise and USS Constellation. Its origins were unknown, but based on its apparent trajectory, it was believed to have come from outside the Milky Way Galaxy.

This planet killer could have been created by either Davros and the Daleks, or by the Gallifreyan Time Lords, with the intent of destroying the other's home planet. Or it could have been one of the lesser participants in the Great Time War, with the intentions of destroying both of those major combatants.

Somehow the doomsday machine evaded being trapped within the time-locked parameters of the Time War area (probably busted its way out!) and then traveled through space until it encountered Commodore Decker's ship the Constellation.

Like I said, this is just a theory and will be discarded once there is official verification of what the Nightmare Child actually is. But until then, it makes for a nice way to combine 'Doctor Who' with 'Star Trek'.

The Time War is another option, linking 'Doctor Who' with 'Enterprise', but that discussion would probably take a LOT of postings!

Toby OB

Friday, August 1, 2008


You know what "Bad To The Drone", the season premiere for 'Eureka', needed? It needed a scene in the cafe's refrigerator (which must have some serious TARDIS technology installed there!) between Zoe Carter and Martha the sentient drone. A heart-felt chat between "girls".

This would have helped to sell the idea that Martha would later seek Zoe out at her house and try to help her "escape" her own father, as Martha was going to do. (Her father being the scientist who built her.)

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby O'B


I won't say I hate product placement in TV shows. I do dislike them intensely. I make the distinction to be polite; I would hate to offend anybody who might wish to pay me off with swag....

But I would rather have fictional products in TV shows, even if there's not much hope for using them to link other shows. Still, it IS possible - Oceanic Airlines, Morley Cigarettes, Playpen Magazine, the New York Ledger, the Los Angeles Tribune.... - for these products to link one or more TV series together.

But when it's a recognizable product, there's no thrill of the game in using that to link TV shows together; it's a bit of a cheat, like saying 'NYPD Blue' and 'The Cosby Show' both are linked because they take place in New York City. And despite the tweaks to the script in order to make the mention of the product seamless and hopefully palatable, it's still an assault on our enjoyment of the story. And as such it ruins the scene.

My favorite example, Claire squeezing her Dad with just a little more "love" than necessary when he gave her a Nissan Rogue.

Tim Kring is finally speaking out against the practice and his show 'Heroes' is one of the biggest abusers of the stunt.

But at least if it's going to be done, at least do it with humor!

That's why I wasn't as bothered by the ending of 'Eureka' Wednesday night. Storage bins with labels marked "Degree" put a corporate identity to the program. Why? The new "Chairman" of Global Dynamics told them all that the order had come down from the D.o.D. that Global Dynamics should begin funding itself with corporate sponsors. And Degree at least kicked off their product placement for the third season by addressing this synergy outright.
And it was a nice touch that at least some of the characters acted like it was as disgusting to them as it is to those who hate actual commercial.

Toby O'B


Like an orphan without a storm, I found another package sitting on my doorstep last night as I was heading out to meet my buddies in the Bit Torrent Rebel Alliance. My latest delivery?


This ranks right up there as one of my five favorite TV Westerns of all time. I remember when it came out in the mid-1970s, I would rush back to my dorm from whatever rehearsal I was involved in at the time to see the latest installment. (I think it was airing on NBC on either Wednesdays or Thursdays....)

I had all but the first two hours on videotape, but now - at last! - it's on DVD.

Oh. Sure. You want to know my five favorite TV Westerns now, right?

1) 'The Wild, Wild West'
2) 'Maverick'
3) 'Alias Smith And Jones'
4) 'Centennial'
5) 'The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr.'


Toby O'B


'Eureka' returned to the Sci-Fi network Tuesday night for its third season, with an episode entitled "Bad To The Drone". While Global Dynamics had to deal with a corporate hatchet queen, a rogue drone had attained sentience and was cruising the city, determined to stay "alive" - unlike those drones which had perished before it during tests.

"Martha" reached the level of intelligence and emotion to be found in a pouty, rebellious teenager; and as "she" was also packing serious firepower, that's not a good thing.

After seeing Martha lead her small "biker gang" of drones around the town of Eureka, Sheriff Jack Carter compared the sight to "The War Of The Worlds".

I think he was referring more to the Tom Cruise movie than he was to the HG Wells novel or to Orson Welles' radio production or the movie from the 1950s. That's one of the movies that has a double life in Toobworld, like the 1966 "Batman" movie, or the 'Star Trek' franchise. This is due to a TV series which claimed that the events that occurred in the movie actually did take place on Earth Prime-Time as well.

In Toobworld, the Tom Cruise version was based then on actual events!

So Jack would have known about the battle back in the mid-1950s and probably even saw archival footage of their spacecraft. For alls I know, he may have even seen one of their pods on display in Eureka somewhere!

The slightly triangular shape of Martha probably put him in mind of those space-craft, and that's why he compared "her" to the Martian vehicles.
At another point in the episode, Sheriff Carter's daughter Zoe described Martha as a Cylon. This was probably due to the back-and-forth action of its red beam in its visor. And here again, this wouldn't be a Zonk.

The original 'Battlestar Galactica' fleet arrived in Earth Prime-Time's solar system in 1980, and took up residence in an orbit invisible to the humans below. At some point between then and now, the Cylons must have followed after them. But they would have no need to bargain or hide from the humans. So in the years that followed, there had to be some kind of fire-fight with the Cylons... and since the Earth was apparently spared from their destruction, then I think it's safe to say that that any Cylon invasion in the main Toobworld was beaten down.

Even so, Zoe would have known of their existence and what they looked like. As with the "Martian" spaceships, she might have even seen a de-activated Cylon robot there in Eureka. Probably during a field trip to Global Dynamics.

(I also believe that the surviving Cylons in Earth Prime-Time also disappeared for a time until they were ready with their master plan - Cylons that could pass for human, right down to the genetic level! And I think one of them was in an episode of 'Las Vegas'!)
And both those splainins should serve to disable any possible Zonks from those references.


Toby O'B

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Just doing a little sidestep to keep from posting 'Doctor Who' each day, every day......

Nothing signaled the respect AMC had for the return of its flagship series 'Mad Men' more than its berth in the Sunday night line-up. (When it first premiered last summer, it was during the week.) Sundays have now become crowded for my DVR sked, what with 'Burke's Law', 'Generation Kill' and 'In Plain Sight' needing their chance to join my queue. (I end up pushing 'Generation Kill' back to its rebroadcast a few hours later.)

The second season premiere had a great example of its attention to detail when it comes to its historical period. The episode picked up two years after the end of the first season, on Valentine's Day, 1962, and it ended with a montage of various characters from the show watching the CBS documentary of Jackie Kennedy's "Tour Of The White House".

Directed by Franklin Schaffner, it really did debut on February 14 of that year. And in a rare example of cooperation between networks, it also was shown on NBC that night.

For more about that documentary, with a link to the full tour, click here.

And you can go directly on the tour from the main site,

Toby O'B

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I guess I should say "Let me be one of the last to wish Edd Byrnes a happy birthday. He turned 75 on Wednesday. Only just now I learned of it from visiting "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear" and "Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine". (Both links to the left, Slick.)

He rocketed to fame as Kookie (Gerald Lloyd Kookson III) on '77 Sunset Strip' and was the inspiration for the song "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb". (For this role, TV Guide ranked him #5 among America's 25 Greatest Teen Idols".)

He's appeared in guest roles on a lot of series since then: 'Maverick', 'Mannix', 'Murder, She Wrote', 'Burke's Law', and 'Alias Smith And Jones' among plenty of others.

So happy birthday, Mr. Byrnes. (Say that out loud, and it feels like Waylon Smithers should be jumping out of a cake!)

All the best from Toobworld!

Toby O'B


When that 5.4/5.8 earthquake hit Chino, Ca., 'Judge Judy' was in the process of taping another episode. You can see the reactions from the plaintiff, defendant, spectators and Judge Judy herself here.


Toby O'B


This post has been slightly revised.....

I don't want to rush into discussions of "The Stolen Earth", because I'm somewhat hampered by the fact that the second half of the two-part finale for 'Doctor Who' has not yet aired in the United States. Certain elements that played out in the first half depend on the whole story for a full appreciation.

So we're going to take it slowly, just one element of this first episode each day, to be served up as the daily Tiddlywinkydink.

First up is a trivia detail sent to me by my tele-bloggin' buddy of the UK, Rob Buckley, the head MINEr of "The Medium Is Not Enough". He sent this picture of Rose Tyler in the home of Wilf Mott and his daughter Sylvia Noble. Rob directed my attention to the volume on top of the book-case:
And Rob wanted to know if this plays hob with the Toobworld concept, to have a picture of Ian McShane on a "Lovejoy" book.

I'm perfectly comfortable with the use of this book (shown here in full frontal glory from one of the many places online where you can buy it), because there's no mention of Ian McShane AS Ian McShane. For all intents and purposes, it's a picture of Lovejoy himself. This omnibus could be a collection of his own memoirs (written for him by Jonathan Gash), three volumes, detailing his life in the antiques trade. Therefore, there is no Zonk involved.

However, I do have to wonder why this particular book was chosen to be part of the Mott-Noble "library", both from within the reality of Toobworld as well as from the Trueniverse perspective.

O'Bviously there had to be a market for Lovejoy's memoirs, for there to be three volumes of them. So there had to be plenty of people like Wilf and Sylvia who bought them, even if they weren't particularly keen on antiquing themselves.

MediumRob has a theory on this:

"Ian McShane being something of a sex symbol in the 60s/70s in the UK, his 80s/90s Lovejoy appearances unsurprisingly seemed to draw in an older sort of woman."

So if the "real" Lovejoy is anything like the actor who resembles him..... "I'm thinking they're suggesting it's Donna's mum's kind of thing. It's quite a precise demographic placement - quite clever in fact, since it gives you an idea of the kind of woman Donna's mum is in just a flash."

Thanks, Rob!
As for why it was included from a production viewpoint, I'm wondering if there was some desire for synergy. At least over here in America, the series is finally coming out on DVD, and since "The Stolen Earth" aired around the same time as the 'Lovejoy' release, maybe somebody was hoping to promote it......

MediumRob also checked back in to let me know that 'Lovejoy' was a BBC production, so it looks like the synergy thing may be in play. (Definitely more subtle than the way 'Eureka' integrated the product placement of Degree deoderant last night - although that was funnier.)

By the way, that he should have noticed the book means that either Rob has high-def Television over there (and knowing him to be a techno-fan, I would not be surprised if he did); OR he's just very attentive to the background detail. If so, I think that's great, because set designers and decorators, especially the prop crew, put a lot of effort into making these small capsules of Toobworld to be as believable as possible. Their work should be noticed.
Toby O'B

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So I've now looked at the four historical stories (five episodes in all) of 'Doctor Who' which should have had an impact on Toobworld if the Doctor never got involved.

So that should do it, right? We can finally move on to "The Stolen Earth", part one of this season's finale.

Not so fast, ZoomZoom!

Since Martha Jones first joined the Doctor, there were three allusions to adventures of which only partial scenes were telecast. Without the Doctor around, how would these play out? Would they resolve themselves? Would other TV characters step into the breach to rectify the situation?

The basic set-up of daily life in London seem so normal for Donna Noble at the beginning of "Turn Left", so something must have happened to keep these excerpted stories from having any impact on the present day in the revised Toobworld.

These three suggested adventures are:

1] Queen Elizabeth I

2] The Lizard's Clutch

3] Charlemagne's Kidnapping in Belgium

So let's take a quick look at them and wrap this up.......

(Sorry about that, Chief.)
At the end of "The Shakespeare Code", the Doctor and Martha were confronted by an enraged Virgin Queen who wanted the Doctor's Head. The thing is, from the Doctor's perspective, he had not yet met her, so he had no clue why she was so royally pissed off.

But if the Doctor died because he never met Donna Noble, he'd never have met Queen Bess. So it would seem this situation resolves itself. The only problem would be why the Doctor was back in the Elizabethan Age in the first place. Would that have had a catastrophic effect on the world if the Doctor wasn't there to put things right?

I'll bet there are several examples of fan fiction out there which tell the tale, probably at least one slash fiction in which the Doctor leaves her the Not So Virgin Queen. No, thanks. I'll stick with just what I see on the telly, thanks.


For the most part, the Doctor and Martha were out of the loop for "Blink". Instead, Sally Sparrow was the main character. At the end of the episode, the three of them meet and although Sally now knows all about the Doctor, he and Martha have yet to live out that part of the timeline.

When Sally meets them, they're rushing off to take care of another, urgent matter:

Martha: Doctor, we haven’t got time for this. Migration’s started.

The Doctor: Look, sorry, I’ve got a bit of a complex life. Things don’t always happen to me in quite the right order. It gets a bit confusing at times, especially at weddings. I’m rubbish at weddings. Especially my own.
Sally: Oh, my God of course. You’re a time traveler. It hasn’t happened to you yet. None of it. It’s still in your future.
The Doctor: What hasn’t happened?
Martha: Doctor, please. Twenty minutes to red hatching!
Sally: It was me. Oh, for God’s sake, it was me all along. You got it all from me.
The Doctor: Got what?
Sally: OK, listen. One day you’re going to be stuck in 1969. Make sure you’ve got this with you. (hands him the file) You’re going to need it.
Martha: Doctor!
The Doctor: Yeah! Listen, listen, gotta dash. Things happening. Well… four things. Well, four things and a lizard.

And that's that, off they go. It looks like they're heading down towards a subway - er, sorry - a tube entrance, but I could be wrong about that. Still, that gave me the idea of who would have to be called in because of this lizard and its migration and the red hatching.

Professor Bernard Quatermass.

According to Wikipedia, Quatermass is an intelligent and highly moral British scientist, who continually finds himself confronting sinister alien forces that threaten to destroy humanity. In the initial three serials he is a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.The character of Quatermass has been described by BBC News Online as Britain's first television hero,and by The Independent newspaper as "A brilliantly conceived and finely crafted creation... [He] remained a modern 'Mr Standfast', the one fixed point in an increasingly dreadful and ever-shifting universe."

Best of all, Bernard Quatermass exists in the 'Doctor Who' corner of Toobworld. In 1963 (of the Toobworld timeline, not when "Remembrance Of The Daleks" was broadcast), Dr. Rachel Jensen said to her colleague Allison, "I wish Bernard was here." Allison then replied, "British Rocket Group's got its own problems...."

And although the organization's logo was not clearly visible on screen and they were never mentioned during the holiday special, the British Rocket Group was involved during "The Christmas Invasion".

[L to R: Reginald Tate, John Robinson, Andre Morrell, John Mills]

There have been five actors to play Professor Bernard Quatermass; but since Reginald Tate was the first, he is the official Quatermass for Earth Prime-Time. I'd like to suggest that Jason Flemyng as Quatermass in the 2005 live production was the grandson of Tate's original character, but as his version of "The Quatermass Experiment" was a remake, I think that's the alternate TV dimension where it must reside. (Which is just as well, since then we'd have to splain why Dr. Gordon Briscoe was the exact mirror image of the 10th incarnation of the Time Lord.)

Still, I think we do need to go with a grandson of the original Quatermass, bearing his grandfather's first name, as the protagonist who would deal with this lizard threat to London. First off, it gets me around the declaration by Nigel Kneale that he didn't "feel inclined to invent a 'Son of Quatermass' either". But there's also the fact that it's been over fifty years since Professor Quatermass was introduced to Toobworld. Like Reginald Tate, the actor who played him, I think the original Quatermass is long since dead......


In "The Unicorn And The Wasp" (Ahhh! There it is again!), the Doctor submitted to being interrogated by Agatha Christie, during which he flashed back to when he was in Belgium. Mrs. Christie couldn't understand how he happened to be there in the year 800 AD, when Charlemagne was kidnapped by an insane computer.

In Toobworld proper, that's all we know about the incident. But on the BBC website, there's a short story by Rupert Laight which chronicles this unseen adventure for the Doctor and Donna. However, in the past we've had to keep literary versions of 'Doctor Who' sequestered in their own creative universe because of so many discrepancies. On the same site, you can find a story about a 12 year old girl named Sally Sparrow that bears no resemblance to the story we saw in "Blink". And the novel "Human Nature" was about the Seventh Doctor, not the Tenth, among its other discrepancies.
But we can take "The Lonely Computer" to be the template for how that adventure would have played out had it been fully developed for Television.

In the story, Momus the Wise has kidnapped many historical greats, including the Doctor, for a dinner party.

"You approve of my guests then, Doctor?" said Momus, cutting her off.

"I approve of them, but they shouldn't be here. You're messing with the flow of Time. Do you know what this could do to Earth's history?"
The Doctor was able to convince Momus to release its "party guests" back to their own time and to find its own destiny in the universe.

But without the Doctor's interference? People like Charlemagne, Beethoven, Cleopatra, Churchill, Michaelangelo, Noel Coward, and Cher would have been removed from their timelines and who knows what would have happened to the Earth? (Yes, even with Cher's absence, the world would have changed.)

This would be the kind of temporal disruption which cried out for the 'Voyagers!' Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones would have come to the rescue, but it would be Jeffrey's perspective of youth which hopefully would convince Momus the computer to let them all go. Otherwise, it might have turned into a bloodbath.

However, since there seemed to be no ill-effects seen in Donna's revised lifetime, everything probably worked out for the best.

And that would be a few possible ways those bits and pieces of 'Doctor Who' adventures could have played out without the presence of the Doctor.

And that just about wraps it up for "Turn Left".....

Toby O'B


Since I was in a hard-boiled film noir sort of mood last week, (what with acknowledging Raymond Chandler's birthday and seeing the movie version of Mickey Spillane's "Kiss Me Deadly" starring Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer), I ordered the DVD collection of an HBO series:


With Powers Boothe as the iconic detective.

There are eleven episodes in the set, culminating with "Red Wind", which was the short story from which Lou Grant read a passage to Mary Richards on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. So without actually being seen in the episode, this establishes that Chandler was writing about a "real" person in Toobworld.

(Raymond Chandler does show up in Toobworld, in a West German TV movie entitled "Chandler erfindet Marlowe" which means "Chandler Invents Marlowe". Since I'm sure Marlowe himself would argue against that, I think it's probably best for this TV movie to be put into that alternate TV dimension where the Germans ruled the world (along with all of those German productions of 'Sherlock Holmes').

Toby O'B

Monday, July 28, 2008


This is the final "Turn Left" Tiddlywinkydinks to involve a full episode of 'Doctor Who'. We've been looking at those episodes of 'Doctor Who' which were set in the past and which should have had dire effects for the Earth if the Doctor was no longer alive to be the planet's guardian. (That premise was established in the episode "Turn Left".)

The world could have been - SHOULD have been! - destroyed several times over if the Doctor had not stepped in to save the day. So why did the basic set-up of daily life in London seem so normal for Donna Noble at the beginning of "Turn Left"?

Unlike the episodes which I looked at before, I don't think the four historical episodes (and two of the three suggested) could have been rectified on their own. The villains involved were all too powerful and should have wreaked havoc which would have made an impact to the present day.

So I think somebody else stepped in to take care of matters in each episode. And this being about Toobworld, I think those somebodies would be from other TV shows!

I can hear you groaning now. I probably beat this episode to a pulp for a while with all of the posts I ran about it. Sorry about that; it's just that I found the topic of Agatha Christie's tele-version to be fascinating.

But this time we're looking at those same events and those same characters in a different timeline in which the Doctor and Donna never showed at the Eddison Estate in 1926.

First, let's just go over the basic details:
The Doctor and Donna crashed a party at the country estate of Lady Clemency Eddison and her husband Colonel Hugh Curbishley. Soon after, the bodies began to drop.

Professor Peach actually died before the Doctor showed up - killed in the library with a lead pipe. Then there was the housekeeper, crushed by a falling gargoyle, and the son of Colonel Hugh and Lady Clemency, knifed in the back.

Assisted by the novelist Agatha Christie, the Doctor determined that the murderer was part human, part giant wasp (from an alien race known as the Vespiform). Thanks to quick thinking on Donna's part, the Vespiform drowned in a pond.

So what would have happened if the Doctor and Donna had never shown up?
Well, we never saw it, but it could be that Torchwood (London branch) was already on its way to deal with the alien menace anyway. After all, as their motto states, "If it's alien, it's ours." And how could they resist a giant sentient wasp and a "firestone" power source?

So in the original timeline, Torchwood would have shown up too late to be of any use other than as a "mop-up" squad - retrieving the Vespiform corpse from the pond for further study, as well as dredging up the alien Firestone.

Without the Doctor's involvement in the new timeline, Torchwood would still have arrived to either kill or capture the Vespiform, but the body count would have been higher; perhaps even Agatha Christie would have eventually been murdered by the giant wasp. And then the world would have been denied "Murder On The Orient Express" and the mystery novels based on the life of Miss Jane Marple. (In Toobworld, the characters share the same world as their creators.)

But you may be wondering why I think Torchwood would be on its way to the Eddison Estate so soon in both timelines. It's because I think that by 1926, a former guest character of 'Doctor Who' would have been a member of Torchwood, someone with precognitive abilities who could have foreseen the need for Torchwood to respond to the situation even before it began. And that character would have been Tim Latimer, who had been a young schoolboy encountered by the Doctor in 1913. ("Human Nature"/"Family Of Blood")
Even without contact with the Doctor, Tim Latimer would still have had his gift of the Second Sight. And because of his service in the British army during World War I, it may have even come to the attention of the government. From there, it's easy enough to see how Torchwood would have gained that information and then recruited Tim Latimer to become a member of Torchwood.

Using his precognitive abilities, Tim would have led Captain Jack and the other members of Team Torchwood to the Eddison Estate; there to do battle with the Vespiform.
[Picture actor Thomas Sangster as being thirteen years older, and he could be meeting Lady Clemency Eddison in this shot....]

Torchwood may even have had enough time before they left for Lady Eddison's estate to contact the aging Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs. The purpose would be for any insight that he could give them with regards to giant wasps, as he was involved in the study of bees in his retirement there. They may have even dealt with him in the past to learn more about his case about the Sussex Vampire and whether or not it was something Torchwood should be involved in. (Again, Sherlock Holmes is another example in which the character shares the same world as its author. Since the Doctor seems to be making the rounds of all the great British authors, one day he may meet Arthur Conan Doyle.)

There's one other TV character whom I think may have been a member of Torchwood back in 1926 - future head of the U.N.C.L.E. branch in New York, Alexander Waverly. If the novel "The Rainbow Affair" has a counterpart in the TV Universe, Waverly accepted a position with Department Z in 1932. (Department Z would be involved with the protection of state secrets against espionage during World War II.) But before that, he may have worked with Torchwood, which would have made him an excellent choice to serve the British government in Department Z.

Perhaps in other cases, Torchwood may have crossed paths with other sleuths of the 1920s, like Tommy and Tuppence Beresford or Albert Campion. But for the purpose of this examination into the revised version of "The Unicorn And The Wasp", I'm going to keep things simple and have Torchwood consist only of Captain Jack, Tim Latimer, and Alexander Waverly on this case.
It might have been nice to include an alluring female from another TV series or TV movie set during that time period. But since Tim Latimer was in his late 20s by this point in Time, I'm sure Jack might have found some way to make do.....

Say no mo'!

'Partners In Crime'
'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'
'The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes'

Toby O'B

Sunday, July 27, 2008


With this run of "Turn Left" Tiddlywinkydinks, we're looking at those episodes of 'Doctor Who' which were set in the past and which should have had dire effects for the Earth if the Doctor was no longer alive to be the planet's guardian. (That premise was established in the episode "Turn Left".)

The world could have been - SHOULD have been! - destroyed several times over if the Doctor had not stepped in to save the day. So why did the basic set-up of daily life in London seem so normal for Donna Noble at the beginning of "Turn Left"?
Unlike the episodes which I looked at before yesterday, I don't think the four historical episodes (and two of the three suggested) could have been rectified on their own. The villains involved were all too powerful and should have wreaked havoc which would have made an impact to the present day.

So I think somebody else stepped in to take care of matters in each episode. And this being about Toobworld, I think those somebodies would be from other TV shows!

Today we're looking at the first historical episode of 'Doctor Who' to feature Donna Noble, "The Fires Of Pompeii". This was not addressed in "Turn Left", but the absence of the Doctor should have caused seismic changes. (Literally!)

Maybe the lack of an eruption for Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD wouldn't have had an effect on modern day England, but the Pyroviles should have been in control of the entire planet. Yet there was no sign of them in Donna's revised time-line.

So what happened to the Pyroviles? And did Vesuvius blow its top in Donna's brave new world?

It's not likely there were too many alive at that time who might have been able to defeat alien beings made of Living Fire. But there was (and still is) a classification of humanoids that would have at least been brave enough to face them - and with the intelligence gained from many lifetimes of experience to give the Pyroviles a good fight.
And those people were the Immortals.

There are/were differrent sub-groups of Immortals. Some of them were:

And those who absorb the bio-energy from other Immortals (and sometimes from humans)

As you can see from these classifications, "Immortal" can be a relative term......
I'm not sure which witch of Toobworld might have been alive that far back, maybe Aunt Clara of 'Bewitched'. But as I've focused on them in my examination of the revised world of "The Shakespeare Code", I'm going to set them aside for this post.

As for the demi-gods, it's always possible that Zeus and the other-dimensional super-beings of Olympus would have had to step in if they wanted to make sure their worshippers survived! And since they were able to defeat the Titans, the Pyroviles should have been a walk in the Parthenon, especially with any special water cannons that Vulcan/Hephaestus might forge.....

We can probably eliminate any of the Vampire clans (as established in "Kindred: The Embraced") that were in existence at that time as being involved. The Nosferatu, the "sewer rats" of vampires, might have even been living in the dark caverns that ran through Vesuvius; keeping out of the sight and knowledge of the Pyroviles after they awakened. And even if they knew what the Pyroviles intended and even if they could divine the future, why would they have risked the loss of their undead lives and their home by blowing up the volcano?

Immortals like Walter Jameson ('The Twilight Zone' - "Long Live Walter Jameson"), Flint ('Star Trek' - "Requiem For Methuselah"), and Methos ("The Highlander' - many episodes) - who may have eventually taken on the nom de plume of Flint - would have had no prior knowledge of what should have been the destiny of Vesuvius. After all, they were living out the passage of Time as it happened; as such, they were time travellers in the best Spider Robinson sense of the word - travelling at the rate of one second per second. But once the Pyroviles made their presence known in the world, such Immortals would have recognized the threat to their home planet and their place in it. And if they were in the area, they would probably try to find some way to prevent the Pyroviles from succeeding - with the hope that their immortality could protect them against the fiery monsters.

Involvement by Jameson and Flint/Methos depended a lot on the coincidence that they just happened to be in the area at the time. But Coincidence plays a major role in Toobworld; there should be a Greek God in charge of it! TV characters are always present at the great moments in world history just by happenstance: Lady Marjorie Bellamy ('Upstairs, Downstairs') perished on the Titanic; Mac Taylor's wife Claire ('CSI: NY') died in the World Trade Center collapse; and Sophia Petrillo ('The Golden Girls') witnessed the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
So maybe one or more Immortals were in Pompeii before Volcano Day. And if so, they could have engaged the Pyroviles in combat, which would have given someone else with knowledge of how the Future should play out to make sure that Vesuvius erupted.

The only ones who would know that would have to be time travelers from the Future. With the Doctor dead, that would leave the home-grown variety - "Voyagers" from the Temporal Agency, like Phineas Bogg, a now-adult Jeffrey Jones, Captain John Hart, and Captain Jack Harkness, perhaps Captain Z-Ro, among others.
But the best candidates would be the scientists Tony Newman and Doug Philips who were working on Project Tick-Tock, the Time Tunnel. Using themselves as guinea pigs, Doug and Tony ended up trapped somewhere along the infinite corridors of Time. Speaking of great coincidences, they often found themselves landing at key junctures in world history - Pearl Harbor, Custer's Last Stand, the Fall of the Walls of Jericho. It almost seemed as if they were being drawn to these events. So I think we can assume that eventually, had they remained visible to the audience watching in the Trueniverse, we would have seen them arrive in Pompeii just before August 24th, 79 AD.

There's only one problem with this. Tony and Doug were stupid. For scientists who specialize in the study of Time, they never gave any consideration to the consequences if they should disrupt the original flow of the Timeline. It always seemed like no matter where they landed, they tried to stop the original event from occurring. This would have caused major chaos all down the timeline.

So it's quite possible that once they arrived in Pompeii, Doug and Tony would have taken the decision upon themselves to let the Pyrovile plan play out so that the citizens of Pompeii would survive. Either way, I don't think the two of them would have survived Volcano Day, and it's probably just as well.....

(In the original timeline, we don't know whatever happened to Tony and Doug after the series ended. Looking at the TV series as a stand-alone, it's always possible they are still tumbling along the infinite corridors of Time even into their seventies. But this is Toobworld. It's more likely the Doctor finally rescued them himself and then made damn sure they couldn't bleep up the timeline again; probably by using his sonic screwdriver to destroy 'The Time Tunnel'.)

If the Pyroviles were successful without the Doctor's interference, the lack of an explosion of Vesuvius would be noticed in the future. And who you gonna call? 'Voyagers!' Phineas and Jeffrey could have gone back and made sure that history was re-aligned by finding some way to detonate the volcano. And unlike Tony Newman and Doug Philips, they'd be able to use the Omni to get themselves out of there in time!
Or it could have been due to alien tampering by another race who would want to make sure the Pyroviles were defeated. Perhaps it might be the Asgard arriving via the 'Stargate', or maybe even Terraphile Exigius 12½, citizen of Mars. (He would be better known in the 1960's as "Uncle Martin O'Hara" on 'My Favorite Martian'.)
Because the Pyroviles were not prevalent in the revised timeline of "Turn Left", we do have to figure that somebody put an end to their plans of conquest for Earth. And that means that Vesuvius had to explode. But this time, without the Doctor present, it meant that not only did Lurcio ('Up Pompeii') and the other citizens of Pompeii perish, but so did the family of Caecillius, whom the Doctor rescued at the urging of his Companion Donna.
This would have been a major blow to the timeline when it comes to other residents of Toobworld who were of Italian ancestry. We have no idea who should have been part of the family tree of Caecillius, but we could have lost such Italian-Americans as the aforementioned Sophia Petrillo as well as the following:

Lt. 'Columbo'

Carla Tortelli & Coach Ernie Pantusso ('Cheers')

Joey Tribbiani ('Friends')

Arthur Fonzarelli ('Happy Days')

Dominic Santini ('Airwolf')

Tony Vincenzo ('Kolchak')

Larry Mondello ('Leave It To Beaver')

Laverne DeFazio ('Laverne & Shirley')

Vinnie Terranova ('Wiseguy')

Mrs. Baciagalupe ('The Abbott And Costello Show')

Michael Garibaldi ('Babylon 5')

Captain Frank Furillo ('Hill Street Blues')

'The Fanelli Boys'

'Bert D'Angelo, Superstar'

'Bonino', 'Delvecchio', 'Petrocelli'

and 'The Sopranos'

as well as Mama Magadini, maker of those spicy meatballs!

Those are just some ideas about what could have happened, and who could have been involved. The best part about suppositions like this, unlike other Toobworld theories, is that we don't have to hold to them. After all, it was all a moot point since Donna was able to revert the timeline back to its original version.

'Kindred: The Embraced'
'The Golden Girls'
'Upstairs, Downstairs'
'The Twilight Zone'
'Time Tunnel'
'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'
'Up, Pompeii'
'Stargate: SG-1'
'The Highlander'
'My Favorite Martian'

'Star Trek'

Toby O'B