Saturday, September 13, 2008


During that episode of 'The Middleman' dealing with "The Vampire Puppet Lamentations", Wendy Watson was looking forward to going all Buffy on the vampire's ass - before she found out that it was a puppet.

This was a reference to Buffy Summers, formerly of Sunnydale, California, who was chosen to be a Slayer in the fight against vampires and demons. Buffy had her own show, subltly called 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and has since gone on to become one of the darlings of the Multiverse. She began "life" in a movie starring Kristy Swanson, appears in several tie-in novels, had a proposed cartoon series pilot produced, and is currently starring in a comic book series, which has gone mega-hot recently!

Still, we're just concerned with the TV Universe, which Buffy should be sharing with Dub-Dub (who, by the way, began "life" in the Comic Book Universe with her Bossman).

Have no fear, Toob Believers! At Middle HQ, Ida would have had a complete dossier on Buffy Summers; in fact, she'd have files on all of the Slayers and their Watchers - just in case their paths crossed one day. The Middleman would have insisted that Wendy study these files in order to be prepared for such a possibility.

And thus, no Zonk.

Toby O'B


Unbeknownst to his assistant Natalie or his therapist Dr. Bell, Adrian Monk snuck off to see a hypnotherapist in the 'Monk' episode "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized".

We've seen TV characters get hypnotized in the past, usually for comedic purposes. My personal favorite is when Rob Petrie was hypnotized to act drunk whenever a bell rang on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'.

Here's what my old TWD standby Wikipedia has to begin their article on hypnotherapy:

Hypnotherapy is therapy that is undertaken with a subject in hypnosis.

The word "hypnosis" (from the Greek hypnos, "sleep") is an abbreviation of James Braid's (1843) term "neuro-hypnotism", meaning "sleep of the nervous system".

A person who is hypnotized displays certain unusual characteristics and propensities, compared with a non-hypnotized subject, most notably hyper-suggestibility, which some authorities have considered a sine qua non of hypnosis.

For example, Clark L. Hull, probably the first major empirical researcher in the field, wrote,

If a subject after submitting to the hypnotic procedure shows no genuine increase in susceptibility to any suggestions whatever, there seems no point in calling him hypnotised [...]

(C.L. Hull, Hypnosis & Suggestion, 1933: 392)

Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a subject's behavior, emotional content, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.

Toby O'B

Friday, September 12, 2008


One of the arch-enemies for 'The Middleman' was known as "The Monocle".

It could be that The Monocle was the son of Fritz the Monocle, the villain of the two-hour pilot for 'Tales Of The Gold Monkey' back in 1983.

'Tales Of The Gold Monkey' took place in the years before World War II broke out. So even if Fritz the Monocle had survived the conclusion of the pilot episode, it's doubtful he would have been alive nearly seventy years later. Especially as he was pretty much in his sixties by that point anyway.

And I don't think he would have access to a cryogenic chamber there in the Indonesian jungles....

In fact, I'm thinking that the current Monocle would have to be at least a grandson, if not great-grandson, of Fritz the Monocle. Perhaps even a great grand nephew (if only to justify my subject heading).

And O'Bviously, evil is in the genes.....

Toby O'B


Blade was a vampire hunter who was part vampire himself. He began "life" in the comic book "Tomb Of Dracula", created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. The movie "Blade", based on the Marvel comic book, first came out in 1998, followed over the years by two sequels. Pop culture picked up on the story of the half-blood vampire and Toobworld began to see its characters refer to the film.

In the "Revelations" episode of 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', the question was raised: "Who do you think you are? Blade?" And that was later in the same year.

Tommy was assured by Merton in the 'Big Wolf On Campus' episode of "Everybody Fang Chung Tonight" that it was was okay to admit that "Blade" was one of his favorite movies.

And overseas, in the German show 'Tatort', a poster for the movie was seen plastered under a bridge in the episode "Kinder der Gewalt".

Just this summer, the movies were mentioned again, this time by Wendy Watson, sidekick and apprentice to 'The Middleman' when they fought Vladdie the vampiric hand puppet in the episode "The Vampire Puppet Lamentations". "I've seen every one of the 'Blade' films," she said. "I know my way around suck-heads." (This was Blade's favorite slang term for vampires.)

So by 2008, all three "Blade" movies were out. This might not be a problem... if there hadn't been a TV show about Blade in 2006.

However, still not a problem. A splainin can be supplied so that the situation doesn't suck.

'Blade' picked up the story of the vampire hunter already in progress. There was no origin episode and no real indication as to how long he had been part vampire hunting those who ruined his life. So it's possible, within the confines of Toobworld reality, that the story of Blade had become legend by the late 1990s, and that legend reached the notice of a Hollywood producer who quickly cashed in with a movie exploiting Blade's story.

And the three "Blade" movies of Toobworld don't have to be exactly like those we can see in the real world. They could have been schlock productions; they could have had storylines that had nothing to do with their true counterparts.

Later in the episode, Wendy also said "I've laid eyes on at least three of the major Canadian syndicated vampire detective shows." But because she never mentions them by name, we don't have to worry about her putting a Zonk on 'Forever Knight' or 'Blood Ties'. Those were the only two vampire detective shows from Canadian TV, which points out a major difference between the Trueniverse and the TV Universe - they had three such TV shows and we only got two.

So it looks like all of those blood-sucking Zonks have been staked through their hearts.

Toby O'B


Watched an episode of the last incarnation of 'The Twilight Zone' called "Azoth The Avenger Is A Friend Of Mine". An abused kid summons his favorite comic book character into the "real world" (which we know to be Toobworld) in order to help him defeat his foes in Life: a violent father and a couple of playground bullies.

The kid uses some sort of magical language to call Azoth out of the TV version of the comic book universe, but there was no way he could stay long. According to the Great and Magnificent (aka the Great and Powerful), comic book characters are not allowed to cross the Forbidden Zone into Toobworld.
That's what happened when Captain Justice escaped his hometown of Pleasantville in the comic book universe so that he could inspire his creator, Abner Bevis, into pouring his full talents into the comic book once again.

The Great and Powerful sent a private eye character from another comic book across the Forbidden Zone in order to bring Captain Justice back. And so began the short happy life of 'Once A Hero' back in 1987.
No matter how they crossed over from fictional comic books to the TV Universe, I think Azoth, Captain Justice, and Gumshoe all share the same alternate world. (Although Azoth may have lived in an earlier time period. Nevertheless, I'm making the claim that the TV series 'Once A Hero' and the 'Twilight Zone' episode "Azoth The Avenger Is A Friend Of Mine" belong in the same dimension and are theoretically linked.

Toby O'B

*Pizzazz was the name of the comic book company that published 'Captain Justice'. And they may have been responsible for the 'Azoth The Avenger' line as well.


The new TV season is underway (although the shows are arriving in dribs and drabs). And with their return, we are getting more trivia tidbits to enrich and expand the TV Universe.

Two summer shows about to close up shop for the season both contributed TV shows you could only find on Toobworld cable. 'Trauma Unit' is a medical drama, probably in the style of 'ER' and one of its make-up trailers was a crime scene in an episode of 'The Closer'. The studio where 'Trauma Unit' wasn't named, so I'm going to make a theoretical link to the latest season of 'Nip/Tuck'. Drs. McMahon and Troy got a lot of work through their association with another medical drama, 'Hearts And Scalpels'.

For "Mr. Monk's 100th Episode", the investigation skills of Adrian Monk were given the spotlight on a show called 'In Focus'. This was a real crime examination/re-enactment program similar to those found on Tru-TV, the Discovery Channel, and A&E, where the trend began once A&E reinvented itself from being "the Hitler Channel".

Once they go back from Jolly Olde, Booth and 'Bones' investigated a murder that took them into the TV studio where 'Busted By Bill' was produced. This was similar to Chris Hansen's 'To Catch A Predator', only 'Busted By Bill' concerned itself with catching cheating spouses in the act. As Mel Cooley would say: Smile! You're on 'Sneaky Camera'!

'Sons of Anarchy' and 'True Blood' made the map of the United States a little more crowded with the additions of Charming, California, and Bon Temps, Louisiana, respectively. Charming is probably in the same general area as Bakersfield, but it could also be farther south near the Mexican border.

As for Bon Temps, it looks to be bayou country. This vampire tale also brings us a synthetic blood drink for vampires, also called "True Blood" (I think the packaging said "Tru-Blood".) which supposedly keeps the vampires sated and less likely to attack humans.

The debut episode also provided the first crossover of the Fall TV season. A spokeswoman for a vampire rights group appeared on a segment of 'Real Time with Bill Maher' (which "coincidentally" enough, is also aired on HBO).

I'll be going into more detail about a few of these trivial additions to Toobworld later. And as I only have the two eyes - which don't always work in conjunction with each other - I'm asking for your help. If the shows you watch provide any new fictional locations, products, or TV shows, movies, and books, let me know! Thanks!
Toby O'B


I just finished watching the first three episodes of 'Z Rock' from IFC, and really enjoyed this little sitcom a lot. It's about a rock band called ZO2, who perform as the Z Brothers at kid parties by day.
Three episodes in and there has been plenty to help expand Toobworld. O'Bviously the band, first of all - as well as their kid party rivals "Kidtastic". And then there are the celebrities who appear as themselves. Joan Rivers alone links the show to 'nip/tuck', 'Boston Legal', 'I'm With Her', 'America 2-Nite', '227', 'Offshore Television', and I suppose it has to be counted - 'ALF's Hit Talk Show'. (And I was surprised that she wasn't listed for appearances on 'Larry Sanders' or 'Jiminy Glick' - both faux talkers would have been perfect for her....)
It turns out that Joan is the aunt of Dina, the manager for ZO2, which puts her in the same club with other real life celebrities who are related to fictional TV characters - like Art Carney (to Vera on 'Alice') and the late Tim Russert (to Megan on 'Homicide: Life On The Street').

John Popper could link 'Z Rock' to the show that crosses the divide between Toobworld and the Tooniverse - 'Space Ghost: Coast To Coast'! Sebastian Bach has appeared in several scripted series but as other characters, not himself. So he's useless for a link to say, 'Gilmore Girls' in which he portrayed Gil.

Popper has a distinction similar to that of Joan Rivers when it comes to appearing in this show. But instead of being related to Dina, he had sex with her. This puts him the Toobworld variation on the Mile-High Club - real life televersions who had sex with fictional characters. Other members in this exclusive fraternity - Vincent Chase of 'Entourage' (Mandy Moore, probably Ali Larter and Scarlet Johannsen) and Larry Sanders (both Roseanne Barr and Ellen DeGeneres).
Popper also name-checked Lars Ulrich, the co-founder and drummer for Metallica. (Some kind of tip about eating steak and leaving the blood-juice on your fingers to soften up the cuticles, if I remember correctly.....) He was also name-checked in an episode of 'My Name Is Earl' in which Earl and Joy saw Metallica perform during their honeymoon. Afterwards, Joy got Lars to autograph her "baby-bump". Normally that would be pretty flimsy to count for a link, but it was Lars' actual signature on Joy's pregnant belly!
(Sebastian Bach also appeared as himself in the first episode.)

The very first person we saw in the series was also playing himself - George Evans, the technical director as well as a DJ at WFUV at Fordham University. George was conducting a phone interview with ZO2, which I found a bit odd as WFUV is known more for Americana and World Music than for hard-core rock. Still it was a cool gig for George Evans.... Although I have to admit I was surprised that they didn't use the legendary Vin Scelsa to do the honors. Not only is he a powerhouse name among DJs (and hosts "Idiot's Delight" on WFUV Saturday nights), but he used to be the voice-over announcer for IFC.

So far, out of the three episodes I watched, there was only one Zonk. Just before playing the demo of their new song "Aston Martin", Joey Z said that he had to address the CD. And then with a nod to Ed Norton, he said, "Hellooooo, CD!"

That would have been okay to deal with, but once again the writers don't trust their audience to get their pop culture jokes. So Joey followed up with "What? You never watch 'The Honeymooners'?"

To get around it, I'll probably whip up a splainin about how 'The Honeymooners' as a title could have been about anything, perhaps a newlywed reality show. And "Hellooooo, CD!" could have become a catch-phrase from that series. Who knows, maybe one of the honeymooners was caught on camera with a cross-dresser!

The show airs on IFC late Sunday nights and in case you're a bit prudish in nature, you should be warned that the show contains nudity and coarse language.

Toby O'B

*Just don't let ZO2 know that I called them "kidtastic"!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Even though it was written by Nigel Kneale who created the character, the 1979 mini-series 'Quatermass' does not belong on Earth Prime-Time as does the original production from 1953. And it is not just because of the recasting from Reginald Tate in 1953 to Sir John Mills in 1979 (with several other actors in between). In this dystopian world, there is a King on the throne of Great Britain; whereas the main Toobworld has never fallen into such a state of worldwide decay and Her Majesty Elizabeth II still sits on the throne.

It also looks like a world in which there was no Cybermen invasion because Tobias Vaughn never turned a traitor to his home planet. In fact, it looks like Vaughn eventually became the Prime Minisiter.

But there is a Toobworld in which the 1979 could reside and have another TV series keep it company.

In 1987, 'Max Headroom' burst from his music video and TV commercial roots to become the star of his own sci-fi series which was set 20 minutes into the Future. Now, this meant it was 20 minutes from the moment you watched it, I guess, no matter when and even in repeats. But I think it was 20 minutes exactly from the point of original broadcast back in '87. And as such, it was showing us a world that never existed.
Everything about 'Max Headroom' suggested that it was a world in as much disrepair as found in the world of 'Quatermass'. However, it appeared society was on the rise again - at least the corporations were getting richer... same as it ever was. It was not as bad a depiction of social breakdown as was to be found in 'Max Headroom', which could suggest that in nearly a decade since Professor Quatermass was able to stop the destruction caused in their worldwide crisis, the times they were a-changing for the better.

So that's the position Toobworld Central takes... at the moment. The great thing about Toobworld is that it has to remain in flux because of any future rewrites that may occur.
So who knows what may happen... 20 minutes into the future?

Toby O'B


I was going to stay away from most of the election coverage, and keep "Inner Toob" free of such real world bleep, even if there is a televersion in Toobworld for all of this history being made.

But I am getting so sick about watching the Republican lies and smear tactics and dirty tricks and then seeing how most of the actual news media just letting them get away with it for the most part. You expect that from FOX (and to be fair, you expect the exact opposite from MSNBC). But it's like everybody is afraid to call Sarah Palin out on her beliefs and positions just because she's a woman.

And they don't want to look like they're being too critical of John McCain just because he served time in a Viet Nam cage. Never mind that he was a horrible millitary pilot who graduated near the bottom of his class and crashed five government planes. (And don't even think about dipping into his personal life with regards of ditching his ailing first wife to marry a rich trophy wife whom he's called the "C-word" in front of reporters. Or that he has a history of affairs. Or that he's cruel and malicious in the way he talked about Chelsea Clinton, or that he's quick to anger. No, God forbid. He's a war hero!)

Why is it that the shows we watch for comedy are the places that put these candidates and pundits on the grill and roast them for what they have said in the past?

From "The Daily Show":

McCain as a Maverick?

Pundits choke on their former statements.

And here's Craig Ferguson's monologue from last night's "The Late Late Show".

He took on not only the pundits and the candidates (both sides) but also the media and even YOU the voter. I think it's a monologue that should be trotted out every four years as a reminder!

I'm hoping the Democratic campaign finally catches fire and begins to fight back against this type of bull-bleep. And it looks like Senator Obama's appearance on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' might be the start of that.

My bestest of friends Ivy sent along this missive about what he had to say to Dave:

Last night, Gene and I saw exactly where Obama is headed.

That "lipstick on a pig" remark was no off-the-cuff remark (Obama doesn't seem to make those kinds of mistakes). He intended to say it, hoping to provoke an attack from an increasingly hysterical McCain campaign.

And it worked. They took the bait; hook, line and sinker.

Which gave Obama the opportunity, which he took yesterday, to take them to task -- sternly -- for not talking about the issues. It gave him a great opening to point out their swiftboat politics, their using silly things to avoid talking about the issues, etc.

He made it clear that it's us they are insulting. It's us they're giving short shrift. It's we who are the losers in this kind of game.

Combined with "Enough!" (which we think and hope is going to be the one-word, sound-byte campaign catchphrase).

He's turning their own game against them. Every time they launch a personal attack, the response is "Enough. It's about the issues. Notice how they don't talk about the issues. Notice how they treat you, distract you, try to fool you." Of course, they don't have talking points on the issues. Their entire campaign is a distraction. (Sarah Palin being the biggest distraction of all. That's why they picked her. It takes all the attention away from the increasingly fragile and addle-headed candidate.) He's pointing that out. He's defanging their personal attacks.

And he won't have to get angry (and risk being seen as the angry black guy) at all. He's getting the people pissed off at them while he can remain cool as a cucumber and in control. He's also making jokes about the dopiness of their attacks -- he'll make them look like clueless buffoons.

It's an absolutely brilliant strategy.

Petard, prepare to be hoisted!

So, here's hoping.

There. I got it out of my system. Don't worry, I'll get off my soapbox now.
At these heights I tend to get nosebleeds.

But never forget this about the old man who wants to be considered the agent of change:

Toby O'B


"Our next film is 'Medellin' - the ultra-violent story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar starring Vincent Chase in a fat-suit in bad make-up that makes him look like the love child of Jiminy Glick and a case of Twinkies." - Richard Roeper of 'Ebert And Roeper At The Movies' in 'Entourage'.

Just as Roeper and his co-host Michael Phillips (the permanent sub for Roger Ebert because of Ebert's illness) were wrapping up their tenure on the series, 'At The Movies' did their swan song with a televersion appearance in the 'Entourage' season premiere. Both of them panned the film in the sequence, but it was Roeper who got off the best lines, calling it a Hindenburg of a movie and that he got up and booed with the rest of the angry mob at Cannes.
Like real world game shows, news programs, sporting events, so-called "reality" shows, and the aforementioned 'Candid Camera' in the previous post, 'At The Movies' exists in Toobworld as well. When he was still alive and hosting the series with Ebert, Gene Siskel made a memorable appearance on 'The Larry Sanders Show' and got in an argument with Hank Kingsley about the "big reveal" in "The Crying Game". And Roger Ebert appeared as himself in the Chicago-based "fantasy newspaper" series 'Early Edition'.

And speaking of Jiminy Glick, Ebert also appears as himself in Glick's movie about "Lalawood",
which can be considered an extension of Toobworld into the movie universe since Jiminy is a real character in the TV Universe (despite that Larry King interview on CNN which pulled back the curtain to reveal Martin Short getting into makeup).

'At The Movies' is going to continue, now with Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz as the hosts/critics, but it just won't be the same. And based on some reviews I've seen, the new reworked version doesn't cut it.

But so far, Roeper and Phillips still rule because of this episode of 'Entourage'......
Toby O'B


Rob Petrie:
The only thing that bothers me, Mel,
Is that you're not even ashamed that this is a direct steal from another show
Mel Cooley:
"Well, why be ashamed when we stole from one of the best?"

In the latest episode of 'Mad Men' ("The Gold Violin"), Bobbie Barrett introduced Don Draper to the ABC executive who would be overseeing the new show starring her husband, comic Jimmy Barrett. He told them that he was looking forward to 'Grin And Barrett' (maybe it would be 'Grin & Barrett'?) beating 'Candid Camera' in the ratings.

Of course, there was no such show as 'Grin And Barrett' in the real world. According to the prime-time schedules for 1962, ABC countered 'Candid Camera' with 'Adventures In Paradise' to close out the previous season and began the fall season with 'The Voice Of Firestone'. Originally, 'The Voice Of Firestone' was a radio show on NBC and then it was simulcast on NBC radio and television. But a dispute over the timeslot led 'The Voice Of Firestone' to move over to ABC.

'The Voice of Firestone' was a variety program of classical and semi-classical music; it's not surprising that 'Candid Camera' would have clobbered it in the ratings. But again, that's the real world. At this point in the 'Mad Men' timeline, I think we're only at the midway point in the year of 1962, so the televersion of ABC would be planning on showing 'Grin And Barrett' in the fall rather than 'The Voice Of Firestone' to challenge 'Candid Camera'.

It's all ABC's fault that they were getting slammed by Allen Funt's creation. 'Candid Camera' began on the Alphabet Network before moving over to NBC and then to CBS; they should never have let it go in the first place.

August 1948-September 1948
Sunday 8:00-8:30
October 1948
Sunday 8:30-8:45
November 1948-December 1948
Friday 8:00-8:30

May 1949-July 1949
Sunday 7:30-8:00
July 1949-August 1949
Thursday 9:00-9:30

September 1949-September 1950
Monday 9:00-9:30

June 1953
Tuesday 9:30-10:00
July 1953
Wednesday 10:00-10:30

October 1960-September 1967
Sunday 10:00-10:30
July 1990-August 1990
Friday 8:30-9:00

'Adventures In Paradise', the previous rival to 'Candid Camera', wasn't mentioned in 'Mad Men', which is a good thing for Toobworld. It prevents any need for a Zonk splainin regarding the name of the show. After all, Adam Troy and the Tiki III shared the same TV dimension as Don Draper of the Sterling-Cooper Agency. (Although I still haven't found a good splainin for the clips from that episode of 'The Defenders' on a previous 'Mad Men'. I may yet have to jettison 'Mad Men' to dimensions unknown.....)

There's no need to find splainins for 'Candid Camera', as it's the type of show that could easily exist in Toobworld as well as the real world - like game shows, news programs, and sporting events. This wasn't the first time it came up in 'Mad Men' - in an earlier episode, Bobbie Barrett mentioned that she had an idea for a new TV show similar to 'Candid Camera'.

Many shows referred to it over the years, and within one show a rip-off series was produced called 'Sneaky Camera' (as seen in 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' episode, "Ghost Of A. Chantz"). Although I can't find verification of it, I'm fairly certain that at least once a visitor to the home of 'The Munsters' thought that they were on 'Candid Camera'. (Sounds like a Paul Lynde moment.....)

But there were some other examples, courtesy of the

"Freaks and Geeks: Discos and Dragons (#1.18)" (2000)
- Ken asks when Allen Funt is going to come boogying out

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: Tormented (#5.14)" (1992)
- "Alan Funt, where are ya!"

"Dark Angel: Harbor Lights (#2.13)" (2002)
- The CDC guy says "smile you're on Candid Camera" to Ames

"Veronica Mars: Clash of the Tritons (#1.12)" (2005)
- "You're on Candid Camera."

"The Invisible Man: It's a Small World (#1.23)" (2001)
- Realizing the bug is working again, Darien says "Smile, you're on Candid Camera" the signiture line of the show.

"The Monkees: The Picture Frame (#2.2)" (1967)
- Davey says: Smile, we're on hidden camera!

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Magic Sword (#5.11)" (1992)
- Crow: Okay, where's Allen Funt?

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004) (TV) - Ca. 20 minutes into the film Flynn references the show in conversation with Judson.

By the way, I have an idea about where the Jimmy Barrett storyline may lead, based on whom Jimmy could be modeled after and on a real world news story from earlier in 1962 (not the Jamaica Bay airliner crash). However, that idea comes from my deeply embedded absorption of TV cliches; and if there's one thing I know from watching Matthew Weiner's vision, it's that those cliches don't apply to 'Mad Men'.

So I'll wait to share it once the season is over.

Toby O'B

"Something going on here I should know about?"
Yeah, yeah, I was just apologizing to Mallory for treating her badly
And uh you too Jennifer for um being such a creep all week

"Am I on Candid Camera?"


I don't consider the 'Doctor Who' audio plays to be canon for Toobworld; I feel there needs to be the visual element, which the potential movie starring David Tennant and online productions supply and which would make them canon-worthy. (The movies starring Peter Cushing don't count - too many deviations from the established history of the character. Those movies, however, could be used to splain away references to 'Doctor Who' as a fictional character within Toobworld reality.)

However, there are those out there who soak up the audio plays, the books, and the comics as all being part of some complete 'Doctor Who' universe. Let them sort it out when it comes to the contradictions - like the 'Human Nature' novel about the Seventh Doctor and the TV adaptation about the Tenth.

If you're one of those so inclined, my blogging buddy Rob of "The Medium Is Not Enough" has a very good review of a new audio play produced by Big Finish starring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton as former Companion Nyssa. (By saying it's a very good review, I'm not implying the production is very good, by the way.)

It's not so much an alteration of what fans previously believed about the history of 'Doctor Who' as it is a variation on the resolution of a particular plotline. I should warn you that by reading Rob's review, you will be spoiled to this revelation... although I think the title alone would have made any decent 'Who' fan easily figure out the secret.

If you are curious about this "adjustment" to the Multiverse of 'Doctor Who', then check out
Rob's review here. But be forewarned - that link brings you to the full review and there be spoilers ahead!

By the way, you really should be doing yourself a favor by reading Rob's blog on a regular basis. Toobworld is more than American TV productions; and even though he does cover a lot of that, his focus is probably on British shows. Many of these we may never see over here, and Rob often provides us video links to check out samples of these shows. I have to say, without Rob's site, I might never have been prepared to check out 'Gavin & Stacey' and 'Primeval' on BBC-A.

Toby O'B

That banner has nothing to do with the production. I just couldn't resist it once I saw it. And credit goes to the blog
"The Boy That Time Forgot". Wayne Spitzer hasn't updated it recently, but if you go there, you'll see a great pic of a 'Trek' fan dressed as an Andorian babe! Homina Thrice!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


During "The Gold Violin", the latest episode of 'Mad Men', Don Draper talked to the executives of Martinson Coffee about the various methods used to sell coffee, one of them being with puppets.

He must have been referring to the television campaign for Wilkins' Coffee which featured two puppets created by Jim Hensen, Wilkins and Wontkins. Wilkins kept trying to get Wontkins to sample the coffee, but Wontkins steadfastly refused. And for taking such a stand, inevitably Wilkins would kill him.

Over and over again.
Ya can't get good puppet shows like that on TV anymore!

Toby O'B


"You owe money to a guy nicknamed 'Big Eddie'?"
"No, I owe money to a guy NAMED 'Big Eddie'.
He had it legally changed."

In 1975, Sheldon Leonard starred in a sitcom called 'Big Eddie'. Here's a description of the show from the

"Big" Eddie Smith was the new owner of New York's Big E Sports Arena. Smith was also an ex-gambler who was trying not to get sucked back into the racket, while dealing with the various crazies and eccentrics that crossed his path. He lived with his ex-stripper wife Honey and their granddaughter Ginger.

"Ex-Gambler" was probably a euphemism when in "reality" Big Eddie was probably a mobster trying to go straight.

Even though Sheldon Leonard has been dead for years, that doesn't mean his character of Big Eddie Smith is not still alive in Toobworld. As old as he would be now, Big Eddie could still be a powerful threat to those who owed him money, like Peter Noble.

However, if Big Eddie was the same age as Sheldon Leonard, he'd be 101 years old by now. This could be possible, especially if he was descended from Big Smith of 'The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.' So long as Big Smith sired a son after his genetic structure had been altered by the Orb.

Just an idea, of course. It's not written in stone, or sealed in cement.... like those who may have crossed Big Eddie in the past.

Toby O'B


Roger Catlin of the Hartford Courant had this to say about the production of 'Fringe':

I was curious about the oddball visual elements: Those place-setting letters that looked like 3-D parts of the landscape, the letters of Baghdad casting shadows on the city below kind of thing.

And those little symbols that flashed up at the end of a scene, such as a leaf.

"Those letters were actually just there," Abrams replied when I asked him about it.
"We didn't even put them. We just shot them. They were cool-looking."

He was joking. Actually, he added, "We just thought it was going to be a fun thing to sort of do that as a way of, you know, introducing a location."

Be that as it may, "Fringe" has already been beaten by Mastercard ads in which people crash into similar letters.

I never thought of that. I guess those giant block letter then really do exist in the TV Universe and are not just visible to the audience viewing at home in the Trueniverse.

Toby O'B


I've dealt with the issue of other TV shows mentioning 'Columbo' in the past when they should all be sharing the same TV universe.

Here's an excerpt from a piece about the series premiere of 'In Plain Sight' this year:

The main character, Mary Shannon of the US Marshals working for WitSec, not only brought the Playpen to a new witness in her charge, but she also Zonked big time by mentioning how 'Columbo' operated on TV. She went into a whole riff about how he'd let the suspect know that he was on to them by commenting on their shows - and she did it with a funny impression of Peter Falk's voice as Lt. Columbo.Hopefully an easy splainin that the Lieutenant was famous, and would often appear on TV to discuss the cases he solved, might do the trick in covering up this mess.

(Here's the actual quote, courtesy of the

"In Plain Sight: Pilot (#1.1)" (2008)- Mary says in voiceover: "I really wanted to turn around and pop off one of those Columbo questions -- you know, the innocuous afterthought that lets the killer know that I know he did it: [imitating Peter Falk]: 'Excuse me, do you always where white shoes after Labor Day?'")

And this is from a post about the many Zonks to be found in the 'Monk' episode "Mr. Monk Is On The Run Part II":
"Car Wash Columbo"
This was the nickname given to Monk by the press, when he solved the hit-and-run murder of a highway worker in Nevada. At the time, they thought he was actually Leland Rodriguez since he was hiding out under an assumed name.This isn't a problem. There was never any mention of 'Columbo' as a TV series whenever the nickname came up. So it could be that it was a reference to Monk being the car wash version of the actual detective on the Los Angeles police force.

Since it's getting more unlikely that we're ever going to see one last outing by Peter Falk as the rumpled detective, the Lieutenant is probably retired by now. And his fame has been well-publicized over the years - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a best-selling novel was written about him! (He may even have had a TV show based on his career, much like David 'Toma' did in the real world. If so, that would go some way towards splainin those Zonks which do mention 'Columbo' as a TV show.)

There have been other instances in which Lt. Columbo has been mentioned in TV shows:

"Big Wolf on Campus: Butch Comes to Shove (#1.3)" (1999)
- Merton calls Tommy "Columbo."

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies (#9.12)" (1997)
- Crow: (as Columbo) Uh, just one more question, ma'am.

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Desperate (#4.18)" (2003)
- Rye Police Chief: "Wheaton thinks he's Columbo."

"Entourage: I Wanna Be Sedated (#3.10)" (2006)
- Turtle calls Drama "Columbo"

"Saxondale: (#2.3)" (2007)
- Tommy asks if a man has been watching this.

With that last example, we actually have mention of a TV show based on the life of Lt. Columbo. And apparently it proved to be so popular in Toobworld that it's being shown over in the UK.

This would splain one side of a potential Zonk in an episode of 'Life On Mars'. DCI Gene Hunt was talking about a particular kind of evidence - I think it may have been fingerprints - when he said "Juries love 'em. Makes 'em feel like Columbo."
Now, the premise of 'Life On Mars' is that a detective from 2007 Manchester has been struck down by a car, only to find himself in 1973 Manchester on the police force. As Sam Tyler states in the opening credits, is he mad, in a coma, or is he really back in Time?

So if we go with the assumption that the Gene Genie's comment was a product of Detective Tyler's madness or a coma dream, then it's likely that Sam had been watching that same TV adaptation of Lt. Columbo's life. But if we go with the idea that he really did go back in Time to 1973, then the reason Gene Hunt knows about Columbo is because the Los Angeles police lieutenant had been in England the year before. And while there, he solved a very high profile murder in London. (See the episode "Dagger Of The Mind".)

So no matter which route you take with the issue of Sam's presence in 1973, the mention of 'Columbo' can be splained away.

And no. I'm not going to tell you how the issue of Sam Tyler's presence there was resolved on the show. Suffice to say that 'Life On Mars' is now one of my ten favorite series of all Time.

Toby O'B


This would be more in the line for blogging buddy Ivan (Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear, link to the left), but among the alternate universes created by Mankind's creative spark is a radio dimension. Throughout the middle of the 20th Century, there was an incredible output of radio plays from all over the world which could have over-populated the radio dimension had it not been for the creation of the TV Universe which my readers know (and I love) as Toobworld.

With the advancement of TV, radio drama began to die out, although there are still pockets of production. And in Great Britain, it actually still thrives, especially with shows like 'The Archers'. And a multiverse great - 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' - began life in the radio dimension.

Right now, I'm listening to BBC's Radio 4 and its podcast of a new episode of 'Torchwood' which is tied into the big scientific news of the day - the activation of the CERN super collider in Switzerland.
Captain Jack, Gwen, and Ianto were called to the event by Dr. Martha Jones to investigate a series of disappearances. Basically, even though these are the Torchwood characters we know from Toobworld, they are separate from their counterparts. Still, they mirror the televersions pretty much exactly - several times Owen and Tosh are mentioned and as being dead, so we know it takes place after the second season finale. But since there is no mention of the events in the fourth season finale for 'Doctor Who', we know that Davros' plan to steal the Earth has not taken place yet.

I'm sixteen plus minutes into the radio play and the symptoms of the victim they're examining resemble those of Agent John Scott in last night's premiere of 'Fringe': the body is becoming translucent.

I'm still listening to the show, so I can't give it away even if I wanted to. But if you wanted to hear it for yourself, it's now available on podcast. Just follow this
BBC4 radio link. (However, it's only available for download the next seven days.)

Toby O'B


Yesterday I took a look at the world of "Pride And Prejudice", as seen through the eyes of a young woman from modern-day London who was trapped within the book's plot.

Thanks to Wikipedia, here's an edited look at the history of Jane Austen's most popular novel:

Pride and Prejudice, first published on 28 January 1813, is the most famous of Jane Austen's novels and one of the first "romantic comedies" in the history of the novel. The book is Jane Austen's second published novel. Its manuscript was initially written between 1796 and 1797 in Steventon, Hampshire, where Austen lived in the rectory. Called First Impressions, it was never published under that title, and following revisions it was retitled Pride and Prejudice.

Jane Austen's father wrote to London bookseller Thomas Cadell on November 1, 1797, offering it for publication, but it was rejected unseen by return of post. The unpublished manuscript remained with Austen, and it was not until 1811 that the first of her novels would be published, Sense and Sensibility.

Buoyed by the release of her first published novel, Austen revised the manuscript for First Impressions, probably between 1811 and 1812. She renamed the story Pride and Prejudice, an "apparent cliché" phrase of the times. In renaming the novel, Jane Austen probably had in mind the "sufferings and oppositions" summarized in the final chapter of Fanny Burney's Cecilia, called "Pride and Prejudice", where the phrase appears three times in block capitals.
It is also possible that the novel's original title was altered to avoid confusion with other works. In the years between the completion of First Impressions and its revision into Pride and Prejudice, two other works had been published under that name: a novel by Margaret Holford and a comedy by Horace Smith.

Austen sold the copyright for the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110 (Austen had asked for £150). This proved a costly decision. Austen had published Sense and Sensibility on a commission basis, whereby she indemnified the publisher against any losses and received any profits, less costs and the publisher's commission.

Unaware that Sense and
Sensibility would sell out its edition, making her £140, she passed the copyright to Egerton for a one-off payment, meaning that all the risk (and all the profits) would be his. Jan Fergus has calculated that Egerton subsequently made around £450 from just the first two editions of the book.

The novel was reviewed favourably in British Critic and Critical Review in early 1813. In 1819 Henry Crabb Robinson called it: " of the most excellent of the works of our female novelists", and Sir Walter Scott, in his journal, described it as: "...Miss Austen’s very finely written novel... That young lady had a talent for describing the involvement and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with."

However, others did not agree. Charlotte Brontë wrote to noted critic and reviewer George Henry
Lewes after reading a review of his published in Fraser's Magazine in 1847. He had praised Jane Austen's work and declared that he "...would rather have written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels". Miss Brontë, though, found Pride and Prejudice a disappointment: "...a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck."

Of course, all of that is from the real world. In Toobworld, it probably follows in a similar fashion. However, Miss Austen was writing about actual people and she shares the same TV dimension as Elizabeth Bennett.

I wonder what Jane Austen would have thought of "Seducing Mr. Darcy", a saucy little novel which shares the basic plot with 'Lost In Austen'....

Toby O'B

Here's the only version of the book that I'd probably read.....