Thursday, February 19, 2009


Every year I put together a list of TV characters and locations that I'd like to see make a return appearance on TV, even if the shows that spawned them no longer are broadcast.

It's not as difficult as it sounds. There have been instances in the past where TV characters from shows long gone have appeared in other programs.

A few examples:

Dr. Bob Hartley ('The Bob Newhart Show') - 'Murphy Brown'

Elliot Carlin ('The Bob Newhart Show') - 'St. Elsewhere'

Warren Coolidge ('The White Shadow') - 'St. Elsewhere'

Alan Brady ('The Dick Van Dyke Show') - 'Mad About You'

Cinnamon Carter ('Mission: Impossible') - 'Diagnosis Murder'
Here is the list of characters I've suggested in the past whom I'd like to see return for one more turn in the Toobworld spotlight:

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'
Brother 'Cadfael'
'The Time Tunnel'
Dr. Sam Beckett, 'Quantum Leap'
Ann Marie (Hollinger), 'That Girl'
John Drake, 'Secret Agent'
Dr. Miguelito Loveless, 'The Wild, Wild West'

We have to amend that list this year. Patrick McGoohan died over a month ago, so there goes the chance to see John Drake come out of retirement. (I was hoping to see him give assistance to 'Spooks'/'MI-5'.) And in an interview marking her 70th birthday last year, Dame Diana Rigg expressed disdain for those who approach her about nothing else but her work as Mrs. Emma Peel on 'The Avengers'. So with respect to her feelings, I'm removing her from the list as well.

You'll note that Dr. Loveless is still on the list, even though Michael Dunn has been dead for over thirty years. But it's the Toobworld Central contention that Dr. Loveless was part Gallifreyan and that he could regenerate. Although most of the time when he did so, he kept the same body, eventually he could transfer his intelligence to another person, or regenerate his own body to a new form. (I think Warwick Davis would make for an excellent new incarnation of the not-so-good doctor.)

So here is this year's list of the TV charactes I'd like to see make a return appearance on our screens:

Adam Cartwright, 'Bonanza'
While we still have Pernell Roberts with us (and I have no idea how he's faring in real life), we should get the chance to see the last original member of the 'Bonanza' cast in action. The timeline for the series was roughly 100 years before each episode was broadcast. So to see Adam Cartwright now, it should be set in 1909; and as Adam left the Ponderosa behind to seek his destiny elsewhere, the opportunities are endless as to where the story should be set and what it should be about. But as cultured as Adam was, I think everybody would still like to see him in a Western setting or something akin to that, say in Australia or Africa.

And as such, there's an opportunity in the timeline that might be perfect for inserting Adam Cartwright.

Best option for a return engagement?
This is the ultimate Wish-Craft, in that there's nothing on TV currently to insert Adam Cartwright. So instead, I'd like to see a TV movie about the adventures of Teddy Roosevelt in Africa. We've seen him there before, on an episode of 'The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles'; but this time the story doesn't necessarily have to stick so closely to established history.

On March 23rd, 1909, former President Theodore Roosevelt left New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa. The trip was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society. So why can't we claim that Adam Cartwright accompanied the former president and see what adventures they got into there in Africa? I'm not saying Adam has to be the center of attention, just an added bonus in the cast.

Depending on how outlandish the script goes, it could appear on niche cable outlets as extreme as the National Geographic Channel (if they wanted to go for close to realistic) or Sci-Fi (if they wanted to get into Burroughs or Haggard territory).

Kevin Arnold, 'The Wonder Years'

If Kevin's to return in the present day, Fred Savage wouldn't be old enough to take on the role again; the recastaway card would have to be played. And we couldn't cast Daniel Stern, even though he was the voice of the older Kevin because they don't resemble each other.

Instead, I'd suggest Tom Hanks for the role; play out a storyline similar to John Updike's "Rabbit Angstrom" series in which a middle-aged Kevin Arnold has to take stock of his life in the new millenium....

Best option for a return engagement?
An HBO mini-series produced byas well as starring Hanks.

Andromeda, 'My Favorite Martian'
"Andy" was the 400 year old nephew of Exigius 12½ (AKA Martin O'Hara) on 'My Favorite Martian'. (I don't think he was on for more than one episode, But he was probably introduced as a test: to inject a new aspect to the series or as a prospective spin-off.) Although he was 400 years old, he looked to be only 12. Forty plus years onward and we could make him a recastaway with an older actor... say, about sixteen years of age.

Best option for a return engagement?
A teen-oriented sitcom like 'The Suite Life On Deck'.

The Tenctonese, 'Alien Nation'
In the general community of Toobworld, the Tenctonese must have found some way to finally leave the Earth and be relocated to a new planet to be their New Tencton. After all, we don't see them around anymore in TV shows set in Los Angeles, do we? But I imagine there would be a few that might have stayed behind, preferring their life on Earth.

I'd like to think Cathy Frankel and the Francisco family would be among them, but as there were thousands of Tenctonese to choose from, the roles could be completely new - so long as they still had those interesting names given them upon their arrival. (My own choices- Button Gwinnet and the married couple Tip and Brandy Snifter.)

Best option for a return engagement?
As recurring characters on 'Eureka' or 'Sanctuary'.

Alicia, 'Flying Blind'
My all-time favorite Tea Leoni character, and one who was cancelled from our TV screens far too soon. Not sure if she could still handle the fast-paced dialogue still, but as I think she'd like to find a project to take her mind off the events in her life of the past few years, I'm sure she'd give it a shot.

Best option for a return engagement?
Episodes on shows like 'How I Met Your Mother' or '30 Rock' to re-introduce the character, and then a sitcom of her own.

Lorne, 'Angel'
Lorne was too visually striking and too bitchily witty to be left off the small screen; he was the Clifton Webb of the demon world.

Best opton for a return engagement?
Helping out the Winchester brothers on an episode of 'Supernatural'.

Toby O'B

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