Saturday, January 16, 2010


We're getting closer to the end of this annual presentation of the Toobits Awards, and I know what a big letdown that is for you: just as big a letdown as the presentations themselves!

So here we go with some of the best and worst when it comes to the ancillary projects from 2009......


'Stargate Universe'
I could just as easily have chosen 'NCIS: Los Angeles'. I watched a few episodes of both franchises but wasn't excited by either to make it a regular addition to my view-queue. But they both do the job in expanding the mythology of their franchises and in bringing in characters from the parent shows for crossovers. I finally went with 'Stargate Universe' because it at least is going for something different in its storyline, whereas the LA version of 'NCIS' is just more high-tech of the same situated on the Left Coast.


"Dead Like Me - Life After Death"
I'll admit it has problems - no Rube, for starters. And a recast Daisy - and you know how I feel about recastaways. It also is very choppy in its editing and storytelling. Still, it gave us a chance to reunite with George and the gang of Reapers, and even tied up the storyline about the family she left behind. That freed up George for any future sequels, not that I think we'll ever see any...


'The Prisoner'
I knew going in that there would be no way for this mini-series to usurp the original show's place in my heart as my all-time favorite series. Forty years past and still twenty years ahead of its time, I say. But I think it does give a sense that what occurred in that original series was a part of Toobworld and not just in the mind of the original Number Six. And, like the original, it can lead to some serious discussion about what it all meant. So I thank them for that.


'Being Human' Again, this was a bad case of recastaways as three-fourths of the cast (Annie, Mitchell, Herrick) were replaced when it went to series, leaving only Russell Tovey as George from this original premise. At first I was resistant to the idea, but then I grew to like the new versions of the characters even more. So much so that the original pilot, while still having been first on the air, was the one chosen to go off into the hinterlands of another TV dimension - in much the same way as the original TV movies for 'The Murdoch Mysteries'.

Still, they got the job done in getting the continuing story of a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost living together into the TV Universe.


'Melrose Place'

Never liked the original version, why would I want it to return?


'The Cleveland Show' 'Family Guy' is a great show and I hope it runs for a long time. But with each succeeding project from Seth MacFarlane, it's a case of diminishing returns. Cleveland was never a strong enough character in the first place to be the center of a spin-off and it shows.


'Popetown' This goes way beyond it being in bad taste - it's just not funny!


'Castle' novel Except for the blurb about ABC on the cover, it's as though this fell through a worm-hole from the TV dimension......



As the series heads for its pre-determined cancellation, the show has really been firing on all cylinders with the twists and turns in the plot, making this a unique and exciting example of sci-fi television.


"The Million Dollar Incident"
"The Man In The Funny Suit"

No way I would choose between the two. Both of them are serio-comic looks at the lives of real-life celebrities who played themselves, but only one of them was actually based on fact. "The Man In The Funny Suit": The warts and all story of the making of "Requiem For A Heavyweight" and how Ed Wynn nearly ruined the live broadcast was unflinching in its depictions of what happened. It's amazing that most of the actors - and Rod Serling - agreed to play themselves because nobody really comes off looking good... except maybe Red Skelton.
"The Million Dollar Incident": Jackie Gleason came up with this idea of what it might have been like had he been kidnapped for a large ransom to be paid out by CBS. Ed Sullivan and Georgie Jessel played themselves while Harvey Lembeck played Gleason's pal Bullets Durgom. And Everett Sloane, Jack Klugman, and Peter Falk played the kidnappers.

More Toobits Awards coming tomorrow!


Brian Leonard said...

"The Man in the Funny Suit" isn't even on IMDB...where was it broadcast?

Toby O'B said...

Most of my classic TV experiences come from visits to the Paley Center for Media on 52nd, Brian. Can't remember where I first saw mention of this presentation, but it was a CBS production written, directed and co-starring Ralph Nelson.

It was a Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse production and is listed as such: