Friday, October 8, 2010


Two new TV shows have fallen - one from FOX ('Lone Star') and the second from ABC ('My Generation'). Now a third show has been put on hiatus -NBC's 'Outlaw', and that's just a limbo stop before cancellation.

Oftentimes it's only the pilot episode that's of any interest to a televisiologist such as myself. The premise is established; the characters are introduced; and government agencies, corporations, institutions, fictional cities and countries and even alien planets and races are created - all expanding the TV Universe. After that, the series settles down into its groove, which doesn't provide anything new of interest for Toobworld for the most part. (Unless of course it is a sci-fi show which boldly goes to new worlds and new civilizations each week.)

'Outlaw', the courtroom drama starring Jimmy Smits was like that. The pilot episode established the premise - Supreme Court Justice resigns from the Bench in order to champion the rights of the underdog as a defense lawyer. And that Justice's name was Cyrus Garza (a candidate for the worst new TV character name).

The only thing of real import to Toobworld Central was the question about the place of 'Outlaw' in the TV Universe.

I'm taking the stand (heh heh. "Taking the stand." Because it's a courtroom show. Heh heh. Heh heh.... Nothing.) that it doesn't belong in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time. That's because the make-up of the Court had too much of a deviation from the real SCOTUS. It may not seem that the Supreme Court needs to be exactly the same as in the real world, like the President and Vice-President. After all, Toobworld easily handles plenty of fictional senators, congressmen, governors, and even the L.A. mayor and the NYC district attorney.

But there have been shows that have referred - and shown! - the Supreme Court as it is int eh real world: 'Picket Fences', 'Boston Legal', and the TV movie 'Recount'.

Here's a screen capture from teh one scene to portray the Garza Court:

To Justice Garza's right, there in the foreground, is a female jurist who might suggest Roth Bader Ginzburg. But look to the far end of the Bench - that's a black woman, and the Court doesn't have one.... yet.

Most of the TV audience isn't going to know every member of the Court, so one deviation liek Cyrus Garza could have worked. Since he resigned anyway, the Court could have been realigned to fit with the established Supreme Court of the Trueniverse. But there looks to be too much of a difference going on here for that idea to work.

So if 'Outlaw' isn't in the main Toobworld, where can we use it?

A knee-jerk reaction would be the TV dimension of 'The West Wing'. I posted recently a "Super Six" list of TV shows that share the 'West Wing' dimension, but my blogging buddy Brent rightly pointed out a flaw in my choices.

'The Human Target' - Although a different Queen Elizabeth and the title of "Princess of Wales" that doesn't exist in the real world could work for 'The West Wing', a Duke of York named Edward Andrew (mentioned by Will Bailey in an episode of 'The West Wing') brought the Royal Family back to the True One in the Real World. So I needed a new candidate for that Super Six list.

But it won't be 'Outlaw'. We saw in a file photo during a news broadcast that Garza had been nominated for the Bench by George W. Bush. The line of presidential succession in the 'West Wing' world diverged from the real world after Richard Nixon. Before Jed Bartlet, there was Owen Lassiter and before him was D. Wire Newman. There were no George Bushes, W. or H.W. And that same argument would keep 'Outlaw' out of the 'Commander-in-Chief' TV dimension. 'Outlaw' could possibly end up in the TV dimension for 'First Monday' and 'The Court'. Or it could be played in the TV dimension shared by 'The Agency', 'The District', and 'Prison Break'.

But wherever it ends up, I know one place where you won't find it - in my DVR queue. Like I said, it's the type of show that won't have anything of interest that could be added to Toobworld.



Michael H. said...

Sad news for my old friend Jimmy, I know how hard he worked on this show, and what a blow its hiatus must be to him. I haven't seen it, Toby, you are probably quite right, but I am saddened to hear about it.

Wayne-O said...

And another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust. Hey, this year's new stuff s*cks, another bites the dust (yeah!).