Sunday, November 20, 2011


DC Paula McIntyre:
"If you show violence on TV, it promotes violence."

Dr. Tony Hill:
"Oh yeah? What shows did Jack the Ripper watch?"

'Wire In The Blood'

I'm taking the week of Thanksgiving off, but I do have a multi-part essay set up to run through the week. Hey, I can't deprive my loyal followers in Team Toobworld of their minimum daily requirements for televisiological sustenance!

And because it's Thanksgiving, what better topic than a study of Jack the Ripper's televersion? After all, both have a little something to do with carving.....

Jack the Ripper has been portrayed several times on TV and as such, his physical appearance has changed with each different portrayal. With other crossover universes, such as the rightfully exalted Wold Newton Universe, this would not be quite so problematic. Win Scott Eckert, carrying on the project started by Philip Jose Farmer, focuses mainly on literary sources and so the WNU is more a realm of the mind - the way you see a character in your mind is the most important and so various interpretations by different authors can be blended together.

Not so in Toobworld, however. It's a visual medium and ideally it should all look the same, no matter the source material. But luckily, 'Star Trek' and 'Sliders' are Toobworld "Essentials" because of their use of alternate dimensions - we always have places to store away the things that just won't fit in the main Toobworld.

With each depiction of Jack the Ripper in a cartoon series - 'Time Squad', 'Futurama', and 'Family Guy' - all of those can be lumped together into the Tooniverse, no matter the differences in animation styles. Jack's portrayal in the mini-series "Jack The Ripper" isn't the "real" serial killer, but how he was imagined by the two crossover stalwarts investigating the case - DI Barlowe and DI Watt. And since 'Smallville' and 'Sanctuary' take place in alternate TV dimensions, we don't have to give their Rippers any consideration.

Our main problem is with the Ripper's appearance on several different TV series which should all be sharing the same TV dimension... and yet Jack the Ripper is a different man in each one. And even worse, each of those shows had a different theory as to what happened to the killer (usually thanks to the hero of the show or TV movie.)

But along came the 'Star Trek' episode "Wolf In The Fold", which was about the original Whitechapel murderer - still plying his trade in space, the final frontier. It was penned by Robert Bloch, who has had a long fascination with Jack the Ripper in his writings. (And one of those other stories will figure prominently in the coming days.)

"Wolf In The Fold" is the perfect example of why 'Star Trek' is one of the Toobworld "Essentials". It's because of the events in that episode we can keep all of those variations on Jack The Ripper in the same TV dimension without any fear of Zonks to be splained away.

So for this first day of our look at Jack the Ripper in the TV Universe, click here for "Wolf In The Fold". (The hosting web site is still working on their embedding process.) This 'Star Trek' episode was written by Robert Bloch, directed by Joseph Pevney, and guest-starred John Fielder....


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