Wednesday, March 14, 2012

REMAINS TO BE SEEN: JOHN CARTER OF TOOBWORLD




In the past when Toobworld Central has claimed a movie in the "Cineverse" to be absorbed into the TV Universe, there was at least the basis for that claim. Most of the time, the movie in question had its genesis in Earth Prime-Time.

Let's utilize one of our usual examples, shall we? The 'Star Trek' franchise - movies 1 through 11 (and the first ten minutes of the JJ Abrams reboot) - all have the characters (and the actors who played them) from the various TV series - the original series, 'The Next Generation', and even a cameo by the Doctor from 'Voyager'.

Of course, once it created a new timeline, it belonged fully to the Cineverse.

Plus there's the 1966 "Batman", "Maverick", the "McHale's Navy" movies (like it or not)......
So at least they had strong roots in Toobworld.

Every year I've picked a character from some other fictional universe whom I think should be transferred into the TV Universe. In the past there was Silver John from the Manly Wade Wellman novels, Zatanna from DC Comics, last year's suggestion of Boiler Plate from the graphic novel, and the George MacDonald Fraser version of Harry Flashman. (His original source material - "Tom Brown's School Days" - has already been adapted for TV.) Of those, only Zatanna has since crossed over into the TV dimension of 'Smallville' (and 'The West Wing'.....)

This year, my candidate of a character to found in another medium's universe is John Carter of Mars, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is not only a nod to the movie which opened this past weekend, but to the original stories which will be celebrating their centennial this year. (After all, I'm using the ASOTV showcase all year to promote literary TV characters.)

The incredible look to the movie - especially the well-articulated Thark race - might be difficult to recreate on a TV budget. But then again, miracles were worked down under in New Zealand when it came to the demons, monsters, and demi-gods to be seen in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena, Warrior Princess'.

And it wouldn't be like they'd need the entire Thark nation on the TV screen - perhaps just one emissary to serve as a "side-kick" to John Carter. (I would suggest Sola, the rebellious daughter of the Thark Jeddak.) Otherwise, the TV series would be centered around the Red Men as supporting players with the city of Helium as the base of operations.

As for recasting the leads of John Carter and Princess Dejah Thoris? The soap operas - what's left of them - are full of Kitsch-like (Kitschian? Kitschy?) young hunk-studs and and voluptuous loverlies like Lynn Collins ready to be launched into a prime-time series. (It's not like Kitsch and Collins would be willing to recreate their roles. I'm sure they've got other movie projects already lined up, even though the opening weekend for "John Carter" might put a damper on any more.....)


But now, here's the thing.....

I want to steal the entire movie outright, as is, and claim it for Toobworld!

I have no delusions that my wish-craft for a "John Carter" TV remake will ever be produced. (I would call it "Barsoom!") But I still think John Carter would be a great TV character - especially as it had that Wild West in Outer Space vibe going for it.

So until such time - if any! - comes along when there is a TV show about Edgar Rice Burroughs' second best-known character, I want to claim "John Carter" as part of Toobworld.

I think it would work. Nothing from the Old West and 1880's New York sequences contradict anything established in Earth Prime-Time previously. No historical figures or events even played a role in it - save for mention of Carter's past in the Confederate army during the Civil War. (And we'll get back to that.)

As for the depiction of Barsoom, that does conflict with the established Toobworld vision of the Red Planet. Because of 'My Favorite Martian' and the Roddy McDowell episode from 'The Twilight Zone' plus Barry Morse and Carroll O'Connor on 'Outer Limits', we know what the inhabitants are like.

As for the Martians from an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', the three-armed Martian from 'The Twilight Zone', as well as the Ice Warriors and the "Waters Of Mars" microbe species from 'Doctor Who', they're just alien invaders who used Mars as their launching pad to attack Earth. (And the same goes for the Martians of "War Of The Worlds".)

But the movie gives us an out. When John Carter is magically transported to Mars via that Thirn amulet, he ended up on the Mars of an alternate universe, where it was known as "Barsoom". So he would begin in Earth Prime-Time during the Wild Wild West years, but then go to another TV dimension. (Much like what happened in the 'Heroes' and 'Stargate SG-1' series.)
It would be a stand-alone in the TV universe with nothing else to ground it like the 'Star Trek' franchise had. Not even just one character as with the "Maverick" movie. And since it takes place on another planet not even in the main TV universe, there's no threat of Zonking the future of Toobworld.

The closest I could come with a possible link to justify the "theft" was John Carter's background during the Civil War. And I will freely admit it's the most tenuous of links......

Carter fought at the Battle of Five Forks. That looked like certain victory for Johnny Reb until the last moment when the Union forces were able to turn the tide and claim the day.

It's the Toobworld theory that the reason the Union was able to win that battle was due to young soldier Wilton Parmenter who sneezed and abrupty ceased defeat and reversed it to victory.

Say, that would make a great theme song!

Hey, I said the connection would be flimsy.

So like I said, this is all just wish-craft on my part. But it doesn't hurt to dream......

UPDATE:
Since I wrote all of that on Tuesday morning, I've got it out of my system. "John Carter" will stay where it is, in the Cineverse. But it will remain the ideal by which I hope one day a TV series based on the Barsoom stories will be judged.

BCnU!

2 comments:

Robert Wronski said...

Didn't Sci-Fi make a John Carter TV Movie just a few years ago? Wouldn't that be the Earth Prime Time version?

Toby O'B said...

I don't think they did. IMDb - not the greatest of sources - certainly doesn't know about it..... I'll check again.