September is the month in which we traditionally salute the Trueniverse people behind the scenes who help to expand the TV Universe - the writers, the producers, sometimes the actors.
This month, we have three!
We'll first start off with the one I expected to salute.....
We lost Stephen J. Cannell two years ago this month. He had already walked away from television for the most part to focus on writing novels about his protagonist Shane Scully, but he left a body of work of such power that it's hard to think that it will ever be equalled - 'The Rockford Files', 'Wiseguy', 'The A-Team', '21 Jump Street', 'The Greatest American Hero', 'Black Sheep Squadron'.... Plus he acted, including three memorable appearances on 'Diagnosis Murder' as Jackson Burley, a parody of himself, in episodes that helped expand the category of Toobworld TV.
And as a final coup de grace, he played himself as one of the poker player buddies of novelist Richard 'Castle'. (But for now, that's in an alternate TV dimension and so can't be connected to his League of Themselves appearance in 'V.I.P.'.)
For a look at his career in television, check out this tribute by my blogmate Mercurie at "A Shroud Of Thoughts".
And here's another, also written by a fellow blogmate, which I hosted at Inner Toob.
There was no great over-riding crossover plan in Cannell's work, as there could be found in that of fellow inductees Wm. T. Orr and Susan Harris. But there were spin-offs and sequel movies that more than equated the Rule of Three for membership:
- 'The Rockford Files' led to the spin-off 'Richie Brockleman, Private Eye' and to several "reunion" movies.
- The main character of 'Tenspeed And Brownshoe' ended up being the sidekick in 'J.J. Starbuck'.
- 'Hunter' had several "Return Of" TV movies.
- Cannell was the executive producer of the true sequel to 'Hawaii Five-O', a TV movie pilot that starred Gary Busey.
- '21 Jump Street' had 'Booker' as its spin-off, plus the theatrically released movie. (This can be absorbed into the TV Universe due to the participation of Johnny Depp.)
- And there was even a trivial crossover between 'The Greatest American Hero' and 'The A-Team'! (My thanks to crossover comrade Thom Holbrook for the information... information... information......)
So as you can see, Mr. Cannell more than qualifies to be a member of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame.
Plus he gave us one of the best sign-off vanity cards in the business!
Welcome aboard, Sir!