Friday, October 13, 2017


From NBC News:

LOS ANGELES — Fierce wildfires whipping up nightmare conditions in Northern California have killed at least 15 people, destroyed more than 1,500 structures and turned wineries into charred wastelands.

The death toll continued to climb Tuesday as fire crews battled at least 17 large fires, while more than 20,000 people in the paths of the fast-moving infernos fled their homes, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said. In all, more than 115,000 acres have burned since the weekend, officials added.

Firefighters were counting on cooler weather and weakening winds to help in their fight.

From Wikipedia:
Napa Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Napa County, California, United States. Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Records of commercial wine production in the region date back to the nineteenth century,[5]but premium wine production dates back only to the 1960s.

The combination of Mediterranean climate, geography and geology of the region are conducive to growing quality wine grapes. John Patchett established the Napa Valley's first commercial vineyard in 1858. In 1861 Charles Krug established another of Napa Valley's first commercial wineries in St. Helena. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, the institution of Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The wine industry in Napa Valley recovered, and helped by the results of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, came to be seen as capable of producing the best quality wine – equal to that of Old World wine regions. Napa Valley is now a major enotourism destination.

While many winery owners have not yet discovered or determined the extent of the Wine Country fires in Napa and Sonoma counties, many are reporting damage, ranging from complete destruction to smaller impact.

Shortly after the Towers fell in 2001, somebody wrote in to the Letters To The Editors column of the New York Daily News, declaring angrily that no one should try to capitalize on the tragedy by making a movie about it.  And yet, in the sixteen years since, we've had at least one - "Remember Me".

But in Toobworld, there have been more references to that fateful day.  At first, TV shows did try to avoid the subject matter.  In its short life on the toob, '100 Centre Street' never once made mention of the collapse even though the series was only blocks away from the World Trade Center.  The characters from 'Friends' never addressed the terrorist attack in the show; but finally in "The One Where Chandler Takes A Bath", Joey is seen wearing an FDNY T-shirt with the name of Captain Billy Burke, who perished in the towers' collapse.

Slowly TV shows, especially those set in NYC, began to forge connections to the fall of the Towers.  'Without A Trace' and 'Becker' had guest characters who lost family members that day. Mac Taylor of 'CSI: NY'  lost his wife and Tommy Gavin of 'Rescue Me' lost his cousin (who was also a brother firefighter.)

The involvement of fictional characters in historical events is nothing new; there are millions of characters who were lost on the expansive canvas of war throughout all the meta universes of Fiction, and thousands just from the realm of television.  The American Revolution, the Civil War, both World Wars (with some emphasis on Pearl Harbor and D-Day), but also wars with no connection to the United States.  (After all, it is Toobworld.)  The Boer War, the War of the Roses, the English Civil War, the Russian Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion - they've all see their televersions made manifest.

It's not just war.  The 1989 San Francisco earthquake caused a man's death in the pilot episode of 'My Life And Times'.  The aforementioned Mac Taylor of 'CSI: NY' and Jethro Gibbs of 'NCIS' both survived the 1983 barracks bombing in Beirut while so many real marines and soldiers perished. And of course the Titanic has always been a magnet for TV shows.  There are records, passenger lists, of who was on board that fateful maiden voyage, but still more are always being added.  'The Time Tunnel', 'Doctor Who', 'Upstairs, Downstairs', 'Captains And The Kings', 'One Step Beyond', 'Voyagers!', and 'Downton Abbey' all had characters rubbing elbows with Astor, Molly Brown, and Captain Smith on the promenade deck.  Some of them survived, usually via temporal manipulation or by heroic sacrifice.  But most of the fictional characters perished.

'Treme' built a whole series around the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

And so now we have this horrible wildfire tragedy causing so much damage and as I write this there have been at least 34 people who have already died and authorities believe that number will rise.

Will the Powers That Be behind the expansion of Toobworld find some way to incorporate this tragedy into their TV shows?  I'm afraid it's possible.

However most of the shows that would have tried to capitalize on the wildfires no longer exist.  The two that first come to mind are 'Falcon Crest', a prime-time soap opera, and the sitcom 'Encore! Encore!':

From Wikipedia:

Falcon Crest is an American prime time television soap opera that aired for nine seasons on CBS from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990. The series revolved around the feuding factions of the wealthy Gioberti/Channing family in the Californian wine industry. Jane Wyman starred as Angela Channing, the tyrannical matriarch of the Falcon Crest Winery, alongside Robert Foxworth as Chase Gioberti, Angela's nephew who returns after the death of his father. The series was set in the fictitious Tuscany Valley (modeled after the Napa Valley) northeast of San Francisco.

From Wikipedia:
'Encore! Encore!' is an American sitcom starring Nathan Lane as an opera singer. On the verge of becoming "The Fourth Tenor", Lane's character injures his vocal cords and must move in with his family, who run a vineyard in Northern California.

In the last couple of years, a few shows have been revived - 'Dallas', 'Will & Grace', 'The X-Files' and 'Twin Peaks' perhaps the most notable.  So I would not be surprised if somebody tries to bring back 'Falcon Crest' perhaps in syndication or on one of the online premium platforms.  They might address the wildfires and their effect on the Channing/Gioberti label with a loss of arable land and maybe even a few lives.

But as for 'Encore! Encore!', Nathan Lane's showcase as ruined opera singer Joe Pinoni was called "The Moose Murders" of sitcoms and never made it through the full season.  I don't see how it could be a problem for Toobworld in general to consider the Pinoni Vineyards as being destroyed.  I wouldn't wish death on anyone, even if they are fictional, but if anybody did want to revive 'Encore! Encore!' then they might consider the fate of Joe Pinoni's sister who was played by Glenne Headley.  I adored Glenne Headley and was upset when I heard she died earlier this year.  So even though it would be a downer, this might be the reason why her character didn't come back for a revival.  (Not that anybody is holding their breath for that.)

So TV shows set in the Napa vineyards aren't that common.  The fires have come close to threatening Sacremento, but even 'The Mentalist' is no longer on the air.  But there are TV shows that occasionally have dealt in the vineyards - two episodes of 'Murder, She Wrote' with two different vineyards.  At least the Carsini Vineyard would have been spared as it was located outside Los Angeles.  (The vineyard where that 'Columbo' episode was was filmed is 83 miles south of Napa on the other side of San Francisco.)

There's nothing to say that the Marino Brothers vineyards had to be near their rival Carsini (whoever was now running it.) So those purveyors of liquid filth could have lost everything if they were located in Napa Valley.

So other TV series with nothing that usually connects them to Napa Valley might find a way to do so.  

And that's just the sad news coming out of Napa.  Who knows if somebody wants to build on the sorrows caused by hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.?

We'll just have to wait and view.


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