Thursday, December 30, 2004


In my own small, bloggish way, I'd like to pay tribute to Jerry Orbach.

Much has already been written about his popularity as Detective Lennie Briscoe during his 12 year run on 'Law & Order'. But he also made another contribution to the TV Universe with the spin-off of his recurring character from 'Murder, She Wrote': 'The Law & Harry McGraw'.

In his memory, the 2006 roster for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame will be devoted entirely to inducting 'Law & Order' characters. (2005 has already been set in stone, due to a personal milestone.)

And as January is dedicated to TV classics, there could be no better inauguration for such a theme than Lennie Briscoe.


Mike: Get this return address: "476 Avenue Bearing the Initial of Our Lord into the New Kingdom."
Lennie: Great. This time of day it's gonna' take us an hour to get downtown.
Mike: Since when do you have a roadmap to heaven?
Lennie: I don't. But I've been up and down Avenue C.
['Law & Order']


Now that we've reached the end of the calendar year, but not the end of the TV season, I'd like to salute those shows and characters who made the best contributions to the TV Universe.

They aren't necessarily recognized for expanding the universe through the means of spin-offs and crossovers, but because they enriched - or as they say in 'The Simpsons', embiggened - the possibilities and various aspects of Toobworld.

Striking out on its own, this drama has picked up the mantle of such off-beat, quirky, spooky shows as 'Twin Peaks' and 'The X-Files' without following in either of their footsteps.

It's been described as an unholy hybrid of 'Gilligan's Island', 'The Twilight Zone', 'The New People', 'The Outer Limits', and 'Survivor'. Yet it's none of the above and all of them and something else altogether.

For the first time in a very long while, I'm waiting for the next installment of a show as soon as the end credits are rolling for the current episode.

The premise for this flick built on projects that had come before it - most notably 'The Raiders Of The Lost Ark' - and gleefully, shamelessly ripped them off. With its premise of a modern library housing the world's most magical antiquities, 'The Librarian' was able to be linked to a variety of other shows - 'Hercules', 'Arthur Of The Britons', 'Roar', 'Lois & Clark' etc.

And with the possibilities of sequels, its links can continue to be forged.

It's been over twenty years since 'St. Elsewhere' forced us to lose our outdated views of all doctors as 'Marcus Welby, M.D.'. But not even Dr. Mark Craig could hold his own against such an unmitigated prick as 'House'. The world of medicine might not benefit from his presence, but Toobworld certainly gains.

Like Dr. House, she certainly is not an easy character to like. But her hard-edged, bull-headed, opinionated attitude is certainly believable for molding the boy who would be President into everything he will be, as well as won't be.

For someone who was supposed to be so integral to Tony Soprano's early family life, "Tony B" seemed to come ouf of nowhere, rather than fresh out of prison. But it didn't take long to accept how Tony B's very existence was a shattered reflection of everything Tony S was and should have been and whom he would never be.

When Tony S finally killed his cousin himself, he had convinced himself it was to save Tony B from a far worse death. But it may be that he was removing that constant reminder of his own flaws.

Tony Blundetto was the most devastating blood relation Tony Soprano had since his mother Livia.

There's no denying how bad I find this spin-off from 'Friends', but whenever Jennifer Coolidge shows up as Joey's boy-toy hungry carnivore of an agent, the stultifying shackles are thrown off and she sends this sitcom into loopy, giddy heights.

It's just a shame that such a brassy broad is stuck in such a leaden vehicle.

Everybody on board Oceanic 815 has a secret. Nobody is as they appear, either. And the show's creators delight in dangling tantalizing little clues to keep us coming back for more, and willingly.

Everybody in the cast is so perfect for their roles that it would be a shame to lose any of them. But the producers have stated that a major character will die by the end of teh season. Yet even the worst of them are rich enough in backstory to hang around for years.

It took three seasons, but it looks like 'Enterprise' has finally learned what made 'Deep Space Nine' better - a grasp of the rich history of 'Trek'.

And no one was a better link to all of that than the mad geneticist Dr. Arik Soong. "Grandfather" to the android Data of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', disciple of the goals fought for in the Eugenics Wars, Soong had a playful malevolence found in the best of villains.

And he had a fine eye for green-skinned Orion slave girls!

Finally, here are a few quickies:

BEST SERIES FINALE - 'Frasier' ('Friends' suffered from a built-up sense of overkill hype.)

BEST SENSE OF ONE'S OWN HISTORY - 'Enterprise', runner-up: 'Law & Order'



BEST SPIN-OFF - 'Boston Legal'


BEST CROSSOVER - 'All My Children' & 'One Life To Live' (the baby-swapping storyline)

WORST CROSSOVER - 'Monday Night Football' & 'Desperate Housewives' ('The Towel')


Sunday, December 19, 2004


Sorry I haven't posted anything in a few days, folks. But I've been a bit busy between trekking to Connecticut to see my brand-new nephew and with a 12 part allegory I've been writing in order to lambaste my friends in an email Digest group.

So here are a few news items to keep my toes in the water:

Aflac, the insurance company that rose to pop-cultural heights on the wings of a waterfowl, is launching a $50 million ad campaign that partly muzzles its web-footed friend and instead seeks to better define what the company does.

The move is a risky one, given the iconic status the feathered creature has reached since being introduced in January 2000. Known for its loud "Aflac" quack, the duck has become one of the country's most recognizable ad icons.

Before its first appearance, most people had never heard of the Columbus, Ga., purveyor of supplemental workplace insurance. Since that time, however, Aflac's brand awareness has skyrocketed to 90 percent from 12 percent, the company says. But in today's competitive business environment, name recognition alone isn't enough.

"Consumers were saying, 'I know you are insurance and you have this duck that quacks, but what can you do for me?"' says Al Johnson, Aflac's vice president of advertising and branding.

Madison Avenue is forever wrestling with the challenge of creating ads that entertain while also imparting enough information about a product or service. For Aflac, the idea of better defining what the company does is fraught with risk, say branding experts, since weighing down copy with big explanations might be an instant turn-off for consumers who are used to quick and fun ads that predominantly featured the quacking duck.

Aflac says it was prompted to redo its messaging after increases in sales began to slow and consumer research found that people were confused about Aflac. A survey of 1,000 consumers done in October 2003 by Bantam Group, a research firm in Atlanta, found that 60 percent of respondents said they weren't exactly sure what Aflac insurance was.

Moreover, a telephone poll of 600 consumers, done in April 2004, found that about half of the respondents said the current advertising doesn't explain what Aflac is.

One new commercial, created by Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group and set to begin airing Jan. 1 during college-football bowl games, features a man with a broken leg talking to a friend. "Hey, you look relaxed for someone in your condition," says the friend. "It's because I have Aflac," responds the man with the cast. "When I'm hurt and miss work, Aflac gives me cash to help pay bills my health insurance doesn't." The friend chimes in: "What do you mean, like car payments, electric bills -- the rent?"

As the two banter on, the duck fiddles around in the background writing checks and mailing bills -- and even gets cash ready for the Chinese-food deliveryman.

In another spot, dubbed "Pet Store," comedian Gilbert Gottfried, the voice of the Aflac duck, tries to return the Aflac duck to a pet shop. "He just says the same thing over and over," complains Mr. Gottfried, who becomes frustrated when the duck fails to quack. A parrot weighs in with the Aflac name and what the company does. In a surprising twist, this is one of the few times the duck doesn't reveal the company name.

While Aflac hopes to tone down the duck's call, the company says the familiar squawk might return. "You don't want to annoy consumers," adds Mr. Johnson. "The duck is evolving."

Rumors of a lesser role for the popular duck have percolated for months in ad circles, but the company says the duck's return was never in question. In fact, the duck is even being promoted: He now will be perched on the company's logo.
Top 10 alternative comedy sketches
(as chosen by British TV viewers)

1. Dead Parrot (Python)
2. Four Yorkshiremen (Python)
3. Lou and Andy by the Pool (Little Britain)
4. Going for English (Goodness Gracious Me)
5. Brown baby (Harry Enfield)
6. Ministry of Silly Walks (Python)
7. One Leg Too Few (Dudley Moore)
8. Papa Lazarou (League of Gentlemen)
9. Two Soups (Julie Walters in Victoria Wood)
10. The Spam Song (Python)

‘Law & Order' stays orderly
Creator explains cast changes
By Gary Levin
Forget those homicidal maniacs: There's even more drama behind the scenes at Law & Order.

The shows easily have weathered their share of cast changes, proving that compelling scripts — not stars — draw viewers. But this season brings more than the usual revolving-door changes.

Elisabeth Rohm exits the original Law & Order (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT) in early January in what creator Dick Wolf calls a surprise, “water-cooler” moment. She will be replaced a week later by Annie Parisse (As the World Turns). As the show's sixth assistant D.A., she “has the most sophisticated, almost European sexuality; she's smart and hot,” he says.

Jesse L. Martin is departing early to film an adaptation of Rent but returns next fall. And The Sopranos' Michael Imperioli guest-stars in the final four episodes as nephew and temporary partner of Detective Fontana (Dennis Farina).
And on SVU (Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT), the only Law to gain viewers, Mary Stuart Masterson filmed a multi-episode arc to pinch-hit for B.D. Wong, who's performing in Broadway's Pacific Overtures.

Lately, the rumor mill has been in overdrive about other changes both real and imagined. Wolf sets things straight:

•Vincent D'Onofrio, star of Criminal Intent (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET/PT), is not being replaced by Chris Noth. Rumors started swirling that the combustible D'Onofrio posted anti-Bush screeds on the set, irritating other cast and crew members. Rumors were compounded when the star had two fainting spells, forcing a brief hospital stay.

The Bush-bashing rumors amounted to “tabloid journalism,” Wolf says, and the offending “signage” actually took place on L&O's upcoming fourth edition, Trial by Jury, which D'Onofrio has nothing to do with.

Wolf acknowledges that Noth, previously on L&O, was on a short list of possible replacements drafted during the hospitalization. But D'Onofrio is back, so “that step was not necessary. Vincent's done an incredible job the past 3½ years, and I would like him to be there for the rest of the show's run.”

•Jerry Orbach's prostate cancer did not force his exit or stall production on Trial by Jury. The decision to shift Orbach, 69, from an L&O lead to a Trial supporting player, Wolf says, “was made prior to my knowledge of his medical problem,” revealed last week. But it had the side effect of shielding L&O from delays, because his new role is part-time. Scenes are being shot around his treatment, and “it has not impacted production.”

Alanis Morissette doesn't just love music -- she's into comedy, too.

The Canadian songbird just inked a deal with Comedy Central (with none other than Hollywood heavyweight Tom Hanks on board as a producer). Morissette will star in a ''mockumentary''-style TV show.In a premise that sounds a lot like ''The Chris Isaak Show,'' Morissette's half-hour series will follow her on tour next year.

The singer will play herself, but the rest of the cast will be comprised of improv actors playing her managers, technical aides, security guards and wardrobe assistants.

Morissette whetted her appetite to create her own comedy show with roles on HBO's ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and Fox's ''Mad TV,'' playing her own fictional little sister -- a Britney Spears-type pop tart.
The American Film Institute's top 10 television programs of the year were HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Deadwood," "The Sopranos" and "Something the Lord Made," ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," FX's "Nip/Tuck" and "The Shield," Fox's "Arrested Development" and Comedy Central's "South Park." ___________________
The pig aroused by Rebecca Loos on TV show 'The Farm' did not feel degraded by the experience, watchdogs have ruled.

David Beckham's former PA was asked to give the boar - and nature - a helping hand.

Ofcom received 37 complaints about the act which lasted for ten minutes.

Most of the complaints criticised her antics as "akin to bestiality".

The RSPCA also condemned the scenes, shown on Five.

But the channel was cleared of breaching taste and decency standards.

Ofcom's ruling said: "Rebecca Loos was selected by a qualified veterinary surgeon to assist him extracting semen from a boar on a neighbouring farm.

"The task performed by Rebecca Loos is one that occurs regularly on UK farms. We do not believe the scene was degrading or harmful to the boar."
And finally, here's a quote from Rowan Atkinson:

"To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom.

"The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.

"A law which attempts to say you can criticise and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed."


Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Here in the "Real World", the nominations for the Golden Globe awards have been announced.

Herewith are those nominations that matter for Toobworld:

Drama Series

"24," FOX
"Deadwood," HBO
"Lost," ABC
"Nip/Tuck," FX
"The Sopranos," HBO

Comedy Series
"Arrested Development," FOX
"Desperate Housewives," ABC
"Entourage," HBO
"Sex and the City," HBO
"Will & Grace," NBC

Miniseries or TV Movie
"American Family: Journey of Dreams," PBS
"Iron Jawed Angels," HBO
"The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO
"The Lion in Winter," Showtime
"Something the Lord Made," HBO

Lead Actor -- Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, "The Shield," FX
Denis Leary, "Rescue Me," FX
Julian McMahon, "Nip/Tuck," FX
Ian McShane, "Deadwood," HBO
James Spader, "Boston Legal," ABC

Lead Actor -- Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development," FOX
Zach Braff, "Scrubs," NBC
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO
Matt LeBlanc, "Joey," NBC
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk," USA
Charlie Sheen, "Two and a Half Men," CBS

Lead Actor -- Miniseries/Movie
Mos Def, "Something the Lord Made," HBO
Jamie Foxx, "Redemption," FX
William H. Macy, "The Wool Cap," TNT
Geoffrey Rush, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO
Patrick Stewart, "The Lion in Winter," Showtime

Lead Actress -- Drama Series
Edie Falco, "The Sopranos," HBO
Jennifer Garner, "Alias," ABC
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU," NBC
Christine Lahti, "Jack & Bobby," The WB
Joely Richardson, "Nip/Tuck," FX

Lead Actress -- Comedy Series
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives," ABC
Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives," ABC
Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives," ABC
Debra Messing, "Will & Grace," NBC
Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City," HBO

Lead Actress -- Miniseries/Movie
Glenn Close, "The Lion in Winter," Showtime
Blythe Danner, "Back When We Were Grownups," CBS
Julianna Margulies, "The Grid," TNT
Miranda Richardson, "The Lost Prince," PBS
Hilary Swank, "Iron Jawed Angels," HBO

Supporting Actor -- Series, Miniseries or Movie
Sean Hayes, "Will & Grace," NBC
Michael Imperioli, "The Sopranos," HBO
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage," HBO
Oliver Platt, "Huff," Showtime
William Shatner, "Boston Legal," ABC

Supporting Actress -- Series, Miniseries or Movie
Drea de Matteo, "The Sopranos," HBO
Anjelica Huston, "Iron Jawed Angels," HBO
Nicolette Sheridan, "Desperate Housewives," ABC
Charlize Theron, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO
Emily Watson, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO

Making my own off-the-top-of-my-head predictions:
"Lost," ABC
"Desperate Housewives," ABC
"The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO
Ian McShane, "Deadwood," HBO Zach Braff, "Scrubs," NBC
Geoffrey Rush, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO
Christine Lahti, "Jack & Bobby," The WB
Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives," ABC
Glenn Close, "The Lion in Winter," Showtime
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage," HBO
Drea de Matteo, "The Sopranos," HBO

My choices are based on a combination of my personal favorites, buzz, and a general sense of how the foreign correspondents might vote....


Monday, December 13, 2004


News story:
Regis Philbin will fill in as host of ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve 2004' for Dick Clark, who suffered a mild stroke last week, the network announced Monday. Philbin, co-host of the syndicated 'Regis & Kelly', has made subbing for ailing entertainers something of a specialty, coming to David Letterman's aid when Letterman underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000 and recovered from an eye infection in 2003.

"It's the greatest 'temp job' in the world," Philbin said.
Yep...... Nothing says "rockin" like Regis Philbin!


Won't Regis be up waaaay past his bedtime? Maybe he'll have to be put down for nappies right after he gets the four o'clock dinner special at Denny's.

I think Clark pushed for him out of fear that a young up-and-comer at the network - like, say, oh, I don't know..... Jimmy Kimmel??? - would be such a hit in re-invigorating the audience that Clark would never be able to resume the job next year.

Except maybe as the old fuddy who takes us back down memory lane with clips of past shows... before he's wheeled back to the ICU.


Sunday, December 12, 2004


"But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear,
And immediately blood and water came out.
And he who has seen has testified,
And his testimony is true;
And he knows that he is telling the truth,
So that you also may believe."
John 19:34-36

The Destiny of the Spear of Destiny -
'The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'Roar' & 'Jesus Of Nazareth' & 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles' & 'Merlin' & 'Arthur Of The Britons' & 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' & 'Jack And The Beanstalk' & 'Fairy Tale Theater' yada yada yada......
[See the crossover essay "Spear Parts".]

Coins -- rather than plastic football players -- scramble from their hiding places and stampede across the varied terrain of a typical home, where they eventually assemble themselves into one very expensive shoe.

The tagline asks, "What could your change be?" So that settles it then. Like many other objects that should be inanimate, money is alive in the TV Universe.

There's that other commercial for ing Direct in which animated dollar bills race to a car dealership in anticipation of a deal being struck. Their efforts are in vain since the dealer doesn't have the car in red in stock.

The blipvert's moral? "Your money is ready even if you're not."
('Coinstar' & 'ing Direct')

Captain Donald Cragen took a lunch break from the Special Victims Unit to give some information and advice to Detectives Green and Fontana, regarding a case that was solved while he was in charge at the 27th Precinct.
('Law & Order' & 'Law & Order: SVU')

Did the Bookworm ever apply for the job of Librarian?
(See the essay "The Worm Turns")

If Dean Devlin and Noah Wyle and TNT continue to make TV movies about Flynn Carsen, 'The Librarian', here's what I would like to see:

A guest appearance by Tia Carrere as Dr. Sydney Fox, the character she played in the syndicated TV series 'Relic Hunter'.

There's a new wrinkle in the exploding field of product placement - touting Broadway shows. But the practice doesn't make it any less cheesier just because it's "theatuh" and not a feminine hygiene spray.

Could the writers and producers of 'Will & Grace' push Billy Crystal's "700 Sundays" down our throats any harder than they did in the opening for this past week's episode? (Shoving something down the throat is an apt image for this show......)

The only thing that made it somewhat palatable was that it was the effervescent Blythe Danner who was doing the schilling.
('Will & Grace' & "700 Sundays")

Jimmy Johnson - fighting cyborgs
Jeff Gordon - fighting pirates
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - fighting knights
(all in NASCAR-oriented commercials for FOX Sports)

An alternate universe Penn & Teller caused a flap when it looked like they burned an American flag at a private party for Zoe Bartlet at the White House.
('The West Wing')

Dr. Jacob Lowenstein, who killed his own child back in 1990, was finally released from prison. He didn't have a very long parole however - he was mowed down in a hit-and-run. He lost his leg and eventually his life because of it.

("To come back as Lowenstein after playing him fourteen years ago is a real treat, even though he is rather an unsavory character," says actor David Groh.)
('Law & Order')

Edward Wilde was the illegitimate son of Bronx-born self-made millionaire Danny Wilde. Even though his father wasn't even aware of his existence, Edward felt personally slighted and vowed revenge. He made his father's aquaintance and worked his way into his trust and confidence, slowly manipulating the older man into naming him as his heir.

If this was true, more than likely he killed his own father to inherit that fortune. But his greed didn't end with wealth. Wilde pursued his studies with a singular passion in order to qualify to be the Librarian, because as every televisiologist and game show fan can tell you, "Knowledge is king, and the reward for that knowledge is king-sized."

The combination of wealth, knowledge, and the power of the Spear of Destiny would have given Edward Wilde power over all the world.
('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'The Persuaders')

Judson mentioned that the first Library was destroyed by the Serpent Brotherhood. If this is true, then the leader of that evil cult had to be Muammad Kali Pashu Addams.

In 270 AD, Addams set fire to the great library of Alexandria.

('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'The Addams Family')

The "name of God" in the Shangri-la temple is the word "me" -- in English. And yet the panels pressed by Flynn Carsen are in Tibetan, while he says out loud "M...E."
('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear')

The temple was built no more than 400 years ago by English-speaking outsiders, for the specific purpose of housing one third of the Spear of Destiny.

Like the carving on the door into Moria, the clue to find it was meant to be a riddle which involved two different languages.
('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring")

At last! Finally a story about an epic quest which addressed a very key issue of great concern......

What do you do for toilet paper in the wild?
('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear')

Joey Tribbiani has finally landed a regular TV show now that he's out in L.A.

He's playing the patriarch of a ski resort dynasty in 'Deep Powder'.

A 48-year-old man was stabbed in his upper abdomen December 7th inside his South Avenue home in Bridgeton, NJ. It apparently happened during an argument over what to watch on television, police said.

The victim was immediately transported to Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center in Camden. He was last reported to police by hospital personnel to be in stable condition, according to Sgt. Thomas Speranza.

Police have charged 23-year-old Isaias Cruz of South Avenue with attempted homicide, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.


Once he had been a Librarian, a member of a select group of guardians sworn to protect the world's greatest treasures. But his lust for power drove him to join the Serpent Brotherhood and seek the Spear of Destiny for his own evil intents.

While trying to kill Flynn Carsen (the new Librarian) with the Spear, Edward pushed the key stones of a pyramid out of alignment and brought the capstone crashing down upon himself.
('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear')

The Spear of Destiny is a legendary artifact associated — like the Holy Grail, the Crown of Thorns, and the Shroud of Turin — with the final moments of Jesus Christ.

As first described in John 19:31-37, the Spear, also known as the Spear of Longinus and the Heilige Lance (Holy Lance), was used by a Roman soldier (Gaius Cassius, later called Longinus) to pierce the side of Christ as he hung on the cross. The Spear, bathed in the blood of the Lamb and playing a significant role in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, is believed to have acquired tremendous mystical power. The first sign of that power was the purported healing of Gaius Cassius’s failing eyesight by blood from the wound. The centurion later become an early convert to Christianity.

The Spear subsequently passed through a multitude of hands, coming into the possession of many of Europe’s most important political and military leaders, including Constantine I, Alaric (the Visigoth king who sacked Rome in the year 410), Frankish general Charles Martel, Charlemagne, Frederick of Barbarossa, and Frederick II.

A leader who possessed the Spear was said to be invincible; Charlemagne and Frederick of Barbarossa were undefeated in battle until they let the Spear fall from their hands. A legend arose that whoever claimed the Spear “holds the destiny of the world in his hands for good or evil.”

Hitler’s fascination with the Spear was pivotal in sparking his interest in the occult, which gave birth to his ideas on the origins and purpose of the Germanic race and contributed to his belief in his own destiny as a world conqueror.

Not long after the German annexation of Austria, Hitler ordered the S.S. to seize the Spear and other artifacts from Vienna. They were taken by train to Nuremberg, where they were stored in St. Katherine’s Church.

Nuremberg was captured by Allied troops in April of 1945. The vault was subsequently discovered by American Army officers. The Spear was confiscated by American forces on the afternoon of April 30, 1945, less than two hours before Hitler’s suicide in his underground bunker in Berlin.

Like the Spear’s previous owners, Hitler perished after the relic was taken from him.

It should be noted that all the various purported Holy Lances are only spearheads, not complete weapons. The spear used by Longinus was most likely a Roman hasta (long spear), an iron head mounted on a hardwood shaft roughly 12 feet long. The shaft of the Spear either was not preserved or was lost to the ravages of time.

33 AD - Roman Centurion Gaius Cassius pierces the side of Jesus Christ with his spear to determine if he is dead. The Spear is bathed in the blood and watery fluids from the body of the Christ. Cassius repents and converts to Christianity, taking the name of "Longinus".

But at some point after this, perhaps once he had passed the normal age limits of a man in his era without sign of aging, Longinus must have convinced himself that he had been played for a fool; that he had been cheated of the blessed release of Death.
circa 400 AD - Longinus lays siege to the people of the British Isles, using the televersion of the Spear.
410 AD - Alaric, the Visigoth King, sacks Rome. He wields the Spear.
570 AD - The Spear is on display in the basilica of Mt. Sion in Jerusalem, alongside the Crown of Thorns.
615 AD - The point of the blade is broken off during the Persian conquest of Jerusalem.
1098 AD - The second Spear is found by Peter Bartholomew in Antioch. It is now at Etschmiadzin in Armenia. Experts think it may be the shaft of a standard, not of a spear.
1200s - The third Spear makes its way to Krakow, where it is to this day.
1273 AD - The fourth Spear (also known as the Lance of St. Maurice and the Holy Lance of Hapsburg) is used in a coronation ceremony.
1492 AD - Sultan Bajazet presents the rest of the first Spear's spearhead to Pope Innocent VIII. It remains in St. Peter's Basilica to this day.
approximately 1600s - "Hundreds of years ago", the Librarians decided to break up the Spear of the TV Universe and store the other two thirds in hidden places around the world. One section was hidden deep in the Amazon jungle in a Toltec temple, and the other was placed in the safe-keeping of monks in Shangri-La in the Himalayas.
1700s - The tip of the spearhead from the first Spear, which had been set into an icon, had been moved from St. Sophie's in Constantinople to Sainte Chappelle.
During the French Revolution, the icon disappears from the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris.
1882 AD - Richard Wagner writes "Parsifal", an opera in which the Spear was a plot device.
1909 AD - Adolph Hitler first sees the fourth Spear on display in the Treasure House of the Hofsburg Museum.
October 12, 1938 AD - Hitler orders the S.S. to sieze the Spear from Vienna.
1944 AD - The Spear and other holy artifacts are stored in a specially constructed vault beneath St. Katherine's Church in Nuremburg.
April 30, 1945 - American forces confiscate the Spear. Two hours later, Hitler commits suicide.
1946 AD - The Spear and the rest of the Reichkleinodien (Imperial Regalia of the House of Hapsburg) are returned to Austria. They are on display to this day in the Hofsburg Museum. But the Spear's televersion is brought instead to be housed in the Metropolitan Public Library.
2004 AD - The TV Spear's adventures continue....

From the "Librarian In Black" website:
Let me say first what any other librarian watching this movie was sure to notice. Out of the 22 degrees that this chap held, not a single one was a Masters in Library Science (at least it was not mentioned, which you think they would have).

As someone who was watching the movie with me said, "They should have called this movie The Scholar, not The Librarian." Flynn the Librarian was not, in any sense, a librarian. He knew a lot of stuff (the movie emphasized linguistics, sociology, and world history), but "knowing stuff" does not a librarian make. It perpetuates the myth that librarians actually know everything. We can find just about everything, but no, we don't know everything. But then again, this guy wasn't a real librarian anyway, so perhaps the point is moot.

Hits: During Flynn's interview, he is asked what makes him qualified to be The Librarian. In his answer he mentions his web searching skills & being able to set up an RSS feed.
Misses: Not once, not a single solitary time, do we see a computer in The Library. Sheesh. We do see a wall of what I assume were supposed to be card catalog drawers, but they are a foot wide, so who knows.

The Librarian was a typical cheesy action film, with poorly done special effects, errors in logic, a weak story line, and some pretty horrible acting. Oh yes, and it really wasn't about a librarian, either. 80% of the movie had absolutely nothing to do with The Library, much less being a librarian. It was a typical poorly-done hapless adventurer movie. It would have been a horrible, horrible movie--even if it hadn't had the added insult of innacurately portraying librarians. December 06, 2004

Here's the final rundown of the inductees in the year 2004:
January - Captain James T. Kirk
February - Lt. Uhura
March - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
April - Commander Montgomery Scott
May - Yeoman Janice Rand
June - Zephraim Cochrane
Birthday Honors - The Cast Of The Original 'Star Trek':
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichole, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
July - Ensign Pavel Chekov
August - Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
September - Gene Roddenberry
October - The Tribbles
November - Ambassador Sarek
December - Mr. Spock

Well, that's it for another week. Please stay tuned!

(Thanks to Aaron Severson for all of the research on the Spear of Destiny.)


It is a sign of the coming Apocalypse:

DEC. 13
9 PM

Saturday, December 11, 2004


The best way to establish where a particular business or institution is located is to slap the name of the host town onto it. The Mayberry Diner, Mayberry Hotel, Mayberry Security Bank; Twin Peaks Town Hall, Twin Peaks High School, Twin Peaks Timber Players; the Gotham City Museum, Gotham City Speedway, Gotham City Coliseum, Gotham City University, Gotham City World's Fair, Gotham City Central Park.....

There's a Mayberry Library, a Gotham City Library, a Mayfield Library, a New York City Public Library....

So wouldn't it make sense that the Metropolitan Public Library might be found in... Metropolis?

Ignore the fact that 'The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' was probably filmed up in Canada. That's the real world. It's what appears on screen that matters.

And even then, the argument would seem to go against the choice of Superman's second home. The knee-jerk reaction would be to locate the museum in New York City. It's a major city which, based on some of the architecture, has been around for centuries; close to at least one major university.

At the very end of the movie, as Flynn and Nicole race away from time-traveling ninjas, a skyscraper stands apart from the rest of the horizon. It looks somewhat like the Chrysler Building, so that should be an argument for it being in New York City, right?

But if it was in Metropolis, it wouldn't be the first in a fictional universe which had architecture closely patterned after established New York City buildings.

In the movie "Superman", the Daily Planet (both outside and inside its lobby) looked suspiciously like the Daily News building.

But then there is one shot that can't help but establish the location as New York - Edward Wilde is staring out his penthouse windows and it's definitely the Chrysler Building off to the right of the screen.

This is the scene where the Serpent Brotherhood babe brings him the spear shaft which she stole from the Library.

But NYC could be just where Edward Wilde happens to live; it doesn't necessarily mean the Library was there as well.

Otherwise, of the few exterior shots we had of the area surrounding the Metropolitan Public Library, nothing really looked like any area of New York that I'm familiar with.

Of course, I'd be the first to admit this shouldn't matter. I'm in the real world; that is Toobworld; yada yada yada. And obviously the TV-NYC is going to be vastly different from the real one. In just this season alone, 'Clubhouse' added a major league baseball team to Staten Island, and worst of all, 'Law & Order' tossed Washington Heights over into the Bronx!

I once wrote how the Superman of Earth Prime-Time has to be dead. That's why we don't see him flying to the rescue in the TV shows of today; that's why characters like the televersion of Jerry Seinfeld knows so much about his secret identity of Clark Kent.

If he was still alive, Kal-El would have come to the rescue of those sub-orbital passengers who flew into a vortex that led to a 'Land Of The Giants'; he would have thwarted the disruption of the Jupiter Launch and prevented it from becoming 'Lost In Space'; and he would have ferried the seven stranded castaways away from the shipwreck of the SS Minnow on 'Gilligan's Island'.

I suppose I'm arguing for the Library to be in Metropolis as a way to pay some kind of tribute to both the Kal-El and Jor-El of the movie universe who passed away in the last few months. But even so, if the opening narration of 'The Adventures of Superman' intoned that Clark Kent worked for a large metropolitan newspaper, than why can't the Metropolitan Public Library be located in Metropolis?

I'll bet that somewhere within the Library, there is a display case housing Superman's cape and tights - the only remnants left of Kryptonian fabric.

('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'The Adventures Of Superman')


Thursday, December 9, 2004


'Lost' is such a compelling drama that I find it hard to believe its audience could sit still after an episode for the kind of pap that ABC has been serving as the follow-up - 'The Bachelor', 'Nick & Jessica's Family Christmas', and last night, 'The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004 with Barbara Walters'. Ugh!

NBC kept showing a promo for tonight's episode of 'Joey' that had Lucy Liu sticking her finger down her throat. It's how I felt about the ABC shows that have been following 'Lost'.

(Of course, in January that will change once 'Alias' returns to the sked. Even though I'm not a fan, I can see how a tandem block of JJ Abrams shows could rule the night.)

So anyway, I figure most of the "Losties" (I'm not sure if they have a name for themselves yet or not) must flee ABC is over and either head over to the computer to discuss the show with others like them, or they seek out some other good drama show in hopes of continuing that high.

For me, it's 'The West Wing'. (And that's because I can catch a repeat of 'Jack & Bobby' on the weekends.)
It didn't occur to me at first while watching last night's episode ("In The Room"), because I'm already used to the idea that 'The West Wing' and 'Lost' are in two separate dimensions of the TV Universe. 'Lost' is set on the main TV world, Earth Prime-Time, while 'The West Wing' is in another which it shares with shows like 'Mr. Sterling' and 'Smallville'.

But then, I'm thinking in those terms all the time anyway.

Yet how many people who watched 'The West Wing' after watching 'Lost' suddenly wondered if Air Force One, on its way to a China summit, was going to suffer the same fate as Oceanic flight 815 did; breaking up in mid-air and crash-landing on the island with the previous survivors?

Now wouldn't THAT be a crossover! It would be a whole new version of 'The President's Plane Is Missing'.


Wednesday, December 8, 2004


There are three shows in the CSI franchise on CBS, and each of them have a song by The Who as their theme.

'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' - "Who Are You"
'CSI: Miami' - "Won't Get Fooled Again"
'CSI: New York' - "Baba O'Reilly"

So now there are these holiday-themed commercials for JC Penney which are using "Let My Love Open The Door" by Pete Townshend.

It must be a knee-jerk, Pavlov's Dog thing......

I keep expecting the commercials to end with a chalk outline on the floor......

(Out of my brain on the five: fifteen)

Tuesday, December 7, 2004


[A 'Missing Link' essay]

Based on the interview process for Flynn Carsen, and the reaction from one of the rejected applicants, it looks as though the quest for the position of Librarian at the Metropolitan Public Library was a soul-crushing experience.

Judson was one of the Librarian Elders, and even he had to go through the rigors of facing an interview with a harridan of similar venom as Charlene.

Judson had a contemporary who was probably one of the finalists for the position. But unfortunately for him, the deciding factor in choosing a new Librarian was that pure knowledge was not the be-all and end-all.

As Judson knew, what truly mattered in Life couldn't be learned; it had to be felt. It wasn't enough just to memorize all of the knowledge in the world; it also had to be applied practically.

But for this other applicant, he had a major failing: He could not create, only copy; he could interpret the things he had learned as well as a photocopy machine.

For such an intelligent person doomed to be nothing more than a receptacle for facts without the spark to bring them to practical use, it's possible the rejection of the prestigious position of Librarian might have left him unhinged.

Perhaps he might have turned to a life of crime in retaliation, calling upon his bibliographic expertise for his modus operandi......

And so would be born.... The Bookworm!

And to prove that he could do nothing original, the Bookworm was practically interchangeable with the Riddler. He left clues to his plans in the hopes that he might lure the "Batnuisance" into a trap.

But at least the Bookworm took his crime spree to Gotham City, rather than risk the chance he might face Judson, that lethal Librarian and former kick-ass Marine.

Semper fi!

('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'Batman')



[A 'Crossover Of The Week' essay]

As first described in John 19:31-37, the Spear of Destiny, also known as the Spear of Longinus and the Heilige Lance (Holy Lance), was used by a Roman soldier (Gaius Cassius, later called Longinus) to pierce the side of Christ as he hung on the cross.

The Spear, bathed in the blood of the Lamb and playing a significant role in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, is believed to have acquired tremendous mystical power. The first sign of that power was the purported healing of Gaius Cassius’s failing eyesight by blood from the wound. The centurion later become an early convert to Christianity.

That conversion to Christianity might have lasted Longinus to the end of his days. That is, until he found out that there would be no end to his days. The Spear brought to Longinus an unnaturally extended life, so that by the time the centurion had reached the basically impossible age of a century, he must have realized that his Faith had played him for a fool.

Four hundred years later, Longinus was willingly helping the Roman Empire to subjugate the people in the Celtic lands of the British Isles. His decision to aid Queen Diana and King Gar in slaughtering the family of young Conor had more to do with capricious whim than sense of purpose. But that all changed when he finally faced Conor and saw in him and the power of the 'Roar' the chance to seek his own escape from immortality.

Longinus even gave Conor the chance to use the Spear of Destiny to kill him......

Jump forward again, to 2004. Flynn Carsen was given the coveted job of "Librarian" at the Metropolitan Public Library, where he was charged with protecting the greatest treasures of history, which are being kept in a secret section of the building.

Carsen found out that the job was more than he bargained for when members of the malevolent Serpent Brotherhood broke into the library and stole one of three portions of the Spear of Destiny.

Making the crossover links via the Spear of Destiny was cool enough, but when it was revealed that the Ark of the Covenant and Excalibur and even the Golden Goose were also stored in the catacombs beneath the Metropolitan Public Library, the crossovers kicked into high gear.

First off, I'm referring to 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles'.

That series told of the archaeologist's early life, and one episode even showed the older Indy as portrayed by Harrison Ford. So there's the definitive connection to the theatrical release of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark".

Who knows? With 22 degrees under his belt, professional student Flynn Carsen may have even studied with Dr. Henry Jones at some time, since the man lived to be over 100 years old......

And then there is the Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. So many interpretations of the Arthurian legend have been telecast over the years, that there are enough versions to be spread out among all of the alternate TV dimensions.

The same is true for the Goose that lays the golden eggs. Jack's adventures at the top of the beanstalk has been televised in a variety of formats; some of them as cartoons, others as musicals.

But considering the fact that the goose was alive, I'm willing to pin this particular crossover on the mini-series which starred Matthew Modine: 'Jack And The Beanstalk - The True Story'. In that, Jack was a modern variant who brought back the Golden Goose just a few years ago. So this one at the library could very well be that same goose.

By the end of this adventure, Flynn and his lady love/bodyguard (Nicole Noone) were being chased by time-travelling ninjas who had discovered H.G. Wells' Time Machine. We don't even have to cross over to the movie universe for this one (Although we could - "Time After Time"). In TV Land, Wells was using his time machine to cross over to an alternate TV dimension where he met one of the many incarnations of Superman.

('The Librarian: Quest For The Spear' & 'Roar' & 'Jesus Of Nazareth' & 'The Indiana Jones Chronicles' & 'Merlin' & 'Arthur Of The Britons' & 'The Mists of Avalon' & 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' & 'Jack And The Beanstalk: The True Story' & 'Fairy Tale Theater' & 'Lois & Clark' yada yada yada......)


Sunday, December 5, 2004


"What is a television apparatus to man,
Who has only to shut his eyes to see
The most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen,
Who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls
And cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams
To rise from the dust."
Salvador Dali
In this holiday season, we'd like to think all crossovers are beautiful; happy and peppy and bursting with love.

But there are those dark ones: nasty, brutish, unpleasant to the eye. They are visions of hell, not for the squeamish......

Ecce promo!

Now with ticket prices for the movies topping ten bucks, and with the general audience reaction to commercials before a movie an antagonistic face-off, movie-makes have found a way to promote their films and to help underwrite them with a new form of commercial.

It's called synergy - now with riboflavin!

So far we've found two examples of this, in which characters from the movies appear in blipverts for products. The main example is of the link between the insurance company AFLAC and the movie "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events".

[See the essay "A Lemony Blipvert".]

Then there is Anakin Skywalker's appearance in ads for Target and for ESPN's 'SportsCenter'.

[See below for more on that.]

AFLAC and "Lemony Snicket" garner the Crossover of the Week honors, however, as there will be an actual multi-universal link: the AFLAC duck will be making a cameo appearance in the movie.

In addition to appearing in a recent Target campaign, Darth Vader - the Dark Lord of the Sith - shows up with the rest of the cast of "Star Wars", in the latest round of ESPN's "This is Sportscenter" campaign.

Apparently, the network has had to bring on talent from a galaxy far, far away to ease the transition to HD.
('ESPN' & 'Target' & of course, 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' - bwahahahaha!)

It was a battle of Fixer-Upper Shows when the Teutul family of 'American Chopper' - Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey - played poker against the two carpenters and the host of 'Trading Spaces' - Amy Wynn, Carter Oosterhouse, and Joe Farrell.
('World Poker Tour')

As Ashlee Simpson would understand, I'm fighting off a rising wave of "acid refux" just to write this one up.

Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, those vapid performers heretofore to be knows as "Jessnicka", paid tribute to the crappy holiday specials of the past with their ABC special 'Nick And Jessica's Family Christmas'.

Just watching the promos that littered the landscape of 'Lost' was painful enough. It was complete with a fake house with highly unlikely visitors showing up (except for the coat-tail grabbing untalented sycophant of a sister, Ashlee Simpson) and stupid little "comedy" bits - like Jessica getting her tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole.

A frozen flag pole on a studio set under very hot lights.....

Sure, it was meant to invoke an enduring image from that modern classic by Jean Shepherd, "A Christmas Story". But I have to figure it was primarily to feed the lustful fantasies of Jessica's male fans who are just reaching puberty. (Or perhaps those of the older males who go to Times Square theatres in raincoats to see Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan movies......)

So this puerile holiday mess can be laid at the doorstep of MTV's "reality" show about Nick and Jessica, 'Newlyweds'.

Stick it in a paper bag, set it on that doorstep, light the bag, ring the doorbell and then run away.

The bad news is that the links to "Jessnicka" are far from over. There is already one spinoff from the series, starring 2004's poster child for nepotism and lack of talent, 'The Ashlee Simpson Show'. (It should have been called 'The Dubutante'!)

But now there will be another off-shoot: 'The Nick Lachey Project'. (It's my belief that it's not so much that they haven't figured out a name for the series yet, as that a title like that serves the same purpose as pinning his name to his mittens......)

And Oh Joy of the Season! It looks like there will be yet one more season of 'Newlyweds' to look forward to!

'Cheers' and 'Seinfeld' exist in the same Universe. Cliff Clavin once competed on 'Jeopardy'. Therefore, if Alex Trebek is helping to push the 'Seinfeld' DVD box set on the game show, it should be counted as a Zonk.

Especially when the entire first round had categories with names like: "No Soup For You", "The Contest", "Yada Yada Yada", and "Festivus".

Tom Brokaw
"I feel lucky to know him. NBC didn't want to help us out when we came to CBS, but Tom had no problem coming over. I think that demonstrated his commitment and his friendship.

I just wish I was Tom. He's smart, he's funny and he's packing in about six lives. He can talk about anything. I shouldn't even be in the same time zone with this guy, let alone in the same business."
- David Letterman

Brokaw surrendered the anchor's chair on 'NBC Nightly News' December 1st, 2004. There was a two-hour special to celebrate his contributions, plus all of the tributes on various NBC affiliates as well as on 'Today'.

James Taylor
James Taylor performed at a special dinner saluting the National Medal of Honor artists which was held at the White House. In tribute to posthumous honoree Sam Cook, Taylor played several of his songs.
('The West Wing')

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf - Canon T2 Rebel
There is serious inequity in the Agassi household. Andre has quite a lengthy list of Tubeworld appearances. True, most of them are either commercials, talk shows, or sports events. But there was also the time he appeared in an episode of 'Mad About You'.

Steffi can barely count her collection on one hand, and even then two of her blipverts featured her husband as well. Hopefully she's not one to hold it against him.

What am I saying? Of course he wants her to hold it against him!

Elton John - XM Satellite Radio
This is the perfect commercial to represent Sir EJ in TV Land. Such a fictionalized view of his personal life would be a welcome scene in that episode he did of 'Will & Grace'.

Among his other credits:
'Ally McBeal'
'The Simpsons'
'South Park'
'Absolutely Fabulous'
and 'The Muppet Show'

Hurley revealed that his name is in fact Hugo Reyes. "Hurley" is just a nickname. "Why? I'm not telling!"

It may be that he's somehow related to Agent Monica Reyes of the FBI. ('The X-Files')

We learned a lot more about various survivors on the island. At least, the last names of some of them.....
Claire Littleton
Shannon and Boone Rutherford
Hugo "Hurley" Reyes
Ethan Rom - who wasn't listed on the passengers' manifest.....

The name of the book written by former Vice President John Hoynes is "Total Disclosure".
('The West Wing')

In the Real World and in the TV dimension for 'The West Wing', Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead is really most sincerely dead.

But there's still some doubt as far as Earth Prime-Time is concerned. That's because John Hemingway and his kids took a free ride with a dude who bore more than a passing resemblance to the nine-fingered guitarist....
('The John Larroquette Show')

After being bullied by classmates during a televised game show, Rick Murray brought a gun to class and opened fire on the students and teachers of DeGrassi High.

Not having seen the episode, I have yet to determine if Rick then took his own life or if he was shot down by police. I also have to find out if any other students or teachers lost their lives in the tragedy.
('DeGrassi: The Next Generation')

Vulcan teacher and historian/researcher who was the mother of Starfleet's first Vulcan officer, T'Pol. She had joined the Syrinite movement and died in the attack on their desert headquarters in the Forge which had been ordered by V'Las of the Vulcan High Command.

As a leading emissary between the Vulcan's High Command and Earth's nascent Starfleet Command, sometimes Admiral Forrest was all that stood against a total breakdown in communication between the two cultures.

He gave his life to save that of the Vulcan Ambassador Suval when the Earth Embassy on Vulcan was bombed by operatives working for V'Las of the High Command who wanted it to look as though it was the work of Vulcan rebels.


Detective Lilly Rush and her 'Cold Case' team reopened an unsolved 1953 murder investigation at the request of the victim's son, who was convinced that his mother had killed his father.

They found out that Elliot Garvey's life had been in danger back then because he associated with a group of intellectuals suspected by the government as having ties to the American Communism movement.

Garvey was a white school teacher who was also deeply committed to the civil rights issue, and that certainly gave him a few enemies as well.

Elliot Garvey was murdered on April 4, 1953, the same day as the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. It was a day before he was to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

April 4th would not have as much resonance again until 15 years later with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The topic of the Communist witch-hunts and the blacklisting must have hit very close to home for Orson Bean who was the episode's guest-star. Bean was also blacklisted due to unfounded rumors about his own political leanings. He didn't work for a year until, as he puts it, "the heat was off."

And it was a good thing too that he was allowed to work again, from my personal perspective. One of my favorite memories as a child is watching 'To Tell The Truth' with Orson Bean as one of the panelists. Mom would be working second shift at the hospital, so Dad would fix our dinner and let us eat in the den, giving us pencils and paper so that we could play along in guessing the identity of the correct contestant.

Orson Bean was the best on that show. He'd illustrate the number he had chosen with little pictures that somehow related to that particular subject. And I would try to emulate him.

Hrmmm... Didn't think this would turn out to be mostly about my personal history......

Recently, Time magazine ran a story about Jeff Buckley's cover version of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujiah".

"So far the song has appeared on 'The West Wing', 'Crossing Jordan', 'Third Watch', 'Scrubs', 'Without a Trace', 'The O.C.' and, two weeks ago, 'LAX'.

(It has also sneaked onto the iTunes Top 100.)

Some shows use just a snippet, but 'The West Wing' and 'Without a Trace' let it play for minutes over their season finales, a tacit admission that neither the writers nor the actors could convey their characters' emotions as well as Buckley.

It's proof that in his brief life, Jeff Buckley did achieve some kind of grace."

As we enter the Christmas season, I thought the beauty of a song like this could help wash away the horrific memories of what passes for "Christmas cheer" nowadays in Toobworld.

Like the 'Nick & Jessica Family Christmas'........

Chris Noth is set for a January episode of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', reprising the Det. Mike Logan character he played from 1990-95 on the original 'L&O'. He also played the role in a TV movie, 'Exiled', and he was the first from the 'L&O' patch of the TV Universe to make the crossover with 'Homicide: Life On The Street'.

But there's a new wrinkle involving this latest appearance by Detective Logan......

Erratic behavior by 'CI' star Vincent D’Onofrio has NBC Universal executives considering Noth as an emergency backup in the lead detective role, according to industry sources.

The New York Post’s Page Six column reported that D'Onofrio passed out on the set, was starting fistfights, and was an overall nightmare to work with. He was hospitalized briefly after the first fainting spell, then returned to the hospital when he keeled over a week later at home.

An NBC spokeswoman confirms Noth’s planned guest spot, but says she knows of no discussions of any cast changes on the show.

So I'm thinking.....

Maybe I should look into the world of 'Law & Order' and see if there's any year upcoming which has some kind of anniversary significance for the show. Because I think a year-long tribute of all-'L&O' inductees might be the way to go since there are so many from the original show alone that could fill out those 12 slots.
Here's the final rundown of the inductees in the year 2004:
January - Captain James T. Kirk
February - Lt. Uhura
March - Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
April - Commander Montgomery Scott
May - Yeoman Janice Rand
June - Zephraim Cochrane
Birthday Honors - The Cast Of The Original 'Star Trek':
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichole, Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney
July - Ensign Pavel Chekov
August - Helmsman Hikaru Sulu
September - Gene Roddenberry
October - The Tribbles
November - Ambassador Sarek
December - Mr. Spock

Well, that's it for another week. Please stay tuned!



Another friend, another plug......

On Wednesday night. December 8th at 10PM on NBC John and I have some friends doing that evening's Law and Order.

Jimmy Bracchitta will have a large scene. He is playing a lawyer.

Bill Zeffero will be playing the judge. Bill is John's voice teacher and friend.

Should be fun. Try to watch.


And Mayr's not even asking for herself, but for the sake of her friends. Wotta pal! Wotta gal!


Friday, December 3, 2004


One of my Iddiot companeros, "Herby from Derby", had an interesting complaint about Toobworld last week:

"My other week-old gripe is the ending of last week's 'American Dreams', a show my daughter greatly enjoys that I kinda find a guilty pleasure.

Last week's Christmas edition, with the Vietnam M-I-A son coming home and being given a '66 Mustang by his dad to great emotional impact was immediately followed by a sensitive, but in my eyes, offensive three minute film depicting a contemporary Iraq veteran getting the same treatment upon his return.

The episode was sponsored by Ford, who presented it commercial free, but still....

I have nothing against veterans being rewarded. What I found noxious is the sponsor taking the legitimate emotion that the show has generated, and then turning it into a blatant attempt to sell product; and to equate said product somehow with patriotic pride.

'AD' also earlier scripted in a Campbell's Soup essay contest for its protagonists that was mirrored in spots on the show (the prizes ITRW were of course now much higher in value.)

This is in line with our ongoing debate over the use of songs in commercials--now the content of programming seems to be fair game as well.

Like the show; don't at all like the precedent they are setting."

It wasn't enough for Ford to resurrect Steve McQueen from the dead to help sell the 2005 Mustang in a new blipvert. It looks as though they are pulling off a Detroit Hustle to get the car into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!

The 2005 Mustang will be featured in:
1] ABC's 'Alias';
2] as pointed out by Herby, a commercial-free, Ford-sponsored episode of NBC's 'American Dreams', in which Ford vehicles saturate the episode;
3] and 'The O.C.', in which the character Marissa wins a 2005 Mustang as a gift and drives it all season. [But will they take it away if her shoe prints end up on the ceiling?]

The "Reality TV" market isn't being overlooked either.... The car will also be given away during 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' on ABC.

I can't vouch for the flashbacks, but I'm fairly certain we won't be seeing a 2005 Mustang wash up on the shore during an episode of 'Lost'!

As to whether it would ever qualify for the Hall of Fame? No. It would have to be one specific car. Like "The Solid Gold Cadillac", it would have to zoom-zoom from one show to the other.

Who might qualify then? Buzz and Todd's wheels in 'Route 66' maybe? Perhaps Herbie (No, not Herby from Derby!) the Love Bug might have a shot. KITT, the Munstermobile, definitely the Batmobile.....

But the 2005 Mustang, like Steve McQueen, will end up banished to the corn-field.

Not that "they" would care. Just by getting me to write about the topic here at Inner Toob, the Ford prefects have, in a small way, achieved their goal......


Thursday, December 2, 2004


The episode of 'Lost' shown on December 1st was the series' first true two-parter. The pilot was supposed to be broadcast as a two-hour premiere, but the network suits in their infinite wisdom (insert your own level of sarcasm there) decided to split it and show it as a two-parter. They decided what the viewing audience really wanted was a two-hour premiere for 'The Bachelor'.

The ratings of course proved how stupid an idea that turned out to be. The drop-off of viewership after 'Lost' grew with each following hour.

Looking back over the schedule for the show so far, I'm impressed that the creators of 'Lost' have apparently taken the realities of network programming into consideration. It's just not their fault that they have to deal with lump-headed suits.

Consider this: last week, 'Lost' was pre-empted due to a combination of the Thanksgiving holiday and the two-hour finale of the latest (and hopefully last) episode of 'The Bachelor'. I'm sure the hoped-for swelling tide of audience interest became more like a swelling infection that needed to be lanced.

But if instead of skipping a week for 'Lost', (or for that matter, had the pilot been shown as a two-hour movie), last night we would have had the second episode of this "Claire-centric" story. "Raised By Another" was a gripping episode and should do well when the overnights are released and in the final national ratings also.

But think how much better their numbers could have been had we been watching the conclusion to this story on the final night of the November Sweeps!

As always, I blame the suits. And even though I've cited the Morley Safir quote several times in the last few days, it always bears repeating:

Network TV programmers should be nibbled to death by ducks.



Shows start and end just off the half-hour
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

Network efforts to get viewers to stick around for the evening are annoying some of their most passionate fans.
Inveterate time-shifters — including owners of digital video recorders such as TiVo, as well as some VCR owners — are getting ticked off by the minutes lost when broadcasters shift their schedules so some shows start and end just slightly off the hour or half-hour.

More hit series are running a little longer to hook viewers and rake in ad dollars, but the practice causes trouble for users of TiVo and other recorders.

Users of Internet message boards lately have gone so far as to accuse ABC of conspiracy for extending episodes of hits 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives' by a minute or two. Not only can such padding cause recorders to clip off the start or end of an episode, it also can create overlaps ("conflicts," in TiVo parlance) with later shows on other channels so viewers can't record them. And, in doing so, it keeps viewers from skipping through those lucrative commercials.

The padding also discourages viewers from clicking their remotes, under the theory they'll be less likely to switch channels if they've already missed the start of a competing program.

ABC is unapologetic. "It's not my job to make it easy for people to leave our network," says ABC scheduling chief Jeff Bader. "Our whole goal is to get people to stay with us from 8 to 11."
I'm not an ayotollah for the TV Universe. I'm just a Caretaker; one of many.

Still, can I declare a fatwah against Mr. Bader?

All I can say is that such a practice ignites a hatred towards the following show. And as the practice continues, that hatred burns brighter.

This isn't always the case for 'Boston Legal', following 'Desperate Housewives'. But I'm a fan of both 'The West Wing' and 'Jack & Bobby'. Bad enough that two shows of a similar nature must compete against each other. I don't like the idea I'm getting the beginnings snipped off by ABC's extensions of 'Lost'.

It's not like we're even getting more show - they're just adding more commercial time!

What the other shows should do is delay the first few minutes by showing more "Previously, on..." clips before the new episode actually begins.

That'll show this wanker.

But in the meantime.....

Morley Safir was right. Network executives (like Jeff Bader) must be nibbled to death by ducks!

Maktoob: It is written!


Wednesday, December 1, 2004


Well, here it is, the moment you've - well, that I've been waiting for: the last inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame for 2004!

All year we've been celebrating the original 'Star Trek' as this was the 35th anniversary of the show's cancellation by the suits on the Peacock Throne.

Usually in December, we've tried to keep close to the theme of the holidays for this induction berth. Santa Claus, God the Father and the Son, Bob Hope, Dick Clark, Ebenezer Scrooge.....

It would have been nice to induct an elf eventually, but since we don't have one of those, how about a pointy-eared hobgoblin?

Mr. Spock was the half-human Vulcan who served as First Officer aboard the Starship Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. He gave his life to save his fellow crew members and stored his soul, his katra, in the mind of Dr. Leonard McCoy. Thanks to the scientific marvels of Project Genesis and the powers of Vulcan mysticism, his body was reborn and reunited with his mind and soul.

Many decades later, Spock continued to serve the Federation by working undercover on the Romulan homeworld in an effort to bring about social change to the long-sundered kin of the Vulcans.

We may not have seen the last of Spock in the Trek Universe; only Time - and other network suits - can truly say.

But in the meantime, we honor his contributions to the TV Universe by inducting him into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

'Star Trek'
'Star Trek - The Animated Series'
'Star Trek: The Next Generation'

'Star Trek: The Motion Picture'
'Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan'
'Star Trek: The Search For Spock'
'Star Trek: The Voyage Home'
'Star Trek: The Final Frontier'
'Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country'


And live long and prosper......


The AFLAC Duck has gone pan-dimensional.

In a commercial that aired back in January, we saw that there is a cartoon version of the beleaguered insurance spokesman residing in the Tooniverse and hanging out with icons Bugs and Daffy.

But now the fussy duck is slated to pop up in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" and a series of ads promoting the movie.

Director Brad Silberling sought out the insurance company's mascot, known for delivering insistent shouts of "AFLAC!" in TV commercials, as a way to add comic relief in one of the scenes in the film, Al Johnson, AFLAC's vice president of advertising and branding, said.

In the upcoming movie, the duck is shown being launched off a boat. But that's as far as the in-movie product placement will go. The duck will be identifiable, but it won't be heard yelling its usual AFLAC plug, Johnson said.

The insurer also has agreed to spend $5 million to promote the Paramount Pictures film, which is based on the first three books in the Lemony Snicket children's series.

"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" opens in theaters Dec. 17.

For a relatively new addition to the roster of advertising mascots, the AFLAC Duck (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) has certainly waddled his way to the front of the class. I have no doubt that one day we'll see the quackser be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

There may be only one way to stop his meteoric rise to fame..... Taking a cue from Morley Safer and reversing it, a most ironic fate would be for the AFLAC Duck to be nibbled to death by a network TV programmer.

Now that would be an unfortunate event.