Friday, November 12, 2004



We usually think of only the sci-fi and fantasy shows when it comes to the concept of a parallel universe: 'Star Trek', 'Sliders', 'Land Of The Giants', 'The Twilight Zone', etc.

But parallel dimensions must be considered a mainstay in other genres as well. Take 'The West Wing' for example. Since Josiah Bartlet is the President of the United States on that show, it must be relegated to another dimension. George W. Bush is the current president in Earth Prime-Time, as established in shows like 'Whoopi' and 'Jack & Bobby'.

And in the main Toobworld, Josiah Bartlet is a surgeon at Boston General. ('St. Elsewhere')

Some TV shows have thrust the concept of an alternate dimension upon themselves by altering their basic concept so much that entire seasons of a series have to be considered as a separate entity taking place in another universe.

I have several examples, but for this entry, I'll just bore you with one.....

In order to cash in on the secret agent craze of the 1960s, 'Burke's Law' jettisoned the scenario of a millionaire playboy Chief of Detectives in Los Angeles and lost all but the main character. Instead of solving murders in his debonnair style among a bevy of famous guest stars, Burke was now a spy working for "The Man".

And yet, when 'Burke's Law' returned in the 1990s, Amos Burke was still in charge of Homicide, working alongside his son Peter. Based on the age of the actor who played Peter (Peter Barton), he must have been born before the original series aired. But Burke didn't get around to marrying Peter's mother until after the series ended.

There's a great un-filmed episode in that. She probably kept secret for a few years the fact that she bore Burke's baby.

In my opinion, the Powers That Be must have decided that we (the viewing audience at home) should follow the adventures of a different Amos Burke. Since Amos Burke 1 ('Burke's Law') was already telecast, and since he is the one who returned to the airwaves in the 1990s, shouldn't we assume that he is the dominant figure, and thus a member of the main TV Universe?

Amos Burke 2 ('Amos Burke, Secret Agent') would then be relegated to an off-shoot world, perhaps the Earth of 'The West Wing' or the Evil Mirror Universe of 'Star Trek'. (And for alls I know, they are one and the same.)

That's all for now, Possums. I'll save the next example for a later entry.


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