Saturday, October 23, 2004


It didn't take long to hear from my friend Hugh on the topic of that alternate TV Land: Earth Prime-Time Delayed.

Here are his thoughts and questions:

Ok, I understand that the movie Batman (1989) and TV Batman are two different "worlds." Same for the movies vs. televersions of My Favorite Martian and Car 54. However, what do you do with MASH, where the tele-version and cineversions share an identical Radar?

There have often been those holding that the show Trapper John, MD is actually connected to the movie, not the tv show, yet the link for these Radars should put all of them into the same world. Thus, the different looking Hawkeyes would have to be explained away, but that's not that hard to fathom. Nor is it tough to deal with Trapper John looking like Wayne Rogers while in Korea but like Pernell Roberts in the US--time has passed.

As far as the Addams Family sequences, there's an interesting cross of worlds. The original series, which also had a reunion tv movie in the late 1970s, connects to two animated versions, one from the 1970s (when Jackie Coogan returned to voice Uncle Fester and Ted Cassidy returned to voice Lurch) and one from the 1990s because of the movies (with John Astin returning to his most famous role). Thus, those two animated versions and the original sitcom are part of the same televerse, plus Scooby Doo featured that 1970s animated show, so many other series are in that connection.

There were two theatrical films, followed by Addams Family Reunion, made for cable--as Carel Struycken recreated his cinematic Lurch in it, those tie together, and the girl playing Wednesday in it also played that role on The New Addams Family. The cineverse and Prime Time Delayed connect here, and there's a potential link/near zonk from Earth Prime Time, as John Astin played Grandpapa Addams on it.

Just some thoughts,

So how about you? Do you have any thoughts on how to solve these contradictions? Let me know!


Miss Marple Will Be Delayed

From the BBC Online:

The latest incarnation of TV detective Miss Marple has been unveiled, with actress Geraldine McEwan stepping into the role of the determined sleuth.

ITV has adapted four Agatha Christie novels to give them a more modern feel and evolve the detective's character. The late author's estate has welcomed the modernised adaptations, hoping they will attract a new audience.

McEwan, 72, takes over from Joan Hickson, who died in 1998. "With Miss Marple, I feel that I have been entrusted with a national treasure of whom I already feel both protective and extremely fond," said McEwan. "I love Miss Marple and when I was asked to play her, I just felt it was - well it sounds a bit dramatic - but I thought it really was right that I was asked to play this part.

"I felt it was my destiny really, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. She is still evolving for me, and she's still becoming more things to me as I discover more about her," she added.

The new episodes, set in the 1950s, will reveal more of Miss Marple's past, showing the spinster did have a romantic side and a relationship in her younger days. She is also less judgemental than in her previous incarnations, and is depicted as an unshockable modern woman with many young friends.
Thanks to TV shows like 'Star Trek' and especially 'Sliders', we know there are alternate dimensions to the TV Universe (Earth Prime-Time).

One of these we have dubbed "Earth Prime-Time Delayed". On this version of TV Land, all of the TV shows, TV movies, and pilots which are later remakes of original series have been dumped, er, lumped together.

I'm not talking about reunion movies and specials like 'Rescue From Gilligan's Island' or the recent 'Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars'. Nor am I talking about shows that pick up in sequels where the original left off, like 'Lou Grant' or the ABC version of 'Columbo'.

'The Love Boat' set sail again in the late 1990s with an all new crew led by Robert Urich's Captain Kennedy. But a later episode definitely established that the cruise liner was in the same universe as the original series when many of the original cast showed up in their original roles.

All of the 'Star Trek' sequels are set in the same universe as the original series. 'Enterprise' is set 100 years or so in the past of James T. Kirk and crew, while all of the others follow the lead of 'The Next Generation' which is set about 75 years in the future of the original.

Earth Prime-Time Delayed is the world for all those shows who try to recreate the same characters, the same situations, and the same magic from an earlier show but with an all-new cast playing the original roles and usually updated to the current time frame, (if it's a modern series), rather than that of the original.

One exception to this would be 'Ponderosa'. All new actors played the same roles to be found in 'Bonanza', but it was a prequel about their early lives in the Nevada territory. So we can chalk up the differences in their appearances between both series to the effects of aging and life in general.

Just about every cinematic remake of a TV show would be relegated to the "Cineverse" with the exceptions of those that use the original casts and tie into the plots and history of the original series.

Those exceptions include:
'The X-Files: Fight The Future'
'Batman' (1966)
The entire 'Star Trek' movie franchise

But the movies of 'My Favorite Martian', 'Leave It To Beaver', 'Car 54, Where Are You?', 'Sgt. Bilko', 'M*A*S*H*', and 'The Addams Family Values' and even the Miss Marple movies of Margaret Rutherford? Grab the popcorn and the jujubes, it's Movie World!

Among the shows to be found on Earth Prime-Time Delayed are:
'87th Precinct'
'A.E.S. Hudson Street'
(which was known as 'Stat!' in the other dimension)
'The Untouchables'
'Dark Shadows'
'Battlestar: Galactica'
'The New Gidget'
'The New Addams Family'
'The New Monkees'

Coming soon:
'Lost In Space'

(Don't think the appellation of "New" in the title is a lock for placing a show on Earth Prime-Time Delayed. 'The New Leave It To Beaver' and 'The New Lassie' were actually continuations of the old series.)

And so now we can add Miss Marple to the inhabitants of Earth Prime-Time Delayed. And she is not the only British sleuth who will be found there. 'Dalgliesh' has already taken up residence there; soon to be followed by 'Hercule Poirot', 'Rumpole of the Bailey', and 'Inspector Morse'. And if we gave it some thought, I'm sure we could choose a version of 'Sherlock Holmes' to banish to that realm as well.


Friday, October 22, 2004


Electronics company Sharp has launched a complex, integrated ad campaign based on their most recent tagline: "More To See". The effort includes television spots and a labyrinthine online story and treasure hunt.

There is way more to see than the three Errol Morris-directed spots that kick off the campaign. The mysterious commercials send viewers to the campaign's main site,, which links to blogs written by three characters involved in a hunt for three mysterious urns, as well as to product information about Sharp's high-end LCD Aquos television and the complex technology behind it.

Through the inter-linking blogs (, and ) -- which describe the characters' love triangle and double-crossing attempts to unravel various puzzles -- consumers can enter sites relating to puzzles and other mysteries, including Stonehenge, crop circles and the Egyptian pyramids.

Beyond the screen, there will also be a temporary art gallery setup in New York's SoHo that will integrate ideas from the campaign with product displays.

While the creative teams don't expect every consumer to click through to the end, those who do will find clues to a real-life treasure hunt.

--Melanie Shortman

Rich Shapiro, a friend of mine and fellow Iddiot (look it up) decided to check out the weblink and filed his own version of Fodor's Guide for the Idiot's Delight Digest.

With his permission, I'm reprinting his report here:

I saw this odd commercial on the Yanks game, a Karman Ghia diving into a swimming pool, and then the link to and finding it odd, I went there.

There, a flash display shows the little mini-movie again, with stills, close up, of certain parts. Some of them link to other places. I clicked on one and found this site about a mysterious puzzle that was just partially solved....

So, on and off, I browsed around. Very odd, and oddly interesting. A story about an eccentric anthropologist, Dagobert Steinitz, who hid 3 urns, and who ever figured out the clues, and found the first one would be given a million dollars. He lived in seclusion for 30 years, dying mysteriously last year. Then, this year, this 40 year old puzzle, nearly ignored by puzzlers, was solved. And, so, the search for urns 2 and 3 started anew.

He created the puzzle to in some way get back at other scientists who had scorned him for his theory of an alternate species of humans, one that created super humans who influenced human development. Kind of like aliens moving mankind around, but a more naturalistic approach. He'd show them with a puzzle they couldn't solve, or some such.

Anyway. It made for interesting browsing while the Yankees don't solve their puzzle. Looking a bit further into this, one can discover a link to the use of interactive advertising fiction, and the underground quiet buzz that this alternative advertising might be able to cause.


(The funny thing was that as I was reading the site, I'd forgotten how i'd gotten there. I completely forgot that I'd linked to it from that tv ad website (which, when I went to it, made completely no sense to me, and I couldn't figure out why there was even a commercial to mention an odd website. But, I got past that pretty quickly.

I was actually enjoying reading the blurbs about the mysterious puzzle, etc...(having forgotten the original website), though, at some point, it seemed that the story was getting more and more far fetched. Thing is, I recall a tv show (or 60 minutes, or something) that did a piece on a mathematical puzzle that someone had left, possibly engraved on a statue, or something, I can't remember.

So, i thought this might be that, at first, until I googled it a bit, and came up w/the adweek. which reminded me i'd started....on the this little bit of clicking around during the yankees game.)

It's going to be a major coup if one of the other two commercials turns out to deal with this theory about super-humans. Think how many TV series that could be linked to! 'Stargate SG-1', 'Babylon 5', 'Farscape', and of course, 'Star Trek'.

We shall see what we shall see!


With thanks to Melanie Shortman & Rich Shapiro

Thursday, October 21, 2004


What's the news across TV Nation?
We have got the information!
(La da di dah!)
Here are just a few of the stories that could or will affect life in the TV Universe:

Alfred Gough, executive producer of WB's Superman-as-a-teenager drama 'Smallville', said the late Christopher Reeve's recurring character, the brilliant scientist Dr. Swann, will pass away in an episode airing later this season.

Margot Kidder, who has already filmed two episodes as Bridgette Crosby, Dr. Swann's emissary, will continue as a link between the young Superman (Tom Welling) and Dr. Swann's research about the teen's alien origins. Kidder played Lois Lane opposite Reeve's Clark Kent in the "Superman'' movies.
The producers of "Smallville" are continuing to bring characters from the DC Comics universe into the show.

Following Lois Lane and an appearance by the future Flash, Bart Allen, in Wednesday's (Oct. 20) episode, the show will bring one of Superman's nemeses to Smallville for the Nov. 3 episode. Trent Ford will guest-star as Mikail Mxyzptlk, a "foreign exchange student" who comes to Smallville and disrupts the lives of Clark Kent and his friend Chloe.

[In Superman lore, Mxyzptlk is a mischief-maker from the fifth dimension who periodically pops up to torment the Man of Steel.]
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - USA Network has ordered a second season of 'The 4400', the record holder for the highest-rated series debut in basic cable history.

'4400' became a surprise hit for USA in July, premiering to 7.4 million total viewers, eclipsing previous record holder 'The Dead Zone' by 1 million. The six-hour series, which starred Joel Gretsch and Peter Coyote, chronicled UFO abductees who returned to Earth with mysterious powers.

Production on 13 episodes will begin in February in Vancouver in anticipation of a June launch. Most of the original cast is expected to return.
"Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire" was earthshaking. Literally. The castaways on the CBS reality show experienced an island-shaking Pacific earthquake before the gender-split tribes were shook up by host Jeff Probst and tribe-chosen chiefs.
NBC is developing a sports-themed comedy from Steve Levitan, the creator of 'Just Shoot Me', and John Immesoete, who created the popular Budweiser spots featuring the egotistical football player Leon. The show revolves around the life and family of a black sports superstar, probably a NFL player, who has an extra-large sense of entitlement and is often out of touch with reality.
LOS ANGELES ( Sci Fi Channel is partnering with Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle on a futuristic tale at least somewhat inspired by 'The Wizard of Oz'.' Titled 'Tin Man', the project is only in the earliest stage of development.

In 'Tin Man',' a young girl named Dorothy is zapped off to an alternate universe where, as so often happens, nothing is as it seems. She's trapped in the Outer Zone (or 'O.Z.'), a land populated by law enforcement officers known as "Tin Men." In her quest to return home, she meets three unique individuals who join her adventure.Mitchell and Van Sickle will co-write and executive produce what will be a four-hour miniseries.

I like the use of 'Outer Zone' - a combo from 'Outer Limits' and 'Twilight Zone', perhaps?

How much do you wager there will be a character who says, "Welcome to the O.Z., bitch?"

Well, maybe they'll use "Witch" instead......
Writer-director Kevin Smith will guest star in the final three episodes of this season's Canuck teen drama 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'. Smith is in Toronto this week filming his scenes, due to air early next year on CTV in Canada and the N Network in the U.S.. Jason Mewes, Smith's co-star in the Smith-directed "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," will also appear. Both will play themselves.

In the show, the pair have come to Canada to scout a sequel to "Jay and Silent Bob" titled "Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?" and they end up on the 'Degrassi' set.

Smith -- whose directing credits include "Clerks," "Dogma," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy" and "Jersey Girl" -- is a longtime fan of 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' and its predecessor 'Degrassi Junior High'.



"I learned it takes a lot of really smart people,
Working very hard,
To do a crappy show."
Conan O'Brien

By the time I post this missive, there will be just over a week before the latest "MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR TIME". And the Sundance Channel is leading up to that with a four part sequel to one of the first HBO dramatic series, 'Tanner '88'.

'Tanner '88' was a "mockumentary" looking at the candidacy of Senator Jack Tanner as he made an ill-fated run for the White House. Over fifteen years later, and the new show looks at the attempt by his daughter Alex to make another documentary about those times while capturing footage of her father among the new power-brokers at this year's Democratic convention in Boston.

As it was with its predecessor, 'Tanner On Tanner' is chock-full of celebrities either joining the "League Of Themselves" or adding to their roster of appearances in Toobworld. Some of them have appeared in fictional settings before as themselves, or were portrayed by other actors. In the case of Martin Scorcese, both types of appearances apply ('Curb Your Enthusiasm' & 'The Sopranos', respectively).

And then there are those who have appeared as themselves in shows of either a variety or of a news/informational format. On average, they tend to be discounted unless the people involved were regulars or hosts, or there was just something odd about the appearance. (A good example of this would be Harry Belafonte appearing on 'The Muppet Show'. In Toobworld, he was interacting with living puppet people at that theatre.)

So here's a rundown of a few of the celebrities who make significant contributions to the TV Universe by their crossovers. (Others will be listed farther down the page in the "League Of Themselves" segment.)

Reverend Al Sharpton - The big man on campus last time, (with 'Boston Legal', 'Girlfriends', and the upcoming ), here's another addition to his Toobworld resume for 2004.

(It took me two weeks to catch up on the debut episode of 'Tanner On Tanner', so that's why the show wasn't included with the others last week. But as it premiered in the same week as his 'Boston Legal' appearance, it should have.)

Martin Scorcese - 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'The Sopranos',
Harry Belafonte - 'Sugar Hill Times', 'The Muppet Show'
Steve Buscemi - 'The Simpsons'
Vice President Al Gore - 'Futurama'
President Jimmy Carter - 'Angie', 'Carter Country'
Bill Clinton - 'The Nanny', 'Live Shot', 'L.A. Law'
Janeane Garofalo - 'Primetime Glick', 'The Ben Stiller Show'
Governor Gray Davis - 'Yes, Dear'
Al Franken - 'The Al Franken Show', 'Saturday Night Live', Yahoo "Franken/Stein" commercial with Ben Stein
Governor Michael Dukakis - 'Cheers'
Reverend Jesse Jackson - 'Both Sides Now', 'A Different World', 'Lou Grant'
Governor Howard Dean - 'K Street'
Chris Matthews - 'Hardball'
Michael Moore - 'TV Nation'
Secretary Madeline Albright - 'Futurama'
Representative Richard Gephardt - 'Lateline'
Ron Reagan, Jr. - '', 'The Ron Reagan Show'
Tom Brokaw - NBC Nightly News, 'Today'
Dee Dee Myers - 'Equal Time', 'The West Wing Documentary'

There is no role too small for which one can't make a theoretical link to some other show.

For instance, when Alex Tanner fled her own premiere at the Rough Cut film festival, she wandered into a shoe store where she met a saleswoman who was also studying film.

The character was played by Krysten Ritter, but had no name - a perfect opportunity to claim she could be a character from another series!

And I have the perfect choice - Ms. Ritter played Brynn, the grand-daughter of an elderly woman who lived in the hotel run by Mavis Rae. Brynn took over her grandmother's room once the elderly lady was removed to a nursing facility. But she proved to be more of a disruption than the old lady when she disrupted the place with her loud parties.

I think Brynn's just the type to take a job in a trendy shoe store so that she could support not only her schooling, but also her wild lifestyle.
('Tanner On Tanner' & 'Whoopi')

As I've always said, I can't possibly watch everything on TV, so my thanks go out to my friend Nora Lee who caught this clash of the TV Universe on an episode of 'Without A Trace':

"Last night's had a good episode about a missing person with an alien abduction complex. When they go to question his abductee support group, a guy asks: "So you guys are the real Scully and Mulder?" (and they're having an affair as well).

"A side amusing part is that the guy is really up on sci fi and knows what they're talking about in their jargon and she just thinks they're all crazy.

"There's a cute interchange at the end then, when the guy (Eric Close) calls the woman (Poppy Montgomery I think) "Scully" and she notes she hasn't been to his apt. yet and she'll come by later. Which is very Scully-ish ."
('Without A Trace')

This apparent Zonk clashing 'The X-Files' with 'Without A Trace' can luckily be saved!

In later episodes, the secretive work of FBI agents Mulder and Scully was exposed twice to the general public.

First off, their exploits were fictionalized and featured in a big screen Hollywood movie in which they were portrayed by Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni. And even though their names had been changed, albeit not necessarily to protect the innocent, publicity material supplied to critics would surely have mentioned the background sources for the film.

Secondly, Mulder and Scully were caught on tape dealing with a creature of the Id which fed on fear. This footage was part of a running "documentary" which would later be edited and shown on the TV series 'Cops'. It's a popular series both in the real world as well as in Toobworld, so it's quite likely someone on an episode of 'Without A Trace' had seen it.

Three episodes into its four-part run on Sundance, 'Tanner On Tanner' is chock-ful of politicians, actors, and other celebrities portraying themselves in a fictional setting. And unlike the recent 'K Street', it's a lot more interesting.

Here's a list of those who have appeared so far on the show and who were not mentioned above in the "Great Link" segment of our show:
Elaine Kaufman Robert Redford Carl Bernstein
Dina Merrill Senator Joseph Lieberman Ted Hartley
Kitty Dukakis Senator Joseph Biden Barak Obama
John Podesta Senator Bob Graham Alex Kerry

And there's still one more episode to air before it's over!

Continuing the political bent, the Rock The Vote organization has a new PSA out which features plenty of stars urging people to make a difference in the voting booth.

Among them:
Leonardo Di Caprio Samuel L. Jackson
Benicio Del Toro Justin Timberlake

And U2 performs "Vertigo" in a blipvert for iPod's and iTunes which makes me long for the days when the band (actually the cast of 'The Ben Stiller Show') hawked Lucky Charms in a commercial.......

Rex Van DeCamp proposed to Bree Mason on Skyline Drive over a bottle of apple wine. And even though she was dating Ty Grant, and her father hated Rex, she said yes.

Rex has an aversion to apple wine now......
('Desperate Housewives')

The comic book that Walt was reading after the plane crash was a Spanish translation of a Green Lantern/Flash team-up from DC. It was entitled "Faster Friends - Part One" and featured a battle with an alien whose intentions ultimately were meant to be peaceful.

One of the show's creators has hinted that the comic book is a lot more important than people might think.
Considering it illustrated a polar bear and soon after a real polar bear showed up on that tropical island, I'd say he's not yanking our crank.

The tattoo on Charlie Pace's left shoulder reads:

Living is easy
With eyes closed

This is a lyric from "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles.

Billy Warren, a New York firefighter, died in the line of duty near the end of the summer. At his wake, the other members of his company learned that Billy's "prodigious talent" had earned him a legacy of two beautiful ex-wives who appreciated the fact that their FDNY sweetie was carrying extra hose.
('Rescue Me')

Unless otherwise stated within the show, it's usually a given that episodes of a series takes place around the time it is broadcast. (That's why so many debuts can be found in September of any given year.)

'Desperate Housewives' found a way to play with that chestnut. The dates on Mary Alice Young's tombstone read:

11/18/65 - 9/26/04

This was probably the date they were hoping to premiere. As it was, they debuted a week later on October 3rd.

For anyone thinking of starting a timeline for this show, it makes for a good touchstone on which to build.
('Desperate Housewives')

"The most delicious swirl of real/faux in the media echo chamber is the inclusion of Kerry's daughter Alex Kerry (a real documentary filmmaker) making a film about her father. The real Alex and the actor Alex meet in Episode 3, and end up interviewing Ron Reagan Jr., another presidential candidate offspring who has worked his way into a media career. The satire bites you coming and going, as the three engage in a largely improvised scene.

The 'Tanner' film crew was joined by Alex's phony film crew, plus Alex's film school student (played by Luke MacFarlane), supposedly making a film about Alex. Joining them was Alex Kerry's real-life film crew. And then Ron Reagan appeared with his MSNBC film crew, coincidentally trailed by a film crew for another news show.

As political sage Aretha Franklin asked, 'Who's zoomin' who?'

The viewing public is accustomed to sorting through 'reality TV's' layers of almost real interactions. We're used to spotting 'real people' in cameos with actors, and we've been trained to accept TV that toys with our views of what's real. But seldom if ever do we get to laugh at the current state of the media from such a knowing angle."

thanks to TV critic Joanne Ostrow of the Denver Post

Monday, October 18, 2004


During the 1960s, "Lucky" Pierre was the leading legal representative for the Underworld in Gotham City. His career reached its pinnacle and suffered its greatest debacle when he represented the second Catwoman and the Joker in court in 1968.

I'm assuming that Pierre was his last name and that "Lucky" was his nickname. As to what his first name was, we have no clue, but I think Masson would have worked well. "Masson Pierre" has a nice ring to it......

We have no definitive proof nor confirmation of his death; this is an assumption based on the fact that the actor who portrayed him in the Real World, former spokesman for the Kennedy White House Pierre Salinger, also passed away.


In Toobworld, many characters can live long after their human creators have died. For example, we're fairly certain that even though Andy Kaufman passed away in 1984, his character of Latka Gravas kept working at the Sunshine Cab Company - at least until his widow Simka made mention of her status in 1997, when she gave sportswriter Tony DiMeo a lift in her cab.
('Taxi' & 'The Tony Danza Show')

Sometimes those characters aren't afforded the luxury of living out their lives after their portrayers have passed away. They could have been sent off to live elsewhere off-screen and away from the prying eyes of the audience viewing at home. But instead the writers take the option of either writing up the deaths of the characters as well, or simply recasting them (which to me, seems like an insult to the work of the actor in the role).

The suicide of Pete Duel, who was playing one of the two lead roles in 'Alias Smith & Jones' forced the show's producers to take the drastic measure of recasting; calling on the show's narrator, Roger Davis, to step in as the new Hannibal Heyes/Joshua Smith.

(I've been able to splain this away with a rather lengthy essay calling on a role Davis played in an earlier episode of 'Alias Smith & Jones', as well as on the intervention of my choice for the most powerful character in the TV Universe: Dr. Miguelito Loveless.
('Alias Smith & Jones' & 'The Wild, Wild, West')

We'll see another example of how an actor's death can make an impact on a role in a few weeks, when it will be revealed that Dr. Virgil Swann, young Clark Kent's mentor, will have died. This will be to bring closure to the character now that real-life superman Christopher Reeve has passed away.

Getting back to "Lucky" Pierre, he would have been the same age as Pierre Salinger, but his health was probably broken by his lengthy incarceration in prison. Or it could be that his underhanded tactics might have antagonized one of his Underworld clients who would have taken revenge.

With all of the modern ills in our society, Pierre would have been lucky indeed to make it to the age of 79.

At any rate, we doff our wishbone-decorated derby to the departed defense attorney and wish him Godspeed.


Sunday, October 17, 2004


re: the 555-TOOB essay:

I can date 555- back to at least 1967. In the Batman episode which crossed over with Green Hornet, Bruce Wayne and Britt Reid are sitting at a table during a fashion show and each is being hit on by models. One tells Van Williams' character when he asks the price, "5,555,555", then explains it is her number (555-5555) not the cost of the dress.

Just for trivia info,
re: the Debate Strategery essay,
I heard from a friend who related the duck story and who gave me permission to use it:

I thought it fit right in – cool!

I like that tribble-self-impregnation. I’ve been trying to do a similar thing for years with no luck LOL.

The blog is great, Toby. But I miss your posts to the IDD...
-stephanie twogeeks