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!