Saturday, September 17, 2005


'Threshold' debuted on CBS Friday night with a two-hour premiere that I thought sailed by pretty quickly. Granted, I was watching it Saturday morning on tape, but even so.

From the Toobworld perspective, it seems like the type of show that might prove harmful to the integrity of the TV Universe. The cast is a team of scientists gathered together to analyze and most likely combat an alien presence in a first contact situation. And they're the type of eccentric individuals who'll greet every new experience with pithy one-liners that would make the late Lenny Briscoe envious.

Unfortunately, those one-liners more often than not threaten to be pop cultural in nature, and Zonk!s at that. Long-time Toobworld visitors know that Zonk!s are references within a TV show to other TV shows AS TV shows, when in actuality they should be all sharing the same universe. (The term comes from 'Let's Make A Deal', by the way.)

Surprisingly, I found only four such references in the two-hour pilot; three of which can be splained away. The fourth? Considering the category it falls into, it won't lack for company.....

1] After bringing Dr. Molly Caffrey up to speed on who made up her hastily-assembled team of experts, Agent Cavanaugh quipped that they were "not exactly 'Charlie's Angels'."

An easy way out of this one would be to claim that the Angels of the two recent movies exist only in the Cineverse. But I think this is one of those examples where movies are absorbed into the TV Universe, like the 1966 'Batman', the films of the 'Star Trek' franchise', and 'The X-Files: Fight The Future'.

As such, it does make it easier to splain away the reference. As private detectives working for elusive investigator Charlie Townsend, the Angels were never ones to escape attention. And to command such high fees for their services, there must have been some notoriety and publicity after many of their cases - especially those of the movies, but from the TV series as well.

So when somebody mentions 'Charlie's Angels' in a TV show without mentioning it AS a TV show (or movie), then it's all jake.

2] One member of the team looked upon the preparatons of the backup team (similar to a SWAT team, but probably more along the lines of "Black Ops") and remarked that it was like something out of "War Of The Worlds".

Considering that 'Threshold' is happening in the "Now" (as "ElfQuest" would put it), and that the Spielberg movie came out this past summer, I'm leaning towards this comment to be a reference to that. And by extension to the original H.G. Wells novel as well.

There was a TV series from 1988 to 1990 by that title, which was supposedly a TV extension of the events from the original movie made back in 1953. Considering the events that took place in that movie by George Pal, there's no way the people of Earth would not have known about it. But they wouldn't necessarily have known that the threat was never eradicated and that the battle picked up over thirty years later. By that time, the government would have contained the situation to keep the general populace in the dark about the Truth being out there.

(Yeah... while watching 'Threshold', I could just imagine that one day Fox Mulder would show up to get involved. How could he resist the allure?)

As such, the public wouldn't refer to the TV series, but to the seminal events of the attempted 1953 invasion as "The War Of The Worlds", mainly because, again, it was an easy reference to the Wells' novel.

3] Ramsey, the caustic linguist played by Peter Dinklage, sniped that the guard at the processing plant was "Ricky Retardo". It was insulting enough on its own merits, but the humor of the description depended on the others' knowledge of Ricky Ricardo, the character played by Desi Arnaz in 'I Love Lucy' and 'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour'.

No Zonk! inherent with this, luckily, so I don't got much splainin to do.

Within the framework of the Desilu production, Ricky Ricardo was a famous celebrity who not only owned and performed at his own nightclub in New York City, but who also starred in at least one movie in the TV Universe. Ramsey was just relying on the fact that most of them knew such a pop culture figure from the late 50s, early 60s.

4] Here's the one that makes me throw my hands up in defeat. Ramsey - probably the character who'll be most responsible for a number of Zonk!s I'll have to splain away in the coming season - chided Lucas for reading a Bible passage as they approached the contact site. He couldn't remember there being a passage which said that "on the 8th day, the Lord created Klingons."

(He looked to Dr. Fenway for validation of his humor, which was an in-joke in itself, since Spiner - who plays Fenway - was Commander Data on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.)

The basic template for the 'Star Trek' franchise is 400 years into the future of present day Toobworld. (Thanks to 'Enterprise', the appearance of Klingons on Earth occurs 200 years earlier.) If they are to exist in the same universe, the characters of 'Threshold' should know nothing about the characters of 'Star Trek'.

Yet as we've seen over and over again in countless TV shows, characters not only know what the future may hold, they even go to the conventions celebrating the TV show ('Frasier', 'Nurses', 'Platypus Man' etc.).

I've got one possible way to splain away this dilemma, but I'll bide my time, my pretties, until I see where a current series eventually takes us with its roller coaster of a mystery plotline.

In the meantime, I can't do more than just sigh and surrender to the damage caused by 'Star Trek' Zonk!s.

As for the show itself? I plan to make it an appointment to tape this show while I'm getting ready for work. I just hope it can overcome the curse of Friday nights, which has long been a graveyard for S-F shows (at least those not seen on the Sci-Fi network, that is.)

You certainly can't beat the heavy hitters in the cast - Carla Gugino, Charles S. Dutton, Brent Spiner, and Peter Dinklage; with Robert Benedict, Brian Van Holt, and in a recurring role, Diana Venora.

But if Carla Gugino could every so often wear the same costume she wore when we first saw her character in "Sin City", then the show would be guaranteed a devoted fan base.

Know what I mean? Knudge knudge wink wink.

I know Ramsey would certainly agree!

Let me know what you think.


*That subject heading goes out to Inner Toob readers and fellow Iddiots David and Colette.


Researchers studying a single mutated gene in Collies have discovered that breed's family tree includes not only several herding dogs (as Collies are), but a couple of sight hounds as well. (Sight hounds are those dogs who hunt by sight.) The family tree can be traced back now to a single animal that must have lived in England prior to the 1870s.

The research began when it was found that Collies can suffer a potentially fatal reaction to 20 commonly used drugs ranging from antibiotics and steroids to cancer drugs and heart medication.

This was all due to a mutated gene that is known as MDRI, which was then found in several other breeds as well. These included Longhaired Whippets, Australian Shepherds (the miniature breed as well), English and Old English Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, McNabs, and Silken Windhounds. (Sounds kinky!)

Wasn't McNab one of Archie Bunker's neighbors?

Anyway, the researchers think the gene may have crossed over from the herders to the sight hounds [like the Whippets and the Windhounds] due to cross-breeding between Collies owned by Queen Victoria and Borzois which were a gift from her cousin Czar Nicholas II of Russia.

What's that, girl? Tele-Toby has fallen into a well of irrelevance?

I know. It's not really a Toobworld story. But it does mean that somewhere back in the Victorian Age, 'Lassie' shared a common ancestor with Ladadog, the sheepdog who was owned by the Nash family of Ridgemont, NY, ('Please Don't Eat The Daisies') and his cousin Waldo, owned by the Everett children of the Los Angeles suburbs ('Nanny And The Professor').

And just to show how much my mind (what's left of it) has been affected by my revitalized fanaticism for 'Doctor Who', perhaps the introduction of this mutated gene back in the 1870s was an alien plot. The reason for it is unclear, as would be which alien race responsible, but such a project might have been an investment towards some long-planned invasion of the Earth in the future.

It may have been to create races of super-intelligent canines. But the Toobworld position on any such dogs we have met - especially those who can talk which are found in many TV commercials - is that they are transmogrified souls of departed humans. The precedent for this theory was established with the unsold [yet broadcast] pilot for 'Poochinsky'.

If I'm going to blame any alien race, I'd think it would have to be the Parenthians of the Sirius Dog Star system. ('Bewitched', 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy', and 'Star Trek: The Next Generation')


Friday, September 16, 2005


I just had a tooth pulled yesterday, which really bothered me because I was getting free Sirius Satellite Radio reception off of it.

Anyway, the subject of teeth already had me attuned to their Toobworld possibilities when I turned to the words of wisdom from my Iddiot brethren.

There has been a battle of words in the Idiot's Delight Digest over faith and Faith. And the one soul who's been taking a beating on all sides is the Tooth Fairy.

As the Caretaker and Public Advocate and Ambassador Without Portfolio for Toobworld, I must insist that the Tooth Fairy does indeed exist and that she should be shown respect.

Actually, there is more than one Tooth Fairy, all working for the same cause. This explains why she (and occasionally "he") sometimes changes in appearance.

Three of the more notable portrayals of the Tooth Fairy have been:

Imogene Coca - Mary the Tooth Fairy ('Bewitched')
Susan Sarandon - ('Mad TV')
Annie Golden - ('Coinstar' commercial)

That's the great thing about Toobworld. It's so encompassing of all beliefs - God has appeared on TV as has the Devil, the Greek "deities", Sutekh the Destroyer, and the Keebler elves.

Maybe I should pop a Hubbard and start my own religion.........

Nah. The last thing I need is a disciple who goes on talk shows to jump on the couch........



No, not the cable network......

Joss Whedon has confirmed that he's planning to bring back the character of Spike the Vampire (as played by James Marsters) for one last hurrah in a TV movie.

"I haven't left the Buffyverse behind. I'm talking in reference to that... and possibly more," he said hinting at additional characters from the series coming back as well. (Personally, I don't think he was referring to "possibly more" TV-movies. Marsters can't hold back Time, and vampires aren't supposed to age.)

"I can only teasingly hint, unfortunately, until it's got backing and we've got a schedule and a contract."

The director of the upcoming cinema addition to Toobworld, "Serenity", has "been talking to some of the actors, writers, and some executives and are trying to put something together - - but it's not happening fast."



In order to trump up the volume - sorry..... Let's start again.

In order to Trump up the volume for the latest edition of the sagging series of 'The Apprentice', The Donald is going to make his soap opera debut on NBC's 'Days Of Our Lives' on October 24th.

So let's review his qualifications for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame:

Hart to Hart: Secrets of the Hart (1995) (TV)
Lady Boss (1992) (TV)
"I'll Take Manhattan" (1987) (mini) TV Series
"Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica" in episode: "The Anniversary" 21 January 2004 [Sorry! Couldn't resist that one!]
"The Job" in episode: "Elizabeth" 21 March 2001
"The X Files" in episode: "Millennium" 28 November 1999
"Sex and the City" in episode: "The Man, The Myth, The Viagra" 25 July 1999
"Spin City" in episode: "The Paul Lassiter Story" 21 January 1998 [Although technically this is in an alternate TV dimension.]
"Night Man" in episode: "Face to Face" 27 October 1997
"The Drew Carey Show" in episode: "New York and Queens" 14 May 1997
"Suddenly Susan" in episode: "I'll See That and Raise You Susan" 8 May 1997
"The Nanny" in episode: "The Rosie Show" 9 October 1996
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" in episode: "For Sale By Owner" 16 May 1994

But when will he be inducted?
Let him cool his heels.....


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The six of them - 3 boys, 3 girls, - are young, attractive, and very, very white. They have a personal dynamic that's perfectly suited for mix-and-match interpersonal relationships which no doubt will be explored as we follow them through the years.

Gee. Where have we seen such... friends... before?
The main characters grew up in the Real World town of Bedford, NY. Was it perhaps chosen to suggest the fictional town of Bedford Falls, NY? And thus remind viewers of the irony in the movie title "It's A Wonderful Life"?
Maybe there was another ironic allusion in this first episode. A seventh high school student was seen named Alger. Perhaps a reference to the success story of Horatio Alger?

Perhaps not.
In case you're not up to speed on the premise, one of thse friends is murdered in 2006, allegedly by one of the other five. We don't know who that killer is; we won't even know who the victim is for a few weeks - not until the police detective has worked his way through interviews with the survivors.
The cop in charge is played by Mathew St. Patrick, who played Keith Charles on 'Six Feet Under'. Since Alan Ball made damned sure his 6FUers' futures were set in stone, there's no reason to even try jumping through logical hoops to make his two characters the same guy.

Luckily for St. Patrick, his character will only be seen in the "present" of 2006. His final scene in 'Six Feet Under' showed that aging make-up was not his strong suit.
I think each episode, since they're going to be mostly personalized flashbacks, will contain at least one snarky reminder of the differences between then and now thanks to 20/20 hindsight.

For this episode, it was when Aaron emphatically stated that Wham! would be the new Beatles. And Andrew Ridgeley? The next John Lennon.

He may have been on to something..... I can picture George Michael staging a bed-in for a piece.......
For the first episode, there was a nice collection of musical snippets to not only suggest the era, but to comment on the scene. But they better have all been from 1986 and ONLY 1986! And that goes for each succeeding year as well.

I belong to an email digest group known as The Idiot's Delight Digest and a more erudite bunch of pop music fans it would be hard to imagine. And the "Iddiots" won't hesitate to rip the producers a new one online if they play fast and loose with the temporal details.

(I suppose Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", however, would work well to close out each year/episode.)
Except for Claire, I can't see anything in any of these six friends that would make me care which one gets offed. (I know Cousin Marilee would probably defend Will, as she was a big fan of 'American Dreams'.)

Actually.... based on what I've seen so far, I'm surprised they weren't all murdered by somebody.
As for the murderer? I'm going to lay out a theory now as to the identity of the killer. If I'm right, I can do a televictory dance with the proof immortalized here.

And if I'm wrong? Wouldn't be the first time; won't be the last.
The episode began with Alger giving the eulogy at the funeral. If these friends were so close, how come one of them didn't deliver it? I'd think the killer would want to cover his or her tracks by coming to praise the deceased as well as to bury him/her.

And maybe that's what happened.

Wouldn't it be the ultimate twist to be led into thinking that one of the other five did it, only to find out it was somebody else entirely?

Go back and listen to Alger's eulogy again. He seems intent on keeping the focus on the six of them. If listened to in my frame of mind, I think you can pick up on his suggestive tone that one of them is the murderer.

But if he was delivering the eulogy, then he had to be just as close to the deceased as the remaining five friends were.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And that reminds me of another possible allusion connected to his name - the traitorous activities of Alger Hiss.

Just sayin', is all. For alls I know (as Stuart Best was known to say at 'FYI'), even if this is what they had in mind, the writers may get wind of this (shyeah, right!) and rewrite the script.

Say hey! Maybe the cop did it! Mathew St. Patrick just came off one of the most highly regarded series of the last few years..... There had to be something about this character that prompted him to leap right into a new show.

Then again, Gregory Harrison did have those shifty eyes and -#

Sorry, Officer. I'll be quiet now.......




Entertainment Weekly had a free DVD in its issue this past week, of the pilot episode for 'Everybody Hates Chris' - commercial free!

(My copy of the mag never arrived, by the way. I found this one at work and swiped it once it looked like mine was never going to arrive.

Yeah. I'm going to Heck.)

I wasn't really bowled over by the episode and I'm not sure the series will ever become "appointment television". But it did provide me with an interesting cross-dimensional theory, connecting this TV show to a movie found in the Cineverse.

The show takes place in 1982, when Chris Rock was thirteen years old and living in Bed-Stuy... but going to school in Brooklyn. And John Capodice, a great character actor with one of those "Hey, I know him!" kind of face, plays the bus driver who may become a recurring character and possibly a persistent thorn in Chris' side as he tries to escape school each day in once piece. (In the pilot, Capodice's character slammed the bus doors shut on the kid's hand.)

You know what? I think that bus driver's name is Bob. I have no idea what may have happened to Bob here in the TV Universe during the last twenty-three years, but over in the Cineverse Bob the Bus Driver got blowed up real good in 1994.

See, John Capodice played another bus driver in the movie "Speed", and I think we all know what happened to him when he stopped for coffee along his route.

So here's my theory. In the great scheme of things regarding the shared uinverse of Man's creative energies, the two bus drivers played by John Capodice shared a common history. But then Movie Bob decided to move out to California (probably retired?). And to make some extra money, he took a job out there in La-La Land doing what he knew best - driving a bus.

However, when 1994 rolled along, the lives of these two Bus Driver Bobs took another divergence. And the one for Movie Bob came to the end of the road.

As for Bus Driver Bob of Toobworld?

I don't think he ever left New York City. By 1990, he might have retired from the MTA as a bus driver and opened his own store. ('Law & Order' - "Poison Ivy" [episode # 1.8] 20 November 1990)

And then in 1994, when his cinematic doppelganger was going "ka-BOOM!", he might have also made a few bucks under the table moonlighting as a bartender. ('Dream On' - "Blame It on Reo" [episode # 4.20] 2 March 1994)

None of this can be proven, of course. Is that great, or what?



By the way, thanks SO much for throwing away that copy of the DVD, Ryan Prem.



I picked up some bootleg DVDs of old TV shows and rarities to add to the Library here at Toobworld Central.

'The Twilight Zone' pilot ("The Time Element") and the original, never-aired pilot for 'All In The Family' ("Those Were The Days")

'The Time Tunnel' - the unaired pilot for the 2002 version

'Tales Of Tomorrow' (Volume One) which includes:
"The Great Silence" - with Burgess Meredith
"Read To Me, Herr Doktor"
"The Fury Of The Cocoon"
"Ghost Writer"
"The Miraculous Serum"

'Tales Of Tomorrow' (Volume Three) which includes:
"Youth On Tap"
"The Window"
"Many Happy Returns"
"Another Chance"

'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' episodes 1-4 (includes the Fernwood Flasher and the Chicken Soup Incident)

"The Hound Of The Baskervilles" from 1982 with Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes

And because I watch them at work, they'll pay for themselves in one viewing!


*I just flashed on this horrible image of Buck Taylor's character on 'Gunsmoke'... with breasts.

Glad I could share.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


By necessity, Toobworld has to ignore reruns for the most part. Once broadcast, a show is automatically added to the TV Universe (sometimes to one of its alternate dimensions) so there's no need to cause any temporal burps by having it happen all over again.

Besides, too often those repeats have been trimmed so that more commercial time could be added in. Therefore they're basically worthless, and it could be argued they're a threat to the integrity of Toobworld.

But every so often, there's a reason to pay heed to those reruns. For instance:

'Ally' - This retread of 'Ally McBeal' was a half-hour distillation of previous episodes, a cheap way for FOX and DEK to cash in on the show's success at the time. However, the episodes also sometimes carried some new material, excised scenes, for example.

I'm still up in the air over this show. Should I just absorb that new material into what was already established? After all, the back-story of TV history is constantly being rewritten - look at the recent shows 'Rome' and 'Empire'.

Or should I just lob 'Ally' over into an alternate dimension, say... the Evil Mirror Universe, where it can establish Ms. McBeal's presence in more than one plane of existence?

One thing I know for sure. I'm not going to let this keep me awake at nights. I've already got the second 'Captain Kangaroo' causing my insomnia and that's been off the air for awhile!

'The Sopranos' & 'Seinfeld' - With both of these shows, recurring characters who had been introduced earlier were later recast. So their creators went back and re-shot those scenes which featured the characters so that the new actors would be the only ones seen playing the roles in syndication and in the DVDs.

For 'Seinfeld', that would be Frank Costanza who was originally played by the late John Randolph and then later by Jerry Stiller. Oddly, they never replaced Phil Bruns as Jerry's dad in the pilot, 'The Seinfeld Chronicles'. Of course, it's too late to do now as Barney Martin passed away last year.

Perhaps Bruns was appearing as George Schumway and working for that Dad replacement company featured in a "commercial" on an early episode of 'Saturday Night Live'. Or maybe 'The Seinfeld Chronicles' should just be relegated to an alternate dimension along with Ally.

For 'The Sopranos', it was an FBI agent who went undercover to become buddies with Adriana La Cerva. After filming a few scenes for the season ender with Fairuza Balk in the role, David Chase re-thought where he wanted to take that character and decided to recast the role. So out went Fairuza without even the benefit of having her contribution acknowledged as a DVD extra.

If you have these episodes of 'Seinfeld' and 'The Sopranos' on tape - don't lose them! You've got rarities that might be worth something someday.

One idea I had for both these "recastaways" was that they were both examples of the active involvement of a Higher Power in the cosmos of Toobworld. Of course, going back in Time to recreate the original souls into new corporeal beings would be an admission of fallibility. I don't think the Church would be too happy with me if I pushed it.....

The reason I'm yammering on about all of this bleep is because another rerun actually became a news item this past week.

Last Thursday, CBS repeated an episode of 'The Price Is Right' from December. But nobody at the network thought to review the tape, so while all the cable news networks were covering the devestating horrors from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bob Barker was offering up as the big Showcase prize - a trip to New Orleans!


And the winner was ecstatic that her bid for that trip won.

Maybe she had no choice.

Maybe this wasn't a repeat within the framework of the TV Universe. It could have been an episode of the show from the Evil Mirror Universe, where the audience gets its entertainment jollies from knowing the "winner" will have to spend her dream vacation in a hell-hole like the deluged Big Easy.

But yeah.... as far as the Real World goes, this was a major bleep-up. And somewhere there's another network executive who will probably be nibbled to death by ducks.


Monday, September 12, 2005


'Doctor Who' is back on Earth!

Fifteen years after the last regular episode, six years after the one TV movie for the Eighth Doctor, we've had a full series of thirteen episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Incarnation.

The final episode for this year has aired, signaling the end of Eccleston's tenure and marking the debut of David Tennant in the role.

And so to celebrate, most of my essays and all of the Crossovers will be dedicated to the Doctor for the rest of the summer.

Be forewarned: In my essays during this summer salute to 'Doctor Who', there will be spoilers for each of the episodes, especially in regard to summaries.....

Location: The Gamestation (formerly Satellite 5)
Date: 200,100
Enemy: Daleks

The Doctor wakes up in the Big Brother house during an eviction, Rose wakes up on the Weakest Link with the Annedroid and Captain Jack gets a make over with Trin-E and Zu-Zana. However everything is not what it seems!
[Thanks to]

The Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack have to fight for their lives on board the Game Station. But a far more dangerous threat is lurking, just out of sight. The Doctor realises that the entire human race has been blinded to the threat on its doorstep, and Armageddon is fast approaching.
[Thanks to The Doctor Who Reference Guide]



An actual crossover instead of just the theoretical ones I've been selling all summer long!

And these three shows - the game show 'The Weakest Link', the reality competition show 'Big Brother', and the reality wardrobe program 'What Not To Wear' - can have a presence in Toobworld as well as in the Real World.

Previous examples which set the precedent would be 'Password' and 'Let's Make A Deal' ('The Odd Couple'), 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' ('Spin City'), and 'Jeopardy' (Heavens to Martindale! Too many examples to list!).

And apparently these three shows not only exist in the TV Universe, they will survive thousands of years into the future. And as such, Anne Robinson, Davina McCall, Trinny Woodall, and Susannah Constantine will have achieved a sense of immortality. Their vocal patterns and personality engrams will have been preserved to be re-used in the androids of these shows.

A conversation between the Doctor and Lynda with a Y also revealed a treasure trove of other shows presented by the Gamestation, among them 'Bear In The House' which sounds like a lot of fun.

I'm thinking, however, that it was a show that one of the Doctor's earlier incarnations might have watched, not this version. (My choice? I guess Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.) I don't think Number Nine was around long enough between regeneration and his first meeting with Rose to have developed a fondness for the show. Still, there is plenty of off-screen time between certain episodes in which the Doctor and Rose might have watched it together.

The use of the robots rather than the real people was a cute idea and must have been a fun visual for the kids. But they could have used the actual hostesses as either clones or as holograms (a la the movies "Looker" and "S1m0ne").

Anyway, that had to be the simplest connection I've ever had to make in this series, with only the 'Blue Peter'/"Aliens Of London" connection to equal it. Maybe that's why it took me over a week to finally hunker down and write it out!




After all of the Television that I've seen, and after all that I've had to read about the medium, (and since becoming a Toobworld Caretaker, I've had to read far more than I've actually had to watch), I guess it could be said that I've become jaded about it all.

It's not unusual for me to watch a crime drama and be able to guess the outcome before the first comercial break. If we're talking 'Monk', I can usually do that before the opening credits. (But then again, I don't think we watch 'Monk' for the mystery, but instead for the wonderful characterizations.)

When it comes to the new show 'Reunion', I might have even pegged the solution to the whole season's msytery within the first five minutes. (I'll post about it later today. If I'm right, then I'll have it set in stone. If I'm wrong - and let's face it, I often am! - then I won't be able to deny it later.)

So when a great piece of Television comes my way - that confluence of writing, direction, and acting, - I get overwhelmed with emotion. I find myself at the edge of my seat, pumping my fist in the air in celebration of what I'm watching.

It doesn't often happen. The last time was the ending for the penultimate episode of 'Lost' last season; when the survivors launched the raft. (Oh! Add a great musical score to the ingredients for that perfect scene!) The revelation about Locke in the "Walkabout" episode of that same series was another such moment.

Before that, I think it would have to be a handful of scenes from 'The West Wing' during Aaron Sorkin's reign on the show.

That wave of emotion swept over me this morning as I watched my tape of last night's presentation of 'Slings & Arrows' on the Sundance Channel. (I work overnights, so I have to tape everything from Prime Time while I'm taking my nappies.)

"Playing The Swan" was the sixth and final episode of the series' first season. (In Canada, the show aired back in 2003, and its second "season" seems to consist of just one episode.) For the American viewers, I'd declare that the wait was worth it.

It could be that my all-too-brief experience in theatre might have influenced how I felt. But as the actors and crew of the New Burbage Theatre Festival poured their hearts and souls into the opening night production of "Hamlet", I could feel myself choking up with emotion.

When talking about the many characters on this show, each of the actors thoroughly inhabited their roles. Despite having seen Paul Gross in all of those 'Due South' episodes, he was Geoffrey Tennant to me in this show.

But when it comes to the acting within the acting, I think the material of Shakespeare's play exceeded the grasp of their characters' abilities. This was probably intentional, especially after all of the difficulties they had to overcome to get the play on stage.

And it was that concerted effort to throw themselves into making the play the thing, overcoming all obstacles, that caught up the theatre audience (and the audience viewing at home) to ride that wave with them.

When "Markhael", my inside source for the new version of 'Doctor Who', went to Montreal on vacation, I asked them to find me this series on DVD up there. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful, and I don't see any indication that it's available.

But if it ever does get released on disk, I'm getting myself a copy as soon as it's available. That's how strongly I loved this show.

And if the Sundance Channel does see fit to rerun the series, I'd urge my own "audience" to watch it. There's no sensation like seeing the madness in others, and then finding yourself envious of that madness.


Sunday, September 11, 2005


Of all the characters from Toobworld who might have been invoked during this horrible tragedy in New Orleans, I might have expected mention of the detectives from 'Bourbon Street Beat'. Even the grave of 'Yancy Derringer' might have been considered when we saw the coffins brought to the surface by the waters.

But even I never would have foreseen this.....

From Craig Crawford:

Before we buy the claims of politicians that there was no way to predict or prevent the sinking of New Orleans, it's worth asking how Mr. Bill knew?

That's right, the hapless clay figure once featured on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" starred in an eerily prophetic public service announcement earlier this year to raise awareness about the environmental conditions that could lead to a hurricane drowning the city.

I'll just add to that mention of Maureen Dowd's piece in the New York Times that federal money for fixing the levees was slashed by at least 120 million bucks, while 165 million dollars was allocated for building a bridge to an uninhabited island off of Alaska.

So "they" knew there was a way to prevent this tragedy. "They" just don't want you to know they stole the means.

Just sayin', is all.




"Two actors from a real musical will be performing on a fake talk show which is part of a real soap opera.
Cheyenne Jackson and Jenn Gambatese from the Elvis-inspired musical "All Shook Up" will perform a song from the musical on Erica Kane's fictional talk show on the daytime drama 'All My Children'. "

The episode was announced as airing on September 14. However, if there were any pre-empted episodes due to coverage of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans, it would probably be pushed back a bit.

If you're that interested in seeing it, it might be wise to watch the show all week. Just to be sure you catch it........



Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of 'Gunsmoke'. I have to admit it's a little disconcerting to think that this sturdy old warhorse of a TV show is younger than I am!

Hundreds of fans have gathered this weekend in Dodge City, Kansas, to mark the occasion, although none of the surviving cast members are expected to be there.

(At 82, James Arness apparently isn't well enough to travel anymore. I haven't heard any reasons why Dennis Weaver or Buck Taylor won't be there.)

Having a life-span of 20 seasons, 'Gunsmoke' is the longest running series ever, although it will more than likely be surpassed one day by either 'The Simpsons' or the original 'Law & Order'.

And yet in all that time, it was pretty insular as far as the rest of the TV Universe was concerned. It only had one spin-off, 'Dirty Sally', and that oddity lasted less than a season.

So any other connections to Toobworld's other denizens has to be based on conjecture.

For instance:
Dirty Sally's traveling companion across the Western frontier was an ex-gunslinger named Cyrus Pike. It's my belief that Pike was the identical half-brother of Jeff Sonnett. (Such things are possible with tele-genetics!)

Jeff Sonnett was travelling with his grandfather, Will Sonnett, in search of his father, James Sonnett, a notorious gunslinger. To bolster my claim, I like to point out that on 'The Guns of Will Sonnett', James Sonnett was shooting off more than just his guns across the wild, wild West.

And Cyrus Pike would be the founder of the family tree which would lead to Christopher Pike, the captain of the starship Enterprise before James T. Kirk ('Star Trek').

Back in Dodge, based on the town's history in the "Trueniverse", I posited a theory back in August ("Bat/Matt Begins") that US Marshal Dillon's office was right across the street from that of the town sheriff, a position that was held by Bat Masterson.

And if we consider the definitive Bat Masterson of Toobworld to be played by Gene Barry, then we're very well connected to the rest of the TV Land frontier thanks to the fourth 'Gambler' TV movie. "The Luck Of The Draw' featured plenty of the characters from the shows that once ruled the Warner Brothers stable.

So here's a tip o' the Stetson to 'Gunsmoke' which ruled the CBS airwaves for 20 years and is still popular in TV Land reruns. I think of it as the cornerstone in the depiction of our American mythology, as far as the TV Universe is concerned.