Saturday, February 4, 2006


I want to take a moment to mark the passing of Al Lewis today at the age of 95. I'll have more thoughts later on the passing of the man who Brooklynized Dracula, but I wanted to make sure Toobworld tipped its hat to a very funny man as soon as possible.......

"The Munsters" (1964) TV Series .... Grandpa
"Car 54, Where Are You?" (1961) TV Series .... Officer Leo Schnauser (1961-1963)

The Mini-Munsters (1973) (TV) (voice) .... Grandpa Munster

Here Come the Munsters (1995) (TV) .... Cameo appearance
Save the Dog! (1988) (TV)
The Munsters' Revenge (1981) (TV) .... Grandpa Munster
Ring of Passion (1978) (TV) .... Mike Jacobs
The Night Strangler (1973) (TV) .... Tramp

Car 54, Where Are You? (1994) .... Leo Schnauzer
Munster, Go Home (1966) .... Grandpa Munster

"Hi Honey, I'm Home"
- Grey Skies (1991) TV Episode .... Grandpa Munster
- The Case of the Masked Avenger (1990) TV Episode .... Ring Announcer
"Best of the West"
- They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 2 (1981) TV Episode .... Judge
- They're Hanging Parker Tillman: Part 1 (1981) TV Episode .... Judge
- On the Job: Part 2 (1981) TV Episode .... Night Watchman
"Here's Lucy"
- Lucy Plays Cops and Robbers (1973) TV Episode .... Lionel Barker
"Love, American Style"
- Love and the Amateur Night/Love and the Cheaters/Love and the Love Nest/Love and the Unbearable Fiance (1972) TV Episode .... (segment "Love and the Love Nest")
"Green Acres"
- Star Witness (1971) TV Episode .... Charlie
"Night Gallery"
- Make Me Laugh (1971) TV Episode .... Myron Mishkin
"The Jackie Gleason Show"
... aka The Honeymooners (USA: rerun title)
- Episode #4.15 (1970) TV Episode .... Himself

"Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."
- Hit and Write (1968) TV Episode .... Harry Whipple
"Lost in Space"
- Rocket to Earth (1967) TV Episode .... Zalto
"Route 66"
- A Long Way from St. Louie (1963) TV Episode .... Wait
"Naked City"
- No Naked Ladies in Front of Giovanni's House! (1963) TV Episode .... Mr. Carrari
- ...And If Any Are Frozen, Warm Them... (1962) TV Episode .... Mr. Tanner
- The Pedigree Sheet (1960) TV Episode (as Albert Lewis) .... Gus
- Ten Cent Dreams (1959) TV Episode
"The Phil Silvers Show"
- The Weekend Colonel (1959) TV Episode .... Bruno
- Bilko's Credit Card (1959) TV Episode .... Mike
"The United States Steel Hour"
- Trouble-in-Law (1959) TV Episode (as Albert Lewis) .... Paul Gordon
- Queen of Diamonds (1959) TV Episode .... Chi Chi
[thanks to the]

BCnU, Grandpa.....


If you know how fanatical I can get regarding the concept of the TV Universe, hopefully you'll understand why I felt so light-headed as the latest episode of 'Monk' began.

To establish the scene, we were shown outside a museum in San Francisco. It was the MacMillan Museum, at which the Crowther Collection was being shown, including the Alexander Diamond.

The MacMillan Museum! In San Francisco!

Immediately the gears began turning - Rock Hudson played the Police Commissioner of San Francisco back in the 1970s and his name was Stuart -#

This is where the gears locked up. He played Stuart McMillan. Not Stuart MacMillan.

I went into denial; tried googling "Stuart MacMillan" in connection to Rock Hudson, but got no hits. Site is swarming with "Stuart McMillan" mentions, though.

And then I thought - well, maybe there was a gaffe at the sign company who made the -# And then I gave up; it just wasn't worth it.

Because if Mr. Monk had arrived at that museum, knowing it was named for former Police Commissioner McMillan (whom he probably met), then he never would have made it inside to invetigate the diamond theft. He would have been still outside, kvelling about the misprint in the sign.

But it would have been nice to make the link. Here's how I saw it play out:

Before he died, Stuart "MacMillan" revised his will to endow the museum in memory of his late wife, Sally. Or it could have been funded by his mother's estate, if Stuart "MacMillan" was still alive. (Just because the actor dies, it doesn't always mean the character dies as well.)

But it's all just a daydream. One small letter makes all the difference.

Oh well, you can't win them all.



[first broadcast 11/09/05]

While the BAU team was temporarily stumped over why someone was killing families who were supposed to be on vacation, Special Agent Jason Gideon said:

"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

(Or at least a near paraphrasing of that original quote.)

Special Agent Derek Morgan understood the origin of the quote, but dismissed it:

"Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character."

I don't know if they cut back to show Gideon's reaction or not, but I can picture him with a quiet, knowing smile about Morgan's claim. No matter which world you're in, even the Trueniverse, people make that assumption all the time - that Holmes was a literary creation of Arthur Conan Doyle who lived only in the pages of the Strand.

Here in the Real World, the organization known as the Baker Street Irregulars knows the Truth - Holmes lived; Dr. Watson wrote the stories based on their true-life adventures; and Conan Doyle served merely as their literary agent, but for which he eventually became linked to the authorship of the stories. After about 120 years of this view holding sway, most of the world thinks of Holmes as being fictional (even if many still write to him at 221B Baker Street, hoping he might solve their problems).

And that's just the way Sherlock Holmes most likely preferred it.

He tried on his own in the past to just disappear from the public stage several times, usually in connection with a case of high import like the destruction of Professor Moriarty's web of a criminal empire. But somehow, despite extensive globe-trotting under the assumed name of Sigerson, no matter where he went his fame was always close behind. He could never escape it. It hindered him; hobbled his pursuits and he tired of it all.

There would have been only one person capable of helping Sherlock Holmes to completely erase the notoriety of his life so that he might pass among the populace undeterred by his preceding fame - and that would be his older brother with a far greater intelligence, Mycroft Holmes.

Although his position was never fully revealed, Mycroft served as some kind of advisor to the Crown. More than likely he was truly the "power behind the throne", an entire National Security Agency all rolled into one man.

And he had been successful in keeping his contributions to the world a secret from almost everyone. To the public eye, he was a retired gentleman of means who spent his days idling at the Diogenes Club in Pall Mall. But in fact, his massive intellect was trained on the kingdom's safety in the face of a looming threat as Europe grew ever more like a powderkeg with the dawn of the 20th Century fast approaching.

Mycroft's analytical mind foresaw that war would be inevitable, and if the entire world was a giant chessboard, Mycroft meant to stay many moves ahead in planning. He saw the need for his brother's services decades into the future, but for which Sherlock would have to go undercover to establish a new identity.

For that, Sherlock Holmes would have to be "disappeared", as if he had never even existed, in fact. And so Sherlock became the Victorian version of 'The Nowhere Man'.

The groundwork had already been laid. Even though the stories chronicling his cases had been written by his friend John Watson in the first person, they always were presented in the Strand Magazine with the name of Arthur Conan Doyle affixed as the author. In fact, he only served as the go-between the publisher and his aquaintance, a fellow doctor.

Mycroft built on this; feeding the public image of his brother as just a fictional character while Sherlock weaned himself from society. He stopped working cases, moved away to Sussex, and used the time in preparation for his work to prevent a world-wide war. To keep his mind clear and to avoid the boredom that might have led him back to the seven percent solution of cocaine, Sherlock studied bees and learned the longevity secrets of the royal jelly.

And all the while, he quickly faded from the memory of the people of London as having lived there at all. As for those whose lives touched upon his (Watson, Mycroft, Mrs. Hudson, Inspector Lestrade), their fame had always been reflected in that of Holmes. So while his fame diminished over time, theirs faded even more quickly. In some cases, it was completely snuffed out. And none of them saw anything untoward in their blending back into the anonymity of the general populace.

So that's why there is no Zonk! in the statement made by Special Agent Morgan. As far as he was concerned, Sherlock Holmes had been fictional and yet the Great Detective actually existed back in the 19th Century and well into the early decades of the 20th.

Is Holmes still alive? Well, in some alternate dimensions of Toobworld, yes. In at least two of those worlds, Holmes found himself cryogenically preserved, only to be revived in the latter part of the 20th Century. Over in the Tooniverse, he didn't come back into play until the 22nd Century!

But I think reality has to be observed when it comes to Earth Prime-Time. Despite the amazing extensions made to his lifespan by the royal jelly, eventually (as it does for all men) Death came for Charles Fost- er, Sherlock Holmes.

And how can we be certain of this? Because for the main TV Universe, Jeremy Brett WAS Sherlock Holmes, despite the fact that others before him - like Ronald Howard and Peter Cushing, - assayed the role on Television. And with the death of Brett, we should consider Holmes to have eventually passed away as well.....


"It's not who you are, it's who people think you are."
Sheriff Lucas Buck
'American Gothic'


In hopes that some producer might think of using fictional products from other shows (and thus help create new links between shows), here are some recent items I've culled from various TV series in the last few weeks:

KBC Systems - made defective body armor

World Magazine
"Trois Anges (The Life And Death Of A French Village") - article by Eleanora Hunt

"Thicker Than Water" - movie based on the Crumbs' life

The Rough Sex - a girl band

Pox Network
"Dr. Danger" tv show

"Lesbian Prison Stories" - a paperback book

Moores Bank

National Justice Project
KYOQ - radio station in Oakland
"The Prosecution Files" - TV show
Black Network Television
Wade played for an "SP" team - San Pedro?
Cruz Delgado was drafted by the Oakland A's in 1998.

The Green Phantom (a comic book character)
Mothwoman (ditto)

"Richer Than God" by Daniel Thorne
The Vegas Voice - Las Vegas newspaper

The Recovery Channel, a cable tv network

NY Daily Globe - newspaper (episode: Search for the Flying Saucers)

Smack-A-Doodles - breakfast cereal
What's Up, Wisconsin? - TV show

And if you find anything of trivial interest in the shows you watch, let me know. I can't catch everything and can always use the help!


Friday, February 3, 2006


I realize I'm very late with this - here it is, Black History Month, and I'm talking about a Christmas special! But since I'm not a Gallifreyan Time Lord, I don't have the capability to personally backdate my entries.

It took far longer than expected for me to finally see this 'Doctor Who' holiday special because I just couldn't coordinate an earlier opportunity with my guardian angels, "Markhael". And then there were just so many other stories which I needed to give attention first in the last two weeks.

By the way, there will be spoilers within, so proceed if you dare.

Anywho, here it is.

First let me assure the Americans who won't see this for awhile that, despite being a sci-fi holiday special, there is nothing on a par with the 'Star Wars' atrocity from nearly thirty years ago.
When this special was being filmed, I read some behind-the-scenes reports about the scene in the town center. There was mention that one of the props dressing the set was a copy of a newspaper that had as its headline: "Footballer's Wife In Sex Scandal". (Or something to that effect.)

That was pretty exciting - I thought I had a lock on a link between 'Doctor Who' and 'Footballers' Wives'. But I kept an eye out for a shot of it in those scenes when the "pilot fish" show up, but if it was there, I missed it. Seems to me it was just an attention to detail in case the camera did happen to pick up a shot of it in the chaos.
I was happy to see that nothing in the special negated my assertion that the mention of Arthur Dent by the Doctor was a legitimate crossover. I always hate having to go back and rescind a previously declared crossover of the week.

Which is what I had to do the last time the Doctor and Rose visited stateswoman Harriet Jones of Flydale North (in the episodes "Aliens In London" and "World War Three"). Because those episodes saw the Prime Minister (presumably Tony Blair) assassinated and Big Ben demolished, they no longer could jibe with the established view of the world in either Earth Prime or Earth Prime-Time.

When I did a weekly spotlight over the summer on each episode of the revived 'Doctor Who', I tried to place that story in the same dimension as 'The West Wing'. But as was rightly pointed out to me by Will Devine, 'The West Wing' established a different female Prime Minister for that dimension at the same time when Harriet Jones should hold the post.

I finally settled on the dimension in which three TV series now exist - 'The Agency', 'The District', and 'Prison Break'. (You can read those essays here and here.)

Because of some innate sense of cosmic balance with the TARDIS, the Doctor and Rose once again arrived in this dimension when their counterparts had departed it for another. And since the Doctor was incapacitated for much of the adventure, and since Rose, Jackie, and Mickey wouldn't have noticed the difference, all of them acted as if they truly did belong in each other's lives.

(By this point in Time, Rose probably knew this wasn't her true Mom and best friend if Harriet Jones was Prime Minister, but she was savvy enough not to rock their alt. world by telling them.)

For all I know, that dimension's Doctor and Rose will spend Christmas 2006 with the Jackie Tyler of the main Toobworld.
If we do assume there to be an alternate dimension for TV sketch comedy, there must be a connection to this episode, thanks to one of the Sycorax pilot fish that took on the appearance of a Christmas tradition. One of the most memorable sketches to come out of the original incarnation of 'Saturday Night Live' was "Killer Christmas Trees", and the whirling dervish of a terrible Tannenbaum might have found inspiration in that alternate dimension.

(Thanks to a Lenny Henry sketch and the Comic Relief vignette "The Curse Of Fatal Death", we know the Doctor would exist in that world.)
Every writer for 'Doctor Who' should have the option to bring something new to the character that was never revealed before. That's how we got the whole concept of Gallifrey and the other Time Lords, and regeneration. But it shouldn't feel too jarring a concept, as if it came out of left field. That's the sensation I got from the 8th Doctor's declaration that he was part himan in the 1996 TV movie; the same uneasiness I felt watching the 6th Doctor go through his crazy spell after regeneration.

It happened again this time, during the battle with the Sycorax leader. The Doctor's fightin' hand was sliced off. But because he was still within the 15 hour safety zone of his regeneration, he was able to grow a new one.

It just didn't feel kosher, not that I know if they keep kosher on Gallifrey or not. But now it provides a crutch for future Doctors to pull off weird amendments to their regenerations as well.
We got our second mention of 'Torchwood' in the series. (The first was by the Anne Droid during that futuristic version of 'The Weakest Link'.) We learned that Torchwood is an organization so highly classified that not even the Prime Minister is supposed to know about them.

They are the Black Ops group who will be operating out of Cardiff in their own spinoff series, as they rush to protect Great Britain's interests in UFO and alien activity before UNIT or America's CIA can get involved.
To defeat the Sycorax, Torchwood utilized an alien device they recovered from an incident ten years before. I'm not sure if that was meant to refer to the chronology of 'Doctor Who' or not. In the Real World, we got the TV movie of 'Doctor Who' in 1996, but it took place at the dawn of the new Millennium.

It might be interesting to look at the timelines for such shows as 'The X-Files', 'Stargate SG-1', and the various 'Star Trek' series to see if there's anything that might correlate to the energy beam used by Torchwood.
Somehow Captain Jack Harkness will be brought back from the Future where we last saw him so that he will come a new member of Team Torchwood. And considering what Torchwood did to bleep off the Doctor, I think it might be likely that he's responsible for escorting Jack back in Time to serve as his mole within that organization.

But I could be wrong. I often am. Maybe we'll find out once 'Torchwood debuts next year.
Of course, if the world of Harriet Jones is in an alternate dimension, that probably means I have to leave 'Torchwood' behind in that dimension as well. It all depends on whether or not we see the Prime Minister again during the run of the series.
For the true 'Who' aficionado, I'd guess the scene in the TARDIS wardrobe room was a high point, as the 10th Doctor picked out his new duds to fit his new look and personality. We got to see the clothes worn by the 3rd Doctor and maybe a pork-pie hat and a long scarf as well. (I only got to see that scene once so far, so I can't be certain on those.)

I like the new look for the Doctor. It's a stylish updating for the 21st Century that still suggests the flow of the 4th Doctor's comically bohemian look. It's distinctive without standing out too much from those around him - when he's among the people of Earth, at any rate. He should be able to blend in with most places he visits on Earth within 100 years in either direction from the present.
When this finally comes out on DVD, it better include the vignette from last year's "Children In Need" telethon as part of the story!
Well, that was my take on 'The Christmas Invasion'. Just a little while longer and the new series will begin, and I already know of one link I'm hoping to make - with 'Red Dwarf'!



Not being familiar with Wendy Wasserstein's work, I didn't feel comfortable commenting on it in terms of her TV contributions. I knew who she was, what she wrote, what her plays were basically about, but I never saw them to familiarize myself with them.

So now Virginia Heffernan has done an excellent job of looking back at the work Ms. Wasserstein did on TV since 1979, with adaptations of her own plays as well as new versions of stories by the likes of John Cheever. You can read it here.

Here, from the, are a list of most of her TV credits....

An American Daughter (2000) (TV) (play An American Daughter) (teleplay)
The Heidi Chronicles (1995) (TV) (play The Heidi Chronicles) (teleplay)
Kiss-Kiss, Dahlings! (1992) (TV)
Sam Found Out: A Triple Play (1988) (TV) (written by) (segment 2)
3 by Cheever: The Sorrows of Gin (1979) (TV)
Uncommon Women... and Others (1979) (TV) (also play)

Broadway: The Next Generation (2006) (filming)
Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (2003) .... Herself
"The Rosie O'Donnell Show"
- Episode dated 5 June 2001 (2001) TV Episode .... Herself
The Beatles Revolution (2000) (TV) .... Herself
AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (2000) (TV) .... Herself
The 51st Annual Tony Awards (1997) (TV) .... Author of "An American Daughter"
"Where's Elvis This Week?"
- Episode #1.4 (????) TV Episode .... Herself
New Passages (1996) (TV) .... Herself
"Late Show with David Letterman"

- Episode dated 27 December 1993 (1993) TV Episode .... Herself



Simon Cowell and NBC have teamed up to find "the next great Las Vegas headliner". This new show is planned for the summer, and NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly (not to be confused with Enterprise helmsman Kevin Thomas Riley on 'Star Trek') has promised that it will give "a shot of adrenaline to the variety format."

They'll be looking for performers in other categories besides singers, including comics, magicians, ventriloquists (I hope!), animal acts, and "novelty acts."

Cowell says, "Personally, I hope to find the next Siegfried and Roy." Presumably so he can watch the lion eat the next William Hung.

NBC is offering as the grand prize the chance to be the featured act in a Las Vegas showroom. But they have as of yet not chosen the venue to be the setting. It could be a trick - there are car dealers in Las Vegas and they have showrooms......

I think it should be obvious where this featured act should play - in the Montecito on an episode of 'Las Vegas'! Last year, they did a blended lead-in from 'Fear Factor' to 'Las Vegas', so this isn't too far out of the range of possibility.

But even better..... 'CSI' should now spoof the idea and have the featured act murdered before he/she/them/it ever gets its turn in the Sin City spotlight.

I would have suggested it should be the Roman-a-clef Simon Cowell stand-in, but after seeing the "real thing" go down in "Scary Movie 3"......

Accept no substitutes!


Thursday, February 2, 2006


Okay, I'm supposed to be all about the fictional reality of Toobworld; I should leave the stuff that happens on talk shows to others more capable of dealing with it. But I can't help it.

I also like to run with scissors.

According to Harvey Weinstein, who produced "Mrs. Henderson Presents", Dame Judi Dench was snubbed by three big morning shows when she was promoting the movie for which she's been nominated for an Oscar. And why? Allegedly because of her age. Weinstein claims 'Good Morning, America', 'Today', and 'The View' all refused to have her on the show because, at 71, she didn't fit their target demographics.

I don't think he has much of a case against 'The View'; not when that show's High Priestess is a walking blipvert for Depends.

But at least with 'Today', I think he's got a point. However, Lauren Kapp, a spokeswoman for the 'Today' show, saidd: "We've been honored to have Dame Judi Dench as a guest countless times over the years. In this case we weren't able to offer coverage of her new movie. We look forward to seeing her again on 'Today' soon."

They couldn't find room to give her movie one measly segment to plug it, and yet when 'The Producers' came out, - and which got less than stellar reviews, - 'Today' was able to do segments on the movie for at least three consecutive days just before Christmas.

The only upside to that is that Nathan Lane cut Katie Couric down to size for being so artificially maudlin and fawning on the Friday morning when he appeared. (I won't say he ripped her a new one - the last thing we need is a split-screen of her getting two colonoscopies at the same time!)

You could tell she was being manipulative in order to eke out some pathos regarding Mel Brooks and the loss of his wife, Anne Bancroft. But with her attempt to tug at the heart-strings at the end of the interview, Homey wasn't going to play dat game.

Hey! I said "Homey"!

She said something about how nice it was that with this movie, Mel Brooks would have something he could hold in his hand at the end of the day. Lane screwed up his face and said to the effect of: "Hold in his hand at the end of the day? What have you been drinking? Don't you get enough sleep at night?"

Gaaah. God help CBS if they hire her to be the anchor for their nightly news!


Full disclosure - After opening night for a Broadway play Dame Judi was doing right across the street from where I work, some of her friends passed through our lobby to give us the leftover custard tarts from the backstage party. "Courtesy of Dame Judi", we were told.

But this is NOT a case of tit for tart.


Great news! Thom Holbrook has updated his site!

Huzzah hooray!

His celebration of "Crossovers & Spinoffs" (you'll find the link up near the top of the list to the left) is one of the best online. It really goes deep into the method to the madness of linking certain shows together.

But it had not been updated since back in August of last year, and I was afraid he might have lost the interest needed in keeping track of this ever-expanding concept in Television. However, near the end of last month he posted some new additions to the site, and it's a pretty good collection to mark his return:

Article Added 01/26/06 --> The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air crosses over with Blossom.
Article Added 01/26/06 --> Beavis And Butt-head cross over with The Head.
Article Added 01/26/06 --> The Drew Carey show crosses over with Norm/The Norm Show.
Article Added 01/26/06 --> Gilligan's Island evloves into The Real Gilligan's Island
Article Added 01/26/06 --> Strange Luck name drops The X-Files
Article Added 01/26/06 --> The Surreal Life spawns some Strange Love

Here's hoping it's just the beginning of regular updates!

I just looked in at Crossovers & Spinoffs, and Thom has added even more crossovery goodness in the last two days. Check it out; he has a fun way of looking at this venerable building block for the TV Universe!



I finally got hold of the boxed set for 'Nowhere Man', the last show before the current 'Lost' for which I got so fixated. The show debuted around the same time as my introduction to the Internet, and the combination led me to spend hours in the AOL bbs for the show.

I wish now I had kept the transcripts of everything I wrote about each episode to see how my ideas then held up.

At any rate, tracking it down has led me to switch my allegiance in retail DVD buying from the Virgin Megastore to FYE. FYE at least had it in stock. And the other DVDs I picked up were cheaper than they were listed over at Virgin.

(I know - I could have made it even easier - and most likely, cheaper - for myself, had I bought them online at Amazon or wherever. But my wallet was all the way over on the other side of the apartment, and I was already so comfortably ensconced if front of the computer....)

'Cheyenne' - As was the case with my purchase of 'Maverick' last week, this has only three episodes on it. Despite the fact that the show is on weekly on the American Life network, I'm not familiar with any of these three. But I know which one I would have liked to have seen on here - "The Dark Rider" with Diane Brewster as Samantha Crawford, a character she would go on to play in several episodes of 'Maverick'.

At any rate, it was at least a dollar less at FYE.

Looking at the cover of the disc, I can't help but see an echo of Jake Gyllenhaal from 'Brokeback Mountain' in Clint Walker's pose and expression. Without going the same route as that movie, I could see Gyllenhaal playing a modern-day descendant of Cheyenne Bodie should the day ever come when he turns to TV work.

I'm not saying that he can't play it the same way he played Jack Twist, not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that it would have been a case of "been there, done Heath" already.

And finally there's the two-disc/twenty episode box of 'The Beverly Hillbillies', which cost only 9 bucks. The boxed set for 'Entourage' has only eight episodes and it costs 40 quatloos. I suppose it'll come down to 9 bucks once it's been around for 40 years.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a die-hard fan of the show or anything, but it'll be nice here at Toobworld Central to pop in an episode if ever I feel the need, and not have to worry about sitting through the commercials and the sacrilegious editing of the show by TV Land (who's supposed to be preserving our Television Heritage).

My only regret is that my favorite episode, "The Giant Jack-Rabbit", isn't in the collection.



Okay, so now there's a reason why I'm not likin' this whole new CW out of the ashes of The WB + UPN thing - 'Cult', a drama pilot has been dropped from the new network's development slate. According to The "Hollywood Reporter", 'Cult', which was originally sold to The WB, was to be about an addictive TV series that starts to manipulate the behavior of its fans.

Maybe it didn't have long-range potential? I'll be the first to admit that it sounds like 'The X-Files' could have squeezed a two-parter out of the concept at best. That's all the more reason why the networks should start thinking in terms of short-run series like the BBC.

At any rate, 'Cult' sounds cool. I would have loved to have seen that and then maybe try to find a way to hypothetically link it to other shows. For instance, what type of behavior are we talking about? Jumping on Oprah's couch crazy behavior? Dangling your own kid off a balcony to show your fans wacko?

Once we knew what type of behavioral abnormalities arose from watching this TV show, I bet there would have been quite a few TV characters past or present who would have fit the bill as viewers of that TV show.

But now we'll never know.

Who knows? There's always hope. The pilot for 'More, Patience' has been reworked yet again for a third go-round in five years, so maybe Rockne S. O'Bannon, who created 'Cult' and who was behind 'Farscape' as well, can find some other network to take a gamble on it.

And maybe they should re-think it to be a short-term series, like 'Revelations' was.



This year, the TV Crossover Hall of Fame is celebrating the original series in the 'Law & Order' franchise; every inductee has been a regular on that show and has made appearances in at least two other series or TV movies.

Last month we kicked off the theme with a tribute to the late, great Lennie Briscoe. And for February we mark Black History Month with the induction of Lt. Anita Van Buren, who was in charge at the 2-7.

Lt. Van Buren is the longest running African American character in an American television drama. And with Jerry Orbach's departure from the series in 2004 [after playing the role of Detective Lennie Briscoe for twelve years], S. Epatha Merkerson, who played the role, is now the longest-running cast member. She joined the series as Lt. Anita Van Buren in 1993 at the beginning of the show's fourth season.

But longevity in a role, while notable, counts for nothing when it comes to membership in the Crossover Hall of Fame. For that, a character must have appeared in three separate productions, whether a TV series, a TV movie, or even in a commercial or cartoon production.

And Lt. Anita Van Buren more than fulfills the requirements.

"Law & Order" .... Lt. Anita Van Buren (1993-)
Exiled (1998) (TV) .... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
- Badge (2002) TV Episode .... Lt. Anita Van Buren
- Stress Position (2005) TV Episode .... Lt. Anita Van Buren

"Law & Order: Trial by Jury"
- Skeleton (2005) TV Episode .... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren

Ms. Merkerson has even played the role of Van Buren in video games:
Law & Order: Dead On the Money (2002) (VG) (voice) .... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren
Law & Order II: Double or Nothing (2003) (VG) (voice) .... Lieutenant Anita Van Buren

Even though she is now assured of "immortality" within this small shrine to the TV Universe, Lt. Van Buren still has a chance to add to her credits. She has still 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' in which she could make an appearance; and 'Conviction' begins in the spring.

The Dick Wolf corner of the TV Universe has made it a regular practice to replace cast members. And after a dozen years, Lt. Van Buren may seem vulnerable for "retirement". But Ms. Merkerson is coming off a fantastic year with her work in "Lackawanna Blues" on HBO, and 'Law & Order' might be wise to take advantage of that by giving her more of a chance to shine on the show.

Just sayin' is all.....



There's a series running over in Great Britain called 'Life On Mars', which is about a Manchester cop who finds himself thrust back in time to 1973. And his knowledge of the scientific methods used in the future don't always help him as he tries to adjust to life as a cop in the past.

In the episode shown this past week, the cop (Sam Tyler) got to meet one of his heroes in rock 'n' roll, Marc Bolan of T. Rex. As this happened about five years before Bolan's demise in a car accident, Sam Tyler risked screwing up the established timeline by giving Bolan advice that could have prevented his pre-ordained fate.

"Be careful driving," said Sam. "Especially in Minis."

Obviously Marc Bolan didn't heed the warning, because in Toobworld he still remains dead. How do we know? None of those chronovorous monsters from the 'Doctor Who' episode "Father's Day" showed up to devour the wound in Time.

Whatever Sam Tyler has been doing in the past, so far it hasn't caused any major upheaval in the established chronology of the world. Whatever outcomes do occur because of his interference, they must have already been established as occurring; all he did was to alter slightly the means to those ends.

We'll have to wait and see if he eventually does change History in a major way. And then when those chronovores ("reapers") don't show up, we'll just have to thunk up some kind of splainin to cover the gaffe.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Jay Leno, in one of his monologues last week for 'The Tonight Show', talked about the visit by President Bush to the National Security Agency's ultra-secret headquarters:

"Awkward moment: Bush asked to see the Cone of Silence."

For the audience viewing at home, this was just Leno making a joke using a 'Get Smart' reference. But what did it mean for the audience viewing within Toobworld? After all, 'The Tonight Show' has played a fictional part in a variety of shows, from 'Cheers' to 'Columbo'.

There's the temptation to wave it all off with a dismissive "That was just a joke on a talk show." But I can't do that and still advocate the League of Themselves as a valid component in TV crossovers. Jay Leno has made about twenty appearances as himself in Television dramas and sitcoms alike.

One would think the Cone of Silence should have been kept classified, especially in this day and age of homeland security issues. But the spy agency that used it, CONTROL, never did have the best track record when it came to keeping their existence a secret from the general public. Telephone operators knew of it, so did delivery boys. Based on 'Police Squad!', probably the guy running the local shoeshine stand knew all about it as well.

Years ago, CONTROL was temporarily disbanded and replaced by PITS. Many of its technological resources were sold off or just tossed onto the scrap heap, probably to help "Whip Inflation Now". Within the reality of Toobworld, the malfunctioning Cone of Silence probably became a symbol of governmental waste, in much the same way as $5,000 screwdrivers came to be viewed.

But at least in the case of the screwdriver and the $400 ashtray, there was a reason behind them being so expensive, as Commander Jack Reed demonstrated on 'The West Wing' when he smashed one of those $400 ashtrays....

A $400 ashtray. It's off the U.S.S. Greenville, a nuclear attack submarine and a likely target for a torpedo. When you get hit with one, you've got enough problems without glass flying into the eyes of the navigator and the Officer of the Deck.

This one's built to break into three dull pieces. We lead a slightly different life out there and it costs a little more money.

I can't believe you broke a $400 ashtray.

Yeah, I wish I hadn't done that. It's... 'cause you're blonde.

[from the episode "Process Stories"]

The Cone of Silence never worked, and this became public knowledge, more than likely due to those who collect spy paraphernalia. But the basic concept of what the device was supposed to accomplish was readily accepted by the general public as well.

Frank Barone once told his wife Marie that he needed a Cone of Silence surrounding him, per the orders of his psychiatrist. ('Everybody Loves Raymond')

John Smith wondered why he had yet to see a Cone of Silence when he was brought to a secret NSA facility and forced to help track down Bin Laden by use of his psychic powers. ('The Dead Zone')

And now both 'The Tonight Show' of the Real World and of Toobworld has mentioned it as a punchline.

The Cone of Silence has become an easily recognized pop culture reference for everything stupid done by the government.

And on this, the day of the State of the Union address, I'm guessing that within Toobworld, it's been cited quite often in the last six years.....



When I heard this story:

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) - A female ex-postal worker opened fire at a mail processing plant, killing six people before committing suicide with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said early Tuesday. One other person was listed in critical condition.

It made me think of Ken Levine's description of a character from '24':

CHLOE -- CTU agent, computer whiz, and my favorite character on television even though I often want to slap her. Could not be more snotty, could not have worse people skills. She’s the template for every US postal employee.

If so, I'm glad she spells her last name wrong. My Dad worked for the Post Office for thirty years; it gave all five O'Brien kids a shot at a college education, and his union benefits have been a huge help for Mom in her later years. But he never went postal; he'd be the last person you'd expect to do so.

Then again, he worked as a letter carrier. It seems to me that every time you hear about this kind of story, it always involves people who work inside a post office - mail sorters and the like.

On the other hand, one of my brothers is a letter carrier and I could see him succumbing to that kind of rage....

Still, I don't think I'm far off in my idea that there must be something about working indoors at a post office which triggers such a rampage.

Didn't 'The X-Files' do a story similar to this once?

At any rate, my prayers go out to the victims and their families....



On the eve of Black History Month, Coretta Scott King has passed away at the age of 78. The widow of Dr. Martin Luther King appeared in many documentaries about the civil rights movement as well as in others about the turbulent events of the 1960s.

According to the, she was portrayed three times in Toobworld:

Carmen Ejogo (Coretta Scott King)
. . . Boycott (2001) (TV)

Carol Rigg (Mrs. Coretta Scott King)
. . . "Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis" (2000) (mini) TV Series

Cicely Tyson (Coretta Scott King)
. . . "King" (1978) (mini) TV Series

Here's hoping she now has the Prize....



Recently I wrote about 'Grounded For Life', the first season of which will be out on DVD next week, February 7th. If you click on that link above, you can see several scenes from the series, as well as learn more about the production.

Check it out!



The Sunday New York Times "Week In Review" had a little fun with the concept of crossover might-have-beens. A story about the UPN/WB merger into The CW was illustrated with a crude photo montage which showed Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang on 'Smallville') in the arms of a 'Friday Night Smackdown' muscle-head.

Kryptonite as the new steroid?



Monday, January 30, 2006


Numbers are cosmic; I'm probably mistaken, but there must be something about the universe that is based on numerics. Right? No matter; stick with me on this.

Numbers surround us, and there's no better place to see proof of this in the TV Universe than in the new new Toyota Rav 4 blipvert that's currently being broadcast.

And certain combinations of numbers have great power, as we've seen on 'Lost':

"4 8 15 16 23 42"

Throughout the series, we have seen either that entire combination or subset variants play small and seemingly insignificant roles in the lives of the main survivors on 'Lost'. It stands to reason that these numbers also played a role in the lives of the other survivors we see in the background; those characters who weren't part of the cool clique, as the late Mr. Arzt might have said.

I don't think the Numbers targeted them specifically. I think the Numbers are universal. They were out there; manifesting themselves wherever they could and it was up to the individual to notice them or not.

And so it was in this week's episode of 'Veronica Mars'. On the message slip you usually find in a fortune cookie, that entire combination was Veronica's lucky set of numbers as part of her fortune. (The actual fortune? "True Love Stories Never Have Endings".)

We'll just have to wait and see if Veronica Mars has an encounter with a polar bear in Neptune, California......

Being as universal as they are, the Numbers transcend dimensional barriers. They can manifest in that combination in other universes based on Mankind's creative output.

Which is what happened a second time this week as well. In the comic book universe, the cover of "Catwoman" #51 was a mugshot of Selina Kyle as Catwoman. And the slate she was holding in the picture for identification purposes had this ID number:


For both to happen in the same week, something big might be ready to explode in the multiverse....

And doesn't it seem odd that this week's repeat of 'Lost' just happens to be "Numbers"?

Maybe Don and Charlie Eppes of 'Numb3rs' should look into this.....

But in the meantime, I'd take a look at the point spread for Sunday's Super Bowl if I wuz you......



"Most people's lives are governed by telephone numbers."



Those who enjoy TV crossovers already know that 'Boston Legal' is linked to 'Ally McBeal' by way of 'The Practice'. 'Ally' crossed over with that ABC courtroom drama which then spun off the character of Alan Shore to his own show, 'Boston Legal'.

But now we can cut out the middle man, thanks to my friend, Shirley Jordan.

Back in November when I was visiting Shirley and her family in L.A., she spent the first two days of that week working on 'Boston Legal'. And that episode finally aired this past week. She played the jury foreperson in a case involving an HMO (named WellBeing) which gave out "Too Much Information" online. And that led to the murder of one of their clients.

As is usually the case in such trials, she was not addressed by name, only as "Madame Foreperson". So she could have been just about any character Shirley may have played in the past - so long as that character wasn't living in another dimension (like her FBI receptionist on 'The West Wing' or her police officer on 'Lois & Clark'.)

But luckily enough, Shirley had a character already living in Beantown.

Nancy Sosha is a real estate agent, and in an episode of 'Ally McBeal', Ms. Sosha was showing a house in which Ally expressed interest.

As it is all over the country, residency puts your name into play for jury duty. So Ms. Sosha would have found herself in the jury pool and eventually as the foreperson of the WellBeing trial.

I was looking forward to one of my best friends being involved with the Crossover of the Week, but alas! Shirley will have to settle for runner-up status as Miss Congeniality because she got lost in the numbers......


"One lone juror.....
They should have said 'One lone dingbat'!"
Archie Bunker
'All In The Family'


So if I count that wild and crazy theory about a link between 'Monk' and 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy', (and I do, I do!), then I've posted two runners-up so far to the title of Crossover of the Week.

I still have one more to go and it features my personal favorite Miss Congeniality. And then I'll unveil the biggie.

Four crossovers in one week. I remember looking ahead about January and thinking I'd be lucky to find four crossovers to fill out the month, one each week, until the February Sweeps feast came along. I know the time will come later this year, probably during the summer, when I'll wish I had that crossover of Mice and Monk to use as the weekly showcase.

A couple of weeks ago, Brent McKee took a look at the January schedule and saw how the networks had front-loaded it with specials and short-run reality contests. And he quickly realized why - they were hoping to hook in viewers before the NBC Olympic juggernaut came along to quash everything in its path. And so that's why there was such a plethora of crossovers this week.

I'll have to go through the Catholic Online list of saints and find the appropriate one for the TV Crossover - maybe St. Claire, the patron saint of Television, knows who to sub-contract the job, - and then make my entreaty for help in the coming weeks. Because it would be nice to spread the wealth out evenly.....



When Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth investigated the body parts of a woman found near L.A. International Airport, their probe was slowed down by the extensive cosmetic surgery the victim had done.

Further complicating matters was actress and director Penny Marshall appearing as herself in a cameo along with Jann Carl, the weekend anchor for 'Entertainment Tonight'.

Coming off the bonanza of shows linked to 'CSI:NY' through 'ET' as described in last week's Crossover of the Week, Jann Carl now forges the link that should exist between 'Bones' and the 'CSI' franchise. And to that cluster of shows mentioned last week, the 'ET' connection now includes:

'Diagnosis Murder' - "Miracle Cure" (the first episode)
and two episodes of 'Out Of Practice' - "Brothers Grim" & "Yours, Mine, Or His".

Now, as for Penny Marshall, she brings some interesting shows along as her baggage; in fact, I was surprised by the number of shows in which she played herself in a fictional setting.

First up is a little-remembered series called 'Good Heavens' in which Carl Reiner (once Penny's father-in-law) starred as Mr. Angel, a heavenly spirit who travelled about the country improving people's lives. It was a forerunner of 'Highway To Heaven' in its way.

Penny Marshall appeared in the episode "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", which I think was about a sporting goods salesman who got a chance to try out for the majors.

Then, on 'Bosom Buddies', she appeared on a "Cablevision" TV show which was produced by Kip and Henry to advertise their client's product.

On 'Taxi', she was rejected for an apartment by a co-op board so snooty that they didn't approve of the actress' lifestyle - how much more of a down-to-earth woman could she possibly be? But instead, "Louie Moves Uptown" when they accepted him just to spite Alex Reiger.

She also appeared in the "mockumentary" entitled "Jackie's Back!", which was a look at the life of a famed diva.

And finally, in an episode of 'I'm With Her', Penny Marshall was directing a movie starring young Dylan Cassidy, who was being tutored by Alex's teacher boyfriend Patrick. ("The Kid Stays In The Picture")

(This wasn't a great sitcom, but I liked the premise and I'm glad I can officially make it a part of the TV Universe via the League Of Themselves.)

Like I said, best of all is that via Jann Carl and 'ET', I can make the eventual link between 'Bones' and 'CSI', two shows which in my perfect Toobworld would have a crossover episode.

But like they say in the commercials for Walgreen's, alas, we don't live in Perfect......


Sunday, January 29, 2006


In the latest episode of 'Monk' ("Mr. Monk And The Captain's Marriage"), a homeless man was a witness to a murder. His only friend in the world was a small white mouse named Devo, to whom he would feed apple slices and read mystery novels.

He claimed that Devo was a genius; that he was able to do impressions, including that of a hamster.

Well, of course he was a genius! That little white mouse was, in fact, the protrusion into our dimension of a hyper-intellegent pan-dimensional being, descended from the same beings who were in fact responsible for the creation of the Earth.

All that time we thought we were doing experiments on mice, they were the ones who were experimenting on us. All of those times when they ran down the wrong corridor of a maze, or ate the wrong bit of cheese, or suddenly dropping dead from the injection of plague, those were just examples of their research into humans. (The stuff with the cheese etc was just a front!)

In fact, when Devo Mouse was tossed back and forth between Lt. Disher and Natalie and finally stuffed into the pocket of Adrian Monk, it was probably a major breakthrough in their research on us.

The mice created the Earth, per the instructions of the super-computer Deep Thought, in order to find the question to the ultimate answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything... which is of course, "42". But five minutes before they were to get the answer, the Vogon Constructor Fleet came along and destroyed the Earth, blowed it up real good.

That happened back in 1981. So why are we still here and don't remember it? Because a lone Earthman, Arthur Dent, with his alien friend Ford Prefect, was thrust back in time to the dawn of the Neanderthals age. Traveling with them was a spaceship full of Golgafrinchan phone sanitizers who bolluxed the whole project by inserting themselves into the computer program. They became the true ancestors of Mankind, not the badly evolving Neanderthals.

And thus the course of History was changed. In this new timeline, the Earth was not destroyed by the Vogons and Mankind never knew how they had been totally destroyed, to be remembered only as being "Mostly Harmless".

But the pan-dimensional beings would not give up hope that they could salvage something from their project. So they continue to experiment on humans in various ways, including daredevil stunts to help their "owners" meet women over a Bud Light. A few brave souls have learned the truth about the mice, but were generally discounted as being crackpots, like the former Army officer who went to Blush Magazine with his expose on those intelligent white mice from outer space on an episode of 'Just Shoot Me'.

But whether or not their renewed research into finding the Question for the Ultimate Answer comes to fruition may soon be revealed. The power of that number "42" is begining to be felt throughout the world, especially when it is combined with a series of other numbers.

Specifically, "4 8 15 16 and 23".

You know what I'm talkin' about.... or are you 'Lost'?




Socrates Poole was a lawyer from San Francisco during the 1890s. He served as the liaison between bounty hunter Brisco County, Jr. and the San Francisco city leaders who hired him.

At some point after Brisco defeated John Bly, "Sock" may have accompanied the bounty hunter back to Boston, where Brisco had earned his law degree at Harvard. While there, he might have decided to stay, finding "Beantown" to be more than equal to the best offered by the City by the Bay, without the dangers of the frontier, which was never far from Frisco.

If so, Socrates Poole more than likely settled down into marriage and perhaps established his law practice there with one of the older, more prestigious firms. No matter how many children he might have sired, eventually the Poole family tree would have branched off with other surnames and eventually one line would be known by the name of Espinson.

Being employed in the service of the Law could have become a family tradition down through the generations for both the Poole and Espinson branches of the family. It would then all culminate with Poole, one of the founding partners of the Boston law firm of Crane, Poole, & Schmidt, and with Gerald Espinson, a lawyer who - by one of those usual TV coincidences, - happened to work at the very same firm... until fairly recently.

I'm not surprised Gerry Espinson didn't play up his family connection to the firm in order to improve his chances for the partner review; he probably didn't even know about it. I only know about my O'Brien roots back to my grandfather (and not much in that department). And sadly, if the three Manson girls - my first cousins, the daughters of my father's sister, - passed me on the street, I wouldn't even be aware of it.

Even though Gerry Espinson might have been unaware of his Poole heritage, there's no denying he was descended from Socrates Poole; you just had to look at the both of them!

It's a textbook case of telegenetics, in which a particular genome raises its double helix strand in perfect alignment to create a carbon copy of somebody else in the family tree. This is the Toobworld reason why Socrates Poole and Gerald Espinson looked exactly alike. (And in the Real World, it's because they were both portrayed by Christian Clemenson.)

None of this can be proven, of course, and as always, that's the beauty of Toobworld. But just in case, I'm marking this as "DNA"......