Saturday, August 26, 2006


AOL has a "personality quiz" to help you determine which of the new TV shows you should watch. I took the quiz twice, slightly varying my answers to see what suggestions they would have.

1 . Which cancelled show are you still mourning for?
'In Justice'
'The West Wing'
'Yes, Dear'

First time through, I marked 'The West Wing'. Second time, 'InJustice'.

2 . Which of these current shows do you prefer?
'Grey's Anatomy'
'Saturday Night Live'
'Two and a Half Men'

Both times I answered 'Two and a Half Men'

3 . I tend to watch:
Character-driven shows
Legal dramas
Traditional sitcoms
Workplace dramedies

First time: character-driven shows; second time: workplace dramadies

4 . Your take on 'Lost'?
I like the big ensemble cast
I like the theories & clues
I like the sci-fi angle
It's too serious
It's too complicated
It's too time-consuming

Both times: I like the theories and the clues

5 . TV alum you'd watch again:
Ted Danson ('Cheers')
Calista Flockhart ('Ally McBeal')
Victor Garber ('Alias')
Matthew Perry ('Friends')
Jeremy Sisto ('Six Feet Under')
Milo Ventimiglia ('Gilmore Girls')

First time: Matthew Perry; second time: Victor Garber

6 . A recent movie you enjoyed?
The 'Break Up'
'The Da Vinci Code'
'Little Miss Sunshine'
'Miami Vice'
'Superman Returns'
'Talladega Nights'

Both times I skipped the question, as I hadn't seen any of them.

The suggestions for the first try:

You should check out the edge-of-your-seat thrillers 'Kidnapped, 'Runaway' and 'Vanished.'

And for the second:

For you, we recommend the quirkier, darker new shows 'Heroes' and 'Jericho.'

Well, I plan to sample them all, so I guess it was all just a time-wastin' diversion anyway.....



Well, folks, I screwed up. I was supposed to post this yesterday........

In the Idiot's Delight Digest on July 26, 2006, "Brooklyn George" wrote the following:

I just got an email from the State Theater in New Brunswick announcing aNovember 11th show by the Laurie Bernker band, the 'top sellingchildren's group in the country' as the email says, and she is appearingwith Susie Pampert and Adam Bernstein.

I am assuming this is Park Slope's Adam... nice gig!

And AB, another "Iddiot", responded:

Yes friends it's true. Laurie [is an] old friend of mine and I'm playing with the band regularly now. We did some TV, Today Show, Regis, we're on GMA on Aug 26th. It's a great gig, I bought a new bass for it too, a Jack Casady Hollowbody Epiphone, it's incredible.

Kids music is the thing, they dig their rock 'n roll!

I hope somebody out there got to see them perform this morning on TV, no thanks to me.....



I took advantage of the collaboration between Netflix and NBC and added the pilots of 'Studio 60 Live From The Sunset Strip' and 'Kidnapped' to the top of my queue last week. (Not for me the chance to watch these shows online; I'm still a dialupagus.)

So far I've watched 'Studio 60' and will get to 'Kidnapped' on Sunday.

First off, what's with that title? Sorkin must know nobody's going to use the full thing once the show is launched; it will always be just 'Studio 60'. It would be like if its inspiration was known by its classic opening: 'Live From New York, It's Saturday Night'!

I'm not saying shorter titles are better - sometimes that just leads to confusion if you don't have enough in there to describe the show. How many people out there might be confused as to which network will be broadcasting 'Kidnapped' or 'Vanished'?

But the show itself looks pretty good from the pilot episode. After finally seeing it, I can't see why there were so many people down on it when they first had a chance to see it. Had they only seen excerpts?

I think 'Studio 60' offers the best from both of Sorkin's previous shows. Although he doesn't have the type of world stage available to him in 'The West Wing', a late-night satirical comedy should offer him the kind of forum in which he can tackle the various topics that make up the Big Picture.

Okay, maybe not the plight of women in Equatorial Kundhu. But if presented with that challenge, I'm sure Sorkin would rise up to meet it and succeed.

And as he had shown with 'SportsNight', even on a smaller scale he can delve into those topics which concern him, like racism or sexual harrassment in the workplace.

Plus, since he first did 'SportsNight', he's gained more experience working behind the scenes in TV, having come from a theatrical and cinematic background before that, and that will add plenty of anecdotes upon which he can draw for the smaller stories.

(My favorite small story of 'The West Wing'? The fate of the penny issue.)

As for these new character inhabiting Toobworld, the spotlight was focused mostly on the standins for Aaron Sorkin and director/co-conspirator Thomas Schlamme (although certain characteristics for Sorkin were given to the Schlamme counterpart).

We learned a lot about Matt and Danny, as played by Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, this time out and I would expect each member of this large cast will get their time in the sun eventually. You don't want to overwhelm the audience with too much info right away.

We also got a good fix on the types of characters played by Steven Weber as the boss of the network and Amanda Peet who's newly in charge of running the company. And cast members like DL Hughley must have been clued in as to what's in store for their characters or else they might have passed. (Then again, the chance to work with Sorkin......)

So it's a bit strange that the other character who was really fleshed out was the producer of the late night show, played by Judd Hirsch. Probably his best role in years and he wasn't around for more than ten minutes, I'd think.

I don't think they'll have too much trouble in pulling in the guest stars either, if the pilot was any indication. Ed Asner made a quick appearance near the beginning as the uber-boss of the corporation which owns the network, and Felicity Huffman appeared as herself, hosting that particular broadcast of 'Studio 60'.

This caused a Zonk, of course, as there were several mentions of Ms. Huffman (or as she's coming to be known thanks to Stephen Colbert, Filliam Muffman) being a cast member of 'Desperate Housewives'.

Okay, fine. Toobworld also has a show called 'Desperate Housewives'. We just don't know if it's exactly like the Real World version, nor did we hear who Ms. Huffman plays on that counterpart.

So let's get down, finally, to the main concern of Toobworld......

When the series was first announced and details began leaking out as they progressed, I read somewhere that the TV Network would be "UBS". (As former network president Bill Nickerson proclaimed, "Where we put 'U' before the 'BS'!")

For Toobworld, this would have been fantastic, as I could then link it to not only 'America 2Nite', but also 'Galactica 1980'.

However, it would also put people in mind of the movie "Network" which also had UBS as its fictional TV network. And considering the major plot point which kicks off 'Studio 60' echoes that film, it would have been wrong to tie it even closer by choosing UBS as its name.

(I liked that they addressed the similarity with several mentions of what transpired in the movie.)

So instead they chose NBS - the National Broadcasting System. (Or was it Service?) And of course, the audience will naturally link it to the Real World home for this series, NBC.

I don't trust the intelligence of the average viewer, so I doubt they'll be able to keep it straight in their heads that future events on this show do not reflect what goes on behind the scenes at NBC, or else they might be facing some protestors at the home of the Peacock Throne.

But I hope they do throw mentions of NBS into their other programs on the 2006 schedule, to solidify its presence in the NBC line-up of shows. NBS has more programs than just one late-night comedy show, so we can see the NBS "bug" in the bottom corner of the screen during news stories, talk shows, or even fictional soap operas as seen in episodes of 'Crossing Jordan', 'Las Vegas', 'Medium' or 'ER'. And it doesn't have to be just the dramas, but also the comedies like 'The Office' or 'My Name Is Earl'. Who knows? Maybe even in an episode of '30 Rock', to show there's no problem between the rival series.

All in all, it was a fast-moving episode with signature Sorkin flourishes, but with its own identity to set it apart from its predecessors. And since it will be airing on Mondays at 10 pm, I don't see why I wouldn't be watching it each week starting this fall. (I'm sure 'CSI: Miami' will survive without me.)

One final note: I went into this, even before the chance to see the pilot, with a lot of trepidation about the casting of Bradley Whitford. I thought it was way too soon after the finale of 'The West Wing' to see another weekly collaboration between Whitford and Sorkin.

But I should have trusted their talents. The character of Danny Tripp was light years away from Josh Lyman, and I wasn't even reminded of him once during the episode despite the same actor playing both roles.

Good work all around.


Friday, August 25, 2006


Off to the left, my ever-expanding list of links has gained two new members today: "TV Bloggin'" and "The Medium Is Not Enough".

The entire run of my links have some basic divides: TV Crossovers, TV News Sites, Blogs by those in the Biz, TV Critics, Fan Blogs, TV Info Sites, Fictional Blogs, and Sites focused on one particular TV Obsession.

After that, they're just tossed in there in no particular order. So no one should think that their particular site is considered less important than those listed above theirs. It's just that I wanted to create the sense of "Channel Surfing" among the sites.

But just to list my druthers, here are the sites I HAVE to check everyday:

Tommy Westphall's Mind
TV Squad
TV Tattle
Lee Goldberg's Site
Bryce Zabel's Site
Ken Levine's Site
Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear
Brent's "I Am A Child Of Television"
What's Alan Watching?
Roger Catlin, TV Eye
Maureen Ryan's The Watcher
Spoiler Fix
Trivial TV
and John Kenneth Muir's site.

I think Rob Buckley's "The Medium Is Not Enough" will be added to that mix.

Many of the others, like Pop Culture Junk Mail and Siftin' and Musty TV, I check every couple of days. Same with many of the critics. And of course the TV Info sites are there for when I need to research my posts, like with the Pluto essay earlier today.

So hopefully you'll check out these sites as well if you have an interest in televisiology. They're well worth the side trips!



PRAGUE (Reuters) - Pluto was stripped of its status as a planet on Thursday when scientists from around the world redefined it as a "dwarf planet", leaving just eight classical planets in the solar system.

The need to define what it takes to be a planet stems from technological advances that enable astronomers to look further into space and to measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies in our solar system.
Oh well. At least the ghost of Gustav Holtz will be pleased with this ruling. Pluto wasn't even discovered until twelve years after he wrote his "Planets" suite. Now, for the first time since 1930, it can be considered a finished symphony.

If I was in charge of Toobworld, rather than just a caretaker, I would have had the Red Stripe Beer Man approach the podium at the televersion of this gathering of astrophysicists. He would stand there, resplendent in his white military jacket adorned with sash and medals, and say to the assembly:

"Boo Creepy Pluto Naysayers!"

For those of you disheartened by the news that Pluto has lost its status as a planet, take heart. This was a transient, man-made decision; an artificial construct much like the demarcation of Time. And such a ruling can be undone in the future by a different assemblage of scientists using some new, arbitrary set of rules.

So have patience, fans of Pluto. Ti-i-i-ime is on your side. (Yes, it is.)

At least it is in Toobworld.

By the 24th Century, Pluto will have been colonized, as will most of the planets in solar system. All of them will have been terra-formed and some of the outermost planets will have artificial miniature "suns" locked into their orbits to provide the necessary heat an illumination which would be lacking from the distant Sol.

All of this advancement will be due to "help" from a race known as the Usurians (obviously the English translation, considering.....). The Usurians are a sentient but poisonous fungi which will slowly tighten its vice-like financial grip on the people of Pluto for nearly 3,000,000 years.

Their hold over Pluto will eventually end with the timely intervention of a Doctor, who will show the Plutonian populace that they have nothing to lose but their claims.

But in the beginning of its colonial period, all will be well with Pluto as it becomes a member of the Solar Council, otherwise known as the Solar Alliance. (In the Tooniverse, membership will be in D.O.O.P. - the Democratic Order Of Planets) Other member planets of the Solar Council are Mars, Pluto, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Eos and Earth, the Polaris Colony, and Jupiter's moon Io. (Oddly, Neptune is not represented. This is understandble in the Tooniverse - that killer Santa Claus robot lives there!)

(Another planet not represented in Solar Council is Mondas, which used to share the exact same orbit as Earth. Monda was equidistant from our homeworld, on the other side of Sol, so that it was "invisible" to astronomers But it was blasted out of its orbit and left the solar system, only to be destroyed when it began its return trip.)

So take heart, fans of Pluto! Eventually your little buddy in the outermost reaches of the solar system will be reincorporated into the League of Planets.

But in the meantime, you better dust off the old mnemonic for remembering the order of planets from the Sun......

Here are a list of shows which are set in the future and which refer to Pluto as an actual planet:

'Space Patrol'
# 19 "THE MAJOR'S DILEMMA" May 5, 1951
# 25 "BEYOND THE RIM OF SPACE" June 16, 1951
# 30 "WAY STATION TO THE STARS" July 21, 1951
# 50 "THE SACRIFICE" December 8, 1951
# 68 "THE PHANTOM FLEET" April 12, 1952
#106 "THE HUMAN TARGETS" January 3, 1953
#189 "THE GIANTS OF PLUTO III" October 2, 1954
#190 "THE FIERY PIT OF PLUTO III" October 9, 1954
#191 "MANHUNT ON PLUTO III" October 16, 1954

'Doctor Who'
Part One 26th November, 1977
Part Two 3rd December, 1977
Part Three 10th December, 1977
Part Four 17th December, 1977


The TV shows cited for this essay are:

'Doctor Who'
'Space Patrol'
'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet'
'Captain Video And His Video Rangers'

This essay would not have been possible if not for the information... information... information garnered from the following web sites:

The Doctor Who Reference Guide

Solar Guards

Doctor Who Chronology


Challenger, Gray & Christmas is an outplacement firm which has compiled a list of the worst bosses to be found in Toobworld:

Montgomery Burns, 'The Simpsons'
President Logan, '24'
Gordon Ramsey, 'Hell's Kitchen'
Michael Scott, 'The Office'
Al Swearengen, 'Deadwood'
Dr. Bob Kelso, 'Scrubs'
Adrian Monk, 'Monk'
Cosmo Spacely, 'The Jetsons'

Ramsey is the only one of those characters who exists in the Real World.

But then, Cosmo Spacely probably hasn't even been born yet.....


Thursday, August 24, 2006


You've seen the TV commercial for Rozerem, haven't you? There's the guy who can't sleep so he goes down to the kitchen where he's confronted by three characters from his dream cycle: Abraham Lincoln, a guy in a diving bell suit, and a beaver who plays chess.

They tell him about Rozerem, the product that can help restore his REM cycle so that he can get back to sleep and play chess again. Even though "Honest" Abe cheats, according to the Beav.

But who exactly is the insomnia guy?

I honestly can't remember if the Beaver or Abe calls him by his given name or not; and in the item about the commercial at (see the link to the left) he's only listed in the credits as "Insomnia Guy".

But that's... okay. Because that means we can make the claim that he's some other character played on Television by that actor, Kevin Berntson.

What especially helps is that Kevin Berntson has played a couple of characters who were nameless; any one of them could later be suffering from insomnia.

The first one was a character he played in 'ER' who was just listed as "Student #1" in the episode "They Treat Horses, Don't They?"

But I think we can eliminate this character as an option as he later shows up in another episode, "Masquerade", later the same year. But this time he's known as Willie Goldman.

I'm striving to keep things simple with the vast Toobworld concept, so why complicate matters with two Chicago residents running around on the same show with the same face? I don't see the need to drag the "identical cousins" chestnut out of the fire for this one.

Then there's the fifteenth episode of a show called 'Spyder Games', in which Berntson played a guy simply known as "Man at Laundromat". Perhaps that is the same guy suffering from insomnia in the Rozerem blipvert.

'Spyder Games' was a 65 episode soap opera on MTV about a family who made their fortune with a video game empire who all had dirty secrets.

"The town is called Fort Kent, but it's not anywhere specifically," said the producer Christian McLaughlin. "Actually, Fort Kent is a real town in Maine that my [Mom?] is from, and they're going to freak out when they see how dirty the show is."

The Rozerem ad could be combined with the episode of 'Reno 911' which dealt with the news that "Wiegel's Pregnant". In that episode, Berntson played a guy named Jim Mann.

If he was the guy who got Wiegel pregnant, then yeah, I guess he probably would be suffering from insomnia.

Finally, if the commercial is set in San Francisco, then we can combine his nameless character with the sports fan who was serving on a jury when "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty". The travails of that experience, including the annoyance of being cooped up with 'Monk', not to mention being tied up by a killer, would keep anybody awake at night.

It's always best to combine such characters so that we don't have too many people wandering around with the exact same facial features.

Just imagine what it must have been like in Los Angeles back in the 1970s. With all of his different appearances on 'Columbo', there must have been at least ten guys who all looked like a very funny character actor named Vito Scotti!



Still on 'Life On Mars'.....

At, one of the notes left by a reader about episode 3 read:

"Sam conducted the taped interview, stating that it was 'Wednesday 16th March'. In 1973, 16 March was a Friday, not a Wednesday. However, 16 March was a Wednesday in 2005, the year that Sam is from."

I have to assume this was intentional and if so, it's brilliant. Even to the smallest detail, the creators of this show leave you hanging as to whether or not this is really happening, or whether it's all taking place in Sam's mind.....



So I've been trapped in my apartment all day because the long hallway leading into the main part of the place was scraped, plastered, and painted. The guy did a great job and finally finished around 4:30 pm EST. (He started at 8:30 am. I should have said it was a looooong hallway.)

So that gave me plenty of time to catch up on some shows taped earlier in the week, and to post. Post, post, post, post and post. This post will mark my ninth for the day and that ties my personal best for a 24 hour period. I don't think I'm done either. Got plenty more waiting on the sidelines that I should clear out and inflict upon you, Dear Reader.

So one of the tapes I watched today was Monday's offering of 'Life On Mars' from the BBC-America. (The U.K. got to see this back in February.)

And in it there was the following exchange between Annie Cartwright and Sam Tyler:

Annie Cartwright: No more funny stuff?
Sam Tyler: Funny stuff?
Annie Cartwright: Y'know the whole time travel, out of body experience thing.
Sam Tyler: Well, I went to see Doctor Who; he... prescribed me some pills...

You see, Sam was struck by a car in 2006, and he's awakened in 1973. As he says in the show's intro, he doesn't know if he's mad, in a coma, or actually back in Time.

Finding himself so disoriented at first that he couldn't keep quiet about his situation as he sought to find some answers, Sam ended up spilling the beans about what he thought might have happened to just about everybody within earshot. So Annie couldn't help but rib him about it in episode 5.

Now, I suppose I could go into this whole splainin in which Sam was referring to some fake doctor of Asian descent, but who would I be kidding? It's not like he was making the reference to somebody who didn't know what he was talking about; as though it was something from the future. 'Doctor Who' ran from 1963 to 1989; came back with a 1996 TV movie and then returned as a series in 2005. So you know damn well that Annie would know what 'Doctor Who' was about in 1973.

You can see it in her eyes and in that knowing laugh that she thinks Sam is having her on with a joke about yet another, more famous, time traveler.

And one that to her, was quite fictitious.

The thing is, the Gallifreyan Time Lord should exist within the same TV dimension as Sam and Annie. (That is, the Doctor through his first eight incarnations; the 9th and 10th Doctors are the doppelgangers from another dimension.)

I've already decided that in the Toobworld concept, every TV show we watch here in the Real World has a counterpart in TV Land. It just isn't necessarily an exact duplicate. So they may have a 'Doctor Who' TV show about time travel in Toobworld, but that doesn't mean it's been the exact same program; diff'rent actors, diff'rent storylines.

How did they end up getting a TV show about a mysterious Time Lord who lives in the same dimension as they do?

Over the decades, the Doctor in most of his incarnations has met several characters who have been involved in the TV business. Eventually one of them must have decided to sell the premise to Auntie Beeb despite the risk of disciplinary action by UNIT for disclosing classified information.

And I would think the Doctor would have even encouraged the idea for much the same reason as the people behind the Stargate project (no matter which dimension you're in) okayed the idea to fictionalize their story as 'Wormhole X-treme'. By making it look like the whole thing is nothing more than the fever dreams of some network suit who hasn't yet been nibbled to death by ducks, you can establish plausible deniability when someone actually stumbles across the truth. ("Oh, that wasn't a real TARDIS; they're filming a TV show. Now run along; nothing to see here!")

Speakingo of episode 5 of 'Life On Mars', a reader of the 'Doctor Who' blog "Behind The Sofa" posted this about the episode:

"Life On Mars'' first proper reference to 'Doctor Who' happened this evening in a story surrounding a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

In case anyone is wondering, after a quick look around, the match happened on the 21st April 1973 (since there were no other local derbies that year) and it was a 0-0 draw (61,500 gate). Which also means the young Sam Tyler might have gone home that night and enjoyed episode three of "Planet of the Daleks" ...

Posted by Stuart Ian Burns on 06/02/2006 at 10:30 PM

But of course, that's only if the Toobworld version of 'Doctor Who' followed the same storylines as the Real World version.

Instead, what should be pointed out is that in Toobworld, the Master is reviving a Daemon named Azal who will attempt to destroy the Earth because it unworthy to exist.

No matter how old Sam was back in 1973, he never realized how much of a debt he and the rest of the planet owed Jo Grant for her willingness to sacrifice herself. She was doing so in order to save the 3rd incarnation of the Doctor, but that willingness then saved the Earth itself.



Good news for the fans of 'MI-5', which was known as 'Spooks' over in England: the series is coming back to A&E with its fourth season, starting September 15th. (The stories have already taken place in Toobworld, as the Brits saw the series back last fall.)

The bad news is that it will be butchered in the editing room to fit into an hour-long timeslot.

Plus, it's been gutted cast-wise as well with the loss of original actors Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, and David Oyelowo. In order, Tom Quinn \was forced by circumstances to quit the service; Zoe Reynolds had to go into exile under an assumed name; and Danny Hunter was killed in the line of duty.

That leaves only Harry Pearce running the department with assistance from original team members Ruth, Malcolm, and Colin (as well as other agents brought in as replacements, like Adam Carter.)

Still, it was a stylish thriller which in my mind is all in cool, grey-blue coloring. And Harry Pearce did make for a very engaging bulldog of a boss.

So keep September 15th in mind; A&E. Check your local listings for the time......



Back in 2003, the CBBC, the Britkid's channel, presented a satirical sitcom called, 'My Dad's The Prime Minister'. It started out to be a show for younger viewers, but it caught on with their parents as well and was moved to a family-viewing hour.

Here's how the BBC website describes it:

"Pity poor Dillon Phillips, the prime minister's 12-year-old lad. His status as the son of the country's leader generates major problems: he's a source of scorn and bullying at school, his parents are always busy (his mother is an executive for an international pension fund corporation and remains singularly unimpressed by her husband's position) and life's everyday routines are complicated by elaborate security procedures.

Worst of all is Duncan Packer, his father's smarmy spin doctor, whose only interest is the PM's standing. The omnipresent Packer will stoop to any level to keep the PM in power, regardless of what it may mean to his family, Dillon especially."

It's not hard to imagine that Dillon's father, Prime Minister Michael Phillips, could have been a successor to Jim Hacker of 'Yes, Minister' and 'Yes, Prime Minister'. In fact, there could have been several Prime Ministers between both of their administrations.

And all three shows would exist in the same alternate TV dimension that housed American counterparts 'Hail To The Chief' and 'Mr. President'.

I really should read Ryan's website about British TV shows more often; not that I would have been clued in to see this show in time, considering it's never made it over here to America (so far as I can tell).



In the pilot episode of 'Eureka', a temporal vortex machine went haywire and Henry Deacon was called in from his garage to help Warren King (head of Global Dynamics) in shutting it down.......

Man, this thing is cold!
Easy, Henry. Remember Groom Lake?
Yeah, but this time we're sober.

Just in case you didn't catch the reference, Groom Lake is also known as "Area 51".

It could be that Warren and Henry were there around the same time as former FBI agent Fox Mulder. Mulder was investigating the stealth craft that caused him to switch personalities with Morris Fletcher.

The "Dreamland" case took place in 1998, when it would be reasonable to think Warren King and Henry Deacon might have been assigned there by the government. *

They're both obviously too young to have been there from the beginning of the Majestic program!


*IF they were assigned by the government. The fact that they were drunk while poking around with some dangerous equipment seems to suggest that they might have fortified their spirits before snooping about. So they could have been even younger; perhaps grad students on a "field trip".

Once caught, and once their credentials and talents were certified, they could have both been offered the chance to come to live and work in 'Eureka'.


Found this PR guff after finding out that Dawn Wells has joined the cast of a "Christian sitcom":

“Pastor Greg,” which debuted last year to rave reviews and awesome audience response, is gearing up for its second season on both Christian networks and over 100 network affiliates nationwide.

I visit about 20 TV related websites every day, and at least 100 more are in my fave places for a check every couple of days. And then there are the hyperlinks to be found in those sites which send me onwards to hundreds of other sites. (TVTattle is where I found this story, the best clearing house for such links.)

But I never even heard of this show before. Its rave reviews must be flying under the radar when it comes to most media outlets. I only learned of it today through and its links to the story about Dawn Wells joining the cast.

That same publicity blurb went on to describe the show:

The first season of this groundbreaking half-hour comedy found Greg Wilson, a former gambling, drinking “lost soul” who comes to faith, answering the call to pastor a small-town church. With his casual dress and unconventional ways, Pastor Greg unwittingly stirs things up before winning over the church’s feisty congregation. In the process he helps his congregant clan discover some important truths about love, forgiveness, faith, and God’s family.

I'm sure there must be some folks out there who just get this automatic urge to ridicule the concept. Not me. Toobworld is the Big Tent and there's room for everybody.

I don't see why there shouldn't be a show like this; Christian shows don't have to be just family dramas like '7th Heaven'.

And if there can be sitcoms like 'Bless Me, Father' and 'Father Ted', why not one with a more protestant point of view?

If you want to learn more about 'Pastor Greg', click here.

I checked the affiliates listed and it looks like I'm out of luck for checking it out myself. Looks like I'd have to go upstate to see it. No option at all back home in Connecticut.....



"I was a father, once......"
The Doctor
'Doctor Who'

The 10th incarnation of the Doctor let slip that information to Rose Tyler in the episode "Fear Her".

This is really no big surprise, as we know the Doctor has a grand-daughter, Susan "Foreman". (That last name was an alias taken from the name of the proprietor of the junkyard where they hid their TARDIS back in the early 1960s.)

During his ninth incarnation, in the episodes "Father's Day" and "The Empty Child", the Doctor also mentioned having a family but that they were all kiilled during the Great Time War. I suppose Rose never considered that such a statement meant that he sired a child, since she appeared shocked by his statement as such in "Fear Her".

Susan traveled with her grandfather in his first incarnation until he abandoned her on Earth in 2164 so that she could find love and personal happiness and put down roots with the young man she loved, David Campbell. That can be find in the story "The Dalek Invasion Of Earth".

So just based on that, we know that the Doctor must have had a child, perhaps a son, maybe a daughter.

The Daily Star claims that there will be a big revelation about the status of the Doctor's lineage by the end of the third new series of 'Doctor Who' (the second year in David Tennant's tenure, the first to feature Freema Agyeman as companion Martha Jones).

Here's part of their story as relayed by the website Ananova:

" 'Doctor Who' bosses have found a way to prevent the much-loved Time Lord from dying out. By giving him a son.

The revelation will be made at the end of series three, which also sees the introduction of actress Freema Agyeman, who replaces Billie Piper as the Doctor's new companion, Martha Jones.

The Doctor, currently played by David Tennant, only has thirteen lives according to lore, and is now on his 10th regeneration. And writer Russell T Davies, who is in charge of the revamped show, decided something needed to be done in order that the programme doesn't die out.

A source told the Daily Express: 'Since there are only two regenerations left, the BBC needs a plan to make sure the show can carry on. Last year in one of the episodes it was hinted that the Doctor had a child following a doomed love affair with someone from a forgotten planet.

Russell will unveil his big bombshell that he really is a dad in next year's series finale.'"

The writer of that piece (or the person being quoted) sucks at math. 10 plus 2 equals 13? How can you trust anything else he says?

The terrific 'Doctor Who' website, Outpost Gallifrey, has been in contact with many people connected to the show who insist that this is just a rumor.

That could be some kind of dissembling in itself. Perhaps only parts of it are rumor; for instance that the revelation will be made in the final episode. That way, all bases are covered in their denial. We'll just have to wait and see how this next season plays out.

Like I said, canon already stipulates that the Doctor must have had at least one child in order to be a grandfather to Susan.

I'd hate to think they'd try to weasel out of that by claiming her use of the term "Grandfather" was an honorific, with no basis in genealogy. Mainly that's because I'm hoping one day we'll meet up with Susan as played by Carole Ann Ford.

I suppose the argument could be made that all of the Gallifreyans perished in the Time War and thus Susan must be dead now. But the eighth incarnation of the Doctor said that his mother was of Earth, making him part human. And if we did take that Daily Star story for truth in all its points, than it appears the Doctor's paramour was from another planet, neither Gallifreyan or Terran. So that would add even more genetic dilution to the mix that would eventually result in the birth of Susan.

It could be that due to that genetic dilution she was spared the fate of the other Gallifreyans.

Since Drax was able to recognize the Doctor in his fourth regeneration as his old schoolmate, I'm sure Susan will have no trouble recognizing her grandfather should they ever meet again.

Even if he does look younger than she must now......


"I'm 900 years old.
I think you can assume that at some point I've... danced
The Doctor
'Doctor Who'


In 'Life On Mars', Manchester police detective Sam Tyler was struck by a car, only to wake up more than thirty years earlier in 1973. But whether he's actually back there or trapped in a coma in the present day is up in the air. (At least it is for us watching the butchered versions on BCC-America. The British audience already saw these eight episodes earlier this year.)

Every so often Sam can hear the voices of those who may be gathered around his hospital bed. This usually happens late at night via the TV as images from old TV shows suddenly speak to him personally. (One time it was some kind of horsey puppet who broke free of his character to speak to Sam in the voice of his mother.)

This gimmick is at its creepiest when the mundane image of a BBC test card comes to life and talks to Sam. I'm not sure why the image was of a small blonde girl in a red dress clutching a toy clown, but it had been in use since the late 1940s and must be a classic icon from Britain's TV heritage. Using in this fashion is like something out of Stephen King; taking something that might have been considered comforting and twist it to become disturbing instead.

And there's nothing more disturbing than little blonde girls and toy clowns.......

If you want to see what the original looks like, before it comes to life in Sam Tyler's flat, click here.



Since the Internal Revenue Service announced that the goody bags and luxury giveaway suites that surround awards ceremonies and film festivals are no longer freebies but taxable income, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it would eliminate the luxurious gift baskets it customarily offers to Oscar presenters, starting with next year's show.

And it wasn't just the Oscars. This week, an array of Emmy-timed swag suites opened for business ahead of the Aug. 27 awards show. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said it has also informed this year's Emmy presenters that their gift bags are taxable, but would not say whether it planned on eliminating the bags altogether.

"There was an awful lot of publicity about the ever-increasing value of these baskets," IRS Commissioner Mark V. Everson said. "And somebody said, 'Why don't we do something about this?' It was just so clearly taxable we felt we had to step in."

Everson said the effort was linked to his drive to bring "a sense of fairness that resonates throughout the system. You can't let the rich get away with something."

And you know who was most responsible for the publicity surrounding the free ride of swag bags, at least in Toobworld?


That is, Christopher Moltisanti, seen in 'The Sopranos'. While out in Hollywood with hopes of snaring Sir Ben Kingsley to star in the movie he was producing (which was a cross between "The Godfather" and "Saw"), he accompanied Kingsley on his jaunt through one of those giveaway suites.

Later, overcome with jealousy that he was on the outside looking in when it came to the Hollywood scene, Christopher mugged the legendary Lauren Bacall for her gift basket!

Maybe the IRS ended up doing the entertainment elite a favor by ending the free ride - once word got out that Mz. Betty's booty was easy prey, copycats might have figured on swooping in to rob other stars of their gift bags.



Actress Joyce Blair, perhaps best known for appearing in such shows as 'The Saint', 'Z Cars', and 'The Benny Hill Show', has died of cancer at the age of 73 at her home in California. She is survived by her daughter and son, and her brother, British entertainer Lionel Blair.

"New Look" (1958) TV Series

Arch of Triumph (1985) (TV) .... Rolande
Rumour (1970) (TV)

Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter (1991) (TV) .... Roxana
"The Last Days of Pompeii" (1984) (mini) TV Series .... Lucretia

"The Rag Trade"
- Fenner's Folly (1978) TV Episode

.... Miss Butler
"Z Cars"
- Priority (1974) TV Episode

.... Eileen Lomas
"Journey to the Unknown"
- Do Me a Favour, Kill Me (1969) TV Episode

.... Betty
"The Saint"
- Interlude in Venice (1967) TV Episode

.... Goldilocks
"Ghost Squad"
- The Green Shoes (1962) TV Episode

.... Tamara Luchovak
"Zero One"
- Gunpoint to Shannon (1962) TV Episode

.... Jinx Rayner
"The Benny Hill Show"
- Episode #5.2 (1961) TV Episode

.... Guest Performer
"The Adventures of Robin Hood"
- The Alchemist (1956) TV Episode

.... Millicent


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


With its second season premiere, 'Prison Break' presents students of televisiology with a quandary - the recasting of the role of Terence Steadman, the man whose "death" set the entire plot in motion.

Last season, when Veronica finally tracked down the Vice President's brother (who was supposedly assassinated by Lincoln Burrows), he was portrayed by John Billingsley. And his sister, now the President of the United States, was played by Patricia Wettig.

But both actors have since taken roles in new TV series, and so they couldn't commit to the second season of 'Prison Break'.

With Ms. Wettig's character of President Reynolds, the producers at least had some wriggle room. With the eight escapees from Fox River Penitentiary on the run, the focus will definitely be Michael Schofield and his fellow "breakers". So the other plotline about the conspiracy to put Vice President Reynolds into the White House and her own attempts to clamp down the Truth leaking out can be put on the back burner for a while.

Then, if and when 'Brothers & Sisters' crashes and burns over on ABC (despite protests by producer Greg Berlanti to the contrary), the 'Prison Break' producers can move that storyline forward and back into play on 'Prison Break'.

But if after thirteen weeks the Greg Berlanti-produced drama proves to be a hit for ABC, the producers could always recast in hopes that enough time had passed for the audience to accept the difference in appearance.

With the character of Terence Steadman, the producers had a different problem. The first season ended with Veronica finally coming face to face with Steadman in the Montana home that was also his prison. That scene had to be resolved ... or at least given an ending.

Now, several months had gone by since we last saw 'Prison Break', but in the future, the episodes will follow almost instantaneously as people watch the show on DVD boxed sets. They'll pop out the last disk of Season One and then pop in the first disk for Season Two and right before Veronica's eyes, Terence Steadman will change actors.

So the casting had to be as close as possible in the changeover and they didn't do too badly in choosing Jeff Perry who used to be a cast member of 'Nash Bridges', but who's probably better known today as Meredith's Dad on 'Grey's Anatomy'. (I first saw him in an episode of 'Columbo'.)

Still, even though he appeared to ape a few of Billingsley's mannerisms for the role of Steadman, there are enough differences in both men so that within the reality of the show, it should be noticeable to Veronica. After all, she's standing right there when the change occurs.

So how to splain it away? With a 'Quantum Leap'.

At some point in the future, a researcher using Dr. Sam Beckett's technology leaped into the life of Terence Steadman; perhaps in order to better study this crisis point in American history. It's unknown if there was a different outcome in the events which the leaping researcher causes to change in order to make right what once went wrong.

Perhaps Veronica survived the encounter, which only made things worse in the future; sort of like the Edith Keeler situation in the classic 'Star Trek' episode of "City On The Edge Of Forever". Or maybe Steadman, as should have been played by Billingsley, killed her himself. Instead, this impersonator of Steadman, who's being played by Jeff Perry, chooses instead not to shoot her; leaving that fatal decision up to the Feds who come to the house in response to Veronica's call to the local sheriff's department.

At any event, as we used to see in every episode of 'Quantum Leap', Sam would appear to those around him as the person whose life he was acting out, while that person was trapped back in the future in the "waiting room". So Veronica wouldn't see anybody who even remotely resembled the actor Jeff Perry. Instead, she would still have seen Terence Steadman as he looked when she first met him, similar in appearance to John Billingsley.

Not that it mattered much. She was soon shot through the head and chopped up into several garbage bags.....

For some reason, I would have thought that this plot development would have helped push the conspiracy plotline into the background, and there would be no need to come back to Terence Steadman again. As such, it would have been only this episode that the producers would have needed John Billingsley for. Surely the producers of 'The Nine' (the show which has cast Billingsley as a regular) could have given him the time (What? Three days tops?) necessary to complete the storyline?

Since they didn't, it could be that the producers have more in store for Terence Steadman and that we have not seen the last of him. And that's why it became even more vital that they find a replacement actor.

In the past, several producers have decided to not only recast a role but then to go back and re-shoot the original scenes to incorporate the new actor, even though the audience had already seen the original actor in the role.

David Chase did that for an FBI agent played by Fairuza Balk in a season-ending episode of 'The Sopranos'. But before he began shooting the new season, he had rethought the direction he wanted to take that FBI agent and decided a different actress would be better for getting that vision across. So unless you have that original scene on tape somewhere in your collections, you'll never see Fairuza Balk in the role again, as her scene were re-shot and added to the DVD collection.

You'd think at least they'd have kept the scene in for a bonus feature, but nooooooooooo! It's as if she never existed in the show.

The same thing happened with John Randolph's portrayal of Frank Costanza on 'Seinfeld'. He did at least two episodes of the show but then was replaced with Jerry Stiller, who took the role to new heights and new lows; places which seem inconceivable with Randolph, as great a character actor as he was.

After the casting change, Larry David went back and re-shot the original two episodes which introduced Frank Costanza so that it would be a consistent portrayal by Jerry Stiller alone.

However, it was too late to go back and do the same thing with the pilot episode of 'Seinfeld' for Jerry's Dad. In 'The Seinfeld Chronicles', Jerry Seinfeld's father was played by Phil Bruns, best known for playing George Shumway on 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'.

He only appeared in that one episode, and Barney Martin was brought in later to memorably portray Morty Seinfeld throughout the rest of the series' run. But by the time they considered re-shooting the role from the pilot as they had done with the character of Frank Costanza, it was decided Jerry's appearance (due to aging?) would have conflicted with the other scenes in the pilot.

So those people who watch the DVD versions of 'Seinfeld' will only see Jerry Stiller in the role of Frank Costanza (not sure if the John Randolph scenes survived as bonus material), but they'll get both Phil Bruns and Barney Martin as Morty Seinfeld.

But that splainin is for another time.

As for Terence Steadman on 'Prison Break', we may yet see him again on the show. And if so, Jeff Perry will be playing the role - I'm sure the producers made certain he would be available for them. But from a Toobworld perspective, we can say that the researcher continued to inhabit Steadman's aura in order to observe how the Reynolds presidency played out.

Anyways, because the POTUS is Reynolds and not Bush, 'Prison Break' has to be relegated to an alternate TV dimension. And I've already postulated that it would be the same dimension where we would find 'The Agency' and 'The District', which would have had a different president as well; one who preceded Reynolds' predecessor in the Oval Office.

So even after all of this sturm and drang, it really boils down to be no problem at all in the grand scheme of things for Earth Prime Time, the main Toobworld.



In the penultimate episode of this season's 'Rescue Me', we've been introduced to yet another sister of Tommy Gavin, Rosemary Gavin. When she was younger, her parents shipped her off to a special school and cut off all contact with her because she had been born a deaf-mute.

Eventually, she learned to speak and now lives in California with a boyfriend where she teaches sign language.

When she first showed up at her brother Johnny's funeral and waved teasingly at Tommy, I thought, "Oh no, here's another chick Tommy's going to end up banging."

One of the other brothers in the Gavin family is "Timo" (a nickname for Timothy?), who is also a detective in the NYPD. I've seen in comments left at various TV forums mentioning that he wasn't to be seen at the funeral nor at the wake/wedding celebration afterwards. But we didn't see everybody in the crowd at the cemetary; and the Gavin apartment is a huge, rambling warren with plenty of side rooms. And as we saw near the end of that episode, lots of characters had disappeared off into those side rooms.

One interesting note on Rosemary Gavin: she shares the same first name as the Kennedy sister whose mild retardation was made worse by a botched lobotomy ordered by her father when she was 23 years old.

Perhaps because of Rosemary Gavin's own situation and treatment by her parents, Peter Tolan and Denis Leary decided to give Tommy's sister the same name.



Rob Thomas has announced that Patty Hearst will be a guest star on 'Veronica Mars' during the third season. And he has defined not only her role (well, not exactly), but also he's pointed up the differences between Toobworld and the Real World:

"[Patty Hearst] is playing a character close to herself. She's playing the granddaughter of Hearst College's [founder], who in our world is a railroad baron rather than a publishing baron. [She] goes missing the night before an important vote about the future of Hearst University. It'll be similar, but she is not literally playing Patty Hearst."

He doesn't come out and say that the Hearst after whom the college is named is actually William Randolph Hearst. It could be yet another Hearst family member who went into the railroad biz rather than publishing with his share of the family money.

Fictional members of real-life families are nothing new in Toobworld. Art Carney was related to Vera on 'Alice'; Megan Russert of 'Homicide: Life On The Street' was a cousin of Tim Russert. And Fran's grandmother was dating the blind uncle of Bryant Gumbel on 'The Nanny'. (The uncle was played by Ray Charles.)

But even if it turns out that the college is named after William Randolph Hearst, it doesn't alter the fact that he's descended from the robber baron bastard who posed such a threat to Al Swearengen in 'Deadwood' during the late 1870s.



[There will be spoilers within. But since published a great frame grab of the big surprise, I'm not worrying over this.......]

Last season, I gave up on 'Prison Break' when it went on a 3-month hiatus. It's not the sort of problem I expect to have when 'Lost' goes on a similar break after seven episodes. First off, that has been planned in advance and will be taken into consideration for creating an appropriate cliff-hanger. In the case of 'Prison Break', it was just an arbitrary decision forced upon the show by network suits who needed to make room for 'American Idol' and '24'.

Network executives should be nibbled to death by ducks. We all know this.....

But with 'Prison Break', there wasn't the same urgency as I felt with 'Lost' to reconnect with these characters as soon as possible. In fact, even before I abandoned the series, it had become a struggle to come back the following weeks!

Mostly that had to do with the fact that I didn't really give a rat's ass for any of the characters. Most of them deserved to be in prison; if not for the actual crime for which they were convicted, then for something else almost as bad. As for the lead character of Michael Schofield, to me Wentworth Miller was an inked-up zombie, a walking black hole from which no light escaped. He was always sucking the life out of the room.

What's odd is that I know he can be engaging - look at the role he played on 'Joan Of Arcadia' where he was much more lively. (And of course a bit devilish.)

But the worst of it was the gaping plot holes you could drive the General Lee through. Sure, I'd be caught up in the adrenaline rush of each episodes, but then I'd kick myself afterwards once I had a chance to think it over.

So I quit the show when they forced the hiatus and I don't regret it. Based on the "Previously on....." clips that ran for a minute and a half, I didn't miss much. They broke out of prison... nuff said.

But I decided to check out the second season premiere; I figured they'd deliver some kind of big bang to kick it off and I was right - it looks like this season the "breakers" will all be ducks in a shooting gallery; picked off one by one.

For instance, this week, they brought new meaning to the term "Robin Red Breast", what with all the slice-and-dicing that must have been done to poor Veronica's body.

I didn't feel bad that they killed her off with a shot to the forehead, but it did bother me that they disposed of her remains with such disrespect.

I'm not sure that means there's some hope for my soul, but every little bit helps.

Anyway, all of my complaints about the inner logic of the show still existed with its return, (the convenience of the passing train, the lack of choppers and more men in pursuit, the rip-off of "The Silence Of The Lambs", etc.), so I doubt that I'll be watching again. (Especially when next week's episode conflicts with the season finale of 'Kyle XY'!) But I will keep up to date on who gets wacked each week by reading,, and

Gee, that was pretty long, and I still didn't get to the Toobworld analysis of a major change this season. I'll save that for the next post......



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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The premiere episode of 'Vanished' had almost everything it would need for a single story to string out the entire season - plenty of characters that could have their own storylines take center stage for a few episodes, plenty of motives for the reason behind the disappearance of the senator's wife, and a couple of action sequences to keep the proceedings lively.

What it's missing is jazz, heat, something that would make us WANT to tune in next week not to mention the rest of the season.

And the main reason for that problem lies in the character who serves as the lynchpin that should be keeping it all connected - FBI agent Graham Kelton.

I suppose I'm spoiled when it comes to Toobworld's FBI agents. From Dale Cooper of 'Twin Peaks' through Fox Mulder of 'The X-Files' and now Jack Malone of 'Without A Trace', FBI Agents have a vitality, a feeling that life pulses through them. It's not just a matter of quirks, although that certainly helps as well.

Graham Kelton has the potential, and it looks like he'll be more connected to this case than he ever would suspect, due in part to a past case as well as to his Catholic faith. We know the actor playing him has the chops to bring Graham Kelton to life; Gale Harold played vain, self-centered Brian in the Showtime version of 'Queer As Folk', after all.

But here, he's nothing more than an update on the cardboard characters from the old TV series, 'The FBI'. Worse, he's just a mature Ashton Kutcher in a suit.

The problem lies in the writing, I guess. They've got to give Harold more to work with and I know then he'll run with it.

I do like Ming-Na as his partner though. She looks perfect in the role. Let's just hope they give her more to do with it.

Let's get down to some of the Toobworld aspects.......

As of now, I have no problem seeing this series set in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time. We never see the President or know who it's supposed to be, so right now we can assume it's President Bush. As for Senator Collins being from Georgia, I don't see that as a problem - sorry, Georgians (and you know who you are, I.G.), but it's not like your senators in the Real World are that high-profile.

There's apparently an opening on the Supreme Court and the senator's crucial vote on the matter could be a reason behind the case. But again, so far we don't know the name of the nominee nor who was being replaced.

Besides, the Supreme Court can be a nebulous body once you get past the Chief Justice. One of the other justices would be like the Manhattan D.A. of 'Law & Order', you can get away with having a fictional character in the position.

The one glitch might be in a guy who showed up to put some pressure on the senator just before his wife.... 'Vanished'. (I keep wanting to put an exclamation point in that title!) If I heard the senator's major domo correctly, he was the Acting Attorney General. If so, the "Acting" part of the title could be the loophole to keep this in Toobworld, where Alberto Gonzalez has been cited in fictional series as being the A.G., just as he is in the Real World. It could be that for the run of this series, the televersion of Gonzalez has been sidelined by illness or some other reason.

All in all, though, 'Vanished' can be placed in the main Toobworld... for the time being.

And if the opinion of TV critics and viewers who comment in blogs are any indication, that might not be for very long. 'Vanished' can be a lot like light beer: tastes great, less filling.

Still, I hope it sticks around at least for one more month. That's because my friend and soul's twin, Shirley Jordan, will be playing a role in the episode to air on September 11th.

After that, I'd have no problem if 'Vanished' did just that.....



While looking around the Internet in hopes of finding a quote by Paracelcus in 'Beauty And The Beast', I stumbled across this dialogue exchange between Catherine and Vincent:

Catherine: When I was a girl, we spent our summers at a lake in Connecticut. I had a secret place too, a glen. I would lay there in the tall grass and feel like I was the only person on earth. Safe.
Vincent: Yes
Catherine: And if I sat very still, the deer would walk by and not ever see me. I could almost reach out and touch them. It seemed enchanted. It seems so far from the city, like a different world, but it is only two hours away. I wish you could see it.
Vincent: So do I
Catherine: If only we could be there.
Vincent: We are there. You are taking me there with your words, showing me.

Kurt Vonnegut was right. The wrinkles of the brain are smoothed out at the edge of a body of water.......

Two hours away from the City..... It could be any number of lakes in Conneticut, perhaps it's Candlewood, or Quassy. It definitely has to be a lake with easy access to a secret forest glen by the water, where deer might frequent.

This pretty rules out Highland Lake in Winsted. My family has had a cottage there on the water for four generations, and it will always be my main choice for a place to go on vacation. In fact, I'm spending all four weeks there, spread out over the summer and fall.

First off, Highland Lake (We always just called it "The Lake".) is more than two hours drive from Manhattan. But not by much, maybe two and a half hours tops. And perhaps Catherine was just rounding it off.

But even back when Catherine was a little girl, Highland Lake was pretty much full developed. At least back then, most of the cottages were simple, rustic affairs. A few of them were even of a backwoods style straight out of "Deliverance".

Our old cottage could fall into that category; it began as one room and two others were added on. We finally had it torn down and a new one built in its footprint. But this time, it had potable running water and indoor plumbing and walk-in shower for my Mom who was finding it difficult to maneuver by that point. (The old cottage had an outhouse and water pumped in from the Lake.)

So sadly, I think I have to disqualify Highland Lake's televersion from being considered as the Connecticut lake from the back-story of 'Beauty And The Beast'. It would have been nice to have another connection for my own televersion ('The Hap Richards Show', 'The Ranger Andy Show', "The Deadliest Season") besides all of the shows that connect to the Edison.....



I have a friend who's got something of a religious bent, and he asked me if "Inner Toob" means some kind of spiritual state of being. I guess he was asking that because I'm always going on about how a "Higher Power" makes sure that I always find something Toobworthy when channel surfing.

Like the time I clicked on the TV just in time to hear this exchange of dialogue from "Hud":

Brandon DeWilde: "It's a lonely old night."
Paul Newman: "Yeah, well, ain't they all?"

For years that's always been one of my favorite lyrics from John Mellencamp, and a little research revealed that he's a big fan of Paul Newman movies and his songs are littered with such references.

Never would have known that had I not turned on the TV at that exact moment.

The latest example I can remember happened about three weeks ago. (I've been so busy with just watching the stuff I taped, - five hours worth of shows I only have three hours free time the next day to watch! - that I have no time to idly channel surf "live".)

I had been told two years ago by my sister that there was a scene in an episode of 'Becker' in which the name of my employer is not only mentioned, but Dr. Becker is later shown there, trashing a room rented by a character played by Kelsey Grammar.

So that's what happened three weeks ago: I tuned in just in time to see the receptionist say the name of the Edison Hotel and stayed with the episode to see what a room there looks like in the TV Universe.

The last time one of our hotel rooms showed up in Toobworld, George Costanza was handcuffed to the headboard on 'Seinfeld'......

Anyway, the Toobworld concept is hardly a religion. (Although I think I could tweak it to become some kind of a "Dianetics"-like cult if I put my mind to it; "Better Living Through Your Inner Sitcom" books.)

It may not be religion, but a lot of Toobworld has to be taken on faith.

Here's a case in point:

(Oh, and by the way, for those fans of 'Doctor Who' in America who have not yet seen the finale of Rose's second season with the Doctor, there be spoilers ahead!)

'Doctor Who' producer Russell T. Davies said that plans for a spin-off special starring Billie Piper as companion Rose Tyler were scrapped at the last minute. Davies got cold feet while filming Piper's final appearance for the two-part finale, "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday".

"It was actually commissioned by the controller of BBC One and budgeted," Davies told Doctor Who Magazine. "It was going to be fantastic. We'd have had a lovely budget, and done brilliant things with it, maybe one Bank Holiday special a year."

But the proposed special, 'Rose Tyler: Earth Defence', was "a spin-off too far" in his opinion. After all, 'Torchwood' is coming out soon, and Sarah Jane Smith and K9 are both getting their own treatments as well.

And so Davies cancelled the production.

"It spoils Doctor Who if we can see Rose..." Davis splained. "If we see as a concrete fact that her life continues to be as exciting without the Doctor."

The thing of it is, Rose's life does continue as a concrete fact in a parallel TV dimension. And as far as it being still as exciting without the Doctor around as it was with him, she admits as much at the very end of "Doomsday". She tells the Doctor through the rapidly disappearing vortex conduit that she has gone to work for that dimension's version of Torchwood in the time since they parted.

As it is with all TV characters, we have to accept that their lives continue after a show's cancellation, or after they've been written out of the plotline... unless of course, Death played a role in the proceedings to write the "Big Fini" to their contributions. Eventually there's always the chance we may meet them again, even if it should take more than thirty years, as was the case for Alan Brady of 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' when he appeared on an episode of 'Mad About You'. And then there was the Lane Family of 'The Patty Duke Show' who returned in a TV movie reunion.

So Rose Tyler, dubbed by the Doctor in that last visit to be "Defender Of The Earth" during the parting of their ways, is probably having fantastic adventures even now in her new home dimension. After all, she brings a lot of experience to the Torchwood Institute as an expert in dealing with a variety of alien life forms. And in the downtime between her episodes in which we don't know what she and the Doctor were up to in the TARDIS (Easy, boy!), Rose probably used the TARDIS computer files to learn even more about Sontarans, and Ice Warriors, and Zygons, and all of the other alien races she never got the chance to meet herself.

And you know there will be an endless supply of tie-in franchise novels for those 'Doctor Who' adventures with Rose that were never telecast; just as there has been for all of the incarnations of the Doctor and his many companions.

So why not tie-in novels that chronicle her adventures as this "Defender Of The Earth" in her new dimension?


Monday, August 21, 2006


For a few seasons now, 'The 4400' and 'The Dead Zone' have traveled together on the USA Network sked. And both shows have dealt with the prospect of a major conflagration which has been predicted to happen in the future.

For 'The 4400', it is the Catastrophe; for 'The Dead Zone', it's Armageddon.

Couldn't they be the same disaster?

Like I said, both shows are on the same network; they air one right after the other. Wouldn't it be great if they had an actual crossover, rather than just a possible encounter in one of those great USA Network promos?

It seems like they'd make for a great two-part story combining their major strengths, and I think the Catastrophe/Armageddon storyline would be the way to go.

Of course, Johnny Smith lives in Maine; the main 400 Centre is in Seattle. You couldn't get two shows farther apart unless you wanted to add 'Lost' into the mix.

But Johnny Smith is free to travel the country; it's not like his power to see things isn't going to work outside of his home base. (And it's not like he's going to be socked with roaming charges on it, either.)

And as of this past week, Kyle Baldwin has taken a job with the 400 Centre to travel the country and talk about his experiences. Eventually he may find himself in Maine, perhaps invited by Reverend Gene Purdy to speak at his Faith Heritage Centre. And while there he would have the opportunity to talk to Johnny and convey a message and invitation from Jordan Callier to come to Seattle to talk about their common concern: the coming disaster.

That could then lead into the second part which would take place in Seattle and where Johnny does what he can to not only help the 4400, but perhaps solve a problem for NTAC agents Tom Baldwin and Diana Skouris.

Of course, one problem is that 'The 4400' airs before 'The Dead Zone' on Sunday nights. With a set-up like that, either they'd have to switch places on the schedule, or the episode would have to start on 'The Dead Zone' and then conclude the following week on 'The 4400'.

But that's only one possible (albeit pretty logical) set-up to a possible scenario between the two series. I'm sure smarter folks than me would come up with something that begins on 'The 4400' and concludes an hour later on 'The Dead Zone'.

And speaking of those promos, when is Johnny Smith of 'The Dead Zone' going to meet Maya Skouris of 'The 4400' in one? Sean has met 'Monk'; 'Monk' has met Johnny Smith; and Johnny has argued with Shawn Spencer of 'Psych' and even helped out one of those wresting dudes.

I would think having two pre-cogs meeting each other from different shows might be pretty cool.

Unless of course some weird cosmic short-circuit might happen should they ever touch.......

Am I the only one who just got that Lazarus A/B vibe just now?



Mighty Mouse once said that "Imitation is the sincerest form of Television."

Check out this story, reported by Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter:

NBC has committed to a sci-fi pilot about a man who travels back in time to correct wrongs.

The untitled project, which is said to have an epic romance at its core, comes from Kevin Falls, who won three best drama series Emmys as part of the producing team of "The West Wing."

It makes me wonder if Donald Bellisario is feeling flattered.... or like flattening something!



Tony Jay, a prolific voice actor who appeared in hundreds of commercials for radio and TV as well as cartoons and video games, has died at 73 from complications after lung cancer surgery.

Born in London in 1933, Jay is survived by his mother, Edith, 99; his brother, Robert; his son, Adam, 17, and his wife, Marta MacGeraghty Jay.

Jay, who possessed a uniquely baritone voice, often played the villain in video games and cartoons, the Times said. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Judge Frollo in the 1996 Disney animated film 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame.'

'His voice was pretty tremendous and one of a kind,' said Natanya Rose, who worked with Jay on video-game projects for International Creative Management. 'Any time you needed that regal, deep, wise presence, he definitely was the person to go to.'
[from the UPI report]

"Tony Jay" sounds like he'd be that guy who lives over on the next block; plays ball in the street with the kids. A quite ordinary name for an actor who had a voice steeped in elegant malevolence, but who was just as well-known for his dour visage and imposing height.

It could have been a "wish-craft" of mine to one day see Tony Jay and Christopher Lee act together. But that will never happen now.

But if his given name was so commonplace, those of his many characters in Toobworld were better fitting for the look and voice of such a man - Paracelcius, Nigel St. John, Judge Silot Gatt, Shere Khan, Galactus, Machestro, Anubis, and Charles Dickens.....

That voice also kept him busy in the world of videogames, especially in the "Legacy Of Kain" series the "Elder God". And he also provided the narration for movies as well.

Although most genre fans will remember him from 'Beauty And The Beast' and as the ally of the alt.dimensional Lex Luthor in 'Lois & Clark', my particular favorite character of his was as Judge Silot Gatt. He played the jurist in an episode of 'The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.' in which the fact that Brisco was a Harvard grad counted against him in Judge Gatt's court, since he had gone to Yale.

Hail the Nutmegger, Silot Gatt!

And hail and farewell to Mr. Jay.......

"To Serve and Protect" (1999) (mini) TV Series .... Police Pathologist
"Fall of Eagles" (1974) (mini) TV Series .... Tsar Alexander III

Timon of Athens (1981) (TV) .... Merchant

The Gene Pool (2001) (TV) .... Renfeld
Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1993) (TV)
Absolute Strangers (1991) (TV) .... Weisfeld
Rainbow Drive (1990) (TV) .... Max Hollister
Circus (1988) (TV) .... Conrad Simpson

"Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"
- And the Answer Is... (1995) TV Episode .... Nigel St. John
- The Phoenix (1995) TV Episode .... Nigel St. John
- Foundling (1994) TV Episode .... Nigel St. John
- The Ides of Metropolis (1994) TV Episode .... Nigel St. John
- Pheromone, My Lovely (1993) TV Episode .... Nigel St. John

- The Man of Steel Bars (21 November 1993) - Nigel St. John
- Neverending Battle (3 October 1993) - Nigel St. John
"Twin Peaks"
- Episode #2.12 (1991) TV Episode .... Dougie Milford
- Episode #2.11 (1990) TV Episode .... Dougie Milford
- Episode #2.10 (1990) TV Episode .... Dougie Milford
"Beauty and the Beast"
- Ceremony of Innocence (1989) TV Episode .... Paracelcus
- What Rough Beast (1989) TV Episode .... Paracelcus
- Dead of Winter (1988) TV Episode .... Paracelcus
- Remember Love (1988) TV Episode .... Paracelcus
- To Reign in Hell (1988) TV Episode .... Paracelcus

- The Alchemist (22 January 1988) - Paracelcus

Dynasty: The Reunion (1991) (TV) .... Dr. Jobinet

Civil War Combat: The Wheatfield at Gettysburg (1999) (TV) .... Narrator
Civil War Combat: America's Bloodiest Battles (1999) (TV) .... Narrator

- Rule Number One (2001) TV Episode
"The Burning Zone"
- The Silent Tower (1996) TV Episode .... The Chairman
"Picket Fences"
- Squatter's Rights (1994) TV Episode .... Chief Rabbi
"The Adventures of Brisco County Jr."
- Brisco for the Defense (1993) TV Episode .... Judge Silot Gatt
"Star Trek: The Next Generation"
- Cost of Living (1992) TV Episode .... Third Minister of Justice Campio
- Eggnog (1991) TV Episode .... Charles Dickens
"Night Court"
- Guess Who's Listening to Dinner? (1991) TV Episode .... Joseph Schiavelli
"Eerie, Indiana"
- Scariest Home Videos (1991) TV Episode .... Sir Boris von Orloff
"Murphy Brown"
- Q & A on FYI (1991) TV Episode .... Dr. Wade Benoit
- The Critic (1991) TV Episode .... John Bosley Hackett
"Christine Cromwell"
- In Vino Veritas (1990) TV Episode
- Good Lord Louden (1989) TV Episode .... Reginald Wooster
"The New Lassie"
- Once Upon a Time... (1989) TV Episode .... Mr. Shepherd
"Mr. Belvedere"
- Mutiny (1989) TV Episode .... Captain Peel
- Allegra (1987) TV Episode .... Father Michaels
"The Golden Girls"
- The Artist (1987) TV Episode .... Lazlo
"Dempsey & Makepeace"
- Armed and Extremely Dangerous (1985) TV Episode (uncredited) .... Abe Moser
"The Agatha Christie Hour"
- Jane in Search of a Job (1982) TV Episode .... Count Streplitch
"Whoops Apocalypse"
- How to Get Rid of It (1982) TV Episode .... Bagatu
- Kim Philby (1980) TV Episode
"The Professionals"
- Blind Run (1978) TV Episode .... Foreign Observer 1
"The XYY Man"
- A View to a Death (1977) TV Episode .... Jacob Mahler
"The Sweeney"
- Golden Boy (1975) TV Episode .... Lambourne

"Teen Titans"
- Transformation (2004) TV Episode (voice) .... Narrator
"Detroit Docona" (2004) TV Series (voice) .... Dr. Reginald Styx
"Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends" (2004) TV Series .... Spiderus
Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids (2003) (TV) (voice) .... Spiderus
ReBoot: My Two Bobs (2001) (TV) (voice) .... Megabyte
"Lloyd in Space"
- Caution: Wormhole! (2001) TV Episode (voice) .... Dr. Werner Von Brain
"House of Mouse" (2001) TV Series (voice) .... Magic Mirror/Shere Khan/Ostrich
"Buzz Lightyear of Star Command"
- Head Case (2000) TV Episode (voice) .... Dr. Animus
- Stress Test (2000) TV Episode (voice) .... Dr. Animus
"Mickey Mouse Works" (1999) TV Series (voice) .... Ostrich
"Xyber 9: New Dawn" (1999) TV Series .... Machestro
"Hey Arnold!"
- Eugene's Birthday/Stinky's Pumpkin (1999) TV Episode (voice) .... Voice In The Sky
- The Phoebe Takes the Fall/Pig War (1998) TV Episode (voice) .... Rex Smythe-Higgins
- Tour de Pond/Teachers' Strike (1997) TV Episode (voice) .... Rex Smythe-Higgins
- Das Subway/Wheezin' Ed (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Doctor
"ReBoot" (voice) .... Megabyte
- End Prog (1998) TV Episode (voice) .... Megabyte
"Invasion America" (1998) TV Series (voice) .... The Dragit (1998)
"Extreme Ghostbusters"
- Moby Ghost (1997) TV Episode (voice) .... Macrobe
ReBoot: The Ride (1997) (voice) .... Megabyte
- Sins of the Fathers Chapter 11: Carnage (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Baron Mordo
- Sins of the Fathers Chapter 10: Venom Returns (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Baron Mordo
- Sins of the Fathers Chapter 1: Doctor Strange (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Baron Mordo
"Mighty Ducks" (1996) TV Series (voice) .... Wraith
- The Last Son of Krypton: Part 1 (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Sul-Van
Superman: The Last Son of Krypton (1996) (TV) (voice) .... Sul-Van
"Bruno the Kid" (1996) TV Series (voice) .... Jarlesburg
"The Savage Dragon" (1996) TV Series (voice) .... Overlord
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (1987) TV Series (voice) .... Dregg (1995-1996)
- Grief (1995) TV Episode (voice) .... Anubis
"The Fantastic Four"
- When Calls Galactus (1995) TV Episode (voice) .... Galactus
- To Battle the Living Planet (1995) TV Episode (voice) .... Galactus
- The Silver Surfer & the Return of Galactus (1994) TV Episode (voice) .... Galactus
- The Silver Surfer & the Coming of Galactus: Part 2 (1994) TV Episode (voice) .... Galactus/Terrax the Destroyer
- The Silver Surfer & the Coming of Galactus: Part 1 (1994) TV Episode (voice) .... Galactus
"Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man"
- Ride the High School (1994) TV Episode (voice)
"The Tick" (1994) TV Series (voice) .... Chairface Chippendale
Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights (1994) (TV)
"Skeleton Warriors" (1994) TV Series (voice) .... The Narrator of Golden Skull
"2 Stupid Dogs" (1993) TV Series (voice) .... Chief
"Mighty Max" (1993) TV Series (voice) .... Virgil
Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992) (voice) .... Lickboot
- Visit from Lipschitz, A/What the Big People Do (1992) TV Episode (voice) .... Dr. Lipschitz
"Darkwing Duck"
- Dead Duck (1991) TV Episode (voice) .... Grim Reaper
"TaleSpin" (voice) .... Shere Khan
- From Here to Machinary (1990) TV Episode (voice) .... Shere Khan
- Plunder & Lightning (1990) TV Episode (voice) .... Shere Khan
- A Bad Reflection on You, Part 2 (????) TV Episode (voice) .... Shere Khan
"Peter Pan and the Pirates" (1990) TV Series (voice) .... Alf Mason

Rugrats Go Wild! (2003) (voice) .... Dr. Lipschitz
Recess: School's Out (2001) (voice) .... Dr. Rosenthal
The Rugrats Movie (1998) (voice) .... Dr. Lipschitz


"Dream all you want,
But nothing quite prepares you for the moment
Nigel St. John
'Lois & Clark'

(Thanks to Jen for that quote)