Saturday, September 23, 2006


Readers of Roger Catlin's column in the Hartford Courant wrote to him this week about a framed picture hanging in the office of Judd Hirsch's character on 'Studio 60'.

"I got more than one phone call about it and this e-mail from Leigh Pechillo:

Having watched Studio 60 last night, did you happen to notice a photo on the wall in Judd Hirsch's office? There was a photograph of an Olympia Dinner, and from what I could see on the brief glimpse, it looked like the Olympia Dinner on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington? Do you happen to know if it was a photo of that establishment?

Well it certainly seems to be. "

I saw the episode three times - twice on the Netflix disk and in its broadcast premiere Monday night - and I never noticed that picture. Aside from the fact that I look at that type of stuff all the time in search of the most trivial aspects with which to make my TV connection, I used to live for the Berlin Turnpike when I was in high school/my first year of college. After work at the Meriden JC Penney's on Fridays and Saturdays, my buddies and I would take off to see what was playing at the drive-in on the Turnpike and then grab a late night bite at places like the Olympia.

Roger Catlin continues:

"Some callers wondered if it was supposed to represent some sort of Connecticut connection for Hirsch’s character, Wes Mendell.That kind of connection would make more sense if 'Studio 60', the show within the show, was shot in New York City, like the show it emulates, 'Saturday Night Live', instead of Los Angeles."

Perhaps, but everything about Judd Hirsch says "East Coast", and it's easy to imagine that Wes Mendell headed West to work on the show. Why not bring along some mementos that reminded him of back home?

Alas, Roger Catlin concludes:

"But there’s no use wondering about the Olympia coming up in some of Aaron Sorkin’s stellar dialog in coming weeks – Hirsch’s character was fired and his office cleared by the end of the debut episode."

It's true. Wes was packing up a box of his stuff in the office when Jordan McDeere tracked him down. The picture of the Olympia Diner most likely ended up in there as well......

Ah, but the possibilities! Did Wes once work up the Turnpike, at one of the TV stations in Hartford? Perhaps at the affiliate which carried 'FYI' on 'Murphy Brown' (where Miller Redfield used to work?) Did he ever know Tyne Daly's character on 'Judging Amy'?

But like Mr. Catlin says, we'll never know.....



Saturday night used to be one of the display cases to show off the jewels of CBS - 'All In The Family', 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show', 'The Bob Newhart Show', 'The Carol Burnett Show'. (That 8:30 slot always seemed to be the problem child.) The other networks threw up programs to combat the Tiffany lineup.

Now, the night has been basically abandoned by all of them and I'm cool with that. Especially since it provides the broadcast networks an opportunity to match the cablers in at least one aspect - repeating their shows from earlier in the week.

For example, take tonight's skeds for CBS and NBC. The Network of the Great Eye will be re-showing 'Jericho' and 'Smith' beginning at 8 pm, while the Peacock Throne will repeat 'Kidnapped' at 10 pm. (Times listed are EST; check your local listings. I LOVE getting to type that!)

ABC will be showing a Notre Dame/Michigan State college football game tonight, but they used several Saturday nights to push 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives' two years ago, as well as 'Grey's Anatomy' last season. Getting a second chance to sample these shows must have proven successful for ABC, and now its two main rivals are following suit.

So, it's little advance notice, but hopefully it'll help somebody out.

'Jericho' - CBS, 8 pm EST
'Smith' - CBS, 9 pm EST
'Kidnapped' - NBC, 10 pm EST


"Any schedule without Buddy Ebsen sucks eggs."
George Utley

Friday, September 22, 2006


Thanks to the third season premiere of 'The Office', we know that they have their own version of 'Queer As Folk', although Michael Scott was convinced that the title was 'Queer As F**k'.

He also mentioned 'The L Word' as a TV show that he watches, which has been referenced on at least one other show this season already. (Althought it escapes me as to who did it.)

If it proves anything, it's that Michael has Showtime.

Angela also jumped on the Zonk bandwagon by mentioning that she watched 'Will & Grace'.

All of the characters from these shows exist in the same TV dimension as those from 'The Office'. Therefore it's a Zonk.

The official Toobworld position has to be that although these versions of our Real World shows share the same titles, and maybe some of the same storylines, there will be differences in the televersions so that they are not the exact same shows we watch here.

Th-th-th-th-that's all, F**ks!



Although there was no official version of "King Kong" in Toobworld, the Eighth Wonder Of The World had to have existed in the TV Universe.

Currently, Jeep Wrangler is running a commercial which shows two of Kong's descendants, allegedly on Skull Island. One of the giant apes picks up what looks to be a yellow-winged bug that was scurrying along the ground and tries to eat it. Eventually he puts it back on the ground, and the bug - which is really a Jeep Wrangler with two yellow surfboards on the roof - drives away into the jungle.

Skull Island exists in the comedy sketch alternate universe Skitlandia, thanks to an appearance by two of its "ambassadors" during Weekend News Update last year on 'Saturday Night Live'.

(Over in the Cineverse, the universe dealing with movies - and usually outside our venue - a reference was made to Skull Island in "SkyCaptain And The World Of Tomorrow".)

How long before some flamboyant producer decides to tempt fate and bring those two apes out of Skull Island and into a Las Vegas stage show? If so, Gil Grissom and his 'CSI' forensics team will have their hands full.

Unless of course, the apes are showcased at the Montecito in 'Las Vegas'............



Nowadays a commercial has at best 15 seconds in which to make its point. A 30 second spot is now considered the long form. (So those ads from the 1950s must seem positively epic in comparison.)

Fifteen seconds is barely enough time to get the brand seared into the viewer's mind, let alone tell all the details in its storyline.

So that's why Inner Toob steps in to fill in the blanks.

This time out, I'd like to take a look at the new Domino's campaign featuring the brownie mascot, Fudge-ums.

I'm still finding it difficult to reject the more fanciful splainins that come to mind in favor of a more simplified version. And that's what happened with my first introduction to the pizza company mascot. One look at his square, somewhat hairy body, with human arms and legs, and I envisioned the sort of troll that could be zapped up from Tabitha Stevens' picture book.

Too extreme, I figured (although part of my new splainin does incorporate a character from another sitcom that was out there.)

Focused as I was on Fudge-ums at first, I failed to notice the delivery boy. And that's where the splainin gets filled in......

It has been just over seven years since 'The Nanny' went off the air, but as with all shows in the TV Universe, Life goes on after cancellation.

Brighton Sheffield has grown up and is now attending college, one that is located just outside a small town. His father, Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield, took the advice of his second wife (Fran Fine) and refused to coddle the boy. So if Brighton wanted spending money while at school, he would have to earn it.

So Brighton Sheffield works as a delivery boy for Domino's.

But the theatrical/entrepreneurial spirit which he inherited from his father burns brightly in Brighton, and he saw an opportunity to increase sales for his particular franchise.

So he called upon the help of a fellow classmate in the theater department. Together, they devised a costume to simulate the shape of a warm fudge brownie. And the friend accompanies Brighton on his deliveries as "Fudge-ums" to trumpet the new menu offering (for pay, of course).

Unfortunately, they began the campaign before the dye had permanently set in the costume and it transferred to the clothing of the customers hugged by "Fudge-ums". Luckily in that first commercial, it looks to me that the housewife has spent the afternoon drinking, and is incapable of being concerned about the stains.

Now, as to who that friend is......?

He's obviously a little person, and basically human, judging from the arms and legs that are visible in the costume. But he's obviously speaking in some strange tongue, yet one that is oddly familiar.

It's my belief that the college student inside that brownie costume is descended from Cousin Itt, a member of 'The Addams Family'. As it's about forty years on since we saw Cousin Itt, it could be his grandson (providing Itt fathered a child by the end of the series, and his son or daughter had a child by the time they were 19 or 20.)

Hey, not every little person in Toobworld has to be related to my favorite TV character, Dr. Miguelito Loveless of 'The Wild, Wild West'!

Nothing says that Cousin Itt's grandchildren - or even his own offspring - have to be just as hairy as he was (despite what we saw of their Cineverse counterparts in "The Addams Family" movie). Itt was kin to Gomez and yet Gomez wasn't covered in long hair. And the genetic contributions of the children's mother for both succeeding generations figures greatly in their physical appearance.

And for all we know, Brighton's fellow college student is quite hairy within that brownie costume; it's just that his arms and legs are normal.

One last point about these Domino's commercials. In the second one, Brighton and Itt's grandson are seen fleeing down a hillside with a mob of customers chasing after them.

Now, the Voice-over tells us in the blipvert that everybody loves the brownies and that's why they're chasing after "Fudge-ums".

However, we only have the Voice-over's word for the splainin of what's happening in that scene. But I find the Voice-over race to be untrustworthy and I would never let one marry my sister.

For all we know, the mob is angered by the stains on all of their clothing caused by that brownie costume. Or maybe Itt's grandson was copping feels during those hugs. Who's to say?

Obviously, all of my theories depend upon what lies in the future for this ad campaign of Domino's. But for now, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.


"You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie!"
President George W. Bush

Thursday, September 21, 2006


As a really obscure TV reference, 'Jericho' is not the TV series spin-off from a Patrick Macnee MOW......

For the second time this year, another TV show is built around a possible end-of-the-world scenario. But whereas 'Three Moons Over Milford' is more in the vein of 'Northern Exposure' meets 'Gilmore Girls', 'Jericho' has the potential to be similar to some of the old plots on 'The Twilight Zone'.

A small town in Kansas finds itself cut off from the outside world after the townsfolk see a mushroom cloud form on the horizon where Denver should have been. (I can just imagine how that played out in the Colorado TV markets! Make note to self - check Joanne Ostrow's take on the show.....)

'Jericho' was being trumpeted months ago as the CBS answer to 'Lost', but I'm not feeling that vibe. Despite its premise, it has the traditional feel of CBS shows of the past; more in keeping with a Cold War 'Waltons' in a way.

A lot of the other reviews have bemoaned the fact that Gerald MacRaney is now doing this after being so indelible as George Hearst in 'Deadwood'. Life goes on in Toobworld, though, and you can't go back so there's no use kvetching about it. And MacRaney needs to work just like the rest of us. If he was forced to wait until dialogue and plots on a par with that in 'Deadwood' came along, he'd be on the dole.

And he's pretty good in this show, even if he is covering familiar territory that doesn't take much effort his part. He's the patriarch of the central family in the cast, and the mayor of Jericho, Kansas, to boot. So the show will naturally gravitate around him. Pamela Reed plays his wife and Skeet Ulrich is his oldest son Jake, the black sheep of the family only recently returned to town. (Luckily he got out of Denver just in time.)

The pilot took its time setting up the characters, using the six degrees routine as we saw how they intersected with the members of the Green family. And I think this slower pace was called for, to give the audience time to get some kind of handle on each of them.

The one character still with an air of mystery about him is named Hawkins, a black man recently moved into town... or so he claims. For someone who was an ex-cop, he seems to have a pretty good handle on what to do in a crisis mode that would seem to have been more in keeping with somebody with experience on a federal level. (This is the guy who should have been heading up FEMA, not Brownie!)

And his accent was kind of dodgy, so I looked into the actor who plays the role and it looks like he's a Brit.

Perhaps that will come into play in later episodes. It could be that he's a government observer and the whole town is being tested to see what its response would be if this had been an actual emergency.....

Duck and cover!

We got a taste of the first primal panic from the townsfolk after the explosion, as they fought amongst themselves over the gasoline supplies. I'm guessing sooner or later, suspicions about Mr. Hawkins will feed into deeply buried prejudices among the people as well.

Among the other characters who promise subplots to fill out the season are a teen loner misfit who's lost his Mom (maybe both his parents, but I think she was off in Atlanta with a boyfriend), Jake's ex-girlfriend, a possible new love interest in the schoolteacher, an old high school buddy and his deaf wife (sister?), the mayor's political rival, and a deputy raising his kids alone (I think) who looks like he'll be thrust into the job of sheriff before he's ready.

(Getting back to 'Three Moons Over Milford', they dealt with this scenario as well, but in a humorous way, and Sheriff Wochuck has been a delight in the show.)

You can't exactly say that Jake and the schoolteacher met cute - I've been queasy about seeing pen-tube tracheotomies since an old episode of 'Quincy'. And I'm going out on a limb here with this guess, but I'll bet it turns out that Jake's brother already had feelings for the schoolteacher and this will cause friction between the two brothers.

I'll probably be proven wrong; I usually am, not that it ever stops me!

My only real complaint was at the end when the ex-girlfriend was seen driving out of town to meet her new boyfriend in Wichita. (I'm pretty sure he's a goner. If his plane was in the air when the bomb exploded, the EMPs would have caused that bird to just fall out of the sky. Ummmm.... wouldn't it?)

The complaint is that I couldn't exactly tell what the hell was all over the road. I've read elsewhere that it was charred remains of animals, but the scene was too darkly lit for me to make it out properly. I thought it was the remnants of a plane that crashed. So I guess I'll have to wait until she heads back into town to tell people what she saw, causing them to all feel further isolated.

Being so cut off from even the neighboring towns (How far away is the next town, anyway?), it reminded me of an episode of 'The Outer Limits' (both versions) called "Feasibility Study". In it, an entire neighborhood was transported to an alien planet and there was a ring of toxic gas that kept them penned in their area.

Now, had that been adapted into a full-length TV series, maybe it would have had the heat of 'Lost'.

I'm a big fan of 'Bones', so I'm going to give 'Jericho' a few more weeks (unless the 'Bones' plots for those two weeks are too compelling. Last night's? Feh.) before I switch back to FOX.

Of course, the baseball playoffs may be coming up faster than I expected, so I may be spending more time in Jericho than I initially planned. It's not like there are any other options in that time-slot. And the combination of 'Jericho', 'Lost', and 'The Nine' sounds pretty good to me.

Now on to the major Toobworld aspect.

Even without the nuclear explosion in Denver and the possible one in Atlanta and elsewhere, I think this show would have to be shuttled off to a new TV dimension courtesy of 'Sliders'. Once you hear the voice of the President on the radio, you can tell it's not supposed to be Dubya. The diction was too good. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

It doesn't sound like I can pass it off as either Jed Bartlet or Matt Santos either. Which is a good thing, since I've already decided 'Smallville' takes place in the same dimension as 'The West Wing'. And since the town of 'Smallville' is in Kansas as well, Clark Kent would finally have to deal with the events of the outside world.

Quinn Mallory said that there are thousands of parallel Earths with variations from each other. 'Jericho' for the time being will just have to settle for being on its own with no other shows to join it. Unless we consider 'Whoops' and that classic Burgess Meredith episode of 'The Twilight Zone' as having been broadcast earlier than they actually took place.

Why not? Misery loves company, after all......



Alan Sepinwall, critic/columnist for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, ended his review of 'Jericho' with this:

" I just can't shake this fear that, if the ratings aren't strong out of the gate, Roma Downey and Della Reese are going to swoop down from heaven to bring the people of Jericho a very special November sweeps episode. "

Now there's a crossover for you! And it would not be the first time they met a character who looked like Gerald MacRaney. He played the patriarch in 'Promised Land', which was a spin-off of their show 'Touched By An Angel'. 'Promised Land' later had a crossover with 'Diagnosis Murder' which brought it into the official version of the TV Universe.

And for all I know, the angel played by Della Reese may have met George Hearst back in 'Deadwood' during the late 1800s!



Finally! A reason to watch G4!*

MGM TV has commissioned an animated series based on Mel Brooks' 1987 "Spaceballs" movie which will be shown on Comcast's G4 cable network starting in the fall of 2007.

There will be a one-hour pilot, co-written by Mel Brooks, and 13 half-hour episodes. Brooks' writing partner, Thomas Meehan, also co-wrote the movie with Brooks and the late Ronnie Graham. Meehan will supervise the writing of the 13 half-hours while Brooks will do two of the voices, President Skroob and Yogurt.

Germany's Berliner Film Companie will provide the animation.

You realize what this means, of course. The Tooniverse will now be home to animated versions of 'Star Trek', 'Star Wars', 'Stargate: SG1' and now 'Spaceballs'.

What they need now is a cartoon version of 'Babylon 5'!


*Sorry, Trekkies, but that 'Star Trek: 2.0' hurts my eyes! But I will watch the retooled 'Trek' with the new CGI.......


Richard Keller at has an interesting op-ed piece today about the glut of serialized dramas (as well as a few sitcoms) that are on the schedule this fall.

Also, check out the comments section. There are several well-thought-out replies posted by readers as well, and they really bring luster to the concept of a "forum".

You can check it out here.



After checking out the season premiere of 'Prison Break', I decided my time would be better served by just reading the recaps and reviews from sites like TVSquad, TVgasm, and "What's Alan Watching?". The plot was too unbelievable and with plot holes so big you could stage the escape for an entire prison.

Besides, it would only be a matter of weeks before I'd be abandoning it anyway because I preferred 'How I Met Your Mother'. Who better to spend that second half hour - wooden, dour Michael Schofield, or everybody's pal Barney Stinson?

This leaves that first half hour to be filled in my taping schedule while I'm snoozing away before my overnight job. And based on the series debut, I don't think 'The Class' will prove to be just a time-waster.

I often wonder if maybe I'm just too easy to please; I'm not critical enough; my standards are too low. Because I had been reading nothing but bad reviews for the pilot episode. (Although several of those reviews also offered the caveat that a viewer should stick around for the next two episodes because they were much, much better.)

And I trust in the work of James Burrows enough to think that something in that script caught his eye as probably the greatest TV director ever to make him want to attach himself to the project. (Although he's only human and he has had misfires in the past.)

So I watched my tape of that first show and I enjoyed it. I'm not saying it's great; it'll probably never "change the world" as 'Friends' did in some respects, but I found most of the characters to be personable and varied.

(Except of course in skin tone - hello! A cast that large and you couldn't fit in one actor of color? Doesn't Philadelphia have any blacks, Asians, somebody from the Indian subcontinent? It looks like Kyle's partner is Hispanic, and I think the actor playing him is from Chile, but something about Kyle's backstory leads me to believe they'll break up before too long.)

I especially liked Lina Warbler, the somewhat daffy goof; even her slight speech impediment, which I understand is for real, I found to be charming. Something about her made me think of Joan Cusack by way of "Annie Hall". Maybe it was that red hat.

I think her twin sister Kat will grow on me as well, but her sharp retorts seemed to be blunted in the pilot. For someone whose hobbies include watching other people suffer, verbally judging those around her (and hiking), I think she was being forced to hold back on the venom. There must be some way to make her sharper and yet retain some softness to make her acceptable to the audience. Amy Pietz was able to do that with her character of Annie in 'Caroline In The City'.

So all in all, I'll take the word of those other reviewers and trust that 'The Class' will only get better as it progresses.

Now, as for its Toobworld potential......

When I heard that they were all in the third grade of Woodman Elementary School twenty years ago, my mind started racing with the pretzel logic needed to make the connection with 'Welcome Back, Kotter'.

The actor who played Mr. Woodman had died in the early 1980s; his character was no longer associated with 'Welcome Back, Kotter' after 1979..... Maybe this school was almost brand new when these kids attended it in 1986, and it had been named after the late Vice Principal of Buchanan High.

I don't know how I missed the fact that the sitcom is set in Philadelphia. Did that even get mentioned in the pilot? I guess I just have a knee-jerk belief that all big-city sitcoms take place in Manhattan.

But that's.... okay. With an ensemble cast this large, there will be plenty of opportunities to find trivial connections to other shows that have been set in the City of Brotherly Love.

Thanks to TV Acres, here's a list, sitcoms and dramas alike:

American Dreams/NBC/2002-2004
Boy Meets World/ABC/1993-2000
Bringing Up Jack/ABC/1995
Bustin' Loose/SYN/1987-88
Family Album/CBS/1993
Lock Up/SYN/1959-61
Pursuit of Happiness/ABC/1987-88
Shannon's Deal/NBC/1990-91
Strong Medicine/LIF/2000+ [Rittenhouse Hospital]
Tall Hopes/CBS/1993
Teech/CBS/1991 [Winthrop Academy In Suburban Philadelphia]
The Tony Randall Show/ABC/CBS/1976-78.

Lina Warbler is in the hospital for the next two episodes, thanks to events in the pilot. So perhaps it could be considered that she's in Rittenhouse Hospital? And maybe at least one of the characters went on to attend Winthrop Academy after leaving Woodman Elementary.

But one thing's for certain: with a cast this vanilla, there won't be any links forged with 'Amen' any time soon!

One nice thing I liked about these characters - for the most part, they've all got very distinctive family names. Ellenbogen, Haas, Lendo, Velch. The only one that had a typically 80s blandness to it was for Nicole Allen.

In a way, this is a hindrance in trying to make theoretical connections through "Relateeveety", except for Nicole. But at the same time, it's nice to see the wide variety of names to be found out there. Take a look at the size of the Philadelphia phone book and you'll know there are a lot more names in there besides Smith, Jones, Johnson, Williams, Taylor, and yes, Allen.

But there will always be possibilities in what's available. There have been "Haas" characters on such shows as 'Wiseguy', 'Dallas', 'L.A. Law', and 'Beggars & Choosers'. There was somebody named "Warbler" in an episode of 'Diagnosis Murder'. And there was even an Ellenbogen in an episode of 'Grindl'.

Now that's trivial!

So for now, I have no problem spending 22 minutes on a Tuesday morning with 'The Class'. (Fast-forwarding through the blipverts, of course!) True, that's not high praise, but with so many viewing options available, I'm sure some network suit (May they be nibbled to death by ducks!) at the headquarters of the Great Eye will be glad to take it.


"When I was in third grade, there was a kid running for office.
His slogan was:
'Vote for me and I'll show you my wee-wee.'
He won by a landslide."
Dorothy Zbornak
'The Golden Girls'


If George Clinton had truly appeared in this week's premiere episode of 'How I Met Your Mother', then he would be a direct link to fellow sitcoms 'Martin' and 'The Bernie Mac Show', as well as to the drama 'New York Undercover'. And as fans of the Westphallian concept on TV Crossovers already know, that FOX show leads to a cross-network linkage to the entire TV Universe thanks to an appearance by Dr. Olivet, a recurring character on 'Law & Order'.

But he appeared only in Marshall's lunatic imaginings on what Lily's life might be like now that they had broken up.

However, George Clinton's involvement was due to tickets for one of his concerts being purchased with Lily's credit card. So in a general sense, the Funkmeister does exist in 'HIMYM' in a fictional sense and so the connection to those other three shows is valid on a technicality.

Meanwhile, over at 'Justice', Harvey Levin got a great plug in for with a recommendation by Victor Garber's character of Ron Trott. Levin's appearance on the show as himself can be added to his appearances on 'The Sopranos' (listed in the credits as "Talk Show Host"), "JAG" (as "News Anchor"), and in the TV movie "American Tragedy". I'd even toss in 'The People's Court', where he was the legal reporter for a time.

I submit that in each of these appearances, Harvey Levin was appearing as himself. However, he was listed by his occupation at the time, rather than by name.

Thursday night will see singing star John Mayer appear as himself on the season premiere of 'CSI', which should make my younger cousin Lauren happy.

I'm taking a guess here, but I'll bet that with at least one of the songs he sings (Apparently he's doing two), Mayer's vocals will underscore a montage of scenes as the Forensics team continue their investigation during his concert.

Song montages are pretty popular in TV dramas the last few years, perhaps starting with 'The West Wing' but with 'Rescue Me' as the most likely candidate as biggest offender.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


ESPN is mounting a mini-series next year timed to the 30th anniversary of the Yankees winning their first World Series under the ownership of George Steinbrenner.

This should be welcome news to Denis Leary......

It's called "The Bronx Is Burning", based on Jonathan Mahler's "Ladies And Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning". Personally, I think it should be called "Da Bronx Is Burning".

Based on what I've read in Roger Catlin's blog "TV Eye", I'm hoping the quality of the acting and the skill used in editing and camera angles will overcome my suspicions about the mini-series' believability. Of the three main actors I've seen mentioned, (and I've yet to check the, John Turturro comes closest to fitting my mental image of his real-life inspiration.

Turturro is playing Billy Martin. Had Harry Dean Stanton been a younger man, I might have gone with him in the role of Martin. Funny thing is, five nights a week I have to see Billy Martin's mug across the lobby where I work - there's a picture of him and Mickey Mantle standing outside the hotel. But it's far enough away that I can't make out the details and it's been years since I actually studied it up close. So I can't really say for certain that the casting is a good match.

Not that it matters in Toobworld. Ryan White's Mom looked nothing like Judith Light, and yet that's who played her in a made-for-TV movie. And Richard Crenna as H. Ross Perot? Puleeeze!

Daniel Sunjata is playing Reggie Jackson and that seems like it's going to be a stretch. But then again, it could come down to make-up, with a fake mustache probably carrying the load to pull off the look.

It's the idea of Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner I find the strangest bit of casting. I can't see where the producers saw a common link in resemblance from which they could splain the notion of casting Platt. 'f I was king of the forest, I'd have gone with Daniel Roebuck, former co-star of 'Matlock', who portrayed Jay Leno in "Late Shift" and who played the unfortunate Arzt on 'Lost'.

Regarding the need for editing and cinematography skills, New London, Connecticut, is standing in for New York City; and a small stadium in Norwich named for the late Thomas Dodd will be representing the House That Ruth Built.

I'm sure it has to do a better job than the set used on the season premiere of 'How I Met Your Mother' - they couldn't even get the look of the stadium security right!

But I hope it's a success and that ESPN will take a chance on more mini-series of a similar vein.

Because the story that should be told is of the 2004 season for the Red Sox!



Variety reported that ABC is teaming up with Francis Ford Coppola to make a TV Series out of his 1974 movie 'The Conversation'. I saw this movie only the one time when it first came out and certain scenes are still vivid in my memory; very disturbing.

I think it has potential as a TV series in which the protagonist is an electronics surveillance expert. This version, whose pilot is being written by Christopher McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects") and Erik Jendreson ("Band Of Brothers"), will be set in the present day and will find Harry Caul a master not only of audio surveillance but of digital spying as well.

Like the movie, Harry Caul is under constant surveillance himself by various agencies in the government because of a secret conversation that he taped. (Let's see, there's the Agency, the Firm, the Bureau, the Department, the Syndicate.... And those are just the vague ones.) So that will provide the overyling theme to the storyline. But there will be many self-contained stories as Caul helps people deserving of assistance.

According to Lee Goldberg, the go-to man when it comes to information and history on TV pilots, an attempt to turn 'The Conversation' into a TV show was previously made.

"Back in 1995, Oscar-winning screenwriter Ron Bass wrote a pilot based on THE CONVERSATION for NBC that starred Kyle MacLachlan in the Hackman role."

I think MacLachlan would have been great in the role. I think he still could be. And it would be nice to see him rescued from 'Desperate Housewives'. (Sorry, but I'm still bitter that 'InJustice' was canceled. David Swain was one of the best TV characters of the past year.)

Another actor who would have been perfect for the part is already tied up in another series as well - Gary Sinise of 'CSI: NY'.

The premise and execution of 'The Conversation' put me in mind of several other TV shows over the last decade:
'The Dead Zone'
'The Equalizer'
'The Net'



Mickey Hargitay recently passed away at the age of 80. (I'm sure you have examples of your own for this, but Mr. Hargitay fell into that category of "I thought he was already dead" for me.)

Although he held three body-building titles in 1955 (including "Mr. Universe") and made several movies, he was better known as the husband of 1950s sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and the father of Mariska Hargitay, Emmy-winning star of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'.

He appeared as himself in several shows like 'This Is Your Life', but his most prominent televersion was embodied by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a TV movie about Hargitay's marriage to Mansfield (who was played by Loni Anderson).

Governor Schwarzenegger cites Hargitay as an inspiration for his own career.

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
- Control (2003) TV Episode .... Grandfather
"The Wild Wild West"
- The Night of the Fugitives (1968) TV Episode .... Monk

Cool Million (1972) (TV) .... Frederick



Robert Earl Jones was the father of James Earl Jones and he was a presence more in the world of theater than in the movies and TV as his son was. (Not to say that James Earl Jones hasn't made his mark on stage.) He died on September 7th at the age of 96.

In my opinion, his best known role would be that of Luther Coleman, the ill-fated partner to Robert Redford's grifter in "The Sting". But he also made his mark in Toobworld as well:

The Gospel at Colonus (1985) (TV) .... Creon
The Sophisticated Gents (1981) (TV) .... Big Ralph Joplin
The Displaced Person (1977) (TV)

"Lou Grant"
- Renewal (1978) TV Episode .... Earl Humphrey
- Where Do You Go When You Have Nowhere to Go? (1976) TV Episode .... Judge
"The Defenders"
- The Brother Killers (1963) TV Episode .... Joe Dean


Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Candace Corner is a writer for and she's listed the top ten jobs for TV Junkies:

1. Animator
2. Camera Operator
3. Broadcast Captioner
4. Broadcast News Reporter
5. Film/Video Editor for Broadcast/Television
6. Executive Producer
7. Promotions Producer
8. Director
9. Staff Writer
10. Casting Director

With each category, she fills in a few details as to what the job entails and approximately how much each of them pays annually. (She got these salary stats from, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Writer's Guild of America, CNNMoney and

But those are all jobs for people who want to work in the business. I've always held the opinion that, like laws and sausages, the production of TV shows should not be seen being made.

For me, a job for a true TV junkie is one in which you can get paid to actually watch TV. And I don't mean TV critics, columnists, professional bloggers, or as part of some research group.

I mean, having a regular job on which you can also watch TV during your shift.

I think that as a hotel night auditor, I've got that type of job. (Maybe Ivan over at the Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear can back me up on that.)

During my lunch hour, there's always the TV in the lunch room, of course. But there are several hours during the shift that is like a "dead zone": after I've finished the audit, but before the first wave of checkouts begin around 4 am. (And even then!)

I suppose I could bring in a small portable and see what kind of reception I get there in the lobby. But with all the skyscrapers in midtown, I'm not sure it would be very good.

However, I do have a small DVD player and with that I'm able to catch up on a lot of shows from the past through their boxed sets.

Right now, I'm "working" my way through the boxed set for 'Naked City' starring Horace McMahon and Paul Burke. In the past, I've watched the boxed sets for 'Goode Neighbours', 'Dream On', 'The Job', and a bootleg set of DVDs for the Ninth Doctor of 'Doctor Who' (culled from bit torrents, I'm told).

It doesn't interfere with the job itself, - nobody's coming to the desk and I'm just sitting there anyway! - and helps me to make some headway in my backlog of shows to watch in order to find more trivial information to expand the TV Universe. (For instance, Detective Arcaro in 'Naked City' was shot in one episode and ended up in Manhattan General Hospital. This same hospital was the central location for 'Kay O'Brien, Surgeon'.)

And best of all, I'm getting paid during that time.




There's just something wrong when the announcer proclaims, "Get inside 'How I Met Your Mother'!"

Made me squirm when I heard that on the tape this morning.....


Sunday, September 17, 2006


I got that second chance with the 'Men In Trees' pilot on Friday night when I got home from the movies. But this time I never made it to the second episode which followed it.

Sorry, but it just didn't grab me.

I was rather neutral about it, unlike my brother Bill, who sat there loudly grousing that we didn't need another TV show set in Alaska after 'Northern Exposure'.

Speaking as a Televisiologist, this attitude doesn't make sense to me. Would we ever have 'Taxi', 'Rhoda', 'Friends', 'Seinfeld' or 'How I Met Your Mother' if we never allowed another sitcom set in New York City after 'I Love Lucy'?

My brother can be a jerk. All three of them can be. It must be hereditary.

Wait a minute.....

At any rate, I don't see myself heading back north to Elmo, Alaska, any time soon.



From the AP:

When Susan Kuhnhausen returned home from work one day earlier this month, she was ambushed by an intruder wielding a hammer.After a violent struggle, the 51-year-old nurse managed to fend off her attacker and strangled him with her bare hands.

Neighbors praised the woman for her bravery, and investigators said they believed the dead man, Edward Haffey, was burglarizing Kuhnhausen's home.

But after an investigation, cops say the intruder was a hit man hired by her 58-year-old estranged husband.

The husband was busted last week and held on $500,000 bail. Haffey - a violent repeat offender - had worked as a custodian under Michael Kuhnhausen at an adult video store, according to prosecutors.

Inside a backpack Haffey left at the scene was a day planner with, "Call Mike, Get letter," scribbled on the week of Sept. 4, officials said. Michael Kuhnhausen's cell phone number was jotted on a folder, police say.

First off, it's "Dial M For Murder"/"A Perfect Murder" brought to life.

I'm not sure if it's already been done; the basic plot seems easy enough. But I could see this as being one of those "ripped from the headlines" episodes of 'Law & Order'.

Of course, they would add their own little twist.....



I think any blogger will agree with this - the most boring part of the "job" is the maintenance. And for me, that mostly deals with keeping my links to other sites up to date.

Today, I've added eleven new links to the list at left. There's a very general sense of placement with no intention of ranking them by importance or favoritism, just keeping them in the basic community of links in which they are best suited.

Here's the list of newbies:

The TV Guy
Television Commercial Database
uninflected images juxtaposed
The TV Room
Cartoon Brew
Muppet Wiki
Reel Fanatic
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine
Drew's Script-O-Rama
The Internet Movie Script Database

Give them a look-see; they're all worthwhile and a great waste of time.

And isn't that why we're all here in the first place?



I was on vacation this past week - as Rob Buckley would put it, I was "on me hols". And the place where I was staying had access to the Encore Westerns channel. When I was up there during July, I treated myself to watching 'Alias Smith And Jones' each day at 6 pm EST. It's always been one of my favorite series, even outside the Western genre.

(Thinking of it now, I should have listed Hannibal Heyes as one of my Top 25 TV characters. I'd probably have to send Maggie Jacobs of 'Extra' further down the list.....)

I figured: why give up on a good thing? So I watched the show while I was there again.

But the week began with two episodes from when Roger Davis was playing Hannibal Heyes, after the suicide of Pete Duel.

Years ago, when I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website, I wrote a multi-page splainin on how Hannibal Heyes was able to change his complete appearance, right down to his voice. I thought it was a pretty good essay, especially as it gave me the chance to bring my favorite TV character, Dr. Miguelito Loveless into yet another TV show, deep background. And it provided theoretical links to 'The Wild Wild West' in other ways as well as to other shows like 'The Avengers' and 'The Prisoner'.

But as I begin collecting all my old splainins to see what kind of shape I can knock them into, I decided that particular splainin was wayyyy too complicated. And one thing I want to do is simplify, simplify, simplify the TV Universe.

It had been years since I saw those 'AS&J' episodes which featured Roger Davis, perhaps not even since they first aired. And even then, I think I finally fell away from the series because of his involvement, since there was just something missing without Peter Duel involved.

So I watched those two episodes with great interest, with a fresh perspective, and decided it was time to re-think and re-tool my splainin for the new look sported by Joshua Smith aka Hannibal Heyes.

I decided the simplest splainin would follow the template I'm using for the two different versions of Joey Bishop's sitcom. Bishop played Joey Barnes first as a talent agent bossed around by his family, and then as a late night talk show host with a beautiful wife. Although the change-over occurred between the first and second season, Joey Barnes was supposedly a talk show host for awhile.

The splainin for this involves alternate TV dimensions.

For Earth Prime-Time, the Hannibal Heyes as played by Pete Duel is the official version of the character. Not so much because he was the first, because that rule is flexible. (As is the case with 'The Joey Bishop Show' - the three years in which he was a talk show host belong in the main Toobworld because of a mult-episode crossover with 'The Danny Thomas Show'.) The first incarnation of 'Alias Smith And Jones' belongs in Earth Prime-Time because Pete Duel was inarguably the best in the role.

Roger Davis served well as a replacement after Duel died, and the audience was already somewhat accustomed to him as the narrator for the original version. He may even have been better received had he been the first.

But once you've seen Duel, ain't no one more cool.

What especially helps with the idea that there is a distinct, dimensional divide between both versions of the show is that the opening of the series - in which Curry and Heyes confer with Lom Trevors - was re-shot. Both the Duel image of Hannibal Heyes and the Davis version have the same conversation with the Sheriff about the possibility of amnesty.

This is what especially tosses my original theory about Heyes' mind transplant into the body of the 'Smiler With A Gun' (thanks to the scientific genius of Dr. Loveless) out the window. With that theory, life for Hannibal Heyes continues onward in his new body; he doesn't go back in Time and relive it all over again.

By the way, I used to include the transition of 'Burke's Law' into 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' as an example of the same show existing in two different dimensions. This is because Burke returned in the 1990s and was still the head of the L.A. Homicide department, with no mention of his tenure as a spy for the U.S. government.

However, I've looked through the episode guide for that last season of Gene Barry's show and found this:

The Prisoners of Mr. Sin 10/27/65
With his knowledge, expertise, and photographic memory, [Dr. Walter Bannister] is highly sought after. Deep in his brain are the files of twenty-one of the country's best agents, including Burke.

Planning on selling his information, Bannister is instead captured by Mr. Sin, who plans to auction off Bannister's facts to the highest bidder, keeping the money for himself.

Mr. Sin was played by the late, great Michael Dunn, best known for playing Dr. Miguelito Loveless on 'The Wild, Wild West'. It's always been the contention here at Toobworld Central that Loveless was immortal, and that he was still active on Earth Prime-Time one hundred years after the events of 'The Wild, Wild West'.

When he was next seen in Toobworld, he was operating under several aliases: Mr. Big ('Get Smart') and The Clown ('Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'). As an alias, Mr. Sin fits nicely into that same groove, so how could I ever leave 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' out of the main Toobworld?

But getting back to Hannibal Heyes - Remember Hannibal Heyes? This is a post about Hannibal Heyes. - there is still a splainin needed for the difference in appearance for the version played by Roger Davis.

And that's easy to splain: a simple twist of his DNA strand before birth. This happens all the time in the dimension of Earth Prime-Time Delayed, which is where we house all the remakes and/or lesser known versions of other TV shows.

So even though Kid Curry aka Thaddeus Jones remained the same (being played by Ben Murphy in both incarnations of the show), we might as well toss the re-tooled incarnation of 'Alias Smith And Jones' over into the Remakes dimension with 'The New Addams Family', 'The New Monkees', and 'The New Gidget'.

"I wish the Governor would let a few more people in on our secret."
Hannibal Heyes
'Alias Smith And Jones'

Well, I may not be the Governor of Toobworld - I'm just a Caretaker, - but hopefully this splainin will serve......