Saturday, September 30, 2006


Last night, 'Doctor Who' returned to the American airwaves with the second season of the RTD era (I don't know... 29th season overall?). It's the first season in which David Tennant stars as the Doctor, his Tenth incarnation.

I saw the series earlier in the summer, thanks to my friends Mark and Michael, but I don't mind watching them again (this time with commercial interruptions) as I could always use a second shot at deciphering some of the accents!

I've already posted in the past that I've decided that for the Toobworld concept, 'Doctor Who', starting with Christopher Eccleston's performance as the Ninth Doctor, should be relegated to an alternate dimension. This is because there's no getting around such contradictions to the main TV universe as the destruction of Big Ben, the death of Tony Blair, Harriet Jones as the new Prime Minister, and President Schwarzenegger. (There's a future to avoid......)

I'm hoping someday, after Russell T. Davies has let loose his control over the series, 'Doctor Who' can return to the days when there weren't such specific references to political figures and we can assume we're once again watching the Doctor that exists in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time.

(I think that Doctor has gone through the same regenerations, from McGann - although never seen happening in the current version - through Eccleston and now Tennant.)

David Tennant is currently filming his second season as the Doctor, and it looks good that he'll be doing a third series as well. But after that? Who knows?

According to the show's mythology, a Time Lord can only undergo twelve regenerations, 13 bodies in all. (Is my math right on that?) So that would mean, if they stuck with that religiously, that there could only be three more actors who could play the Doctor before he'd have to suffer true Death.

But the great thing about science fiction is that with a little techno-babble, you can weasel your way out of any situation. And this would be no different.

The solution I like is not original with me. I saw it mentioned in the columns section for an article in the Coaxial section of "Ain't It Cool News" around the time of the last Eccleston episode, "Parting Of The Ways".

In this splainin, the Doctor gains more regenerations because his body absorbed the Time Vortex from Rose. And even though every cell in his body was dying because of that, it also rejuvenated him in a way so that he had even more opportunities for life ahead to keep him going on TV for many many years to come.

So as such, here are a few suggestions I had in mind for actors to play the Doctor in the future.

Michael Jayston - It would be nice if the Valeyard finally was seen coming into his own as that future regeneration. However, so many years have passed, it might be necessary to recast the role with someone who not only resembles Jayston, but is at the approximately same age as when he played the Valeyard.

Peter O'Toole - I suppose this choice should be considered only for a theatrical one-off, similar to the Peter Cushing films. O'Toole could play an older incarnation of the Doctor in a glorified cameo before being regenerated into a younger version who would carry the film. (Daniel Craig? Clive Owen? Or is that just the James Bond pissing contest?)

Should the Gallifreyan Time Lords ever be revived on the TV series, O'Toole would make for a great elder.
The Daleks survived the Time War twice over, why not the Time Lords?

David Dixon - Twenty-five years on from 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' (TV version), and Ford Prefect remains one of my top 25 favorite TV characters of all time. And as visualized by Dixon, he already looked the part to be a Doctor. I've seen recent photos of the actor and I think he'd still be great in the role.

Julian Rhind-Tutt - Better known as Monty Pippin in 'Keen Eddie' (at least over here in America), he'd make sure that as a blonde, the Doctor would have more fun. There was certainly something kinky lurking in the background of Detective Pippin, and there might be for the Doctor as well.

Billy Boyd - I'm probably reading another incarnation of Ford Prefect into this choice, and maybe the name of "Pippin" from the last entry made me think of him, but Boyd certainly looked good in a scarf in "The Lord Of The Rings".

Roger Daltrey - The lead singer of The Who has shown he can act in the past, so that's not a problem. And it's hard to resist the temptation to use this tag line should Daltrey be cast in the role: "The Doctor Rocks!"

Richard Griffiths - The portly character actor who plays Uncle Vernon Dursley in the "Harry Potter" movies would bring the role back to the type of character played by Hartnell and Troughton - more of a brainiac than a man of action. That's what Companions are for!

Matt Lucas - Yeah, the short, chubby, bald guy from 'Little Britain'. Hey, Gallifreyans should look somewhat alien, don't you think? Here's a way to go.

Even if it would make Mark Gatiss jealous.....

Roger Rees - My personal favorite choice. Think back to the first time we saw him as John Lord Marbury in 'The West Wing'; the way he bounded across the Oval Office to shake the President's hand and to lay a few zingers on Leo. In my mind, that's the fantasy crossover image of a crossover between the two shows.

Colin Baker - Yeah, sure. He's played the role before and was reviled by some. But I blame that more on the writing and the bad production decisions (like that coat!) and not on his work as an actor. I think he deserves another chance, and this time to go in a different direction as far as the personality quirks are concerned. Strangling Peri right off didn't help endear the audience the last time.

And besides, the years have marched on and Colin Baker is no longer the curly-haired fellow he once was; there have been enough physiological changes over time to make him even look like a different actor.

Adrian Lester - I think it's about time for a new hue for 'Who', and any arguments to the contrary, no matter how rooted in TV science, seem to be masking some deep-rooted bigotry. Time Lords do have options in their regenerations decisions, if done voluntarily. The Second Doctor was shown a variety of different models from which to choose at the end of 'War Games', and Romana went through several versions during her 15 hour window before settling on a tribute to the Princess Astra.

So why not have the Doctor choose to be black? Or even have it happen at random if the regeneration was an unforeseen occurrence? And I think Adrian Lester would make for an elegant, hip Doctor. But I can also see him as being the latest human shell stolen by the Master to keep himself alive past his regenerations. In fact, I think Adrian Lester might make for a better renegade Time Lord than a heroic one.....

(Craig Charles once expressed interest in being the first black Doctor, but his recent troubles will keep that from ever happening I think.)

And finally, my second favorite choice.....

Rupert Grint - I think the teenager, who plays Ron Weasely in the "Harry Potter" movies, would make for an interesting version for two different scenarios.

First, as a continuation of the lineage, it would make for some interesting storylines to have the regeneration go back almost too far. And then the Doctor would have to surmount the resistance by others to being told what to do by a kid. (I know, it's rather like the situation faced by Tommy Sullivan on 'Third Rock From The Sun'.)

But here's my off-beat suggestion - Rupert Grint as the FIRST Doctor!

One of the best-loved traditions in the 'Who' canon has been the team-ups between various incarnations of the Doctor. As the years march on, it's becoming impossible to go back too far to pull this off. William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee have all passed on. The others from the original run of the series are showing the signs of age.

I've often seen hopes posted in forums that perhaps the current Doctor might be able to do a team-up with Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston as the Eighth and Ninth Doctors respectively.

With all but the First Doctor, each incarnation is locked into looking exactly as they did between their regenerations. Proof that it should be this way can be found in the Sixth Doctor's adventure, "The Two Doctors" - Patrick Troughton's hair had gone considerably grayish by that point in time. (But otherwise he still pulled off the illusion that he was still the Second Doctor from his time in the TARDIS.)

And as William Hartnell had already passed on, William Hurndall was brought in to impersonate the First Doctor in the Fifth Doctor's adventure, 'The Five Doctors'.

But the First Doctor had been the original bodily form for the character, eventually growing old and becoming the character we first met as played by Hartnell. There were hundreds of years in his life that we never got to see played out on the television screen.

It's TV tradition that we get a pass when it comes to casting the younger version of a character. The younger actor should look somewhat similar to the actor he's emulating (and his should emulate the mannerisms as well - at least show them as they first develop), but allowances can be made.

And considering there would several hundred years between the role as would be played by Rupert Grint and as he looked as portrayed by Hartnell, I think the differences could be splained away.

Let's say there's too marked a difference in the nose? Hartnell's Doctor was sometimes vain about his appearance..... Perhaps he had it fixed in the past.

So anyway, those are my choices for who should play the Doctor in the future. I'm hoping you'll write in and let me know who you have in mind.

By the way, the Rani is returning this coming season from what I hear. And that she'll be played this time by that vamp from 'Footballer's Wives'.

But you know who I'd like to see in the role? Amanda Donohoe of 'Murder City' and 'L.A. Law'.

At the very least, maybe she could be a regeneration for Romana!


Friday, September 29, 2006


Even within the TV Universe, Donald Trump has his own TV show. And I'm assuming it's 'The Apprentice'.

I'm glad to see that at least one fictional TV character thinks 'The Apprentice' is a crock o' bleep:

"There's always been a struggle between art and commerce. But now I'm telling you art is getting its ass kicked. And it's making us mean. . . . It's making us cheap punks. People are having contests to see how much they can be like Donald Trump. We're eating worms for money. . . ."
- Wes Mendell
'Studio 60'

The bad-hair gasbag didn't fare much better on 'My Name Is Earl' this week. Earl Hickey pointed out to his brother Randy that Trump was just as fictional as the Beverly Hillbillies. To Earl, if you're on TV then you're fictional.

And his mention of 'The Beverly Hillbillies' isn't a Zonk. The Hickeys have shown before that they're not up on the news and current events. So he probably didn't know that the Clampetts really do exist in his universe.

He was probably referring to the theatrical movie based on the lives of the Clampetts, which he must have assumed was fictional.



Among those who burnished their League of Themselves standings this week were Wolfgang Puck and Robert Shapiro on 'Shark'.

The celebrity chef has plenty of appearances in sitcoms and dramas and is guaranteed a slot someday in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. Shapiro has been portrayed on TV in the past: Ron Silver played the "Dream Team" member in "American Tragedy".

Since Shapiro played himself in 'Shark' (as "Dream Team"-mate Johnny Cochran did in several sitcoms), the real thing trumps even an "incredible simulation".

Besides, we know the OJ trial actually took place in the main Toobworld without need for the TV movie to confirm it. Many TV shows have made references to the case.

For instance, Hank Kingsley of 'The Larry Sanders Show' called the whole case a tragedy... because it drove down the price of Brentwood real estate.

Also appearing this week as herself was Susan Hirasuna, weekend anchor and general assignment reporter for Fox11 10 O'clock News. (She joined KTTV Fox 11 in December 1995.)

But on 'Justice', she was seen as working for a cable financial channel, so that is a good example of how the life of the real person can vary between that in Toobworld and that in the Trueniverse.

And Jerome Bettis, the Bus his own self, showed up at a paper products convention on 'The Office' to sign autographs. (This times in nicely with the release of his book by Triumph Books.) Dwight Schrute asked Michael Scott why Bettis was nicknamed "The Bus" and Michael replied, "Because he doesn't like to fly."



In what could be the last new episode of 'Justice' to be aired, the law firm of TNT&G went after the Pagonon Corporation this week with a wrongful death suit. Their client's mother had been killed on a roller coaster at one of their amusement parks. (I believe that the name of the park was Roller Planet.)

It was pointed out that Pagonon owned theme parks all over the country and that's just the sort of trivial info that brings a smile to my face.

Unofficially, we can claim that whenever we see a fictional amusement park in a TV show, we can claim that its parent company is the Pagonon Corporation (unless otherwise stated).

And that would fill in the blanks, connecting those shows back to 'Justice'.

Here's one possibility: the amusement park in that KISS tv movie with Anthony Zerbe.

One theme park that has to be taken out of consideration would be the one seen in 'Entourage' this past summer, the one with the "Aquaman" roller coaster. That apparently belongs to the Time-Warner Corporation who produced Vince Chase's "Aquaman" movie.

But this is for certain - forget about theme parks on ABC shows being part of the Pagonon empire. They'll always be using either Disney World or Disneyland!

Gee..... I wonder why?



With the second episode of 'Studio 60', several celebrities have been confirmed as having their televersions existing in the TV Universe, and all without having to make an actual appearance.

The White Stripes were supposed to perform on the show, but had to cancel out due to Jack White getting sick.

That's convenient; certainly saved the cost of actually getting them on the show and then paying the royalties on whatever song they performed.

Danny Tripp threw out a lot of names for replacements, which for the most part showed that he was behind the times when it came to who was hip

For example, the Stone Temple Pilots. When Danny was told that STP had broken up four years before, he told his assistant to get them back together.

In the end, they hired the televersions of John Mauceri, conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (although he was leading the fictional West Coast Philharmonic. Along with the chorus that was hired to do the "Modern Major General" parody, they probably cost half what the White Stripes would have.

And it's not likely Gilbert & Sullivan are going to be looking for their royalty check for the use of their song.

Harriet Hayes offered up the names of several women with whom Matt Albie was supposed to be dating. (The information... information... information was provided by Page Six, so the New York Post exists in Toobworld as well.) Among those women were Fiona Apple, Mena Suvari, and Rachel MacAdams.

By the way, Ken Levine mused in his blog (link to the left!) that perhaps the attitude displayed towards the writing staff of the fictional version of 'Studio 60' represented Aaron Sorkin's actual view towards other writers as well. So I'm wondering if this list of actresses who supposedly dated Sorkin's stand-in on the show are from Sorkin's personal wish-list?

Matt denied all of them, so that saves us from the threat of TV characters having sex with "real" people.

It's happened before - Larry Sanders had sex with Ellen DeGeneres and Roseanne ('The Larry Sanders Show'); and Vincent Chase slept with Ali Larter, Jaime Pressley, Sarah Foster, and Mandy Moore. Probably with Scarlett Johanssen as well.

And it is a threat. One is fictional; the other is "real"......

Think of the children. They'd be mutants!



In Toobworld, WTIH is the television channel which usually carries NBS programming, as seen in 'Studio 60'.

In the Real World, a Google search shows that a lot of people are dyslexic, even when you limit the search to "WTIH" and "Terre Haute".

Just sayin', is all......

But it is fictional and one more TV station to add to the many which can be found only in.... the Toobworld Zone.



I added several more links today, and brought back one I didn't even realize was missing!

Tim Goodman's Bastard Machine was on hiatus for awhile; I guess as he powered up for the new TV season. Somehow I must have deleted it when I was adding some new links in recently, and since I wasn't checking him for awhile (We were on a break!), I must not have noticed the error.

Anyway, he's back now and always worth the read.

Joining him is Ed Bark's Bytes, a blog from one of the deans of TV commentary and criticism (and a living cautionary tale when it comes to the state of the newspaper biz today).

TV Rage - which gives a quick and easy guide to what's on the major networks each night among other features
When Life Was In Black & White - a nostalgic trip down memory lane
Radar Online - a news source
And I slipped in a ringer; another blog from a visitor to this site. It's not TV oriented, but I enjoy visiting it and she inspired me to drag out my Toobworld novel and have another go at it.....
Blue Ridge Writer

I hope you enjoy them!

As always, links to the left! Links to the left!


Thursday, September 28, 2006


No..... that would have been my birthday wish......

I want you all (what little readership I have) to watch 'Shark' tonight. My friend Shirley Jordan will be appearing as Judge Vivian Bell, one of Sebastian Stark's poker buddies, in a scene that also features Robert Shapiro as himself. (I believe Wolfgang Puck is also in tonight's episode.)

It's also Shirley's birthday this week, and a momentous one at that. So I'm hoping there'll be a big upswing in the ratings over the premiere episode, because then I can spin it that it was my plug here that caused that.

Don't let me down!


By the way, for the past quarter century, Shirley's been my twin. And by twin, I mean my exact opposite. So when you see her, picture the exact opposite of everything about her and you'll have a fair idea of what I look like.

Or just watch 'Family Guy'.......


Just over a year after the death of his father Eddie Albert at the age of 99, Edward Albert has passed away. He was 55 and the cause of death was lung cancer. For the last ten years, he had been the primary caregiver for his father.

Mr. Albert's most famous role was the lead in the 1972 movie "Butterflies Are Free" with Goldie Hawn and Eileen Heckart, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as his domineering mother.

Albert's middle name was Laurence -- named after family friend and acting legend Laurence Olivier, who was his godfather. Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Albert made his film debut at 14. He played a runaway who comes across a Civil War veteran, played by Anthony Perkins, in the 1965 drama The Fool Killer.

The Monday meeting of the Malibu City Council was adjourned in his memory, because of his work as a local environmentalist and civic activist.

"Port Charles" (1997) TV Series .... Bennett Devlin (1997-1998, 1999)
"California" (1997) TV Series
"Beauty and the Beast" (1987) TV Series .... Elliot Burch (1987-1990)
"Falcon Crest" .... Jeff Wainwright (1986)
"The Yellow Rose" (1983) TV Series .... Quisto Champion

"The Last Convertible" (1979) (mini) TV Series .... Ron Dalrymple
"Black Beauty" (1978) (mini) TV Series .... Lewis Barry
"Alle origini della mafia" (1976) (mini) TV Series .... Sebastian (episode "Gli antenati")

"Power Rangers Time Force" (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Mr. Collins
- The End of Time: Part 3 (2001) TV Episode
- The End of Time: Part 2 (2001) TV Episode
- The End of Time: Part 1 (2001) TV Episode
- Destiny Defeated (2001) TV Episode
- Dawn of Destiny (2001) TV Episode
"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" .... Dr. William Burke
- Colleen's Paper (1997) TV Episode
- Ready or Not (1995) TV Episode
- Where the Heart Is: Part 1 (1993)
- Where the Heart Is: Part 2 (1993)

"She Spies"
- Off with Her Head (2003) TV Episode .... Beck
"The Brothers Garcia"
- Space Race (2002) TV Episode .... Bobby Juniors Dad
"Resurrection Blvd."
- Compadres (2001) TV Episode
"Chicken Soup for the Soul"
- Simple Wooden Boxes (1999) TV Episode
"Martial Law"
- End Game (1999) TV Episode .... Deputy Chief Bain
"Nash Bridges"
- Angel of Mercy (1999) TV Episode .... Charles Gandy
"Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"
- You Bet Your Family (1998) TV Episode .... Diamond Dave LaRouche
"Mike Hammer, Private Eye"
- Gone Fishin' (1998) TV Episode .... Leader of Robbers
- The Heart of the Elephant: Part 1 (1997) TV Episode .... Dor
- The Heart of the Elephant: Part 2 (1997) TV Episode .... Dor
"High Tide"
- Ghost Story (1997) TV Episode .... Robert Janson
"The Sentinel"
- Disappearing Act (1997) TV Episode .... Dan Singleton
- Doppelganger (1997) TV Episode .... Arthur deRhodes
"Walker, Texas Ranger"
- Cyclone (1996) TV Episode .... Taylor Griffin
- The Boxer (1995) TV Episode .... Luc
"Fortune Hunter"
- The Aquarius Intercept (1994) TV Episode .... Dave Jarrett
"Dark Justice"
- Incorrect Dosage (1993) TV Episode (as Edward Albert Jr.) .... Quinn
"Time Trax"
- Treasure of the Ages (1993) TV Episode .... Frank Haskall
"In the Heat of the Night"
- Legacy (1993) TV Episode .... Lamar Sloan
"L.A. Law"
- Hello and Goodbye (1993) TV Episode .... Warren McElroy
"FBI: The Untold Stories"
- Dapper Drew (1993) TV Episode .... Drew Dobson
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"
- A Man Alone (1993) TV Episode (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Zayra
"Silk Stalkings"
- Scorpio Lover (1992) TV Episode .... Edgardo/Tio Mendoza/Felix Bustamente
"Civil Wars"
- Das Boat House (1992) TV Episode
"Bodies of Evidence"
- Nearest and Dearest (1992) TV Episode .... Charlie Harper
- Birthright (1991) TV Episode .... Robert Carroll
"Midnight Caller"
- The Added Starter (1991) TV Episode .... Sen. Jordan Pearl
"Houston Knights"
- North of the Border (1987) TV Episode .... Lester Farnum
"Mike Hammer"
- Deadly Collection (1987) TV Episode
"The Hitchhiker"
- Man at the Window (1985) TV Episode .... Arthur Brown
"Murder, She Wrote"
- Hit, Run and Homicide (1984) TV Episode .... Tony Holiday
"Tales of the Unexpected"
- In the Bag (1982) TV Episode .... Sam
"Today's F.B.I."
- Bank Job (1982) TV Episode .... Carl
"The Littlest Hobo"
- The Hero (1981) TV Episode .... Joey Green
"Walking Tall"
- Kidnapped (1981) TV Episode
"The Love Boat"
- Heads or Tails/Little People, The/Mona of the Movies (1978) TV Episode .... Doug Warren
- Afternoon Waltz (1976) TV Episode
"Police Story"
- Bought and Paid For (1976) TV Episode .... Billy Bob
- The Test of Brotherhood (1975) TV Episode .... Clay Peters
"Ellery Queen"
- The Adventure of Caesar's Last Sleep (1976) TV Episode (as Edward Lawrence Albert) .... Lee Marx
"Medical Story"
- A Life in the Balance (1975) TV Episode .... Thor Halverson
"The Rookies"
- Nightmare (1975) TV Episode .... Edward Milland
"Kung Fu"
- Blood of the Dragon: Part 1 (1974) TV Episode .... Johnny Kingsley McLean
- Blood of the Dragon: Part 2 (1974) TV Episode .... Johnny Kingsley McLean
"Great Mysteries"
- A Terribly Strange Bed (1973) TV Episode

USMA West Point (1998) (TV)
Star Witness (1995) (TV)
Body Language (1992) (TV) .... Charles Stella
The Girl from Mars (1991) (TV) .... Dan
Daddy Can't Read (1988) (TV) .... Bill Watson
Blood Feud (1983) (TV) .... Phil Wharton (Kennedy Committee investigator)
Silent Victory: The Kitty O'Neil Story (1979) (TV) .... Tom Buchanan
The Millionaire (1978) (TV) .... Paul Mathews
Death Cruise (1974) (TV) .... James Radney
Killer Bees (1974) (TV) .... Edward van Bohlen

"Invasion America" (1998) TV Series (voice) .... Rafe (1998)
"Extreme Ghostbusters"
- Grundelesque (1997) TV Episode (voice)
- The Jersey Devil (1997) TV Episode (voice) .... The Sheriff
- Sins of the Fathers Chapter 7: The Man Without Fear (1996) TV Episode (voice) (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Daredevil/Matthew Murdoch
- Sins of the Fathers Chapter 6: Framed (1996) TV Episode (voice) (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Daredevil/Matthew Murdoch
"Fantastic Four"
- Doomsday (1996) TV Episode (voice) .... Silver Surfer/Norrin Radd

Power Rangers Time Force: Dawn of Destiny (2002) (V) (as Edward Albert Laurence) .... Mr. Collins
Power Rangers Time Force: The End of Time (2002) (V) (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Mr. Collins
Power Rangers Time Force: Photo Finish (2001) (V) (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Mr. Collins
Power Rangers Time Force - Quantum Ranger: Clash for Control (2001) (V) (as Edward Laurence Albert) .... Mr. Collins


Wednesday, September 27, 2006


From the L.A. Times obituary by J. Michael Kennedy:

Ralph Story, the veteran radio and television personality died Tuesday at his home in Santa Ynez after a long battle with emphysema. He was 86.

Story was the longtime host and narrator of "Ralph Story's Los Angeles," an Emmy-winning weekly magazine series that ran on KNXT-TV — now KCBS-TV Channel 2 — from 1964 to 1970. He was also a prolific producer, writer and lecturer on local and California history.

Story's engaging style earned him national exposure. He left KNX in 1956 to host a popular CBS television quiz show, "The $64,000 Challenge."

But his career as a TV game show host was cut short by the network scandals of the 1950s, with allegations that some of the quiz shows were rigged. Story was not implicated, and he returned to Los Angeles in 1960, rejoining KNX to anchor a daily news show called "Storyline," a four-hour broadcast that was a precursor of today's all-news radio formats.

In 1961, when KNXT inaugurated "The Big News," the nation's first one-hour television news broadcast, Story joined anchorman Jerry Dunphy, sports reporter Gil Stratton and weatherman Bill Keene as the main broadcast team. Olney, a former "Big News" reporter, said Story's "attitude of amused detachment could transmit devastating critiques and probing analyses without being harsh or mean-spirited, much less boring. He made serious journalism a pleasure to watch."

KNXT-TV called on Story in 1964 to host a new kind of television "magazine" series that would feature stories about the people, places, history and lore of Los Angeles. Called "Ralph Story's Los Angeles," it ran for six seasons and became a model for many successful magazine-style shows.

Producer Dan Gingold recalled Story's "ability to invest himself totally" in his work.

During the 1970s, Story co-hosted, along with Stephanie Edwards, "AM Los Angeles" on KABC-TV Channel 7.

"He was the mentor of a lot of lives," Edwards said.

Former Hollywood columnist Rona Barrett remembered Story for his unique style and concern for good journalism: "No one told a story on TV better than Ralph."

"Alias Smith and Jones" (uncredited) .... Narrator
[As narrator, Mr. Story served the version of 'Alias Smith And Jones' which took place in an alternate TV dimension. In this world, Hannibal Heyes looked like Roger Davis rather than Pete Duel as in the main Toobworld.]

"ABC's Wide World of Entertainment" (1973) TV Series .... Host/Narrator

"The Name of the Game"
- Aquarius Descending .... Newscaster

- Man from Taos: Part 1: Who Says You Can't Make Friends in New York City? .... Newscaster
As these two shows take place on opposite sides of the country, and these episodes were broadcast just a few months apart, here's how his similar roles probably play out:

The newscaster in both episodes is the same man. After finishing up his gig at the New York TV Station in September of 1970, he moved west to Los Angeles and was working at a TV station there by December of that year.

As he was already appearing as himself in Los Angeles hosting his own show, the newscaster must be considered a fictional character who only looked like Ralph Story.]

"The Lucy Show"
- Lucy Helps Ken Berry .... Himself
[As this episode took place in 1968, Ralph Story was appearing in his role as the host of 'Ralph Story's Los Angeles'.]

- Hippie, Hippie, Hooray .... Bud Le Beau
[I'm not familiar with this episode, but if Mr. Story was playing the newscaster who covered the disappearance of Serena from a jail cell, then it could be that Bud Le Beau was the same newscaster from that 1970 episode of 'McCloud' who later moved to Los Angeles as seen in an episode of 'The Name Of The Game'. And thus, as an honorary inductee, the character of Bud Le Beau would be eligible for inclusion in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.]

"My Three Sons"
- Soap Box Derby .... Paul Rankin

Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain (1989) (TV) .... Himself

"A.M. Los Angeles" (1970) TV Series .... Host
"The $64,000 Challenge" (1956) TV Series .... Emcee (1956-1958)
"What Do You Have in Common?" (1954) TV Series .... Emcee



"I never thought I'd land in pictures with a face like mine."
Audrey Hepburn

Tonight on 'CSI: NY', a gang of bank robbers dress up as Audrey Hepburn's character of Holly Golightly in "Breakfast At Tiffany's".

They could be those zombie brides of the late Robert Palmer, who backed him up in the 'Simply Irresistable' music video.

They probably fell on hard times after the singer died......

Apparently there's a rising interest in all things Audrey lately. I don't know the reasoning for this in the Real World, but I'm willing to take a shot on the splainin when it comes to Toobworld.

Cosmic Confluence.

There are many Universes out there created from the gestalt spark of Mankind's creative genius. Several novels have explored the universes based on literary genres ("The Incompleat Enchanter", "The Magic Umbrella"), and there's a trilogy about the B movie universe known as The Cineverse.

Sometimes these separate universes "bleed" into each other when they overlap. This is why we consider certain movies to be part of the TV Universe - like 'Maverick', the 1966 'Batman', and the 'Star Trek' franchise.

But not all of these collisions between the universes are gentle blendings; sometimes they can be violent clashes. And when that happens, the resultant "explosion" can puncture the dimensional wall separating yet another universe and can take root there in some kind of artistic aurora borealis.

More often than not, this cosmic energy blooms in Toobworld, no matter what the two original universes were. That's because the TV Universe is like this giant maw, a black hole from which nothing can escape.

Much like the English language, TV takes influences from all sorts of inspirations and converts them and incorporates them into itself.

And it's my theory that this is what happened when it comes to the new Gap ad which features a mash-up between the late Audrey Hepburn and AC/DC.

The movie universe collided with the music universe at specific points, combining "Back In Black" by the Australian rock group and a dance sequence from "Funny Face" with Ms. Hepburn as Jo Stockton.

It's not the first time Audrey Hepburn has materialized in Toobworld due to a collision with the movie universe. According to the, a computer recreation of Audrey (possibly using old footage) was used for a Japanese drink commercial in 2002.

I know the use of her image from this 1957 movie has upset a lot of her fans, and those who believe in the sanctity of film as art. This argument has been going on since at least the time when Humphrey Bogart was lifted from "Casablanca" for a face to face with a can of Coca Cola, and Fred Astaire danced with a Dust Devil.

That's not my concern when it comes to Toobworld. I need only splain away what it's doing in the TV Universe.

But just so you know, her sons have approved the use of her image in the Gap ad because any money they made from the deal was immediately re-channeled back into her favorite charity. The actress' son Sean Ferrer, chairman of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund, approved the campaign as "a perfect representation of her."

"Sure, she was the little black dress," he says, "but she also was the black cigarette pant."

Ultimately, Jo Stockton returns to the smoky Parisian club to be found in "Funny Face" and "Back In Black" fades from the aether, returning to the Classic Rock archives from which it sprang. But the effect of the Hepburn aura permeated all of Toobworld, and that's why you'll see Holly Golightly clones on tonight's 'CSI: NY'.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.


"She put herself in your place.
All you have to do is put yourself in her place,
And you're bound to bump into each other in somebody's place
Maggie Prescott
"Funny Face"


Tele-cognizance is the realization that one is a fictional character "living" in the TV Universe. Although it could be considered a form of enlightenment, for some it could be an affliction. When David Addison of 'Moonlighting' would break the "Fourth Wall" (which serves as the viewing window into Toobworld for the audience viewing at home in the Real World), those around him just thought he was wacked.

But when Denny Crane of 'Boston Legal' does it, his partners in the law firm mistake his tele-cognizance for a symptom of Alzheimer's.

Tele-cognizance is contagious. Alan Shore, a friend and colleague of Denny Crane's, has exhibited the trait as well. Alan probably contracted the same strain of tele-cognizance that Denny had due to their close - sometimes too close! - friendship.

Because Denny Crane gave a great display of tele-cognizance last night in the second episode for this season of 'Boston Legal', Maria Elena Fernandez of the L.A. Times has a great article about tele-cognizance (not that she used the term!), and you can find it here.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Certain shows you have to catch from the very first episode in order to get a handle on the plot. Others, you just need to hear the basic outline and you can hit the ground running.

'Supernatural' - two brothers go cross-country investigating the paranormal
'Law & Order' - murder is committed, cops investigate, ADAs prosecute

I think 'Runaway', one of the only new offerings on the new CW network, falls into that category. A guy is framed for a murder and he goes on the run with his family while he tries to clear his name.

David Bianculli of the New York Daily News had the greatest description for the show, pure Toobworld:

"The Fugitive... With Children"

And that's all I need to know about the show. I can now catch it at my leisure.

Sometimes you need to watch from the very beginning to get the best introduction to the characters, and I knew 'Brothers & Sisters' would be that type of show. I didn't have any real interest in watching it on a regular basis - soon enough 'The Dead Zone' and 'Entourage' would be back in that 10 PM Sunday timeslot. But as a caretaker for Toobworld, I want to try to at least sample every one of the new shows.

So I went into the pilot episode with no expectations, good or bad.

Boy, was I surprised by how involved I became with the Walker family in just one hour!

By the way, there will be a major spoiler discussed here by the end. Usually I just blather on with my discourse without regard to this, figuring that you'll know to stop reading. But this time it was a big surprise, so bleep off if you Tivo'd it for later.....

The one thing I did expect was that the hour would be given over to introductions to the five adult Walker siblings - 3 men and 2 women.

The guys got short-shrifted, I think. Kevin's a lawyer, and gay. Thomas is married (engaged?) and working in the family business (Ojai Foods, a produce distributor). He may also know more about his father's personal... affairs than he lets on. And the youngest brother is a drug and booze addled bleep-up who served in Afghanistan a few years ago and has been screwing up ever since. (Of the three, I think Justin was the best served of the brothers, intro-wise.)

I'm sure that as the series progresses, we'll learn more about the three sons.

This first time out, we learned more about the two sisters, Kitty in particular. She is the prodigal Walker, who had been living in NYC where she spouted her conservative views on her own satellite radio show. But now she was back in L.A. with a chance to work on national TV.

Calista Flockhart is playing Kitty, and Rachel Griffiths is playing her sister. It's nice to see that Griffiths' character will not be taking a back seat to Flockhart's when it comes to screen time. Although Kitty's relationship with their Mom (as played by Sally Field) has the emotional impact (and quite a wallop it is!), Griffiths has more irons in the fire when it comes to plotlines. She's having "marital problems", to the point where she and her husband are seeking counseling; she's found bookkeeping discrepancies at the family business; and she may revive an interracial affair that she once had with a former business associate. (Nice to see Michael Beach back in Toobworld.)

I think it says something about her character, however, that of the five kids, her name is the only one I can't remember. (I've since looked it up - it's Sarah.)

Jon Robin Baitz is the writer and executive producer (with Ken Olin), and where he's involved, you're sure to find Ron Rifkin as well, something of a lucky charm in Baitz's productions. And here he shows up as the brother to Sally Field's Nora Walker. (If I'm reading that family dynamic right - Griffiths calls him "Mister Uncle Saul", so the term "uncle" might be an honorific.) Saul Holden is deeply involved in the mystery of the missing funds at the family business, but he might have just been trying to cover up for the transgressions by William Walker, the patriarch of the family.

I mentioned Sally Field earlier. She was a last-minute replacement, as Betty Buckley played Nora Walker in the original version of the pilot. The re-shoot on her scenes gives the episode a choppy feel at some points, but they don't overshadow Ms. Fields' work in the role. Her big confrontation with Kitty is emotionally overwhelming, and as in real life nothing is resolved by the confrontation. It promises to rip out a few hearts in the audience in the coming episodes. (And credit must also go to Baitz for writing such a powerful scene as that.)

Okay, hereof comes it that I discuss the big spoiler. Flee if you must and abandon all hope of being surprised later ye who enter here.

I will admit that I might have given this show a pass entirely - the last time this type of series kept me hooked was when I caught 'thirtySOMETHING' in daily reruns on A&E back in the early 90s. (And the connection between that landmark series and 'Brothers & Sisters' extends beyond the involvement of Ken Olin as an exec producer. Olin's wife Patricia Wettig is in the cast as Holly Harper, a... friend of William Walker.)

But it was the promise of seeing Tom Skerritt as William Walker that got me to watch the pilot, so kudos to the producers on hiring him as a lure. I've been a big fan of Skerritt's since "M*A*S*H" and always felt he slipped off the radar between that and 'Alien'. I love the chance to see him in old TV shows like 'My Favorite Martian' and 'Picket Fences' remains one of my top five favorite shows from the 1990s.

As the debut of the series approached, I was puzzled by the lack of attention his involvement was getting. Rarely was there the print ad which featured him in the collection of cast pictures.

Now I know why.

According to the New York Times this morning, the re-shot opening of the episode was the big surprise to the TV critics who had seen the earlier version, and that doesn't even take into account the recasting of the mother character. But for the average audience member (which - at least in this respect - includes me), it was the ending that was the big surprise.

Here we go......

While William Walker is sitting with his young granddaughter by the pool to look at the constellations and planets (She sees him as Ares, the warrior.), he's slowly stricken with a heart attack and then falls into the pool after sending the little girl for help. Two of his sons dive in to retrieve him, but the previews for next Sunday give it all away - they were too late. William Walker passes away.

Let me just say at this point, God bless Tom Skerritt and I hope that in real life he's with us for quite some time. It's a testament to how well he keeps himself that I didn't believe it possible that a heart attack could fell his character, because he's such a robust man. Although I knew he had to be up there in age after watching his career all these years, it bowled me over to check his stats at the to find out that he's 73 years old!

Murray Slaughter: I hope I look that good when I'm his age.
Lou Grant: You kidding? You don't look that good now!
('The Mary Tyler Moore Show')

At first I was stunned that they would let such a vital, central character go like that. I could see how his recuperation from the heart attack could have led to so many different storylines, especially as his two main transgressions in life - the financial troubles and his extramarital affair - came out into the open. Another show would have probably gone for the difficulties between the Walker parents as they tried to confront and reconcile themselves to the revealed Truths.

But this show is 'Brothers & Sisters' and such a storyline doesn't belong in such a dynamic. This plot development will better serve the evolution of these five characters over the coming season.

And now, since this is "Inner Toob", here's the Toobworld aspect for the show.......

What a pleasant diversion this show is from all the forensic crime procedurals, the conspiracy-laden serials, the lawyer shows, and the medical dramas with over-the-top showstoppers (like bombs inside humans and cameras that climb inside the body). And it's not a cloying, feel-good family dynamic like 'Everwood' and '7th Heaven'. These people feel "real", as much as they can be in the TV Universe.

Sometimes it's just nice to have a show that you know fits into the TV Universe just as it is, without worrying about whether or not you have to shift it over to some other dimension because they have a different President in the Oval Office, or because the moon blew up.

So far, I see only two possibilities for specific attempts to link this show to others. First would be Ojai Foods, the family business. Perhaps at some point, the producers from some other show on ABC might allow an Ojai Foods delivery truck to be seen in the background of a scene in their show.

Secondly would be the TV network where it looks like Kitty Walker will be taking a job as their Ann Coulter (but without as much venom in her veins). I may have missed it in the dialogue (and I don't think it showed up on the placard that was created to trumpet her future employment there), but I don't think the name of the network was given. Personally, I'd like it to be ZNN, which would link the show to 'JAG', 'NCIS', 'First Monday', and '7 Days'.

I'm not sure how long I will stay with this series. As much as I enjoyed the pilot, it could be that the big dramatic conclusion for the hour is what hopped me up on coming back to visit the Walkers again in the future. I'll have to see how it goes.

But in the meantime, I think all concerned did a pretty good job in overcoming the bad buzz the show got, from reports of production hurdles during filming. We'll have to see if it pays off.....



I always enjoy it when you can pinpoint when exactly a TV episode is supposed to be taking place. Usually I can only get as specific as the particular date on which a TV event might have occurred. Rarely have I been able to nail it down to the exact moment, '24' notwithstanding.

I just finally caught up with the tapes I made from last week, and saw 'Eureka' this morning, the episode about the deathsleep plant and its pollen's effect on the townsfolk.

And it's without doubt that the story begins on Saturday, September 23, 2006... probably sometime after 8:30 at night EST, making it about 5:30 or so in Eureka, Oregon....

That's because Sheriff Jack Carter was watching the televised football game between Notre Dame and Michigan State, which was broadcast on ABC.


Monday, September 25, 2006


On the season finale of 'Three Moons Over Milford', real estate diva Michelle Graybar explored her inner "Cheterosexuality" with a "crazy naked man" who wandered into town and claimed to be from the dwarf planet Pluto.

Near the end of the episode, in a scene reminiscent of 'Northern Exposure', Michelle lost her chance to be with "Chet" forever when he seemingly disappeared in the forest, beamed back to his home planet thanks to a sequence of numbers he chanted: "4, 16, 11, 47".

Just yesterday I wrote about how the "Numbers" in 'Lost' (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) were a universal equation that pervaded everyone's life in the TV Universe, no matter what the show. Not all of the numbers had to come into play - there was a safe deposit box numbered 1516 used by Locke's Dad; the Oceanic Airlines flight that crashed was 815.

So now it appears those numbers are truly universal and are not just a factor in one TV dimension. 'Lost' takes place in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time, while 'Three Moons Over Milford' has to be in its own dimension because the Moon had been shattered into three large chunks.

And as noted, the numbers "4" and "16" were integral to the equation needed by "Chet" to return to his home planet. (I'm still not sure about the significance of the numbers "11" and "47".)



I plan to watch 'Shark' for its first two episodes. After that, I'll check out 'Six Degrees'. I may come back to 'Shark', maybe not. Thursday nights are my Saturdays, and I'd rather go out without the bother of setting up the VCR (aside from 'The Office' and 'My Name Is Earl', of course.)

And I picked just the first two episodes because I wanted to see the debut and because my friend Shirley will be appearing in the second episode. She's playing Judge Vivian Bell, one of Stark's poker buddies, along with Robert Shapiro playing himself. If the set-up proves to work, who knows? It would be nice for Shirley if it turned into a recurring gig.

Otherwise, I wasn't wowed by the show. I like James Woods a lot and he's great in the role, even though his Sebastian Stark is not a likable guy. But there was nothing compelling about his performance to keep me coming back to see what happens next to him, as is the case with Hugh Laurie as 'House'.

And without that sleek costume as Seven of Nine, there's nothing really about Jeri Ryan as his boss in the D.A.'s office to make me want to keep watching either.

As a matter of fact, it was the dress-down and firing of one of his assistants that turned me against Sebastian Stark. My hope is that the creator of the show has plans to bring that character back again in the future. Perhaps as a defense lawyer who has learned from the experience and gets the chance to wipe the courtroom floor with Stark, wiping that smirk off his face.

Here's the Toobworld take.......

When 'Spin City' premiered with Barry Bostwick as the Mayor of New York City, it had to be placed in a different TV dimension (possibly the same one where one could find 'Hail To The Chief' and 'Mr. President'). If a TV show was going to portray anybody else but Rudy Giuliani as the Mayor (or now, Mike Bloomberg) then it couldn't be the same Big Apple as found in the main Toobworld. (By the way, both Giuliani and Bloomberg have appeared as themselves in their capacity as Mayor on 'Law & Order'.)

So even though I'm unfamiliar with the local politics of the City of Angels, I think the same courtesy has to be accorded to Los Angeles. It's one thing to have a fictional character intent on running for the job of Mayor in L.A., as is the case in 'The Shield', and something else entirely when you have a fictional character holding the position.
In the Real World, as should be the case in Toobworld, the Mayor of Los Angeles is Antonio Villaraigoso. He cemented his credentials for Toobworld by appearing as himself on 'George Lopez'.

But on 'Shark', the Mayor is Manuel Delgado. At least they kept him an Hispanic, but it's still not the right man.

Therefore, 'Shark' has to be shipped out, and so why not to the dimension of 'The West Wing'? It seems as good a place as any, at least until there's some mention of Dubya being in the White House.

No matter which dimension it winds up in, 'Shark' won't have any problem keeping a few of its cultural references. For instance, the defense lawyer's chair in Stark's basement mock-up of a courtroom once belonged to Clarence Darrow. Darrow was portrayed by Henry Fonda, Tol Avery, and Kevin Spacey on Television.

And even though the events of "Inherit The Wind" were fictional and based on Darrow's involvement in the Scopes Monkey Trial, they are also part of the TV Universe thanks to three productions of the play for Television. Surely, one of them must be the real deal for the 'Shark' dimension. So the judge's bench which Stark claims is from "Inherit The Wind" would be either from the movie versioni starring Spencer Tracy, or from the Broadway play; most likely from the movie.

And since those are different universes of Mankind's creative output, the judge's bench has no real bearing on the integrity of Toobworld. (I'd say however that the 1960 movie - as far as Toobworld is concerned, - was based on the "real life" events as seen in the TV production.)

Wolfgang Puck is also appearing this week as himself. But because 'Shark' is now off in some other dimension, the Master Chef's televersion doesn't help make any connections to the many other shows in which Puck has been caught in the act of being himself.



Last week, Brent McKee ran a poll in his blog "I Am A Child Of Television" (see link to the left) to gauge his readers' opinions as to which new drama would be canceled first. I wrote in with the opinion that it would be 'Kidnapped'.

My reasoning? First off, it was in the slot held by 'Law & Order' for the last 17 years and that built-in audience wasn't guaranteed to stay there. Also, the theme of the show is too similar to that of FOX's 'Vanished' which had the benefit of premiering several weeks earlier. And third, once 'The Nine' premiered, which would have the incredible lead-in of 'Lost'....... Well, I thought 'Kidnapped' would be a goner.

And then I got the chance to see the show.

I found it to be a gripping hour of Television and it felt more like a movie. Especially with such a high-caliber cast - Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton, Dana Delaney, Delroy Lindo, Mykelti Williamson, and in a small role which I hope will expand, Ricky Jay.

And New York City is a character in the show as well, with several locations well used (like that foot bridge in Central Park).

On paper, the kidnapping itself didn't seem too gripping, certainly without the masonic layers of conspiracy being added to 'Vanished'. But the execution of the scheme and the mastery of the episode's direction combined to enrich the show to make it deeper without becoming ponderous. This puppy moved!

Sisto makes a great albeit unconventional hero as the mercenary hired to bring the kidnap victim home alive. And matching him is his former partner in the FBI as played by Delroy Lindo. In fact, Lindo had my favorite moment from the whole episode - as he walked into the Cain family's palatial "apartment" for the first time, there's this quickly doused look of surprise in his eyes as though he was overwhelmed by the massive display of opulence hidden away there right in the middle of Manhattan.

Hutton and Delaney are totally believable as the parents of the victim, Leopold Cain. And both of them have secrets that may play into the motive behind this crime against their family.

I'll definitely be watching again this week. Next week once 'The Nine' debuts? Well.... Hopefully NBC will continue to re-broadcast 'Kidnapped' on Saturday nights to get maximum exposure for the show.

Now, as for the Toobworld aspects......

My first instinct was to create a theory of "relateeveety" for linking the Cain family to David Caruso's character on 'CSI: Miami'. It seemed fated by more than just the similar last names - Horatio, Leopold..... Perhaps it was a family tradition to name the first-born sons with distinctive first names?

However, Horatio Caine spells his last name with that pesky "e". Family members have altered the spelling of their surnames in the past here in the real world - Ronald Reagan had cousins who spelled it "Regan"; brothers Pete Duel and Geoffrey Deuel differed on whether or not to keep the original spelling. But I think my reasoning to link Horatio to Leopold was flimsy at best.

One thing I'm glad about (so far) is that 'Kidnapped' looks as though it can be kept in the environs of Earth Prime-Time. This version of Manhattan seems to be the same as could be found in 'Kojak' or 'NYPD Blue' or even 'Taxi'.

And even though Delaney's Mrs. Cain seems to have some kind of relationship with a Secret Service agent, I saw nothing to think that we're going to get caught up with any interaction with the sitting President. For all intents and purposes, I think we can assume that the President for this show is the same one for both Toobworld and the Real World... ::sigh::

I blame 'The West Wing', you know. Ever since they made alternate White House politics popular, everybody wants to make some kind of connection to what's going on inside the Beltway. 'Commander In Chief', 'Prison Break', 'The Agency', 'First Monday', 'The Court'..... everybody wants to get into the act and so have to be shuttled off to their own TV dimensions. (Although it's my belief that 'Prison Break' shares the same dimension as 'The Agency' and 'The District'.)

So far, 'Vanished' is able to remain in the main Toobworld despite toying with national politics when it comes to the confirmation hearings for a new Supreme Court justice.

I'm hoping 'Kidnapped' can maintain its self-containment without the need to create a fictional administration. When shows like 'L.A. Law' and 'Live Shot' wanted to make a connection in their plots with the Executive branch, they called upon the Clinton administration which was in power at the time. But even so, what happened to the good old days with shows like 'Barnaby Jones' and 'Perry Mason' and 'McCloud' which never had to beat a path to the Oval Office for their mysteries?

Anyway, I'm recommending 'Kidnapped' and hopefully you have DVR capabilities so that you can snare both this show and 'The Nine'. (Or 'CSI:NY' if you are so inclined.) Me, I've got only the steam-powered VCR, being a Cro-Magnetic tape Man, so I'm hoping NBC will continue to air the 'Kidnapped' repeats on Saturdays!



For those of you in a quandary as to what to tape/watch tonight at 9 pm - are you following the conspiracy clues in 'Vanished'? Are you a 'Two and a Half Men' fan? Can't wait to see who buys it next on 'Prison Break'? - your problem adds a new show tonight to the mix - 'Heroes' on NBC.

Except for Maureen Ryan's pan in her blog for the Chicago Tribune (link to the left), I've seen nothing but high praise for this show. 'Heroes' has been listed along with 'Studio 60' and 'The Nine' as the show most eagerly awaited this new season.

But if it is a problem for you, as it is with me, then my suggestion is to skip 'Heroes'.

[That should give agita to the powers behind the Peacock Throne!]

NBC is making sure the show reaches as many people as possible because of such scheduling conflicts for viewers. 'Heroes' will repeat on Friday nights at 7 pm EST on the 'Sci-Fi' network.

My problem is that I'm in a combination of sleep/shower/leave for work during that hour. There's no way I can tape one show and watch another; it's taping only. I know I'll have a chance with 'Two and a Half Men' for years to come - it's a guaranteed hit in syndication to my mind. And I gave up on 'Prison Break' after that big hiatus last season, because it was just too grim and unbelievable.

But I am enjoying 'Vanished', finding myself still watching it even though my friend Shirley has come and gone in her appearance on the show. (She played a Post Office clerk caught in a staged robbery attempt.) I've been hearing rumors of what's to come in the 10th episode of the show and I'm keen to see how it plays out.

So I for one am happy for this chance to get a second shot to watch 'Heroes'. This type of repeats (combined with the Saturday night lineups from all the networks) is going to be a big boon for me as the new TV season shakes out.



For those of you who were following the online "Lost Experience" over this past summer, or were just interested in what the bleep was happening, here's a brief summary and critique about the finale yesterday:

Oh well. At least we have the actual series returning next Wednesday, October 4th!


[Thanks to my "Iddiot" friend Brian-El for the link!]

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Rob Buckley of the blog "The Medium Is Not Enough" nicked the plot summary for 'Six Degrees' from the official press release to save himself some time.

It seemed like a good idea to me, so I'm lifting it from him.......

"They say that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of six people, which means that no one is a stranger... for long. In this hour-long drama from the producers of “Lost” and “Alias,” six very different New Yorkers go about their lives without realizing the impact they're having on one another - yet. A mysterious web of coincidences will gradually draw these strangers closer, changing the course of their lives forever. Is it happenstance? Fate? Is there a greater force at work in our world, guiding us along and connecting our lives?"

Dunh dunh DUNH!

Earlier this year I wrote about the fortune cookie slip with the "Numbers" from 'Lost' which was seen at the end of a 'Veronica Mars' episode. I concluded that if the "Numbers" (4 8 15 16 23 42) surrounded the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 in all aspects of their lives, then the "Numbers" would then be showing up everywhere else as well throughout the TV Universe. The "Numbers" aren't out there just for the main characters of 'Lost', they surround everyone in Toobworld and they have some sort of meaning for everyone in some random way.

Remember, '30 Rock' is "15" doubled. Twice that for 'Studio 60', or put another way, "60" equals "15 x 4".

The theory that the numbers pervade the lives of everyone in the universe, all other TV characters no matter the show, no matter the network, is backed up by the mysterious Alvar Hanso in that video that can be seen on

So accepting that, it's also likely that other conceits from 'Lost' also affect the characters from other TV shows.

Throughout the flashbacks of the "Lostaways", we have seen how their lives have intersected with each other even if they haven't been fully aware of it.

Just a few examples:

1] Boone is in the same Australian police station where Sawyer gets arrested
2] Locke inspects the home bought by Nadia, Sayid's former love
3] Jack chose to save Sarah over the father of Shannon
4] Mr. Eko and Claire visited the same psychic
5] Kate's Mom served Sawyer in a diner; Jack's Dad drank with Sawyer in a bar
6] Hurley owned the box company where Locke worked
7] Libby was in the same mental hospital as Hurley and Locke's Mom and she sold her boat to Desmond
8] Most everybody previously heard Charlie's one hit song

Once you start, you just can't stop!

So that same theory about the six degrees of separation between everybody on Earth is probably universal. And therefore, the odd patterns that are emerging to link the six main characters of 'Six Degrees' probably are part of the same overall cosmic plan as is dictating the lives of the "Lostaways".

(Rob Buckley lists these character types caught up in this struggle of Life: "the artist who's lost his muse; the guy trying to find a girl; the woman who's lost her husband and is trying to get back on her feet; the woman who's worried her boyfriend might be cheating on her; the honest black guy trying to avoid being dragged into crime; and the girl on the run from her dangerous past.")

Rob also mentions another show from earlier this summer that could also be caught up in this grand design, 'Windfall'.

The basic foundation of the TV Universe is predicated on this theory about "Six Degrees of Separation", thanks to crossovers and spin-offs and other links which all eventually lead back to St. Eligius Teaching Hospital in Boston, AKA 'St. Elsewhere'.

The Toobworld concept takes it for granted that all TV shows are connected already; and while it's nice to find either official links or one of my wacko theories to confirm this, I don't need the proof to justify my belief.

I'm committed to 'Shark' for the first two episodes, but I think I'll be switching over to 'Six Degrees' once I see that second one. (My friend Shirley Jordan will be playing one of Shark's poker buddies in it.)

Forget about 'ER' ever getting hold of my eyeballs ever again!

I'm pretty sure that despite the bad reviews (Rob Buckley's was the first one that I saw that was positive, and even that was lukewarm.), 'Six Degrees' will be around for a while.

After all, when the producer is JJ Abrams, and he's already bringing in the "Numbers" for your network (Sorry about that, Chief!), then you don't want to make him angry.

You wouldn't like it if he's angry.

(One could argue that NBC had no trouble pissing off Dick Wolf twice in a row with speedy cancellations of 'Law & Order: Trial By Jury' and 'Conviction', but that franchise is old and could even be on the ropes. 'Lost' is sssssmokin' white hot.)

Besides, I would not be surprised if a mention of some character from 'Lost' or a reference to the Hanso Foundation or to Oceanic Airlines crops up on the show. Abrams did the same thing twice in episodes of 'Alias'.


What does it all mean? Who knows? Bring on the statue with the four toes already!


"Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street?
A rather good question to ask....
Particularly in the Twilight Zone
Rod Serling
'The Twilight Zone'


Theme music and the incidental music for TV series don't mean squat to the tele-folks who live within those TV shows. Although the theme music underscores their actions and might even pre-determine their moods, they are unaware of it pervading their surroundings.

Except for Lt. 'Columbo'. It's obvious that he has a touch of tele-cognizance because he can actually hear the incidental music, as demonstrated in the episode "Last Salute To The Commodore".

In the scene when he has gathered all of his suspects together to determine who killed the Commodore and then his son-in-law as well, Columbo demands absolute quiet as he listens to the Commodore's watch.

Apparently it's not quiet enough because once again he calls for silence. This time, the incidental music cuts out.

And Columbo responds, "Thank you."

It's a good thing this little talent is not available to all police detectives in Toobworld. The theme music for the 'Inspector Morse' series contains a musical version of Morse code which spells out his name. The incidental music does this as well in most of the episodes, spelling out the names of various characters - oftentimes the murderer!

Had Inspector Morse the ability to hear that music, he'd solve the case before it had even begun, and then we would have been denied the chance to enjoy as much of John Thaw's performances as we were lucky to get.

I bring up the theme music for TV shows because I've been enjoying 'Justice' on FOX these last few weeks. Too bad I'll be abandoning it for 'Lost' once that returns on October 4th.

For its theme music, 'Justice' is using 'Lawyers, Guns, and Money' by Warren Zevon:

"I was an innocent bystander
But somehow I got stuck
Between a rock and a hard place
Send lawyers, guns, and money......"

For those of you familiar with the song, you'll notice there's a line missing: "Cuz I'm down on my luck."

Those who don't know the song might think that the rhyme should have been some other word ending in "uck" which could apply to the legal system.......

There's room to have kept it in - the producers throw in a guitar riff between the last two lines to replace it. So why did they take it out?

I would think a person who's down on their luck would want the best law firm in the City of Angels to represent them and get them out of whatever predicament they're in.

Perhaps the producers didn't want the audience confused into thinking that to have chosen the law firm of TNT&G was the last possible resort.

I don't have anything against using established rock and pop songs as TV theme songs - I like the various songs of The Who for the 'CSI' franchise, although only the first one actually was relevant. I don't even mind them in commercials, for the most part. After all, had it not been for the VW Cabrio blipvert, I'd never have been introduced to the magical wonderment of Nick Drake.

But I don't like them getting twisted for the sake of the new use. So here's hoping that someday soon the producers of 'Justice' will return that snippet of the song to its original version.


"Enjoy every sandwich!"
Warren Zevon
'Late Night with David Letterman'