Saturday, March 31, 2007
Not much of an uproar here in America over the depiction of Hillary Clinton in the same episode, even after having a nuclear device installed in her nether regions.
From Elizabeth Regina to Hillary's vagina....
We've seen Queen Elizabeth II interact with 'The Simpsons', and I'll bet she's shown up on 'Family Guy'. Bbut this should mean that Her Majesty is not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead in the Tooniverse. (This would have no effect on Earth Prime Time nor its thousands of alternate dimensions.)
Of course, we're talking about 'South Park' here. So if the Queen should appear ever again in a cartoon - even in 'South Park'! - there's no Zonk. People are coming back to life in the world of 'South Park' all the time.
Just ask Kenny....
I think what I enjoyed the most about HBO's "Rome" was that, despite all the extravagance paid to the sets, costumes, special effects, etc., the creators still were able to restrain themselves from going overboard, and they never forgot the underlying principle to good TV: compelling, intelligent stories. They were as stoic as Lucius Vorenus when it came to the visuals and, in some cases, the details.
Rather than gorging us on an over-use of huge, theatrical shots, they teased us with bits and pieces of this massive 5-acre set they created. They let you see for miles down a Roman street and gaze at some of the grandeur that was Rome, but they let you have only a brief peek. They never wasted a shot. Instead, they packed a lot into every frame, more than what you were supposed to be looking at, but if you go back and look again, you'll see things going on that in themselves tell us more about the history of Ancient Rome than any textbook could ever accomplish.
A few examples:-- That calendar: They really did have something like that, and it was wonderfully complicated. Never explained per se in the show, but it made you want to know more.-- The newsreader: A stroke of genius to use him to narrate parts of the storyline without actually showing it to us, and to throw in an explanation of what was happening now and then when needed. And yes, the hand gestures were based on historical fact. Loved the commercial breaks, too.-- Those lighted masks at Servillia's house: Apparently they were life masks made of all her ancestors when they were still alive, and they were all quite distinguished, probably dating back to the first Brutus, who famously saved the Republic from a previous dictator. -- The sheets sometimes hanging in the streets: This must have been the so-called garment district, where dyes were used to make those colorful cloths. It seems Vorenus and his wife lived in an enclave off of this district. It could have also been the public laundromats, where clothes were washed clean in a form of natural vinegar we all know as piss.-- The sewers: That scene between Pullo and young Octavian, with Vorenus' brother-in-law, makes you marvel at all the elaborate Roman engineering and architecture BELOW street level, not just above it.-- The palms: At all the tributes and parades, people lining the streets waving palms, a tradition most Christians are familiar with around this time of year.
I could go on, but I'm hogging space as it is....
Keeping with my theme, though, how about the stoic writing? (Not me, the show - LOL.) Much praise is due the writers for not hitting us over the head with the obvious. My two favorite examples of that are from the assassination of Caesar and its aftermath, in both Seasons 1 and 2:
-- Thanks to Shakespeare, we all know, or think we know, what Julius Caesar said when Brutus stabbed him, and yet, the writers purposefully didn't let us hear those words from Caesar's mouth. It's possible when he was trying to speak in that scene, those were the words his lips were mouthing, and that only Brutus could make it out. But to have had him lying there, quaking, in all that blood, and reciting those lines on cue almost would have been funny. Wisely, the writers didn't go there.
-- And then, again because of Shakespeare, we know, or think we know, those famous first six words of Mark Antony's eulogy for Caesar. The start of this season had a huge buildup to Caesar's funeral, and yet, when the time came, we weren't allowed to be there, partly because I just don't think any amount of cinematography or acting could ever live up to the image in our heads of how those lines should be delivered. Rather, we are given an after-the-fact re-telling of the scene by commoners who were there and heard it, again with the hand gestures. Much more powerful that way.
And in case anyone who hasn't seen this series mistakes it for some dry drama with guys in drag, trust me: if all the sex scenes were compiled into one continuous vignette, it would need at least an R rating, probably an X. (Throw in the torture scenes, and every time a blade sliced through tender flesh or a stiff neck, and you'd get that X rating for sure!)
Speaking of the sex scenes, did anyone else but me notice the cutaway shot during the scene between Pullo and Gaia the slavewoman this season? He pounds her on the table, she taunts him for more, so he then flips her over and gives it to her from behind. During this second round of rough sex, the camera cuts to the floor to show some pottery that was knocked over and broken... Then... DRIP... DRIP... DRIP... Took me a minute to figure out what that was, and when I did, I let out a loud "Ewwwwwwwwwww!"
Hey, can't get that on the Discovery Channel.
To sum up, and to answer Tim's original question about the storytelling, I really loved it... Historial fiction must have a way to convey what happened in an entertaining and gripping way, and the device they used was a stroke of genius, with all due kudos to a previous BBC series, "Upstairs, Downstairs." As in that show some 30 years ago, we get a real feeling for the time period thanks to the trials and tribulations of both the upper class AND the lower class, the famous and the anonymous, and how they were intertwined, sometimes quite fatefully. Using the vehicles of Vorenus and Pullo -- as dynamic a duo in TV annals as there ever was -- we get a better understanding of everyday life in Rome. We also get to see how, as different as they were in class rank, the "Upstairs" and "Downstairs" of Roman society had very similar family problems.
Yes, it would've been nice to see the series continue, but in a way, I think its two-year run fits perfectly with the Catos and Vorenuses of the time: Less is more. As I've stated elsewhere, this series was like a classic novel. You know when it will end because it's only a certain number of pages long, but you are so drawn into it that you savor every word, and when you finally reach the conclusion, you put it on your shelf in a place of honor and keep a copy in your soul to forever be a part of who you are.
In that way, "Rome" will be the eternal series.
Man! I gotta see this series!
Friday, March 30, 2007
Perhaps there is some archival material that could be used for Shatner's co-star Candice Bergen from when she was a little girl (including her appearance on 'You Bet Your Life' with Groucho!). And I suppose 'Brothers & Sisters' could recycle footage from 'Gidget' if they wanted a light-hearted lookback at Nora Walker's past, since Sally Field plays both roles.
And should the producers of 'Shark' ever need some 1970s flashbacks for Sebastian Stark, they could draw from the work of James Woods in such shows as 'Barnaby Jones', 'Police Story', 'Kojak', 'The Rookies', 'The Rockford Files', 'The Streets of San Francisco', and 'Bert D'Angelo, Superstar'. (His roles in 'Young Maverick' and "Holocaust" would be right out.....)
Otherwise, I think the gimmick would have to be reserved for special guest stars, and even then their body of work might only go back to the 1960s (which might seem not only "historical" but downright ancient to some viewers).
Off the top of my head, a list of such actors would include Peter Graves, Robert Culp, Robert Vaughn, Robert Conrad, Ed Asner, Sally Kellerman, George Grizzard, and Ephraim Zimbalist, Jr.
Think of how many TV programs they could utilize for flashbacks of a character played by Leslie Nielsen!
The producers of 'NCIS' could also create plenty of flashbacks for Secretary of the Navy (formerly Senator) Edward Sheffield from all of the early work by Dean Stockwell. Stockwell played Sheffield on 'First Monday' and 'JAG' (from which 'NCIS' was spun off).
The show that should look into using this ploy is 'Cold Case' on CBS. However, they've done a pretty good job so far of matching up actors to play the younger and older versions of characters. But why not do an episode in which retired NYPD Detective Adam Flint (Paul Burke of 'Naked City') has an unsolved case that he can't let go, and it takes him to Philadelphia?
Of course, he'd never have to leave the Big Apple if such a case could be worked into a plot for 'CSI: NY' or 'Without A Trace'. Since 'Naked City' was an ABC production, the gimmick could have been kept in-house had it been employed by 'NYPD Blue' when they had the chance.
According to the IMDb.com, Mr. Burke has retired from acting. But at least he went out on top - with a guest stint on one of the better ABC 'Columbo' episodes, "Uneasy Lies The Crown".
I've posted in the past, going all the way back to the old "Tubeworld Dynamic" website, that someday - while Frank Converse is still among us! - 'Coronet Blue' should be given some kind of video resolution so that we in the audience could finally learn what those words meant and who Converse's character really was. (You can find Larry Cohen's splainin online as to how he envisioned the ending, but it's not the same thing as seeing it played out on the TV screen.)
At the time I first wrote about it, I saw 'Diagnosis Murder' as the type of show that could wrap up the 'Coronet Blue' storyline. Since then, 'Without A Trace' and 'CSI: NY', maybe 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', are probably the best candidates today. (Even 'Blind Justice' could have tackled it!)
The attempt to keep "Inner Toob" from looking America-centric wasn't helped very much by the recent competitions to find the Best TV Character currently on air, and to find the Greatest Sitcom Character ever. For the most part, all of the characters were either from the United States or at least in US productions.
So at least now I have the chance to report on a poll taken by the Radio Times online site, asking its readers to name the Top Ten Coolest TV Characters ever.
And here were their selections:
The Top Ten Coolest People on TV
1. 'Doctor Who' (David Tennant)
2. Jack Bauer in '24' (Kiefer Sutherland)
3. The Fonz in 'Happy Days' (Henry Winkler)
4. Mr Darcy in 'Pride and Prejudice' (Colin Firth)
5. Cat in 'Red Dwarf' (Danny John-Jules)
6. DCI Gene Hunt in 'Life On Mars' (Philip Glenister)
7. Dermot O'Leary
8. 'Columbo' (Peter Falk)
9. Dylan in 'The Magic Roundabout'
10.Sawyer in 'Lost' (Josh Holloway)
I guess the readers of the Sun-Times count televersions of real life celebrities as "characters", because otherwise Dermot O'Leary stole a space that could have been better served by any number of characters.
American characters did well in the top ten, with Columbo and Sawyer and Fonzie and Jack Bauer. And oddly, those readers didn't find any female characters cool enough to crack the top ten. I might have expected a classic entry like Mrs. Emma Peel or someone more contemporary like Rose Tyler, Buffy Summers, or Veronica Mars....
But it's nice to see that the Lieutenant is still held in high regard across the seas, even though he's getting dissed here in the States for being too old.
"Peter approved a final script some time ago. It's called 'Columbo: Hear No Evil,'" said Charles Engel, executive vice president of current programming at NBC Universal. "It took a while to find the right one and for Peter to give it the okay. Now we're anxious to film it, but ABC has passed. No one wants to buy a movie with an 80-year old lead."
Here's the link to David Walstad's article.
Actually, it's their own fault, and I include Peter Falk for the blame. Don't get me wrong - 'Columbo' is up there in my top five favorite TV shows, and I made damned sure Lt. Columbo made it into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. I want to see the actor and the role together again at least one last time.
However, they should have been planning for this eventuality years ago. To have Falk playing a detective on the force past the age of even 65 was destroying the show's believability. To have him still working at 80?
But they could have worked around it. With one of the last episodes they did, they could have capped it off with Columbo finally retiring from the force; something low-key, in much the same way that Lennie Briscoe left the NYPD on 'Law & Order'.
But with the next mystery in the saga, let's say with 'Murder With Too Many Notes', Columbo could have now been an adviser with the department, a mentor to some younger detective. Or he could have gone to work as an investigator with the L.A. DA's office.
I don't see him being a private investigator, because that wouldn't give him as much access into the lives of the rich, backed up by the threat of the power of the LAPD.
At any rate, maybe the producers should really look into getting that foreign money just to make the damn finale for Lt. Columbo, and then worry about whether or not there's a market for it.
I mean, this is a man who just got voted into the Top Ten of Coolest Characters on TV over in Great Britain! At least TV characters get the respect they deserve over there, no matter how old they are....
Thursday, March 29, 2007
But the universal power of "The Numbers" from 'Lost' held sway over even this. In the novel, which we saw occur in an episode to kick off the final season of the show, Roseanne and her sister won the lottery - a staggering 108 million dollars.
"108" is the sum total of "The Numbers" - 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42.
The full sequence of "The Numbers" occurred in an episode of 'Veronica Mars' on a fortune cookie message. And "23" was the number of Mohinder Suresh's motel room in Montana on 'Heroes'. "42" has occurred in several different TV shows, like 'The X-Files' (It's Mulder's apartment number), but is best known from 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" as the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything.
The use of Oceanic Airways by 'Diagnosis Murder' and 'The War At Home' ties those shows to 'Lost' as well.
But who knew we could link it to 'Scrubs', 'Martin', '227', and 'The Jeffersons'!
All of those are connected to 'Lost' in Toobworld as of last night, since Billy Dee Williams appeared as himself in the opening minutes of the show. The tele-version of Billy Dee has a major role in "the most awesome hour of Television" (as Hurley describes it) - 'Expose'.
It was a quick cameo; we got to see him in action as Mr. LaShade, the mentor to the stripper-spies Autumn and Crystal. But the episode that was being filmed just before the fateful flight also revealed that he was their arch-enemy all along, "The Cobra".
After shooting that final scene for Nikki Fernandez as guest star Corvette, Billy Dee displayed his ultra-smooth moves by helping her off the floor after so callously shooting her to death in the scene a moment earlier.
And that was it.
But perhaps we'll see him again on the show, on TVs in scenes from 'Expose' (the Toobworld version of producer JJ Abrams' 'Alias'?) which could possibly show up in the background of flashbacks for the other characters.
We shall see....
It turns out that because an employee named Brian gave him such a sweet deal on all of his purchases, Nantz was working for him while Brian was at the basketball tournament.
Since the ad wasn't just a celeb pitchman, but instead had an actual storyline, it can be added to Nantz's body of work.
And that list includes:
I've also included 'Clubhouse' since he was the "Voice of the Empires" on that show about a baseball franchise. Since he was never identified with an actual name, I think it only fair to consider "The Voice Of The Empires" to be the televersion of Jim Nantz, making a few extra bucks.
And we know from the commercial, he likes to save those bucks....
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
What threw it in his favor? Sulla had red hair. McGinley wouldn't need to spend much time in the hairdresser's chair. (Once he lets it grow back, of course.)
Actually Mark Lenard would have been a better choice, but it's a little late for that now.....
At any rate, here's another good example of Television leading to a further expansion of my personal education. I never heard of Sulla before the reference of 'The Riches'.
'Studio One' - "The Defender"
This is the show I've been blathering about this week. It served as the pilot for the later series starring EG Marshall and Robert Reed. But this 1957 production had Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner in those roles and now scenes from the production will be used as flashbacks for Denny Crane (also Shatner) on the next 'Boston Legal'.
'Studio One' - "The Laughmaker" & "The Square Peg"
I've already seen "The Laughmaker" thanks to TV Land, back when they really had a handle on being the reliquary for Television's heritage. "The Square Peg" sounds like it could have been the inspiration for the movie "Analyze This!", and I'm a big fan of Orson Bean....
'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman', Volume One
I won't kid myself. I've seen what's happened with the output for the shows 'Murphy Brown' and 'Barney Miller' - the sales for the first season were sluggish and so any chance of getting later seasons in boxed sets are pretty dismal, if not completely kayoed.
There were over 300 episodes of 'MH, MH' and I doubt we'll ever see them all collected in boxed sets. It just doesn't have the fan base of a serial like 'Dark Shadows' to support such a venture.
But I was that big a fan and it still irks me that Metromedia 5 decided to cancel the sequel 'Forever Fernwood' just weeks from the point where it would have been finished anyway. And what did they replace it with? Repeats of 'Hogan's Heroes'!
Anyway, I have these 25 episodes at least so that I can make a return trip to Fernwood, Ohio......
'Lost' - Season Two
Just never got around to picking it up until now, but my sister provided the impetus.
Can't tell you why. Sorry.
I saw the first episode, but I couldn't see myself sticking with it. I've come to realize from what I've read online from others, and from my own brother's enthusiasm for the series, that I've made a big mistake.
I'm a Biggus Dickus.
It wouldn't be the first time. I didn't stay with 'Deadwood' and never even started 'Battlestar Galactica'.
Thankfully, there are the DVDs and Netflix. I do plan on rectifying the error of my viewing ways for all three series.
Now that the series is over after two seasons, my brother Bill offered his views on the glory that was 'Rome':
'Rome' is over. Would've gone for a more climactic declaration of Octavian as Augustus, even though the timing would've been off, but that didn't stop them before.... Very nice ending all in all. Most satisfying to see how they wrapped up the story of Titus and Vorenus, one of the most memorable duos in TV history. May start up 'I, Claudius' soon to see the characters who live on in that iteration.
Two episodes ago in 'Rome', they showed Octavia's daughter, Antonia, as a 5-year-old girl. Very cute. She grows up to be the mother of Claudius, grandmother of Caligula, and mother of the bitch/whore Livilla who beds Sejanus (Capt. Picard), poisons her husband and plots with Sejanus against emperor Tiberius until she's exposed by Antonia, her own mother, then walled up, alive, and left to starve to death while her mother, Antonia, listened.
Like I said, at age 5 Antonia was very cute.
Bill wrote the following post about two weeks ago or so to the bulletin boards at HBO's site:
'I, Claudius' is not only the logical continuation of the 'Rome' storyline, it is its rightful heir. Remember last season, in Julius Caesar's final days, he is poring over a huge map with his engineers, going over plans for a massive public works project, as Mark Antony and Vorenus discuss other matters with him....
[Bill is referring to the episode "The Kalends Of February".]
Well, flash forward to a scene in 'I, Claudius,' in the waning days of Emperor Claw-Claw's reign, a span of almost 100 years in real time. In one amusingly poignant scene, Claudius revels at his discovery of engineering plans prepared by Julius Caesar for a similarly massive public works project, which Claudius' present engineers had insisted could not be done at all.
It is as if the producers and writers of 'Rome' were tapping 'I, Claudius' on the shoulder as heir apparent. Intentional? Probably not, but so nice nevertheless.
This last and final episode you get a taste finally of what a bitch Livia will become.... it was another great bow to 'I,Claudius'.
Because of the length of the production and the detailed history that was provided, I wish to nominate 'Rome' as the official representation of that period in Time for Earth Prime-Time. As such, it can then be linked to 'I, Claudius' which was already assured of its spot in the main Toobworld, with the recastings of characters like Augustus, Livia, and Antonia attributed to the results of aging. That's always worked before as a splainin to get around such a bugaboo.
Other productions that dealt with the time period - such as 1999's "Cleopatra" with Billy Zane as Marc Antony and 2002's "Julius Caesar" with Jeremy Sisto in the title role - are one-shots that can easily be relegated to other TV dimensions. (Thanks to 'Sliders', we have thousands that need such delegates.)
There are two mini-series which might give 'Rome' a run for its money to be the official standard for Toobworld when it comes to the depiction of the era: 'The Cleopatras' and 'Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire'. Not having seen either one of them (yet), I can't say whether or not they have a better claim to the "honor".
Several other mainstays of the main Toobworld have dealt with Caesar in the past and thus need some sort of splainin to reconcile them with the portrayal of the character by Ciaran Hinds in 'Rome'.
Julius Caesar and Cleopatra were both summoned to Westport, Ct., in the year 1969 via magic. Elizabeth Thompson played Cleopatra and Jay Robinson was JC. However, they were not plucked out of Toobworld's past, but from the timeline for an alternate TV dimension.
And I have just the candidate - the Toobworld in which all of our Real World leaders were simpletons, including Abraham Lincoln ('The Secret Files Of Desmond Pfeiffer') and of course our current POTUS ('That's My Bush!').
2] 'Xena, Warrior Princess'/'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'
Xena had several encounters with Julius Caesar in her time-hopping life; Herc had the one episode in which he appeared. The Roman noble was portrayed by Karl Urban as a young man, so we can use the claim of aging to splain away the recasting.
3] 'You Are There'
My take on this show's place in Toobworld is that CBS had access to time travel technology back in the 1950s that allowed them to view the past and interview its inhabitants. But it worked much like a TARDIS and it opened portals into other TV dimensions instead of along the direct timeline of Toobworld's own chronology.
So when they interviewed Julius Caesar (Milton Seltzer), Brutus (Paul Newman), and Cassius (Robert Culp), these historical figures were from some alternate Toobworld, one where tele-cognizance was second nature.
Except for Billy's questions."
It's not comfort viewing, in which you pretty much know in advance where the show will lead you despite the twists those other shows might throw out during the course of their plotlines. As such, it might prove difficult for many to stick with this show - too many in the audience are, I believe, the "rotten cabbages" McGoohan warned about who want TV shows to just wash over them.
I think 'The Riches' will provide stimulating viewing to those who enjoy what Television can offer.
And as thanks for my commitment and support of 'The Riches', those bleepin' bastids tried to Zonk me!
In the latest episode, the kids were protesting their parents' decision to enroll them all in school. Since Cael Malloy claimed he knew all about history and thus shouldn't have to go, his father Wayne asked him, "Who was Sulla?"
His daughter Di Di answered "The guy from 'Star Wars'." She couldn't even get the pop culture reference right!
(Youngest son Sam had the correct answer: the first dictator of Rome.)
Okay, so even though Di Di got the answer wrong, we as the audience at home knew what she probably meant - she could have been referring to Captain Sulu of 'Star Trek'. However, within the reality of Toobworld, we don't have to accept that. She may have really meant 'Star Wars' - at least, the tele-version of the George Lucas film.
Based on references in other TV shows, like 'Taxi' and 'That 70s Show', we know that most of 'Star Wars' as seen in Toobworld matches the version from the Trueniverse. However, perhaps there are some niggling little details that are not the same. And a character named Sulla might be one of them. Jabba's good twin, Sulla the Hut, perhaps?
And it just occurred to me as I write this, that Di Di really was thinking of 'Star Wars' after all... and yet still got the reference wrong. She may have been thinking of Han Solo; for her, he was "Han Sulla".
As for the place 'Star Wars' holds in the TV Universe, thanks to that infamous 1977 holiday special and appearances by Crossover Hall of Famers C-3PO and R2-D2 in 'Sesame Street', 'The Muppet Show', and many a blipvert, the galaxy of 'Star Wars' has been absorbed into the TV Universe. Somehow George Lucas learned of this and re-told their story for the movies.
Whichever splainin works for you, at least we don't have to consider this a 'Star Trek' Zonk. Not that it would matter at this point, since 'Star Trek' is one of the most Zonked series in the history of Television!
But you, dear Toobers, don't have to jump through those hoops. I have the right link for you!
The Finals have been announced. And as many expected and predicted while the competitors were whittled down (or nipped in the bud, as one finalist might say), it's going to be Barney Fife of 'The Andy Griffith Show' vs. Lucy Ricardo of 'I Love Lucy'.
Just as with the Chicago version - in which it was Jack Bauer of '24' vs Kara "Starbuck" Thrace of 'Battlestar Galactica', the final battle is one of gender. (Starbuck won.)
Here's what the Times-Union had to say about the Final Four poll that brought them both to the Big Dance:
"What may have been a bit stunning, though, is the power each displayed in the semifinals. Barney Fife nipped Archie Bunker in the bud by about 20 percentage points, and Lucy Ricardo sent Ralph Kramden to the moon with a margin of about 40 percentage points."
So who's it going to be for your ultimate choice? The nervous, jittery deputy from Mayberry who carries his only bullet in his shirt pocket and who has provided his portrayer with five Emmy awards? Or the scheming, star-struck housewife who gets drunk on Vitameatavegemin, stomps grapes, stuffs her blouse with chocolate, and sets her nose on fire, and who is already a member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame?
Vote now! You have until Thursday at midnight, EST, and the results will be announced on Sunday.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
In the final showdown between Jack Bauer of '24' and Kara Thrace of 'Battlestar Galactica' (conducted by the Chicago Tribune's Redeye section), Starbuck finished with 3061 votes while Bauer brought in 777 votes.
Not even close!
So now it's back down to Bracketsville, Florida, for their contest to find the all-time greatest sitcom character.....
And now fifty years later, key scenes from that black and white presentation will serve as Denny Crane's flashbacks - with any mention of the characters' original names O'Bviously deleted to maintain the illusion that Shatner is Denny Crane, not Kenneth Preston.
This is not the first time the gimmick of using flashbacks from a past TV show has been used in another TV show. But it could be the first time where the original characters have been renamed to become other characters. (Kenneth Preston becomes Denny Crane; Lawrence Preston becomes the elder Crane.)
On 'Diagnosis Murder', Mike Connors returned to his archetypal gumshoe Joe Mannix to bring full closure to an old 'Mannix' case ("Little Girl Lost"). Also in the "Hard-Boiled Murder" episode were Pernell Roberts and Julie Adams from the original, playing the same roles they did years earlier.
'Murder, She Wrote' went the same route for an episode, but drew instead from a more off-beat production - an example of film noir called "Strange Bargain". In "The Days Dwindle Down", Jessica Fletcher got to interact with three of the actors from that movie reprising their original roles: Jeffrey Lynn, Martha Scott, and the legendary Harry Morgan.
(According to the IMDb.com, about one third of the footage from this episode came from the movie!)
This was yet another post about this upcoming episode of 'Boston Legal'. Between now and April 3rd, I wouldn't be surprised if I have at least two more "Inner Toob" entries about it.
Definitely there will be more once the episode airs!
Monday, March 26, 2007
It's still early in the year, but this may still be a candidate for a Toobit Award for Best Crossover of 2007. We'll see.
It definitely puts Amber in the running for eventual induction into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!
And perhaps he was - over in the TV dimension where that episode can be found. (Sorry, but even though it arrived afterwards, the TV series of 'The Defenders' must occupy Earth Prime Time!)
I guess I was thinking in terms of 'The Defender' taking place in NYC. But I imagine the re-imagined editing for the scenes used in 'Boston Legal' - turning Kenneth Preston into Denny Crane, for instance, - might be situated in Boston now.
So with that in mind, I've taken up a suggestion from Dana, who runs boston-legal.org. Dana pointed out that Asner played a judge on 'The Practice', from which 'Boston Legal' sprang.
Actually he played two judges. He was the Honorable Marcus Winnaker for three episodes in 2004, and the Honorable Matlin Platt in 1997 or 1998.
My memory's vague on both characters, but I'd go with Marcus Winnaker, if only for the number of episodes and even more so because of the name. Matlin Platt? Bleeech. One of the worst I've ever heard!
So it could be that IF Ed Asner survives the editing process to be seen in the flashbacks from that 'Studio One' episode, then he was serving as a juror by the name of Marcus Winnaker!
It's much simpler that way. No sense trying to drag in some other TV character just to make a link and then jumping through hoops to splain the reasoning!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
"So long, Suckers!"
Those four sitcom characters lost in the Elite Eight Round of the Florida Times-Union championship match-ups to find the all-time greatest sitcom character.
And now we're down to the Final Four:
1) Round 5 - Choose 1
1. Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show
1. Archie Bunker, All in the Family
2) Round 5 - Choose 1
2. Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
1. Lucy Ricardo, I Love Lucy
The Final Match-up will be announced on Wednesday. So make your voice heard with your vote now!
"Producers of 'Boston Legal' plan to use footage from a 1957 Studio One drama, "The Defenders," featuring William Shatner, for an April 3 episode. In the old-time episode Shatner's character Denny Crane comes face-to-face with a hostage taker, who has nursed a grudge against him stemming from a court case 50 years earlier."
Here's the ABC press release re: the episode:
Son of the Defender
A man with a decades-long grudge against Denny Crane and his late attorney father takes the firm hostage, forcing staff at Crane, Poole & Schmidt to re-try a murder case in which a young Denny ensured the defendant's acquittal. Scenes from a 50-year-old television pilot, "The Defender" featuring a young William Shatner are incorporated into the episode to show what transpired during the original case that led to the modern day hostage taking.
TUESDAY, APRIL 3(10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
'Boston Legal' stars James Spader as Alan Shore, Julie Bowen as Denise Bauer, Mark Valley as Brad Chase, Rene Auberjonois as Paul Lewiston, Constance Zimmer as Claire Simms and Gary Anthony Williams as Clarence/Clarice Bell, with Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt and William Shatner as Denny Crane.
Guest starring are Meredith Eaton-Gilden as Bethany Horowitz, Stephen Lee as Aaron Sears, James Keane as Joe Gordon, Billy Mayo as Detective Sean Wilkins, Lawrence Pressman as Judge Floyd Hurwitz, Jackie Debatin as Jenna Aesop, Mike Hagerty as Wally Bird, Bonnie Bailey-Reed as Harriet Bird and Mark L. Taylor as Attorney Adam Jovanka.
"Son of the Defender" was written by Phoef Sutton & David E. Kelley and directed by Bill DElia.
Here's the IMDb.com plot summary for the two-part episode of 'Studio One':
"A young criminal attorney and his firm-owning father defend a 19 year-old on trial for a murder that he swears he did not commit. Personal conflicts arise with the attorney and his father while the prosecution puts on a dramatic and convincing argument of guilt."
(Summary written by "Flotis")
My guess is that Stephen Lee is playing the son of the murder victim, and if his character is the same age as he is, Aaron Sears was two years old at the time of the original trial.
The client in 1957 was Joseph Gordon and was played by Steve McQueen. We'll never know if McQueen would have agreed to play the role as he died more than twenty-five years ago. So they've cast James Keane in the role of a Joe Gordon. However, Keane is only three years older than Lee is, so unless he's made up to look like he's in his late sixties/early seventies, he could be playing the son of the acquitted murderer.
Sins of the father are visited upon the son.....
O'Bviously, none of the scenes from "The Defenders" will contain references to Shatner's character as "Kenneth Preston", who is the character he played in that pilot for the later series. (He would later play a recurring role on the actual series as ADA Earl Rhodes.)
When 'The Defenders' became a series, Robert Reed took on the role of Kenneth Preston. His father, played by Ralph Bellamy in the pilot, was played by EG Marshall in the series.
I'll have more on how this all affects Toobworld after the broadcast, but I can tell you now that this will more than likely garner at least one Toobit Award by the end of the year!
By the way, while watching the episode on April 3rd, pay close attention to the jury in that 1957 case - if they happen to show any scenes of them, that is. Uncredited amongst them would be Ed Asner as a 27 year old juror. (Right now I'm leaning towards him being Joe Danzig, who would one day become the principal of Benjamin Harrison High School, aka 'The Bronx Zoo'....)
I've just ordered the DVD of that 'Studio One' production and it should be arriving here at Toobworld Central with more than enough time for me to watch it before the 'Boston Legal' episode!
It's nothing ground-breaking when it comes to trivia, just a little something that helps enrich the TV Universe....