Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Once again, my bestest of friends Ivy got peeved over the depiction of TV-NYC, this time in the disappointing finale of 'Heroes':

It's odd to see a fictional NYC with no pedestrians and no cars. In real NYC, Peter would've been squashed flat by a cab in two seconds rather than having a nap in the middle of the street. LOL!

She's right. In the two scenes of Peter lying in the street, we saw only one cab pass by off in the distance, near what looked to be the Met Life building/street arch. (Maybe that cab was from the Sunshine Cab Company of 'Taxi'?) Even the most desolate area in NYC has traffic well into the night, and this had to be early evening when the scenes took place.

And considering he collapsed right outside the entrance to a parking garage.....

I have no problem with fictional locations within an actual city like New York. This show provides an excellent example of that - Kirby Plaza, where the climax of the season-long story occurred. There is no such place in Manhattan; the location can actually be found in Los Angeles under a different name.

(The genesis for the name Kirby was a tip of the hat to the legendary comics artist Jack Kirby. But I'd like to think that WWII soldier Private Kirby {played by Jack Hogan on 'Combat!'} did something in the intervening years to merit having a plaza named after him.)

Tell me that ordinary people can develop super-human abilities, fine. But don't try to con me into thinking that the streets of the City are THAT deserted!

SNAP! There goes that suspension of disbelief.....

Toby OB


For those in the viewing audience who are hoping for the chance to return to the TV dimension where 'Jericho' took place, CBS dangled something of a peace offering (probably just to stem the tide of nuts being sent by angry fans).

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler issued the following statement:

To the fans of Jericho:

We have read your emails over the past few days and have been touched by the depth and passion with which you have expressed your disappointment. Please know that canceling a television series is a very difficult decision. Hundreds of people at the Network, the production company and the incredibly-talented creative team worked very hard to build and serve the community for this show -- both on-air and online. It is a show we loved too.

Thank you for supporting Jericho with such passion. We truly appreciate the commitment you made to the series and we are humbled by your disappointment. In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story.

Nina Tassler,

President of CBS Entertainment

The way I read that, it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that CBS may produce a two-hour movie, maybe even a four hour two-parter (I refuse to call those "mini-series"!) in order to wrap up the battle between Jericho and New Bern, Kansas.

Whether they do or not, it has no effect on Toobworld in general. The series took place in an alternate dimension, not on Earth Prime-Time. But even so, I'd like to see how that "war" concludes and would also like some answers behind the bombings in the first place.

We'll see how it goes.

I hope CBS finds a charity that can use that Twiloite inundation of nuts!

Toby OB


Of the "spooky" shows that are on the air, among them 'Supernatural', 'Medium', and 'The Dresden Files', 'Ghost Whisperer' may have great ratings (for a Friday night show) - plus Jennifer Love Hewitt and the twins, to boot! - but it's the 'Murder, She Wrote' of the batch.

Don't get me wrong; I love watching 'Murder, She Wrote'. But when it comes to TV mysteries, it was like comfort food in its genre. And the same can be said of 'Ghost Whisperer'. It lacks an edge.

My friend Ivy broke down a typical episode 'Ghost Whisperer':

Ghost Whisperer finales are generally a LOT more interesting than the regular weekly installments, which break down like this:

8-8:15 -- Ghost Whisperer encounters Someone That Nobody Else Can See.
8:00-8:05, she is frightened (God knows why, since this seems to happen to her at least several times a day).
8:05-8:15 -- despite her fear, she decides to help anyway.

8:15-8:30 -- Ghost Whisperer digs around for family, background, etc.
8:30-8:45 -- Ghost Whisperer encounters Resistance from NonBelievers. Nine times out of ten, they banish her from the homes/stores/cars/streetcorners, etc.
8:45-9:00 -- NonBelievers suddenly become Believers (half the time, who knows why?) Ghost Whisperer brings Living and Dead together, loosely translates (and sometimes, I mean REALLY loosely) what the near-departed has to impart to the living. Nearly Departed, having achieved the release of finally getting one last soliloquoy in, goes off into the light. Ghost Whisperer always cries at this, though there is never any other outcome, except, of course, at season finale time!

All that's missing is the "chung-chung" between scenes!

Now, following a pattern is fine - so long as you have good scripts to provide its luster. 'Columbo' and the original version of 'Burke's Law' proved that.

But 'Ghost Whisperer' didn't really have that luster. It was safe, dependable... but it didn't generate the buzz which shows like 'Heroes' and 'Lost' get on a regular basis.
And while it may not ever reach those heights, the 'Ghost Whisperer' season finale set in motion certain changes that could provide that desired spark.

And all it would take for the show to spark some life was the death of the main character.

Here's how Roger Catlin of the Hartford Courant described it in his TV Eye blog:

It’s become common in many shows to make an impact by killing off a characters at the end of the season. Locke was shot in Wednesday’s “Lost,” Milo was killed in Monday’s “24.” But what show would be foolhardy enough [to kill off] a main character?

It happened Friday in the second season finale of “Ghost Whisperer” when Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Melinda Gordon was hit by a memorial tower while saving other kids.

She had been warned that a loved one would be killed as part of a five part foretelling. She though it would be her friend Carmyn Manheim that would go the way of Aisha Taylor, electrocuted by her turntable stylus one week and nearly hit by a truck this. But it was her, she was unhappy to find out, when she started to have the properties of ghosts on the show – people running through her and such.

Earlier she had agreed to help a weird guy with an accent to help assorted children who were survivors of a series of disasters that each occurred on May 11 the last few years. Did she not know this episode would also air on May 11? (And that explained why it was sort of a disaster too?).

Being killed on this show (and maybe on “Lost”) isn’t anything like being killed in real life, though. After all, half the characters any given week are ghosts looking to pass on, needing that little nudge Melinda gives them by being able to pass on messages to loved ones (James Van Praagh’s stories were the original inspiration).

She’s been in some sort of season-long apocalyptic duel with a bad spirit named Gabriel, who seems to have the upper hand as the season ends, setting the stage for an action packed third season or, in the unlikely case that it’s not picked up, she will already have been conveniently killed off.

It's not the first time a series has killed off the main character. But from 'Naked City' to 'Nichols', there were always the usual reasons. (A casting change in the former; a hoped-for change in the series' direction in the latter.) Plenty of ensemble shows kill off main characters all the time - 'Lost' and '24' and 'ER' currently lead the pack in that.

But this is one of those rare times when the main character has been killed off and still continues on the series. 'Randall & Hopkirk, Deceased' is another example. I suppose 'Topper' fits the bill as well.

There are two other examples that come close which came to mind - Gary's death on 'thirtySOMETHING' and the passing of Eliott Axelrod on 'St. Elsewhere'. However, in both of those cases, their "spirits" only remained for a few episodes longer. (Axelrod was gone in the penultimate episode of the series.)

This would have Melinda remain a ghost for the rest of the series' run.

It was a gamble, but it paid off. When CBS announced its fall schedule during the Upfronts, 'Ghost Whisperer' was on the sked.

I'm sure the producers of the show will find some way to bring her back to life, but I'm hoping Melinda Gordon remains dead and a ghost on the show. It would be certainly something different for a TV heroine. And being someone who was already intimately familiar with the "rules" of supernatural hauntings, she would be able to circumvent them in order to continue her work from the Other Side.

For instance, she wouldn't let that rule about haunting the place where you died or haunting a particular loved one keep her tied down to any one place. This would free up Melinda's spirit to go wherever she was needed most.

And by doing that, think of the crossover potential for the series with other CBS shows! Even if you wanted to preserve the genre integrity of some of those other series, especially the proliferation of procedurals ('NCIS', 'Without A Trace', 'Cold Case', 'Shark', all of the 'CSI' franchise), Melinda could work her mojo voodoo within the show without ever being acknowledged by the other characters.

Here's a good example - the finale of 'CSI' left Sarah Sidle trapped in her car out in the desert. Just as in the diorama created by the Miniature Killer, her arm was outstretched; but we saw that she still was alive as she grasped at the dirt.

Now it could go either way for her character, depending on actress Jorja Fox's contract negotiations. And either Melinda could get involved by helping Sarah accept the reality and make a peaceful passage over to the Other Side with a final goodbye to Grissom; or she could help the CSI team (without them knowing it) in tracking down where Sarah is in time to save her.

Whatever way this all plays out for Melinda Gordon, at least the season debut of 'Ghost Whisperer' should be worth a look-see!

Toby OB

Monday, May 21, 2007


Here's a review from that kid with kids, my Li'l Buddy from the Idiot's Delight Digest and as they would say in "Elfquest", family in all but blood, Sean:

"42" was a terrific episode. No argument.

You can argue, the helmet should have been not so clunky, it was derivative of "The Impossible Planet", it was heavy on action, whatever.

It was a terrific episode.


To begin with, it solidifies Martha as a genuine, top of the list companion. This is the relation of Doctor/Companion at it's best. We have this figure, the lost Gallifreyan, the Lonely God, master of Time and Space who needs, needs someone in his life, however transitory, to give him meaning and purpose.

The Doctor without companion is almost nothing. He becomes not lonely, but abandoned, desolate and destitute. He rescues a family from the sinking Titanic. He roams about, ferrying the Master's remains while sipping tea and listening to a gramophone. The Doctor bereft of Ace, even his TARDIS reflects his state. An industrial wasteland. The Lonely God does not need worshipers, he needs companions. However small next to him, however primitive, they are his beloved companions. They are his faith.

The reason that this episode is one of the great ones is that it gives us the Doctor at his weakest. The flawed god, the corruptible god, the god that needs his companion. Without the companion he would have fallen. With the companion he is raised. With the companion he is raised and he shows us the darkness. The thieves in us, the ignorance in us, the heartlessness in us. But only with the companion. The companion is his channel.

To continue, the reason that this episode is one of the great ones is because I loved it! It is the reason Doctor Who is wonderful. Like a Shakespearean play of old, it has something for everyone.

Like they say in the Drowsy Chaperone, it fills it's part. It has something for everyone! Some love the historical episodes. Some love the contemporary episodes. Some love the futuristic episodes. Some love action, some love drama. But the show has it all.

Where is the Doctor not? He is everywhere. He is in our pre-history, he is in our ever changing present, he is in our far-future. He is the ever-present god, and he is lonely.

And enter the companion.

Maybe the companion never fills the loneliness, who could? The Doctor is himself bigger on the inside than he is on the outside. The sheer amount of death he has witnessed, partaken in. But through a companion, he is able to channel that darkness into light, into meaning. The lonely god of death is able to smile, give life and meaning and go on.

This is a great show. Television itself could be summed up into one show, 'Doctor Who'. This is a terrific episode. It sums up the relationship between Time Lord and Human, Doctor and companion, god and follower. It is what it is; human and everywhere.



I love it when people get Toobworldish when discussing their favorite TV shows, and 'Lost' seems to breed this kind of thinking with all of its mysteries.

Over at Alan Sepinwall's blog, "What's Alan Watching?", "kc" had this observation:

"You know, for your basic deserted island this place supports more rogues, recluses, and renegade factions than an Afghan mountain cave. I suspect the missing russian from 'Pine Barrens' will show up next sipping champagne and eating cavier in a cabin next to Jacob."

"Pine Barrens" was one of the best episodes from 'The Sopranos'. If only Andrew Divoff had played that Russian, then we'd know how Mikhail Bukhanin lost his eye!

Jim Treacher decided to add a 'Happy Days' reference to kc's idea:

"Along with Richie Cunnigham's older brother!"

When I told my buddy Mark that I have a theory about the connection between 'Lost' and 'Doctor Who', he responded:

"I've seen hatches, jungles, polar bear cages and underwater labs. The first time I see a rock quarry - I'll believe it :-)"

Finally, over at FilmFodder's post about the "Greatest Hits" episode of 'Lost' this week, Christine had this to say:

"Do you think the rescue helicopter will be Airwolf?"

Toby OB

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Hrmmm.... What if Roald Dahl wrote a Lewis Carroll sequel?

The last few minutes of "Greatest Hits", the penultimate episode for the third season of 'Lost', has had me on a TV high since Wednesday. And that's rare for this jaded sofa yam; I haven't felt this hyped about an episode since, well, okay, a week before with the "Five Years Gone"/"String Theory" episode of 'Heroes'. But even so, it doesn't happen that often.

And I chalk it all up to the revelation of the Looking Glass station. I should have known better than to believe anything Ben tells people, so I should have expected that the producers wouldn't have created such an elaborate display of underwater effects just to have the hatch actually flooded.

And then to have two chicks with guns trained on Charlie as he dragged himself out of the hatch's moonpool? Yowza!

I never understood the hue and cry calling for Charlie to die on this show. Sure, there were times when he was a mopey drag and even taking a dip in the dark side for a bit, but who wants a character with no changes in his personality? That gets boring.

I didn't want Charlie to die, but I was resigned to the idea that it was going to happen this episode. I can't go around saying I'm in it for the ride come what may on 'Lost' if I can't accept what the show's creators present to me.

He may still die in the season finale on Wednesday - there was nothing about that prediction of Desmond's to say that it all had to happen at once - but I'm now hoping he makes it into the fourth season. That's because Charlie is the best hope to further explore this new location for the show. (Although Desmond is also another likely candidate: it appeared that in the preview, he arrives in the Looking Glass as well, brothuh, and has a showdown with Mikhail - how'd he get down there?)

But I just like the idea of Charlie in this Sealab harem for most of the fourth season, perhaps even succumbing to the temptation of a little threesome with the two gun-toters. (It wouldn't be the first time, as we also saw in this episode. But in that case, I don't think they had weapons.) And that could drive a new wedge between him and Claire without having to go back to the Well of the Horse.

But if not? Well, I'll just have to suck it up and accept what I get from Messrs. Lindelof and Cuse. There is some comfort in knowing that actor Dominic Monaghan, who plays Charlie, is okay with the prospect of dying since the role already achieved the goal he set: to make people not think of him as a Hobbit first.

But since I'm always delving into the inner reality of Toobworld, I'm concerned more for Charlie than I am for Dom.....