Saturday, December 22, 2007


"In a world that changes too fast,
the best we can do is wish each other Merry Christmas.
And good luck."
Adult Kevin Arnold
'The Wonder Years'

Friday, December 21, 2007


It's that time of year again, when we all make lists and think back over the past year, in whatever field of interest concerns us, and chronicle the high points and the lows. For the past few years I've been presenting this compilation as an awards show, the Toobits, which of course celebrates my two bits about Toobworld.

As it is with any such list you'll find in TV columns across the country these last few weeks, these are my opinions. You're welcome to your own and I hope you'll share them, but I'm sticking to my weapons of choice. (It could be you won't see something that was a favorite of yours because I just never got around to seeing it. There's only so much time in the world - even for a do-nothing-else-anyway sort like me! - and I've only got the two eyes, even if they do operate independantly of each other at times.)

Unlike the Emmy Awards which will just keep handing out trophies to some shows forever, only shows, characters and what-not that debuted in 2007 can be considered. And that includes characters who have been recast; those are still the same characters who already exist in Toobworld. (But there were a few notable appearances that deserved honorable mention, and they get it.)

So without further ado, let's have at it:

'Pushing Daisies'
'Mad Men'
Pushing Daisies' is magic, not surprising I suppose since it's billed as a "forensic fairy tale". Had this show been of sub-par quality, I would have hated it so much since it just doesn't fit into the overall vision of a cohesive TV universe. But it's an hour each week that fills me with so much wonder and delight that I can overlook the fact that I can't fit it into Toobworld anywhere - as is.... (ahem)

As for 'Mad Men', Captain Jack Harkness of 'Torchwood' was wrong. The 1960s was when everything changes. This view of the advertising world and its men in grey flannel suits is a sumptuous look back at the beginning of the decade with the most subtle signals of the seismic disruptions that were to come. I admired it most of all for the way it challenged me to toss aside my expectations and abandon the cliches I came to expect from TV shows. For instance: for awhile there, I thought for sure that Pete's rifle, kept in his office, would figure into a plot where somebody would get shot and there would be this over-riding mystery as to whodunnit. Instead, the real mystery was the identity of Don Draper and that proved to be even more compelling.

'Futurama: Bender's Big Score'
Oddly enough, most of my options in this category didn't even make it on TV, at least not yet. (Other possibilities: 'Battlestar Galactica: Razor' and 'Babylon 5 - The Lost Tales') "Bender's Big Score" will eventually make it on the air, but it's better to watch it in the DVD format. The convolutions they take in the plot thanks to the twists and turns of time travel need a few replays to keep everything straight. It must have been a doozy trying to juggle so many plot-balls, and it was only after the second viewing that I realized there was a big plot-hole. But it's so much fun to have the old gang from Planet Express back, that I didn't care.

'Tin Man'
I have yet to write up my blog's treatise on the place of Oz in Toobworld and its evolution, but I'll get around to it soon. Suffice to say, this was a bold experiment that touched on familiar themes from the original, but still was able to stand on its own as a new vision.

'The State Within'
I was curious about this mini-series when I read about it in various UK-based sites (Hi, Rob!), but figured it would just be an entertaining way to get through a few hours. Turns out it was an edge of your seat rush that fed my love of political intrigue stories - a Fletcher Knebel tale for the new millennium.

"Blink" - 'Doctor Who'
I saw this originally thanks to my buddies Mark & Michael and told my brother not to miss it when it finally aired on the Sci-Fi network. When it did, he texted me during it - he cursed me out because he was catching it on the late night repeat, while up at the Lake all alone in the cottage and he was scared out of his pants! Between Stephen Moffatt's brilliant writing, Hettie McDonald's directorial skills which made inanimate objects scary, and above all, Sally Sparrow - the greatest Companion the Doctor never had - it had to be the best of all possible episodes (especially since it could stand on its own).

"Michael Clayton"
A TV show based on this character really could work, especially if they focused on Clayton's talents as a "janitor" - that kind of lawyer who comes in and cleans up the messes made by their biggest clients.

However, writer/producer Ken Levine doesn't seem too keen on that possibility: "MICHAEL CLAYTON – George Clooney in a complex legal drama. If it sells four tickets expect a TV version with Ron Livingstone." and "See it now before it becomes a TV series with Matt LeBlanc in the title role."

'Slings & Arrows'
What a well-realized show this was! I tried to introduce a friend of mine to it and she only watched two episodes before tossing it aside. You have to feel sad for people like that..... Each season could be seen as one of the three stages in a man's life - the exuberance of youth, middle-age ambitions, and the fading twilight at the end - and all three focused on one Shakespearean play which reflected that particular point in time. But there was so much more to be found in that world of the New Burbage Shakespeare festival that it became the TV location I'd most like to visit - even moreso than Cicely, Alaska, or Fernwood, Ohio.

If this show came back for a fourth season, I think I'd be pissed - as much as I loved the characters, it's perfect and complete, just as it is.

'The Anna Nicole Smith Show'
Just a sad, sad waste, if only for the sake of DannieLynn.

'Mad Men'
Everything was so fully realized to make you believe that they were actually in the 1960s - the clothing, the furniture, the cars, the TV shows in the background, books read, products used, and the smoking smoking smoking! It's only forty plus years ago and yet this may as well have been a science fiction show because everything was so alien - especially the attitudes and the differences between the sexes.

'The Sarah Jane Adventures'
This show could have beaten its audience over the head with the references to its own pedigree: "Well, back when I was traveling with the Doctor..." sort of thing. Or they could have ignored it altogether. Instead, there would be light touches - pictures in the background of past associates in UNIT, or the mention of the Sontarans by someone who could be seen as just suffering from Alzheimer's and so have her comments dismissed. Now that the series established that it could stand on its own, perhaps one or two adventures based on past exploits from 'Doctor Who' could pop up next season. (Hopefully there is a next season.)

'The Bronx Is Burning'
First off, on a personal level this resonated because 1977 was a pivotal year in my life - graduated from UConn, worked summer stock, then moved to New York City. And this mini-series touched on all the events that made up the history of that year when all it needed to do was focus on the behind-the-scenes turmoil at Yankee Stadium that led up to the big World Series win.

'Boston Legal' & 'Studio One': "The Defender"
It's a bit of a cheat since 'BL' took the scenes of William Shatner and Ralph Bellamy as the Prestons and presented them as though they were now Denny Crane and his father. However, since this version of 'The Defenders' had to be shunted off to some alternate dimension because the roles of Lawrence and Kenneth Preston were recast for the actual series, then not only was a Zonk avoided, but at least this much of the material could survive in the main Toobworld.

'The Sarah Jane Adventures' from 'Doctor Who'
It acknowledged its parent but was able to stand on its own, capturing that same magic of the old series and still get a fresh spin. 'Torchwood' tried too hard to have its own voice; but its fixation on sex, and its one episode that really tied into 'Doctor Who' ("Cyberwoman"), nearly ran it off the rails. Still, there was no way 'Torchwood' could ever be:

'Private Practice' from 'Grey's Anatomy'
Ugh. The worst part is that people actually like this. When it comes to it, I can't understand why anybody even like the original series......

'Flash Gordon'
Would it really be so bad if characters from another planet wore the style of costumes found in the old sci-fi serials? I think that retro look deserves a comeback. It would have at least made this show stand out from any bland sci-fi series from the late 70s, early 80s. But everything about this show seemed to hearken back to series like 'Otherworld', 'Fantastic Journey', and 'Galactica 1980'. And as for Ming the Merciless? I can understand you don't want to incur the wrath of BD Wong with another Fu Manchu ripoff, but did Ming have to become such a weenie? He looks like Sam Jones running around in 'Lost In Space' jammies!

'Making Cleaver' ('The Sopranos')
This would have been perfect if they excluded scenes from the series that shouldn't have been public knowledge. And those they did use should have been filtered through a camera, so that what we saw could be interpreted as improvised behind-the-scenes footage. Even so, it was a great spoof of those promotional documentaries that pop up on HBO all the time.

Audiences thought the worst with that six episode mini-arc that launched the third season - too much focus on the Others and their camp, too much of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle, not enough about the Survivors we did like, and the loss of Mr. Eko. But when it came back from that holiday hiatus, this series came back SMOKING! And it all led up to a very satisfying, and sad, conclusion with a rock-em sock-em revelation at the end.

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'The Price Is Right'
This could have been just a cheap ploy to plug another series from the parent network - as was the 'HIMYM' visit to the Victoria's Secret after-party - but it fit well into the 'HIMYM' mythos as well as give a loving nod to the longevity of a CBS fixture, Bob Barker.

'The O'Reilly Report' - 'ALF'
This was groaningly bad, and not because of the bad puns and one-liners from ALF. The mess has to be dumped in O'Reilly's lap, who was less animated than his guest. I didn't expect him to nail ALF with questions about the travails of his former co-star, but he missed the perfect opportunity to spar with the ultimate illegal alien over the issue of immigration. ALF would have been better served by snoozing with Larry King. The next time he should go mano-a-"mano" with Lou Dobbs.

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Victoria's Secret Fashion Show'
It just felt forced and obvious as a plug for the TV special.

'The Sarah Jane Adventures' - 'Doctor Who'

American Express - '30 Rock'
The vignettes about Kenneth trying to work a little "Secret Rodney" magic around the office were so well-done, I thought at first they actually were part of the show. It seems they were shown out of sequence however, but that doesn't knock enough points off to lose their standing.

McDonald's - 'Heroes'
James Kyson Lee appeared in one of the McD blipverts this year and it can be easily interpreted that he's appearing as Ando (which I did back when the commercial first aired.)

Max Headroom for Channel 4
He used to do soda blipverts and now he's back doing network idents, and definitely showing his age. But it's a welcome return nevertheless. (American viewers, you'll have to seek him out via YouTube and other such outlets.)

The Chevy Silverado ad during an episode of 'Cane' - which showed a key plot point of that episode before it happened

Charmin paid tribute to Mr. Whipple after the death of his portrayer, Dick Wilson, with a compilation of clips. A classy move by the corporation to honor its own.

'Doctor Who' - "Human Nature"/"Family Of Blood" & "Blink"
Both of those stories stand on their own in the literary universe - the two-parter featured the Tenth Doctor in Toobworld but originally was about the Seventh in the novel, while the short story for 'Blink' featured Sally as a 12 year old girl. Toobworld may have had the best of those deals.

Two other adaptations of mention:
'The Dresden Files'
Sadly, the Sci-Fi Channel didn't see fit to give this story about a private eye wizard in Chicago a second season. I guess we all needed that hour of wrestling so much more.

'Shrek The Halls'
Just the Christmas memories shared by Gingy made this special worthwhile, but you can never go wrong with the whole world of Shrek.

'The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard'
George W. Bush is the President and Tony Blair was the Prime Minister until Mrs. Pritchard took over. So it's a close copy of the main Toobworld, moreso than the worlds of 'Doctor Who', 'The West Wing', and '24'. And Mrs. Pritchard made a fantastic PM!

'The Knights Of Prosperity'
All they needed was just a short bit by Mick Jagger showing off his splendid digs in New York City to a television audience, and from there the plot just had to deal with how to break into the place. No need for celebrities badly portraying themselves or for getting involved in highly unlikely situations. (And before you protest, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and 'Extras' were not eligible this year.)

COMEDY: Chuck Bartowski, 'Chuck'
DRAMA: Don Draper, 'Mad Men'
Although Chuck could have been more geeknerdy, Zachary Levi really brought home the pathos of the character as well as the humor. And for all that Draper tried to cut himself off from deeper relations with those around him, Jon Hamm was able to reveal so much by showing so little.

DRAMA: Delilah Malloy, 'The Riches'
COMEDY: Chuck Charles, 'Pushing Daisies'
Minnie Driver was the storm at the center of her family and gave off more energy than most characters in action-oriented shows. And Anna Friel is just a delight as your typical girl next door - who just happens to be dead.

COMEDY: Emerson Cod, 'Pushing Daisies'
DRAMA: Bill Jacks, 'John From Cincinnatti'
DRAMADY: Sam Axe, 'Burn Notice'

DRAMA - Sarah Corvus, 'The Bionic Woman'
COMEDY: Olive Snook, 'Pushing Daisies'
DRAMADY: Madeline Weston, 'Burn Notice'

Dr. Gordon Wyatt, 'Bones'
It looks like we've seen the last of Dr. Wyatt, as the show is bringing in John Francis Daley as the newest member of the team, to be a "forensic psychiatrist". But Stephen Fry brought his A-game to the role of Booth's therapist and he was given the dialogue to match.

"Cut-Throat Bitch" - 'House'
Ultimately she didn't survive the competition, but I'd like to think we haven't seen the last of Anne Dudek's doctor. It's about time she was given a good role she could hang on to.

'The Bronx Is Burning'
Of course there will always be the Big Three mentioned - Turturro as Billy Martin, Sunjata as Reggie, and Oliver Platt, who nailed the Boss even though he looked nothing like him. But all the way down the line these were actors (Michael Rispoli as Jimmy Breslin, Loren Dean as Fran Healy, etc.) who made you believe they were the ball-players and the reporters and the cops who filled out the story of 1977 in the Bronx.

Drama: Charles Kingman, 'Slings & Arrows'
Comedy: Leon Black, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Drama: Dr. Martha Jones, 'Doctor Who'
Comedy: Loretta Black, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Male, Drama - "Claude", 'Heroes'
Male, Comedy - Leon Czogolcz, 'Reaper'
Female, Drama - Sally Sparrow, 'Doctor Who'
Female, Comedy - Rosemary Howard, '30 Rock'
I'd love to see each one of those come back as a recurring role. (It could be argued that Claude was a recurring role, but I don't care. I'm geeky enough that I wanted to work in the appearance by Christopher Eccleston so that I could mention his scene with Eric Roberts, who played the Master in the FOX TV movie of 'Doctor Who'.)

Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, 'Longford'
Never heard of the man before this TV movie, but afterwards I felt I knew him as well as anybody I'd read about in the news.

Kenneth Welsh, 'Slings & Arrows'
It was just a short scene near the beginning of this last season in which Welsh expressed his anger in being passed over for the role of 'Lear' by punching Geoffrey in the nose. That's all it took. I love it when celebrities feel free to make fun of themselves.

MALE: Bruce Campbell, 'Old Spice'
FEMALE: Claire Danes, 'Gap'

The Hit Moms - Burger King
I've read mostly negative reviews of these ads, but I think the idea is crazy enough to work. And let's face it, who wouldn't want to see that creepy-headed King wacked?

Peter Davison as The Fifth Doctor [Thanks, Rob] - "Children In Need": 'Doctor Who - Time Crash'
Eight minutes of pure TV joy, and thankfully it can be considered canon which gives Toobworld a splainin as to why previous Doctors always looked older when they met their future selves.

The rebirth of the Master from Professor Yana, 'Doctor Who' - "Utopia"
Mr. Linderman, 'Heroes'
It was all about making the pot pies that sold me on Malcolm McDowell as Linderman. As for Derek Jacobi in the roles of Professor Yana and the Master, it all happens with the opening of the watch, not the later regeneration. And in an instant, with just the realignment of a few facial muscles and a shift in vocal tone, the sweet, somewhat doddering old man became the series' classic villain.

Mr. Linderman, 'Heroes'
Sadly his reign was cut short after only three episodes while unfortunately Sylar continues to plague the series, but McDowell showed what a master he is at the villainous turn with just those few episodes.

Mrs. Wormwood, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'
Over the top and bitchy, she was perfect to launch the series and could come back as a worthy adversary for Sarah Jane, an equal in much the same way as the Doctor is matched up to the Master.

'Pushing Daisies'
'Burn Notice'
If I wanted to eliminate the runner-up entirely, I could have changed this category to be that of "Best Unseen Character". Jim Dale is as much a vital member of this cast as the others whom we actually see each week.

"I don't know Butchie instead." - John Monad, 'John From Cincinnatti'
It almost has a mantra-like feel to it. I should put it on a T-shirt!

Here are two runners-up:
"You're not worthy to be shit on his shoes." - Secretary of Defense Lynn Warner, 'The State Within'

"We'ze gonna get silly, Bitches!" - Bob, 'How I Met Your Mother'
Both of which come in handy in conversation.

"Scissor me timbers!" - Mrs. Garrison, 'South Park'

John's sermon at the Snug Harbor Motel, 'John From Cincinnatti'
"If my words are yours, can you hear my Father? Can Bill know my Father, keeping his eye on me? Can I bone Kai and Butchie know my Father instead?

"My Father's shy doing his business. Kai helps my Father dump out. Bill takes a shot. Shaunie is much improved.

"Joe is a Doubting Thomas. Joe will save Not-Aleman. Joe will bring his buddies home. This is how Freddy relaxes. Cup-o'joe, and Winchell's variety dozen.

"Mitch catches a good wave. Mitch wipes out. Mitch wipes out Cissy. Cissy shows Butchie how to do that. Cissy wipes Butchie out. Butchie hurts Barry's head. Mister Rollins comes in Barry's face. My Father runs the Mega-Millions.

"Fur is big. Mud is big. The stick is big. The word is big. Fire is huge. The wheel is huge. The line and circle are big. On the wall, the line and circle are huge. On the wall, the man at the wall makes a man from the circle and line. The man at the wall makes a Word on the wall from the circle and line. The Word on the wall hears my Father.

"The zeroes and ones make the Word in Cass's camera. In the Word on the wall that hears my-Father-in-Cass's-camera, the good one Mitch catches doesn't wipe Cissy out. In the-Word-that-hears-my-Father, Cissy shows Butchie something else. In-my-Father's-Word, Cissy shows Butchie in Shaun. In-my-Father's-Word, Tina raises Shaun at lunch. In Cass's-camera, Butchie lays the court out for Barry, and Mister Rollins watches, and he doesn't come on Barry's face. In Cass's-camera, Butchie knows Kai kept the faith. In-my-Father's-Word, the Wave lifts them up.

"In Cass's camera, Bill doesn't bump his head on the stairs. In Cass's-camera, as long as he's being stupid, Bill gives Lois a kiss.

"In His-Word-in-Cass's-camera, the Internet is big. Nine-Eleven is big, but not every towel-head is eradicated. In His-Word, We are coming Nine-Eleven-Fourteen. "In my-Father's-Word, Bill sees how Freddy relaxes. In Cass's-camera, Ramon wants to know who's hungry, in the courtyard and Room Forty-Five.

"In my-Father's-Word-to-come-in-Cass's-camera, Doctor Smith calls Ocean Properties. In Cass's-camera-to-come, my Father stares Not Aleman down, and Freddy sees Bill much-improved.

"You will not note my-Father's-Word, nor remember Cass's-camera, but you will not forget what we did here."

Olive: "Do they touch much?"
Emerson: "Wish they would."
'Pushing Daisies'

'Mad Men'
It evoked - for me, anyway - a sense of foreboding as well as of another time.

Andy sings ABBA to Angela, 'The Office'
What sealed the deal was his use of two friends to sing backup - over the telephone.


JT, 'DeGrassi: The Next Generation'
Senseless, and believable from this NYC perspective, JT was stabbed outside a class party by a school rival who felt dissed by his classmate. But it was the behind the scenes look mini-doc after the episode that made the moment even more moving. It showed how the cast reacted to the news, when they first learned that the actor who played JT was leaving the show, at the table reading. Not very Toobworldian, I know, to be caught up by the show's production, but it was a very touching scene to see him say goodbye to his friends.

Paolo & Nikki, 'Lost'
Charlie Pace, 'Lost'
Flower, 'Meerkat Manor'

Dr. Meredith Grey, 'Grey's Anatomy'
Chief Jerry Reilly, 'Rescue Me'
I know Dr. Grey didn't stay dead. That's why I don't like it.

"adverlingus" - '30 Rock'
"newpeat" - 'The Office'
"sanjayed" - 'American Idol'

The Mooninite bomb scare in Boston caused by an 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force' guerrila marketing campaign gone wrong. (01/31/07)

'The Sopranos'
I'm sorry, I know I'm in the minority here. But this show declined in quality with each passing season, and it wandered all over the place with the final one. People will talk about certain episodes but even then I think it comes down to just certain scenes in those episodes and not the entire show. Although I will admit that I really liked the cut to black ending; it was very Toobworldian. Still, had this show been one season only, with Tony killing his mother in the nursing home at the end, I would have said it was the most perfect TV show ever. As it turned out, it's pretty good and that is far better than most shows can even dream about. Still it could have been so much more.

I realize it took far too long for the writers to find their way on this series but once it did, 'Journeyman' became appointment TV. Unfortunately, the stupid general TV audience couldn't be bothered to stick with it, preferring the cookie-cutter tripe of 'CSI: Miami' with the Carusobot as Rob Buckley has dubbed him. Stupid puny humans! Wouldn't know a good TV show if it bit you on the ass, which it can't do since you're sitting on it all the time watching crap!Oh well. At least they were able to give the show some closure, so that eventually it will be the perfect DVD boxed set.

'Flight Of The Conchords'
Every year there seems to be a show which I fail to get into and realize too late that I'm missing out on something great. And apparently, it's always on HBO: 'The Wire', 'Deadwood', 'Rome'. And now this. But the one episode I did see was especially cringeworthy and I'm not that big a fan of the style. (I never could get into the original 'The Office' and although I watch the American remake, I'd rather just skip over anything that's focused on Michael Scott. Which is a big problem, of course.)

As with those aforementioned shows, I'll eventually go back to FotC via Netflix.

These are the performances that I thought deserved special recognition. They weren't actually eligible in any category since the characters had previously appeared in Toobworld, even if they were played by somebody else and/or in some other series:

Derek Jacobi as Professor Yana/The Master - 'Doctor Who'
Ray Wise as The Devil - 'Reaper'

So those are the 2007 Toobits. As always with lists like this, somebody might take umbrage at my choices over other candidates. If so, let me know what you thought. I won't change my choices, but I'd still like to hear what you liked/disliked.



"Christmas is a time when people are lonely and desperate.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!"
Barney Stilson
'How I Met Your Mother'

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Here's the episode summary for the second season premiere of 'Hotel Babylon', which first aired in the UK back in February and was seen last night on BBC-America:

"Mr and Mrs Poldark (Cherie Lunghi and Russ Abbot), who've both undergone plastic surgery, check in to the hotel separately. They want to recuperate before their 20th wedding anniversary celebrations. But the staff become involved in various escapades, trying to prevent the couple from meeting."

Never once in the episode did it ever come up as to who Mr. Poldark's ancestors were from over 200 years ago, and why should it? So I'm all for making the claim that he was descended from Ross and Demelza Poldark, as seen in the mini-series 'Poldark'.

I'd never claim that he and his wife were the reincarnations of Ross and Demelza, because I believe they have already been reunited in modern-day Toobworld - reborn as Dharma Liberty Finkelstein and her husband Greg Montgomery.

'Hotel Babylon'
'Dharma & Greg'

Toby OB


And so it goes....

Even if 'Journeyman' is finished, it will live on in Toobworld. And like shows such as 'Sliders' and 'Quantum Leap', 'Journeyman' can serve to help splain away discrepancies between series - at least those set in San Francisco. We can always claim that Dan Vasser must have changed history somehow.

Let's say a plot point in an episode of 'Monk' contradicts something in an episode in 'Women's Murder Club', both Frisco shows. For example, we've seen KSFF Channel 6 several times in 'Monk' episodes. What if a TV news crew shows up at a crime scene in an episode of 'Women's Murder Club' and it's also Channel 6, but the call letters are different? (If it shows up again in 'Monk' as KSFF afterwards, we can claim Dan went back to set right what once went wrong.)

Or what if the head of the city's Board of Supervisors portrayed in one show is different from the one we see in the other? We can always say that Dan did something in the past to cause the change. (We've already splained away the differences in architecture and furnishings for the San Francisco Register when it comes to 'Journeyman' and 'Women's Murder Club'.)

And it doesn't have to be just in the City by the Bay. As we've learned, there were many such time travelers like Dan (but their numbers may be dwindling), so they could be spread throughout the country, perhaps even the world. (It did seem strange however that there would be three in San Francisco. Could the Powers That Be manipulating the lives of these travelers be based in SF?)

So we could make the claim that one of Dan's counterparts in traveling was responsible for making a change in some other city.

After seeing the penultimate episode of 'Journeyman', in which we saw Dan's son wiped from existence and replaced by a daughter named Caroline, this could work as a good splainin as to why FBI Agent Deborah Ciccerone (aka "Danielle") went from looking like Fairuza Balk at the end of Season Three to looking like Lola Glaudini at the beginning of Season Four. Not only was the role recast, but David Chase decided to go back and re-shoot Balk's scenes and replace her entirely for the eventual DVD collection.

Therefore, Agent Ciccerone ceased to exist in much the same way as Zack Vasser was phased out of existence. (But at least he was brought back!) And the blame could be placed on a New Jersey-based time traveler.

So even though it may be cancelled, 'Journeyman' lives on in Toobworld. We just won't be able to watch what happens......

Toby OB


"You know, twinkling, colored lights are nice....
and so are plastic Santas and reindeer and manger scenes.....
But tell ya something, friends,
there's nothing like the sight of a beautiful, black-as-pitch raven
to get you in the Christmas spirit."
Chris Stevens
'Northern Exposure'

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


When Allan Sepinwall posted his thoughts about the 'Extras' Christmas special on his blog "What's Allan Watching?" (link to the left), he received this comment from "Kensington":

"The only thing I really didn't like about the Extras finale was the derisive treatment of Dr Who.

Has Ricky Gervais even bothered to watch the current program? With the way Andy kept sneering at it, and the depiction of it as a cheap bit of garbage, you'd think they were discussing Classic Who rather than the wonderful new version, a version that's, quite frankly, more entertaining than Extras.''

I thought the same thing as Kensington, that Gervais never even bothered to check out the new version before he decided to get snarkily dismissive about it. However, it would be in keeping with Andy Millman's character that he never bothered to ever watch the show and was just basing his opinions on what he may have remembered about the show back in the 1970s. Remember, Andy never saw 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' either, much to the shock of Patrick Stewart.

That depiction of 'Doctor Who' within 'Extras' as a low-budget, cheesy alien sci-fi show may not jibe with how it really is in the Trueniverse, but it fits perfectly in the Toobworld concept. Now, I'm not going to go into the whole Zonk issue of 'Doctor Who' being referred to as a TV show within a TV show when the two of them should be sharing the same TV dimension; I just did about two weeks ago:

"Most references to 'Doctor Who'... are about the movies which starred Peter Cushing back in the 1960s. And for alls we know, there have been movies since then about 'Doctor Who' in Toobworld featuring other actors. (This gives us an out in case specific actors are named.)

As to why there would be a movie about the Doctor, here's my theory: Some movie producer heard rumors of the Doctor's existence (It's not like he was hiding himself back when he visited London in the sixties and seventies.) and decided to cash in by making a movie about him. Of course, he didn't know all the specific details about the mysterious stranger and that's why the character is actually named 'Doctor Who' in the movies. But he did know enough that he was able to get right such details as the Doctor zipping about in the TARDIS and having a grand-daughter (although he has two in the movie)."

So now it looks as though there was a TV show based on those movies.......
And since the Toobworld version of 'Doctor Who' looks to be such a cheap-jack piece of shite, then we can state conclusively that any TV character who refers to 'Doctor Who' as a TV show is definitely not talking about the version we've been watching since 2005. First off, the Doctor's Companion is a member of the Women's Royal Naval Service, a "WREN", and she's played by a newsreader named Claudia Sermbezis. Whatever the character's name is, she's never been seen in the TARDIS on the real show.

(I wonder if the fact she was wearing an HMS cap - with the name of the ship not visible - is an indication that Gervais was taking a shot in the dark as to what the Christmas special was going to be about. After all, we saw the TARDIS struck by the Titanic at the end of last season - or at the end of 'Children In Need' scene entitled "Time Crash".)

We can hypothesize one other way in which the 'Doctor Who' of Toobworld is not the 'Doctor Who' of the real world: the actor playing the Doctor was not David Tennant!

Sure, that was David Tennant up on the screen, and David Tennant's name in the end credits, but even so, I'm putting out the Toobworld claim that he was not playing himself.

Let's deal with that pesky problem regarding the credits first. Back in November, I wrote this:

"Whatever a character's name is stated to be within the actual show, then that's the character's name. If the name is mis-spelled, or presented as something different in the credits, that should have no effect on the TV Universe."

To this assertion, I'd like to add that should a character's name never come up within an episode, then we can claim that character could be somebody else... no matter what it may say in the credits.

O'Bviously we can't run rampant with this idea. Let's say the late Don Adams showed up to do a cameo in some sitcom and even though he was never named as such, we could tell he was playing a secret agent. Then of course he would be appearing as Maxwell Smart, without the benefit of being identified as Agent 86. But we can't just say that even though he was a secret agent on the side of niceness, he was actually Byron Glick, hotel dick.

Just about everybody connected to the production of 'The Prisoner' will deny that Patrick McGoohan's character of Number Six was actually John Drake of 'Danger Man'/'Secret Agent', even though it's Drake's ID photo that is "resigned" at the beginning of most episodes of 'The Prisoner', and despite the lyric in the "Secret Agent Man" theme song: "They've given you a number, and taken away your name."

They deny the connection for financial/proprietary reasons, as John Drake was created by somebody outside those concerned with the creation of 'The Prisoner'. But it doesn't matter - to most fans, Number Six is John Drake.
In the credits for the 'Extras' Christmas special, David Tennant is listed as "Himself", but he's never mentioned by name within the show. Now, David Tennant has appeared as himself on TV shows in which he's talked about being the Doctor - 'Parkinson', 'Richard and Judy', 'Graham Norton Live', and that infamous 'Doctor Who'-themed episode of 'The Weakest Link'.

But there's no sport in using those types of TV shows for making links to other shows, so most crossover researchers ignore them outright. (If they show up within a show, like 'Live With Regis And Kathie Lee' on 'Seinfeld', then I only deal with that televersion of the real show.)

Had Tennant played himself in some sitcom or drama series, like 'Hotel Babylon' (Wait - isn't that both types of show? LOL), and mentioned 'Doctor Who', then I guess we'd have to accept that he's appearing in the 'Extras' Christmas special as himself playing the Doctor. But until then, why not make the claim that he's playing a character he played before in some other TV show and thus get the link to that series established?

Here's what I found at with regards to an episode of a TV show called 'People Like Us': "The Actor"
gs: David Tennant [ Rob Harker ], Steve Oram [ Sound engineer ], Lucy Punch [ Kate ], Elizabeth Bennett [ Sue Harker ], Robert Swann [ Mike Harker ], Nina Sosanya [ Cassie Pearson ]

Roy spends a day in London observing the work of actor Rob Harker, as he attends auditions, meets literary agent Cassie Pearson, has coffee with some actor friends, including dancer Kate, and runs into his ex-girlfriend.

b: 10 Jun 01 w: John Morton d: John Morton

[Not that it matters in the TV Universe, but David Tennant and Nina Sosanya would also work together in "Casanova" and the "Fear Her" episode of 'Doctor Who'.]

So why can't we make the claim that within the TV Universe, that version of 'Doctor Who' is starring Rob Harker as the Doctor? This way we can make the connection between 'People Like Us' and 'Extras'.

And why was he cast? Because of his amazing resemblence to the real Doctor. That guy David Tennant looks like him as well, but he was probably off doing some movie work - like "Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire".

Toobworld is malleable. It's always in a state of flux, even within the established framework of a TV series because of changes made by its writers. So if it turns out a fictional televersion of David Tennant comes along and makes the claim that he's playing 'Doctor Who' on TV, then I will drop this claim about Rob Harker and accept it.

Unless of course I want to theorize that he's talking about an episode in which he plays the evil twin to Rob Harker's Doctor.....!

Toby OB


Back on November 11th, I mentioned how 'Brothers & Sisters' toe-tapped its way around the Senator Larry Craig scandal which is still ongoing. Tonight, in what looks to be the series finale for the wonderful 'Journeyman', the scandal is now an official part of the TV Universe.

In the press room of the San Francisco Register, the TVs suspended from the columns were playing a quick clip of the Larry Craig announcement that he was leaving the Senate.

So that small part of American history is aligned now on both Earth and Earth Prime-Time.

Toby OB


Google is an amazing resource and I can't picture me being able to do half the televisiological research I get done for Toobworld without it. If my crackpot theories turn out to be factually in error, then the fault lies in my being lazy and not doing all of the research.

And over the years, I've realized that Google teaches me a little something every day as I span the world wide web for information... information... information....

Here then is today's lesson:

Most people are fucking ugly.

All I wanted was a picture of David Tennant in the TV show 'People Like Us'!

Toby OB


"It isn't what a gift costs, Rochester,
it's the spirit in which it was given!
It doesn't matter if it cost fifty dollars, or forty dollars....

or... even a dollar ninety-eight....."
Jack Benny
'The Jack Benny Show'

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


"Ah, memories!
I miss those Christmases when people gave each other what they already had,
children's heads exploded,
and mutes went around caroling and coughing up blood!
And that was the way it was and we liked it!"
The Grumpy Old Man
'Saturday Night Live'

Monday, December 17, 2007


From the AP:

David Chase was in federal court Wednesday to defend his role in creating the Emmy-winning HBO mob drama, "The Sopranos."

The case was brought by a former New Jersey municipal court judge who claims his ideas helped Chase come up with the plot for the show.

Well, Chase did "steal" from himself for storylines to use in 'The Sopranos'. The sub-plot about the two wannabes who tried to whack "Christophuh" to get in the good graces with Tony was lifted from an episode of 'The Rockford Files', "The Jersey Bounce".

"Jim and Coop investigate further and discover Amodeus’ girlfriend is the sister of gangster Artie Nodzak, and figure out that Eugene and Mickey killed Amodeus to gain respect from Nodzak."

Greg Antonacci, who played Eugene Conigliaro in that episode (and who appeared in another 'Rockford' episode that might have served as a pilot for him and his on-screen cohort Eugene Davis), later showed up in 'The Sopranos'.

David Chase wrote that episode, based on a story by him, Stephen Cannell, and Juanita Bartlett.

Just sayin', is all.....

Toby OB


I don't know if this applied anywhere outside of Catholic school upbringings, but Advent calendars were a big part of the lead-up to the celebration of the religious reason for the holiday. Now I see Advent calendars with more commercialized and standard Santa traditions as the themes.

There are two "Advent calendars" on the web now with TV themes. The first one contains news bloopers from an Irish TV network. You can find this at

The other one has a lot more variety when it comes to the individual daily windows, but it all centers around the upcoming Christmas special for 'Doctor Who', "Voyage Of The Damned". You'll find that one at the BBC website homepage for the good Doctor:

That one contains clips from the special plus games, puzzles, Christmas cards and behind-the-scenes pictures.


Toby OB


"What's so stupid about having a little fun at Christmastime?"
Gloria Stivic
'All In The Family'

Sunday, December 16, 2007


"If TV has taught me anything,
it's that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas.
It happened to Tiny Tim; it happened to Charlie Brown;
it happened to the Smurfs; and it's gonna happen to us
Bart Simpson
'The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire'