Saturday, March 8, 2008
LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND "ROSEMARY & THYME"
My Netflix queue is stuffed to the gills with full seasons of shows that I think will work best there, where I'm not tempted to get on the computer and surf away. Coming up: I'm still working on completing the run of 'Poirot', but I've also got lined up 'Rome', 'Foyle's War', 'The Adventures Of Robin Hood' (Richard Greene), 'Crime Traveller', 'Damages', the Gillian Anderson adaptation of 'Bleak House', and 'Here Come The Brides'.
I've also got the second and third season of 'Rosemary & Thyme' in there. It's a light-hearted murder mystery with a gardening theme, but most important for me - it stars the lovely Felicity Kendal as Rosemary Boxer.
In the first season episode "A Simple Plot", Rosemary's partner, Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris), visits one of the suspects at her home. And the number of her address gives her a numerical connection to 'Lost':
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42......
TODAY'S TWD: THE WECKQUAESGEEK SQUAD
That shamaness must have been part of the Weckquaesgeek tribe, a subset of the Wappani. Here's what I cobbled together from various Wikipedia entries:
The Wappani, or the Wappinger, were a group of Native Americans whose territory in the 17th century spread along the eastern side of the Hudson River from Dutchess County south to Manhattan and east into parts of Connecticut. Although the European understanding of "tribes" did not generally apply for most of the Wappingers' history, they were most closely related to the Lenape and Mahicans, all speaking the Algonquian languages.
Friday, March 7, 2008
BORN TO RERUN: THE CHEKOV LIST
It's a trap! Everybody knows you can't go into places like YouTube without spending hours!
Yesterday they had a link to a scene from 'Mr. Novak', which was a 1960s show about an idealistic high school teacher starring James Franciscus and Dean Jagger. In the episode "Boy Without A Country", Walter Koenig guest-starred as a student who grew up in Soviet Russia.
It's not hard to make a case for this to be a Theory of Relateeveety!
Alexei Dubov may have decided to move back to Russia. If not, then probably one of his children did so, disillusioned with America. Eventually the Dubov family tree branched out to produce Pavel Chekov. Chekov would become a distinguished officer of Starfleet in the 23rd Century.
If any of Dubov's family stayed behind in the United States, eventually their family tree produced Alfred Bester, a dark master of Psi Corps.
Look to the left for Newsday's TV Zone in my bloglist.
NO TOOB GOOBERS TODAY
As the hordes of you humans stormed into the movie theatres at the local googaplex, somebody dropped something they bought at the concession stand. I thought it was a bag of Goobers - the lettering and package design were similar.
But I've just checked out the video at YouTube and it's just a generic bag of chocolate.
Too bad. Might have been beneficial for both parties had it been Goobers. Remember the boost Raisinettes got after their mention in "Blazing Saddles"?
TODAY'S TWD: CALICO JIM
'The Big Valley'
I enjoyed 'Kidnapped' when it aired on NBC two years ago, and was glad I could follow the story to its close via Netflix. Jeremy Sisto as Knapp was a great character, and I think he and his partner Turner (Carmen Ejogo) might have worked better in self-contained episodes. Having them teamed up with FBI Agent Latimer King each week wouldn't have been as far-fetched as seeing the Jeffersonian Institute's team of forensic scientists working FBI Agent Seely Booth each week.
But at least they were able to have a self-contained season and brought the Cain Kidnapping to a conclusion.
At any rate, during the run of the series, Agent King told the story of San Francisco's Calico Jim, a Chileno crimp whose customers at his Battery Point bar kept disappearing - kidnapped by Calico Jim's press gang to fill out the rosters of ships. The police went undercover in order to find out how it was happening and each of them were shanghaied into service.
I think the creative team for the show meant for us to think that this was the fate that lay in store for Leopold Cain. However, as it turned out, I think the story was really clueing us in about policemen who aren't always who they appear to be....
As Jim Dale would say, the facts are these:
"Some time during the eighteen-nineties Calico Jim is said to have shanghaied six policemen who were sent, one after another, to arrest him. Soon afterwards he left San Francisco. When his victims returned from their enforced cruise, they pooled their resources, chose one of their number by lot, and sent him to South America to search for the crimp. After several months the policeman came upon Calico Jim in the streets of Callao, Chile, and shot him six times, once for each shanghaied officer."
[From a San Francisco History page]
Maybe I shouldn't have said those were "facts". The story of Calico Jim is well-known in San Francisco legend, but there is no record of six policemen being shanghaied and then making that pact.
No one has brought Calico Jim to life in Toobworld. Paul Fix did play the crimp in the movie universe in "The Flame Of Barbary Coast", however. (Probably the only chance to see John Wayne, Joseph Schildkraut, and William Frawley in the same picture!) About the closest we come to seeing press gangs in action in Toobworld would be in episodes of 'Maverick' ("The Cats Of Paradise") and 'The Big Valley' ("Barbary Red").
But because Agent King told the story of Calico Jim as historical fact, we know he existed in the TV Universe as well.
NEWS VIEWS: REAL OR NO REAL
And the people watching at home have no problem with these differences from the life they know back in the real world... for the most part. They know there are no chains of Buy More and Work Bench stores, no Oceanic Airways, no WJM-TV. Their maps won't have Fernwood, Hooterville, Hollyoaks, Dante's Cove, Frostbite Falls, or the Isle of Mypos. They know that androids don't really walk among us; we haven't been subjected to countless alien invasions; Valencia, California, didn't go up in a ball of nuclear fire; and there is no secret lunar colony. (Then again, if it's secret, maybe there is one up there!)
But every so often people forget they're watching a TV show. In Great Britain, complaints have been made against 'The Bill' for making up the name of a drug which could alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Apparently, the MS Society in Great Britain has been getting calls from people who saw Wednesday's episode, during which an MS patient was told about Plavitron. Plavitron doesn't exist and at present there is no drug that can make that claim.
The MS Society called 'The Bill' "grossly irresponsible" for creating this fictional drug because it raised the hopes of those with the disease. But ITV claims that it "told the story responsibly and sensitively".
A spokeswoman for ITV countered that "We researched both the condition and possible treatments - existing and proposed - before and during the writing process. It was certainly not our intention to offend or mislead."
She added that fictional places, names and products were featured in storylines "often for legal reasons".
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I thought the two-part MONK season finale was great, but it points out one of the pitfalls of writing a tie-in series while the TV show that it is based on is still in production. It means that there are going to be some continuity miss-matches between the TV series and the books...and there's nothing that can be done about it.
Of course, in Toobworld we don't count the tie-in novels as being part of the overall TV Universe because of such discrepancies. (And believe me, I'd REALLY love to throw "Mr. Monk And The Two Assistants" into the mix!) When you think of the hundreds of 'Star Trek' franchise tie-in novels and of those for 'Doctor Who', it would be impossible to keep the "Zonks" from ruining the whole concept of a unified field theory when it comes to the TV Universe.
And you can't pick and choose what books to include into the TV Universe; it's not only unfair, but the process would drive you mad. Mad, I say! (Otherwise I'd gladly accept Barbara Hambly's 'Star Trek'/'Here Comes The Brides' novel "Ishmael" into Toobworld, as I've often stated here in the past.) And the same would go for the audio plays for 'Doctor Who' produced by Big Finish.
Straight-to-DVD productions (like 'Babylon 5: The Lost Tales'), online video (the "Missing Pieces" of 'Lost') and certain movies can be absorbed into the TV Universe. (This includes the 'Star Trek' franchise, 'Maverick' - with splainin, and the 1966 'Batman'. The series of 'Batman' movies launched in 1989 at best belong in the 'Birds Of Prey' alternate TV dimension.) Being visual media, they're easier to deal with anyway; most times they are striving to remain constant with what was already established in Toobworld.
I realize this is a retread of old "Inner Toob" material, but new visitors arrive here every day. Observations made by others like Goldberg give me the opportunity to clue them in on what exactly all of this craziness is. So that's why I trot out the rules by which I keep the sandbox clear of contamination.
Otherwise it gets treated like kitty litter and becomes too big of a mess.
MILES AND MILES
CLAUDIA SUTTON & VIVECA SCOTT
Claudia Sutton and Viveca Scott are identical cousins. (If they're both still alive, they're now close to 80 years old.) Claudia worked as a partner with Charles Lee Horne in running a top modeling agency, while Viveca had her own cosmetics firm as well as a "health farm". After Horne's murder, Claudia took over the agency as her own.
I would imagine that both Viveca and Claudia threw work towards each other. In fact, I think it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, as Mush Rat likes to say, that Claudia was a silent partner in that health farm. She believed in a strict regimen of diet and exercise, but secretly she cheated - with her concoction of carrot juice, psyllium, wheat germ, saurkraut, and dehydrated seaweed, Claudia would add a dollop of vodka to give it that extra kick.
Besides looking nearly identical* and being leaders in their similar fields of endeavor, Claudia and Viveca had something else in common: both of them were suspected of murder.
The only difference is, the "Lovely But Lethal" Viveca Scott was guilty. She committed two murders - that of a chemist who worked for her but who was stealing trade secrets from BeautyMark, and of a rival's assistant who tried to blackmail her. However, Lt. Columbo only arrested her for the murder of the chemist, for which he had her dead to rights. (She had been exposed to the poison ivy at the chemist's home.) I don't think he'd be able to prove conclusively that she killed the assistant without her admission of guilt (in order to broker a plea deal).
Claudia Sutton had everything to gain from the death of senior partner Charles Lee Horne, but in the end it turned out to be a low-life masseur who was responsible for killing the multi-millionaire. He also murdered his own "ex-wife" with the hope to pin it on Detective Tim Tillson.
After Captain Amos Burke solved the mystery of "Who Killed The Horne Of Plenty", he was free of ethical issues in dating Claudia Sutton. They were together probably only a few weeks before Burke moved on to his next conquest. Meanwhile, Claudia's cousin Viveca Scott would have been tried and convicted for manslaughter, probably only serving twenty years for the crime. (However, my compadres at The Ultimate Lt. Columbo Site believe she was found not guilty due to insufficient evidence.)
The actress who portrayed them both, Vera Miles, is still alive and so there's no reason not to think that both Claudia and Viveca are still alive as well. But who knows? Maybe the rigors of prison life took their toll on Viveca Scott......
'Columbo' - "Lovely But Lethal"
'Burke's Law' - "Who Killed The Horne Of Plenty?"
*Viveca had red hair and Claudia was blonde. Viveca's beauty mark was a fake.
TODAY'S TWD: COLTRANE AND AMSTERDAM
Here's what Wikipedia had to say about those shows:
During the latter part of 1957, Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York City's Five Spot Cafe during a legendary six-month gig. Unfortunately, this association was not extensively documented, and the best-recorded evidence demonstrating the compatibility of Coltrane with Monk, a fund-raising concert at Carnegie Hall on November 29, 1957, was only discovered and issued in 2005. It was accidentally found in an unmarked box at the Library of Congress and issued by Blue Note, along with another of their recordings, The Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings. His extensive recordings as a sideman and as a leader for Prestige have a mixed reputation.
John Coltrane died on July 17, 1967, and he died hating John Amsterdam. In that first episode of 'New Amsterdam', we didn't learn why this was. But it may come up again, as the show will be revisiting John Amsterdam's memories of his 400 year past.
It could have been something recent, in the days leading up to his death, that really bleeped off Coltrane towards Amsterdam. One possibility could be that under whatever name Amsterdam was using back then, he could have been working as a cop in Newark, New Jersey. And maybe Coltrane was angry about the actions he took as a police officer during the Newark race riots which began on July 13.
Or maybe "Train" just didn't like the fact that John never made a desk for him.....
But that's all just speculation. We'll have to see if the reason is ever addressed on the show.
THE HAT SQUAD: LEONARD ROSENMAN
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Where Pigeons Go to Die (1990)
Nero Wolfe (1979)
Mary White (1977)
Lanigan's Rabbi (1976)
This Savage Land (1969)
Shadow Over Elveron (1968)
"The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau"
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
NUMBERS OF YEARS
Last night on 'New Amsterdam', we learned that a young Dutch soldier was nearly killed on the island of Manhattan when he tried to prevent another soldier from killing a Native American woman. Even though he was run through with a sword, she and her fellow shamanesses were able to bring him back. They also blessed/cursed him with immortality until he finally meets his true love.
This happened in 1642.... "16", & "42".....
TV QUOTE OF THE WEEK
A TIDDLYWINKYDINKS HAT SQUAD: GARY GYGAX
Gygax, who developed the game in 1974 with Dave Arneson, had been suffering from health problems for several years.
Dungeons & Dragons inspired another game in Toobworld: "Mazes & Monsters", in 1982.
In the Tooniverse, Gygax was a member of the Vice Presidential Action Rangers in an imagined scenario of how Fry's life might have played out. Vice President Al Gore was i charge of the Action Rangers, and his other team members were Nichele Nichol who played Uhura on 'Star Trek', Professor Stephen Hawking, and the Deep Blue computer. The Vice Presidential Action Rangers failed in their mission and were instead sucked into a parallel dimension with no discernible connection to whatever was left of the Tooniverse.
As I said, this was merely a "What-If" scenario thanks to a machine created by Professor Hugo Farnsworth. But he must have existed in pen and ink form in order for the machine to draw upon the original for inspiration.
Gygax voiced his own role in the 'Futurama' episode "Anthology of Interest I".
Gygax's wedding ring is cleary visible in the episode. He left behind a wife and six children, so it's O'Bvious that he didn't spend ALL of his time playing D&D.
Unlike many of those who were fans of his game......Right, Paul?
"Hey Langly, the guys are all up in my room
for a round of Dungeons and Dragons,
in honour of Jimmy."
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: CASTING FOR VELVET
Here's what Hoch had to say about the possible casting:
"More than twenty years ago when a Broadway producer held the Nick Velvet option, she suggested Ben Gazzara for the part. It was a good idea at the time, but I wouldn't want to suggest anyone to play Nick or my other characters now. The television business is such that casting is dependent upon things like the budget and the age bracket at which the show is aimed. If Nick ever makes it on the air I certainly won't mind if he's young and handsome, even if that's not how I picture him."
Having now read the collection of Nick Velvet stories "The Velvet Touch" (which lacked the story that first introduced me to the character, about the theft of a used teabag), I have an actor in mind for playing the role should we ever be lucky enough to see a series made from the material.
I think he has the right combination of Everyman qualities for the role of Nick Velvet. Based on his past roles, I think he can easily handle the dramatic as well as the comedic aspects in Nick's life, and be able to deftly switch from one to the other.
At the age of 47, Weber is at the right stage in life to play someone who had been operating on the shadowy side of life and who now could afford to accept only those jobs that he feels could net him the most profit with the least amount of danger and imprisonment. (Of course, as fans of the short stories know, this doesn't always quite work out.)
Capitalizing on his skills in both light and heavy fare, Weber looks like the kind of guy who could be a laid-back rogue in a suit and yet still be able to call upon the skills necessary for any action/adventure needed.
So there's my suggestion as to who should play Nick Velvet in Toobworld.....
Monday, March 3, 2008
TODAY'S TWD: "JOURNEY OF THE SORCEROR"
Well, I'm a take-or-leave-it kind of guy when it comes to the Eagles music, but I figured I'd amuse the kid and so I accepted the file. As it was downloading, he IM'd that the name of the song was "Journey Of The Sorceror". Sounded more like a Rick Wakeman number to my mind.
When the file finished, I played it. And the smile stretched from ear to ear.
I don't mind if someone knows something about TV before me, so long as I get clued in as well. And this was the first time I ever found out that the theme music for the radio and TV versions of 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' was in fact, a song by the Eagles!
Here's what I found out in a FAQ about Douglas Adams:
The title music (the Eagles' Journey of the Sorceror)
If you want to hear this song, try this link for a YouTube "video" hosted by CrocMusic.
(As much as I love its use in the theme music, I'm really enjoying how "Journey Of The Sorceror" wraps up, beginning at about the 5:30 mark in the song. Them's good walkin'-about music, as I used to call the songs I'd have in my old Walkman.)
UPDATE: MARTHA BY THE NUMBERS
Well, now that we've got that out of the way.
So excited was I at finding the number "23" in Martha Jones' ID code for UNIT, that I never considered adding up the entire sequence of numbers.
"42" - one of the numbers from 'Lost' and as we know from 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy', the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything!
That CAN'T be a coincidence!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
NEW UNIT IN OUR FUTURE?
I think Russell T. Davies may be setting us up for yet another spin-off from 'Doctor Who'.
As mentioned in the previous post, Dr. Martha Jones is currently appearing on 'Torchwood', and in the time between her arrival and when she left the Doctor in last season's finale of 'Doctor Who', she's been recruited into UNIT to serve as one of their medical officers.
I think we may be getting primed as an audience for a TV show about UNIT starring Freema Agyeman as Martha.
The traditional method is in place for the preparations. Martha left the original series, only to show up on one of the spin-offs. ('The Sarah Jane Adventures' is the other spin-off and Martha would be perfect for a guest spot. After all, Sarah Jane has worked closely with UNIT herself back in the day and still has her contacts there.)
On 'Torchwood', her character's backstory has been embellished so that now she has her degree, she's working with UNIT, and has a boyfriend who once saved her life. (I'm figuring that's Tom and he could be part of UNIT now as well.) So she's now more than just a former Companion, one who could stand alone from the Doctor to support her own show like Jack and Sarah Jane.
It's already been reported that she'll be back for the big season finale of the next 'Doctor Who' run, in a story teaming her up with Sarah Jane, Rose Tyler, and Donna Noble. After that? Could it be she could leave the show once again and this time go right into her own series where she's working with UNIT?
UNIT also has its own backstory and a rich history from which they could draw stories - recurring villains and aliens, guest stars from past 'Doctor Who' stories, and UNIT members we'd all love to see again. Although the Brigadier is retired, he could come back on a recurring basis as a consultant. There's Sgt. Benten (surely at least a Captain by now?) and perhaps even Captain Yates - reformed or not, depending on how they'd want to go with his character.
And those guest stars? How about crossovers with 'Torchwood', 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', and of course the mothership of the franchise. (Not sure the TARDIS, being a living creature, would appreciate being called a mothuh, Brothuh.....) Plus how about Jo Grant or Dr. Liz Shaw?
And at the center of it all would be Dr. Martha Jones, teamed up with this mysterious boyfriend she mentioned in "Reset".......
Not sure if the fan interest is high enough to support the series, but I'd certainly like to see it happen!
Make it so!
Oops.... wrong show.... Sorry about that, Chief.
Joe at "I Am A TV Junkie" (link to the left for the main site) was nice enough to trumpet my idea in a post at his blog. Check it out for some cool videos about UNIT as well as a Martha Jones music video! Good stuff!
MARTHA BY THE NUMBERS
And she's been a busy girl since she left the Doctor's side - she's now a medical officer assigned to UNIT.
We got to see her UNIT ID badge in "Reset", the episode which introduced her to Team Torchwood in Cardiff, and her serial number is "001 23 14 01 2 1".
"23" is part of the numerical sequence from 'Lost'. "01" & "14" would equal another in the sequence, "15". And the last three numbers add up to "4", which leads off "The Numbers".
Definitely a stretch, but we've seen far more trivial theories in Toobworld.....
ECHOES: STORM WARNINGS
"There's a storm coming."
TODAY'S TWD: CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD
REAL WORLD: Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood (August 26, 1904 – January 4, 1986) was an Anglo-American novelist.In 1928-29 Isherwood studied medicine in London, but gave it up after a few months to join WH Auden for a few weeks in Berlin.
Isherwood commented on the Berlin sex underground, and his own participation in it, in a note to the American publisher of John Henry Mackay's "Der Puppenjunge" (The Hustler), "a classic boy-love novel set in the contemporary milieu of boy prostitutes in Berlin." "It gives a picture of the Berlin sexual underworld early in this century," wrote Isherwood, "which I know, from my own experience, to be authentic."
In the 'Torchwood' episode "Reset", Captain Jack Harkness mentioned his relationship with Isherwood when Martha exclaimed "I am a camera!" after putting in her spy contact lenses. Captain Jack also mentioned that Isherwood said to him that it would always be easier getting in than it was in getting out.....
It's not like I'm going to do a lot of research into the life of Isherwood; televisiology never calls for more than a cursory examination of any subject. But could it be that this boy love of his, Heinz, was in fact Jack Harkness (at least in the TV Universe)?
In the website "Baby Names", the name "Heinz" is considered a variant of "Hans", which is related to "John", all referring back to the Hebrew for "The Lord is gracious". And a derivative for "John" is "Jack".
It's something to consider. On the other hand, Jack was probably too old to be the subject of Isherwood's interest; instead it's more likely he may have been a traveling companion through the district.