Saturday, January 10, 2009


Joost is now showing the complete run of 'Popetown' episodes, which I think is coming out on DVD (if it's not already). You probably don't remember, but this was an animated series from the UK a couple of years ago, which was about a different take on the Vatican (hence, "Popetown"). It got a lot of pre-broadcast brickbats from the all-powerful publicity department working for the Pontiff, and so it was pulled from the schedule before ever airing.

So now you've got a chance to see it

But the thing Jay Sherman would say on 'The Critic', it STINKS!
And I'm not saying that because I was offended. Lapsed Catholic that I am, I can enjoy a good laugh at the Church's expense.

No, the cartoon is just bad. Very grade-school humor with no sense of intelligence about it. And it's not like you can't balance both - 'The Simpsons', 'South Park', and 'Family Guy' proved that. This had me checking the counter to see how much longer I had to suffer through it; never a good sign.
And it's a shame too, since so many talented people were involved in making this, and Jerry Hall as well. (Hey, they can take cheap shots, so can I!) Mackenzie Crook, Matt Lucas, Ben Miller for a quick live-action sequence at the beginning.

In fact, I think they missed the mark and should have gone with that for a series, because it did look like it had potential.....

The worst was Ruby Wax as the high-pitched, psychotic, childish Pope. Again, I wasn't offended, it just seemed to be a cheap shot, not based on anything. And it was far too annoying to stay with. I would have preferred the Pope impersonator to have remained with the series!

Your mileage may vary. Maybe it's just me. But if you're so inclined to see it through, that episode does have links for the remaining batch.
Toby O'B


Thanks to a link provided by my blogging buddy Medium Rob*, I checked out this story about the upcoming mini-series of 'The Prisoner' on AMC: Breaking News:

AMC made a presentation for its new six-part mini-series THE PRISONER (a remake of the classic BBC series which will debut November 2009) at the Television Critic's press tour today, and producer Trevor Hopkins says original series creator and star Patrick McGoohan was originally approached to make an appearance, but thetiming didn't work out.

"We asked McGoohan to play a cameo," says Hopkins. "He loved it and loved the casting, but he wasn't able to travel and take part of it."

I have to admit, the phrasing in that quote by Hopkins leaves me worried about McGoohan's health. I have no way of knowing how he is, one way or the other. But as he's my second favorite actor of all time (following Sir Alec Guinness), I'm wishing all the best for Mr. McGoohan.

(And my Iddiot friend Tom Ucko has pointed out to me that he's not been seen on film or TV since 1998......)

Just sending out good wishes from Toobworld Central.....


Toby O'B

*Rob's blog is "The Medium Is Not Enough" and you'll find the link to the left.....


Cheryl Holdridge, one of the original Mouseketeers on 'The Mickey Mouse Club', has passed away from lung cancer at the age of 64.

She played many recurring roles in Classic Toobworld, most especially Julie Foster on 'Leave It To Beaver'. It would be a role she would reprise many years later in the sequel 'Still The Beaver'. But there was also Judy Doucette on 'My Three Sons', Lila Meredith on 'Bachelor Father', and Norma Lane on 'Ozzie and Harriet'.

"Still the Beaver"

"Wagon Train"
"My Three Sons"
"The Eleventh Hour"
"Dr. Kildare"
"Mr. Novak"
"The Dick Van Dyke Show"
"Leave It to Beaver"
"Hawaiian Eye"
"The Donna Reed Show"
"Dennis the Menace"
"King of Diamonds"
"The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"
"The Rifleman"
"The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet"
Life with Archie
"Bachelor Father"
"Westinghouse Playhouse"
"Walt Disney Presents: Annette"

"Good night and may God bless...."
- Red Skelton

Toby O'B


Continuing with our look at a few "Tele-POTUSii" as we get closer to the inauguration of Barack Obama.....

When the time comes to induct Ulysses S. Grant into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, Roy Engel will have the honor to be the actor to officially portray him. Not only did he play Grant in six episodes of 'The Wild, Wild West', but also in an episode of 'You Are There'.

But he's not the only one to play Grant in Toobworld.
This website has lots of information as well as quite a few photos of Grant, as general and as President.

Toby O'B

Friday, January 9, 2009


"Every year I look for the nastiest, hatefulest, meanest man to represent.
And this year, you're it.
Ben Matlock
[Talking to his client, Tom McCabe, played by Pat Hingle]

Passing away at the age of 84, Pat Hingle is the first major entry in the 2009 Hat Squad. Hingle was in the business for over fifty years, but it may have seemed like it was longer. This would be due to the fact he had the looks, like Jack Kruschen and Harold Gould, to play older than he really was.

Like Spencer Tracy and Henry Fonda before him, Pat Hingle had a talent that was deceptive; it was dependable and felt natural, and he made it look easy, to the point where you might not even think he was acting.

There was a role that never came about; as far as Toobworld was concerned, it existed, but it was never shown on-camera, and Hingle was my choice to play it.

When we were introduced to Dr. Leslie Arzt in the first season of 'Lost', I was under the mistaken impression that his character might be sticking around for a lot longer than he turned out to be. (That idea certainly blew up in my face!) And since everybody on that show got a flashback episode sooner or later, usually dealing with Daddy issues, I thought Pat Hingle would have been the right choice for playing Arzt, Senior.

Although he did appear in an episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and in one of 'Matlock' as other characters, I always thought that if Andy Taylor (or Ben Matlock for that matter) had a brother, Pat Hingle was the perfect choice for the role. Just sayin', is all......

Putting aside his movie roles (which strangely enough I can't think of one that I ever saw without consulting the list at, Hingle left behind a strong body of work in TV: tele-folks both good and bad, and a few historical figures (like Admiral Bull Halsey of 'War And Remembrance' and PJ Kennedy of "The Kennedys of Massachusetts"). But there are two in particular I'll be taking a closer look at. Those posts will be coming along soon.

So I tip my TV Nation cap to you, Pat Hingle. Toobworld was made richer by your presence, and is poorer now that you've left.

"Good night, and may God bless....."
- Red Skelton

Toby O'B


Ta da! This is it, folks! The finale to the 2008 Toobits Awards! I promise!


'Z Rock'
For anybody who wanted "This Is Spinal Tap" to be transformed into a TV series, this was the next best thing. A real-life band (ZO2) who "day-light" as a kids' party band try to land a record deal. With lots of great guest stars, mostly playing themselves, 'Z Rock' achieved the near-impossible: it made me laugh out loud many times during each episode.

It was presented on IFC and you should make an effort to watch it. And I'm hoping for a boxed set to be released!

'Gavin & Stacey'
This will be the show on display when they write about "comedy with heart". Every character had a rich story; even the minor characters had an unexpected depth to them instead of just being one-offs to deliver a joke. Sure, the A storyline about the fast-blooming love story of Gavlar and Stace was supposed to be the primary focus. However, they were soon trumped by the rocky relationship between hard-partying Smithy and Nessa, who may or may not have had a highly adventurous past. Add to that Stacey's mother Gwen, Gavin's parents Mick and Pam, and especially Rob Brydon as Uncle Bryn, and maybe the show should have had a more inclusive title for them all.

'True Blood'
Seductive, tawdry, bawdy, funny, disgusting, shocking, and sad. All it needs are flying monkeys and a few song and dance numbers! HBO has probably hit on the perfect successor to 'The Sopranos', smartly avoiding anything of a similar nature. Based on the "Sookie Stackhouse" novels, Alan Ball has given Toobworld not only a town full of interesting characters (as well as the town of Bon Temps), but also a lot of new concepts to work with, including shape-shifters and Tru-Blood. Of course, that does lead to a few problems, as I mentioned in the earlier post.

"24: Redemption"Tying into an established series helped this to win. Otherwise, I might have gone with one of the other candidates since '24' is delegated to an alternate TV dimension. Still, it gave newbies a chance to sample the series in a bite-size nugget ("bite-size" by the '24' standard).

'Generation Kill'
At times it felt more like we were watching a documentary, especially during the battle scenes. I'm still not sure I have all the characters straight in my head (pun intended for Rudy), but each of them did make an impression on me. And I hope some of those actors won't take too long in bringing more characters to populate Toobworld.

"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"
Since online content was not yet included in the WGA contract, I have no problem enjoying this musical as much as I did.

"Adopt" - Sci-Fi
It's a blipvert promo for the Sci-Fi channel, and it's probably the most heart-tugging thing I've seen, outside of the reunion of Desmond and Penny on 'Lost' and the letter from Stacey's dad on 'Gavin & Stacey'. Definitely the most heart-tugging brought in under two minutes!

You can see
"Adopt" here.

'Gavin & Stacey'

See above for the reason why.

Top Runner-up: 'Supernova'
'New Tricks'
As I splained earlier, to qualify for 2008, I had to become aware of the show (as well as see it) in that year. Even if it began years earlier, as was the case for 'New Tricks', then that NBC mantra applies: If I haven't seen it, it's new to me.

'New Tricks' has been something I eagerly look forward to watching every Saturday morning once I get home from work; I find myself jonesing for it when Channel 21 preempts it for pledge marathons. I'm not sure what I'll do if they don't go back and play it all again from the beginning, because I discovered it halfway through Channel 21's run of the second season.

'New Tricks' leads the pack of shows this season which I call "comfort food viewing": dependable, easy-going, nothing too difficult for the little grey cells. Other new shows like that have been 'Eleventh Hour', 'The Mentalist', and 'Leverage'.

'Fringe' - "Pilot"
A combination of factors led this episode to win the honors. First off, the surprise twist near the end involving John Scott. Usually, when you hire a name actor as a guest star in a pilot, it's to help boost viewership, knowing full well that the actor won't be around for the run. Usually that type of character gets killed off.

So that's what I expected when I heard Mark Valley was in the cast. Figured that he'd give the show a decent launch and then either his character would die, or fade away from Olivia's life to recuperate. Never expected him to turn as he did, still die, and yet then keep coming back to the series!

Another major factor was that I saw it on the big screen at the Paley Center auditorium during their annual Pilot Week. I think that definitely gave it more impact.

Season One Episode Six/Season Two Episode OneWhen Nick Cutter came back from the Past and realized that somehow he had changed the entire course of History - to the point where a woman he once knew no longer existed - it seemed like they had painted themselves into a corner from which there was no escape. And to the show's credit, they didn't even try. Nothing was magically restored, but instead they accepted the changes and moved on. And, as I posted last night, it gave Toobworld a great big beautiful splainin for discrepancies like the fictional President in 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.

And so there you have it! The final batch of 2008 Toobits Awards winners. I've already wiped the slate clean in the toobits data file and have already started collecting a few nominees for 2009.

I hope you enjoyed the awards show!

Toby O'B

And this marks the 3400th post for "Inner Toob"......


As we get closer to the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, I thought we might start to focus on other Presidents who have been portrayed in Toobworld....
This is President Rutherford B. Hayes as he appeared in "General Sherman's March Through Dodge City", an episode of 'Bat Masterson'.

Toby O'B


Trust me, folks! We're getting very close to the end now. But first, a few more of the - as well as the worst - that 2008 had to offer......

Until the humans aboard the Axion actually showed up, this could have been considered a live-action movie; the CGI was that good. And the ending didn't close the door on future adventures for Wall-E and Eve; and since Disney is good for exploiting its product with TV spin-offs, a series may be possible... although I think a movie sequel may get priority.


The Island disappeared, Desmond and Penny were reunited, and the secret was revealed as to who was in the box..... Case closed. Nothing left to discuss.

'Life On Mars' (UK version)
I know a lot of people are going to argue that this honor should go to 'The Shield'. Bleep them, as Vic Mackey might say. First off, I'm one who wanted Mackey dead, preferably shanked in prison by some skel he busted from an earlier season, brought back in a glorified cameo. And even though I did like the ending - with Mackey trapped in a bureaucratic hell (at least for the next three years... if he doesn't eat his gun) with no hope of ever finding his family again - I didn't get the feeling that it had any major impact on Toobworld. We're all about Toobworld here, remember.

But with 'Life On Mars', it not only spawned a sequel ('Ashes To Ashes'), but an American remake as well. And we were able to make the case that they could be connected, using 'Ashes To Ashes' as precedent. (Read Sam Tyler's file, fall into a coma, relive his experiences.)

Aside from the Toobworld implications, seeing Sam up on the roof, with Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole's ukelele rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" playing, I can't watch it and not be moved to tears. It's a series like 'Life On Mars' that makes me so angry when people call television just "furniture".

'New Amsterdam' The reason why? Because it ended. This series had potential, looked fairly reasonable to produce (price-wise), and enriched the Toobworld timeline so much.

'John Adams' Being a mini-series, and being presented on HBO where they could show warts (or rather, pustules) and all, we were able to get the most detailed retelling of our own near-mythological history.

'How I Met Your Mother' - "The Bracket"
Barney had to go back over his romantic history in order to figure out who had been sabotaging his attempts at conquest. We learned about not only a slew of strange ladies he bedded, but also had the greatest hits of those who actually appeared on past episodes.

I had another favorite, one not as intense in its trip down memory lane:

'Psych' - "Shawn (and Gus) Of The Dead'

This episode made references back to episodes "9 Lives" and "Sixty Five Million Years Off".

'New Amsterdam'

Best of the bunch, from a personal perspective, was the episode set during the Civil War when he worked with Walt Whitman in a surgical tent. (That's because Whitman was played by my upstairs neighbor.)

'Swap Shop' with Basil Brush
What was basically a reality-based program entered Toobworld surrealism when one of Great Britain's best-known puppets appeared on an episode. It can be comparable to when Kermit the Frog appeared on 'The Wheel of Fortune' - not exactly a venue where you would expect to see a member of Toobworld's puppet population.

Apparently it was a big success, because later this month Basil will be hosting his own 'Swap Shop' in which children can swap their unwanted toys for something else with other kids.

'Ashes To Ashes' from 'Life On Mars'
Deceptively, it looks like a retread of the original series - swap out the main character and replace him with a woman, but bring back all the same characters to deal with. But I think the show's creators may be going for something a little more; if not deeper, than at least in a different direction. We'll see when season two kicks off.

'90210' from 'Beverly Hills, 90210'

I won't lie to you. I'm not watching this. I didn't watch the original, for that matter. But it's nice to see that a Toobworld location is recognized as being still in existence, even if we don't see all of the originals students who went there.

'Life On Mars'
I was so prepared to hate this show, even if it had been the original version planned by David E. Kelley. I probably would have hated that version anyway. But aside from one major misfire, this adaptation has not only honored its source material and not betrayed it, but it has provided its own compelling mysteries.

The misfire? Casting Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt. The role required somebody like Gene Hackman in his Popeye Doyle prime; Keitel just comes across as a cranky old man. (That character type didn't play in the election, and it ain't playing here.) But at least Michael Imperioli has brought an improvement over the original series with his take on Ray Carling. (Sorry, Dean Andrews.)

'Knight Rider'I was accepting of it, if not actually watching it (well, one or two episodes for research purposes), until the powers that be at NBC decided to screw with it some more during the winter hiatus. In trying to get back to the type of show its forebear once was, 'Knight Rider' has now jettisoned the only aspects of it that made it bearable - especially Bruce Davison's character. If you want 'Knight Rider' to be like the original series, why ditch the one character most similar to the original Devon Miles?

Network suits. Say it with me, folks: They should be nibbled to death by ducks!

At any rate, how could they have made this show any stupider than the scene shown above. The temperature inside KITT was rising to the point where they were about to be boiled alive... and she continues to wear a metal necklace!!!!

'Dance Wars' from 'Dancing With The Stars'
Don't get me started......

'Lost In Austen'

This time around, the book came first.

'Reaper' After such a promising pilot episode, this show quickly fell into a rut. Variations on the same themes, villains, methods of dispatchment. (Looks like I made up a word, according to spell-check!) But then it came back from the writers' strike, and they were somehow revitalized and the show began to explore lots of other topics. I think it all started with the episode "Leon", but from there it introduced us to a demon rebellion, the dangers of love with a succubus, and more mystery involving Sam's parentage.

But all through it, no matter what, Ray Wise as the Devil was aces!

Because of the major reworking of the Toobworld timeline between the first and second season, 'Primeval' gave us the perfect opportunity to claim that certain shows in the past are now different and more in keeping with the established TV universe. We also have a new splainin for why two different characters in one show might look the same, without resorting to the identical cousin excuse.

'True Blood'

Don't get me wrong, I love this show. (As you'll see in tomorrow's Toobits.) However, the introduction of the drink Tru-Blood will cause future problems in keeping Toobworld cohesive when it comes to vampires. For instance, how come Mick St. John of last year's 'Moonlight' wasn't drinking Tru-Blood if it's been around for at least two years? If vampires are now living openly in society, how come people will probably act as though vampires should be a myth in future TV shows? These are the types of problems that will give me agita and prevent me from sleeping during the day.....


We have one more round of Toobits Awards to go!

Toby O'B

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Ah, the innocence of a by-gone era in Television.....

"I was up all night,
Polishing my sword
Captain Lee Crane
'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'

That was from the episode "Doomsday" which is airing right now on the American Life Network. Apparently the United States mistakes a satellite launch for a missile attack, which brings the world of 1973 to the brink of Armegeddon.

For the last few days during my countdown of the 2008 Toobits Awards, I've been mentioning the major contribution of 'Primeval' to Toobworld - that of a major shift in the timeline so that certain events - and characters - have been altered. Nick Cutter goes back in time through one of the anomalies and when he returns, Claudia Brown no longer exists, but a woman who looks just like her but named Jenny Lewis is now alive. When he returns, there's also a brand new Anomaly Research Centre (ARC), and they are years ahead of their research into the prehistoric past.

One of the shows I used as an example of the benefits from this timeline tweak was 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea', and the "Doomsday" episode provide the evidence:

It takes place in 1973; the date is right up there on King Neptune's banner as the sub is crossing the Equator. But the President of the United States was not Richard M. Nixon, but Henry Talbot McNeil (not that it matters, but as played by Ford Rainey). And that's how it stood until Cutter changed the timeline back during the prehistoric period. Upon his return, McNeil never was President of the United States, but instead Nixon was the POTUS of 1973.

Although the events of "Doomsday" still play out in the new timeline, it's now Nixon who brings the world to the brink of annihilation. However, the viewing audience in the "Trueniverse" will always just see the original version of that timeline. (Must be something wrong with the vortex transmission, he said, while whistling innocently and rolling his eyes.)

I realize I've mentioned this several times in the past, but there are always new visitors to "Inner Toob", first learning of the Toobworld Concept. So it's always new to somebody.......

Toby O'B


Yep! We're still churning out the Toobits Awards for 2008, honoring those shows and characters who best exemplified the many facets of the TV Universe.

Today, we're finally looking at the basis of the Toobworld Concept: Crossovers!

'Pushing Daisies' - 'Wonderfalls'
In the episode "Comfort Food", Ned and Olive had to once again face one of their eatery nemeses - Marianne Marie Beetle, owner of a home-based operation, "Muffin Buffalo".

"Muffin Buffalo" was the title of an unaired episode of 'Wonderfalls', one of 'Pushing Daisies' creator Bryan Fuller's earlier series.
Even though the episode never aired, it was included in a boxed set for 'Wonderfalls', and as is the case with online TV content, the Toobworld concept has been expanded beyond what is broadcast to include DVD material.

This confrontation between Beth Grant as Marianne and Kristen Chenowith as Olive is one good reason why this nabbed "Best Crossover":

: Ah, the sweet smell of victory!
Olive: Not this year, turd-muffin.
Marianne: I'll shut your pie hole good.
Olive: Bring it, stale-cakes!

I love it when characters from different shows trash-talk each other. Cat fight!

There was a runner-up.......
'Doctor Who' - "Stolen Earth" & "The Journey's End"
linked to 'Torchwood' and 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'

Mark Wright of The Stage blog TV Today summed it up best:

"When I was a kid I loved those Marvel Comics team-ups when you'd have Spider-Man teaming up with Captain America and the X-Men. This is the 'Doctor Who' equivalent and it's pant-wettingly exciting. Some of the audience will never have seen 'Torchwood', some will never have seen 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', but it doesn't matter. This is a celebration of where Davies has taken 'Doctor Who' and just what has been achieved in four years. 'Doctor Who' is literally a small television industry now, and it's only right and proper that we get to see the spin-off shows brought together under the hospitable roof of the parent show."

'Tonight' & 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (1/10/08)
This happened during the writers' strike, and just carried an air of a smack in the face to the WGA.

'Law & Order - Criminal Intent' & 'In Plain Sight'
That award title is probably misleading, because I saw no problem in doing this crossover. But it was obvious that the parent corporation for both shows wanted to make sure 'In Plain Sight' got a kick-off boost in its first weeks with an appearance by Mary Shannon on one of the Peacock network's components in the 'Law & Order' franchise. Sure, it was the weakest of the three surviving shows, but still it was major network exposure.

Ashley Abbott
'The Bold & The Beautiful' to 'The Young & The Restless'
You can usually count on the soap operas to get out of the blocks first.

Geico - Mrs. Butterworth
Somebody in that ad agency for Geico is smoking some serious bleep. Inspired!

Commercial/Animated Series
DirecTV - 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You?'
Except for the fact that Scooby Doo makes me cringe, this was a great choice if you were going the classic TV cartoon route.

Commercial/Live Action Series
Dr. Pepper - 'Frasier'
When I first saw this commercial, the sound was turned down as we were at the combined birthday party for my sister and her son (both on December 7). And before you ask, we had it on because there was an important football game going on that some at the party couldn't miss!

So when Frasier made a sour-puss face at one point in the commercial, I had no clue why. I thought he was having some kind of bad reaction to the soda! Only upon second viewing did I find out that his ex-wife Lilith was his caller. And best of all, they got Bebe Neuwirth to "phone it in"!

Coke Zero & Doritos
Do you remember an episode of 'Angel' called "I Fall To Pieces" in which a man was able to separate parts of his body and send them off to do his dirty work? Both of these commercials contained body parts like eyeballs and tongues which did the same thing. For alls I know, as Stuart Best would say on 'Murphy Brown', they belong to the same man. And like many objects in Toobworld, those body parts then took on lives of their own.

Sugar Puffs' Honey Monster

As this is a product in Great Britain, I was only privy to this blipvert by way of an article in some advertising website and then I found the videos at YouTube. Apparently the Honey Monster (who loved his Sugar Puffs as well as his Mommy) had been a big hit back in the day and is now enjoying a comeback.
Here you can see
the new commercial.
And here's
the original advert from a few decades ago, starring Henry McGee from 'The Benny Hill Show' as "Not The Mommy".

'How I Met Your Mother' - "The Bracket"
The episode in which this website first was mentioned happened in March of 2008, but it's counter says it's been up since 2006. So that's some incredible foresight on the part of the producers! And yes, the website still exists. Check it out!

'Chuck' - "Die Hard" On this year's Christmas episode, policeman Al Powell from the first two "Die Hard" movies - still played by Reginald Veljohnson and still chowing down on Twinkies! - turned out to be the cousin of the Buy More manager, Big Mike! We can logically assume then that in the TV Universe, John McClaine looks like Bruce Willis. (Unless somebody decides to make a TV show out of the movie franchise.....)

'Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles'
The movies can't be considered part of the TV Universe, like the 1966 'Batman' and the 'Star Trek' franchise can, because of casting changes, especially of Sarah Conner herself. But even with the niggling problem of the "Terminator" references made in other TV shows, this is still a great recreation of some classic kick-ass movies.

'Lost In Austen' Even though the world of Jane Austen's "Pride And Prejudice" was seen on TV, it was still encased in the world of Literature. After Amanda Price rejiggered the events that Austen originally created, it affected every copy of the book but not the story as already told in film and on TV.

'Z Rock'
In the tradition of 'Extras' and 'The Larry Sanders Show', celebrities appeared on this show and had some fun at their own expense. Dave Navarro was seen as a sex fiend [shown above]; John Popper was a disgusting pig; Dee Snyder was a duplicitous back-stabber; and Joan Rivers gave a blow job to David Lee Roth!

You're not going to find that happening on '30 Rock', no matter who they get to appear as themselves during Sweeps Week!

You may have figured this out by now, but we's ain't done yet!

Toby O'B