Saturday, February 12, 2011


Yeah, this Super Bowl blipvert was the biggest Zonk of the night. But it made me smile... even as I was banishing it to the Promoverse:

All of those scenes already happened in the main Toobworld (or as with 'South Park' and 'Family Guy', in the Tooniverse), and not even the CGI addition of uniforms and props could make it acceptable for it all to happen again.



The networks rarely get super-heroes right for Toobworld. Currently, 'Smallville' is counting down through its final season and it's been highly successful..... Too bad it's set in the 'West Wing' TV dimension and not the main Toobworld. But Earth Prime-Time did have 'The Adventures of Superman' and that wasn't too shabby. 'Batman' was pretty good too. And for all its flaws, 'The Tick' was a lot of fun. ('Lois & Clark' was okay, but like 'Smallville', it was in another dimension.)

But for those few successes, there have been others like 'Once A Hero', 'Captain Nice', 'Mr. Terrific', 'Night Man', and on and on. And currently? 'The Cape'.

TV tried to make a TV hero out of Will Eisner's comic book hero The Spirit, but it's got the riff of cheesy 80's TV all about it. Even so, like most of those other TV comic book heroes, The Spirit is part of the main Toobworld.

Here's the first chapter of the TV movie pilot. It'll be up to you if you want to continue on and watch the whole thing.....

Up, up, and away!


Every week I feature a 'Doctor Who' video during Video Weekend, hopefully an off-beat one.

This one fits the bill!

I'm sending that out to my friend Rolande!



I'm not a fan of documentaries, but this is one I definitely want to see!



David Frye, the impressionist best known for skewering Richard Nixon and LBJ, recently passed away:

By Matt Schudel

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 29, 2011; 10:33 PM

David Frye, who became one of the country's most popular comic satirists with his realistic and caustic impressions of President Richard M. Nixon and other political figures, died Jan. 24 in Las Vegas of cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 76.

After doing impersonations of movie stars, Mr. Frye began to introduce politics to his act in the mid-1960s and his career exploded. His subjects included a drawling President Lyndon B. Johnson, a gravel-voiced Nelson Rockefeller and an excitedly cheerful Hubert H. Humphrey.

But his most memorable character by far was Nixon, whom Mr. Frye portrayed as a tortured soul with darting eyes, flaring brows, scowling lips and deep-seated insecurities. The longer the president stayed in office, the deeper Mr. Frye's impressions drilled into Nixon's psyche.

"My administration has taken crime out of the streets," Mr. Frye's Nixon said in one Watergate-era routine, "and put it in the White House where I can keep an eye on it."

As an "As Seen On TV" - "Hat Squad" tribute to his talents, here's a video of Mr. Frye doing some of his more famous impressions.......


Friday, February 11, 2011


Okay... deep breath.....

This Toobworld theory is really out there, but I gotta be true to my idea of what the TV Universe promises.....

Tim Tilson:
In the angel world, there are nine orders of angels
and seraphim are the highest.
Then there are cherubim, thrones -#

Captain Burke:
Nothing like starting at the top!
'Burke's Law'

From Wikipedia:
Seraphim (singular "Seraph"), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7, serve as the caretakers of God's throne and continuously shout praises. The name Seraphim means "the burning ones." The Seraphim have six wings; two covering their faces, two covering their bodies ("feet"), and two with which they fly. It is said that such a bright light emanates from them that nothing, not even other angelic beings, can look upon them.

Captain Burke:
Did you know that seraphim have six wings
and that in every other way has the body of a human being
'Burke's Law'

When Captain Burke was investigating "Who Killed Snookie Martinelli?", one of his suspects was a jet-setter named Seraphim Parks. She was a beautiful woman who never seemed too connected to the here and now, as evidenced by her lack of concentration and vague answers to Captain Burke's questions.

Captain Burke:
How did you ever get a name like "Seraphim"?

Seraphim Parks:
My mother was an optimist.
'Burke's Law'

By the end of the episode, Captain Burke was making out with Seraphim in the back of his Rolls Royce. Not surprising, considering that Amos Burke is one of the Top Six tele-males to score with the ladies. (The others in that Super Six list? In no particular order: James West, Sam Malone, Martin Tupper, Captain James T. Kirk, and the Fonz.)
Anyhoo, as he pulled out of his lip-locking clinch, Burke noticed a white feather on his shoulder. And he pondered the pozz'bility that maybe Seraphim Parks really was an angel. (Maybe not of the order of seraphim, but perhaps of a lower order?)

Seraphim acted coy and didn't answer him when he asked her directly if she was an angel. So, this being Toobworld, why can't we accept that pozz'bility? What if Seraphim Parks really was an angel?
I know what you're thinking - that's too much of a leap of whimsy for a light-hearted detective drama like 'Burke's Law', which for the most part was rooted in "reality". Sure - if you're only looking at 'Burke's Law' as the only TV show in its own little world. O'Bviously that's how most TV shows are written - as if they have no connection to any other program on the air. But Toobworld Central looks at this show as a jigsaw piece in the grand tele-mosaic that makes up the TV Universe. And Toobworld contains not only millionaire police detectives but also angels. And Martians, and genies, and witches, and at least one talking horse.

So in the grand scheme of things, Amos Burke shares the same dimension as Castiel, Earl, Random, Monica, Tess, and Andrew, Marty DePolo, Jonathan Smith, Doug and Lexie Monroe, Mr. Angel, and even Tom Smothers.
Seraphim Parks may have even been a "fallen" angel - she did seem to have a naughty side. But she may have deliberately led Burke to who killed Snooky Martinelli; and she may have taken steps to indirectly save his life in the final confrontation. (If you ever get the chance to see the episode, you'll see the pun in that.....)

Captain Burke:
I've always been told to stay on the side of the angels.
'Burke's Law'

But it doesn't just end there. As I mentioned earlier, Amos Burke had a way with women, and although early 1960's TV couldn't come out and say so, he probably had his way with most of those women. Times being what they are, he also probably didn't bother with a condom......

Sooner or later, some of these women who had sex with Burke may have become pregnant. We already know Burke's late wife, who must have left him at some point before the series began, bore him a son whom they named Peter. (I think the 'Burke's Law' sequel from the 1990's would like us to think Peter Burke was born after the original series ended. But I'm not going to give actor Peter Barton the opportunity to slice a decade off his age. If he was born in 1956, Peter Burke was born in 1956.)

So anyhoo, we know Burke's li'l swimmers could do the job if the circumstances were right.

If any of those women became pregnant, Amos was wealthy enough to pay them off, to make the problem "go away". That could either have meant going away to a secluded and most likely luxurious location until the baby was born and then given up for adoption. Or he may have even paid for them to have abortions, which were illegal at that time. (What fun is there in a TV character who doesn't have moral shades of gray?) I'd like to think that Seraphim Parks, the angel in mortal form, deliberately became pregnant by Amos Burke in order to play her pre-destined role in the mythology of the Catholic faith.

I think Seraphim gave birth to a nephilim.

From Wikipedia:
[There were suggestions that] the Epistle [of Jude] refers implicitly to the paternity of Nephilim as heavenly beings who came to earth and had sexual intercourse with women.

Some Christian commentators have argued against this view, citing Jesus' statement that angels do not marry. Others believe that Jesus was only referring to angels in heaven.

The story of the Nephilim is chronicled more fully in the Book of Enoch. The Greek, Aramaic, and main Ge'ez manuscripts of 1 Enoch and Jubilees obtained in the 19th century and held in the British Museum and Vatican Library, connect the origin of the Nephilim with the fallen angels, and in particular with the egregoroi (watchers). Samyaza, an angel of high rank, is described as leading a rebel sect of angels in a descent to Earth to have sexual intercourse with human females:

And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children.'

Hot stuff!

Like the angels, the nephilim have a presence in Toobworld. FBI Agents Scully and Mulder tried to protect four girls who were the offspring of a seraphim and a mortal woman, only to see all four of them killed in order to bring their souls directly to Heaven. (The episode "All Souls") And there was even a three-part mini-series, "Fallen", in which the nephilim were the major characters, especially 18 year old Aaron Corbett who learned that he was an angel/human hybrid.

Hey, it can't be only the Devil who has children (like Sam Oliver). And what was Satan but a fallen angel as well?

All of those sources for the stories of the nephilim have it that male angels mated with mortal women. But why couldn't a female angel take a human male as her lover and ultimately the father of her child?

It could have happened with Amos Burke... if Seraphim Parks really was an angel, that is.

As Aaron Corbett proved, not all nephilim had to be inherently evil. Certainly the four sisters in that episode of 'The X-Files' weren't evil. Nevertheless, the Heavenly Host seemed determined to track them and destroy them. In order to protect her child by Amos Burke in our imagined scenario, Seraphim Parks would have had to change the child's name, perhaps even give him up for adoption to protect his identity. As such, this child would have no idea about his origins or why strange things seemed to happen around him.

And I think we have a candidate to be that nephilim son of Amos Burke.....

FBI Agent Dale Cooper

We don't know anything about Cooper's private life until he went to Haverford College. And there was no mention of who the other members of his family were.

There is a bit of a stumbling block to this idea however - Dale Cooper supposedly was born April 19, 1954. But unlike the case with Peter Burke, I think we can make the adjustment. He may have been born in 1965, but a case of SORAS - Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome - would have aged him to look like he was at least ten years older than he was, and his mother could have forged his documents to reflect that.

This could have happened based on his "alien"/human hybrid nature. We've seen that happen before in the original version of 'V' and currently in the 'Smallville' dimension.
Or perhaps Seraphim befriended a witch with the powers to magically change a person's age. Serena would do nicely as a culprit.

So the seraphim sent to destroy the child would be looking for a newborn in 1965, not a ten year old child. And then it was just a matter of finding a family to take him in and raise him as their own. Or Seraphim could have just changed her name and raised him herself. Like I said, we have no idea who Dale Cooper's parents were, or if he was raised just by his mother.....

Why did I choose Dale Cooper?
There was always something... "off" about Coop. He determined who his suspects were by throwing rocks at their names. He got results in his investigations not by any skills of deduction, but via dreams. There was always something about him that was like having one foot over the boundary into the Twilight Zone. And that seemed to be confirmed once he crossed over into the Black Lodge dimension to face BOB.

Who could have done that without some inherent connection to the supernatural?

That connection may have also made it easier for Cooper to be possessed by a demon, which may be what the Heavenly Host feared with the nephilim.

And imagining Kyle Maclachlan as the son of Janice Rule and Gene Barry isn't that hard to accept...... If you can think of any other TV character who would be a better fit for the nephilim son - or even daughter! - of Captain Burke (perhaps someone with a better placement on the Toobworld timeline), let me know.

I realize that this theory of relateeveety is a tough sell. But if Toobworld is truly to be a universe in which the mundane can exist alongside the magical, I have to be open to the pozz'bilities.

'Burke's Law'
'Twin Peaks'
'The X-Files'

'Saving Grace'
'Out Of The Blue'
'Touched By An Angel'
'Teen Angel'
'Highway To Heaven'
'Heaven Help Us'
'Good Heavens'
'The Smothers Brothers Show'



On 'Burke's Law', Captain Amos Burke and his two detectives (Sgt. Les Hart and Detective Tim Tilson) searched the mansion murder scene as they tried to figure out "Who Killed Madison Cooper?" When they wondered why the famous lawyer would have been near his window whne he was stabbed, Burke asked Hart, "Remember Charlie Chan?"

After Les said, "Yeah," Burke quoted the Chinese-American detective: "When you see picture, look behind picture."

And with that, he found a safe hidden behind a picture hanging on the wall.
Burke directed his question at Les Hart, not at Tim Tilson. That's because he wasn't talking about old movies, but about the man himself. Amos and Les must have dealt with Charlie Chan before Tim joined the team. I wrote about Captain Burke and Charlie Chan before - apparently
his chauffeur once worked for Chan, and it could be that Henry and Charlie Chan were related.




'Saturday Night Live'

Andy Samberg

From Wikipedia:
Sir Ben Kingsley, CBE (born Krishna Pandit Bhanji (31 December 1943) is a British actor. He has won an Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards in his career. He is best known for starring as Mohandas Gandhi in the film "Gandhi" in 1982, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


Currently, as you might have guessed from the recent spate of posts, I'm working my way through the first season of 'Burke's Law'. And in two episodes so far, I've seen evidence that young
detective Tim Tilson has an appreciative eye for the older ladies.

It must be a wattle fetish- with which Boston lawyer Richard Fish could relate.

In "Who Killed Cable Roberts?", Detective Tillson asked out the victim's maid once the investigation was nearing its conclusion. Captain Amos Burke used his position as mentor to warn Tim that Anna used to be a barber in "the Old Country". And Tim did have an incredible coif, so the Samson reference was justified.

Captain Burke send Tilson to Las Vegas to cajole Eudora Carey back to L.A. when they were investigating "Who Killed Cynthia Royal?" (Eudora and the victim had something in common - oil millionaire James Royal.)

The nightclub singer easily seduced the younger detective in her hotel room, causing him to blush. But just before full lip-lock mode, she revealed that she had him pegged for a detective ten seconds after they started talking down in the casino. (Later, she tried to rekindle the feelings he had for her, but he brushed her off with a line worthy of Sam Spade.)
Eudora was sixteen years older than Tim was at the time. Anna was nineteen years older.....

But I know older women aren't the only ones to catch Tim Tilson's eye - he also seems to have a fondness for pretty young secretaries and receptionists. Two examples of receptionists he's asked out so far:

"Who Killed The Kind Doctor?" - Janet Fielding

"Who Killed Wade Walker?" - Jill Stacy

At any rate, it's O'Bvious that Tim Tilson was picking up more than just tips on police work from his "old Captain"......



As we all know from the theme song, Old Uncle Joe was moving kind of slow at the Junction. "Petticoat Junction", that is, which was the nickname given to the water tower stop in Hooterville. The exact location of Hooterville was never revealed, but I have to figure it to be in the South, but not so far south that they never got snow during the winters.

Wherever Hooterville was, it's most likely that Joe Carson spent most of his life there.

Across the country in Los Angeles, Joey Carson was a baggy pants comic who owned his own nightclub. It was probably a wise business move to ensure he would always have a venue in which to perform. (The public's taste in comedy styles was changing. In the real world, more sophisticated acts like Nichols and May, Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman, and Bob Newhart were coming to the fore. The same probably held true in Toobworld as well. There might even be a few fictional comics like that in various TV shows of the time.) As for where Joey Carson was originally from, it could have been from anywhere in the country, with Los Angeles being a magnet for entertainers to gravitate to.

There's only a fifteen year difference between Uncle Joe and Joey Carson, so a father-son relationship should be ruled out. (I prefer characters to be considered the same age as the actor playing the role, unless specifically stated otherwise.)

Brothers with the same name? It's happened before in Toobworld, with the two Arthur Dales in 'The X-Files' (who also had a sister - as well as a dog! - named Arthur Dales.)

And the fact that Joe Carson of Hooterville was known by everyone as "Uncle" Joe could be taken literally here - that Joey Carson was a nephew.

But I like the idea that they were cousins. Even as first cousins, there could be enough of a distance to their relationship which would make it understandable why Uncle Joe never mentioned his more famous kinfolk.

That they both bore the same name suggests that they were named after another relative of a few generations before. That Joe Carson could have been their grandfather, which would place him in the Civil War era.

And we have one to fit the bill! Joe Carson was an itinerant laborer when we met him in North Fork, a town in the New Mexico territory. He was wrongfully accused of murdering a cowboy for his horse and saddle, but he claimed that he bought them off the victim in Willow Springs. (As it turns out, the real murderer was the cousin of Lucas McCain's late wife.) Joe Carson wandered the West, finding work as a ranch hand, a bronco rider, whatever could make him a bit of money (usually for booze). But eventually he may have gone back home to the Hooterville area and started a family - with at least two sons to carry on the family name. (A close call with the hangman would be enough to sober up any man and make him take stock in his life.)

And somewhere along the way back east to the Hooterville area, never seen by the Trueniverse audience, Joe Carson may have done something to give him the reputation which would make both of his sons proud to name their boys after him.....

So there you have it - yet another Toobworld theory of relateeveety that can't be verified.....

'Petticoat Junction'
'Burke's Law'
'The Rifleman'



Back in the "Kato Kin-Actions" post, I suggested that the chauffeur of Captain Amos Burke in 'Burke's Law' was once the sidekick to 'The Green Hornet'. And I thought he may have left the crime-fighter's employ because he was getting too old for the job. (I also suggested that he was replaced by his own son, Kato.)

But there may have been another reason why Henry had to part company with Britt Reid: I could see the Green Hornet being very rigid and narrow-minded about recreational drug use. Amos Burke, on the other hand, was a member of the elite who believed that anything goes, ushering in the Swinging Sixties. Even though he was a cop, he could have been a bit more tolerant when it came to marijuana.




With this week's episode of 'Chuck' ("Chuck vs. The Seduction Impossible"), the spy-nerd series cleansed its palate (as Alan Sepinwall described it in his analysis.) The Volkov Industries arc was wrapped up last week and hints for a new storyline were dropped during this otherwise standalone episode that featured the return of spy legend Roan Montgomery (one of the best coined for TV names around!)

It was time for the Volkov/Frost story's completion, but sadly it meant saying goodbye to a great villain in Alexei Volkov - played by Timothy Dalton. At times he was ruthless and in turn absolutely bonkers; and when we first met him, he created an identity for himself as a spy handler nervous in the field whom I was sorry to see go when it all turned out to be a ruse.

Volkov wasn't killed off, so there's always the chance we might see Dalton return in the role someday. (I know it will certainly be hard to top a former James Bond as the series' Big Bad the next time around.) But in the meantime, we're dedicating today's "As Seen On TV" showcase to one of the actor's historical roles on television......


"Antony And Cleopatra"

Timothy Dalton

From Wikipedia:
Marcus Antonius (January 14, 83 BC – August 1, 30 BC), known in English as Mark Antony (and often pronounced "Anthony"), was a Roman politician and general. He was an important supporter and the loyal friend of Gaius Julius Caesar as a military commander and administrator, despite his blood ties, through his mother Julia, to the branch of Caesars opposed to the Marians and murdered by them. After Caesar's assassination, Antony formed an official political alliance with Octavian (Augustus) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, known to historians today as the Second Triumvirate.
The triumvirate broke up in 33 BC. Disagreement between Octavian and Antony erupted into civil war, the Final War of the Roman Republic, in 31 BC. Antony was defeated by Octavian at the naval Battle of Actium, and in a brief land battle at Alexandria. He and his lover Cleopatra committed suicide shortly thereafter. His career and defeat are significant in Rome's transformation from Republic to Empire.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Speaking of 'Ugly Betty', here's a list of most of the remakes from around the world of the original Colombian show. Even if their names remained "Betty", most of them had different surnames. And all of them worked in different glamorous jobs - from fashion magazines to fashion houses.

India (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin)

Turkey (Sensiz Olmuyor)

Germany (Verliebt in Berlin)

Russia (Ne Rodis' Krasivoy)

Mexico (La Fea Más Bella)

Netherlands (Lotte)

Spain (Yo Soy Bea)

United States (Ugly Betty)

Greece - Cyprus (Maria, i Aschimi)

Belgium (Sara)

Serbia - Croatia (Ne daj se, Nina)

Czech Republic (Ošklivka Katka)

Vietnam (Cô gái x?u xí)

Philippines (I Love Betty La Fea)

China (Chou Nü Wu Di)

Poland (BrzydUla)

Brazil (Bela, a Feia)

Georgia (Gogona Gareubnidan)

These last two may be unofficial rip-offs of the format:

Mexico - El Amor no es como lo pintan

Venezuela - Mi Gorda Bella

The list is from Wikipedia....



Alan Sepinwall is a TV critic and columnist who now plies his trade at Soon after the latest press tour, he wrote about the topic of recent international remakes ('Being Human', 'Shameless', and 'Skins') and made some pretty interesting observations, which I'd like to share with you here:

What's frustrating is the need the respective creative teams felt to make carbon copies. I recognize that the great majority of people who see these new versions will have no idea that the originals even exist, never mind having seen episodes of them. But by the same token, few in America had ever seen the British "Office," yet almost everyone agrees that the first episode of NBC's version - the only one to ever closely copy a British script - is one of the show's worst episodes.

A good remake takes an important idea and then recasts it to fit the vision of the new creator, or something specific to the new country or time in which it's set, or something to do with the new actors. (Norman Lear famously had never seen the British show that "All in the Family" was based on before he wrote a script, and just wanted to do apply its premise of a father and son disagreeing politically to what he was seeing of the generation gap in '70s America.)

I think there's a way to take the raw material of "Being Human" and do something new with it. At press tour last week, the American producers made it sound like they're going to deviate more as the first season goes along, and said they had chosen not to watch the second season of the British show for now, and possibly ever. That's definitely a step in the right direction. But I think the Lear approach - tell a few producers nothing but "A werewolf, a vampire and a ghost get an apartment together" and send them off to write their own version of that - might have yielded something that felt livelier from the start.

Thanks, Alan!

You can follow Alan Sepinwall at his blog "What's Alan Watching?" which you'll find listed in the blog-roll to the left.....)



I watched the episode of "Confessions" from 'Law & Order: UK', which was based on the 'Law & Order' episode "Bad Faith". (On the Toobworld timeline, that took place fifteen years earlier.)

I noticed how closely the plot followed the original, having seen the American version a few months back. And yet I have no problem with them sharing the same TV dimension. Even the fact that the group dynamic is the exact same - older cop, younger partner, female boss; plus male lead prosecutor with pretty female associate and the jaded older boss - isn't a problem for Toobworld Central. Like 'Ugly Betty' and 'The Office', this is a format that is common enough to be repeated again in other cities if Dick Wolf wanted to. (Not that they'd always be accepted by the audience - witness 'Law & Order: Los Angeles'.)

That same argument could be made for an international remake in the other direction, with 'Skins'. Even if some of those young American kids still sport the same first names - like the main kid, Tony (but "Stonem" vs "Snyder") - and they dealt with the same issues as their British counterparts, it's still universal enough fo rthe scenario to happen again and again. After all, what is a universe based on Television without repeats?

Besides, the American 'Skins' changed the role of gay Maxxie to Tea the lesbian, which basically neutered what was once a strong plot point for Tony Stonem. Tony Snyder now comes off as just chasing the straight guy's dream.....

So Toobworld Central has no problem with both versions of 'Skins' sharing the same TV dimension.

The same can't be said for another British remake - that of 'Shameless'. The creator of the original show is even on board with the remake for Showtime. Both the writer and the network would ensure the same daring, offensive, abrasive feel as the original.

But why did he have to give everybody in the family the EXACT same names as in the British series? I have no problem with the same storylines repeating; that's a common enough occurrence in Toobworld. There are probably families like these layabouts all over the world.

I could have accepted the same last name of Gallagher. Probably could have squeezed out a post about that, saying there was a Toobworld curse upon those who bear that surname. But look at the character line-up for each:

Frank, the father
Oldest daughter Fiona

The American Monica, the estranged wife of Frank and mother to the brood, should be showing up soon if she hasn't already. Only a "Stella" appears to be missing. (I get the feeling she's a baby?)

Most sitcom translations have had name changes - Alf Garnett became Archie Bunker; Sanford instead of Steptoe; and with the three attempts to remake 'Fawlty Towers', there wasn't a Basil Fawlty in the bunch - just Snavely, Payne, and Amanda, with a sex change to boot! Even with all of the Ugly Bettys around the world, they mostly have different last names.

So why couldn't it have been a line-up of Gallaghers with names like Jack, Susan, Mark, Jimmy, Brian, Lisa, and Jessica? (I have no clue what to do with "Lip" or what he's all about.....) Those Gallaghers, or any others with different first names, could have stayed in Earth Prime-Time. But these are just remakes, so off they go to the remake TV dimension.

Finally, there's one last American remake that has to be dealt with - 'Being Human'. I had hopes of keeping both versions in the main Toobworld. Sure, the premise of a vampire and werewolf sharing a house already occupied by a ghost isn't exactly common, but it could have happened at best one more time. But did they have to slavishly repeat everything? The vampire and werewolf both work at a hospital; the hospital has a basement in which the werewolf can transform safely and without notice. And the ghost is a light-skinned black girl? Really? Even the original British pilot had a pale Irish chick!

I only watched the first episode of the American version, but from previews I know that the werewolf will meet another like him who'll teach him the ropes of lycanthropy; the vampire will go up against the hierarchy of the Boston vampire community, which - again, as in the British series - is led by a policeman.

Since the building in which they all live is rented to them by the ghost's former fiance, I wouldn't be surprised if her origin story remains the same.

With a plotline so specific, it wasn't going to be enough just to change their names - George to Josh, Mitchell to Aidan*, Annie to Sally, and Herrick to Bishop.

Apparently there is some deviation in the plotline coming, but it doesn't matter. This is heading to the land of remakes as well.

So that's not too bad for divvying up the most recent remakes - two get to stay in the main Toobworld, and two get sent packing.

A bit o' tele-cosmic balance, that!


* I think that's an in-joke. The actor who plays Mitchell in the British remake is Aidan Turner.



"Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy"

Hayden Panettiere

by Nicole Winfield {AP}
ROME - Lawyers for U.S. student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, who were found guilty of killing Knox's British roommate in Italy, have formally demanded that U.S. television channel Lifetime scrap a planned film about their trial.

Attornies Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luca Maori said Saturday they had sent letters to Lifetime warning they would go to U.S. court to try to sequester the film if it isn't canceled and a trailer removed from Lifetime's website.

"Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy," which features "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere in the title role, is due to air Feb. 21.

There was no answer at Lifetime's New York offices Saturday.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


According to his sister, John Patrick Smith tried to strangle his girlfriend while he was a student at Oxford. That would have occurred in the mid to late 1980's. It's pozz'ble, even probable, that Inspector Morse was assigned to this case. It's a little more tenuous as to whether Sgt. Lewis assisted in the investigation, as he and Morse first teamed up on the "Dead Of Jericho" case in 1987. At any rate, when Morse and Lewis investigated the death of Sir John Balcombe, one of the journalists covering the murder investigation was a fellow named Billy who bore an amazing resemblance to John Smith. Morse already had his reasons for disliking the fellow, so if he even noticed the similarity in appearance, it wasn't evident in the episode.

More than fifteen years later, Lewis, now standing on his own as a police inspector after the death of his mentor, met Alec Pickman, an old college friend of his not-quite girlfriend, medical examiner Dr. Laura Hobson. Enough time had passed so that Lewis could be excused for not noticing Pickman's resemblance to a journalist that once harried Morse during a case. And as I said earlier, it's unknown whether he was involved in the arrest of John Patrick Smith for the attempted strangulation of his girlfriend at Oxford. But at that same time, while Lewis was investigating the death of Laura's friend Ligiea Willard (Halloween 2010), Smith was on trial in London for murder - accused of killing three people and the attempted murder of a fourth. That surely must have been front page news in all of the newspapers, even in the Oxford area (especially since the schizophrenic Smith was serving as his own lawyer.)

Perhaps out of deference to his friendship with Dr. Hobson, Inspector Lewis chose not to point out Pickman's resemblance to the accused. More than likely Pickman's wastrel ways were already enough of an embarrassment for Laura.......

So this post was just an example in which TV characters who look alike don't have to be related as evil twins, or identical cousins or clones or what have you. And I've always maintained that they may only look alike to us watching them in the Trueniverse; it could be that there is something about them visible only to other TV characters that sets them apart from others played by the same actor. Otherwise, why didn't Lt. Columbo ever say anything when he had three different killers who looked like Jack Cassidy and three who looked like Robert Culp and four like Patrick McGoohan - not to mention all those characters he met who looked like Vito Scotti, John Finnegan, and Mike Lally!

(Rupert Graves played the roles of John Smith, Alec Pickman, and Billy.)

'Inspector Morse' - "Dead Of Jericho" & "Happy Families"
'Inspector Lewis' - "Falling Darkness"
'Law & Order: UK' - "Defence"



By no stretch of even my twisted imagination could this be considered a crossover between '30 Rock' and 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'. And it can't be added to the official tally of shows in which John Munch made an appearance.

This is a Zonk, a discrepancy, NOT a crossover. This is Richard Belzer appearing as John Munch. In all of those other appearances, Munch showed up as "himself". Here he's a fictional character in an NBC TV show.

Now, that TV show isn't named, but why should I have to jump through the hoops to create a splainin in which Belzer and Ice-T weren't on screen as Munch and Finn, but as characters based on those "real-life" cops?

(Don't mind me. I'm just grumpy from all that snow and I think that groundhog lied to me last week.)

I would have made the effort if it was a singular case, but this is '30 Rock'. There have been plenty of allusions to other TV shows as TV shows when instead they should all be sharing the same TV dimension.

We just had one last week that worked perfectly and quickly became near and dear to my 'Lost'-lovin' heart - Tracy referred to Charles Widmore of 'Lost' as a real person.

But here's just a sampling of other allusions that are Zonks, culled from the '30 Rock' page at

From "Rosemary's Baby"

Responding to Jack asking what he didn't want him to do, Tracy queries, "That '227' movie, New Jackée City?"
'227' was an NBC sitcom that ran from 1985 to 1990. Actress Jackée Harry rocketed to stardom portraying Sandra.

From "Subway Hero"
Dennis claims he and Liz are, "like Ross and Rachel, but just not gay," referring to characters from 'Friends'.

From "Cougars"
Frank mentions he "can't take this Sam and Diane thing anymore," referring to 'Cheers' and the on-again off-again relationship between two main characters, Sam and Diane.

From "Sandwich Day":
Liz declares she's going to be a Marcia Brady, not a Jan Brady, referring to sisters from 'The Brady Bunch'. An object then hits her in the face, prompting her to exclaim, "ow, my nose!" similar to what happens to Marcia in the episode, "The Subject Was Noses".

So this TV on TV scene featuring 'L&O: SVU' was the Zonk that paralyzed the camel. I've been suggesting I would do this since the series started, but it's finally time.....

'30 Rock' is banished to an alternate dimension.

It won't be alone there, so don't feel sorry for them. This will be the TV dimension that treats Earth Prime-Time as just other TV shows. That's not to say it's exactly like Earth Prime, our world (the Trueniverse); not when characters from Earth Prime-Time can be transported into this new TV dimension. (Let's call it Earth Prime-Time Zonks {Earth PTZ} for now. I'm willing to accept suggestions for anything catchier.)

Here are some of the other shows which share the same banishment:


'The Larry Sanders Show'



'Amazing Stories' - the "Remote Control Man" episode

'Hi Honey, I'm Home'

And these TV movies would be included as well:
"Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure"

"Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Charlie's Angels'"

"Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me"

"Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'"

"Roseanne and Tom: Behind the Scenes"

"Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography"

"Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter"


"The Curse of Steptoe"

(I wish the British would make one of those behind-the-scenes TV movies about the making of 'Doctor Who'!)

That's not to say none of these tele-folks don't also exist in Earth Prime-Time as well. Most of them are multi-dimensional (as opposed to multiversal, like Bilbo Baggins or the Pigeon Sisters). In fact, I'm going to jump through one of those hoops right now - any time we watch an episode of these shows and it's completely Zonk-free, we can consider it to be the televersion from Earth Prime-Time.

But if there's even just one Zonk, where another TV show is mentioned as a TV Show, off it goes to Earth PTZ. Even if that Zonk could be easily splained away.

Consider it my version of a line item veto.



Two for Tuesday!

Jay Pharaoh

From Wikipedia:
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, film producer and pop rapper. He has enjoyed success in music, television and film. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor on the planet. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won multiple Grammy Awards.

In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the popular television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The show ran for nearly six years (1990–1996) on NBC and has been syndicated consistently on various networks since then.

Smith was nearly bankrupt in 1990 when the NBC television network signed him to a contract and built a sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, around him. The show was successful and began his acting career. Smith set for himself the goal of becoming "the biggest movie star in the world," studying box office successes' common characteristics.


Kenan Thompson

'Saturday Night Live'

From Wikipedia:
Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro (born September 21, 1971) is an American actor, director, dancer and game show host. While he received attention for his performance in the title role of the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid and his appearance as a dancer in a Pepsi commercial featuring Michael Jackson, Ribeiro is best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Ribeiro's most notable role was spoiled rich-kid Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1990 to 1996, in which he played the cousin to Will Smith's lead character; Ribeiro also directed some episodes of Fresh Prince. The Carlton character frequently danced to Tom Jones's "It's Not Unusual". His most common move was his version of Eddie Murphy's "white guy" dance from Raw and one scene in Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video.

Further demonstrations of his dancing came alongside Will Smith in several episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, including a tap dance routine in the show's Soul Train episode that featured a moonwalk. It also featured the famous Apache Dance, the song by the Sugarhill Gang, when Will and Carlton go into a dance competition in Las Vegas after blowing all their money in the casino.


Monday, February 7, 2011


'The Mentalist' - "Red Alert"

When a traffic cop in Crane Creek, California, pulled Patrick Jane over for speeding, Jane tried to convince Officer Rowley that they were part of the same fraternity, that they were like a version of the Justice League.

"Would Aquaman give Batman a ticket?"

We know Batman exists in the main TV dimension of Earth Prime-Time - he had his own series back in the sixties, appeared in two TV specials in 1979, and he also made a few commercials and PSA's over the years as well.

But as far as the main Toobworld is concerned, Aquaman should be nothing more than a character in a comic book. And yet he did exist in Earth Prime-Time, which is why Patrick Jane spoke of him as being as real as the Batman......
We know Aquaman exists in the Tooniverse, thanks to 'Super-Friends' and other cartoons based on the DC superheroes. And the dimension of 'The West Wing', in which we also find 'Smallville', has two Aquamen - one appeared in an unintentional back-door pilot episode of the series about Kal-El before he donned the cape and tights; and the other was an actual pilot which never made it to American airwaves, although it did show up in iTunes and other online venues, as well as in overseas TV markets. (And that guarantees its place in the overall TV Universe.)

That second pilot didn't have any connections to 'Smallville', but the producers did admit that if it had gone to series, they would have eventually made the connection through a crossover.
In the main Toobworld, the only major mention of Aquaman has been the motion picture directed by James Cameron and starring Vincent Chase. (There was also a sequel, but that starred Jake Gyllenhaal as Aquaman.)

The way the movie was treated in 'Entourage', it was supposed to be based on the DC comic book hero. But that Aquaman looks nothing like Vince or even Gyllenhaal. He's supposed to be blonde, wearing an orange and green scaly wetsuit. Even Raj Koothrapally knew that!

Unlike the comic books and the Tooniverse, the DC superheroes are staggered in the Toobworld timeline. Wonder Woman was active in the 1940's and then resurfaced again in the 1970's. Superman stood for Truth, Justice, and the American Way in the 1950's, until his death in the early 1960's (according to a Toobworld Central theory). Meanwhile, back in Gotham City (That sounds a lot cooler in my head with the voice of William Dozier!), Batman and Robin patrolled the streets of Gotham City. And then there's the Flash, who had a brief run (Sorry about that, Chief!) in the 1990's. He may still be alive, but I have a feeling his powers have dissipated.

So, based on what Patrick Jane said, if there was a Justice League of America in operation in the main Toobworld today, Aquaman and Batman probably served together at the same time. That's not to say, however, that the real Aquaman of Earth Prime-Time was around in the 1960's when 'Batman' was on the air. I believe the Batman started his crime-fighting career back in the 1950's, when the Justice League of America consisted of him, Superman, and Wonder Woman (with probably the Scarlet Cyclone {left} as well). And because of those two TV specials in 1979, Batman and Robin were probably still active by 1980.

Speaking of those TV specials, we saw other members of the Justice League of America, including the aforementioned Scarlet Cyclone, but not Wonder Woman, Superman, the Flash, or this Aquaman that I claim existed. Wonder Woman was probably on Paradise Island; Barry Allen was more than a decade away from gaining his super-speed powers; and as I mentioned, Superman was dead.

As for Aquaman, he was probably on a mission for the Foundation For Oceanic Research... as seen in 'Man From Atlantis'.

Yep, I'm going there - I'm claiming that "Mark Harris" became better known as Aquaman and teamed up with Batman and the other members of the Justice League - after he quit the Foundation For Oceanic Research once 'Man From Atlantis' ran its course on our TV screens.

Here's a thumbnail biographical sketch of "Mark Harris" from the always reliable (koff! koff!) Wikipedia:
[Mark Harris was] an amnesiac man given the name of Mark Harris, believed to be the only surviving citizen of the lost civilization of Atlantis. He possesses exceptional abilities, including the ability to breathe underwater and withstand extreme depth pressures, and superhuman strength. His hands and feet are webbed, his eyes are unusually sensitive to light, and he swims using his arms and legs in a fashion suggestive of how a fish or marine mammal uses its flippers. Following his discovery, he is recruited by the Foundation For Oceanic Research, a governmental agency that explores the depths of the ocean in a sophisticated submarine called the Cetacean. The show only aired until 1978, which left "Mark Harris" on his own to lead whatever life he chose. So I prefer to think he took on the persona of Aquaman, as seen in the comic books, and used his abilities to become a super-hero. And eventually he teamed up with the Batman, which is why Patrick Jane mentioned the pairing. Perhaps even today he's still serving alongside whoever would be the current members of the Justice League of America.
But if he was a member of the JLA, how come he didn't show up in those January 1979 specials with Batman, Robin, the Riddler and the others? Tying into a real-world event as TV shows often do, perhaps he was still helping to battle the after-effects of Hurricane Rita which struck the Phillipines in October of 1978 and killed more than 400 people. (What kind of after-effects? I don't know - maybe the storm eventually jarred open an entrance into the undersea world of the Sea Devils and let some of them loose!) The look of "Mark Harris" would splain away why James Cameron cast the dark-haired Vincent Chase as Aquaman. Cameron may have bought the rights to the title of the comic book, but it was the "real-life" Aquaman's life story that he was interested in telling.

There was no way he would want to have called it "Man From Atlantis", because as so often happens in disabling TV Zonks, there was also a show by that name within the "reality" of Toobworld. Apparently the word got out about the existence of "Mark Harris" and so that same shadowy organization which made movies and TV shows about the Time Lord known as the Doctor, and about the agents of U.N.C.L.E., and others - in order to confuse the public about their actual existence (I call them "UN-REEL".) - did the same for "Mark Harris", thus keeping the public from finding out he was also Aquaman.

There were two mentions of this TV show over the years in the main Toobworld. Back in 1989, Del-Boy Trotter invoked the name of the show while talking about a fish stall he once worked. And at the 8:00 "Mr. Memory" nightclub show on April 4th, 1999, Mr. Memory correctly answered the question about the number of episodes for the show. (Just as in the real world, there were 17 episodes and that show within a show also starred Patrick Duffy.)

But it probably had even worse of a reputation than it did in the real world, so I'm sure Cameron would much rather have the right to use "Aquaman" as the title for his movie about the life of "Mark Harris".

So there you have it. Until such time -if any! - when an actual Aquaman surfaces (again, sorry about that, Chief!) in the main Toobworld, the DC comic book version is just that - a character in a comic book. But 'The Man From Atlantis' took on that identity after the TV series sank (I know! I know!), which is why the "Aquaman" movie within the "reality" of Toobworld had a dark-haired hero. And all that from a little pop culture reference on 'The Mentalist'.....

'The Mentalist'
'Man From Atlantis'
'The Adventures Of Superman'
'Wonder Woman'
'The Flash'
'The Big Bang Theory'
'Doctor Who'
'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'
'The Lone Gunmen'
'Only Fools And Horses'
"Legends Of The Super-Heroes" (Parts One & Two)