Let's utilize one of our usual examples, shall we? The 'Star Trek'
franchise - movies 1 through 11 (and the first ten minutes of the JJ Abrams
reboot) - all have the characters (and the actors who played them) from the
various TV series - the original series, 'The Next Generation', and even a cameo
by the Doctor from 'Voyager'.
Of course, once it created a new timeline, it belonged fully to the
Plus there's the 1966 "Batman", "Maverick", the "McHale's Navy" movies
(like it or not)......
So at least they had strong roots in Toobworld.
Every year I've picked a character from some other fictional universe whom
I think should be transferred into the TV Universe. In the past there was
Silver John from the Manly Wade Wellman novels, Zatanna from DC Comics, last
year's suggestion of Boiler Plate from the graphic novel, and the George
MacDonald Fraser version of Harry Flashman. (His original source material -
"Tom Brown's School Days" - has already been adapted for TV.) Of those, only
Zatanna has since crossed over into the TV dimension of 'Smallville' (and 'The
This year, my candidate of a character to found in another medium's
universe is John Carter of Mars, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is not
only a nod to the movie which opened this past weekend, but to the original
stories which will be celebrating their centennial this year. (After all, I'm
using the ASOTV showcase all year to promote literary TV characters.)
The incredible look to the movie - especially the well-articulated Thark
race - might be difficult to recreate on a TV budget. But then again, miracles
were worked down under in New Zealand when it came to the demons, monsters, and
demi-gods to be seen in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena, Warrior
And it wouldn't be like they'd need the entire Thark nation on the TV
screen - perhaps just one emissary to serve as a "side-kick" to John Carter. (I
would suggest Sola, the rebellious daughter of the Thark Jeddak.) Otherwise,
the TV series would be centered around the Red Men as supporting players with
the city of Helium as the base of operations.
As for recasting the leads of John Carter and Princess Dejah Thoris? The
soap operas - what's left of them - are full of Kitsch-like (Kitschian?
Kitschy?) young hunk-studs and and voluptuous loverlies like Lynn Collins ready
to be launched into a prime-time series. (It's not like Kitsch and Collins
would be willing to recreate their roles. I'm sure they've got other movie
projects already lined up, even though the opening weekend for "John Carter"
might put a damper on any more.....)
But now, here's the thing.....
I want to steal the entire movie outright, as is, and claim it for Toobworld!
I have no delusions that my wish-craft for a "John Carter" TV remake will
ever be produced. (I would call it "Barsoom!") But I still think John Carter
would be a great TV character - especially as it had that Wild West in Outer
Space vibe going for it.
So until such time - if any! - comes along when there is a TV show about
Edgar Rice Burroughs' second best-known character, I want to claim "John Carter"
as part of Toobworld.
I think it would work. Nothing from the Old West and 1880's New York
sequences contradict anything established in Earth Prime-Time previously. No
historical figures or events even played a role in it - save for mention of
Carter's past in the Confederate army during the Civil War. (And we'll get back
As for the depiction of Barsoom, that does conflict with the established
Toobworld vision of the Red Planet. Because of 'My Favorite Martian' and the
Roddy McDowell episode from 'The Twilight Zone' plus Barry Morse and Carroll
O'Connor on 'Outer Limits', we know what the inhabitants are like.
As for the Martians from an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', the
three-armed Martian from 'The Twilight Zone', as well as the Ice Warriors and
the "Waters Of Mars" microbe species from 'Doctor Who', they're just alien
invaders who used Mars as their launching pad to attack Earth. (And the same
goes for the Martians of "War Of The Worlds".)
But the movie gives us an out. When John Carter is magically transported
to Mars via that Thirn amulet, he ended up on the Mars of an alternate universe,
where it was known as "Barsoom". So he would begin in Earth Prime-Time during
the Wild Wild West years, but then go to another TV dimension. (Much like what
happened in the 'Heroes' and 'Stargate SG-1' series.)
It would be a stand-alone in the TV universe with nothing else to ground it
like the 'Star Trek' franchise had. Not even just one character as with the
"Maverick" movie. And since it takes place on another planet not even in the
main TV universe, there's no threat of Zonking the future of Toobworld.
The closest I could come with a possible link to justify the "theft" was
John Carter's background during the Civil War. And I will freely admit it's the
most tenuous of links......
Carter fought at the Battle of Five Forks. That looked like certain
victory for Johnny Reb until the last moment when the Union forces were able to
turn the tide and claim the day.
It's the Toobworld theory that the reason the Union was able to win that
battle was due to young soldier Wilton Parmenter who sneezed and abrupty
ceased defeat and reversed it to victory.
Say, that would make a great theme song!
Hey, I said the connection would be flimsy.
So like I said, this is all just wish-craft on my part. But it doesn't
hurt to dream......
Since I wrote all of that on Tuesday morning, I've got it out of my
system. "John Carter" will stay where it is, in the Cineverse. But it will
remain the ideal by which I hope one day a TV series based on the Barsoom
stories will be judged.