Saturday, December 14, 2019



In the multiverse in which Toobworld can be found, the surge in TV series in which superheroes can be found has resulted in a sew of alternate Toobworlds to house them all.  (There have been elements in most of them which prevent them from sharing the same Earth, not the least of which is that there have been many reboots of certain characters so they couldn’t share the same space.  It may be a TV-based universe, but that doesn’t mean life there has to go through continuous reboots and reruns.)

But the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time, has been the home for a core group of TV superheroes, all predicated on a first-come first-served basis.  For the most part, they are the core group of the Justice League.


Into this mix would be added Spiderman and the Hulk.

With those shows, they came about in a simpler time – yes, even 1990 falls into that estimation, but that year probably serves as the end to such a consideration. After that, the concept of the multiverse really took hold, thanks to ‘Sliders’.

The idea that there were multiple Earths had already been considered, especially with the primary example being the “Evil Mirror Universe’ established in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of ‘Star Trek’, which got later confirmation thanks to ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’.

But new shows came along which wanted to stake their claim to being the official Earth for their premises.  That’s understandable, of course – for showrunners, the concept that their show had to conform with what was being promoted by other TV series would have been too restricting.  You never would have been able to get all of those zombie series if everybody thought that way.


For today’s O’Bservation on Crisis vs. Toobworld, we’re taking a look at one of the first victims of the Anti-Monitor’s disintegration of various TV dimensions.  And that would be Dick Grayson of Earth-66.

As everybody should have realized that designation was what David Bianculli would call an “Extra”, an in-joke.  As played by Burt Ward, this Dick Grayson is supposed to be from the 1966 TV version of ‘Batman’.

Well, it is and it isn’t.  With a lot of crossovers to parallel worlds we’ve seen over the years, generally the main character’s doppelganger looks exactly like him/her, with some differences – the cliché being the goatee as worn by Mr. Spock’s “evil twin”.  Willow Rosenberg (a black magic practitioner in the evil dimension) and Ares (god of War vs. god of Love) being the best examples after Spock.

For the Toobworld Dynamic, Dick Grayson still lives on Earth Prime-Time, which is not designated as Earth-66.   (Sadly, the Batman of Earth Prime-Time has died in the last few years.)

It’s an extrapolation of what his life was like after the series was cancelled, with the added flavoring of cherry-picked events in his life from the comic books, but I think the Dick Grayson of Earth Prime-Time eventually assumed the crime-fighting alias of Nightwing before assuming the cape and cowl of the Batman after Bruce Wayne retired.  And in the tradition of the Phantom and the Dread Pirate Roberts, he executed his role of the Caped Crusader as though he was Bruce Wayne.

But eventually, he too retired – it’s been fifty years plus since he was in high school after all!  And he physically changed as he aged, making gradual donations to his overall avoirdupois, let’s say.

I also think that he may have retired while still in his prime in order to marry and begin a family.  After all, for Toobworld Central (if not for other crossoverists), Dick Grayson is the founter of the family tree which will eventually lead to the birth of Amanda Grayson, the human mother of the previously mentioned Mr. Spock.

All we saw of the Dick Grayson from Earth-66 was that he was walking his dog as his world came to an end.  Except that he looked exactly like the man from the main Toobworld and employed an equally pithy/corny exclamation, we know nothing about this man on that world.

Did he even become the Boy Wonder and ward to Bruce Wayne in that life?  On Earth-66, he might have become a schoolteacher instead.  (If so, that would make Earth-66 the Toobworld of TV movies.  On second thought, I’m not going to relinquish that alternate Toobworld.)

We never even got confirmation that he was actually named Dick Grayson.  If he got adopted by somebody else in that world, he could have been given a different name; he could have been Dick Murphy for alls we know, not Dick Grayson!  (Go ahead, look him up.)

Here’s a possibility – what if Earth-66 was the legendary “Evil Mirror Universe”?  Frankly, I think just from the name, Earth-666, the getaway home for Lucifer Morningstar, would be better-suited for that particular life ethos.

It’s a primal concept for alternate Toobworlds which I’m sure will come back again in some TV show.  (I think we last saw it in ‘Deep Space Nine’, but I could be wrong… not an uncommon occurrence.)

Even so, if some other TV series did bring back the concept of an evil Toobworld, all that would mean is that I’ve got some splainin to do.  I’m sure I could find a way to make it work for the Toobworld Dynamic.

But think of the possibilities if we were witnessing the last minute of life for the evil Dick Grayson!  Perhaps he was a major crime boss now in Gotham City, and he wasn’t just taking his dog for a walk.  Maybe he was returning from siccing his dog on somebody who didn’t pay the “vig” fast enough to suit Grayson.

Like Muskie Muskrat would say, “It’s pozz’ble, just pozz’ble.”

Speaking of that dog, I’ve seen it suggested that he was supposed to be Ace the Bat-hound from the comic book universe.  If anything, the canine could have been named after the original Ace – if that world’s Batman and Robin actually had such a dog.  The original would have been long since dead since the 1960s!

One last possibility – we could have been seeing the Earth-66 televersion of Burt Ward.  He does have an established presence in Toobworld, thanks to appearances in episodes of ‘Living Single’ and ‘Clueless’.  (And – over in the Tooninverse, in an episode of ‘Futurama’.)

After fifty years living under the spectre of his most famous role, spouting such “Holy Whatever!” phrases could be second nature.  And it wouldn’t be the only time we saw a member of the League of Themselves during this mega-crossover whom we can assume eventually died.  (It could then be that Earth-66 is Toobworld-Toobworld, where those behind the scenes docudramas can be found.)

Whatever the overall concept of Earth-66 might be, as far as Toobworld Central is concerned, we did NOT see the actual demise of the Dick Grayson we knew and loved from the original ‘Batman’ TV series.

That was some other Dick.

Holy dead doppelganger!”


Friday, December 13, 2019


From the AP:
René Auberjonois, a prolific actor best known for the TV shows “Benson” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” has died. He was 79.

His son Remy Auberjonois told The Associated Press he died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer.

The actor won a Tony on Broadway in 1969’s “Coco” opposite Katharine Hepburn. His first major movie role was as Father Mulcahy in the 1970 film “M.A.S.H.”

In the 1980s, he played Clayton Runnymede Endicott III, a snooty staffer in a governor’s mansion on “Benson.” And in the 1990s, he played the shape-shifting alien Odo on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

I’ve always liked Auberjonois.  He carved a unique place for himself in his roles without pigeon-holing himself into a stereotype.

Yet I didn’t think there would be a way to get one of his characters into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  Constable Odo of ‘Deep Space Nine’ seemed to be the best choice, but he never made it into the movies and there were no TV shows at the time in which he could have appeared.  (Or were there…?)

But I looked into his credits at the IMDb anyway and discovered Odo actually is eligible for membership as a multiversal, which makes him perfect for the December Friday Hall of Famers.


From Wikipedia:
Odo, played by René Auberjonois, is a fictional character in the science fiction television series 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'. He is a member of a shapeshifting species called Changelings and serves as the head of security for the space station Deep Space Nine on which the show is set. Intelligent, observant and taciturn, Odo uses his unique abilities throughout the show to maintain security on the DS9 station and, later, aids the Bajoran people and the Federation throughout the Dominion War against his own people, the Founders.  

The original Writer's Bible from 1992 for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine described Odo as follows:

Odo, an alien male, middle-aged curmudgeon, and a shape-shifter. In his natural state he is a gelatinous liquid. He was a Bajoran law enforcement officer on the space station under the Cardassians.

Starfleet decides to have him continue in that role, since he's extremely savvy about the Promenade and all who frequent it.

His backstory is:
50 years ago, with no memory of his past, he was found alone in a mysterious spacecraft that appeared in the Denarias asteroid belt. He was found by the Bajoran and lived amongst them. At first he was sort of an Elephant Man, a source of curiosity and humor as he turned himself into a chair or pencil. Finally he realized he would have to take the form of a humanoid to assimilate and function in their environment. He does it, but resents it. As a result, Odo performs a uniquely important role in the ensemble: he is a character who explores and comments on Human values.

Because he is forced to pass as one of us, his point of view usually comes with a cynical and critical edge. But he can't quite get it right, this humanoid shape, though he continues to try. So he looks a little unfinished in a way. He's been working on it a long time. Someone might ask him: Why don't you take the form of a younger man. His answer: I would if I could.

He has the adopted child syndrome, searching for his own personal identity. Although he doesn't know anything about his species, he is certain that justice is an integral part of their being, because the necessity for it runs through every fiber of his body – a racial memory. That's why he became a law man. He has a couple of Bajoran deputies; he doesn't allow weapons on the Promenade, and once every day he must return to his gelatinous form.

According to the backstory of the series, Odo was found adrift in his natural gelatinous state in the Denorios Belt in the Bajoran system. Doctor Mora Pol studied him for seven years, not initially recognising him as a sentient being. Doctor Mora was later forced to recognise Odo's sentience when he copied a beaker on a laboratory table.

Odo's name stemmed from the Cardassian language word "Odo'ital", meaning "nothing", which was the loose translation of the "unknown sample" label in Bajoran on his laboratory flask.

It's taken me years, but thanks to the advancement of the technology, video games are now considered part of the greater tele-mosaic as their own videoverse, akin to the Tooniverse.  As such, Odo has at least three incarnations in games, all voiced by Auberjonois, which serve as the foundation for his multiversal status.

Here are the items in Odo's tally:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
173 episodes

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Harbinger
(Video Game)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen
(Video Game)

Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
O'Bservation: This may be a fantasy of Stewie's.

Star Trek Online
(Video Game)

I suggested earlier that Odo might have appeared in other shows set in the same time period.  We’re entering fanfic territory to suggest this.

But what if during the crossovers with ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Voyager’, Odo visited their ships off-screen - for security checks - during their visits to DS9?

If you write Trekfic, you can carry that idea even further.  What if Odo was thrown into the past, like Spock was in the novel “Ishmael” and he interacted with the characters from the TV series ‘Here Come The Brides’?  It could be to Earth Prime-Time of the present day, giving so may options for his involvement without even the need of Mr. Auberjonois to participate.

And then there are the alternate dimensions he could visit, perhaps to that of ‘Babylon 5’ which takes place approximately in the same time period.  (Because B5 and Trek delved into their non-similar political structures of Earth, they can’t be in the same Toobworld.  So it goes.)

The trick to pull this off if – in a perfect world – some show wanted to acknowledge his presence on the set would be to have Odo be there in his transformed state, disguised as whatever prop stands out in a scene.

Come to think of it....

Perhaps Odo not only traveled to the distant Past, but to Earth's twin planet Mondas, where Toobworld Central has placed 'Game of Thrones'.

And where did he show up?

As that time-displaced coffee cup and then as the water bottle!

Just an idea....

Welcome to the Hall, Constable Odo.

I’m sorry it had to be under these circumstances....

Thanks to my "Sister Iddiot", Amy Chen, for spurring me to take a second look at a tribute for Mr. Auberjonois....


From Wikipedia:

On 13 December 1795 a meteorite crashed on the outskirts of the village, landing within metres of ploughman John Shipley.  As a monument to this event there is a brick column bearing the inscription.  [See below.]

The meteorite is now housed in the Natural History Museum and the occurrence inspired the development of the body of science fiction literature known as the Wold Newton family by American author Philip José Farmer.

Today is Wold Newton Day, the day when the meteorite crashed near Wold Newton and its radioactive aura imbued over a dozen travelers who stopped by to examine the site.

From those people, whose DNA was affected by the radiation, came some of the greatest heroes and villains the world just outside the window has ever known. This was all chronicled initially by Philip Jose Farmer and later carried on by ardent archivists of connected material.

Earth Prime-Time is NOT Wold Newton, but several members of the WNU Family and other affiliated characters are part of Toobworld.  However, Toobworld only deals with their “televersions”, not their characterizations from the original sources or other adaptations… with some exceptions.

In “The Night Of The Dancing Death” from the first season of ‘The Wild Wild West’, Secret Service agent Artemus Gordon needed to create a diversion so that fellow agent James West could leave the ballroom in the Albanian embassy without notice.  In disguise as the Grand Elector of Saxony, Artemus instigated a fight with an elderly representative for Pomerania.

“Grand Elector”:
If I were the American Secretary, I should censure you for violating the Carpathian border.  After all, you had your gunboats fire on their coastlines, their ports.
You presume to condemn?  For people in- in need of money, in need of friends?  Still much greater than Carpathia!
“Grand Elector”:
My father always said over and over and over again, you can never trust a land-hungry Pomeranian.

While there are the Carpathian Mountains and a small historic region in Central Europe known as Carpathian Ruthenia, this reference is to a fictional kingdom which served as the homeland for King Nicholas VIII.  The King, who inherited the crown on his mother's side, visited London in 1911 for the coronation of George V on June 22.  He was accompanied by his father Charles, the Prince Regent (as Nicholas is only sixteen years old), and by his maternal grandmother, the Dowager Queen of Carpathia.

Carpathia is the fictional Balkan kingdom in the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl”, based on a play by Terence Rattigan.

As I mentioned earlier, Earth Prime-Time is not part of the Wold Newton Universe.  We do share the characters of Artemus Gordon and James West, but there are differences.

In the CU of Wold Newton, the archivists can draw upon other sources to enhance the biographies of the agents.  Toobworld only uses the TV series episodes and the two TV movies.  From that we also extrapolate “theories of relateeveety” to make the claims that both men are related to TV characters from other shows at different points in the Toobworld Timeline.

But we do stipulate certain details from the WNU to be in effect for Toobworld as well – their dates of birth for instance.

As for the theatrical film with Will Smith and Kevin Kline?  That’s right out!  That belongs in the meta-fictional universe of the movies, for which Craig Shaw Gardner coined the term “the Cineverse”.

But speaking of movies, there are times we absorb a film wholly into the TV Universe, knowing that it won’t affect the integrity of Toobworld.  Of course all of those movies spun off from TV shows and using the original casts – ‘Maverick’, ‘Batman 1966’, ‘Downton Abbey’, the first several ‘McHale’s Navy’ flicks and the ‘Star Trek’ franchise from “The Motion Picture” to the first fifteen minutes of the ‘Star Trek’ reboot from 2009 – only up until Spock entered the black hole.  For Toobworld, that marked the death of Spock.  (Everything after becomes a movie of 2009, fantasizing the rest of that future.)

So with “The Prince And The Showgirl”, having read through a synopsis of the plotline, I see no reason why it would upset the dynamics of Toobworld to bring it into the TV Universe.  And so it’s a crossover which at least works for the Toobworld Dynamic.

Happy Wold Newton Day, Toobworld-style!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Because I’ve been chronicling the history and the people of the most overlooked county in Connecticut, I’ve been giving short shrift to my thirty year obsession with the Toobworld Dynamic.  My brain still comes up with some fun theories – one of which shows up in tomorrow’s induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame – but it’s become a chore to put them down on paper.

Luckily for me, the Crisis On Infinite Earths came along when it did to fire up my needs to write about the greater tele-mosaic again.  I’m going to just do one O’Bservation a day about details from the first three episodes in the five-part crossover.

I think where I have to start is where my concept of Earth Prime-Time stands in connection to this mass elimination of parallel dimensions, leaving only the Earth which they have dubbed “Earth One”.  And even that apparently got wiped out by the end of the fall finale.

Just to keep the Toobworld concept churning along, I have to ignore certain aspects of the story which Berlanti & Co. are peddling.  I won’t be alone in doing that; the majority of TV series will be ignoring the events as well  That’s because Earth-1 is not the main Toobworld in the TV Multiverse; it’s just braggadaccio on the part of those living on that Earth to think of themselves as Number One.

Earth Prime-Time is that Toobworld on which most TV series throughout our broadcast history take/took place. And as the current shows are going into their fall finales, there have been no red skies above.  Those shows set in the Future are still extant.

My take-away is that neither the Monitor nor the Anti-Monitor, not even the Department of Extranormal Operations, is omnipotent.  As the umbrella title for this mega-crossover mentions, we’re dealing with “infinite Earths”.  As powerful as the Anti-Monitor may be, he didn’t affect ALL of the Toobworlds out there, evidenced, as I stated earlier, by the continuing presence of life on Earth Prime-Time in other TV series.

For the Toobworld Dynamic, there will always be a Television Multiverse and as we continue here, we’ll be looking at more aspects about the Toobworlds we lost….


Wednesday, December 11, 2019


In this past Saturday’s ‘Saturday Night Live’, the cold open reimagined the recent NATO conference as being an international political version of high school.

There were four major guest stars for just this cameo sketch, including Alec Baldwin returning as Trump.  But the main three were Jimmy Fallon as Justin Trudeau, Paul Rudd as Emmanuel Macron, and best of all, James Corden crossing networks to appear as Boris Johnson.  Rounding out the cast were Melissa Villasenor and Heidi Fineman as Denmark and Norway aides respectively, Mikey Day as the Romanian representative, Cecily Strong as Melania Trump, Kate McKinnon as Angela Merkel (too over the top, IMO), and always solid Alex Moffat as Eglis Levits, the President of Latvia.

From Wikipedia:
Egils Levits (born 30 June 1955) is a Latvian lawyer, political scientist and judge who is the President of Latvia since July 8, 2019. He was a Member of the European Court of Justice from 2004 to 2019.

During the late Soviet-era he was a member of the Popular Front of Latvia and contributed to the declaration of renewed Latvian independence in 1990. He was Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Justice of Latvia from 1993 to 1994 and ambassador to Hungary, Austria and Switzerland from 1994 to 1995.

He was then appointed a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, a position he held until 2004. He finished second in the indirect election for President of Latvia in 2015 behind Raimonds Vējonis. Although an Independent, he was the candidate of the National Alliance. In 2018 Levits was reappointed a Judge of the European Court of Justice. He is married and has two children, a son, Linards, and daughter, Indra.  He published a book of memoirs in 2019.

For more on President Levits, click here.

The only flaw in Moffats’ performance as “the NATO guy at the Losers’ Table” was that he pronounced the name as “Eglis” and not “Egils”. 

But hey – he got me to look up who the Latvian president was, so I’m now smarter than I was yesterday. 

Television as a teaching tool…..