I was trying to figure out what show to spotlight for the second "Gone Too Soon" column. As a general rule, I want to give a show a few years off the air before I delve into it. That gives the creators and producers a chance to try and continue the story, if they're interested in doing so, and it gives the actors a chance to move on. Then I read the news that they're going to adapt The Time Traveler's Wife to television, and it hit me.
A man disappearing from his wife to travel through time, and struggling to fix his home life as he went along? That sounded awfully familiar, and to a lot of you, as well, if your comments are any indication. So even though Journeyman's finale aired less than two years ago, it's time we honored it for the great show it was ... a show, unfortunately, about two years ahead of its time.
Hell, with Scott Bakula all over our television screens on Chuck and The New Adventures of Old Christine among other appearances, and Dean Stockwell already familiar to SyFy's core fan-base, why not just go ahead and do a continuation of the original series with Sam's daughter in the lead role, or something like that?
But in TV land, the sisters were doin' it for themselves and finally getting respect as cops, war nurses and working moms; iconic shows like 'Hill Street Blues,' 'St. Elsewhere' and 'L.A. Law' would forever change (for the better) cop, medical and legal dramas; and no idea was too high concept to fill a primetime spot (time-travelling physicist? check; housewife-turned-CIA op? check; New York City beauty in love with a subterranean monster? check).
The bottom line: They all add up to 10 years of fine channel surfing -- and our awesome list of the 40 best series of the 1980s.
(S02E19) Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. Just when you think you're on the verge of getting answers, you wind up with a lot more questions. We knew going in that Chuck had finally tracked down his father, ostensibly to fulfill Ellie's dream of having her dad walk her down the aisle at her wedding.
On the most superficial level, Chuck achieved his goal. He did find his father, Steven J. Bartowski, but he also found all the craziness that sent him off in the first place. Only it wasn't really, really craziness. It was something far more nefarious.
I can't imagine how the clever writers of the show -- that starts with creator Josh Schwartz -- will keep from referring to Quantum Leap and Enterprise in some way. In fact, knowing their penchant for weaving topical bits into the plot, there should be a slew of references.
But that announcement got me thinking about all those sci fi and fantasy shows that never finish on television. It's a phenomenon us long-time science fiction/fantasy fans have learned to live with. We jump on any new genre show on television hoping against hope that the ratings will be strong enough that we'll get the whole story. Alas, we know that more often than not the plug will be pulled mid-stream and we'll be left wanting. And for every Joss Whedon who continues Buffy and Angel in comics, there are tons more who don't.
The Readers Choice Award goes to Moonlight, the vampire-themed crime-drama-romance that amassed an insane amount of fans during its short run. And it still might come back on another network, so we'll keep our collective fingers crossed on that.
The TV Squadders' pick is Journeyman. Here's why:
1. Time-traveling is cool. The idea of time-travel is always intriguing, as evidenced by other shows like Quantum Leap and Sliders. What's cool about Journeyman is that Dan Vasser, played by Kevin McKidd, is just a normal guy who could be any one of us. At first, he hates the time-traveling. It interrupts his life and causes undue stress, both at home and work. But later, when given the opportunity to make it stop, he chooses to keep time-traveling. He knows he's been chosen for a reason, and feels it's his calling to help people right the wrongs of history. Never mind that every episode made me wonder how much of history he changed by leaping into the past. I can only imagine that even the smallest of events might drastically alter the space-time continuum.
It's that festive time of year when children put tinsel on the television antennas and hang mistletoe over their favorite DVDs. Where celebrities check into rehab to spend the holidays with all their celebrity friends. And where the rest of America is invited to corporate non-specific, non-religious, non-alcoholic generic winter holiday luncheons where they can mingle with their co-workers and say things like "Remember when this company used to have real Christmas parties?"
But while political correctness may have ruined most holiday functions, nothing can ruin Festivus! That magical season in which TV Squadders hope and pray for televisions dreams come true. And I know just what I want...
So is it yet another Star Trek alumnus coming on-screen, or a reunion of former Murphy Brown costars Candace Bergen and her on-screen amore Scott Bakula, as TV Guide says. Looks like it's both, as Bakula has signed on to join Bergen and William Shatner for an upcoming episode of Boston Legal. In it he will play one of Shirley Schmidt's (Bergen) exes who runs into her at a bar. No word on if his will be a multi-episode arc or a one-time appearance.
Bakula has shown himself to have a bit of comedic chops recently on The New Adventures of Old Christine, and with BL being a dramedy, he might do very well there. Either way, it is good to see Bakula back on the small screen. Quantum Leap remains one of my all-time favorite shows and I'm still mad they haven't found a way to bring it back (despite periodic rumors that they may), while Knight Rider gets a revival. It'd be great if they can get Bakula's character and Denny Crane (Shatner) together in a scene and have them salute one another or slip some other Trek teaser for the audience in the know.
From 1996-2000, NBC had a modest hit on their hand with The Pretender, a show in which main character Jarod used his abilities to assume other people's identities to help those in need. Kind of a Quantum Leap with identity theft instead of bodysnatching. Creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, also of Tin Man, reportedly told SCI FI Wire they'd like to bring back the show in the digital medium. The relaunch, or continuation, could even feature original star Michael T. Weiss in the title role again.
They've reportedly brunched Weiss and begun laying the groundwork for the project, so it seems it's a done deal, just what exactly it means and when and where we'll be able to see it remains unclear.
When one of our favorite TV shows goes off the air, it can be devastating. However, many times, the cancellation is the birth of a spinoff. Sometimes it can be a great thing (Rhoda) and sometimes not so much (Tabitha). Here are some this month's spinoff ideas that I would love to see.
The Young Jason Gideon Chronicles
What is it that made Jason Gideon the enigmatic person he became? Watch and find out. See the events that turned a carefree young teenager into the sullen, contemplative FBI agent we came to know on Criminal Minds. See the part his parents (Michael McKean & Annette O'Toole) played in his transformation.
The series is the brainchild of Kevin Falls, who has a pretty impressive writing resume including West Wing, Sports Night, North Shore, Arli$$ and The Lyon's Den.
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