TV crossover musings (and missed opportunities?).

WARNING: This is an example of a rambling blog post that someone writes when they’re killing time waiting for something else to happen. If you’re fast enough, you still can escape with your lives.

Still here? All righty, then. Beware: All kinds of TV nerdity looms ahead. Apologies in advance.

Today, while out to my local Target in search of a few odds and ends as well as something for lunch, I wandered past the store’s media section and spied a few copies of the NCIS: The Tenth Season DVD set. I was reminded that as we head into the final days of August, season premieres are coming soon and so the previous season’s shows are starting to hit the various home video/on-demand viewing formats.

NCIS_title

I’ve been a fan of NCIS since it was a two-part backdoor pilot episode of JAG, a series which was humming along on its own eighth season when its creator, Donald P. Bellisario, decided it was time to make up another TV show. The dude’s been rather successful in that regard over the years, you know. His name on a series has been a staple of television going back to the 70s, after all. As for this newest attempt, I’d already been a fan of Mark Harmon for years, but he’d dropped off my radar for a time until he did a guest stint for a handful of episodes of The West Wing during that show’s third season. To hear the story, it was that role which brought him to Bellisario’s attention and made the producer decide to cast him as the star of his new series. Lucky us, as it’s ten years later and I can’t imagine the show working with anyone but Harmon as NCIS agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

To be honest, a lot of what makes NCIS work isn’t the stories (though it has its fair share of good ones), but instead the characters and the cast of actors who portray them. Their chemistry is some of the best of any ensemble show, and seems to be the major reason the series not only has survived for ten seasons (getting ready for #11), but also has been a ratings king for most of that time. Indeed, NCIS is one of those rare shows that started out with modest ratings and then continued to increase its viewership with each successive season.

It’s freakin’ weird, yo.

(Shameless Whine: I really, really wanted somebody to land a tie-in license for NCIS novels. I’d have been on that like bacon on…well…anything. I’m pretty sure I could pull off writing Gibbs and the gang, by golly. Alas, it seems never to be.)

Interestingly, and with a few minor exceptions very early on, NCIS blazed its own trail after spinning out of JAG, avoiding any high-profile crossover episodes with its parent series. That was probably for the best, as the two shows are different enough in tone that they really didn’t need to prop up each other. Of course, I’d already been lamenting what I thought was an opportunity that Bellisario missed, by not having JAG need to investigate a case in Hawaii and perhaps requiring the assistance of former Navy SEAL and (retired?) private investigator Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV. It seemed to be a no-brainer, what with Magnum, P.I. also being a Bellisario-created series, right?

Oh, well.

Later, I thought NCIS might try it at some point, but then one episode had Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo refer to Magnum as a TV character and series. NOOOO!!!!!! 

Dang it. So close….

Magnum_P_I_

Of course, my Magnum crossover fetish goes back to the early days of that series. Magnum, P.I. premiered on CBS the season after the original Hawaii Five-O wrapped after twelve years filming on location in the Aloha State. With a full production studio located there, CBS was looking to make use of those facilities so BOOM! Along comes Thomas Magnum. That show made the occasional reference to McGarrett and “Five-O” during its early seasons, but such nods and hat-tips faded as the series went along.

(Squirrel: In one interview I remember reading years ago, author Tom Clancy–at one time, at least–was involved in preliminary discussions to team up Magnum and his Jack Ryan character in some sort of TV project. That never happened, but I remember being stoked by it.)

NCIS cruised merrily along for several years–never granting my wish of some kind of Gibbs/Magnum teamup–before birthing its own spin-off, NCIS: Los Angeles, with a younger, hipper cast doing things their own way out on the left coast. While there were a few early crossovers between the two shows, the newer series has, like its predecessor, seemed content to go its own way.

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Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Eyeball Network, McGarrett and his gang got rebooted with an all-new version of Hawaii Five-0. No sooner did I hear about that show than I started conjuring the possibility of this new crew needing to avail themselves of that aforementioned former Navy SEAL and (retired?) private investigator. Of course, Tom Selleck was still working for CBS, heading up a new show of his own, Blue Bloods, as well as showing up in the occasional Jesse Stone TV movie. Still, a dude can dream, right? McGarrett and Danno yanking Magnum off a fishing boat and out of retirement for some big case?

SOMEBODY MAKE THIS HAPPEN, RIGHT?

Then, Hawaii Five-0 did a crossover with NCIS: Los Angeles, effectively nullifying that idea, since–as we’ve already established–Magnum is a fictional character in the JAG/NCIS/NCIS:LA-iverse.

Curses! Foiled again.

I mean, it could still happen, of course. It’s TV, so anything’s possible, but you and me and the nerds among us would know all along that such an occurrence–should it come to pass–would be a canon violation, and we just can’t be havin’ any of that shit. Nuh-uh. No way. No how.

Damn.

Still, for TV geeks like us, pondering this sort of thing is fun…even if I did just spend more time and energy on the notion than might be considered healthy.

Of course, I suppose a crossover can’t really be a crossover unless it features the quintessential crossover character, amiright? You know who I’m talking about….

JohnMunch (Click me to learn the Truth.)

Yep. Munch on that.

SciFi Face-Off!

It’s Kirk vs Picard. Because WHY NOT?

H.E. ELLIS

Today I have decided to pay homage to the late, great Gene Roddenberry on what would have been his 93rd birthday by conducting an interview I believe he might have enjoyed. Now I ask you, what better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest contributors to the SciFi genre than to have a face-off of Starship Captains? Ladies and gentlemen I give you…

JAMES T. KIRK    VS    JEAN-LUC PICARD

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For Those of You Who Were Waiting For Me to Say Something About Anthony Weiner and/or Bob Filner

Yeah. What Scalzi said.

Whatever

It’s simple: They’re both idiots. Weiner needs to quit his mayoral race; Filner needs to resign his mayoral position.

I suspect some people might have thought I wasn’t commenting on them here because they are both Democrats. But, guys, come on. One, I’m not a Democrat, as I have to remind people ad infinitum. Two, stupidity is non-partisan, and sexual harassment is odious whether you have an (R) or a (D) or any other letter after your name on the news chyron.

In the case of Weiner: you know, if sexting is consensual, whatever. I don’t especially care if people Snapchat their junk to each other. Not my thing, but fine. But Weiner should have figured out from the last time that this was the sort of activity that people didn’t want out of their politicians. That he didn’t — or that he couldn’t stop himself despite the damage…

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When Bad Videos Happen to Good Musicians

Monday gets off to a better than normal start because I got to laugh my ass off for a few minutes thanks to H.E.
You’re on your own for the rest of the day.

H.E. ELLIS

The advent of Mtv was both a blessing and a curse for me as a kid. Once musicians had the ability to act in their videos, they somehow felt the need to put on a show as opposed to simply performing their songs. Sometimes, as was the case with Billy Idol, it turned out to be a good thing. I remember as a kid sitting transfixed in front of the television whenever REBEL YELL came on, staring at the screen and thinking some very, very grown-up thoughts about this bleach-blonde wonder. And who can forget THRILLER? I remember exactly where I was the first time I watched that video. I can do the dance to this day.

Sadly, not all my experiences were as positive as the ones I’ve mentioned. Not every singer is a star, as music video history has shown us. I’ve dredged up some memories (and hit…

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My Convention Harassment Policy Co-Sign Thread

I’ve co-signed, and I’m now passing it along in hopes of boosting the signal. Thanks again to Mr. Scalzi for taking such a principled stand.

Whatever

I’ve been asked if I would add a thread for writers/editors/artists/fans/human beings to co-sign my recently-announced convention harassment policy. Well, sure. Here it is. If you’re a writer/editor/artist/fan/human being who wants to adopt my convention harassment policy for your own, put a comment in the thread here. Just a simple “co-sign” will suffice, if that’s all you want to say.

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My New Convention Harassment Policy

Full props to Mr. Scalzi. I hope that all conventions will see fit to adopt the recommendations he offers as his conditions for accepting invitations of this sort, so that anyone attending such events will be able to do so without fear of harassment, while knowing that they have recourse should such incidents occur.

Whatever

So, I’ve decided something. I am often asked to be a Guest of Honor or a participant at conventions, which is nice. I also have a number of friends and fans who go to conventions, which is nice too. When my friends and fans go to conventions, I would like them not to have to worry, if they are skeeved on by some creep at the convention, that the convention will take the problem seriously. I would also like them to be able to know how to report the problem, should such a situation occur. 

That being the case, moving forward from this very instant, the following will be a hard requirement for my being a panelist, participant or Guest of Honor at a convention:

1. That the convention has a harassment policy, and that the harassment policy is clear on what is unacceptable behavior, as well as to whom…

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Calling Michelle from Denver!

Hello!

In a fit of e-Mail sifting this evening, I accidentally deleted a message from a nice lady I met this past weekend at Starfest in Denver. The T-shirt she was wearing caught my attention, being a cool mash-up of Trek and old-style pulp magazines like Weird Tales, created for something called the “Gala Conference and Celebration” held at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle back in 2006.

Anyway, the aforementioned nice lady, whose name I believe is Michelle from the split second I had to read the “FROM” bit before I accidentally included her e-mail in the bunch I was deleting, had sent me some info on the conference and the shirt. Since I was a total dope for toasting the original message, I hope she’s reading this after having already contacted me once using info from my website.

(Complicating this is the fact that I know at least two other Michelles from Starfest in Denver. :D)

So, Michelle with the cool shirt: If you read this, please e-Mail me again, and I PROMISE I WON’T DELETE THIS ONE.

For the rest of you, we return you to the blog already in progress.

Spam tip…apparently.

I have no idea if anyone’s been dealing with something along these lines, but here’s the deal:

For weeks, I’ve been experiencing a massive uptick in spam here at the blog. My “moderation” queue had exploded, going from a couple a week to hundreds per day. One thing I noticed right off was that the bulk of the incoming crap all was banging up against the same page here in “The Fog of Ward,” namely the page I’ve set up to list the various guest blog posts I’ve written and had posted to other sites. I have no idea why that page in particular attracts so much attention instead of…say…anything where there might be a picture of a scantily-clad female.

(We’ll wait here, while some of you go looking.)

Anyway, once I made that rather odd observation, I tried a simple experiment: I edited the page, and altered the URL WordPress generates whenever you create a new page or post. Nothing too drastic; just a simple change in one word.

The result? Not a single spam comment to that page in the 48 hours since I performed that little action.

Now, I don’t for a moment discount the possibility that all of you have known this trick for eons, and for your own reasons have seen fit to withhold from me this interesting infonugget. Perhaps you did so for your own amusement. However, if by some chance someone reads this and is able to enjoy similar victory against spammer dicks on their own blog, then I feel like I’ve done something nice today.

Okay, nice stuff over. I now return to you the curmudgeon you all know, if not love.

ReBlog from Whatever: Scam Attempt Warning for SF/F Writers

A scam warning from Scalzi. This one seems to be targeting SF/F writers, but I imagine similar schemes exist for other genres, as well. I don’t always go to conventions, but when I do they’re legit cons run by good folks. Stay wary, my friends.

Whatever

Short version: If you’re a science fiction/fantasy writer who got an invitation to speak from Bexley College in the UK, someone’s trying to scam you.

Longer version:

Here’s an e-mail in my box today:

Greetings John Scalzi,

I am Prof. Arthur Peterson from Bexley College (Holly Hill Campus) here in London UK. We are officially writing to invite you and confirm your booking as our guest Speaker at this Year Bexley college Seminar which will take place here at the campus ground.

Bexley College (Holly Hill Campus).

The Venue as follows:
VENUE: Upper Holly Hill Road Belvedere, Kent
London, United Kingdom
POST CODE: DA17 6HF
Expected audience: 450 people(mainly students & invited guest). Duration of speech per speaker: 1 Hour
Name of Organization: Bexley College Campus.
Topic: ”Mystery of Life and Death”
Date: 18th February 2013

We reached your profile at http:// www.aboutsf.com// and we say it’s up to standard. The College…

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Reblog: Iconic Interviews – The book!

A series of “interviews” conducted with iconic figures from history and fantasy. Not for the timid. Not for the uptight. Not for the un-fun.

H.E. ELLIS

iicoverartebookFor those of you who just can’t get enough of the holiday spirit, consider purchasing the collaborative blogger eBook:

ICONIC INTERVIEWSThe world’s most beloved holiday icons presented in a collection of irreverent interviews that take on the backstory of their imagined existences.

Your favorite bloggers are interviewed as iconic holiday characters, each one zanier than the next. All proceeds from the purchase of this book are donated to the bloggers collective project known as Wrists Around The World. For a free copy of this eBook as well as additional works from H.E. Ellis visit: www.wristsaroundtheworld.com

AVAILABLE IN EBOOK FORMAT THROUGH SMASHWORDS

AVAILABLE IN EBOOK FORMAT THROUGH AMAZON

AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK THROUGH AMAZON

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I’D LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING BLOGGERS FOR THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION:

It’s Groundhog Day!

Joseph Wakefield as the Groundhog

It’s Cupid!

Talker96 as Cupid

Inaugural Spam

Joseph Wakefield as President Roosevelt

Michael Wakefield as President Jefferson

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