That Wacky Redhead

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Falkenburg CMII Donor

    Jan 9, 2011
    Congrats on the landmark, Brainbin. :cool:

    The next Update will be ready when it's ready and will certainly have been worth the wait.

    Onwards to 10,000! :D

  2. NCW8 The perils of dalek custard Donor

    Feb 9, 2011
    Congratulations !

    There's also the point that the 1996 film was supposed to be part of the tv series continuity (it started with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor) but was made by people who didn't really get Doctor Who - hence the "half-human" line that was even made fun of in the New Who.

    As Thande said, the 1966 movies were something of a continuity reboot, so can't be judged by the same standard of consistency. It would be like complaining that the Dark Knight doesn't fit the continuity of the Adam West tv series.

    Although it might seem a little early to be doing a continuity reboot, it is worth considering that no-one knew how long Doctor Who would run. In one interview, Bill Hartnell said that people laughed at him when he said that the series could run for five years. Terry Nation initially thought that the concept of Doctor Who was so ridiculous that he almost turned down the commission to write a script for the series. In the end he decided that he might as well take the money. This initial disbelief in the series is one reason why he killed off the Daleks at the end of that first story.

  3. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Apr 20, 2005
    Hmmm, hard one...but, as much as I was let down by the 1996 telefilm, I think there was a good faith effort to stay true to the series while updating it and making it accessible to an American audience - it just failed, that's all. I still would have them do things differently, but I don't think it was as much of a blatant rip-off.
  4. Threadmarks: 1978-79: Jockeying for Position

    Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    Jockeying For Position (1978-79)

    Every day, I thank God for my movie studio.

    – Charles Bluhdorn, Head of Gulf+Western Industries (owner of Paramount Pictures), April 4, 1978 [1]

    It had been a long time in coming, but the industry was still abuzz with the formal re-teaming of Lucille Ball and her one-time protégée, Carol Burnett. The latter’s variety show, a bulwark of the genre for over a decade, had come to an end in 1978. However, both she and her husband, Joe Hamilton, sought to land on their feet, and they were agreed that the ideal way to do so was to find a new vehicle for her many talents. By the end of the show’s run, a number of its sketches had become popular, but none more so than “The Family”, which starred Burnett as Eunice Harper Wilkins [2] and Vicki Lawrence as her grumpy, wisecracking “Mama”. In early sketches, prior to his departure from the series, Harvey Korman had played Ed Wilkins, Eunice’s husband; the two were subsequently divorced in the later sketches. Tim Conway and, later, Dick Van Dyke, generally played associates of Ed’s, but they were of lesser importance to the sketches, however much Conway in particular attempted to derail them with his raucous ad libbing. The other Harper children, particularly Roddy McDowall as Philip and Betty White as Ellen, appeared frequently, despite those actors having other regular series commitments at the time (with Planet of the Apes and Mary Tyler Moore, respectively). As the 1978-79 season commenced, both McDowall and White were out of work; their shows having also come to an end. The stars, it seemed, had truly aligned. The VP Production for Desilu, Brandon Tartikoff, seemed to like the idea of producing a
    “Family” spinoff. [3]

    The name of this prospective series was changed to Eunice, as “The Family” was deemed too similar to the contemporary domestic drama series, Family. Burnett, Lawrence, McDowall, and White were all tapped to star, with Korman agreeing to make occasional appearances – he would also direct for the series, alongside Desilu mainstay Leonard Nimoy, who appreciated the decision to continue with a stage-play approach to the material. Fred Silverman at ABC – who, per the agreement with the studio, was given right of first refusal over all Desilu projects – had no interest in the pilot; but it went over very well at NBC, where it was quickly sold and would premiere in the following season, just in time to replace The Questor Tapes on the studio roster. Gene Roddenberry, that show’s creator and executive producer, had naturally been given a fair shake at making another pitch, but his one half-baked idea was dismissed by Tartikoff as “ripping off an episode from The Twilight Zone, just with funnier-looking aliens”; the executive countered with a suggestion for a “Fort Apache in space” concept instead. [4] Roddenberry then spent the rest of the season working on it. Meanwhile, while her new show was in development, Burnett appeared on The Muppet Show; she had been a fan ever since it had first premiered. [5] Apart from Questor, Desilu continued to see remarkable success, with their three marquee shows (Rock Around the Clock, Three’s Company, and The Muppet Show) all remaining in the Top 10, lengthening a remarkable streak for the studio. However, Rock fell out of the #1 spot after three consecutive seasons, having been displaced by the nigh-unstoppable breakaway hit Richard Pryor Show.

    Pryor and the Muppets were the two highest-rated variety shows on American television, despite neither really being a proper example of the genre. However, the casts and crews of the two programs enjoyed a friendly rivalry that started during this season; The Muppet Show had cast the first stone when, after the raucous character of Animal engaged in some particularly outrageous antics during a sketch, Kermit the Frog memorably chastised him with “Who do you think you are, Robin Williams?” From that point forward, the game was afoot. Among the more prominent recurring characters on the second season of Pryor, created in response to this one-off gag, were a group of puppets described, variously, as the “Muffets”, the “Moppets”, and the “Mullets”; fittingly, their hairstyles were increasingly ridiculous (which doubled as a send-up of the notorious coifs which so defined late-1970s fashion); the Muppets in turn retaliated by featuring some particularly cheaply-made puppets, with the
    “real” Muppets behooving them to “get back to the Pryor show”. But it was no surprise that the Muppets had name-checked Williams specifically, despite Pryor quite literally being the nominal star of the show. The anarchic, hyperactive Williams was a natural attention-grabber, with only Pryor himself seeming able to match his intensity. It was more than likely that both of these gentlemen were only able to achieve their onscreen temperaments with… chemical assistance. The otherwise quite able supporting cast were largely left in the dust of the two male leads; most of them, to their credit, handled this sidelining with consummate professionalism, which was in many ways more than could be said for either Pryor or Williams.

    Paramount Television, much as had been the case at the dawn of the decade, was seeing most of its big premieres fly increasingly under the radar. Though not for lack of trying; the muse of the studio, Mary Tyler Moore, quite infamously attempted to make lightning strike twice when she branched into starring in an ill-fated variety program named Mary; her sweetness and wholesomeness stood out like a sore thumb against the mounting irreverence of the competition, and her show crashed and burned, becoming one of the signature flops of the season. More embarrassingly, on a personal note, it also served to end the practice of nicknaming Paramount Television “the House that Mary Built”, an obvious aping of the popular nickname for Desilu at the time (which was, itself, fading out of fashion as the dominance of those shows produced by Have Gun – Will Travel writers was coming to an end). Perhaps the relative anonymity secured by the other Paramount show to premiere in the 1978-79 season was more desirable for the studio. WMTM in Cincinnati [6] was devised by Hugh Wilson, who based the premise – a new station manager hired to run an over-the-hill radio station – on his own experiences working in that medium. The titular WMTM station played “beautiful music”, one of the defining popular genres of the 1970s, perhaps unfairly maligned in certain corners; however, the format was changed to rock-and-roll at the insistence of the new manager. This allowed the show to play hit songs of the genre, more-or-less on demand; in an uncharacteristic act of foresight, studio executives made sure to licence the rights to these songs in perpetuity, inspired by Desilu and their consistent track record in syndication and, more recently, in their pioneering CED venture with RCA. [7] WMTM failed to clear the Top 30 for the season, but ratings with those precious and valuable demographics who did watch were more just about sufficient to justify continued production; this despite the fact that many higher-ups at Paramount were not particularly fond of the series.

    Meanwhile, Taxi Drivers continued to draw critical plaudits on par with the most beloved exemplars from the studio’s roster of character sitcoms, despite just barely managing to place within the Top 30 for the season. As with WMTM, though, it was especially popular with the right kinds of viewers, despite its overall limited success. As far as established hits went, the irrepressible Rhoda remained in the Top 10, with Valerie Harper, the show’s star, becoming the highest-paid actor (male or female) on television. (It helped on that score that Carroll O’Connor, the previous record-holder for Those Were the Days, had seen his show end in the previous season). Her one-time Mary Tyler Moore co-star Ed Asner continued to hold down his own fort, with Lou Grant maintaining respectable ratings, much on par with those once held by its mother series. Despite their shared origins, the odds of a crossover happening between the two programs were virtually nil – it was hard to find two shows in the Paramount stable that were more divergent, despite their shared success. It wasn’t a whole lot, but it was all that Paramount Television had to offer. Tentative plans to air some form of continuation to Journey of the Force, perhaps in the form of a holiday special, were nixed by none other than George Lucas, who refused to condone such a blatant cash grab as long as none of said cash would be filling his coffers. Despite the triumphant example of the Star Trek miniseries in the previous season, Paramount could offer no rebuttal. Charles Bluhdorn wasn’t seen to mind too much, however, having largely written off his television division as unprofitable – quite literally, in fact. The Journey of the Force revenues had to be frittered away somewhere.

    Speaking of Carol Burnett and of Those Were the Days, Penny Marshall, who had played Gloria Bunker-Higgins in the latter show, had decided to start her own production company, Lucky Penny Productions. She used it to pitch her own sitcom – with the help of some scribes formerly in the employ of Tandem Productions, particularly their token woman writer, Linda Bloodworth [8] – which would feature Marshall as a blue-collar worker, a single, mature woman making an honest living in a traditionally male occupation. Marshall was particularly interested in directing for the series, as well as starring in it; she had never gotten the opportunity to do so on Those Were the Days, which she often derisively described as a “boys’ club”. Carroll O’Connor himself, in later years, would admit that they really had no idea what to make of women’s issues, choosing to focus on racial and class-based topics instead, and largely deferring to Marshall (and later Bloodworth). Her new show was due to premiere in the following season.

    The 1978-79 season largely saw the decline of variety programming outside of the (parodical) Muppet Show and (the sketch-comedy-oriented) Richard Pryor; “traditional” shows were virtually moribund, even notwithstanding the example of Mary. Donny and Marie, a breakout hit not two years before, would not see the end of the season; the heartthrob lead, Donny Osmond, had married young (as was the wont of Mormon faithful), which had catastrophic effects on the female viewing audience of his program. And just as a marriage had hobbled the success of one variety show, divorce had hobbled the success of another; in earlier years, The Sonny and Cher Show had proven utterly unable to survive the dissolution of the union between its stars, with abortive attempts at revivals (which Cher, rather than Sonny, headlined) going nowhere fast.

    It was fast becoming clear as the 1970s drew to a close that the one producer whose destiny would be firmly tied to (and, consequently, left behind in) that decade was Norman Lear. His Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman parody had gone off the air, leaving him with only two shows – Moving on Up and One Day at a Time – still running. Despite their topical premises – nouveau riche black family and single mother raising her children, respectively – the overall execution was generally apolitical; Moving on Up star Sherman Hemsley was increasingly disdainful of his character’s racism and felt that it should have faded after constant exposure to the mixed-race couple that were his son’s in-laws. Meanwhile, One Day at a Time found the cast hijacked by the presence of a kooky comic relief handyman character, who quickly became a breakout hit with the audience; the single mother was also sidelined by her attractive young daughters, who became very popular with young male viewers, for all the obvious reasons.

    Despite the ultimate failure of Mary Hartman, fellow soap opera parody Soap continued to remain in the Top 30. In fact, the genre was catching on so insidiously that producers began to develop serious soap operas to debut on primetime television in the coming seasons. Indeed, even those shows that were not explicitly melodramatic did not shy away from the frothy, the sublime, and the ridiculous. Muted realism was on the way out, much as it had driven the madcap, surreal, and escapist shows of the late-1960s out of the picture beforehand. In fact, it was not the least bit surprising that the more lighthearted programming of yesteryear could recapture the popular imagination, considering that so many 1960s classics remained on the airwaves, in syndication. Desilu SEVP Herbert F. Solow was heard to remark that, as far he was concerned, in many ways it was “still the 1960s” – Star Trek was ubiquitous in syndication, and Mission: Impossible was only rare by comparison with its sister series. The many shows produced at Desilu by other companies – The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Hogan’s Heroes among them – were also mainstays of the airwaves.

    Overall, ABC remained the ratings champion once again in the 1978-79 season, with fifteen shows in the Top 30, good for fully half of the roster. The Alphabet Network also managed to pull off this feat within the Top 10, with five shows on that list. In second place was NBC, with an equitable ten shows in the Top 30; the Peacock Network also hit at par in the Top 10, with three shows there, including The Richard Pryor Show at #1. Finally, CBS continued to lag behind, this season falling to a precariously low position; only five of their shows appeared in the Top 30, though they repeated their feat from the previous season in securing two spots in the Top 10 – in fact, they were the very same shows
    : 60 Minutes and Rhoda. In fact, the Top 10 proved surprisingly static in general; not a single new show joined the upper echelon this season. [9]

    At the Emmy Awards that year, Taxi Drivers surprisingly won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series; most observers had expected Captain Miller (which pulled in much better ratings, and was about as critically acclaimed) to repeat. Then again, the Emmys were known for their patronage of quality shows with problematic ratings; that ceremony, perhaps more than any other single source, had helped rescue Those Were the Days from oblivion in its infancy. Miller, meanwhile, was allowed a very fine consolation prize of Outstanding Lead Actor for its star, Hal Linden. Soap also won two acting Emmys: Lead Actress went to Katherine Helmond and Supporting Actor to Robert Guillaume. The two actors, who were good friends in real life, memorably embraced backstage as they held their awards; the picture would headline the entertainment section in most newspapers the following morning, with Baba Wawa on the Today Show describing it as “a heartwarming moment”. Outstanding Drama Series was awarded to Lou Grant, in a double-whammy for Paramount; the star, Ed Asner, won for Outstanding Lead Actor. Outstanding Variety Series, obviously, went to The Richard Pryor Show; Robin Williams also won an Emmy for his performance on the program. Williams, a notorious ad-libber, courted controversy when, accepting his award, he asked if the Academy was planning to give him one for his “writing” as well. (They weren’t.) [10] His remarks stirred their fair share of ire from the higher-ups, but in many ways, the studios had bigger fish to fry…


    [1] The night before, Journey of the Force won Best Picture, the second for the studio in the 1970s (after Chinatown). For contextual reference: Bluhdorn is quoted as saying this largely in response to the disappointing performance of the television division of his company, which, recall, he had to build from scratch.

    [2] The name “Higgins” was used IOTL for Michael and Gloria on Those Were the Days, another CBS show. Wilkins was chosen instead; it shared a similarity with that of another Burnett character, Mrs. Wiggins (as Higgins obviously did and does), while at the same time being different enough from the already-used name on the other show.

    [3] IOTL, “The Family” sketches did spin-off into a reasonably popular sitcom called Mama’s Family, though Vicki Lawrence’s character of “Mama” Thelma Harper was the star, and Carol Burnett’s Eunice appeared in only a handful of episodes (all before the show was initially cancelled, and later revived in first-run syndication); this was because of the acrimonious divorce taking place contemporaneously between Burnett and her then-husband, Joe Hamilton, who received the rights to the “Family” characters and situations. However, prior to the launch of Mama’s Family in 1982, Burnett had attempted to launch her own take on the characters, which was somewhat truer to the original sketches; this didn’t get any farther than a one-off special, entitled Eunice, which aired in 1981. As far as I know, this special was never repeated, nor released on home video – but fortunately, some enterprising viewer used one of his newfangled VTR machines to record the whole thing and, as of this writing, it is available on YouTube.

    [4] This half-baked idea would indeed develop into the first of Roddenberry’s two OTL posthumous series, Earth: Final Conflict. Meanwhile, “Fort Apache in space” was a term used (by analogy with the famous “Wagon Train to the Stars”) to describe an OTL spinoff of Star Trek which was set almost exclusively at a space station (later seasons did feature a starship on which some actual trekking was done); it may not surprise you to learn that Tartikoff himself was involved with the development of that series.

    [5] Burnett also appeared on an episode of The Muppet Show in 1980 IOTL, which won an Emmy for its writing.

    [6] IOTL, the show was known as WKRP in Cincinnati – MTM (named, of course, after Mary Tyler Moore) comes from name of the studio which produced it, which obviously does not exist ITTL, allowing those letters to be used here instead. For those who are unaware, the first letter, the W, is standard in all television and radio call signs in the United States, east of the Mississippi River (K is used west of it), though there are exceptions. Most stations use four letters, though a few have three instead.

    [7] Yes, this means that WMTM, and all future shows with a reliance on copyrighted music, will be able to retain the originally-used recordings on home video.

    [8] Bloodworth (later, Bloodworth-Thomason) got her big break IOTL writing for M*A*S*H, which never became a television series ITTL; therefore, she decided to hitch her wagon to the Tandem stable, fulfilling much the same role on the writing staff there that she did on M*A*S*H (avid fans of that show may notice a complete turnaround in the character of Hot-Lips; she is largely responsible). IOTL, she went on to create Designing Women, and her company produced several other programs of the early 1990s.

    [9] IOTL, ABC had a whopping 17 shows in the Top 30 (of which an even more impressive seven finished within the Top 10); CBS had nine shows in the Top 30, and the remaining three in the Top 10; and NBC managed to maintain a mere four slots in the Top 30. Their highest-rated show was Little House on the Prairie, at #14. The #1 show on the air was Laverne and Shirley, on ABC, for the second consecutive season.

    [10] Those wins IOTL which did match those of TTL were as follows: Carroll O’Connor won for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for All in the Family); Ruth Gordon won for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (for Taxi); Ron Leibman won for
    Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Kaz); Outstanding Variety Series went to Steve and Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin (what can I say? The category was largely adrift by this point IOTL); and Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, which went to Robin Williams ITTL, was not awarded that year (nor until 1984, in fact) IOTL. Prior to 1979, the category was split according to gender, ITTL and IOTL.


    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our final full cycle of the 1970s! It seems that I describe virtually every season as one of transition – such is the case in a fluid medium like television. It may be hard to believe in our age of instant gratification and information moving at the speed of light, but once upon a time, television was the most topical medium available; with the technological advances that will make themselves known in the coming years, that will become even more apparent.

    These coming updates are going to be… denser than in cycles past, part of the reason why this overview seems far more laden with foreshadowing and tantalizing hints than usual. I must admit, it brings me a great deal of relief, because when I first started writing this timeline, lo those many moons ago, I was worried that I might run out of topics to discuss by the time we got here. On the contrary, now I’m hoping to find room for it all! But worry not; I’ll manage ;)
    Mackon likes this.
  5. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Jul 22, 2010
    New England
    When are we going to learn about the urban environment of the United States?
  6. LordInsane Supporter of the Alliance

    One wonders how Gene Roddenberry's Fort Apache IN SPACE will do ('will do' including here the question of if it will even get beyond the planning stage) - and how will the Trekkies (especially the Puritans, given their slight tendency towards Gene Roddenberry) take to it (assuming it gets shown)?
  7. Dan1988 Vamos abrir a porta da esperança!

    Feb 23, 2007
    ATL Royaume du Canada
    Well, that was a very good update, Brainbin. I rather liked it.
  8. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

    Nov 27, 2008
    Halfway to Anywhere
    Given that the Brainbin always posts updates in the order they're listed in the cycle intro post, it should be next. However, rushing would mean perhaps not living up to the stellar standards this TL usually holds to, so I'm content to wait for "when it comes." I've been looking forward to it, too, so I'd like to see it done as well as it can be. :)

    Anyway, as always a great update. Some interesting details about Star Trek--shades of some kind of DS9-type setting, but will it be the same without the DS9 excellent ensemble management? That has interesting potential for butterflies. Also, as a resident of the Cincinnati area and a fan of the show, hooray for news about, WMTM! Interesting how much it survived in spite of the network both IOTL and apparently ITTL.
  9. LordInsane Supporter of the Alliance

    There's likely another key difference: DS9 was set in a pre-established setting, with an established fanbase and much world-building already done. Gene Roddenberry's new show here, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be a Star Trek show...
  10. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

    Nov 27, 2008
    Halfway to Anywhere
    *facepalm* You're right! I'm so used to Roddenberry=Trek that I just jumped right to conclusions. Nice catch. Okay, now I'm really interested to see what comes of this.
  11. Thande Memo to self, don't create any more politicians Donor

    Jan 22, 2005
    Good update--though as before with these US TV focused ones I only follow about 30% of the references ;)

    Babylon 5 might be a better comparison in that case.
  12. LordInsane Supporter of the Alliance

    Yes, although depending on how Roddenberry's new show ends up developing before (if) it gets to television, there might be a key difference that could shift it closer to the Star Trek space-station focused show: the 'Alamo in space' starts out as a fairly unimportant frontier station (in other words as, well, Alamo, in space) rather than as a dedicated diplomatic installation supposed to bring states together (New York-in-the-role-of-UN-Headquarters-city IN SPACE, so to speak).
  13. stevep Member

    Mar 21, 2006

    Good update although as a fellow Brit I have the same problem as Thande. Wondering if that comment about the "kooky comic relief handyman character" means a spin off develops.;)

    On the Fort Apache in Space, if Gene's involved I'm doubtful it will end up as gritty as Bab5 as he seems to have been too much of an idealist to get something as grim as Bab5 was at times. Not sure it would necessarily be non-Federation as someone suggested. Surely it would make more sense to have the series set in the Star Trek universe as that sets up some of the back-plot and taps into support of the original show? Also, since it would not, apart from possibly the odd guest appearance, use any of the original cast, it would enable a move beyond them and the accumulative problems involved.

  14. Andrew T Kick 'em when they're up!

    Aug 14, 2011
    As usual, a great update, Brainbin!

    I never liked Mama's Family, and if it hadn't actually happened, I would say that it emerging with new episodes in first-run syndication nearly ten years after Carol Burnett's involvement would be ASB. But of course, so much of reality seems ASB to me. :)

    I love this, but you've now taken on the burden of figuring out the long-term effect of Richard Pryor successfully adapting his act to comply with the broadcast standards & practices in effect for prime-time television in 1978 will have on the balance of what was, IOTL, a spectacularly filthy (and hilarious) career.

    The Muppet Show had cast the first stone when, after the raucous character of Animal engaged in some particularly outrageous antics during a sketch, Kermit the Frog memorably chastised him with “Who do you think you are, Robin Williams?

    I challenge anyone reading this to not read that line in your head in Jim Henson's voice. :)

    LISA: Dad, what's a muppet?

    HOMER: Well, it's not quite a mop, and it's not quite a puppet, but man... [laughs] So, to answer your question: I don't know.

    BART: Why'd they make that one muppet out of leather?

    MARGE: That's not a leather muppet, that's Troy McClure!

    I like to picture the iconic desk scene from Scarface, myself.

    Brilliant! Are there any casting changes ITTL? I seem to recall thinking there would be a conflict with someone earlier -- maybe something about Howard Hesseman? I honestly can't recall.

    Both strike me as quite plausible.

    I can't believe nobody else has jumped on to commend you for sparing this universe the Star Wars Holiday Special! :D

    It'll be interesting to see how the butterflies strike Laverne & Shirley.

    Oh no you don't -- you can't blame Soap for TTL's equivalent of *Dynasty!

    How very, very convergently clever of you! IOTL, Soap was shut out in 1979 but Richard Mulligan won Lead Actor (edging out Guillaume, who by that time was a lead in his own right in the first season of the spin-off Benson) and Cathryn Damon won Lead Actress. Helmond was nominated for Lead Actress IOTL in 1979; she lost, rather inexplicably, to Ruth Gordon's guest appearance on an episode of Taxi. Nice to see that injustice rectified here. And with TTL's faster-tracked race relations, Guillaume's win is equally plausible.

    Indeed it is. Well done.

    Lou Grant won IOTL as well; Ed Asner was nominated but lost to the guy who played the union organizer in Norma Rae in a low-rated series I've never heard of.

    As far as I can tell, not an award ITTL.

    Great stuff, as usual.... :)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  15. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Apr 20, 2005
    Sounds like Robin Williams is filling the cultural space John Belushi would OTL - which makes me wonder what he's doing ITTL.
  16. Glen ASB & Left Hand of IAN Moderator

    Apr 20, 2005
    So looking into this, absent butterflies it still seems plausible that the early careers of Ramis and Belushi could go along a similar vein leading to some version of Animal House with Belushi in it - I suspect this would be Belushi's breakout role and he would go on to do more movies, but not TV.

    Sadly, this timeline will not have any version of the Blues Brothers!
  17. Brainbin Kingpin of the Cultural Cartel

    Jul 26, 2009
    The British Empire
    Thank you all for your replies to my latest update! As always, my responses to your replies, but first...

    Thank you, Falkenburg :)

    Well, I hope you thought so after the fact as well.

    Whoa! We're... a quarter of... the way there! WHOA-OH!

    Thank you, Nigel.

    Or complaining that a certain recent reboot film doesn't fit the continuity of a decades-older original series? ;)

    Funnily enough, and speaking of the Dark Knight, the Joker was very nearly killed off at the end of his first appearance in the Batman comic.

    Now that would make an intriguing POD...

    Being neither a fan of the original Doctor Who nor the revival, and not having seen the 1996 telefilm, I can't offer my own input on the issue, though I will say that you're probably cutting it too much slack (and, conversely, piling too hard on the Peter Cushing films). But I'm not one to judge; that would be the pot calling the kettle black.

    e of pi has it - the very next update will cover 1970s-era urbanity.

    Excellent questions, LordInsane - and they will be answered, in due time.

    Thank you, Dan! I always appreciate your kind words :)

    Thank you!

    Well, now, I had a feeling I couldn't get away with leaving that one out. Call it... intuition :p

    This is definitely something to bear in mind as "Fort Apache in space" moves ahead.

    Thank you, Thande, and 30% is still better than nothing - especially when it results in a complimentary reply!

    A lot of this has to do with what makes Roddenberry tick ITTL. I'll be talking more about that in the future as well; the book on the "Great Bird" has yet to be closed.

    Well, it never happened IOTL, but not for lack of trying; it only got as far as a backdoor pilot, though.

    One more vote for "not Star Trek" then. To paraphrase Captain Kirk: I'll keep that in mind... when this becomes a democracy :cool:

    Thank you, Andrew!

    Clearly, the "Family" sketches, in all their iterations, had an audience. I'm not really a fan, myself, but I watched the Eunice special (which I linked to in the footnotes of the update) and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It really captured the poignancy of their situation. Even IOTL, Mama's Family was very much a 1970s sitcom in spirit, awkwardly trying to fit the 1980s "family sitcom" model and suffering for it - I think there's more purity, more honesty to the Eunice approach. Burnett having far more than her OTL peripheral involvement will also prove beneficial for the show - Lawrence was good and surprisingly convincing as Mama, but Burnett complemented her nicely.

    Pryor himself referenced this idea in one of the sketches of the OTL series (which, naturally, exists ITTL as well) in which he emerges on stage wearing a full-body stocking (providing a sight gag in response to the notion that his comedy has been "castrated" with him on primetime television). Although he obviously isn't no-holds-barred on this show, it's definitely the defining envelope-pusher of its day, much like the contemporary Saturday Night Live of OTL, and Laugh-In for the previous generation. (And like Laugh-In, there's a lot of allowing the audience to fill in the blanks mentally, which lets them get away with more than you might think).

    Mission accomplished :D

    That isn't nearly enough for those two. I would say it's more like them luging down a "snow"-covered hill. And yes, they're lying prone instead of supine.
    There's bound to be some cast changes, especially with the ladies (it's a sad fact of show business that beauty matters far more to an actress than talent - even back in the 1970s, though obviously not to the same extent as today). As far as I know, there's nothing specifically keeping Hesseman from playing Johnny Fever. The likeliest holdovers from OTL are Gordon Jump, Richard Sanders, and Frank Bonner, just because you can't keep character actor types like them down.

    Those demos (along with excellent word-of-mouth and strong critical reviews) saved the show from early cancellation IOTL.

    As widely hated as that special is (and, for the most part, very deservedly so), it did introduce Nelvana Limited (one of the finest animation studios of the 1980s and 1990s - and Canadian, to boot) to the general public, and it contained a grand total of one half-decent performance - given by Bea Arthur as Ackmena. If ever anyone doubts this woman's talent, they should simply watch her single-handedly elevate the ridiculousness into something downright poignant and memorable.

    Well no, of course not - *Dallas is going to be responsible for *Dynasty, but Soap will be responsible for *Dallas, just as IOTL :p

    Believe it or not, it's not a rare occurrence for a guest performer (though usually one of some renown) to win an Emmy for Lead Actor. As recently as 1992 IOTL, Christopher Lloyd pulled it off for a one-shot guest appearance in Road to Avonlea. (Then again, looking at his fellow nominees that year, I can't say I'm too outraged.) There's not really a great deal of quality control as far as Emmy nominations go - just a few years ago, they infamously nominated Ellen Burstyn for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries for a fourteen-second cameo. (At least that got a sufficient backlash.) Helmond never won any Emmys IOTL, so I'm happy to give her one here.

    Thank you. You can actually find a few nearly-contemporary pictures of the two of them out-of-character (taken at the premiere of the 1980 film Seems Like Good Times, in which Guillaume co-starred) online, such as this one. It's not exactly an embrace, but it does help to confirm reports that the two were (and are) good friends.

    He also played Rachel's father in Friends - that's how I know him, anyway.

    IOTL, the award was by this time formally known as Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Program, and was not awarded to any regular, recurring variety show between 1978 (The Muppet Show) and 1989 (The Tracey Ullman Show), demonstrative of the moribund status of the genre in the 1980s.

    An excellent comparison.
  18. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Jul 22, 2010
    New England
    How much longer.
  19. e of pi Layers on Top of Layers

    Nov 27, 2008
    Halfway to Anywhere
    Hold your jets, man. It'll happen when it happens. If it's not posted, then it isn't ready, and asking for it faster is only apt to make him either A) rush and do work that's not up to his usual levels or B) not want to bother because you seem a little ungrateful or unappreciative of the work that goes into these when you start demanding the next update the day after the last one and then never let up.
  20. stevep Member

    Mar 21, 2006

    Sorry, are you being sarky here or are we at cross purposes?;) I was pointing out why it is probably more likely that the new series would be set in the same ST universe. Or did you mean a vote for a Federation setting but not using Enterprise or the original crew characters?