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Useless Friday Daydreams

Sometimes things get lodged in your brain and you can’t really get them out.

Anybody in the arts has this problem. You’re working on one thing, but this other idea keeps creeping in at the edges, the thing you’d really rather be working on. Sooner or later you end up just giving in and doing the project you can’t stop thinking about.

The trouble comes in when the daydream that’s distracting you from the thing you should be working on is a project that you can’t possibly ever do. Fan-fiction things, basically.

I know that there is a thriving community of fanfic writers out there and I certainly don’t begrudge any of them…. in fact, when I was starting to write stories myself some twenty-five years ago fanfic was what I warmed up with (that story is recounted here.) Not too long after that, though, I started to crack magazine markets and I figured it was time to put the fan fiction behind me and concentrate on the stuff I was getting paid for.

But that doesn’t mean you actually turn off the fanfic-idea generator that lives in your head. It keeps spitting out story premises and plots and springboards. Wouldn’t it be cool if this happened? Hey, those two characters were both fighting that at the same time — what if they met? And so on. You know you shouldn’t be wasting time daydreaming about it, you’ve got a real editor bugging you about a real deadline… but the idea doesn’t go away.

Peter David coined the term for this and I’m happy to give credit where it’s due — he called them Useless Stories. (You can find a couple of his in the first collection of his But I Digress columns… “Quantum Beast,” his story of how Sam Beckett leaps into the body of the man-beast Vincent to save the unborn child of Catherine Chandler, remains a favorite of mine.)

So today I thought I’d put up a couple of the premises that keep bouncing around in my head, just for fun. Maybe then my subconscious will file them under ‘finished’ and I can stop thinking about them.

*

Strange Shadows: The original Dark Shadows television show was pretty nuts, but that was nothing compared to the Dark Shadows comics. They were much more about interdimensional travel and apocalyptic demon battles than the gothic soap opera horror you saw on the TV version, and the comics were successful enough for Gold Key that they continued to be published long after the show itself was canceled.

In particular, there’s a scene from the comic that’s stuck with me for decades — and it’s killing me that I can’t track down the issue, because I really wanted to show you the page. I’m pretty sure that it must have been from #34, but my original copy is long gone, and I haven’t been able to replace it.

I THINK it was this one.

I can’t remember much of the actual comic, I couldn’t tell you the plot to save my life — but the scene, the moment, I’ve never forgotten.

At one point, Barnabas Collins, or Quentin, or somebody, I forget who — but the character is trying to get back to our world from a magical dimension, and he achieves an exit through a mystic artifact held “by a sorcerer living in Greenwich Village.” In the panel where this is shown, you see a young woman looking shocked at the spectacle of Barnabas — or whoever — emerging from a crystal ball and she reacts by yelling “Stephen!”

Well, really, how many sorcerers named Stephen live in Greenwich Village?-- Although, now that I think about it, there might actually be more than one. After all, it IS the Village.

Obviously this was a little Easter egg for those of us who were Dr. Strange fans, and since John Warner, who was writing the book at the time, also worked at Marvel it’s not surprising that he’d amuse himself with a little aside like that.

But the idea lodged in my teenaged geek brain and it’s still bouncing around in there, thirty-five years later. Barnabas Collins in the Sanctum. Dr. Strange in Collinwood.

It just makes sense to me that these two would have run into each other.

Barnabas Collins, after all, wasn’t just a vampire. He often dabbled in sorcery and spellcasting, and certainly after the incident in Doc’s sanctum Barnabas would have found a way to turn this newfound knowledge to his advantage somehow. He’d obsess over the idea that there was a house in Greenwich Village full of powerful mystic artifacts… that maybe he could use one of them to remove his vampiric curse once and for all.

In particular, Barnabas might have tried to employ some magical implement of Doc’s to travel back in time and maybe murder the witch Angelique before she could place the vampire curse on him in the first place.

Angelique often made Barnabas her bitch even after cursing him. It's plausible that he'd get fed up with it.

(Time travel was something you saw a lot on the original Dark Shadows.)

Perhaps something goes awry. Perhaps Barnabas succeeds in his plan but in so doing, creates a time paradox. Perhaps, despite her evil, Angelique is somehow necessary– perhaps she is even her era’s Sorcerer Supreme, charged with protecting this plane from all manner of other-dimensional nasties, and her tormenting of Barnabas was just a hobby. Whatever. The point is, Barnabas’ plan goes wrong somehow and it’s something that only Dr. Strange (and Clea, because I’m old-school) can put right… which, of course, would put Stephen and Barnabas in deadly conflict, and doubtless Angelique would be playing both sides against the middle.

Wizards, vampires, time travel, hot babes in Victorian dress. Gothic horror tinged with Ditko cosmic weirdness. Come on, wouldn’t Gene Colan and Tom Palmer just draw the hell out of that? (If you’re going to daydream, dream big.)

*

Various and Sundry Leagues: The one guy in comics that genuinely succeeded in making his fan-fiction daydreams pay off is Alan Moore…. both in Lost Girls and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The premise of the League, in particular– teaming up different characters from various literary classics against a common foe– caught the imagination of fan fiction writers everywhere, especially the idea that there have been various incarnations of the League throughout history.

The series that launched a thousand fanfics.

The premise I see that keeps cropping up is the 1960s-70s incarnation of the League, peopled with the different super-spy characters so popular at the time. I admit that I have played with ideas for that group myself… it’s an irresistible notion if you grew up in that era.

The trick is to come up with a plausible roster without too much duplication of personalities — after all, there’s not really that much difference between James Bond, Napoleon Solo, and John Steed as characters. They’re all suave super-spies who are highly intelligent and athletic. There’s not enough variety in their demeanor or their approach to defeating supervillains. If you’re doing some version of the League you want to keep it an interesting mix of people and also make sure that each one would have a discrete skill set that complements the talents of the others

Bearing that in mind, my lineup for the League of Swinging London would be Illya Kuryakin from UNCLE, Derek Flint, Barney Collier from the IMF, Gary Seven and Isis from “Assignment: Earth,” and of course, the group would be led by Emma Peel.


My picks for the Swinging Mod League... your mileage may vary, of course.

(Because if you’re really doing Alan Moore’s League you need a woman for the leader.) Their target? A reborn SPECTRE, masterminded by a vengeful Irma Bunt after the death of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Irma was, after all, the only Bond villain to get away completely clean in both the book and the movies-- even after murdering Bond's wife of a day. It would make sense that you'd need a League to take her down.

But that’s just shooting the breeze, kibitzing the other swinging-spy-era versions of the League I’ve seen offered up on the net. I don’t really have a story idea for that.

No, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1970s riff that I actually have plotted out, often conceive of further refinements for, and generally can’t stop thinking about is the Kenneth Johnson version.

Kenneth Johnson, for those of you that weren’t SF nerds coming of age in the late 1970s and early 80s, is a screenwriter and producer who worked on The Six Million Dollar Man and went on to create The Bionic Woman, V, and the television incarnations of The Incredible Hulk and Alien Nation. He even did Marvel-style superhero crossover events for television… the menace of Dr. Franklin’s fembots and the android Sasquatch from outer space were both such huge stories that they bounced from The Six Million Dollar Man to The Bionic Woman and back again.

Supervillainy so epic one TV show couldn't contain it!

So anyway, my point is that Kenneth Johnson’s action heroes are not strangers to the idea of a crossover, and they really lend themselves to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen premise.

All right? Preceding was preamble. Now we get to the heart of it. This is the League idea that won’t leave me alone:

In the original miniseries V, the alien Visitors come to Earth for allegedly benevolent purposes, but they’re really evil reptilian fascists in human guise. But what brought Earth to the attention of the Visitors in the first place?

How about this — the Visitors actually came to our world to retrieve their lost slave ship. The one full of Tenctonese refugees from Alien Nation.

But once they arrived in-system, their scans of Earth revealed a planet so incredibly rich in natural resources compared to their homeworld that they immediately sent word to their masters that here was a world ripe for assimilation into the V’s empire. Whereupon they worked out the scheme to approach Earth not as conquerors, but rather as friendly visitors in human suits. Not only would this aid in their infiltration, but it would also prevent them from being recognized by any of their former captives from Tencton.

The slavers and the enslaved.

So then you have the events of the original V mini-series, the rise of the human resistance under the leadership of Juliet Parrish and Mike Donovan. You may recall that the Resistance learns of another alien race that’s fighting the Visitors and the last scene is Juliet and her rebels planting a beacon in hopes of summoning those other aliens to Earth to help in the battle.

Now, after that, let’s suppose that Jaime Sommers, relatively isolated up in Ojai, manages to escape the Vistors’ initial takeover sweep through the government. But she’s on the run, a wanted fugitive after the Visitors commandeer the OSI’s offices and laboratory in Washington D.C. and murder both Oscar Goldman and Jaime’s husband, Colonel Steve Austin. Dr. Rudy Wells is gone too… after all, the Vs were very emphatic about the need to round up all scientists and put them in camps to be executed.

But the one thing Oscar and Rudy did manage to do before they were killed was destroy all records of OSI’s involvement in bionics. For the moment, Jaime’s under the radar, just trying to stay alive — but she has sworn that she will get payback eventually.

As fate would have it her flight takes her through the Los Angeles area where Juliet and the Resistance have set up their beacon. With her enhanced bionic hearing, Jaime can not only hear the message, but she recognizes the frequency. It’s the same one she heard at the alien enclave in the Sierras, the hidden explorer’s outpost with Shalon’s people and their android Bigfoot. Those people are the race the Visitors are having their space war with.

It's almost scary how easily these elements fit together....

Galvanized by this realization, Jaime makes her way to the Resistance and persuades Juliet Parrish that it’s worth trying to get a team through the Visitor blockade to Shalon’s hidden outpost.

I swear it writes itself...

Shalon and her people have abandoned it but there’s got to be some communications equipment left, maybe weapons. And possibly even a big-ass robot Sasquatch. This could be the technological breakthrough the human race needs to reclaim their planet!

It’s worth a try. Juliet tells Jaime that she can’t go alone. She assigns a team — former mercenary Ham Tyler, who knows the underground routes up and down the west coast better than anyone; angry young Tenctonese rebel Buck Francisco, whose facility with alien languages will come in handy; and a new guy, a nervous and taciturn medic named David Blake. Although Blake doesn’t talk much about his background, his remarkable expertise in both biochemistry and radiation has proven to be invaluable to the Resistance. “Clearly Blake is hiding something, but I think he’s a good man,” Juliet tells Jaime. “You can trust him.”

All damaged people with their own agendas... and secrets. Perfect for a League.

The alert reader will of course have realized that David Blake is in reality David Banner, long presumed dead after the accident that turned him into the incredible Hulk.

The television Hulk was enough of a new creation that I think he qualifies for inclusion, despite being an adaptation rather than a Kenneth Johnson original.

As always, Banner is torn between his need to lie low and his desire to help others. The mission is dangerous and possibly the stress could bring out the Creature he continually struggles to suppress. But, he reasons, there might be something in the alien outpost that could help him… Jaime’s spoken of a cure-all Shalon’s people called Neotraxin. Maybe this is a way out of not just the global nightmare of alien fascism, but out of his own personal hell, as well.

Meanwhile, despite the social upheaval brought by the arrival of the Visitors, life goes on as before for many people. One of those people is reporter Jack McGee, who’s been tracking the Hulk for years now. He’s followed the man who becomes the Creature, the man he knows only as “John Doe,” to Los Angeles. McGee knows that John Doe has become active in the underground Resistance and so he joins up himself, in the hope that eventually he will run across his quarry. He just misses the departure of Jaime and her team, but he does manage to learn their mission.

McGee doesn’t care about the Visitors or their objectives or anything other than his own hunt. The quest to capture the Hulk has consumed him, it’s become his entire life. He decides to go to Diana and strike a bargain with the Visitors. “I can find these people for you. I know where they’re going and what they’re after. I just want one thing out of the deal.”

Of course these two would find common cause...

“And what might that be?”

McGee’s grin is, in its own way, even scarier than Diana’s. “When you take them — John Doe is mine.”

Meanwhile, Jaime’s informed her team that there’s going to be a slight detour on the way to the Sierras. Their expedition is short one member. “If that outpost is there — if that technology is going to help us — then we’ll need an expert in cybernetics. Since Rudy Wells is dead, that means there’s only one man left in North America who has a hope in hell of getting that place up and running. His name is Dr. Carl Franklin.”

You go to war with the army you have....

“Where is he?” Tyler is not pleased. “How long is this going to take?”

“Welllll….” Jaime grimaces, then shrugs. “That’s the catch. We’ll have to break him out of prison….”

–I could go on and on. Really, I’m just getting started. But it’s a completely Useless Story. There’s so many different rights issues to untangle that even if by some miracle a publisher was interested in it there’d be no way to actually make it happen.

Still, though, it’s an entertaining daydream. At least for me.

*

Of course, the master of this sort of fan-fiction continuity improv was the late Philip José Farmer, who gave us the Wold Newton Universe — or, as my friend Bret once termed it, “The Unified Field Theory of pulp fiction.” Farmer wrote a whole series of books based on the idea that there is a genealogical link between all of the great heroes of the pulps and other adventure fiction, and over the years many more authors and fans have added to the literature of the subject. You can spend hours browsing the web site, here.

As it happens, that Wold Newton site is maintained and updated by writer and friend of the blog Win Eckert. And he has recently compiled two handsome volumes just full of continuity freak goodness. If you’ve enjoyed the above goofing off, I guarantee you, you’ll love these books.

A delightful gift for that hard-to-buy-for continuity nerd in your life.

And with that, I think I’ll call it a day. Happy holidays to everyone out there, no matter what particular ritual you observe this time of year.

Me, I got so wound up writing all that up there I think I might have to drag out my DVDs of V and the Hulk… and maybe daydream a little.

See you next week.

26 Comments

The original V, the new Dark Shadows, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman (old and new), I remember watching all these shows.

You should have also mentioned “The Man From Atlantis”, Patrick Duffy would have been good for your dream group.

Actually, I think Peter David used the term “useless stories” for those tales that weren’t bought by the particular publisher he proposed them to, and since they weren’t public domain characters or ones he had the rights to, they became useless stories. One example is the tale of “What Happened To The Little Mermaid’s Mother” that he proposed to Disney Comics when he was writing the comic. And before another poster points out that the original fairy tale is in public domain, it involves specific characters (Ariel, her father) and situations set up by Disney that would involve extensive retooling and changing the story.
And even with Jane Badler and Marc Singer joining the cast, I’d rather watch your version of V than the upcoming season of the reboot.

You should have also mentioned “The Man From Atlantis”, Patrick Duffy would have been good for your dream group.

Ah, but he wasn’t created by Kenneth Johnson. The plot is carefully constructed with two ideas in mind. I was careful to make sure that A) the eventual League that is created conforms to Alan Moore’s original template — there’s a woman damaged by tragedy, a burned-out soldier of fortune, an outcast angry at the world, a Jekyll-and-Hyde, and a sociopathic scientist undone by his own ambition. And I was equally careful to try to see to it that B) the leads are all from Kenneth Johnson original creations. Granted, I cheated a little bit with Ham Tyler — Johnson created the original V, but Tyler didn’t show up until “V: The Final Battle” –and with David Banner, who is of course an adaptation of comics’ Bruce Banner. So I fudged it…. but only a little. Including “man from Atlantis” Mark Harris would be fudging a lot.

That said, I couldn’t think of a place to put him anyway. He doesn’t really fit into the League template.

I’d dig a Donald P. Bellisario team-up, where Thomas Magnum has to help Sam Beckett, who has leaped into the body of whoever Jan Michael Vincent played on Airwolf.

Also I’m pretty sure Firefly and Cowboy Bebop take place in the same universe. Prove me wrong, America!

Wow, you put a lot of thought into that 70s/80s crossover – too bad about the matter of copyrights, etc. I’d get a kick out of just reading that story in prose form, much less watching an actual live action production. . .
The only mash-up like this I gave any real thought to that, to my knowledge, hasn’t already been done by either Farmer, Moore and a whole slough of other writers is a big Star Trek-Star Wars-Battlestar Gallactica crossover. My older brother and I jokingly thought this up back in the late 70s, but we only came up with a few scenes, like Spock standing on the deck of the Galactica looking at the Deathstar in a views screen and saying, “Fascinating!” Or a shirtless Kirk fighting through a horde of Cylons and Stormtroopers with a light saber – and, of course, eventually taking Leia to his quarters for a private “debriefing” while Luke goes off to sulk somewhere (this was before the big brother/sister reveal). Meanwhile, both Athena and Cassiopeia get the hots for Han Solo, making Starbuck insanely jealous – actually maybe we did put a little too much thought into it. . .

Sorry for the multiple posts, but Bill Reed’s comment about a Bellisario team-up makes me wonder if, in about 15-20 years, a younger generation of fans will be having a similar discussion about a big team-up/crossover that ties together a story using all of the characters from the present day’s seemingly countless Jerry Bruckheimer productions.

Wow, you put a lot of thought into that 70s/80s crossover – too bad about the matter of copyrights, etc. I’d get a kick out of just reading that story in prose form, much less watching an actual live action production. . .

Actually, not THAT much, it just kind of came bubbling out. It just falls into place. That’s what makes it so alluring, the plotting comes really easily and whole sequences suggest themselves. I do occasionally toy with just sitting down and writing the whole thing up to post on a fanfic site or something, but I have sort of a rule about doing too much work for free, and I can’t justify the time. So it just roils around in the back of my head. Finally I compromised and did this column in hopes that it’ll get it out of my system a bit…. a nerdy Christmas gift to myself.

It had been on my mind a lot this week because I had gotten the Bionic Woman set for my birthday not too long ago, and we’d been screening some of the old bionic shows for our godson Phenix. He loved the Bigfoot episodes so much– it was really hilarious. (I expressed mild surprise that those shows hit him so hard, and my friend Richard pointed out, “It’s a cyborg superman fighting a giant robot Sasquatch from outer space. To a six-year-old, there’s no part of that premise that’s NOT awesome.”)

Hey, I take issue with the term “Useless Stories”. “Impractical”, “Unpublishable”, maybe. But a story is never useless as long as it entertains somebody. Heck, even a rough plot, like the ones Greg posted above, can be a lot of fun to read.

As someone who has read (and written) fanfiction all my life, in one way or another, I’d like to make a few observations. First: everyone does this, to one degree or another. We all have imagination. What varies is the writing skill, the amount of interest, and the personal reference pools we have. For most people, a simple “Huh, I wonder what would happen if (insert situation) happened to (insert character or real person)” not going beyond a casual thought is enough.

This is why the reactions of some people against fanfiction -especially crossovers- as if it were beneath their dignity annoys me. It just so happens that some of us need more than just that. Some people need to write (or read) full stories, others go somewhere in between. (There’s also a sub-subculture of fans who INSIST that any fanfic they read has to be of professional quality -including things like spelling- or they loudly curse them and their writers as if they had paid for it (which they have not of course) completely forgetting that it’s just average people having fun their personal way.)

And of course, one thing I also realized over the years is that much of the “professional”, published stuff is just some writer’s fanfiction inserted into an existing franchise. But it’s *official* so it has to be better, right? Riiight.

So really, just relax and enjoy the stuff -or ignore it if you don’t- OK?

Btw Greg, thanks for the walk down memory lane. I loved most of those shows and enjoyed your reminding me of their elements, even the goofy ones like Sasquatch. (I have never seen the Dark Shadows show, btw, but I DID see an issue or two of the comic. I thought it was really weird, but hey, I still had a lot more stuff to discover back then. What was I saying about reference pools?

Happy Holidays! :)

Long-time reader, first-time poster here … Greg, I *love* your crossover/mashup/fanfic (whatever you want to call it) ideas. Please make this a continuing series!

This was great!

Here you go.

The Dr. Strange page from Dark Shadows #34.

And yes, total nod to the classic Dr. Strange Silver Dagger story.

Oh yeah, on the subject of Dr. Strange and fanfics- doesn’t DC’s Madame Xanadu live in Greenwich Village too? So in a shared universe, they would have to *at least* know of each other. Maybe even rather closely… ;)

Loved this Entry! I was talking with a friend about your 1960s line-up and when I mentioned that half the fun of such a team would be seeing Derek Flint constantly having to be persuaded to help them out, he pointed out that Emma Peel would most likely be the first woman to not succumb instantly to his charms and hence he would naturally see her as a challenge that must be wooed…but whenever he attempts to, John Steed has an unfortunate habit of dropping by to pay a social visit.

I never got too far with my own 60s LOEG, as you’re right the initial obvious idea of Bond/Solo/Steed isn’t the most compelling of teams, but I did like the idea that the team’s foremost authority on the supernatural would be El Santo from Mexico who knows all too well the horrors of vampire women and aztec mummies…

Awesome, GH. You’ve inspired me to get back to work on my Stephen J Cannell fan-fic wherein Jim Rockford’s latest case almost blows Vinnie Terranova’s cover, causing them to have to break out of the federal pen with Col John Smith, James Murdock, Templeton Peck and Bosco Baracus only to find that all of their cases are being masterminded by the “little green men” whose power suit was found by Ralph Hinkley and Bill Maxwell.

(I realize this doesn’t adhere to Moore’s “League” formula exactly, but it is all one creator)

Merriest of merrys and happiest of happys, y’all.

Greg, many thanks for the nod to the Crossovers books!

For those interested, they are available on Amazon, B&N, and direct from the publisher:

http://www.blackcoatpress.com/crossovers.htm

They’re weighty tomes, clocking in at almost 500 pages each, and containing info on 1000s of crossovers.

I’m glad you enjoyed them!

-Win

I am one of the pricks Sijo is talking about. I hate fanfics. I loath them.

And while his advice is very sensible (if you don’t like something, just ignore it), I’d like to turn it around, by explaining why exactly I hate fanfic.

It’s not because most fanfic is hideously bad. It’s because the mindset that seems to produce fanfic writers – that the characters actually belong to the fans and every fan could take their chances at writing them and deciding their destinies – seems to be the same mindset of the more obnoxious fans that infest message boards with negativity and self-entitlement.

The “fans” that seem to spend all their energy complaining about current stories, how the new writer/editor is destroying the characters, etc. I always suspected that more than a few of the haters are out there writing their own versions of Marvel/DC to show Quesada and Didio how it’s done.

Just to complete the thought. The same advice Sijo gave the guys that hate fanfic is wonderfully appropriate to the haters that seem to spend so much money and energy following comics (or TV shows or novels) that they don’t like any longer:

Just relax and enjoy the stuff -or ignore it if you don’t.

Rene: First, let’s make clear (not to you, to everyone else) that I didn’t call anybody a prick, OK? In case people who TL;DR get the wrong impression.

Second, you’re wrong- fanfic writers aren’t JUST the people who want to strike back at the comics or creators they didn’t like. In fact many fic writers try their best to stay within the canon (and the spirit) of the series they are using, to make them as much like a “lost episode” as possible. It’s a challenge worth pursuing. And many have been great, even BETTER than the “official” ones. Depends on the writer’s talent.

THAT said, even the haters (or the people who have fantasies about fictional characters) ARE FREE to write those stories the way they want to. Heck, I’d say it’s a healthy release of pent-up frustrations. Remember, unlike “pro” writers, nobody pays them for their work and they have no rules to follow (except those of the forum they post in, if any.) The public is even less entitled to demand anything from them. It’s your job to avoid the ones you don’t like. Of course they could help by flagging their contents (eg, “this story contains gore or sex.”)

Also, I agree that too many people waste time and money on comics they don’t like, for a variety of reasons. I used to follow X-Men, for example, because I loved the characters, hoping that if I didn’t like one story I might like the next. But then I realized it was the writers (and editors) I had to keep an eye on for that, not the characters.

And finally, while I no longer read DC comics, I can’t help but grimace when I hear about stuff like RISE OF ARSENAL even if I’m not buying the series, because it just screams “No, it still isn’t safe to go read the characters you once enjoyed.” We do have a right to complain about that (heck I’d say that’s what forums are for, not just for praise) just to get it out of our systems. DEMAND anything? No, they aren’t our characters. But we should at least voice our displeasure, on the hope, however small, that *someone* in charge may someday listen.

Your Ken Johnson concept immediately made me think of a sixties SF-TV show creator, Irwin Allen. You could dream up a story linking Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants.

I suppose if tv shows were too limiting you could work in the stories of The Towering Inferno or the Poseidon Adventures…

Love your League of Extraordinary Ken Johnson Gentlemen idea and wanted to let you know that yes, you had the right number for the Dark Shadows issue. Here’s the page, BTW…

http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/9115/darkshadows34197521.jpg

I don’t recognize “Dr. Carl Franklin”.

FWIW, there was a Planet of the Apes/Alien Nation crossover years ago by Eternity/Malibu.

I love that story you were writing and where it was going, (as long as you don’t include a G-D starchild in the story—was the star child the first Wesley Crusher style Dues Ex Machina?)

The V, Alien Nation crossover works really well as a concept, the other stuff was a fun addition.

I don’t recognize “Dr. Carl Franklin”.

Dr. Franklin was the villainous roboticist from the Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman crossover episode Kill Oscar, the creator of the fembots. His son returned to menace Jaime Sommers in a sequel, Fembots in Las Vegas. (Fun bionic trivia: the arms dealer that Franklin hoped to sell his fembots to was played by Jack Colvin, who later went on to portray reporter Jack McGee on The Incredible Hulk.)

I thought about using the evil roboticist Dr. Dolenz instead — I like him better, I think he was more fun — but technically he predates Kenneth Johnson’s involvement with the bionic shows, and Franklin is much more appropriate and more likely to be a useful addition to the team, as well as being the natural candidate Jaime would think of.

–Yeah, I really have spent way too much time thinking all this through. I’ve written some pretty nerdy things for CBR but I think this column’s the record.

LOVED this column, Greg. This idea was a lot of fun.

Matthew Johnson

January 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

Personally I like the term “useless stories” — you just have to think of “useless” as having a positive connotation, as in the “useless presents” in “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” http://www.bfsmedia.com/MAS/Dylan/Christmas.html

I’d dig a Donald P. Bellisario team-up, where Thomas Magnum has to help Sam Beckett, who has leaped into the body of whoever Jan Michael Vincent played on Airwolf.
Would they team up with the young Jethro Gibbs? :)

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