The Totally New Yearsy, But Not Even A Little Hungover, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Itsy Bitsy Spaceship

…co-starring her old pal, Really Red Rachel

The Doclopedia #1,095

Alt. Television: The X Files

In our world, The X Files premiered in September of 1993, ran for 9 years, had a complex & rather confusing alien conspiracy mythology and was a very popular and successful show on the Fox Network. It was heavily inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

In another reality, the series was a direct (though two decades later) spinoff from Kolchak, ran for 10 years, had an entirely different background mythology, premiered in September of 1996 and was even more popular & successful.

All of the same regular actors appeared in the same roles, but The Smoking Man was played by William B. Davis only through the first five seasons, after which he was played by a series of younger actors. Davis returned for the final 5 episodes of the series. Smoking Man was a dangerous wild card who, on any given episode, might be helping the cultists, the aliens, the Illuminati. He would help Mulder & Scully if it served his purposes.

Darren McGavin, who played Carl Kolchak, guest starred in a total of seven episodes during the first four years of the series.

The Lone Gunmen were a part of the series right from the start and were part comic relief, part expert help.

The mythology of the series, which made up about a third of the 320 episodes, was less about alien invasion (although that was part of it) and more about the attempts of a worldwide cult to return the Elder Gods to Earth. Failed attempts by the cultists were used to explain the fact that certain supernatural creatures were on our world. The aliens both aided and opposed the cultists. It was alien technology, mostly of a biological nature, that was used to explain some of the mutants that appeared throughout the series.

Among the different episodes that we never got to see in our reality were ones about dragons (“Wyrm”), a rakshasa (“The Kolchak Hunter”), intelligent apes (“Neosimian”) and a real superhero (“The Night Girl”). As it is in our world, the hands down creepiest X Files episode was “Home”.

Eugene Tooms, the mutant who could squeeze through tight spaces, appeared in four episodes before he died in Season 7.

The final five episodes wrapped up the mythology by having the aliens, who were now cut off from their home world, helping Mulder, Scully and Smoking Man defeat the cultists ultimate attempt to summon the Elder Gods. Most of the aliens, Smoking Man, a few mutants and a Mulder clone (from the 7th season episode “Redlum”) die. The last scene showed Mulder and Scully from behind, walking down a country road, talking about how they were getting too old for this crap.


Three motion pictures were made after the series ended. All of them did well at the box office.

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How To Clean And Groom Your Yeti

…first off, hire somebody else to do it

 

The Doclopedia #1,094

Alt. Television: The Incredible Hulk

In our world, The Incredible Hulk was a successful television series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. It departed from the comic books quite a bit, but was still well accepted by fans. It was the very best of Marvel’s television adaptations.

But in another reality, the program was even more successful and was much closer to the comic books in many ways, including having the Hulk speak, having super heroes & villains appear and having Banner/Hulk be pursued by the secret military organization run by General Ross. The character of reporter Jack McGee also pursued Banner and like him, had to avoid General Ross. Bruce Banner had only two people he could trust, Betty Ross, who loved him, and Rick Jones, who was consumed by guilt over what happened to Banner when he saved Rick from the gamma bomb.

The series had a larger budget than in our world and allowed for not only more special effects (the Hulk leaping for miles or knocking a super enemy through a building, for example), but for other super characters from the comics. It also meant that Lou Ferrigno got better makeup and a better wig.


Villains from the comics that appeared on the show included the Abomination, the Leader, Mr. Hyde, The Glob and various Hulkbuster robots/cyborgs. The supervillain episodes generally made up about half of a season, with the remaining episodes being more like the ones our world saw.

A few Marvel superheroes made appearances in the series, most notably Thor (minus most of his storm generating powers), Iron Man (a non flying version), Captain America and Doctor Strange (who got his own very weird and very popular series in the 80’s).

The series ran for 5 years, but had a made for tv movie every 2-3 years for the next two decades.

My Life Among The Drunken Xmas Elves

…hey, they’ve got the next three weeks off

 

Ok, I’m way late posting on here, so I’ve got TWO Doclopedia posts. Enjoy!

 

The Doclopedia #1,092

Alt. Television: Star Trek

It is a strange fact that in almost all realities, the television series “Star Trek” is pretty much the same as it is here in our reality. True, the sexes of characters might be reversed ot the dominant species might not be human, but the basic premise, characters and history of the series is barely affected.

The version most interesting to geeks in our reality is the one from Earth 222, the same reality that produced the version of Doctor Who in the previous Doclopedia entry. Like DW, Star Trek premiered in the fall of 1965 and was very popular right from the start. Unlike DW, Star Trek did not have an unbroken 49 years as a single series.

Everything about the series was identical to our version until the middle of the third season, where it surpassed the 79 (80 if you count the first pilot) episodes we know. After that, the series went on with episodes we have never seen, including the famous crossover episodes with Doctor Who (the ST episode was “The Two Doctors” and the DW episode was part one of the similarly named two episode story arc.), in which Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a young Vulcan cadet named Silvok get transported to the DW universe, then the Doctor and his companions Denny and T’lana get transported back with them.

Other episodes we’ll never see were “Dark Mirror”, “The Death Of Jim Kirk”, “The Evil That Men Do” and the hilariously funny “Spock’s Bad Day”.

By the start of the fifth year, several of the lead actors were itching to move on to movies and other television ventures. The fear of being typecast was, as Leonard Nimoy once said “like the Sword of Damocles hanging over us, the thread getting thinner each season. When Season 5 was halfway through production, Nimoy, Shatner and Nichelle Nichols said they would not return for a fifth season.

In response to this, NBC offered up “bags full of money” and promises of time off to make movies if the cast would stick around for one more season. While negotiations went on, Gene Roddenberry used the time to create a “transitional” season 6 that would lead to a new series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. When all contracts were signed for Season 6, the pre-production for the new series was started.

The second half of season 5 was a lead up to the final episode, “To Boldly Keep Going”, in which the 5 year mission of the Enterprise comes to an end and the crew and the ship are turned into a training vessel.

Season 6, the final original series season, was a mix of original crew + new crew episodes and those which featured mostly the new crew alone. The final episode of the season had the highest ratings ever for ST.

Shatner, Nimoy, Nichols and James Doohan went on to movies, other tv series, recording contracts, plays, etc. The remaining original cast members stuck around for the first two seasons of the new series, before moving on.

And then, 10 years later, in 1980, the entire original cast returned for the first Star Trek movie Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan” and 4 sequels.

As of 2014, there have been 6 Star Trek series: ST, ST:TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, ST: Enterprise and ST: Frontiers. There have been a total of 14 motion pictures, two animated series and a Tony winning play. The number of Star Trek Novels numbers well over 400.

The Doclopedia #1,093

Alt. Television: Kolchak, The Night Stalker

In 1972, ABC Television was trying to cash in on the same audience that NBC had for it’s “Science Fiction Wednesday” programming schedule. ABC decided to go with “Friday Night Frights”, a series of made for tv movies with horror and science fiction themes. Most of these movies were made on low budgets and, truthfully, sucked. It also didn’t help that Friday was something of a graveyard for television in those days. However, one movie rose above it’s budgetary constraints and the Friday night curse to garner huge ratings and critical acclaim. The Night Stalker starred Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, a rumpled and abrasive reporter who stumbles onto a series of murders committed by a vampire. The movie spawned a sequel, The Night Strangler, and a weekly series that, in 1974, headlined ABC’s new “Thursday Night Frights”, which featured the series followed by slightly less sucky made for tv movies.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker was well received by both audiences and critics, although the episodes ranged from excellent to schlocky. It lasted for only two tears and 54 episodes before star and producer McGavin decided to call it quits. Later, between 1983 and 1990, four made for television movies were made, the last of which appeared to show Kolchak dying as he fought with a madman, falling into a volcano.

The importance of this series lies in two others that it spawned decades later. In three episodes (“In Dog We Trust”, “Golem” and “Oh, Rats”), Kolchak teamed up with a ten year old boy named Fox Mulder. Twenty years later, ABC would create a new series called The X Files that featured the adult version of this character as an FBI agent. In fact, during season 2 of The X Files, Mulder finds out that Kolchak faked his death and assumed the new identity of Arthur Dales, a sports reporter in Florida. The character, portrayed by McGavin, appeared in five episodes over the next three years before the Kolchak character was “killed” in an explosion.

The other series spawned by Kolchak: The Night Stalker was Mr. Ring, a direct spinoff from the episode Mr. R.I.N.G., about a killer android. In the series, which lasted from 1986 to 1990, Mr. Ring had developed sentience and escaped from his military creators. The series was a mid-level success, with one critic describing it as a mix of “The Fugitive and Mr. Spock from Star Trek”.

In 2010, a revival series titled “The Night Stalker” debuted on CBS, but only lasted one season due to issues like no sense of humor and trying to have a “supernatural conspiracy”.