They say pop will eat itself. The same is true of pop culture, where the cycle of naming is an Ouroboros, which at least makes for a fun list. Welcome to Ten Things: Ten TV Show Aliases!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and M*A*S*H-Man, official superhero of Crabapple Cove, Maine, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN TV SHOW ALIASES!
Not merely one British sitcoms, but FOUR intertwined shows which, in proper British tradition, aired about two dozen episodes over the course of a decade. Featuring Rowan “Mr. Bean” Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson and a host of other British comedians (including the late Rik Mayall in his second-most iconic role), ‘Blackadder’ is a remarkable achievement in television, remaining quite funny even thirty years later. The final episode of the final season includes a moment that is truly heartbreaking, as well, something that many sitcoms would never have TRIED, much less successfully pulled off.
A member of the National Guardians in Big Bang Comics, a group designed to pay loving tribute to the 1970s Avengers, Willem Bryant is intentionally designed to evoke The Black Panther. Hailing from South Africa, his special suit not only allows him enhanced strength and agility, he can extend the cables on his arms and legs to channel bursts of electricity to his foes. (By ’70s comics law, Black characters had a 50/50 chance of lightning power.)
He gets the kickoff slot this week since, being a Big Bang pastiche character, he is almost certainly named for Atkinson’s sitcom.
Set in a 26th century future where Earth has been abandoned in favor of terraformed planets across a new star system. Captain Mal Reynolds, a veteran of a bitter Civil War, bums his way through the worlds by taking odd, often criminal jobs, and accidentally building a family about his Firefly-class starship, A legendary example of a show hosed by the network, it ran only 14 episodes, of which only half actually made it to air. There’s a movie continuation, but I’m warning you: It’ll break your heart.
A first year university student when her powers manifested, Sara Jefferies focused her considerable attention on becoming the best superhero she could be. With super-strength and agility, as well as an array of light powers, including laser blasts and some form of “healing light”, Firefly balances her study of sports medicine with her career as a member of the New Guard. Given the distrust of superhumans by the population of her world, it’s a difficult balance to maintain.
8) THE STAND
Stephen King’s magnum opus was a hard read even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can’t beat the 1994 miniseries for bringing those horrific moments to life, while not grossing us out so much we never sleep again. With a cast including Molly Ringwald, the kid who played Parker Lewis, Max Headroom, Uncle Martin from Mars and the Man In Black from ‘Westworld’, it’s a cornucopia of “Hey, it’s that guy!” wrapped in some compelling character drama with what may be the literal devil wandering around the story. It’s fun TV.
A member of the first LGBTQIA super-team, Wayne Mathers initially went by the alias White Trash, embracing his lower-class childhood in South Central Los Angeles. His super-strength and durability are dependent upon his confidence and how much he believes in his fight, and he’s much stronger now that he’s publicly out as a gay man. Of course, having a uniform instead of his previous costume of tattered jeans and a tank top probably doesn’t hurt, either.
Briefly seen on NBC in 1983, ‘Boone’ tells the story of Boone Sawyer, who wanted only to make it big as a rock and roll singer in the early ’50s. Lasting for one 13-episode season, the show’s biggest name was likely Barry Corbin, the angry general from ‘War Games.’ It had elements of ‘The Waltons’, if I recall correctly, but even my memory gets hazy about sitcoms I half-watched in the ninth grade, sometimes.
A member of Brigade, the super-team founded by a guy called Battlestone after being fired from Youngblood, Boone is one of many hot-headed, flippant weapons-masters with no other powers or defining characteristics. (See also: Dutch, Task, Combat and Knight Sabre, who was at least Australian.) Somewhere along the line, the revamps of Brigade/Youngblood left our man Boone (real name unknown) behind.
A documentary series following a pair of thrill-seekers traveling the world to compete in endurance races (I’m honestly tired just typing that), ‘Boundless’ reminds me a bit of ‘Top Gear’, only they race more than cars. Simon, Rory, Hunter and Paul travel the world racing bicycles, kayaks, and participating in marathons, each determined to show up the others, making for some killer footage from around the globe.
Marvel’s Earth-4290001 is one of many that parallel the DC Universe, though this one seems to be based heavily on the New 52-era Justice League. As one of the heroes who came together to stop an alien invasion, Boundless (real name unrevealed) is a founding member of the Great Society, alongside the flying brick called Sun God, a dark knight known as The Rider and a Doctor Spectrum. Sadly, that last hero was the only survivor of her world, as Boundless and nearly every other soul on the planet was killed by Namor to save Earth-616.
Not to be confused with Avery Brooks’ spin off of ‘Spencer: For Hire’ (which was titled ‘A Man Called Hawk’), this show features a young Burt Reynolds as Native American detective John Hawk of the New York District Attorney’s office. Running for 17 episodes circa 1966, it’s a reminder that Burt’s career predated ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ by nearly 20 years and also that casting directors of the ’60s operated on a theory of “That’s good enough.”
Burt Reynolds did claim Cherokee ancestry, though.
On Earth-9 in the DC TV Multiverse, Hank Hall has no super-powers, but is addicted to fighting. Also, painkillers… but mostly fighting, Years after the dissolution of the Titans, he and partner Dove are still fighting and are now a couple, even though there was a strange triangle with teammate Robin for a while. I have to say, the show is weird, dark and way too impressed with it’s cursing, but it’s not unwatchable.
Actor Alan Ritchson previously played AC Curry, aka Aquaman, on ‘Smallville.’
A noir-ish tale featuring Hugh Laurie as the titular Eldon Chance, a forensic psychiatrist whose life is slowly falling apart. It’s a suspenseful tale also featuring Ethan Suplee (the big guy from ‘Mallrats’), dealing with alienation, mistaken identity and flat-out evil, and is nothing like the other Hugh Laurie show on today’s list. It’s also a Hulu program, which means it gets away with violence, adult language and sexual situations, so if that’s your jam, it’s time to stream.
Ahh, Legion X-1. It’s a comic that serves as testament to just how much the creator loves comic books, featuring a team of ten heroes who do black ops work for the United States government. Chance, whose real name is unknown, is one of half a dozen members of the team who are basically just ’80s-style ninjas, but he’s the funny one. Legion X-1 has a sister team, Legion X-II, featuring another ten heroes (although one of them seems to be a member of Legion X-1 already?), several of whom are also ninjas, one of whom is actually code-named Ninja.
So, it’s got that goin’ for it… which is nice, y’know.
3) RED WIDOW
After the death of her husband, Marta Walraven is shocked to find out that he was part of a crime mob, and then sets out for revenge. I’ve never actually seen this one, but it has some interesting actors in it and it came out during a period where ABC was really taking its chances on out-there material.
A member of Russian super-team The Winter Guard, real name unrevealed, Red Widow is a product of the same horrifying training that created Black Widow of the Avengers. Because of the brutality of her upbringing, Red Widow’s body is a mass of scars that she covers with her full-body costume. As one of the individuals collected by the Phoenix Force to fight and prove herself worthy of being the creature’s new host, Red Widow was willing to kill any one who stood in her way, nearly winning the contest.
The story of Bob Lee Swagger, adapted from the film of the same name, ‘Shooter’ features Ryan Phillipe as a former sniper ensnared in a plot to kill The President. The show was actually delayed not once, but TWICE due to real-world gun violence. The show ran three seasons on USA Network before being cancelled in 2018.
There are a great many characters in the annals of G.I. Joe, but few with as interesting and tragic a back story. Back in 1982, in the very first issue of ‘G.I. joe: A Real American Hero’, headshots of the team were shown, with an additional obscured screen of a character called Shooter, after Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter. Years later, this in-joke became a plot point, as a retelling of the Joe team’s first mission revealed a secret fourteenth Team member, Sergeant Jodie F. Craig, a sniper who lost her life, but allowed her teammates to successfully complete their first official mission. It put a whole new face on that issue, and indeed, the entire soldiery premise of the book.
A story that begins with four characters in an auto accident, ‘Crash’ (‘Çarpisma’ in the native tongue, which I believe is Turkish) cycles out from there, reminding us that everyone returns to the scene of their accidents. At least, that’s what I’m getting from it, as I don’t speak the language. It looks really intense, though.
The fastest Testudine alive, Crash (real name unrevealed, but likely a pun on Barry Allen, like Terry Pinnen or Shelly something) is a member of the Justa Lotta Animals on Earth-C Minus. He and his team were allies of Captain Carrot and his amazing Zoo Crew, alongside his teammates Wonder Wabbit, Super Squirrel, Aquaduck and more.
For my punny money, though, you can’t beat his fellow JLA member, The Martian Anteater.
This week’s Ten Things topic, Ten TV Show Aliases, is once again all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter. Or, you can always check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because there are only so many words in the English language. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!