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Bring Back Jake 2.0
We understand that UPN has suddenly canceled the outstanding sci-fi character techno-comedy "Jake 2.0" (dir. David Greenwalt). Hope UPN finds this and does something constructive.
The original news story is Brian Ford Sullivan's news story in The Futon Critic:
Here is a posting that I made at http://www.bureau42.com
that is, at http://www.bureau42.com/view/1751 for the entire thread.
I hope that UPN reads these comments and reconsiders. The biggest problem was that Jake 2.0 was aired against The West Wing. Did they know that The West Wing won the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) prize at the dinner in Washington DC this year? It is silly to measure a new show against it. I'm not sure that it should be aired the same night as TheWB's Smallville. There is a basic similarity of the character to Clark Kent in Smallville. But Jake is much funnier (as Christopher Gorham plays him), and seems to have no character flaws at all (he is a bit silly before the accident). He is a great role model. He always reaches for the moral high ground, never misuses his "gifts" and challenges his superiors to do the right thing. There is no red kryptonite here. I have several suggestions. (1) Run it on a different night (2) sell it to another network (Bravo, Showtime, SciFi, or TheWB "Frog," because maybe it really does fit TheWB "young adult drama" mix, although it is a bit of competition for Smallville (3) David Greenwalt approaches a movie studio or gets investors together for a feature movie (maybe an indie). Maybe Miramax/Dimension, maybe Sony Screen Gems, maybe even New Line. Maybe you make it really funny and witty (Christopher Gorham could do this, whereas an actor like Welling could not) and get it into Sundance. But the show is too good to let it die out of shortsightedness. UPN, please read this. Don't throw this away out of neglect, find a buyer who will keep it going (and put on the three episodes in Feb on a different night.) I make some comments on Jake 2.0 (mixed with others) at http://www.hppub.com/movies/mpotter.htm (many reviews on that page) I am Bill Boushka JBoushka@aol.com info to reach me at http://www.hppub.com/info.htm Thanks!!
Again, I see that in a movie that Christopher Gorham could render Jake Foley with a touch of Jim Carrey, and this would work at the box office.
I've noticed that in February 2004 UPN has been running "America's Top Model" twice rather than giving the remaining episodes of "Jake 2.0" a chance. (How insulting!) I've wondered if there is some legal entanglement because of similarity to Smallville or other comics. A "Google hack" search shows that many viewers have noted the conceptual similarity, I don't see it, as there are also many differences and "ideas" (or characters, for that matter, even comic book heroes) on their own are not copyrightable or trademarked. What is going on here? Does anybody know? I still think that this show belongs on TheWB, which has a much better website and infrastructure to promote it.
As of 2/24/2004 the content for the "Jake 2.0" show was still on the UPN website, but when one clicks on the schedule link, one gets a calendar that does not include Jake now.
The link http://www.upn.com/jake still worked on 4/20/2004.
The links above are http://www.doaskdotell.com/movies/mpotter.htm
http://www.doaskdotell.com/highproductivitypublishing/info.htmThe ABC series "Jake in Progress" with John Stamos (2005) seems to have nothing to do with "Jake 2.0"; the occurrence of the character name in the title seems to be a coincidence.
Another anomaly is the coincidental identical names of TheWB series "Summerland" (2004) and the children's novel of the same name by Michael Chabon, first published by Hyperion in 2002. Seehttp://www.doaskdotell.com/movies/mdozen.htm (near the end of the file).
In October 2004 I noticed that the new NBC Series Medical Investigation (Friday nights, 10 PM EDT) featured Christopher Gorham as the young physician Miles McCabe. (Other stars are Neil NcDonough, Killi Williams, Troy Williams, Anna Belknap). The show is didactic and informative (I saw first the show about inhalation and cutaneous antrhax being imported into the country on animal skins on drums belonging to illegal aliens) rather than dramatic, and Gorham does not get the chance to shine as a character that he got in Jake 2.0. A subsequent episode (Nov 19 2004) dealt with a bizarre infection in porn stars and plastic surgery patents, and featured a marquee for a fictitious film "Thrill Bill". I don't know if Miramax ("Kill Bill") would have objected to sub a ripoff of a title in real life. Still another episode presents a smallpox outbreak--but postulates that this could happen naturally, rather than through terrorism.
On Feb. 18, 2005 NBC presented a "crossover" between Third Watch and Medical Investigation (effectively a TV movie) in which a bank robber, a cop, and military deserter present with Marburg hemorrhagic fever (Marburg virus is similar to Ebola virus). Robert Preston had covered this in his early 90s book The Hot Zone. Ebola is supposed to be transmitted by direct blood contact, but Preston documents the 1989 northern Virginia scare with an animal virus, Ebola Reston, that might be airborne. In the show, the disease presents in graphic fashion, with patient vomiting blood on camera and bleeding out, their internal organs changing to mush (that is "liquefying"). As with smallpox, some patients recover, and it is not clear if they are left permanently scarred, impaired, hairless, etc. In the show, a fictitious Level 4 lab in New Jersey is presented, with scientists having to decontaminate every time they work; but the epidemic is introduced with imported animals. (The show also presents a man-eating lion in an apartment, with pieces of a corpse.)
On March 18 and 25, Medical Investigation presented a two-part series ("movie") where the team goes to an insurgency zone in Central America and experience an earthquake, a meningitis epidemic, and insurgents. Miles gets the disease but recovers. (Bacterial meningitis, remember, sometimes leads to the production of endotoxins that cut off blood supply and leads to amputations.) Makeup has changed Christopher Gorham's hair and appearance somewhat and he looks a bit older in these episodes.
There is a new show competing with Medical Investigation on the Friday night prime-time spot, Numb3rs (or Numbers) (nicholas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton), in which FBI agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) hires his gifted 29-year-old assistant math professor brother Charlie (David Krumholtz) to help solve crimes by modeling criminal behavior with mathematical equations. Now, the producers of the show probably conceived of Charlie as a cleaned-up John Nash (Russell Crowe) from A Beautiful Mind (2001). Moreover, Charlie is a vigorous fellow in the Clark-Jake mold, though there are no supernatural powers. He is a real guy, with a liking for toys and fast cars. ("Velocity" is, after all, the first derivative of displacement with respect to time.) Well, Charlie can scribble partial differential equations involving trigonometric, hyperbolic and transcendental partial differential equations with not only speed but muscularity. (The same goes for applying the Chain Rule for differentiation, or integration by parts.) His personality and presence is a blend of Clark, Jake, with a bit of Will Hunting thrown in, hairy chest as a spurious compliment. In fact, he reminds me of Chris Evans in Cellular. Krumholtz, however, plays Mr. Universe in Serenity (supposedly in post-production), so we shall see, or maybe we won't. Krumholtz also confesses in his interviews that he was terrible with algebra in high school. One interesting show presented how prime numbers are used to Internet security and encryption.
It's interesting how these shows show little of the characters' personal lives--particularly romantic lives. With a character like Charlie, it leaves open some speculation. Charlies seems well adjusted socially--is he "just" the archetypal nerd, someone who "outgrew" Asperger's, gay, or is it just left to the imagination?
On 11/25/2005 Numb3rs presented an interesting episode in which a villain has written a biochemical and medical "Manifesto" in the manner of the Unabomber (though with modern word processing). Apparently he had been fired as a whistleblower from a pharmaceutical company. My own 1997 DADT book was informally called "The Manifesto" by some of my coworkers (especially on business trips to Minneapolis, when people read it on the plane). The word "manifesto" is said in the show to convey an exaggerated sense of one's own future destiny. Charly explains the topology problem of the "7 Bridges of Konigsberg" in this episode.
On 1/13/2006 Numb3rs presented an episode about college students doing card counting at casinos, a technique for improving probably of winnings by using condensed calculations of conditional probability. Casinos regard it as cheating, but because it is a mental skill, it probably is not.
Numb3rs had an episode on May 12, 2006 where Chinese girls infected with H5N1 were smuggled into the country for a sex trade, but it does not lead to a pandemic in the show.
I guess that I could express some pleasure in "The O.C." (The "Orange County" -- "CALIFORNIA HERE I COME!") for the 2004-2005 season as the dorky Geek Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) blossoms into an artist and science fiction/comic novel writer who gets audience with George Lucas. Maybe Seth (pardon me, Adam) should co-host Ashton Kutcher's "Beauty and the Geek"--except that he has to get punked first.
The same fate has happened to TheWB show "Just Legal" (from Jerry Bruckheimer) after just three episodes in the fall of 2005.
The Sci-Fi channel started some reruns (of Jake 2.0) on Jan. 5, 2007. See blogspot entry.
A newer show with a similar theme is Chuck (NBC, 2007), described here.
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