TV Mash-Ups

A couple of new or newish TV programs I'm enjoying are extremely high concept, but I still like them.

Torchwood. A BBC import, and a spin-off from the Doctor Who franchise, it's a great conceit. Instead of humanity always being the frigging victim of marauding alients, always cowering in the basement, waiting for some White Knight to arrive--i.e., the Doctor or some such--the folks at Torchwood act as a sort of combination shadow government, research institution, and last line of defense. They've been collecting and learning to use alien detritus that's landing on earth all the time, which is a good gag. If you add together all the sci-fi movies and TV series, one would expect tons and tons of alien technology to be laying around.

The Torchwood high concept line: X Files crossed with Highlander.

Oh, and it's set in Cardiff, Wales, so you get these lovely Welsh accents, including from the lead actress in the show, Eve Myles.

It's a little too cute at times, what with five people constantly working to save the world, and the lead John Barrowman incapable of dying (hence the Highlander mention). I always thought the name a bit strange, but I find via Wikipedia an anagram of Doctor Who, originally used as a codename for the new Doctor Who series.

Samantha Who. I never watched Married with Children, but I have somehow long been a fan of Christina Applegate (probably because of her two-season show, Jesse); she just makes me want to root for her success. I'm not sure why. Samantha Who is her latest TV series. The writing could be better, but she's the James Brown of sitcoms. She works, baby, she works. Tim Russ (from Star Trek: Voyager) has a recurring role as a doorman; greatest gravitas and voice in the industry.

The gag is that she's a "30-year-old" (Applegate is 36, thank you) who has head trauma in an accident and has almost total life amnesia, but has all her basic knowledge. This is not unheard of. She's a bad person who, through amnesia, becomes appalled with how she acted, and sees a lot of her bad behavior through people's reactions to her now. A few off notes include her being booted from an AA meeting for speaking honestly about her condition, which would, in fact, never ever happen. I don't know if AA shot out a complaint about it. Very unfortunate.

The Samantha Who high concept line: My Name Is Earl crossed with Regarding Henry.