I have absolutely no excuse for this. No, that's wrong, of course I do. As I write this, the television networks are launching their new fall seasons and we, the loyal, the intelligent, the articulate, and, dare I say, the righteously emboldened fans of The Sentinel sit anxiously by, waiting for our dear boys to return to us from that never-never land of future-mid-season-replacement limbo and resume their rightful place in our hearts, our homes and our television sets. Doggone it. I'm getting impatient here.
I got to thinking, how would I handle the fall promotional campaign for a certain network who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are ... uh ... never mind. This is what I came up with. Please believe me when I say there is not a mean-spirited bone in my body. I wish the new shows all the luck in the world. I just ask that, if they're going to sink, get on with it and move on over. We have a guppy that needs drying out. Fast.
Date: September 1998, copyright to Red Soprano
Disclaimer: Sorry guys, this is going to take a while. Feel free to skip over this part (I always do); however, if you're not familiar with the new fall shows, this might help you familiarize yourself with the cast of characters in my little flight of fancy.
The Sentinel (Yay!!) and its characters belong to Pet Fly and Paramount.
Seven Days and the intrepid, time-traveling CIA agent, Frank Parker, belong to Paramount.
Legacy and the lovely, albeit somewhat horsey-looking Alice Logan, belong to Atlantis Films.
Mercy Point and the alien MD, Dr. Maxwell, belong to Columbia Tri Star and Mandalay Entertainment. (He's not an alien, he just treats them on TV).
Love Boat, both the old and new versions, and Capt. Stubing (of the old) belong to Spelling Television.
Warnings: Rated PG-13 for mild language and implied cruise-ship angst. Mild S2 spoilers, but I seriously doubt I'll be giving away anything you folks don't already know about that episode.
Enough of this nonsense! On with the story!
The UP 'N AT 'EM Fall Fantasy Cruise
by Red Soprano
EMAIL: Red Soprano
"What do you mean, our names aren't on the list!"
"I'm sorry, sir, I don't have an Ellison or a Sandburg on my list of passengers."
"Well, look again! No, never mind ... gimme that thing! I'll look."
"Jim, maybe we should go. If he says our names aren't down there, then...."
"What the --! Our names aren't down here!"
"That's what I've been trying to tell you, sir...."
"How could we not be on this list? Huh? We're TPTB's number one team and they don't have us on the damn list?"
"Jim, let's just go, okay?"
"Perhaps you've gotten the dates mixed up, Mr. Ellison. Maybe you're on a later cruise. Why don't you check back with us after your friend has had a chance to, uh, acquire more appropriate attire."
"And just what do you mean by that?"
"Jim, it's okay...."
"Did you just insult my friend?"
"Now, wait just a minute, here, Sandburg. If you're not going to stand up for yourself, then I'm gonna have to. I'm you're Blessed Protector, remember?"
"It's no big deal, Jim...."
"Sir, I didn't mean anything personal --"
"Oh, you didn't, did you? Just what did you mean? Are you saying that my partner doesn't meet the dress code for your little sea jaunt here?"
"No sir, it's just that he might be more comfortable if he --"
"I think he looks perfectly fine. Except for the hair. Which reminds me, Sandburg, just what is the deal with your hair lately?"
"Well, Jim, right now it's all w --"
"Ah, forget it. Let's just get out of here, Sandburg. I didn't want to go on their dumb cruise, anyway."
(squish, squish, squish)
"Whose idea was this, Sandburg?"
"I thought it was yours, Jim."
"You've gotta be kidding. You know how I feel about open water. You really think I'd sign us up for some stupid sea cruise?"
"Well, don't look at me, man. I'm not too keen on being surrounded by water myself these days."
(squarsh, squish, squish)
"Yeah, Romeo, but a trip on some ship nicknamed the "Love Boat" sounds like it would be right up your alley."
"C'mon, Jim. I've changed. I've been through a life-altering experience."
"Some things never change, Sandburg. ... Hold it. Stop for a minute."
"What? What's wrong, Jim?"
"That guy up there."
"Up there on the deck. Looks like he's not too happy about going on this cruise himself."
"Who? That fellow trying to get away from the two guys in the suits?"
"Yeah. Shh. I want to hear what they're saying."
<<"I want off this ship, now, damnit!">>
<<"I'm sorry, sir, but you heard what Mr. Valen --">>
<<"I don't give a rip what that idiot says. I'm telling you, this cruise is doomed!">>
<<"That's nonsense, Mr. Parker. You're going to have a perfectly lovely time--">>
<<"Don't you guys believe your own press releases? I'm the 7-Day guy, remember? I've been trying to tell you jerks for a week now that this ship is going to mmhph, phmmh, mmmpph....">>
<<"I think we'd better stow him below, out of trouble, before he panics the rest of the passengers.">>
"Jim? Hey, Jim, what's going on? Where are they taking him?"
"I don't know, Chief. Something's definitely not right about this whole thing here."
"Excuse me? Sir? Could ya help me? I seem to've twisted m'ankle."
"Of course, miss. You have to be careful walking up the gangplank in that big white, fluffy skirt."
"Here, Jim, let me --"
"I've got it covered, Sandburg...."
"But, Jim, I think she was asking me...."
"No, Chief. She was talking to me. Besides, you'll get her clothes all messy if you try to help...."
"I will not."
"Will, too. Don't mind my friend. He's just been through a very traumatic experience."
"Oh. Poor thing."
"Do I detect an accent, Miss? You're not from around here, are you?"
"No, my family owns a horse farm in Kentucky, but we're originally from --"
"Excuse me. Did the young lady say she's not from around here?"
"Hello. I'm Dr. Maxwell from Mercy Point. Perhaps I can be of assistance."
"I can take care of the young lady, Dr., uh, whatever your name is. Why don't you just get on the big boat?"
"I think I should have a look at that ankle, if you don't mind."
"I said, I've got it under control. I was a medic in the army."
"Well, I'm a physician and I have a great deal of experience in the treatment of aliens."
"I did hear you say you aren't from around here, didn't I?"
"My family's from Ireland."
"See? I think she needs my special skills. Here we go, Miss -- what did you say your name was?"
"Logan. Alice Logan."
"Miss Logan. Let's just get you on board and I'll have a look at that twisted appendage."
"I beg your pardon!"
"Trust me. I'm a professional...."
"Yeah, yeah. You two go on. Enjoy your little cruise. Me and my guide here have got better things to do. C'mon, Chief, let's get out of here.... Chief? ... Hey, Romeo, you zoning on the pretty lady?"
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Jim." (squish, squish, squarsh) "Man, she was hot, wasn't she? All that pretty brown hair, cascading down around her shoulders. Wow."
"What did you make of that outfit? What was that -- Tinkerbell goes equestrian?"
"Haha. That's funny, Jim."
(squish, squarsh, squish)
"Hold up, Chief."
"What now? What is it, Jim? ... What are you looking at? ... Jim? C'mon, Jim, are you zoning on something?"
"Look way out there. You see it?"
"Jim, you always ask me that and the answer is always 'no.' When are you going to remember that I'm not a sentinel --"
"Way out there on the ocean. I can just barely make it out."
"Well, I'll be damned."
"Looks like an iceberg."
"Nope. I'm pretty sure that's what it is. Hmm.... C'mon, Chief, let's go on back to Cascade."
"Hey, Jim. Wouldn't it be kind of ironic if they ran into that thing?"
"I wonder if that's why that guy wanted off?"
"You never know."
(squish, squarsh, squish, squish)
"Hey, Jim. You think they have enough lifeboats on board in case they do run into trouble?"
"I have no idea."
"I expect most of 'em will get off if there's, like, a disaster or something. Right?"
"I don't know, Sandburg. All depends on who's running the show, I guess."
"Yeah. Sure hope that girl gets off okay."
"Uh-huh. So, Sandburg. Looks like we've got some time on our hands. What d'ya want to do?"
(squish, squarsh, squish)
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. You're the guide. You come up with something."
"Hey, Jim, look! That guy over there. I think that's.... Hey, yeah, it is! That's Captain Stubing!"
"Who? That guy that looks like Murray from the Mary Tyler Moore Show?"
"Yeah. Hey Captain Stubing! Jim, he's a really nice guy ... maybe he can get us on board."
"Sandburg, I thought we decided we didn't want to go on this stupid cruise."
"Oh, yeah. I forgot. It's just, Jim, that girl...."
"Table leg, Chief."
"Enough with the table leg, Jim."
"I can't help it. You're always asking for it."
(squish, squish, squarsh, squish, squish)
"Sandburg, what the hell is that noise?!"
"Shh.... It's stopped now. Huh. It's like it's been following us all the way from Cascade. Haven't you been hearing it?"
"Jim. I keep telling you, you're the one with the heightened senses here. I'm just the guide. Remember?"
"Yeah, okay. C'mon."
"Hey, Jim. Why don't we go fishing or something? We can stop by the bullpen and see if Simon wants to go along."
(squish, squarsh, squish)
"There it is again! Stop."
"Jim, you've been through a lot lately. Maybe your senses are acting up on you again."
"My senses are fine. C'mon. Let's go find Simon."
"Sure, sounds good. But, hey, Jim. Can we maybe go by the loft first? I'd really like to get some dry clothes."
"Chief, I hate to keep reminding you of this, but your things aren't at the loft anymore."
"Oh, yeah. I keep forgetting."
"Why don't we go by wherever it was you were staying and pick up your things."
"I told you, man. I don't remember where I was staying. I'm not even sure TPTB said anything about where I went after you kicked me out of the loft."
"Sorry about that, kid."
"'S'okay, man. Not your fault."
(squish, squish, squarsh, squarsh, squarsh)
"So your stuff's kind of like in limbo-land or something?"
"Yeah, I guess. Something like that."
"Wonder how long this is going to go on?"
"I don't know, man. This really sucks."
(squish, squish, squarsh, squish)
"Damnit! That sound is driving me nuts!"
"No, Chief, don't stop. Keep walking."
(squish, squish, squish ... squish....)
"That's it! It's you, Sandburg. Your shoes are squishing."
"Oh ... uh, yeah. Gee, Jim I could have told you that. I'm as wet as a drowned rat, here."
"I thought you lost your shoes."
"No. I've had 'em on the whole time. What made you think I lost 'em?"
"Don't know. Thought I heard somebody say something about it."
"Well, there they are. Right on my feet."
"You really do look like a drowned rat. Your hair's all ... you know...."
"Tell me about it. I can't figure out why it's not drying out. And when it does, that chlorine from the fountain's gonna give me the frizzies from hell, man."
"Given any thought to cutting it?"
"Actually, yeah, lately I've been giving it a lot of thought. Came close a couple of times."
"What stopped you?"
"It was the weirdest thing, man. I was sitting there in the hairdresser's chair --"
"Real men use barbers, Chief."
"Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I was all set to go through with it when I hear, way off in the distance, this eerie chorus of voices going 'Noo-ooo-ooo! Noh-ooo-ooh! Do-oh-oh-n't cut the Guh-uh-uhppy's ha-a-air!!'"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Nope. Dead serious."
(squish, squarsh, squish, squarsh)
"So, when do you think you're gonna dry out, Sandburg?"
"I don't know. At this rate, it'll be after Christmas before I even reach the just-damp stage."
"Why?" (squish, squarsh), "What's your problem?"
"I don't think I can take that infernal squishing that long."
"Dial it down, man."
"I'm trying, I'm trying."
(squish, squarsh, squish)
"So, you really think that tub's got enough lifeboats on it?"
"Like I said, Chief. Just depends on who's running the show."
(squish, squish, squarsh, squish, squarsh, squish, squish....)
THE END (Until Mid-season, that is)