Thursday, January 11, 2007

Father knows best

One of my favorite Christmas gifts last month was the complete fourth and final season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman on DVD. Last night, I revisited a two-parter that I hadn’t seen since its original airing in 1997. It starred the superb Lane Davies as Tempus, a villain from the far future who several times appeared on the show. In this particular story, Tempus time-traveled to 1997, brainwashed everyone through the telephone lines, seized the U.S. presidency in a landslide election, and immediately squashed the Constitution by keeping the populace hypnotized through the Ma Bell system. Here, punctuated with much cheering and applause, is Tempus’s first speech to the public as president:

“Citizens, voters, and phone owners! Thank-you for the huzzahs! If I could have just an impromptu moment of your time. Everything I have I owe to you, because we are one big family — with me as the papa and you as the kiddies! We will prosper under one big roof, obey one big set of laws, use one big phone company, and you’ll do everything that Papa says! I’m pleased to announce Congress has also unanimously passed the Non-Phone Act, making it treasonous not to use the phone! And we know that for all good girls and boys, all will be well. We also know that if we’re bad, we’ll be punished. Papa must know when to cut back on your allowance and when to shoot you. A papa must be stern.”

Interestingly, the first episode of this two-parter was written by Tim Minear, who served as the executive story editor for Lois & Clark during its last season. Minear, you might recall, was the executive producer in 2002 of Joss Whedon’s very libertarian Firefly TV series. He has also been writing the script for a movie adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like something out of The President's Analyst, that wonderful 1967 spoof, with James Coburn, in which it was revealed the phone company was trying to conquer the world. Wonderful film, and not as nearly well-known as it should be.

Bob Wallace


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