Saturday, January 28, 2012

From off spin to spin-offs

What did cricket writers do in the days before Twitter? They probably read books, wrote poetry, knocked off a crossword puzzle or two, drank plenty and even, God forbid, spoke to each other. Now we fill the duller moments by bashing out half-baked thoughts in 140 characters or less.

I resisted Twitter for a long time and have perhaps embraced it too enthusiastically since I took it up nine months ago. A colleague here admonished me for filling up his timeline, although I try to give good tweet, sharing amusing thoughts (amusing to me, anyway) or odd bits of information rather than the bland statements others make (why do some people need to tweet "good morning", for instance, or tell me that they feel peckish?).

Sometimes an idea on Twitter is too good to waste on one tweet or gets a life of its own when others comment on it, which brings us to #WestWingSpinOffs, an idea I had while discussing with a friend what might have happened to Nancy McNally, President Bartlet's National Security Adviser, after Matt Santos entered the White House.

The West Wing is one of the greatest programmes ever made but after seven seasons the avid fan is left wanting more. What we need are spin-offs. Good spin-offs, mind, like Frasier or Torchwood, not another Joey or the bizarre AfterMASH, a spin-off featuring Klinger, Mulcahy and Colonel Potter after they left Korea (I'm not joking ...)

So what's next, as Jed might say? Well, in case you are a Hollywood producer looking for fresh ideas, here are the West Wing Spin-Offs I and a few Twitter friends came up with. If you're not a West Wing fan, most of these won't mean anything and you probably gave up reading this by now.

All fresh (and better) suggestions gratefully received.

  • The Nancy McNally Mysteries, in which she, Donna and Elsie Snuffin solve crimes in New England
  • Butterfield and Co: the hilarious farce of a former Secret Service head who retires early to run a gentlemen's outfitters
  • Confessions of a Scruffy Hack: Danny Concannon's late-night chat show
  • Quincy and Bing: a Friends/West Wing crossover in which a lawyer and a statistics analyst, both played by Matt Perry, are room-mates
  • Stop It! A new gameshow in which contestants see how long they can put up with Donna's bird tapping at the window 
  • Marbury and McGarry (deceased): Lord John Marbury tries to sort world peace, aided by Leo's ghost who only he can see (hat-tip @jedmiliband)
  • Where's Mandy? A panel show in which a guest tries to find where Mandy Hampton has disappeared to this week (hat-tip @arjones77)
  • Big Block of Cheese Day: The US economy cracks as those in power spend weeks tucking into a good Camembert (hat-tip @alan_curr)
  • Ball Against the Wall: A game show featuring Toby Ziegler. Can you beat the master at his own game of bounce? (hat-tip @eddie_corrigan)
  • Weatherman: Will Bailey ends droughts across the world by screaming to the skies for rain
  • CJ Cregg vs the World (featuring Taylor Reid and Big Bird) (hat-tip @paulframe85)
  • The Ziegler Follies: The speechwriter travels the world looking at whimsical structures (hat-tip @zyohnnymac)

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