The following took place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. I went to the door and there were four boxes from Fox. One of them contained Jack Bauer.
Well, okay, a little toy, G.I. Joe version of Bauer. A "Deluxe Boxed Set Jack Bauer Action Figure," to be precise. McFarlane Toys has "captured" Bauer right down to the mussed up hair and dead-eye gun stance, although, unlike the actor who plays him, Kiefer Sutherland, there are no cigarettes tucked behind each ear (although wait until the kids at Robot Chicken get a hold of Little Jack).
The plastic "custom base" includes panels of a chain link fence and a couple of boxes. For some reason Bauer is carrying a purse. Must be deep under cover.
The first place Fox network is the most aggressive when it comes to swag and this is just their way or reminding critics that Bauer is back January 11 at 8 p.m. as 24 kicks off its seventh season. The four hour opener continues the following Monday night.
Global plans its own wacky reminder that Bauer is back. They're inviting fans of the series to camp out at Toronto's Yorkdale Mall for six consecutive days in January where they will screen all six 24-episode seasons in a row. This will set a Guinness Book record and could even win somebody 24 grand; you'll also look and smell just like Jack Bauer when this hellish marathon is finally over. Go to globaltv.com Monday for details.
Since this is the most wonderful time of the year, Fox also sent three other boxes promoting three other January shows. The one without the screener was for the return of American Idol, which kicks off season eight on Fox and CTV with a four hour launch starting Tuesday, Jan. 13 and continuing Wednesday, Jan. 14. A bright plastic gum dispenser was shipped to mark the occasion. It was half filled with while gumballs plus one large blue ball. "Like the white gumballs, there are many talented singers in the mix," goes the accompanying release, "but only one singer will stand out and be crowned the next American Idol."
Any day now I'm sure CTV will be shipping their specialty marked boxes of discontinued Canadian Idol Children's Cough Syrup to mark the fact that the series is "resting" for a year. Some Sass Jordon sleepwear might also be in order, or even a Zack Werner Bed Warmer.
Arriving with a screener was a box from Fox containing a wooden "Echo" doll from Joss Whedon's upcoming sci-fi series Dollhouse. The doll unfortunately, looks nothing like lovely Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku. It looks more like one of those dancing Reactin dolls in those back pain ads.
The premise of the series is about a collection of individuals brought together to have their personalities wiped clean. My bad--that's the premise of Canadian Idol.
Dollhouse begins Friday, Feb. 13, not the most promising start date for a new series. The enclosed DVD, according to the Fox notes, was watermarked, I guess in an effort to trace any copies from critics who might be foolish enough to offer it up on eBay. Having screened it with my teenagers, I'm thinking Fox may have overestimated its street value, and since it is almost Christmas, I'll just pass along their other note that this is not the final air version and hope for the best.
The last box contained a release and screener for the new Fox series Lie To Me, starring Stephen Harper, uh, Jack Layton, er, I mean, Tim Roth. It is about a scientist who studies facial ticks and body language and knows when someone is lying. It starts Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 9 p.m.--honest!
The screener came with a book from the guy who inspired the series, Dr. Cal Lightman, billed as "the world's leading deception expert." (He's hard at work now on that "Canadian Idol's just sleeping" CTV release.) The book is called "Lightman's Guide To Lies and Liars" and every critic got one whether we needed it or not. There was also another book called "Telling Lies," so when this show comes out and it gets rave reviews, well, I'm just saying it opens us up to suspicion, doesn't it?
Have to go now, Bauer's about to pistol whip Santa into a confession. Something about those six billion breaking and enters. Ho-Ho-No!