Thereâ€™s a show Iâ€™ve been enjoying quite a bit called Houdini & Doyle. Itâ€™s based on one of the best ideas for a show Iâ€™ve ever heard.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a trained doctor and the creator of the ultimate pre-Spock paragon of logic and reason: Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was also a believer in the occult.
Harry Houdini was a world famous master magician and a skeptic, who spent a great deal of time and effort exposing fraudulent psychics.
These two men were good friends.
All of what Iâ€™ve just written is absolutely true and historically documented. The show Houdini & Doyle has them running around turn-of-the-century London solving ÂX-Files style mysteries with the help of the cityâ€™s first-ever female constable and the guy who played Lord Percy/Captain Darling on Blackadder. The episodes tend to start with some supernatural event which Doyle wants to investigate, and ends with Houdini providing a rational explanation. Itâ€™s a great formula, well executed.
Because anything I personally enjoy is, by definition, good, and destined for great success, and because the Fox network has no history of prematurely cancelling shows I enjoy, I can only assume that Houdini & Doyle will be at least as successful as CSI, Law & Order, or NCIS. And as such, there WILL be spin-offs.
I think it goes without saying that I want in on this. Hereâ€™s my pitch.
Henning and Dick
Master magician Doug Henning and his good friend, science fiction author Phillip K. Dick (upon whose works Blade Runner and Total Recall were based) work together to solve mysteries in the San Fernando valley in the 1970s.
Episode 1: Dick discovers another man who looks just like him, sounds just like him, and claims to be named Phillip K. Dick. This disturbs Dick to his core, causing him to question where this replica of himself has come from, or if he is the replica, and has been all along.
Henning reveals that it was just a mirror.
Episode 2: A woman claims to have psychic powers and proves it by reading Dickâ€™s mind. Dick questions whether she really read the thoughts from his mind, or if she implanted them to begin with. He spends days unraveling the philosophical implications of either possibility.
Henning reveals that the psychic was using a deck of marked cards.
Episode 3: A young woman mysteriously disappears. Dick struggles to understand how a person can simply vanish, and begins to question whether she ever actually existed at all, theorizing that he may have imagined her in the moment after she â€œvanished,â€ and his subconscious mind simply edited his memories to include the fictional young woman.
Henning reveals that the woman does exist, and is hidden behind the cabinetâ€™s false back.
Episode 4: Dick begins to question the very nature of reality when he starts seeing incongruous objects repeatedly, in a way that cannot happen in reality. Specifically, he sees far too many scarves to plausibly come out of one manâ€™s hand.
You know what? Iâ€™m just going to keep the rest of the episode ideas to myself. I donâ€™t want to give the whole thing away before I get to pitch it to the showâ€™s producers. If they buy that, then I can hit them with Copperfield and King, a show that will involve a lot of billowy shirts and fake blood.
In Scott Meyer news: the Kindle editions of Spell or High Water and An Unwelcome Quest are available for $1.99 in the USA as part of the Kindle Monthly Deals promotion through the end of June.