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The Daily Jim

All the wit that's fit to spit

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dear Television, Where Have All the Ninjas Gone?

There was a time on prime time television when any small time villain worth his evil could hire himself a ninja to serve as silent bodyguard or surefooted thief.  Eventually these noble, but misguided, warriors from the East would all be defeated by a good ol’ American haymaker punch – a staple of ’80s action fighting. But that’s not the point.

The point is that in 1984 the ninja could not be contained by one low rated, white-bread action-drama staring the Salami from The White Shadow and Sentenza from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Eventually they wanted to see the rest of TV Land, and what better way than as fearsome ethnic thugs?  Unfortunately for them, the open shirted, hair tussled, American do-gooders who roamed the country side at the time also watched The Master.

Occasionally, Michael Knight and his talking car needed to take a break from fighting his diabolical twin brother and a talking eighteen wheeler; and who were they gonna take on?  Aliens? Nope; no cool throwing stars.  When the Incredible Hulk wanted to find a way to relax, he didn’t take up knitting!  He found himself a dojo so he could learn delicate art of … well … that didn’t work out too well because Hulk not remember “delicate” part so good; but he sure gave those highly trained assassins what for.  If you had the money to pay the A-Team, that meant that they had to finish the job, whether it was as simple as a couple of rowdy lumberjacks hassling a local stripper or as deadly as a clan of shadow warriors protecting a drug shipment.  It was on Hannibal and the boys to deal with what came their way; you paid the fee, they kick the ass.  Even our pal, Magnum, P.I., liked the idea of tussling with the shinobi once in a while – providing a black contrast to his colorful aloha shirts.

Okay, perhaps Crockett and Tubbs took it a little too far when they failed to stop a ninja blood feud from washing up in Miami?  But that was the beauty of the ninja – you never knew when they would show up, you just knew they would (for an entire decade).

Today, CSI (and CSI: New York, and CSI: Miami, and CSI: Hogwarts Academy) has the technology and uncanny sleuthing to demystify the ninja and Chuck has given everyone ninja skills with a brain download.  So what’s a highly trained, out of work, agent of stealth, and bringer of doom supposed to do?  Drop the masks, lose the hardware and turn into sexy vampires. This will keep you sneaking around the channels for a few years until we forget all about ninjas and you can mount your counterattack on television.

Masters of camouflage, the ninja stop a  Taco Bell drive-though, before attacking The Greatest American Hero.

Masters of camouflage, the ninja stop at a Taco Bell drive-thru, before sneaking up on The Greatest American Hero.

2 responses to “Dear Television, Where Have All the Ninjas Gone?”

  1. steve says:

    ninjas got replaced with vampires

  2. steve says:

    ninjas got replaced with vampires

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Gentleman Jim

  • MONDAY – Movies. Their glory and their hilarious tragedy.  

  • TUESDAY – Television.  Our favorite drug; constant and comforting, but often packaged with regret.  

  • WEDNESDAY – Wildcards! Probably a piece of weird fiction in which Spider-Man has to talk down Laura Ingles from making a bad decision.  

  • THURSDAY – Thesis-level Dorkdom. Jargon, geek terms and weird insight explained for the rest of us.  

  • FRIDAY – Fantasy, Sci-fi, and comics.  Like living in your parents’ basement only without the inherent desperation. Well…