Whoosh! Issue 25 - October 1998
Letters to the Editor

USA Channel Avoiding Episodes?

Tuesday, September 01, 1998
Subject: USA schedule

Hi, first I would like to tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying your site, it is highly informative!

I am a recently inducted XENA fan. I just started watching about the same time that USA began airing the series. I was so thrilled to be able to see the show in order from it's begining. So needless to say when I discovered that USA is not only not showing them in order but appears to be skipping some episodes, I was slightly disappointed!

I was hoping with your apparent reasources, you might have some insight as to why USA is doing this and especially if they ever intend to air the missing episodes? If not, how I may be able to see them?

Thanks for your time in reading this and for the time and effort you seem to put into your site!

Chezra Durae

Editor Responded:
The official reason for the missing episodes (GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN and THE QUEST) is the this: When shows are stripped (shown daily M-F), it is the industry standard to air them in production code order. USA did the month of August that way. However, after protests, they decided to buck tradition and show them in airing order instead starting about a week into September with whatever episode they were at at that date. That meant that a couple of episodes with later production code numbers but which aired before the switch episode would not be shown in this first run of the episodes. Under this theory, the missing shows will be shown again on the second time around.

Nice theory, however, it doesn't add up when you compare the production order and airing orders.

Here's the production numbers with the airing order parallel. The USA schedule starts with airing order at Return of Callisto.

Season 1
Production Order    Airing Order    USA Order    
Sins (76901)Sins (101)Sins
Chariots (76902)Chariots (102)Chariots
Death in Chains (76903)Dreamworker (103)Death in Chains
Titans (76904)Cradle of Hope (104)Titans
Dreamworker (76905)Path Not Taken (105)Dreamworker
Cradle of Hope (76906)Reckoning (106)Cradle of Hope
Path Not Taken (76907)Titans (107)Path Not Taken
Reckoning (76908)Prometheus (108)Reckoning
Unproduced (76909)
Prometheus (76910)Death in Chains (109)Prometheus
Hooves and Harlots (76911)Hooves and Harlots (110)Hooves and Harlots
Black Wolf (76912)Black Wolf (111)Black Wolf
Unproduced (76913)
Beware of Greeks (76914)Beware of Greeks (112)Beware of Greeks
Prodigal (76915)Athens Academy (113)Prodigal
Athens Academy (76916)Fistful of Dinars (114)Athens Academy
Death Mask (76917)Warrior... Priestess (115)Death Mask
Fistful of Dinars (76918)Mortal Beloved (116)Fistful of Dinars
Mortal Beloved (76919)Royal Couple (117)Mortal Beloved
Callisto (76920)Prodigal (118)Callisto
Warrior... Priestess (76921)Altared States (119)Warrior... Priestess
Royal Couple (76922)Ties that Bind (120)Royal Couple
Ties that Bind (76923)Greater Good (121)Ties that Bind
Greater Good (76924)Callisto (122)Greater Good
Is There a Doctor (76925)Death Mask (123)Is There a Doctor
Altared States (76926)Is There a Doctor (124)Altared States
Season 2
Remember Nothing (V0201)Orphan of War (201)Remember Nothing
Girls Just Wanna (V0202)Remember Nothing (202)Giant Killer
Unproduced V0203)
Giant Killer (V0204)Giant Killer (203)Orphan of War
Warrior... Princess... Tramp (V0205)Girls Just Wanna (204)Xena Scrolls
Orphan of War (V0206)Return of Callisto (205)Return of Callisto
Destiny (V0207)Warrior... Princess... Tramp (206)Warrior... Princess... Tramp
Xena Scrolls (V0208)Intimate Stranger (207)Intimate Stranger
Solstice Carol (V0209)Ten Little Warlords (208)Ten Little Warlords
Return of Callisto (V0210)Solstice Carol (209)Solstice Carol
Intimate Stranger (V0211)Xena Scrolls (210)Miss Amphipolis
Miss Amphipolis (V0212)Miss Amphipolis (211)Destiny
Ulysses (V0213)Destiny (212)Necessary Evil
Blind Faith (V0214)Quest (213)Day in the Life
Ten Little Warlords (V0215)Necessary Evil (214)For Him the Bell Tolls
Unproduced (V0216)
The Price (V0217)Day in the Life (215)Execution
Execution (V0218)For Him the Bell Tolls (216)Blind Faith
Necessary Evil (V0219)Execution (217)Ulysses
For Him the Bell Tolls (V0220)Blind Faith (218)The Price
Quest (V0221)Ulysses (219)Lost Mariner
Unproduced (V0222)
Day in the Life (V0223)The Price (220)Comedy of Eros
Furies (V0224)Lost Mariner (221)Furies
Comedy of Eros (V0225)Comedy of Eros (222)Been There
Lost Mariner (V0226)Furies (301)Dirty Half
Been There (V0227)Been There (302)Deliverer
As you can see, the reason given does not add up to the historic record. GIRLS had ample chance to come before GIANT KILLER (under production order) or after GIANT KILLER (under airing order); and THE QUEST should come after DESTINY.

I guess this is yet another mystery in the Xenaverse. Hopefully these episodes will be stripped in the second go around.

You can give your "feedback" to the USA Channel by going to http://www.usanetwork.com/functions/feed.html.

Hope And Alcmene

Thursday, September 10, 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Why Hope should never have gone after Alcmene.

"Armageddon Now" (Part 1) [HTLJ #72]

O.K., so Ares and Callisto stick Hercules in the same interdimensional limbo as the Sovereign, then Hope and Callisto team up to take the Hind's blood from Ares. Everything's going according to plan, right? Then why does Hope make the monumental screwup of sending Callisto after Alcmene?

I mean, suppose Callisto succeeds. That means:

  1. Hercules and Xena never meet,
  2. Hercules never turns Xena away from her dark side,
  3. Xena never meets Gabrielle (or, as "Armageddon Now" (Part 2) [HTLJ #73] has theorized, she kills Gabrielle!),
  4. Xena and Gabrielle never go to Britannia to fight Caesar,
  5. Gabrielle never loses her blood-innocence, and
  6. Never gets impregnated by Dahak, thus
  7. Negating Hope's birth and Dahak's plans for taking over the world.
Like Cecrops said, "It really is just that simple!" And remember, in the Xenaverse, whenever somebody--be they god or mortal--mucks about with the timestream, it sticks! And what about Callisto? Doesn't she realise that without Hercules,

  1. She never gets to eat the Golden Apples,
  2. Never become immortal, and
  3. Thus is never in a position to help Xena & Gabrielle, thereby
  4. Never gets to eat any ambrosia, and
  5. Never becomes a god!
She's transformed (or ought to be, anyhow) into an ordinary mortal (unless godly powers make her immune to changes in the timestream, like the interdimensional prison did for Hercules and the Sovereign). On the other hand, as a time-traveller herself, Callisto will remember all of the changes in the timestream, and will thus be able to protect herself (although she did a terrible job of protecting her family in Cirra; she ought to have left that to a professional, like Iolaus).

Well, I think that about covers it; clearly, Hope's plan to kill Alcmene was flawed (if not doomed) from the start. Makes you wonder if there's anyone home upstairs.

Anthony Santomenno

Why Do You Cover Hercules?

Wednesday, September 16, 1998 3:38 PM
Subject: Why Herc?

I've noticed that Herc seems to be marketed with Xena pretty aggressively these days, and it's been my assumption that the creators are trying to boost Herc's ratings (yawn) by associating him with Xena.

Why is Herc's airing schedule being published by Whoosh?

I'm disappointed. I'm really not interested in Herc, and feel like he's being shoved down my throat by the marketers of the shows. I understand why the networks and Creation entertainment are piggybacking him on Xena, but I don't see why he should be on the IAXS site. There are lots of studly guy heroes in fantasy, and lots of other places for Herc's info to be posted on the internet.

Just my opinion. You have a wonderful site and a great organization, despite my complaint above! Thanks.

Candace Byers

Editor Responded:
We cover Herk, as much as we do, because of the cross-overs with XWP. They share a lot.

A Friendly Visit

Friday, August 21, 1998
Subject: Do you really want to know what a whoosh is?

Well, I just typed in the word "whoosh" at one of the search engines and I found myself here. Funny that I should have a Gabrielle theme pack loaded right now in Windows.

A whoosh is a sneeze! Are you saying that Xena is a sneeze? Well, don't feel too bad, the Calgary International Airport's mascot's name is "Whoosh". Well, we in Edmonton would agree Calgary is a sneeze.

Coco Savage

Preaching To The Choir?

Sunday, September 06, 1998

Many of us have probably watched the popular show, Xena Warrior Princess, but did you ever watch it for reasons other than, hmm-mm, personal entertainment? If you have, which I doubt, you would know that this show also teaches morals and gives off a good impression for all women. It goes to show that women are equal to men, and can kick b*tt just as well, maybe even better.

Xena is mainly about a woman warrior (Lucy Lawless), and her quirky sidekick Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor). They help the poor, weak, and defenseless, to conquer any evil. I know it sounds kind of overdone, but there's more to it than a bunch of women in leather. See, Xena used to be evil, but then changed for the better, picking up a do-gooder on the way up, Gabrielle. Together, they fight their pasts, and the danger and enemies they make in the future. Every episode involves something about their friendship, betrayal, or a lesson that you can learn about life. It always teaches morals, but to tell the truth, I watch it pretty much because of the obsession I have with the show and it's characters. I think it's the best show on television, and if you've never watched it before, "Great time to start," as Xena says.


And the Debate Continueth...

Wednesday, September 02, 1998
Subject: Whoosh! Letters to editor: Gotta air this

Roger Duarte contented in a letter to Whoosh!, the writers had some sort of responsibility to society at large. Oh, really?

Since when was any television program reponsible for the goods or ills of the world? Good grief, Roger Duarte! Where do I see Sly Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzenegger, or Mel Gibson, blamed for the violence in society in your letter? What about Susan Sarandon, Sigourney Weaver, or Geena Davis? If that truly be so (Xenastaff's evil), name the screenwriters of the proctuctions which included the mentioned actors.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a television program! It is designed to put us into a world of fantasy, and take us out of our everyday lives. It has done that for me and many people...

...Oh, we all do it! Yes, I do it! However, I don't foist my opinions upon others endlessly, wearing them down, as they do. Enough is enough! Debate is fine, discussion is fine, but ruthless attacks on people, simply because they disagree with you is NOT! (That includes producers and writers, as well as peons like me, who just love the show.)

Xenastaff has, for three years given us shows we wait for with great anticipation. Occasionally, we are disappointed, but more often, we are rewarded.

Many times, I've defended Tyldus or Xenastaff, only to be told "They're only human!" Well, doggonit, think about that statement, people. Yes, they are only people. We are all allowed some latitude in judgement and conviction. Aren't we? Sounds like some won't allow that of the folks producing a TERRIFIC SHOW! Settle down and get a life.

I've been watching this show since the first run of "Dreamworker." I won't leave it! Not until the very end. There are times I disagree with the direction an episode, or an arc, or even THE RIFT, but I'm along for the ride these wonderful folks at Ren Pics have plotted.

More than anything, I beg other fans of the show not to judge all Gab/ROC fans by the words of a select, if, vociferous few. All of us, devoted Gab/ROC fans are not that way, at all. In fact, a large faction of us, broken from the original group, were at SF. We asked no questions of Ms. O'Connor. We were polite and quiet, and so grateful for her autograph. Please, don't paint us with the same brush as you do some. That, I respectfully, do ask of you.

Gab/ROC fans, in quiet circles, debate and discuss issues associated with the show honestly and fairly. We've never villified the producers or writers of the show. Hmm. Could we be open-minded and trusting we will get good entertainment for another two years? I think so!

Take care,
Shelley J. Hendrix

Tuesday, September 15, 1998
Subject: letter to the editor

Thanks for the interesting September, 1998 edition of your magazine. After reading Michelle Frazier's piece which reflects many of my own feelings on seasons 1-3, the fourth season spoilers and several of the letters to the editor - and considering several recent comments from the stars and staff of this show, I am left with great unease as XWP embarks on season four.

The USA Network describes Xena Warrior Princess as a show with "sword-clashing, 'chakram'-hurling fun. With tongue-in-cheek dialogue, computer-generated special-effects and family sensibilities". Mr. Tapert, Ms. Lawless and most recently and Ms. O'Connor in a New Zealand Herald, 6/98 article, have told us repeatedly that this is a "family show" with a "moral to the story." Indeed Ms. Lawless tells us that "the violence in Xena is 'sufficiently cartoony' that it shouldn't interfere with her ability to speak out" on issues of domestic violence, New Zealand Herald, 8/98. But while the show may not cause a "resurgence in broadsword fighting" it is not the cartoonish actions but the "moral to the story" - or lack there of - that is of great concern to me.

This "family show" with a "moral to the story" is shown at 11am and 6pm on weekends, traditional family/kids time slots, in many of the largest TV viewing areas. It is marketed to children and teens with toy lines sold in Kmart and Toys 'R' Us, learning games, lunch boxes, theme park attractions, Halloween costumes, comics, trading cards, and on and on. When children were polled as to who they would like to have to their homes to play with them, Ms. Lawless/Xena was on the top of the list. So, when a "family show" heavily and successfully marketed to children delivers stories that carry the implications/moral that people are "born good or born bad with no 'Hope' of redemption - they should be killed at birth, that tough love means beating a child bloody until they learn, that the accepted rite of passage to adulthood is making ones first kill/losing ones "blood innocence" - when the stories leave viewers with the impression that domestic abuse can be justified in circumstances where the partner "deserved it", - when rape is ignored and nudity and vulgar sexism are passed off as humor - shouldn't everyone in the audience be vigorously asking all those concerned - Why? Why is a show that claims to be targeting a family audience, a show that told us it was about "ending the cycle of hatred and vengeance" now marketing itself to children with magazines from the bubble gum and lollipop folks - Topps - that glorifies Xena's attack on Gabrielle with a 'Vengeance' cover? When did such egregious acts of violence perpetrated against a women, a partner, family, - become proper advertising material for children?

When I go to the grocers in the evening and see Xena Mag #3, with its cover glorifying the dragging of Gabrielle by her ankles across half of Greece to quench Xena's thirst for vengeance, being sold on the children's stand with the golden books and comics and am told by the store manager that it is there because its a kids show and Topps makes kids magazines - then rise the next morning to turn on the TV and see the scene of a black man who was tied by his ankles and dragged to his death across half of Texas - should I not - in all good conscience - ask is this coincidence?

Those who, like Ms Gaynor, would simply say yes, it is coincidence, you can't prove that XWP or any other TV show has effected the "sick and twisted people" who commit "sick and twisted acts" in real life - MISS THE POINT- completely.

The point is WHY is a Family Show that is being aired in traditional Family/Kids time slots and being heavily - Marketed to Children - producing stories that reflect the most vile, "sick", "twisted", and heinous of real life acts - and - Why if these acts must be shown - is it not being pointed out that indeed - These Acts Are Wrong - and they do have Dire Consequences? Are these not the questions everyone should be asking of all those who have told us that they are making a "family show" with a "moral to the story?"

Dr. Pamela Marino
Gaithersburg, MD

Tuesday, September 15, 1998
Subject: Letter To The Editor

I'm not going to fault TPTB for attempting to bring up serious, adult issues during the third season of Xena.

I _am_ going to fault them--and severely, too--for _refusing_ to show the consequences and resolutions of those issues in a responsible manner.

Beth Gaynor bemoans the fact that these issues are being discussed in an increasingly "heated" manner amongst fans and in their interactions with TPTB as well. She wonders why we can't have a cool, reasoned, respectful give and take of differing opinions?

IMO, it's because many fans have "been there and done that" on the various Xena mailing lists and in conversations with members of TPTB in chats, via email, and at various cons.

The ultimate response from many on the Xena mailing lists is that folks who have problems with the tone and content of X:S3 are "bad fans", "disloyal to the show", and are basically "raining on everyone else's parade". There is a distinct air of "sit down and shut up" to such statements, IMO.

The response from many of TPTB to criticism of X:S3 and themselves has been even worse, an ultra-defensive "our way or the highway", "like it or leave it" stance.

Steven Sears tries to redefine the word rape so as to exclude it from being used to describe what happened to Gabrielle in "The Deliverer". Upon hearing the first rumblings of resistence to his view he tries to paint anyone who disagrees with him as part of a "vocal minority" akin to "conspiracy theorists". RJ Stewart openly admits Gabrielle's argument to Xena for sparing Hope was "too good" so he "stacked the deck" against the bard and her child to help make Xena "look good" in "Gabrielle's Hope". That doesn't exactly sound like a talented writer doing his best to fully explore a tense, dramatic confrontation between two complex characters. It sounds more like a cheap, easy short cut to make one character look good at the expense of the other.

And Steven Sears insists Xena and Gabrielle came to closure over the horrid "Gabdrag" _during commercial breaks_!

Such actions, statements, and attitudes from many fans and TPTB hardly engender an atmosphere for "polite", "reasoned", or "respectful" conversation.

Imagine if the whole final confrontation scene between Gabrielle, Xena, and Callisto in "Return of Callisto" had never been filmed, and instead all we saw was a jump cut to X&G standing in front of Perdicus' pyre before the scene and episode faded to black.

Then imagine one of TPTB going on line and saying Gabrielle confronted and overcame her desire for revenge and Xena took "care of" Callisto during the commercial breaks!

That's how cheated many folks feel about TPTB refusal to show X&G coming to terms over the "Gabdrag" _on screen_.

It seems as if TPTB cannot or will not devote the time and energy to dealing with the complex, adult issues they _deliberately_ chose to raise during X:S3 and the "rift" arc, thus leaving many fans with the feeling of being used emotionally, to boot.

At least during the first two seasons when we saw the introduction of a serious, potentially relationship altering storyline it was discussed and eventually dealt with by X&G in a reasoned, responsible manner _on screen_.

In "Return of Callisto" Gabrielle's dark side manifests itself and is eventually "defeated" when the bard cannot/will not kill Callisto.

In "Intimate Stranger" and "Ten Little Warlords" Xena and Gabrielle are faced with the prospect of Xena being trapped in Callisto's body for good. They finally reach a resolution to that problem at the end of "TLW" with Gabrielle accepting Xena as Callisto just before the warrior's spirit is reunited with her body.

Perhaps most telling of all is in "The Price" where the first true strain in the X&G relationship is examined with respect, care, and responsibility while maintaining the integrity of Xena _and_ Gabrielle's differing viewpoints and outlooks and eventually showing the things that bring them together are far stronger than what threatens to tear them apart.

The point is that TPTB devoted fair amounts of introspection, discussion, and closure to key events in the lives of X&G during the first couple of seasons. Yet during X:S3 they suddenly insist that several episodes worth of major, never before seen levels of mental, emotional, and physical stress put on the X&G relationship was either totally resolved during the 44 minute musical and special effects filled running time of "Bitter Suite" or handled later on by X&G during commercial breaks!

Sorry, but for a lot of fans, that is a cop-out by TPTB, plain and simple.

IMO, TPTB have taken a new, sensationalistic, and irresponsible attitude towards depicting many shocking acts of violence and sexism during X:S3. For two seasons TPTB presented Xena as a series with a definite moral and ethical sensibility, i.e., that violence and hate are not the answer. That acts of violence and revenge have strong, _negative_ consequences. That love is stronger than hate and that love _and_ forgiveness can redeem even the darkest soul.

TPTB have-IMO-abandoned that once uplifting message and replaced it with vivid depictions--almost celebrations--of violence, hate, and revenge which culminated in Xena attacking, torturing, and almost killing Gabrielle then basically getting away with it without showing the least amount of remorse or sorrow to the bard _or the audience_.

In a world where dragging a man to his death behind a pickup truck is a cold, obscene reality, it is even more important that Xena, who like it or not is a role model and hero for children _and_ adults, is not allowed to perpetrate such a vicious act on a helpless Gabrielle without facing and accepting the consequences.

So until TPTB show Xena doing "the right thing" by the bard, I feel that folks like Pamela Marino are quite justified in calling TPTB on the carpet about the "Gabdrag" and offering critical paralells on how it might relate to similar events in real life.

Because, IMO, Xena isn't just "another tv show" whose content should then be excused and/or justified as being mere "entertainment".

And TPTB shouldn't be allowed to get away with obfuscation and avoidance of the serious issues they themselves raised.


Tuesday, September 15, 1998
Subject: On the Dissenter and the Luvin (Letter to the editor)

I find it odd that I should be at the center of such controversy. I was once told by a college professor that I was in the wrong discipline. "Conservatives do not make good sociologist, they make good psychologists" (apparently, I should be a liberal due to my chosen field). Ironically, I am neither liberal or conservative, but a hybrid mix that really confuses the status quo.

Ordinarily, I would not be using this letters column as a forum to rebut someone's point of view or opinion. However, I find that when I am personally named by individuals in their letters that I have a duty to reply in kind and let the readers decide who they wish to agree with. And since the lines of demarcation seem to separate one "class" of fans from another, I shall also touch upon congruent issues raised by other writers last month.

As Ms. Gaynor stated: "...including people who are apparently blaming the third season for every ill of the world.... I read Pamela Marino blaming Xena for influencing the kids who shot up their schoolmates and the men who murdered another man by dragging him from their pickup. I read Roger Duarte comparing the rape debate to the Holocaust."

She then goes on to list several issues that, in her opinion, are the "right" things to discuss about XWP. Ironically, the issues she mentioned are not only ones that have been discussed by myself and countless others on other lists and forums, but they are directly related to the issues that led me to write my letter and led Pam Marino to write hers. Ms. Gaynor relies on a time honored tactic to diffuse attention on a Subject: twisting what people write in order to prove them wrong. I don't recall Pam saying that the criminals who dragged that man had WATCHED XWP before omitting their crimes- that wasn't her point. In fact it was a horrible coincidence, but one that should make you think, not one that makes you ignore the possibilities.

Ms. Gaynor continues with "...anyone can pull trump...any argument by yelling "Hitler Hitler Hitler!" It's the bastion of anyone who wants to press reaction buttons. Roger Duarte's comparison of the denial of Gabrielle's attack as a physical rape to the denial of the Jewish Holocaust is sensationalism, and insulting to a few million deaths at the hands of Nazi inhumanity, not to mention insulting to the XenaStaff and other folks..."

While I will state that I did indeed utilize the comparison for "shock" value, I did it for reasons wholly unconnected to your viewpoint. Granted, the two issues are light years apart on many levels, but the basis impulsive reaction is EXACTLY the same. As for Ms. Gaynor's insistence that my comparison was "insulting", I ask you what is more insulting: remembering history by utilizing it comparatively or re-writing the English language to accommodate your own shortcomings?

As for Mr. Nelson's letter, I find myself being painted as a vagabond, thought that may not be what you intended. Mr. Nelson, a lot of us have been fans of XWP since the term Xenite was created, including some of the most vocal dissenters. And what exactly is our point? Do we hate the series? Personal vendettas against Xenastaff? Social Liberals with nothing better to do with our time? As you can see, conspiracy theories can run both ways. Well, simply put, I do what I do because dissent raises a flag so others, like minded or not, can see there is another stream of analysis going on contemporaneously. Open dissent also offers prompts for intelligent people to consider different perspectives. Debate and discourse are signs of a healthy society.

Minorities (i.e., dissenters) will always be called names, which is likely to "purge" the lists or newsgroups of dissent, just as our opinions and views are unlikely to change the course that Xenastaff has laid. Take a look at history and see how much change has been brought about by dissent. I'd offer a few examples, but I don't want to have them misinterpreted by others.

Mr. Nelson goes on to describe his interpretation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. While I applaud him for delving so deeply into contemporary American political thought, I feel it necessary to point out that his idea of free speech is not in line with current political doctrine nor is it supported by jurisprudence. But, to be certain, he would be correct in his assertions if the foundation of his argument was solid...

...Mr. Nelson goes on to reveal his true feelings on dissenting opinions: "If this is censorship, so be it. Speaking one's mind is not the same as being deliberately insulting." Au contraire, speaking one's mind is intended to be deliberately insulting and based in truth and fact...otherwise it would be referred to as "politically correct".

Mr. Nelson, cR@clear.net.nz and others question whether or not we are truly fans of XWP with comments like "...an AWFUL lot of people who claim to be fans go out of their way to attack the quality of the show..." and "the negativity of some of the letters is staggering. These are fans?" Yes, we love the show... the Xena:Warrior Princess we were given, not the XWP we now have. Basic, fundamental change shave been made in the core of the series as to make it unpalatable to some of those originally attracted to it. And, to be sure, those self-same changes will draw new fans by the same token.

A lot of people do not understand how someone could love the show before and hate it now. They might see the show is a seamless whole and that it must be accepted as such. I am an intense fan of the season one/two. I mark the difference there because season three departed from the familiar themes originally instilled in the series. Do I say that Xenastaff CAN'T do this? Hardly, they have their right, just as I have my right to argue against it.

Let me state that cR@clear.net.nz made a fairly good point in his letter: "[If]...Universal market XWP as a 'family show', then I'd agree that Universal deserves a rocket - not the writers, the marketers. I absolutely do not want XWP dumbed down to the point where it's suitable for ten-year-olds!" Personally, I believe that the writers DO share in the blame, but the whole issue of how XWP is perceived by it's viewing audience as compared to the studio PTB needs to be examined some time in the near future.

And while I'd argue his/her contentions that "...there is very little on TV at the moment that gets near [XWP]..." and that it is "visually outstanding" with "imaginative writing" with "original plot with plenty of 'depth' to it...", I cannot argue with one of the final points: "If the writers were to start trying not to offend anybody.... They can't win- whichever way they write it, somebody will object to it." This is the nature of life in an open society with civil liberties.

My last point of contention has to do with the notion that TV causes X to happen, or that inanimate objects are to blame for the crimes carried out by the people who use them. Mr. Lashmar said "Another point that I wish to raise is that while XWP can be viewed on various levels, it is first and foremost entertainment.... People have the right to enjoy the show for what ever reason they wish, and they also have the right to have their choices respected.... The bottom line is I know the difference between fantasy and reality." True enough, and my psyche is firmly planted in reality, I assure you. If anyone doubts that TV has become much more than entertainment, I humbly suggest you look into the issue before making judgement calls.

NREAUXTROY@aol.com writes that "...people... who blame art (or entertainment) for the stupid, terrible,awful things that are done in the real world are giving way too much power to art and not enough responsibility to the idiot monsters doing them. Or,in the case of children, their parents." To be sure, I am of the school that places equal blame on BOTH society AND the individual for the ills in our world. I am far from stating that TV causes anything. I am merely pointing out the fact that there is an interwoven dynamic at work that few people realize. It's called social conditioning.

Ms. Gaynor asked us to "...get some perspective, here. [XWP is] no more responsible for society's ills than it can take credit for its successes..... Society as a whole, while it might take note of a bold or popular television show, will hardly shift one millimeter in response to it." While I agree with the former part of the statement, I disagree slightly with the latter. Rutgers political science professor and author Benjamin Barber writes in his book *Jihad vs. McWorld*, "more than anything else this has been the Movie Century, an epoch in which film and video...replaced print and books... [as the chief form]...of human communication, PERSUASION (emphasis mine) and entertainment." Further on, Barber notes that even nations with solid film-making (note, this does include television and is not a term exclusive to the motion picture industry) traditions are "gradually succumbing to the irresistible lure of product that is not only predominately American but, even when it's indigenous, is still rooted in the glamour of the seductive lifestyle trinity of sex, violence and money, set to the harmonizing score of American rock n' roll."

As Ms. Gaynor said, let's agree to disagree and let everyone take up positions on the side of the line they wish to fall upon for reasons all their own. Whatever choice they make, the experience has given them food for deeper thought.

Roger "RagnaROC" Duarte

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