DOES 'THE TITANS' REALLY GET ANY BETTER OVER REPEATED RELEASES?
The corporate mind is inscrutable, indeed. Some MCA wonk in charge of the XWP scheduling deemed 12/30/96 to be "Let's Release THE TITANS One More Time Week". Some rocket scientist has apparently decreed that THE TITANS is such a treasure that it must be released every 4-5 months.
When first released on 10/30/95, THE TITANS earned the all time high of 5.4 in the ratings. It was not even the highest rated XWP up to then (at the time of TITANS, that record was still held by CRADLE OF HOPE with a whopping 5.5).
I have only come across one person who was brave enough to deconstruct THE TITANS and recast it as a pivotal XWP episode, and that was Carmen Carter of the Xenaverse Mailing List whom I personally suspect of being governed by severe Xena Withdrawal Syndrome (XWS) when she started her study of THE TITANS.
Only 8 out of the 24 first season shows have been released three times. Every other show, excepting THE TITANS of course, has been released only twice. Some of the episodes only released twice are quite revealing:
DREAMWORKER (#03) was last released 12/11/95. DREAMWORKER is a firm favorite of many fans and is a critical episode for appreciating such divergent 2nd season episodes as REMEMBER NOTHING (#26) and RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29). DREAMWORKER introduced the theme of Gabrielle's blood innocence, created critical ground work for the later development of the friendship between the two women, and also originated the infamous breast dagger used for comedic effect in DEATH MASK (#23) and dramatic effect in RETURN OF CALLISTO (#29). DREAMWORKER was also one of the episodes which had a higher rating for the second release (5th at 4.4; 2nd at 4.9).
CRADLE OF HOPE (#04) was last released 12/18/95. CRADLE OF HOPE was one of the highest rated episodes of the first part of the first season. It was the first episode ever of XWP to take the coveted number 2 spot for syndicated action hours (not done again until HOOVES AND HARLOTS two months later), and held the highest rating earned (5.5) until PROMETHEUS a month later (which guest starred Kevin Sorbo as Hercules). An homage to the baby tossing scene in CRADLE OF HOPE was given in the 2nd season episode, WARRIOR...PRINCESS... TRAMP (#30).
THE RECKONING (#06) was last released 01/01/96. THE RECKONING introduced Xena's struggles with Ares, the god of war. This struggle was played out further in TIES THAT BIND (#20), RETURN OF CALLISTO, INTIMATE STRANGER (#31), and TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (#32).
DEATH IN CHAINS (#09) was last released 03/18/96. DEATH IN CHAINS introduced the character Sisyphus who returned in the 2nd season episode, TEN LITTLE WARLORDS. CHAINS also was an episode which earned better ratings the second time around (4th with 5.1; 2nd with 5.4). DEATH IN CHAINS tied as the highest rated non- first release for the 1st season.
THE BLACK WOLF (#11) was last released 04/01/96. BLACK WOLF brought Salmoneus to XWP.
WARRIOR...PRINCESS (#15) was last released 05/27/96. This was the predecessor to the 2nd season WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP.
TIES THAT BIND (#20) was last released 08/12/96. Furthering some ideas first offered in THE RECKONING, TIES THAT BINDS continued the Ares plot line.
THE GREATER GOOD (#21) was last released 09/02/96. THE GREATER GOOD brought Salmoneus again to the Xenaverse.
CALLISTO (#22) was last released 09/09/96. CALLISTO introduced Xena's arch-rival. The 2nd season is near meaningless without an understanding of this episode.
Dare I suggest that any of these episodes would be a better candidate to re-release than THE TITANS for a fourth time? The proof is in the pudding.
However, to answer the initial question of "Does THE TITANS really get any better over repeated releases?", I guess only time really will tell. What it has told us in the past, however, is not especially pretty. THE TITANS premiered on 10/30/95 at the 3rd spot with a 5.4 rating. It tied with BAYWATCH so you know it had to have been good! The 2nd release (02/26/96) defended its 3rd position, but dropped to a 4.8. The third release (07/22/96), however, was the charm. It defended its 3rd position and bumped up a whole tenth of a point to 4.9. Perhaps the anticipation of another bump of a tenth of a point was just too exciting for Mr. Wonk to pass up.
BEST OBSESSIVE MOMENT OF THE PAST MONTH
Four words: The People On-Line Poll.
NEXT MONTH'S WHOOSH!
Next month's WHOOSH, scheduled to be released February 1, 1997 (be there or be square!!), will be an ALL CONVENTION ISSUE. We are sending troops of eager WHOOSH reporters to the scene of the January 12, 1997 Xena Convention in Burbank, California. No moment will be too trivial, shall be our motto.
Finally, thank you for reading and supporting Whoosh!
Kym "Skippy" Taborn
Chairman of the Board,
International Association of Xena Studies
December 31, 1996
NOTE TO IAXS MEMBERS: The e-mail edition of Whoosh #4 will be available in a week or so.