From the Editor-in-Chief:
Where's Lucy Lawless?
From the Graphics Editor:
THE NIGHT OF THE FULL CIRCLE
From the Editor-in-Chief:
Where's Lucy Lawless?
When looking over the year end report of Sword & Staff, Xena fandom's only fan ran charitable institution, I read the list of Xena: Warrior Princess cast members and guest stars who have been gracious enough to donate time and materials to the organization. To refresh the memory, they included: Renee O'Connor (Gabrielle), Kevin Smith (Ares), Jacqueline Kim (Lao Ma), Hudson Leick (Callisto), Robert Trebor (Salmoneus), Claire Stansfield (Alti), Tony Todd (Cecrops), Danielle Cormack (Ephiny), Allison Wall (Minya), Karl Urban (Caesar/Mael/Cupid), Jeremy Roberts (Aiden/Thersites), Tom Atkins (Atrius), Bruce Campbell (Autolycus), Joseph LoDuca (composer), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), and Michael Hurst (Iolaus). EVEN Gillian Anderson (Scully) of X-Files was mentioned as a contributor and she has never had ANYTHING to do with the show. Consequently, Anderson has shown more charitable spirit than the star of the show. Whose name is notably missing from this list? Yes, it is Lucy Lawless.
Okay, granted Lucy Lawless is a busy gal and gets innudated with requests all the time. But listen up Lawless representatives, there is ONLY ONE fan sponsored charitable organization. That is Sword & Staff. Just one. It is not like there are one or more fan charity groups out there competing for your attention.
Why care about a fan run charitable group? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Lawless has fans that care about more than just buying those high-priced signed plaques and limited run chakrams, but fans who run their own auctions for charities, make sure that some needy people's lives are brightened up by some attention that Lawless or her representatives cannot provide, and that have made sure that Sword & Staff reached $112,000 plus in actual contributions. This is not a fly by night or ill-conceived venture. It is an honest-to-God force in the Xenaverse which emphasizes the fans good nature and generosity. To support it would honor the fans determination in establishing, maintaining, and supporting such an organization.
Why would honoring fans be a good idea? Fans are the people who watch the show regularly, promote the show by keeping interest alive in the show, pay to go to those conventions, and buy all that stuff so that some more mortgage payments can be made.
One of the sad things about having such a popular show is that one cannot thank each fan. There are just too many. But there is a way that Lucy Lawless could show her appreciation for her fans in a more meaningful way than just shaking their hand or making sure they get an autographed picture. It is really easy. All she needs do is just not embarrass her fans by not appearing on a list like that list of cast members and guest stars of Xena mentioned above [and it should be noted that Lucy Lawless has never contributed any material for Sword and Staff to distribute or auction off]. Lucy Lawless should have been the number one name on the list. She would have made it even if she would have given Sword & Staff a mere moment of her attention. Apparently she could even not do that, whereas a star of X-Files could.
Perhaps Lucy Lawless will make a New Years Resolution to remedy this situation. Just a pile of signed autographs which would cost her perhaps a mere 10-15 minutes of her time, could mean thousands of dollars in donations for Sword & Staff to administer, could make a sad child smile, and could make her fans feel proud that she is just as charitable and generous as her acting peers.
Kym Masera Taborn
December 25, 1999
From the Graphics Editor:
THE NIGHT OF THE FULL CIRCLE
The broadcast of FULL CIRCLE marked the end of the series HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS. In this editorial, I will wax nostaglic about the HERCULES series up to and including the final episode(s), so if you live in a part of the world that has not received transmission of these eps yet and you don't want to be "spoiled", then skip this editorial and do something constructive instead. Besides, what do you care what editors think? Better you should care what *you* think.
Like many people, HERCULES began for me with the television movies in the days before HERC was a full blown series. It was campy, fun, and thoroughly entertaining. Over time, the series evolved along with its characters. It had high spots and low spots, though not everyone would agree on where those were exactly. Personally, I tend to like some of the more "serious" episodes that others gloss over, and I have disliked some of the boneheaded comedies that others adored, proving once more that opinions don't have much statistical value beyond the individual that has them.
The HERC telefilms set the stage for the truncated First Season, which itself held some precious and thought- provoking moments. THE WRONG PATH set the stage for the recurring theme of Herc's conflict(s) with the gods, and how during different seasons he had better and worse moments in coming to terms with that. I found the whole theme extremely compelling and it's one of those things that kept me coming back to the series over the years. Of course, HERC also created the spin-off of XENA, and indeed, HERC introduced a number of characters we have come to know and love on both shows.
With the second season, we saw the beginnings of a trend on boths shows -- a mixture of comedies and dramas, sometimes mixed in one episode. There was the introduction of Autolycus in THE KING OF THIEVES, Echidna and Typhon (bad becomes good), Aphrodite (THE APPLE), the water-born golem who later becomes good as well (THE ENFORCER), and the thought-provoking anti-racist episode CENTAUR MENTOR JOURNEY.
Third Season kicked off with one of my "top ten" episodes of the entire series, MERCENARY, starring the very versatile Jeremy Roberts. Can you say "Sand Shark"? Close on the heels of that episode was the return and redemption of the Enforcer in NOT FADE AWAY, a brilliant and extremely moving episode. Other dramatic high points were the heartbreaking Hind Trilogy and THE END OF THE BEGINNING. Comedy highlights were the delightful LES CONTEMPTIBLES (allowing us to see favourite actors Danielle Cormack and Robert Trebor in different costume) and REIGN OF TERROR (which had Aphrodite in an Emma Peel catsuit and actually developed her character a little beyond "self- centred airhead"). Unfortunately, there was another disturbing trend in Third Season and that was some of the comedies were a little more boneheaded and there was the disturbing introduction of the X-tian mythos (A STAR TO GUIDE THEM), trends which would be amplified in later seasons.
Fourth Season for me held extreme highs and lows. The episode WEB OF DESIRE scared the heck out of me (but it also introduced Nebula, a fave character). STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD was a very fun episode. WAR WOUNDS was another very thought-provoking episode as well as entertaining (elements which showed HERC at is best). TWILIGHT was heartbreaking and TOP GOD and REUNIONS set the stage for what many regarded as a very disturbing season. Fourth Season also marked for me the worst HERC episode ever produced, ONE FOWL DAY, and I wouldn't be at all disappointed if every print of that episode was burned.
Many people disliked the Fifth Season of HERC, especially the "death" of Iolaus. Personally, I thought it was a bold and inventive move. I liked how Michael Hurst played Iolaus 2 and I liked how his character developed in the course of the series. This season also saw the introduction (and unfortunate exit) of the wonderful character Morrigan, brought to vivid life by Tamara Gorski. We got to see the character Jason develop beyond the role of "furniture" in the episode THE ACADEMY.
The final (truncated) season of HERC opened and closed with two extremely fine episodes, BE DEVILED and FULL CIRCLE. BE BEVILED was originally supposed to have Hudson Leick in the role played by Jeremy Roberts, and as such would be a "Callisto redeemed" episode of a sort. Alas, this was not the way it turned out, but it was still a very fine and thought provoking episode. I've heard a lot of people whine about how FULL CIRCLE didn't "resolve" things well enough for the series. Piffle. For me, FULL CIRCLE was a perfect ending to the series -- allowing us to continue to "write" the adventures of Herc and Iolaus in our own minds and continue their journey. For me, that is what the entire series was about.
More than anything else I appreciated the thought that went into the story and evolution of the characters. In looking back over the credits list for the series, there are so many people who deserve mention, and here are but a few:
John Schulian -- a mysterious and private guy, since we have heard so little about him in the fan world. But he is a co-creator of the series (as well as co-creator of XENA) and he wrote some of the most thought-provoking episodes early on in the series.
Paul Coyle -- A friend of mine once described Paul Coyle as "The Man Who Saved HERCULES." Paul Coyle came into the series later, and I have to agree with my friend's assessment. Messr. Coyle wrote some of my favourite and most-close-at-heart episodes. He is a fine storyteller who can creep you out, make you smile, and have you nod your head and say "Yeah, I get it" all at the same time.
Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman -- I'll admit, they haven't always penned my fave episodes, but their guiding hand overall brought HERC out of a "slump" and back into a show I looked forward to tuning in rather than tune in out of habit or a sense of obligation. Their hits far outweigh the occasional miss.
Bruce Campbell, Michael Hurst, Michael Levine, Robert Trebor, Rick Jacobson, T.J. Scott -- all directors. I've heard a lot of actors complain that they have to direct themselves because most directors nowadays care about technical stuff and not artistic stuff. Well the guys named above are the exception. They are all extremely fine directors who have given us some of the most powerful moments in a series. You might not notice good direction. You will notice bad direction. HERC has been blessed with the above named directors, and more besides.
Kevin Sorbo -- Say what you like about The Big Guy (and some people like him and some people don't), but Kevin Sorbo *is* Hercules. I like the way he's portrayed the character since the beginning of the series. Sure there are times when someone might get a little "lax", especially given the shooting schedule they sometimes had to meet, but much more often than not, Kevin Sorbo delivered performances that ranged from "fine" to "extraordinary". I appreciated the stretches he made in Season Five, and I thought his performances in the last two seasons improved quite a bit overall. Good on him.
Michael Hurst -- If you have a co-star in such a series, you couldn't do better. Not only is Michael Hurst a fine Iolaus, he was able to show his acting skills as the Widow Twanky, Iolaus 2, and my personal fave, Cheron. A versatile guy, gifted actor, skilled director.
Robert Trebor -- I just love Salmoneus. And I can't think of an actor better suited to the role than Robert Trebor. You just can't but help like the guy, and whenever I saw Robert Trebor was going to be in an episode I always looked forward to it. He fit in perfectly with the other characters and was not only a source of humour, but often of deep thought as well.
Bruce Campbell -- I like the King of Thieves almost as much as Salmoneus. A swashbuckling wise-ass who also, not-so-deep-down, is a good person as well. Autolycus often says the things we'd like to say ourselves, difference being if we say it, we'd get our butts kicked.
Alexandra Tydings -- "Ex-queeze me? As if!" Who could fail to fall in love with this valley-girl version of Aphrodite.
Gina Torres -- Nebula. *sigh*
Tamara Gorski -- Morrigan. *sigh*
Karl Urban -- Cupid and Caesar, two very different characters portrayed very well -- one you liked, one you hated!
Joel Tobeck -- Strife was one messed up dude, but Joel Tobeck played the role with flair. I was genuinely moved when Strife was stabbed to death by Callisto. Deimos may have been Strife on uppers, but I enjoyed his performance of that character as well.
Kevin Smith -- last but by no means least, Kevin Smith was the definitive Ares. Interestingly enough, at least two other actors portrayed Ares early on in the series. But I don't think we'd consider anyone but Kevin Smith after seeing him. He could be both menacing and amusing. On occasion, we got to see his character in more depth and his hate/hate relationship with his half-brother Hercules. I found his final performance in FULL CIRCLE quite appropriate, and I genuinely felt sorry for Ares as he walked off into the sunset alone and sniffling, as Herc and Iolaus walked off together toward a bright and happy future. That scene alone said more than a lot of acts in other episodes did.
And so, as Zeus tried to explain to Evander in FULL CIRCLE, everything must have an end.
Even a television series.
Especially an editorial.
13 December 1999