From the Graphics Editor:
The Night Of The Raucous Retrospective
From the Editor-in-Chief:
DVDs and Rumors of DVDs
From the Graphics Editor:
THE NIGHT OF THE RAUCOUS RETROSPECTIVE
If, like me, you dislike those "year end retrospective" shows that tend to just fill time and get in the way of the regular programme, then you probably won't care too much for this issue of WHOOSH!.
And yet, it's entirely appropriate for us to do that, since 2002 begins the first of many long years in which there are no new XENA episodes. So all we have is the past and our interpretation of it.
But then too, there are also all the people who have not yet seen every episode of XENA, and as time goes by, many will discover the show who have never seen it before. After all, HERCULES still gets airplay. When the Oxygen network folds or runs out of money or patience, XENA will be seen again Stateside by a wide audience. People might get a chance to discover it anew worldwide as well. Will it be viewed as a product of its time or a timeless icon? Time will indeed tell. And WHOOSH! will be here to help them out. It's ironic that six months after the demise of XENA, more and more readers find their way regularly to this site. For that, we're kinda appreciative, humble, and horrified, all at the once.
So for this issue, we offer a variety of things to dress up old stuff. There is the contrasting best/worst calendar, so you can smile and grimace simultaneously. Some people have expounded on the episodes that have most impressed them or felt deserved special attention. Even bored editors have cited some statistics and hinted at their possible relevancy. It's all good.
So while XENA, HERC, JACK, and CLEO are now history at the start of a whole new year, I'd like to point out a show that is still ramping up and is so popular it's been renewed not just for one more season, but two. That show: FARSCAPE.
While BUFFY seems Tartarus-bent on repeating all the mistakes XENA made, FARSCAPE continues to be fresh, inventive, and disturbingly goopy.
What the yotz am I talking about? You'd have to be magra-fahrbot not to appreciate the many facets of FARSCAPE, not only in its individual stories, but in the way it handles minor course corrections within a season that end up steering the show in different but not unreasonable directions. Heroes are flawed and do not develop godly powers to get them out of difficult situations. Friends argue but remain friends. Enemies are complex and motivated, even sympathetic at times, and have demonstrated an ability to learn and evolve. Sexual tension between main characters is handled in such a way that people are given what they want, but not really, and at a psychological price that makes the show difficult to watch at times, but in a good way.
The show has strong female characters and weak ones -- strong male characters and weak ones. Not all heroes are completely good. Not all villains are totally evil. What a character thinks he or she wants often turns out to be their worst nightmare.
In short, FARSCAPE challenges the viewer to think.
It's a welcome change from a lot of genre shows out there right now. It certainly won't be everyone's dish of tea. But now four episodes short of the end of Season Three, I still feel like a trout on the end of the line -- caught up in something I just can't get away from, even if I wanted to. Some of the episodes, especially this last season, have been so intense and have churned up my insides so much that I could never watch them again. But I'm still glad I've seen them. The show has its clunkers from time to time (fortunately they haven't done a musical yet) and I still haven't forgiven them for killing off PK Tech Girl, but sometimes the most intense responses can stimulate the deepest thought, and FARSCAPE certainly does that as a rule for me.
Like any show, it takes many, many people to create the series, and everyone connected with the show from the cast members to the crew members and all in between deserve praise. But if you have to lay primary responsibility at the feet of one individual, that person would be creator Rockne S. O'Bannon.
I've been a fan of Mr. O'Bannon's work since before many people would even recognise who he was. He wrote such thought-provoking episodes for AMAZING STORIES and the new TWILIGHT ZONE that I recall them to this day. I thought the screenplay he wrote for the motion picture ALIEN NATION was one of the better sci-fi flicks in its decade. He's one frelling-fine storyteller, and that's no dren.
So while I'll check out THE LOST WORLD and JULES VERNE when convenient, you can bet it would take more than some tralk to keep me from missing a microt of FARSCAPE when the new episodes air later this year.
Hermosa Beach, California
17 December 2001
From the Editor-in-Chief:
DVD'S AND RUMORS OF DVDS
Ponder this, Xenites!
Buffy Vampire Slayer will be releasing its first season on DVD in January 2002. Price? $39.98, but you can pre-order it through Amazon.com for $29.98. Okay, Buffy's first season was only a half season of 12 episodes. Fair enough. Double it then, $79.96 or $59.96 for a full season. Hmmm. That's what's happening in Buffy fandom. Their powers that be have found a way to give back to their fandom by issuing the first season on DVD, with commentaries, for around $3.33 per episode. Kudos to the Buffy people. They obviously like their fans, know what their fans want, and deliver it to them.
Meanwhile, what are the Xena fans getting these days? A two hour convention video priced at $37. Gee, that's $18.50 per hour of watching two people on stage at a convention. Any DVDs coming out? A DVD of a director's cut of one of the least-liked episodes of the entire series. No idea on price, but many fans are expecting it to be at least $30. Also, there was news recently that a season of Xena would finally be released on DVD later in 2002. But what season do they release first? The universally praised Second Season? No. The popular First or Third Seasons? No. I guess we should be happy they did not choose to released the Fifth Season first! They are releasing the Sixth Season. That is truly scary because it implies that Season Five will be next, followed by Season Four. If any schedule of releases could kill, that release schedule probably would do it. There are no release dates yet for these alledged DVDs, of course.
As it stands, the Buffy fans get their show on DVD with commentary at $3.33 per episode (or $2.50, if you get it through Amazon.com). The Xenites in the USA are still waiting for DVDs while those video sets of the episodes only go for $160-plus, the Pasadena video is being sold at $37, and the only DVD Tapert and co. are talking about is one of the most disliked episodes in the whole series that will probably be priced at $30-50 by itself. Of course, this is all because of business. But, as usual, the Xenites are being stuck with painful end of the business.
Kym Masera Taborn
December 20, 2001