Whoosh! Issue 65 - February 2002
Letters to the Editor


To write to the editor regarding your comments, observations, and questions about Whoosh!, send an e-mail to ktaborn@lightspeed.net and mark the subject "Letter to the Editor" to expedite the process. All letters received by the editor are subject to publication and may be edited. Due to the volume received, some letters may not be answered individually or receipt acknowledged and may be published at the editor's discretion. Letters received may be reserved for a later issue.




Xena: il tormento e l'estasi 2002 Whoosh Calendar
Xena: il tormento e l'estasi 2002 Calendar Interviews
ONE AGAINST AN ARMY: Love and Redemption in Xena: Warrior Princess
The Xena Oxygen Marathon
More Thought on those Hated Episodes
Editorials for Whoosh #64
Xena and the Skinheads: What the Far Right Has Done With Xena: Warrior Princess
Inside the Head of Alexandra Tydings
Sword and Staff: Year on Review
They Like Us, They Really Like Us



Letters To The Editor



Xena: il tormento e l'estasi 2002 Whoosh Calendar

From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 7:51 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I loved the pop-up captions on this year's calendar, but shouldn't October's caption for LYRE, LYRE, HEARTS ON FIRE read "Only a BARD in a gilded cage"? Sorry, couldn't resist it.





Xena: il tormento e l'estasi 2002 Calendar Interviews

From: Ann Braxton

Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2002 22:47:21 -0500

Subject: Calendar Interview 2002

The "interview" with Xena/Gabrielle/Aphrodite was so-o-o real, you know, it seemed so Right. And what a wonderful way to remember the show. I agree mostly with the choices of best and worst. 'Dite's contributions were right on the money, too. This was, for me, a most satisfctory summing up coming from the "principals", as it were. And thanks for many hearty laughs tonight.

AnnB





ONE AGAINST AN ARMY: Love and Redemption in Xena: Warrior Princess

From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 7:51 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I'd like to congratulate Gail Futoran on her excellent article, "ONE AGAINST AN ARMY: LOVE AND REDEMPTION IN XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS". This is my all-time favourite episode, and Gail shows not only why it is such a great, multilayered story, but also how it ties in with both earlier and later episodes.





The Xena Oxygen Marathon

From: Inn Ikon
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 10:15 AM
Subject: Oxygen Marathon

The method of selection for the Oxygen Marathon “top ten” was completely unlike that for the Whoosh! list. TPTB [the powers that be] at Oxygen preselected a finite number of episodes and plopped them into ten categories. I no longer recall if there were three, four, or five shows per grouping. The relationship defining the categories was often quite obscure. I wish I had taken notes! I did not know there would be a quiz later on.

I can promise you, the only reason A DAY IN THE LIFE did not make the list is because it was not among the preselected choices in any of the groupings. Some of the categories looked like a subgroup of the Whoosh! list of “Twelve Worst”. I think it was from one of these such families that LITTLE PROBLEMS emerged.

It would have been interesting to compare the Oxygen list to the Whoosh! list if the voting mechanism had been the same. I wonder if it was the same population in both instances. I do know the data in the Oxygen poll was greatly altered by eliminating at least 80 episodes from contention. (I am nearly certain there were no more than five episodes in each of the ten groupings.) I also know I voted repeatedly in the Oxygen poll just so there could be no way my most disliked episodes would be shown! As it was, I got such a throbbing headache from Xena: Warrior Princess saturation, I only watched five or six of the ten anyway...

Kym Taborn responds
On Saturday, January 26, 2002, the Annual Argos Awards awarded their awards [sorry I kept that in, but it amazed even me...it is up there with Bat Morda's "persisting to persist"] for the best episodes over the six year run of the show. Best Episode Comedy was won by A DAY IN THE LIFE and Best Episode Drama was won by WHEN FATES COLLIDE. WHEN FATES COLLIDE swept the awards with 4 wins (Katherine Fugate for Best Writing, Best Episode Drama, Best Performance by Lucy Lawless, and the Big Kahuna Award). In the Whoosh poll, WHEN FATES COLLIDE was beat out by the dramas ONE AGAINST AN ARMY and IDES OF MARCH.

The next three big winners all received two awards each: ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (Best Fight/Stunt Sequence for Xena versus the Persian Army and the Legacy Award), FALLEN ANGEL (Best Costuming and Best Visual Effects), and A DAY IN THE LIFE (Best Episode Comedy and Michael Hurst for Best Direction). ONE AGAINST AN ARMY was voted top drama by Whoosh readers (and 2nd best overall episode) and A DAY IN THE LIFE was voted top comedy (and best overall). FALLEN ANGEL, though, made 14th best episode (12th highest drama).

The other episodes winning an award were: FRIEND IN NEED II (Best Performance by Renee O'Connor), DEBT I (Jacqueline Kim for Best Guest Appearance), RETURN OF CALLISTO (Best Performance by Hudson Leick), BITTER SUITE (Best Music), FINS FEMES AND GEMS (Best Performance by Ted Raimi), CALLISTO (Robert Field for Best Editing), HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS (Best Sound), and COMING HOME (Best Performance by Kevin Smith). In the Whoosh poll, FRIEND IN NEED II was voted the 2nd WORST Xena episode ever, DEBT I made it to 13th best, RETURN OF CALLISTO made it to 11th best, BITTER SUITE made it to 5th best, FINS FEMMES AND GEMS made it to 17th best, CALLISTO made it to 8th best, HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS tied with GIANT KILLER at 22nd WORST episode, and COMING HOME with WHO'S GURKHAN for 27th WORST.







More Thought on Those Hated Episodes

From: Dan Kelley
Sent: Friday, January 04, 2002 8:26 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

About the most hated episodes:

I am disappointed with many episodes, too, but there is an underlying unity to the whole disappointment theme: the writing. I love the Xena character because she was not supposed to be a "goody two shoes". She had a dark side. The writers often forgot that. The draw to Xena was her Gemini-like split personality. She wanted to be good, but her strength came from her dark side. She was torn between strength and goodness. My favorite episode is THE PRICE, where Xena loses herself to her warlord past. In an earlier episode, the picture of "The Look" where Xena tells Gabrielle with a glance that she has bad intent, was a classic shot. THE DEBT was wonderful, too. Xena was not lying to Gabrielle when she said she didn't kill the dragon; she didn't kill him, she simply gave him a lobotomy. Lucy Lawless really was able to bring this dark side out of her character without overdoing it, and she did it consistently! Hers was always an underrated performance.

I agree with Rob Tapert and his crew that everyone should be able to have fun, and do some farce. No one should take the series too seriously, all the time. Unlike some who hated GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN, I loved it. Let go, lighten up, have a Halloween episode. I also love the dance music in that episode. I really really wish it would have made it to one of the soundtrack CDs. I don't even know who performed that music (Anyone out there know?). A DAY IN THE LIFE was fantastic. I liked, LYRE LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE, especially for Lucy Lawless' and Joseph LoDuca's rendition of "Sisters are Doing It". The understated music let Lucy's voice soar, before it took its own rightful place. Unbelievable!!! Unfortunately, I think the writers embraced the farce too often and with too much gusto. Perhaps, they were afraid of their success.

Classic opportunities were wasted. The first kills for Gabrielle and Joxer should have been entire episodes all of their own, but instead ended up being a side-note to some other episode. Again, these were writing mistakes.

I am a writer who has yet to quit his day job. My major in College was television production. Script writing and critique of film were two of my favorite classes. Looking at the body of Xena work as a whole, I am overall astounded. Camera angles were always well chosen. Lighting was superb always. Sets and costumes were unbelievable. Editing was a bit spotty, with some episodes being incredible and others being choppy. This may have been the result of the material they were given. How can an editor take a farce episode seriously, when they come one after another. One of the things I loved about the editing in early episodes were the little transitions, simply showing the New Zealand countryside. It added a flavor to the whole series that was lost in later episodes. Special effects were well beyond what could be expected for a TV series, and set a new level of excellence (Thank you Flat Earth!!). Joseph LoDuca is a GOD when it comes to the soundtracks. The main characters were wonderful, even the much maligned Joxer. The characters written by people-other-than-the-core-staff were iffy, and again this was a failure of the writers. Alti, in my opinion, was a recreation of Callisto, without good motives behind her. Xena killed Callisto's family! What better motives can there be? The acting of the minor characters tended to be spotty, too. I don't want to point out individual names.

The point here is that you cannot please everyone. There were so many good things about the Xena series, that it is not right for us, the fans, to concentrate on the problems. What we need to do now is to start Rob Tapert, Steven Sears, and Sam Raimi on the road to a full length, in the theatre, Xena motion picture. We, Xena's fans, need to emphasize the good parts of the series, so that we do not wind-up with a Xena version of Army of Darkness (which I happened to love, but it would be inappropriate for the Xena characters). We need writing that is so perfect that people will not be able to leave their seats at the end of it; everyone will be so physically and emotionally exhausted that walking will be a challenge. We need to see Xena's dark side and her strength in ways that could never be shown on the small screen. We need to press the motion picture ratings system to its limits. We need a budget big enough to challenge The Fellowship of the Ring. As a fan, I don't want just a Xena motion picture. I don't want just a good Xena motion picture. I want perfection! I want a Xena motion picture that blows the audience away, and leaves them saying "Holy Cow!" (That was not intended to be a reference to India.)

THE GAUNTLET: My God! the director's cut released on tape was gut wrenching! No wonder the TV censors had problems with it! It was perfect! It tears me up every time I watch it, and I cannot watch it that often because I do get so torn-up. Xena got the tar beat out of her, and she still got up and walked away! Talk about her dark side! Talk about her strength! The whole gauntlet scene was perfection on film! By every technical and esthetic measure, it was absolute perfection! THIS is what I want to see in a Xena motion picture. Let's find $300 million and do it!

(Oh! And by the way, Mr. Tapert, I'm available, if you need another writer for the movie. :-))

Dan Kelley
Colorado Springs, CO





Editorials for Whoosh #64

From: Sherry
Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 1:52 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I just finished reading Kym's comments on the Editor's Page about "DVDs and Rumors of DVDs." She asked Xenites to ponder the price and offerings of Xena DVDs. Her comments got me to pondering just how many Xenites will buy the two-hour convention video for $37 or the director's cut of one of the least liked episodes of the entire series for the expected price of $30.

While Tapert and Company are not blameless in this "get all we can" scheme, Xenites aren't blameless either. After all, we are the ones who buy what they offer, who have to have any Xena item, who can't just 'say NO', I don't want that piece of over-priced junk!

You can't really blame Tapert and Company for milking us for all they can get if we are willing to pay. And no, I am not defending nor am I a fan of Tapert & Company and haven't been since the Third Season when they crucified Gabrielle's character. But when it comes to Xena merchandise, we have only ourselves to blame, just for the fact that we will buy any item that has to do with Xena. Two examples that come to mind are the Xena dollies that were so ugly but we just had to have (heh, guilty as charged on that one myself!); and the video sets that we don't need, since we all taped the shows as they aired anyway, but want just to get the box they came in, or so I've been told.

Perhaps if we had turned down their offerings and demanded better quality sooner, Tapert & Company would have realized they were going to have to work harder to get our money. Perhaps they would have offered us more of what we wanted, instead of us just accepting what they offered. Guess we'll never know now though, huh?

Happy New Year!
Dreamer






From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 7:51 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Having read Kym's editorial, I thought US readers might like to know the situation here in the UK. Season 1 of XWP has been released on DVD, but Universal-Playback screwed up royally with the episode order, which runs in the sequence 1.1, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 etc. This means the DVD jumps from SINS OF THE PAST to HOOVES AND HARLOTS, then continues as far as ALTARED STATES before returning to episode 1.2, CHARIOTS OF WAR. Among other anomalies, Marcus and Toxeus are both dead in MORTAL BELOVED, then turn up alive in THE PATH NOT TAKEN and DEATH IN CHAINS respectively. There are no added extras - no interviews, no out takes, not even scene selection. Thank God I bought VHS!






From: Jasper Hedger
Subj: Whoosh! Editorial query.
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 1:44:03 PM Eastern Standard Time

Bret Rudnick's editorial has seemed to answer one particular "big" question, "What do we watch after Xena?" :-)

I personally like Farscape a *lot* I will confess I do find the overall story arc a little tricky to follow, but I like its humour and its darkness, and above all its characters. I do hope though it doesn't fall into the trap of thinking that "dark" means that *every* episode has to have an unhappy ending.

We are quite a few eps behind the US in the UK. So what else is new? :-) The most recent one screened was the one where Crieghton finds out that the other him has died. As I am writing this the one after that starts in 10 minutes time

Anyway the query mentioned in the subject line. In your editorial you wrote: "While BUFFY seems Tartarus-bent on repeating all the mistakes XENA made, FARSCAPE continues to be fresh, inventive, and disturbingly goopy"

Just what are the mistakes BUFFY is making then?

S6 B:TVS has just started in the UK, and I have seen a handleful of other eps, thanks to the goodwill of a UK Xenite in passing on the good will of a US Xenite. My feelings on it?

Basically it is not as good as it might be. I've a feeling that the plots are becoming more "soapy" and the humour is coming more from the situation and less from the characters. Talking of characters, the "nerd-trio" seem more a assemblage of cliches than characters. I am undecided abpout the Buffy/Spike romance. Against that Willow's descent into darkness is IMHO being nicely handled, and the season opener and the musical episode, IMHO, rocked! YMMV of course. ;-)

Anyway gotta go. Farscape minus 2 minutes. :-)

All the best,
Jasper

Bret Rudnick responds
Dear Jasper,

Thanks for the words of sympathy regarding our recent troubles with our ISP. As the song goes, we will survive. We may be leaner for the moment, but we'll get fat again soon (that sounds so unhealthy, I know). As regards why I think BUFFY is following in some of the (in my opinion) dubious footsteps of XENA, you seem to have summed up my view pretty well, though we may disagree on some particulars. I too feel that BUFFY is actually becoming less character driven, or perhaps more definitively, when characters are not simply reacting to a situation they tend to do things I would not expect those characters to do after having watched them over several seasons. Change for the sake of change alone is not necessarily a good thing. One of the big disappointments for me BUFFY-wise was the musical episode. While I think they addressed some issues a little better than similar issues in the first XENA musical episode, I found the music (by comparison) to be very amateurish and difficult to listen to. Also, as you observe, BUFFY is very arc-like now, as XENA became, and it takes forever for anything truly significant to happen and when it does, more often than not, it isn't something necessarily worth waiting for. As much as I dearly enjoy watching the Spike character, I think the whole Buffy/Spike thing is a land mine waiting to be stepped on, as on XENA where the Xena/Ares relationship was continually tweaked and changed to the point where it became difficult to believe them either as friends or foes. More than anything else on XENA, the mantra "It's the relationship, stupid" was applicable after some true character disasters in Seasons 3 through 6, when characters started to become more wrapped up in themselves and less concerned for those around them, and I feel that happening on BUFFY now as well.

That isn't to say I don't watch BUFFY any more -- I do, when it's convenient, although if I miss an episode I don't find myself terribly upset about it and can wait very patiently for it to come around again. I also don't watch them more than once anymore as a rule, not because they are stressful or traumatic or particularly heart-wrenching but after I see one I've gotten all I can out of it.

I think you put it best when you said you felt the show was now "not as good as it might be". That's how I came to feel about XENA as well -- I thought it went from "as good as it gets" early on in the series to "not as good as it might be" later on. That isn't to say there haven't been some spectacular episodes in later seasons -- I feel there were -- but having invested a huge amount of time and energy into a show, I just can't do it again much for something that, while still good compared to many other shows, isn't as good as it might be.

Thanks very much for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions -- much appreciated.

Best regards,
Bret Rudnick







Xena and the Skinheads: What the Far Right Has Done With Xena: Warrior Princess

From: Jasper Hedger
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2001 4:10 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor: The article by Edward P. Rich

I read the article, "Xena And The Skinheads: What The Far Right Has Done With Xena: Warrior Princess" in the December issue of Whoosh! and found it somewhat puzzling.

Having read the article, I am still puzzled as to its intent. Is it intended as an expose of the far right? Or is it a tongue-in-cheek criticism of the direction TPTB have taken Xena? Or a tongue-in-cheek criticism of the way some fans read things into the show which the producers never intended, and then passionately defend their interpretation as being the one true interpretation of the show?

Or is the article itself, as some people have speculated, propaganda for an extreme right-wing political agenda? I personally think not, if only because I do not believe that Whoosh! would intentionally print something of that ilk.

Of course it is entirely possible the article is meant to be simply taken at face value, and that neo-Nazis have "found" a hidden message within Xena: Warrior Princess. Since they believe that the world is run by a conspiracy of Jewish communist bankers, I suppose anything is possible.

If this is the case I am intrigued as to the sources for the article, particularly "The Lesson of Frigg" a fanfic which has not yet been published.

Yours,
Jasper Hedger

PS I wish Whoosh! and all those who are involved in its creation, all the best for 2002.





Inside the Head of Alexandra Tydings

From: Tanya Blakeley
Date: 12/31/01 1:34:06 AM Central Standard Time

Haven't spent much time online for awhile...but...I did read something really cool on friday night. I got my Alex Tydings fan club newsletter...and there was an interview/article that caught my eye. Amy Murphy did a great job on the article! Wow! I gave it to my mom to read...she thought it was great too. Never did get to Whoosh to read it before! So it was a real treat!

Take care,
Tanya





Sword and Staff: Year on Review

From: Mist
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 3:53 PM
Subject: S&S: Year in Review

Total Donations made in 2001: $171,146
Total Donations made in 2000: $ 80,051
Total Donations made in 1999: $ 49,316
Total Donations made in 1998: $ 37,965
Total Donations made in 1997: $ 25,111
TOTAL DONATIONS All Years: $363,589

Total Rainforest Acreage Preserved: 636 Acres

Total Blood Donations: 66 Pints

It has been a long and eventful year for all of us. The first half of the year saw the end of Xena:Warrior Princess, and with it went something special to all of us who were drawn to the show over its six year run. We derived a lot of pleasure from Xena, and through the show we made countless friends, many of whom will be with us forever. The show was the catalyst for something very special, perhaps more special than even its creators suspect. For that, we all owe Xena's creators a debt of gratitude.

In 1997, Sword and Staff was a half-baked idea that somehow found its niche and grew into a force within the Xenaverse. With each passing year we grew in size and the donations we made grew along with it. From $25,111 in 1997, a donation amount that far exceeded anyone's wildest imagination for this organization, to a staggering $171,146 in 2001, Sword and Staff participants have opened their hearts and their wallets to help worthy causes around the world. From the donations made this year, it is quite evident that we had a banner year in terms of fan participation and contributions. To those of you who participated, again let me express my heartfelt thanks for all your hard work and your seemingly never-ending generosity. You never cease to amaze, and I wish you all the same joy and kindness you have shown to others.

This year's recipients of Sword and Staff donations include The Starship Foundation; The American Cancer Society; The American Red Cross; The Twin Towers Fund; The Salvation Army; AJC 911 Fund; NY Times Neediest Cases Fund; American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFar); The Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative; Israel Cancer Association; A World Fit For Kids; The National Kidney Foundation; The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory; The James W. Ellis Foundation; The Children's Hospital at Montefiore; Children's Hospital of Austin; Casey House (Canada); Women's Aid (Great Britain); Amyloidosis Research (Great Britain); Girls, Inc.; RAWA; Literacy Volunteers of America; Red Cross (for children of Afghanistan); In Touch Ministries; Walstall Breast Cancer Support Group (Great Britain); Rainforest Preservation Foundation; Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society, Inc.(Camp Sundown); Caring for Babies with AIDS; Best Friends Animal Sanctuary; NSPCC (Great Britain); Habitat for Humanity; and a score of others.

The events of September 11 left us all reeling, but Xena fans proved again that they are capable of rising to the challenge at hand. I hope that each of you can draw strength from the fact that even in the face of catastrophy, Xena fans rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help and make a difference. To those of you who worked at Ground Zero, you have my profound admiration and thanks. Others of you who helped by working to assist the rescue workers either by serving food or collecting donations of food and money, by donating blood, or by sending a check to one of the relief organizations, again I extend my thanks and the thanks of countless others from around the world who were victimized by the events of September 11th. Your selflessness and caring are beyond price.

From Jamie and myself, I wish you all the best life has to offer in 2002: Love, joy, health, laughter, good times and good friends to share them with. Above all, I wish you peace.

Mist
http://sword-and-staff.com





They Like Us, They Really Like Us

From: Rosabelle Oribello
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2002 4:29 AM
Subject: whoosh

i just recently began watching X:WP on oxygen and reading xena fan fiction online. A couple days ago, i stumbled onto your online magazine and i really liked the articles that i've read. They show a lot of insight into what some people think is "just a tv show." i just wanted to write to you and let you know that i've really enjoyed reading the articles. thanks again for the wonderful articles and i wanted to compliment your hard work.

sincerely,
Rosabelle Oribello






From: Liz Brock
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 2:02 PM
Subject: WHOOSH Calendar 2002

Just wanted to say (in your time of tribulation) thanks so much to you and your staff for this wonderful site! It's always great, and I hope you survive this @#$%^& trouble.

Feed the Bards, feed the webmasters too. You guys *are* the Xenaverse. Come back to Dragoncon again!

Liz B.






From: L
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 5:00 PM
Subject: Ouch!

Just to say your stuff is really appreciated out here: keep going! Whoosh! is great: I know people who are doing doctoral theses, I know people who are fans, I know people who love a good argument. Whoosh! underpins all. Don't change too much.

L.





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