Whoosh! Issue 70 - 
July 2002
Editor's Page

From the Editor-in-Chief:
Changes in the Landscape
From the Graphics Editor:
The Night Of The Engaging Ensemble

From the Editor-in-Chief:

Seven Years Past

It is a very very different world today than it was when Xena: Warrior Princess began to air. The syndicated market has become so beaten-up that it appears that we will get another intelligent female driven action/fantasy show sometime after Hell freezes over. It looks like Relic Hunter will not be back and Sheena definitely will not return. Heck, even VIP has been axed. We used to be able to look down on it, but now, with the dearth of woman helmed action shows, VIP was looking more and more attractive. Alack, even the dregs are leaving us. Syndicated shows used to be the haven for strong female driven shows, but now, it is a wasteland. It is doubtful Xena would even have a chance getting on the air in this climate. It is dark times indeed.

Somewhere out there are the true descendants of Xena, waiting to be created and aired on TV (eek, I am now starting to sound like I am a character on Max Headroom). Until then, we have to decide whether we remove ourselves to the past and relive the Xena experience or move on, to that as yet undiscovered country. The current alternatives to Xena are far and few between. For the most part they are relatively immature college-chicks, not mature women as Xena so boldly manifested, or if they are women, they are kept earthbound by mundane careers in law, crime, or medical shows. Making a mature woman part of the mythic Campbellian hero standard landscape was perhaps the most important legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess. Let's hope we do not have to wait decades to see her ilk again.

Seventy Issues Thus Far

I now have incontrovertible proof of my insanity. Whoosh! has been churning out monthly issues now for SEVENTY MONTHS. Geez, that's a lot of copy. That's a lot of anything. What is scarier though, is that in five issues, we will come to our 75th issue. I...feel...old...as William Shatner might say. Then it will be a little over two more years to the 100th issue. January 2005. Two months shy of the 10th anniversary of the release date of the 1st Xena episode on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, March 13, 1995. Geez, I don't just feel old, I...am...old.

Kym Masera Taborn
Executive Committee
Calabasas, CA
June 24, 2002

From the Graphics Editor:

After reading Kymís editorial contribution for this month, it is a little sad to note that shows featuring strong female leads are going the way of the rain forest. But that is not to say that there arenít some shows out there in the roughly Xena-esque genre that do have some interesting and strong female characters in them.

Although I have drastically curtailed my leisure television viewing there are some shows that I do enjoy and make an effort not to miss. The Sci-Fi channel has made that job considerably easier for me lately.

Sci-Fi channel has paired two of my fave shows, Farscape and Stargate SG-1 on Friday nights. Both shows are solid action/adventure and both shows have excellent ensemble casts that include or indeed feature strong female characters.

No one could accuse Aeryn Sun from Farscape of being anything less than strong-willed, fiercely independent, and more than capable of taking care of herself. Weíve seen the actress who plays her (Claudia Black) on Xena before, and we have seen several guest actors on Farscape from the Xenaverse and Hercaverse (not surprising since Farscape is made in Australia and there is much crossover in the acting communities of Australia and New Zealand). Indeed, the female population of the ensemble cast for this season of Farscape outnumbers the male. In addition to the character Aeryn Sun we also have Chiana, Jool, Noranti, and Sikozu. All of these female characters have unique abilities and quirks. They each have had and will continue to have their own special moments that make them important and valuable cast members. The balance between the female and male characters on this show is about as equal as Iíve seen in any show for some time, and makes the show worth watching by both genders (if you can take the goop factor). Farscape is intelligently written (though often paced a bit too quickly for my liking) and has kept my interest strong through three seasons, now starting a fourth. In keeping with the spirit of gender balance, they now have a recurring female villain as well - Commandant Mele-On Grayza (who bears a striking resemblance to the Supreme Commander of Blakeís Seven, for those who remember that UK show from years ago).

Although not as balanced in terms of number, the regular female characters of Stargate SG-1 are no less important. Since there are only two (Major Sam Carter and Dr. Janet Frasier, and the latter is seen far less often) these two characters must (and do) work harder to prove themselves. In this series, these two women often appear to nearly drown in a sea of surrounding testosterone, but the characters are intelligently written and both have been the primary force for survival in different situations. As Colonel OíNeill has said of Major Carter, ďShe is way smarter than us.Ē

Two other shows that I watch on an ďas availableĒ basis are The Secret Adventures Of Jules Verne and The Lost World. Making up 25% of the regular cast, Jules Verbe female character Rebecca Fogg (played by Francesca Hunt) more than pulls her weight. More at home in leathers and wielding a sword than sitting idly by in a frilly frock, Rebecca has rescued her male cohorts on more than one occasion and could outfight any of them should the need arise. The show itself has an unfortunate dull and flat look to it (washed-out and shot on tape instead of film from the look of it) and the writing often leaves a lot to be desired, but thereís enough there to amuse and entertain from time to time. Thereís just something about jet-pack transported vampires and a knight from the crusades ambling about in a respiratory wheelchair that appeals.

More balanced gender-wise is the cast of The Lost World, especially in the latest season. The show has taken a number of twists and turns since it first aired, but the direction has always been forward. The female half of the ensemble cast has always been resourceful and tough, necessary qualities when youíre marooned on a plateau where the normal fabric of space and time as we perceive it has a bit extra woven into the thread. And who doesnít like dinosaurs? And Amazons?

So as I type this editorial, itís Friday morning, and I am looking forward to my quiet time this evening with Stargate SG-1 and Farscape. If Iím home at the right times this weekend Iíll pick up Jules Verne and Lost World too.

But one thing for sure - and a friendly warning to those not familiar - make sure youíve eaten **before** you sit down to watch Farscape. Itís just not a show you can snack during.

And especially avoid pudding.

Bret Rudnick
Whoosh! Executive Committee
Hermosa Beach, CA.
28 June 2002

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