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". All letters notated "to the editor" are subject to publication and may be edited for brevity and or clarity.
Fourth Season Jitters & Recommendations
April Fools Cover
More On Bitter Suite And Abuse Issues
Watch out for Unauthorized XENA Book
Stop Slacking On The Episode Guide
Bitter Treat More Sweet Than Bitter
New Callisto Mailing List Auf Deutsche
More On UK Censorship
Changing Face Of Violence In XWP
Fourth Season Jitters & RecommendationsSun, 19 Apr 1998
Subject: A letter to the editor
I am dying with curiosity about the direction the 4th series of Xena is going to take. I'm hoping someone has a fairly educated idea regarding this matter. I am more than greatly concerned with the news that Ted Raimi has been signed for 22 episodes. He would have to be the single most irritating character on the program let alone the idea of Xena and Gabrielle traveling with a third character. Will the relationship between these two be deconstructed to the level of being virtual strangers? I have to say I have been captured by the Xena/Gabrielle relationship from the outset and without further development of their characters I would feel cheated. Will the subtext between these two remain or will mediocrity and the cutting edge be lost?
Sun, 19 Apr 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Rather than join the chorus of complaints about XWP Season Three, I have some suggestions for season four and beyond:
1) A Moratorium on Multi-Part Episodes. The Rift should never have become the Rift Saga.
2) Fewer Xena-Lite Episodes. I know that many circumstances that are out of control of the producers sometime prevent Lucy Lawless from appearing 100% of the time. However, keep her on the screen as much as possible. We're far from growing tired of her!
3) More Monsters, Fewer Barbarians. The powers that be should do as much as they can to keep the Greek mythological context alive.
4) A Solution to the Joxer Problem. Yes, I have a solution that may appeal to both lovers and haters of Joxer the Mighty. Even one dimensional characters need to grow a little. The writers need to decide on a model for Joxer and stick to it. Some suggestions might be Barney Fife of The Andy Griffith Show, Frank Burns of M*A*S*H, Ernie Pantuso (the Coach) of Cheers, or maybe even Forrest Gump. A more consistent characterization might make Joxer less irritating to the haters and less frustrating to the lovers.
April Fools CoverWed, 01 Apr 1998
Love your site! And you fooled me with your April 1st edition!! Well -kind of - very good! You got me.
As a Hardcore Nutball, this is the first site I check out when I sign on the 'Net - you guys are awesome!
Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Subject: YOU GUYS!!!! Loved It!
YOU GOT ME!!! I was going CRAZY with reading that stuff on the table of contents.... saying...HEY, this was supposed to be the Bitter Suite Issue....what the heck happened!! Gawd.... these articles are Ridiculous!!! SharonDeZaney... LOL!!!!!
Thanks for Blowing my mind today!!!!! My First Joke on the 1st!!!!! Hope some folks send some your way too!!!!!! (paybacks.....[wink])
More On Bitter Suite And Abuse IssuesMon, 20 Apr 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
In response to Darise Error's wonderful article on The Tarot-free Bitter Suite (Whoosh! #19, April 1998): It was just that, wonderful. I, too, knew nothing of the meanings of the tarot imagery, yet, as was expressed in the article, the episode was still a feast for the eyes as well as the spirit. My only criticism of the piece is that I think the problematic violence against Gabrielle shouldn't be addressed in a small (although extremely well-worded) disclaimer. This WAS a part of the episode, and it did put a damper on the overall enjoyment I got from The Bitter Suite. I generally find plenty of things to be furious about in the show - from the feminist perspective - and after a while I find myself relegating misogyny into the disclaimer category as well. Reading that disclaimer reminded me that these problems are part of the whole, not separate. They should be addressed as such, and hopefully (although not very hopefully, considering the way the world is) they will decrease.
Wed, 25 Mar 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Rebecca Hall's comments on Bitter Suite (Whoosh! #18, March 1998) and the abuse issues are spot on. I can sympathize with the writers' need to raise the emotional stakes and Deal With Big Issues, not to mention the fact that it was probably Renee O'Connor's turn to wear the chocolate makeup. I can admire the technical expertise. But when the horse-dragging started, my sagging disbelief, having become increasingly unwilling, crashed to the ground. The writers dealt with this by the simple expedient of tossing the ground itself out from under me, going so far overboard that the only place the episode COULD end was in the surf. But that did not erase my sense of betrayal.
I don't know if it is a cultural or gender-related blind spot, if it is personal to me or universal, but I just know too many women who have been raped or beaten to have any sense of humor about it, Zero, Zilch, No, None, Nada, not even for a fictional device. Oh, no, not THEM. There is a line that must be respected. You LEAVE a batterer, period.
To my observation men are more inclined to duke things out physically between themselves and establish hierarchy. To them it's ok. Women, unless suffering from an extreme case of Animus-dominated patriarchal conditioning, are less concerned with hierarchy than equality, but are Byzantine in their emotional game-playing. One of the things that made A Day In The Life so enjoyable was the way the struggle for equality between two physically unequal people played itself out in petty (but not foolish) bickering. It was subtle and clever, two qualities that have shrunk in the 3rd season.
The Intro to Bitter Suite took away a lot of my pleasure in one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen in any medium. I'm sure you'll get lots of analysis from occultists more learned than I, but I'd also like to comment on some of the Tarot imagery.
A life-time study in itself, the Tarot can also be experienced as a spiritual journey, with the major Arcana representing various stages of initiation and the minor Arcana having more to do with everyday life. The interplay between mythic Archetype and ordinary events is what makes reading the cards fascinating.
It is interesting to note that Callisto, besides setting up the Vanna White joke, is clearly both the Fool and the Magician. (Aleph, first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is the number of the Mage, the Fool being 0, un-numbered, the wild card of dual nature, on one hand silly, on the other possessed of un-worldly wisdom.) As far as I know, the first writer to unite these two cards was Charles Williams, whose 1932 novel The Greater Trumps is still very readable. It would be interesting to know if it had any influence on the application of the Tarot to the "lost child" theme we've been enduring.
When Gabrielle enters Illusia, she is pulled out of the water Motherpeace Deck-naked by Hanged Man ("fear death by water" drowned Phoenician sailor) Joxer, who then proceeds to play the Fool himself (nothing new there) only with a balalaika rather than a dog for accompaniment. To me the two Fools indicate that both Xena and Gabrielle have to make the journey through the cards.
Obvious as the major Arcana refs. are, it is equally fun to tease minor Arcana out of the design elements. Xena wears the Ace of Swords on her High Priestess (Ambivalence/Isis, who lost her child, but reassembled him) dress. Xena could easily be represented by the Queen of Swords (very sharp woman) without any negative connotations. The helmet that Ares (Emperor, or King of Swords as he lacks the orb and scepter of temporal authority) hands Xena is reminiscent of the feathery garb worn by the well-bundled up folks in the Palladini deck.
Gabrielle as Empress (Growth&Fertility) has a natural affinity to being the Queen of Wands or Staffs (wise councillor, writer, good friend)
On Xena's side of the Door Busby-Berkley warriors are enacting the suit of swords, while their helmets and shields lend a passing reference to coins or pentacles. These get somewhat short shrift, but it is clear that many dinars were spent, so why quibble?
Illusiary Poteidaia is full of Rider-Waite cups, although as far as I know chopping the head off the duck has nothing to do w/ Tarot, it's there to indicate that Gabrielle's world is just as poisoned, in its own way, as Xena's.
Death is a card of major transformation more than literal death, so both Xena in her skeleton dress and Gabrielle with the scythe and donkey experience it. It is interesting that Gabrielle's 'death of the soul' is expressed as a sacrifice to Xena, whereas Xena's is to kill Gabrielle. This brings them together. (!) Maybe that's what the Drag Intro was all about, but even so it was still singularly lacking in Artiphys.
I don't like to suggest that TPTB were playing with anything less than a full deck, but a Hierophant figure seemed lacking. The closest candidate I found was the duck-chopping peasant, whose laces could be made to suggest crossed keys and whose hat and posture might be construed as a reference. And hey, where the gods are petty and cruel, who can expect divine/human mediation to be anything less than a dicey business? The Priest of the Furies can't even tell when the fruit's gone off.
With the burgeoning popularity of Tarot (seems like there's been a new deck out every week since 1970) there is a tendency to want a Xena deck. That is in line with the medieval rulers who had cards painted to resemble their courtiers. Most readers have a favorite deck, so what's one more? There is a lot of room for individual interpretation.
The dialogue in the Disillusion/Lightning-struck Tower section :
"Tell me How You Feel. Right Now...... It's The Past" was a bit too much actorese for me, but I did wonder if it was a subtle way of saying :
"To the Moon, Sanford Meisner, to the Moon".
The Tarot is a clever way to tell a multi-layered archetypal tale, and I have to say that of all the Rotas Operas I have seen, The Bitter Suite is the best, but it still hasn't solved all of the 3rdseason's problems. It almost seems as if there is too much plot and not enough story. Battery aside, I'm not happy with the "bad seed" theme, although for some reason it is less disturbing to me as a crossover. It could be an alchemical problem; evil homunculus or magical child, which? With big success were the writers afraid to relax and have a good time? Or were they suffering from that all too familiar human (or at least western) tendency to turn gold into lead? I'm just hoping they can enjoy next season, so I can too.
Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite
I could not believe you would devote an entire Whoosh! issue to "The Bitter Suite". The April Fools Day topics sound so much more interesting.
To me, "The Bitter Suite" epitomizes all that went wrong with the XWP series this season. In it there are the mistakes, inconsistencies and sloppy writing that is so prevalent this third season. The episode, supposedly being the end of "the mother of all rifts" is a poorly written short and sweet clean-ending to a problem requiring much more effort to resolve. Like many of the third season episodes, we ,the audience, are not ,however, expected to question the unexplained. Even the violence many decry is found in this episode.
Monday, April 06, 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
To The Editor:
Can you wear out a CD? The BITTER SUITE music was wonderful as heard in the televised episode but it's even better when it can played over and over again through stereo speakers at peak performance! Yes folks, I am one of those obnoxious, inconsiderate drivers who play the stereo much too loud in traffic. Once in awhile conscience will over take me and I will bring it down to a gentle roar, but I don't think I will with BITTER SUITE. So if you pull up next to me in traffic and you don't want to hear Joe LoDuca at his finest, roll up your window, 'cause mine is stayin' down. You know the saying, "If it's too loud, you're too old."
Hats off to Mr LoDuca for a brilliant score! Brett's interview was a joy to read! Thanks for another brilliant issue of Whoosh! by the way, great job!!
Wed, 01 Apr 1998
Subject: Interview with Joseph LoDuca
Your latest interview with Joe LoDuca is just great. Very informative and interesting. I have wanted to know more about "The Bitter Suite" particularly given it is such an outstanding episode. A fantastic achievement (okay, so I loved it!). It is indeed timely and fortuitous to get Joe's discussion of this, as well as of course other subjects. A very talented guy who's contributions are so significant.
Watch Out for Unauthorized XENA Book
Subject: I know its a little late...
Date: Monday, April 27, 1998
Please inform any Xenites who are tempted to buy James Van Hise "Hercules & Xena, The Unofficial Companion". This book, and I confess to having just read sections so far, contains contradictory and misleading information. Discrepancies include:
Solan is both 10 and 12 years old, Borius and Barius are the father of Xena's child, (and by the way, she gave up Solan both so she could protect him and due to her power lust) Xena meets M'Lila before she meets Caesar Gabrielle saves Xena but there is no mention, in the sections that I have read that Xena originally saved the Gabster.
How much of the book can we trust? I don't know. It seems to me if the storyline isn't right, then how much of the "background" information is right? Armed with this perspective, it is up to the individual to decide: is this book worth $15.95 US/$22.50 Can. A neophyte looking for factual background, may want to refer to WHOOSH!, while a HCNB may be more competent to weed out misinformation.
Imperial Greetings4/2/1998 - 7:33 AM
His Imperial Majesty Yao Sui would like to, in a friendly and humble way, congratulate Whoosh! on the splendid job of maintaining their movie site. His Imperial Majesty Yao Sui of mainland China viewed "The Debt," part I, and enjoyed it immensely.
His Imperial Majesty Yao Sui, Emperor of China
Stop Slacking On The Episode GuideThu, 2 Apr 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
I am a reader of Whoosh! and I have thoroughly enjoy it. I just wish that the episode synopsis would by written at a faster speed. You see, I recently lost the ability to watch Xena due to lack of cable, and heavily rely on this newsletter for information on what is happening in the Xenaverse. So I would suggest that you wake up your synopsis writers up, and continue to produce the quality reviews that I have learned to associate with this website.
An Interested Reader
P.S. The April Fools joke was ... mildly amusing.
The Admonished Editor-in-Chief Responded:
Yeah, the episode guide is under my watch, and yes I have been slacking off, but these volunteer fan-produced projects unfortunately sometimes suffer from rude interruptions from the non-volunteer non-fan produced world. My pledge, however, to continue working on ways to bring the guide up to date, to improve it, and to make it even more anal than it ever was. Now, that's the official story. The real story is that I have a found a WHOLE PACK of new friends (and not ONE of them owns any Xena paraphernalia) and we have formed a GARAGE BAND, called "Mama's Midlife Crisis", and we have a website at http://whoosh.org/mama and as soon as we get a bit more in tune we might even cut a CD...so that's been affecting my focus, HOWEVER, I have enlisted the help of Stacey Robillard who is helping me whip the HERK guides into shape...and then after that, I will sic her on the Xena area. And, btw, your post script was...mildly amusing.
Deconstructing JoxerFri, 17 Apr 1998
Subject: a few thoughts about Joxer:)
Lets be blunt, I do not like the character and I shall give you some reasons below. Bear with me please, I do not care how fine an actor portrays the character when the character is a one dimensional jerk that is slapstick, clumsy, bumbling, oafish, priggish, boorish and an attempted rapist. I am not amused.
"He's a bumbling idiot." These were Joxer's own words to describe himself. I've seen some argue that Gabrielle started out as a naive village girl with a self righteous do-gooder attitude and ineptitude to take care of herself and she was given time to develop. In Joxer's case their can be no development of the character, he must remain a bumbling idiot; for if he were to develop in his chosen career he'd be a great warrior and a hero...he'd have great adventures and have a loyal sidekick or two...Joxer the Mighty: This can NEVER happen because this show is called Xena: Warrior Princess. Joxer cannot grow outside his bumbling idiot emotionally he is still obsessed with what can never be, i.e., that he will/is a great warrior and that Gabby could ever love him.
As to his comedic effect, the episodes of Xena I hate the most are the bumbling slapstick ones. TPTB may love the 3 Stooges but I don't want one of em on Xena. It's usually why I don't watch that other show, Hercules, because of that camp/slapstick and lacks for a better term "grit" and emotional texture of Xena. Herc and Iolaus are buddies, no subtext there. Whereas Xena's and Gabrielle's relationship is so much more. Seeing them interact and their relationship develop is great. Joxer is the proverbial third wheel here.
Xena has always been aimed at a more mature/older audience and thus Joxer lowers the tone to the infantile, although his behavior isn't appropriate for a juvenile delinquent in some episodes. In Forget Me Not, Jerkster, as he was named by the Gabrielle who had lost her memories/wits, tried to convince Gabrielle that she loved him. This is attempted Date Rape. Some say his so-called conscience overcame him in the end. The fact that he perpetrated it to start with blackens his already dismally low reputation. I did not think he could go much lower. We already knew his fantasies about the 3 naked Gabbies, thanks to his writings in the Quill is Mightier. He ogled and drooled along with Ares at the 3 "babes he'd conjured up" and went with great glee to the caves. Then of course in Warrior Priestess Tramp he's a frequenter of a brothel where he sings his song/variation again.
Which brings me to my other major point against him: He's a one joke character, i.e., he is a jerk and a bumbling idiot. How many times do I need to see him to know that or know what's happening now the writers seem to see fit to see him beaten to a pulp or put in a coma. I don't need to see that. Yes, I got guilty pleasure from Xena chakramming him in Been There Done That, but I don't want to watch episodes where someone so inept/defenseless is always beaten up.
Xena is about empowerment and being able to be strong. Joxer defeats that message totally. As Joxer he isn't a capable fighter, Gabrielle could beat him up. Actually, I would be willing to say that Joxer has not lost his blood innocence by the way. Gabrielle has called Joxer a jerk before The Quill is Mightier. Gabrielle awoke with a jerk. Ares, Aphrodite, and Xena all got it; even The Jerkster finally realized it. Gabrielle did look a tad guilty about it but the scroll took her literally. When she wrote it, it was one of the running jokes throughout that episode.
As for his unrequited love for Gabrielle: "as if!" Perdicus was a more believable love interest for Gabrielle than the Jerkster and I did not for one second find Perdicus a believable love interest for Gabrielle mainly because she ran away from her village to avoid her marriage to a dull clod! "a gentle soul" as Xena puts it who somehow turned into a soldier who renounces violence while in the middle of a battle where his so called beloved is about to be killed yet he's too self involved to spare a thought for protecting her.
At least in Comedy of Eros Gabrielle did get to laugh at the mere idea of her being truly in love with Joxer and in a so called humanizing moment Xena gets to place a comforting hand on his shoulder as Joxer realizes how forlorn a hope it was. The scene brought to mind Wylie E Coyote and the Road Runner. The Road Runner is never going to be caught yet Wylie cant give up. He's obsessed and his obsession is always getting him into trouble.
I know where certain aspects of Joxer's two dimensional character originated from: a two dimensional cartoon show!
Joxer in the Amazon village: We all know Amazons aren't exactly keen on men visiting their village, so why was the Joxer allowed to stroll around? Because he was a so called friend to Gabrielle? Or because the Amazons did not regard him as a man/warrior or threat? They'd probably read their Queens scrolls about Joxer's mishaps/misadventures or to put it in one line they regarded Joxer as a Eunuch!
Bitter Treat More Sweet Than BitterWed, 01 Apr 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite Article in issue 19
The Bitter Suite Parody [Whoosh! #19, April 1998]:
Gods! I laughed through the entire thing! I wish the folks at TPTB, including Lucy and Renee, could read some of the stuff we come up with!
Allyson Genea Heisey
Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Subject: Bitter Treat!!!!
I just finished reading Bitter Treat, and have just printed it out for safe-keeping, which I never do with Fan Fiction. (Don't worry about my printer, I broke my University's laser printer to print all those JPEGs the Whoosh! staff put in. Hee hee!)
What a triumph of humourous pacing! This is truly a stellar work.
Gabrielle's rendition of "Ain't life a drag with Xena", sung to the tune of Deep in the Heart of Texas, was a real hoot. Talk about feeling like rawhide after that! -F-Tish!-
Your new rendition of "Welcome Home, Gabrielle" was *so* touching, I cried. (Being very silly here.) "We love peas, peas, peas!"
Ares new "Melt Into Me". What can I say. Brilliant! His offers to "introduce" Xena to heterosexuality were hilarious.
Xena: "I off-ed Gabrielle..."
Don't dance around the subject Xena, tell us what you really think!
Gabrielle's litany of 3rd season crimes (too long to show here) that she recites in the Temple of Dahak was roll-on-the-floor hilarious! I loved how she closed with "and shoved a pea up your nose."
Xena tops this though, with her response!
"Awww, you're so sweet for trying to make me feel better."
Rolling on the floor, laughing out loud, jerking in seizures... (Okay, I'm exaggerating on the last one.)
I liked how you included the additional crimes of Gabrielle that were uncovered in the latest episode "Forget Me Not". Must have caused some furious re-editing for your story, eh?
I absolutely loved Gab's reaction when she learns at the end that Xena killed Ming Tien: "Nope. He deserved it."
Well said! You should be writing Gabrielle for the 4th season!
Finally, Xena's song about how "she can cry too" was perfect. It's as if these songs came to you effortlessly!
What an effort! It's hard to write a musical, but this is more of a symphony! Wow!
With much adoration,
Wed, 01 Apr 1998
Subject: loved your parody!
Just wanted to say: loved your parody of Bitter Suite. It was brilliant. I laughed so hard I cried. It was *perfect!*
Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Subject: Bitter Suite: A Parody
I laughed, I cried...I'll never look at peas the same way again. Who knew a harmless vegetable (unless you can them then cover them with a psuedo-dairy substance meant to resemble cream) could be so lethal?
Thanks for providing some much needed comic relief in this whole "Rift sucks vs. Rift rules" online debate/discussion. As I was getting sucked into the vortex of "Taking Xena too seriously" you pulled me back from the brink. Bless you oh mighty queen of parody and satire. For if there is to be joy in this world...folly must be exposed and characters ridiculed. Hope I didn't dazzle you with my wit. Although, I can't say I wasn't trying.
C.L. Bactad (aka Chris)
Wed, 1 Apr 1998
Subject: Your Parody
Hi. I just wanted to drop you a quick note regarding your parody on The Bitter Suite. I'm at work right now and I laughed out loud a few times; receiving a few raised eyebrows as people passed by my office. Thanks.
Thu, 02 Apr 1998
Subject: D*mn, you're funny!
Thank you for the Bitter Treat on Whoosh! Loved especially:
- Callisto pouting about not getting to make out with Xena
- the Warrior tribute to Xena (blue eyes, buff thighs, goddess on the net)
- Boar and Peas (hysterical!)
- Ares attempt to "turn" Xena (and Callisto's try for a date)
- Ares & Callisto ("showering" & "deflowering" ...what a wicked rhyme
- Xena & Gabs Blame Duet (touche' on ALL the complaints, you nailed 'em!)
- the Baiting sequence--another BIG touche'!
- the Make-up Duet (FABULOUS! "I never dreamed that we would let the subtext die... That all these men could come between.")
- the Pop Psychology/Touchy Feely Xena solo (clever wording!)
- the bit with Xena "trying to spend some quality time with Auntie Gabrielle"
- the final bit with the kiss on the beach
Sat, 4 Apr 98
Subject: Bitter Suite Parody
I had to write and thank you for including Joanna Sandsmark's brilliant Bitter Suite parody in your BS edition [Whoosh! #19, April 1998]. I read it a while ago on the web somewhere, and thought at the time it deserved a larger audience. I even sang along as I read it. The whole Bitter Suite edition was excellent, especially as here in the UK it has just aired.
Also, a curiosity came up concerning a couple of odd discrepancies between the US and UK showings. Firstly, in Callisto's opening poem, when she says, "Absorb thyself......She had her dwelling in the great sea, AS IN A FISH THEREIN". However here in the UK, we got, "She had her dwelling in the great sea, AND WAS A FISH THEREIN". Odd.
Also, in the War and Peace song, one of the warrior's who sings,"words of wisdom Ares said.." was much deeper voiced than the one on the US version. Although the CD has that deeper voiced man too.
Thought you'd be interested. I would also support Cathy who wrote about the heavy handed editing we in the UK are suffering because of Sky TV's 6pm showing time.
Friday, April 24, 1998
Subject: "what I thought" about Bitter Treat
Well, after I finally got up off the floor and regained my bodily functions.... and after I emailed a select group of friends demanding that they drop everything and enjoy the same hysterical convulsions I'd just finished....I believe my exact thoughts were: "I want this Joanna woman to be in charge of EVERYTHING. All the television networks. The phone company. The whole shebang."
You had me from the moment Ephiny yelled "Security!" and managed to keep me right up to the bitter end (ouch! sorry...). The "I never dreamed that we would let the subtext die..." bit (with exploding boys-o-the-week) was poised to be my fave, but then I got to "Yes, I'll Cry"-- nothing short of brilliant, as well as a total hoot. Vastly superior to the unfortunate thing they made LL sing; such a shame they didn't use these lyrics on the new CD...
What a massive undertaking, what a brave soul you are to attempt it, and what a talented, funny woman. Thank you!
New Callisto Mailing List Auf DeutscheSun, 26 Apr 1998
Subject: Callisto Mailing List
Would you have room in Whoosh! to mention that there is now a new Callisto-Mailing List in the German language running off of my webpage? It is the first German Callisto-Mailing List and it is just one day old.
More On UK CensorshipFri, 3 Apr 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor
UK Censorship Of XWP.
I read the email about Sky TV (UK Satellite TV) censoring XWP with interest. So far I have not noticed that XWP is censored on Sky, but my only way of verifying this is comparing the show with the excellent material available within the Whoosh! Episode Guide. Could you send me any details you have on Sky censoring XWP. I have seen that Channel 5 (UK Terrestrial TV) has censored XWP, the most extreme example being the Cradle of Hope episode, the whole scene where Xena rescues Pandora from the lynch mob is missing (shown in full on Sky). Initially Channel 5 transmitted the programs out of sequence, when I questioned them on this point I received the following reply:
On 26 July 1997 it was decided at short notice by Channel 5 to reschedule the film HOFFA to a later time slot that night. In the available time slot we then screened an additional episode of Xena. Unfortunately, since the change was made at short notice, the Scheduling Department had to alter the running order of Xena series and the episode "Cradle of Hope" was unable to be shown in order. Your comments about the incorrect series of Xena have been forwarded to the Scheduling Department, although I have been assured that the remainder of the series will be shown in the correct order. Thank you for your interest in Channel 5.After the episode was finally shown, minus the lynching scene I contacted Channel 5 again, expressing doubts if the scheduling conflict was the real reason for the delay. I also pointed out that XWP was not a 'children's show' and suggested it be switched to a later time slot. Channel 5 reply was:
Channel 5 Duty Office
Dear Mr EvansonI don't know if this had any effect but some weeks latter the show was switch to a latter time slot. If we can show evidence of Sky editing XWP maybe we UK fans can campaign for Sky to change the scheduling. Although I would not hold out much hope for this, of the many emails and letters I have sent to Sky I have yet to receive any form of reply or acknowledgment.
Thank you for your e-mail dated 18 August 1997.
Your comments about the editing of Xena have been forwarded to the relevant Channel 5 management and the Planning and Acquisitions department, who are in charge of editing scenes in programmes. The transmission of the episode, 'Cradle of Hope' was initially delayed due to the editing of the hanging scene in it. Channel 5 feel that the scene in question could be easily imitated by children, which is why it was edited. Channel 5 has to comply with the ITC programme code and this is somewhat stricter than the guidelines which SKY has to comply to. Had Channel 5 put out a warning prior to the programme, rather than editing that scene, we would have been contravening the ITC code and would probably received many complaints from the viewing public about inappropriate action on-screen for that time of day.
I have noted your comments regarding the timeslot of Xena, and I will ensure that they are forwarded to the Scheduling department. There are no immediate plans to show the current series of Xena at a later time, although there may be changes to the transmission time of the series in the Autumn. In the meantime, Channel 5 will edit any future episode of Xena which it feels infringes the ITC code.
I am sorry that I am unable to completely allay your fears about the editing of Xena. If you have any further queries regarding the programming on Channel 5 please do not hesitate to contact us here at the Duty Office.
Thank you for your interest in Channel 5.
Channel 5 Duty Office
Sun, 05 Apr 1998
Subject: Sky One
After recent correspondence, Dave Evanson has asked me to drop you a line to explain the current problem with Sky One's censorship of XWP:
Programmers in the UK (both terrestrial and satellite) have to comply with guidelines from the ITC (Independent Television Commission). In general the ITC requires that (12)-rated material should not be broadcast before 8pm, (15)-rated material shouldn't go out before 9pm, and (18)-rated material should not go out before 10pm.
A bad programmer like Sky One gets around this by showing XWP at 6pm and cutting key scenes. This upsets everyone. Parents are mislead into believing that the narrative content and themes of the show are suitable for young children because it is placed in an early evening time-slot (clearly much of the 3rd season hasn't been suitable for young children), and adults are denied the opportunity to see the episodes in full (in some cases we're talking about the loss of several minutes of footage per episode).
In fact Sky One is getting a reputation for both stupidity and a cynical disregard for its viewers.
Mon, 6 Apr 1998
Subject: Letters to the editor
"One Against an Army" has just aired in the UK. I suspect that the arrow removal scene was edited somewhat as although I was able to guess that Xena had removed it by pushing it through, it was over pretty quickly, and we didn't really see what was happening. Also, in the version shown here, Xena didn't try to use the powers she had in Chin, although there was the early reference to her not being able to any more. Sometimes these cuts just don't make any sense - at least with Whoosh, I can read your reviews and find out what I missed! I have written to the TV authorities to complain about the cuts and they replied that they are giving it consideration. I won't hold my breath waiting.
Xena for ever!
Changing Face Of Violence In XWPSun, 19 Apr 1998
Subject: cheers to your jeers
I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of the recent violence on Xena. Although there is plenty to be said against the usual smash and stab violence against the practically faceless soldiers, villagers, etc., featured, when characters we know take an overly gratuitous beating it is even more disturbing. Even when Strife was being thrown around by Ares and Callisto, I found it unsettling - especially since it seemed as though they were attempting to play it for laughs. P.S. I'm really enjoying your Xenaverse. This is my first successful day on the webternet, and I've emailed several whooshers in thanks. So thanks.