Whoosh! Issue 51 - December 2000
Editor's Page

From the Graphics Editor:
The Night Of The Sensational Season

From the Graphics Editor:

Despite being crammed into worse time slots and despite being pre-empted for the god of sports, the ratings for XENA since the beginning of Season Six have shown improvement and have countered a trend in ratings decline. Why? The most obvious reason: the show is better than it was in the previous season. The hemorrhage of regular viewers is healing and either past viewers are returning or new viewers are sticking around.

Surprising? Not really. Several people involved with the show, from the top man down, have commented that Season Five was not up to their overall expectations creatively, despite a fine moment here and there. They have learned from their past and have made a sincere effort to improve things, especially since Season Six will be the last.

Having just returned from a trip to New Zealand, I can say I witnessed this effort first-hand. You'll read all about those experiences in issues ahead, as well as an interview with the top man himself, Rob Tapert. But if I had to describe my impressions of everyone at Pacific Renaissance Pictures in one word, from the top man himself on down, that word would have to be "dedicated". Everyone is still working very hard to produce a quality product, and especially so since the lessons learned from Season Five.

Of course, not everyone will like every story -- that's been a fact of life since Day One. But from what I've seen first-hand, these people are very concerned about telling a good story and are working very hard to do so. There is something for everyone this season, and more than a little something. Those concerned that Xena has become a pawn of other godly forces will be surprised. Those who like Amazons will see them aplenty, and in a different light than shown in Season Five. Want to see Xena both in past, present, and future? Wish granted. Like to see Gabrielle in different costume? No worries. Think that Xena and Gabrielle were drifting apart in their relationship? Think again. Wouldn't tire of seeing Ares with his shirt off for 3/4 of an episode? You'll get your chance. Long for Uber stories? No longer. Missy Good fan? Almost 14% of the season has her writing credit attached to it. Exotic locations your thing? You'll get quite a range. Bonehead comedy fan? Well, sorry to disappoint, but there is some very nice and more subtle comedy coming your way more reminiscent of the wry humour of Season One and Two.

With only seven episodes left to shoot until the end of the series, it was interesting to see that the end of the road was not apparent to most of the people working on the show. Cast and crew were all very focused on the episode they were currently working on, and felt there was still plenty of time left before the realisation of finality hit them. Indeed, the person most affected that I spoke with was Rob Tapert himself, who was still working out exactly how he wanted the XENA saga to end.

However things end, we still have several episodes to enjoy before the final curtain. The roller coaster that is XENA hasn't entered the last loop quite yet. And even after the end of the ride, several people will want to stand in line to ride again. This, in part, is due to the renewed effort of cast and crew to make the show as good as it ever was, especially in its last year. If numbers tell any part of the story, they're on the road to success.

Bret Rudnick
Graphics Editor
Executive Committee
Hermosa Beach, California
28 November 2000

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