Soul Mates and Destiny
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001
From: Bongo Bear
Subject: Letter to the Editor
WHEN FATES COLLIDE will be remembered as one of the classic XWP episodes that defines and reinforces the soulmate canon that has consistently characterized fundamental relationships throughout the series. When few other characterizations have been as consistent, at least relationships as a character type have been. Xena and Gabrielle will always tackle their adventures together. Julius Caesar will always betray Xena. Joxer will always be lurking around Gabrielle. Alti (or Ares) will always be there to alternatively seduce or battle Xena. Only Callisto's relationship with Xena has fundamentally changed.
WFC comes near the end of a series of stories that has introduced the soulmate notion specifically between X & G and then has remolded it and redefined it over and over again. More adept Xenites than I can relate each and every X&G soulmate canon-setting episode from all of the previous seasons, but I shall at least list the ones off the top of my head:
DREAMWORKER - X & G enter each other's dreams.
REMEMBER NOTHING - Alternative reality in which Gabs was a slave and Xena never became a warlord.
THE XENA SCROLLS - The one and only Mel and Janice story that spawned an entire genre of fan fiction, Uber.
BETWEEN THE LINES from the India arc episodes - The Mother of Peace and that cute warrior dude are the Uber reincarnations. Xena acknowledges the eternity of their bond by painting a symbol on her foot so future versions of herself and Gabrielle will recognize each other as the women they were.
DEJA VU AGAIN - This time Mattie and Harry are the Uber reincarnations.
SEND IN THE CLONES - X-clone and G-clone - are they Uber or are they Memorex?
And finally WHEN FATES COLLIDE.
Two themes are common to all of these episodes. The first is that X&G are fated to be together no matter who they are; their destinies are intertwined for all eternity. The second is that this is a good thing.
As a subtexter, I view Joxer's presence in Gabrielle's existence in the reality of the moment to be a bad thing. He is an annoyance and a pest. And most subtexters would agree and proponents of Gab/Joxer romance would disagree. Likewise, I don't care for Ares' influence on Xena's existence. He is an annoyance and sometimes dangerous. And most subtexters would agree and teenie-bopper Ares/Xena 'shippers would disagree. Because I don't like the nature, and more importantly, the results of Joxer's relationship with Gabrielle and Ares' relationship with Xena, the connection between their souls is an undesirable quality. Soulmatedness in these particular cases is a curse to be exorcised.
Yet as a subtexter, should I assume that soulmatedness between Xena and Gabrielle is a good thing because I think they make a cute couple? Xena has not always been good for Gabrielle. Gabs has often died and even gone to Hell and back on account of Xena. Then there's the infamous Gab-drag. Conversely, Gabrielle has not always been good for Xena. Gabrielle's tendency to change her world view and philosophy of life on a whim and Xena's willingness to accommodate her, has pushed Xena off of her one true way as a warrior. In trying to find herself, Gabrielle inadvertently caused Xena to almost lose her way.
Is actually having a soulmate like Xena recommended for the average Poteidaian. Yet, Gabrielle's enthusiastic desire to live the curse of an interesting life is what gives her story drama. I concede that X&G's story would be boring without this character flaw.
But there is one aspect of the soulmate concept I find truly disturbing and WFC addresses it somewhat at the end. It's one thing to choose the difficulties of your life. It is something else to have it imposed upon you. X&G's descendents, reincarnations, and even their clones all inherit the emotional and political baggage of the originals. Alti battles Xena in all of the Warrior Princess's incarnations. Ares wants Xena whether she is in Ted Raimi's body or not --- what a desperate god!
When Gabrielle torched the Fates' Loom, she gave humanity free will or at the very least released Xena and herself from Fate. But what about their future incarnations? Are they free to pursue their own lives without having to re-live unresolved past conflicts? Can Mel and Janice really choose to be with each other or are they fulfilling some ancient contract of their ancestors? Is soulmatedness all what it is cracked up to be?
Rise and Fall
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001
Being a fan of Xena Warrior Princess since the start of Xena on Hercules the Legendary Journeys I think I have "earned" the right to say the things I am about to say. Now I know I will receive much heat for what I am going to say but it does not matter to me. Because what I am going to say is right and most importantly TRUE regarding the Xenaverse. This little bit I will like to title....The Rise and Fall of Xena. I want to go over these points one by one but I will give a list on the rapid rise and fall of the show.
The Rise.1. A original story that was actually better than the show it spawned from.The Fall
2. The introduction of what I call effective home CGI.
3. Filming in a NON-Hollywood atmosphere.
4. Some of the greatest casting that I have seen on any tv program.1.Robert Tapert (which merges into points of failure 2 and 3
2. Subtext (yes I know.....Boo...hissssss. Just please keep reading)
3. The writers
4. Actors not knowing how the game of American television is played..(then again that goes for Mr. Tapert also.
OF course lets start of with the rise of our favorite show. The reason that Xena was a hit boils down to one point. Originality. There is an article I have from 98' which read..."The 6 reasons why everyone watches Xena". The short of it was that Guys liked it for the kick b*tt action featuring women. Women liked it because it showed a strong role model. Lesbians liked it because of the close friendship between the two main characters. (NOTE this was BEFORE the subtext crap..I'll explain later..) Showing that women didn't NEED a man to be there for them. Now this is all confirmed by Mr Tapert himself after I had a brief chat with him at the first con in Burbank. IT was a long awaited moment for TV to have its first true...ummmm female Starsky and Hutch...now I know that Xena and Gabby are not detectives so don't harass me on that...*LOL* but what I am trying to say is that 2 strong women haven't been on since Cagney and Lacy...and that was a hit show because it too was original.
The CGI that everyone sees all around on nearly every fiction fantasy show owes alot to whoever does the CGI for Hercules and Xena. I honestly believe that they were among the cutting edge for independent companies to put out cheap but great graphics....not only with the use of improved computer animation but using simple stuff as distance distortion.....(Xena staring down a giant is filmed as the actor playing the giant is close to the camera where as Lucy is farther off in the distance giving the affect that she is smaller.....I hope you know what I am talking about..*L*)
The cost alone of filming in Hollywood is tremendous....The X-Files for example deliberately filmed in Vancouver and the town LOVED them of course for the visitor revenue not to mention all the other perks like having locals actually being ON the show as an extra. You can't do that in Hollywood where even trying out for a part as an extra requires a resume in acting. There are jokes all around that when Renaissance pulls its stakes in New Zealand that the country will go "belly up". *L* In some way though its kinda true. These hit tv shows have brought alot of cash for the New Zealand government and for their people. Besides in the friendly war between the Kiwi's and the Aussies...who would you rather have Lucy Lawless or that Crocodile Dundee guy? (Just kidding all!!) But you see my point right? Everyone wins in going to as Ted Raimi put it in "The Xena Scrolls"..." a third world country."
I don't think I have to explain the acting abilities of ALL who have been part of Xena over the years......
*Sigh* This is the part that I go to my "Super Mayan" mode and brace for the attacks.........the Fall.
Robert Tapert is involved with everything to one point or another. I give him much respect for bringing a program like that at all. Just he didn't gamble wisely and that is what I would call everything he has done since season 2.......gambling. I will finish off with Robert Tapert last and continue on.
Subtext....the dreaded word. Capable of starting fights as recent as several months ago. Most of the regular viewers which have been classified as "Maintexters" (which isn't really fair because when the show started there was no such thing as a "Maintext" or a "Subtext" which caused the problem) Talking with more than a couple of "Nutball veterans ". Has confirmed what I believe SHOULD of happened. The old.."you believe what you believe and I will believe what I believe" Its apparent that that was not good enough and due to a gamble to start to hint on this "subtext" issue, started the spiral down. Robert Tapert who realized this tried to back away from the subtext issue. It was too late however. In part...focusing on the "Subtext" (along with bad writing which I will get to later) alienated the regular viewers. Then trying to hide the issue later on which alienated the "Subtext" fans....has shot down the NUMBER 1 syndicated show to one of the worst. If you have a hit show like "Friends" or Seinfeld"......why change ANYTHING? Its not fair perhaps the rule of TV broadcasting is that you appeal to the majority. NOT to the minority. While the lesbian community may be the most loyal viewers ....they are only a fraction of viewers which made Xena a hit. There are others who (along with bad writing) got tired of it. I can't count the number of times that I have seen newbies get flamed by people because they didn't like the "subtext"...or didn't care for it. I have a few of my own scars......sadly the attackers had worse ones when I got through with them but that's neither here nor there. Forcing a change in formula for a hit, then changing it back, then in this last season completely disrespecting the few "Maintexters". and changing it fully back again....is NOT a way to keep viewers. I know though that this last seasons writing may be a homage to the subtext viewer because due to the companies research there are very few "regular" viewers left. Now you say..."What's your problem!?!" I don't have one. I am friends with some of the Whoosh staff, I am an ORIGINAL NUTBALL and PUBSTER and even attended Fan BBQs ....so you can't say that I am a Homophobe or some crap like that. BUT think of it this way.......Just as you would be offended by pulling out ALL subtext.....am I to be criticized for being a little offended at changing it to an ALL subtext show!?! Think about it.
The writers...(Robert Tapert again at the helm of this problem) They were given too much rope in too many vital areas. Leaving the subtext issue out of it....they went from a WINNING formula to the RIFT....what fans of EVERY section that you can be in.....Pro/anti Subtext, pro/anti Joxer....etc....hated. I haven't met ONE person that thought that the "rift" and the "Whoops it was all a dream" turnaround was any good. That was the stupidest storyline....but this one now is coming close to that level...at least for me. There is just something about Xena now......Xena beats up bad mercenaries, next week she beats up bad Romans, then she beats up bad Girl Scouts,.........*yawn* Ok so the writers are now telling me...."Xena is unbeatable"....Ok why then watch? Drama derives from heroes fighting tooth and nail and sometimes loosing. The show now is suffering what I call "G.I. Joeitis" Anyone remembering the old cartoon show remembers that like....3 Cobra tanks have their laser sights locked in on this hapless G.I. Joe, in their state of the art tanks and this little Joe takes a hand gun and shoots a bullet bouncing off of walls like Xena's chakram and blowing up all the tanks. If I wanted to watch JUST action...I will go to the Comedy Channel and watch "Battle Bots" At least they are not paid to act. Oh and that brings me to a point....Since when and why has Xena had the power of a Mayan and to shoot energy bolts when she feels like it? Then have that power taken away until she needs to blast again? Writers make up your minds.
Actors..Well blame may actually be a bad word..but even first timers in big hits....(yes I know about Lucy's small career in acting in New Zealand and Renee's bit parts on a detective show and being on that weird sci-fi movie about a guy that has no face....but those are not HITS) will eventually learn about Hollywood. Renee more than Lucy. Its TV show business 101 that states..... You have a tv show that is pretty good...you are bought by stations who have advertisers buy time on your show. the better the show...the more advertisement......leading to more stations.....which goes to more ratings......which leads to more advertisements....yadda yadda. The reverse applies to Xena. Less viewers....less advertisement...less rankings and if it gets bad enough....less stations. less stations, less viewers. It comes down to less money. The stars themselves should of said something.....unless they wanted to call it quits anyway...which is fine if they have no intentions on making the A list in acting in Hollywood because with the exception of maybe Lucy doing some Broadway shows...they will fade into mainstream mediocrity doing guest shots on Matlock and Hollywood Squares.....maybe if they are lucky a shot on "Where are They Now". If I was any of them...(most importantly Mr Tapert) the show will go out as fantastic as it came in. Appealing to EVERYONE. So what's wrong with watching them walk off into the sunset side by side? Why do I have to know that they have been fooling around? It wasn't how the show was designed for...(Robert Tapert told me that himself so any one of your opinions on that is already wasted) ...and having the last words out of either characters mouth saying "Kiss me you nympho Amazon/Warrior Princess" is utterly foul.
Now we end with the one who ended it all. To hear that it was time to end the show is bogus IF it was still a number one hit. I bet your and my pay checks that if the ratings were still very high that you will see another season at least. Hercules and Xena have been the only super hits. Xena at one time was around half of what prime time hits like ER or Friends averages. For a syndicated show...that's pretty near perfect. But Mr Tapert gambled.....on several areas.....and lost. His MAIN fault though is not the "Rift" fiasco or even the "subtext" debate. I believe he did most damage by having all these fan writers write without ANY connection to the weeks before or the weeks after. So the plot never expanded past the ep that it was on....(granted with some few exceptions) There is no long term storyline to guide anymore. Big hits like when George Clooney left ER wasn't done in one day.......What? Did Clooney's character say in the middle of one ep........" D*mn it was fun...but I got to go. See ya!" No Did Chandler and Monica or Niles and Daphney just say......."Lets get married." and have it finished in one ep? No. To let things flow is TRUE writing. Letting so many different writers write so many different stories without a leader to connect them to a STORYLINE might as well be called "Xena's short stories" Shoot look at Voyager.....Theirs is to make it back home. Xena's WAS to find redemption for her past....funny thing though is that she never done the only thing that will redeem her.....ask forgiveness from the ones who she wronged. There was only ONE ep that she even remotely done that in.
In closing what I like to say is that....I don't know if anyone will read this at all much less be put up but for the ones who do read it understand that there was a time where everyone agreed that subtext or not, that the show should of been made to let our imaginations work out the details of what happened between eps and just to enjoy the stars kicking some butt and leaning a little about life along the way.
William a.k.a, Scott Bernard, XLBB (Xena Lesbian Boxer Boy), Bartender de facto of the Xena Pub.
From: Lee E. Reams
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Fri, 18 May 2001
As an ancient historian, I have a few points regarding the possible ethnic backgrounds of Xena and Gabrielle. Since Amphipolis was in Thrace, it is sometimes implied that Xena was herself a Thracian. On the one hand, Amphipolis was a Greek colony planted in Thrace, populated by Greek-speaking people who considered themselves to be Greek. On the other hand, the Thracians were commonly blue-eyed and red-haired. Xena not only has blue eyes but also, under certain lighting conditions, a reddish tinge to her otherwise black hair. Greeks, especially males, were less averse to taking non-Greek wives than they pretended. The Athenian historian Thucydides may have been of partially Thracian descent, for his father bore the same name as a Thracian king and his family owned silver mines in Thrace. Accordingly, it seems likely that Xena, though culturally a Greek, was actually of mixed Greek and Thracian descent. I do not believe that the name "Xena" has any importance in this matter, however. It can also mean "Guest," and that seems highly appropriate for an innkeeper's daughter.
As for Gabrielle, her name is apparently of Hebrew origin, but there is another possibility: the Hebrew language was very close to the Canaanite spoken by the Phoenicians. The Israelites described their own language as "the language of Canaan." Since the Phoenicians were great seafarers, and Poteidaia lay near the coast, it seems more likely that her name was ultimately of Phoenician origin. She is perhaps descended from a Phoenician trader who settled in Poteidaia and had a daughter named Gabrielle, after whom the Bard was named. The original Gabrielle may have been her grandmother or her grandmother's grandmother--it was common among Greeks to repeat names every other generation. A distant connection with a Phoenician (or an Israelite, for that matter) would explain why the Bard does not look like anyone of Ancient Near Eastern origin.
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001
Subject: Eve Spinoff Campaign
Please forgive me for not using my real name here, but I am known as "Gig", and I am the founder and builder of the Xenaverse Alliance website. The site is a home base for a campaign to launch a Xena spinoff, starring Adrienne Wilkinson as Eve. The Alliance is small, but quickly growing, as we have generated some favorable response from webmasters and board administrators, as well as individuals from various Xenite forums.
The site has a link to a petition which I have submitted, and some contact information for a write-in campaign. I am still looking for more contacts. It also contains links to those sites which have joined the cause, and I am hoping yours will soon be added. I plan on adding a message board, so people can voice their ideas and suggestions.
Table of Contents