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A (Semi-) Defense Of Ulysses
Ways to Improve Whoosh!
A (Semi-) Defense Of Ulysses
From: Andrew Shaughnessy
Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 3:56 AM
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Having read Lee Reams' article A (SEMI-) DEFENSE OF ULYSSES in Issue 68, I agree that while it wasn't a great episode it certainly didn't deserve to be voted one of the all-time worst.
Lee hits the nail on the head in citing the miscasting of John D'Aquino as the main flaw. Also correct is the assertion that Charles Mesure would have been a much better choice, especially if you remember his performance in THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN. I didn't have a problem with Ulysses needing Xena's help to string his bow, bearing in mind his shoulder wound, but that same injury should have prevented him actually using such a powerful weapon.
ULYSSES, in my opinion, cried out for the two-part story treatment. Another forty minutes would have given time for more encounters with mythical opponents (Circe the Sorceress springs to mind) and greater character development for Ulysses, as well as allowing his relationship with Xena to progress in a more convincing manner. In short, I view this episode as more of a missed opportunity than an outright disaster.
From: Lee Reams
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 7:28 PM
Subject: Re (Semi-) Defense of Ulysses--Author's Mea Culpa, and a bit more
An alert Xenafan from the UK named Sarah spotted a Joxer-like error in my article in the May issue of Whoosh!, "A (Semi-) Defense of ULYSSES." I suggested that Charles Mesure would have made a much better Ulysses and said "but we had to wait until THE DIRTY HALF-DOZEN in Season Three to see him." In fact, we only had to wait another week, since Mesure appeared as Mercer in THE PRICE, the very next episode telecast. This is doubly embarrassing mistake because in the January issue I had proclaimed THE PRICE to be not only my favorite episode but also the all-time best episode of the series. What can I say? Perhaps a lack of new Xena episodes has rotted my brain. In reality, Mesure was much more impressive in THE DIRTY HALF-DOZEN, having a considerably juicer role, than in THE PRICE, and that's why that episode sprang to mind.
Two other points. First, one e-correspondent felt that I was too harsh on John D'Aquino's portrayal of Ulysses. The problem is, that we have the testimony of none other than Lucy Lawless on this issue. As quoted in Robert Weisbrot's Xena: Warrior Princess: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse (p. 218), she noted: "'The actor who played Ulysses was somewhat miscast.'" One suspects that this is Lucyspeak for "very badly miscast". Second, an unorthodox theory (proposed in 1897 by Samuel Butler, an English novelist, and endorsed by Robert Graves and George Bernard Shaw) holds that the real author of The Odyssey was not Homer but rather a young woman who knew very little about ships. If so, doesn't that description sound a lot like a certain prone-to-seasickness female bard from Poteidaia to you?
From: Amber Coakley
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 10:41 PM
Subject: response to whoosh/may editor's page
I just read your article in May's Whoosh editor's page. I found myself wanting to jump up and down, waving my hands in the air, to say that I am a new fan and yes, investing lots of time watching all of the episodes from the beginning, in order. I already know (in general) how it ends, and that does not deter me! I love Xena: Warrior Princess - the good and the not-so good. I will probably make it to the end around the time of the 1 year anniversary of the final episode. I'll know better then how FRIEND IN NEED affects me, but I already know this: it won't change my love of the show and won't keep me from going straight back to the first episode and going through it again! And hoping some day there may be a movie. But I'm still grateful for the gift that was Xena: Warrior Princess if that never happens.
You sounded a bit downtrodden in your article. I am sure there are many more like me and that Xena fandom will remain strong in the years to come. Xena is now a permanent part of me, as it must be for many, many others!
Hang in there!
From: Mary Lee Richeson
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 9:52 AM
Subject: The state of the Xena fans
I am a steadfast Xena fan who has bought all the tapes, pictures, shirts, etc and been to as many conventions as possible. I am hard core Xena. When the finale occurred, it just crushed me. I have been in varying degrees of depression ever since--much better after discovering subtext virtual Xena Season 7 recently. OK, maybe that is somewhat extreme to feel that way. But the hard part was the murder of Xena with no hope of resurrection. I am to this day a devoted fan of Xena and Gabrielle. I would love to see either one of them come back any way they can--and soon. Xena has vast fans. Just wear a Xena shirt or her jacket in public--grocerery stores, where ever, and fans come out of the woodwork. The shows popularity is very positive. Why would Rob Tapert kill his golden program just to satisfy his own sense of "what is right".
I would say the state of the fans is expectant. Many expect Xema to come back to us (again) and I hope to Hades she does. The writers are capable and talented and can do this. The stars are at their prime--they can do anything.
And this time, make them lovers. Of course they are. But what a story to unfold, it would be bold and brave and wonderful.
I am an atypical fan--77 years old retired university professor. Don"t take too long.
New Haven, Indiana
Sent: May 10, 2002
Subject: Letter to the editor
First and foremost, please allow me to make a contribution to the support of the Whoosh website as I have supped deeply of its waters and have laughed aloud and felt tears well up and my throat tighten as I have perused the writings of those who have taken to heart a greater meaning and purpose from the series known as Xena: Warrior Princess. (I confess it has taken several months to get that right; my infuriated daughters will tell you I called her the Princess Warrior until they were ready to have me shot at sunrise.)
This is my second correspondence with you, as I had emailed you late fall/early winter asking for a source for out-take videos and had wondered why the Kiwi cast was expected to use midwestern accents. Your prompt response was appreciated and underscored your maxim of "living to serve".
Since your publication has asked for a report on the state of fandom, I would like to share my experience. I reiterate to you what I had stated in that email, that I backed into the series, during my recovery from a neurological malady that simply forced me into the role of couch (bed) potato, by seeing the director's cut of the series finale, "A Friend in Need". My earlier exposure to Xena had been to periodically spend several disinterested minutes with my children as they watched it on Saturdays and all I recall of that was thinking there were way too many fight scenes and how much I hated that bloody battle trill of hers. Both those impressions remain unchanged.
Please bear in mind my experience as a viewer turned fan has come in the very intensive and condensed time period of just about a half year. Seeing the series finale first has definitely colored the way I have been able to synthesize the character developments, knowing, from the beginning, then end. And Xena everyday, seven days a week, is a lot of work. Six years of work in six months of viewing is nearly fatal. It is a very demanding series on the viewer, not unlike most relationships in life prove to be.
The finale in and of itself was a good story. I had all the emotionally appropriate responses a casual observer would be expected to have. But acquiring the background about these two women and watching a strong and supportive friendship build to crescendo and suddenly cease has left me unwilling at this point to revisit the tragedy, and feel the loss as it was meant to be felt.
I have loved Gabrielle from the beginning, acknowledging that her annoyance factor was probably calculated, but her willingness to dare, simple dare, to take on each experience as it came along, with no absolutes or guarantees, is what allowed me to develop a genuine fondness for the youngster that ultimately became the heroine. Granted, sometimes she needed convincing or prodding, but I don't recall any time she utterly failed to bring something of value out of each situation, even if it was a recognition of her own limitations or shortcomings. The writers really allowed her to become.
Arrgh, then there is Xena. God Almighty, she was infuriating. And truly a woman of many skills. Is it safe to acknowledge that there were times I hated her? (again, I beg your indulgence as I remind you I have had six months to digest the whole series, missing perhaps a half dozen episodes in total.) I truly relate to her on several levels, having buried a brother and a child, acted out a raging spirit, endured crushing betrayal, but these are common human experiences, and while they offer explanations for misdeeds, they are never an excuse. I hated her in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE, THE PRICE, and a few others where her savagery was painful to explore. I can never believe that violence is the way to peace, and I am heartened by the fact that this was acknowledged in the course of the series and the unfolding of characters and relationships, even if there were way too many fight scenes, lasting way too long.
I heartily concur with the camp who acquiesce to TPTB [the powers that be] that the underlying and actually overlaying theme of the series was Xena's quest to find a way to peace about the choices she had made. She openly acknowledged her culpability in the crimes she committed against humanity, she recognized her debt and choose to pay it upfront and in full. Good on you, mate. "For he who has died is acquitted of sin". Romans 6:7. The great sadness about Xena's death is Gabrielle's continuing on alone. IMHO (in my humble opinion], a greater sadness would have been a betrayal of their hearts as they sought to champion the greater good, however one chooses to define it. That would have tainted everything that would have come after.
So many more characters from the series were amazing, but I'll leave that elucidation to those more practiced in the art of critical review.
Just so you know. I have come to live the series and its characters, I have mourned the loss of Kevin Smith, and I hope to become more savvy in my computer skills to understand more fully the trauma you've been through with your wonderful and wondrous website, trying to find servers or some such necessary whatever it was. I did acquire the "blooper" videos and enjoy watching them with the younger two of my four children, or even by myself because they are hilarious.
I got my husband to accompany me on a month long trip to New Zealand, inspired by the awesome scenery in the series. It is so much more amazing than even the wonderful camera work can relay.
Thanks Kym, and all your staff, for the great amount of unsung work you do for the rest of the fans. I hope you do get the recognition you deserve through the genre awards or the web or whatever else is out there to acknowledge the level of professionalism you so willingly share. Good on you, too, mate.
From: Sara Ellis
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 5:50 AM
Subject: Letter from Japan
This is a belated response to the last episodes of Xena. As a ten year resident of Japan, I was pretty thrilled that what was once my favorite show would end there. Goddess! Was I wrong!
Let me just say that the last episode of Xena wasn't just a lame ending but a pretty awful and downright tacky interpretation of Japan. First of all, Mr. Tapert, your little visual reference to the A-bomb will not go appreciated by many Japanese people. I know for a fact that my Japanese partner didn't appreciate it, and what a lousy interpretation of Xena. She's hitting these folks with the "genbaku(nuclear bomb)". Greaaaaat one Mr. Tapert! You really show a lot of knowledge of the country you're portraying.
Oh and Gabrielle's pronunciation of "Higuchi" as "Hi Gucci!". What?! Was she shopping?!
Also, the idiotic portrayal of the pious monks. Let's just say that Japanese monks have always been party animals, not pious asexual stereotypes as the Xena writers choose to portray them.
All I have to say to the writers is...TRAVEL some guys! This was one h-ll of a shoddy product! Any audience who watches Japanese anime is going to realize that this is bull, your audiences in Japan and America are far more sophisticated than you thought.
Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 7:00 PM
Subject: A Friend Indeed
I'm on the road a lot (in a hotel now, listening to the CD music of the very end of A FRIEND IN NEED). I had time to do a bit of surfing, so tried out some of the old Xena links on my laptop. Most didn't work anymore or led to sites that haven't been updated in ages. And then there was Whoosh! Good ol' Whoosh! Not only alive and kicking, but still fresh despite the demise of the show that started it all. I can't tell you how comforting it is to still have Whoosh! To be able to catch up on some things I missed. To remember fondly why Xena: Warrior Princess became such a huge part of my life. Thanks for keeping on keeping on, with the same level of professionalism and caring. Mostly, thanks for just being there when I need a little inspiration.
a fan who will always love XWP, "good" side and "bad"
Ways to Improve Whoosh!
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 5:52 PM
Subject: A New Column, Perhaps?
I was browsing around WHOOSH! today, and thought of an idea for a column or section.
You see, I am an enthusiastic Xena fan (it's kinda like those old Dial commercials -- "Don't you wish everyone was a Xena fan?"). When the show was in its glory days, I would check your site almost daily to learn of any updates about the show, the stars, the storyline, etc. And still today there are updates about the show and the story. New commentaries and articles always show up. However, there is nothing about the stars of the show.
After following the friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) faces that brought so much drama, laughter, and fun to my life everyday, I now have somewhat of a void in my life. The show's ending shouldn't have brought along the destruction of our remote-control relationships with the actors as well. How am I to know what Renee is up to these days? How about Ted? Bruce? Claire? Jay's role in "Star Wars, Episode II?" And where the h-ll, exactly, was Lucy's cameo in "Spider-man?"
I feel that a section devoted to the current activities of the actors of Xena, Warrior Princess would bring some joy and enthusiasm into the hearts of many readers.
What a great idea! And a perfect job for...LAURA SUE DEAN. However, Ms. Dean is currently deep undercover and has not been heard from in a long time. HOWEVER, if any of our reading public has an urge to write their own "What Are They Doing Now" column for Whoosh, we can revitalize the News Gossip Rumors area just for them!
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 2:48 AM
Subject: eVe - Virtual Xena Spin-Off
Some of you already know about the eVe Virtual Series, since it's been online for a little over a year now. But the crew of eVe has decided to star the whole thing over again, so we are now working on a brand-new first season. We would like to get the word out about eVe and hopefully gain a larger audience this time around. For those who are completely unfamiliar with the series, eVe is about Xena's daughter Eve fighting evil in Los Angeles in present day.
If any of you are writers or artists, we are really looking for more staff members for this series!
If you're still confused about what eVe is, it is very similar to the Xena Warrior Princess Virtual Season, only this is a spin-off and is a whole Virtual Series and not a Virtual Season. We'll be airing the pilot episode in September, so if you would like to read it drop by the site. Drop by anyway, just to see our progress.
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