Whoosh! Issue 13 - October 1997

A Whoosh! Fan Opinion
By Alfredo Sanchez
Copyright © 1997 held by author
937 words

Author's Note: I admit that the subject matter is a bit controversial, but I am not baiting or hoping to create dissent. This is my genuine opinion as a classically-trained writer of fiction. It is an expression of frustration that the genre of fantasy gets no recognition outside its own circles, and that honest, quality fantasy is not seen more often on broadcast television and in the movies.

Confessions of a Non-Believer

Lucy Lawless, Amazon Babe but pre-Xena.

[01] There was a time when I had never seen a complete episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Neither had I a clue about the homoerotic undertones that many fans relish. I had never seen The Kiss, nor The Grab. Yet, I became hooked.

[02] When Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was but in its infancy, I gave it a chance and turned to QVC after four minutes. I could not stand the campy humor, the modern language, the light-hearted nature of the show, nor Kevin Sorbo's strut. I figured Xena was the same.

[03] I ignored the weekly drumming of advertisements designed to entice me to watch. Sure, Lucy Lawless was beautiful, but so were all the silicon nymphets on Baywatch, and I would never be caught dead watching that (though I kind of like the intro...). So, I never watched Xena, never gave it a chance.

[04] I have no concept of whether or not Gabrielle is annoying, or Joxer is a waste of script material. I do not know much about the show's producers or writers. But I cannot wait until this Thursday at 9:00pm EST. You see, I saw the show last week for the first time. The episode was called THE XENA SCROLLS (#34). And I am hooked. Which is what is bothering me.

Classic literature -- literally!

[05] The reasons are simple. I was schooled in classical literature. My first experience with a novel was A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. I read Moby Dick by the time I was twelve. There are few of Shakespeare's works that I have not scrutinized and analyzed to death. In essence, I am a literary worm and I love it. In comparison, Xena fares quite poorly. The dialogue is weak, and the characters are paper thin. The concepts are questionable, and the plots are porous like a moist sponge. Renee O'Connor's delivery in THE XENA SCROLLS (#34) made me cringe. Ted Raimi's French accent harkened to images of similar B-movie 1940s Frenchies. Yet, I am hooked and it makes me angry that I am so addicted to a show with so many peculiarities and weaknesses.

[06] I know what many might be saying at this point: Why don't you just turn the channel? That is going through my mind, as well. But I love fantasy. Amongst my favorite movies is John Boorman's Excalibur, and Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe ranks tops amongst novels. As a kid, I loved the old Dungeons & Dragons Saturday morning cartoon. I have read everything by Feist, Weiss & Hickman, and many, many others. That is why I am inexorably drawn to Xena. There is nothing else on television in this genre. Not since the wonderful Showtime series Robin Hood: The Hooded Man.

[07] But my in ideal fantasy setting, everyone speaks with an English accent and in iambic pentameter. Well, maybe not, but I do expect a certain level of sobriety when swords and bloodshed are the earmarks of the show. I am not saying that a somber mood should pervade, I just wish that the plots were more mature.

[08] I wish that the character of Ares would get respect deserving of a god. I wish that Joxer's slapstick humor were replaced with something genuinely funny. I wish that the writers would take their skills to the next level. That the themes would have a deeper and richer meaning. That the characters would be given more regard.

[09] You are probably saying, 'Why do you not just write your own series, if you are so smart?' Ok, Ok. Credit is due to the makers of the show. That this forum exists for the discussion of all show-related minutiae speaks volumes to the creative talent and the hard efforts of the women and men that work on the show. Just run a search on Yahoo (or your favorite search engine) and a veritable mountain of web pages will be thrown onto your lap. Last I checked, there were over 150 Xena related web sites. The show's ratings are also a testament to the success of the producers of the show.

[10] I do no wish to diminish the exploits of the show, or its success (I would find it hard to do without a few tactical nuclear weapons), or to insult anyone in particular. I am a newbie to the Xena world, and I am a fan already. I have thus seen 1.75 total episodes, so my comments should be seen in this light.

[11] I just want more. I know that they can do better, and I would like to see that. I will write an episode or two, though I have not written a screenplay since college, and I will no doubt post them for everyone to criticize. I will try to contact the shows writers with my finished products. I will continue to watch. Impetuously switching away when it gets too campy, or Joxer tries to be clever, or when the dialogue drowns in a sea of cliches.

[12] You see, I am hooked.

Our gang.

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