Goodbye XENA , Goodbye Witchblade and Hello Alias
In September of 1995 an MCA Syndicated television program debuted in the U.S. called Xena, Warrior Princess. Xena, played by Lucy Lawless, has become the hottest thing on the air and on the Internet. There are mega links, 'zines, threads, discussions,lists, clubs, action figures, icons, articles, and Xena has a following that surpasses the fanomania days of Elvis or the Beatles.
This warrior princess has a following that runs the gamut from teeny boppers to savvy oldsters, from gay to straight, airheads to eggheads, males and females, and agnostics to biblical sychophants.
For those of you have been hiding in a black hole or blinded by a burning bush, Xena, Warrior Princess, was a high action show, with satrical and satorical humor that combines mythology with martial arts, garnishes it with special effects, and films it in front of the lush scenery of New Zealand.
And now Xena is no more - beheaded and begone the way of all shows that have run their course. The newest heroine on the scene was "Witchblade" - a Gothic, quasi-fantasy style show about a female police detective who is the heir apparent to amazing powers in the form of an oversized "Swiss Army Knife" that emanates from her bracelet.
© Warner Bros.
Yancy Butler played this part real, part mythical, heroine and did it quite well. The story lines were a tad gruesome, the motorcycle rides a bit long, but the "scissor-handed-swashbuckling" was fun to watch - and the softer side of the character was well done without being sappy. Of course the obligatory falling for a guy routine had to be included which is so typical of television plots. Witchblade had a lot of potential but it too has been cancelled - for reasons known only to TNT.
Still hanging in there is the new gal on the tube - Jennifer Garner in "Alias". This butt kicking gal spy , with more disguises than the Jackal, has landed with a bang. And even though she, too, has to have a male controller, and is a tad wimpy in her personal life, the show is "action-packed-excellent."
And why was Xena so successful? And why will Alias have a decent chance?
Because there are no heroines! Because the ties and flies that produce movies, plays and television have failed miserably in portraying any female, in any roles other than a "T and A" broad, or a dutiful wife, or a simpering damsel in distress, or the mistress between the mister and the mattress!
Gone are shows like "Charlie's Angels", "Policewoman", "Cagney and Lacey", or "The Bionic Woman"
Yet real women have saved lives, gone in to space, fought wars, invented, financed and designed everything from nuclear fission to radium, and from DNA to COBOL. Real women have overcome as many, if not more, obstacles and hardships than have men. Women pioneered, starved, reigned, battled, spied, strategized, and taught, doctored, nursed, reared families, started churches, and won political rights, yet few movies and television productions tell these stories.
And why they actually believe the television rating system is beyond me. It is about as effective as swatting a fly with a needle. Now they're all going bonkers over the nostalgia craze and we'll be up to our necks in old "has-beens" and "used-to-be" actors. Then there's the "hooked on reality" mentality that is on TV overload. What's next - an "in the bathroom series"? TP rolling and flushing races?Get the message - we don't want memory lane or survive a sink hole contaminating all of prime time. Give us good drama, sharp sit-coms, and stop the slop.
The moguls who run the male promulgated and dominated entertainment industry would be wise to take a lesson from Xena producers - Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi, R.J. Stewart, Steven Sears and Liz Friedman, among others - and learn why Xena was such a collossal hit.
The women out there, who control votes, finances, and public opinion, should demand that the lives and legends of the real women of the world be portrayed as well as the mythical women on television.
In case you haven't noticed there isn't one program on television where a woman is in charge, where a woman is the lead, or where a woman solves the crime, catches the bad guys or saves the universe. And will someone please tell me why "Law and Order, Trial by Jury" is getting the axe? Please - not the ratings nonsense - the so-called age group that spends isn't even home on Friday night!!! And frankly those of us who are past that age group spend more time than they do watching TV and more money on the featured products. The ratings system is as out of touch or out of date as eight tracks and cracker jack. Thank you satellite dishes and TiVo for at least giving us some relief from network nebulousness!!!
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