Writings from the Netherworld Known as the 818 Area Code

These articals were written for the Intergalactic Enquierer for the Time Meddlers of Los Angeles, unless otherwise noted.


Shades of Gray-An examination of some of Sceince Fiction Television's more shady characters
Fandom Gives Back-A look at some of the good deeds of fandom
Interview with a Barfly-An interview with Mark Allan Shepeherd, Deep Space 9's Morn
Couples-A look at romance in the Science Fiction Television Universe
The Claddagh-Angel gave Buffy a Claddagh for her 17th birthday, this artical tells the true history and symbolism of the ring.
The Origins of Valentines Day
The Wild Outer Rim-A look at Firefly as a Western
Buffy Vs. Buffy-A Comparison of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer of film and television
"The Living Doll" to "Chinga"-A Comparison to the murdering dolls in the wilight Zone and The X-Files
Oh Jonathan-A review of a book from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, "Superstar" This was written for our April Fools Edition By Jacques Stinkeeweed

Shades of Gray

In most science fiction series, you know who the heroes are, Mulder and Scully, Buffy Summers, Hercules, Xena, and the list goes on. You usually know who the bad guys are, The Master (both Masters, from Doctor Who and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer), the Borg, Supreme commander Servalan/Commander Slir, Baltar etc. Then there are those reoccurring characters that fall into that gray area somewhere between good and evil. When they are first introduced they seem to be the enemy to the hero, but as you get to know them, and discover their motives, you find that they are not wholly evil and sometimes even have redeeming qualities. They may never be totally trusted by the hero, but it is always interesting when they show up, or they make a nice contrast to the hero. This is an examination of some of those characters.

Q (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager -Played by John de Lancie): Q is an omniscient being, who first appeared in the premiere episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation “Encounter at Farpoint”. In this episode he put Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise on trial for crimes against humanity. Q appeared in several other Next Gen Episodes, as well as one Deep Space 9 episode and two Voyager Episodes. He seemed to enjoy dropping a bomb, then stepping back to watch the results. Perhaps out of boredom (a result of being able to do anything at anytime and get anything he wanted.) He liked to play with the Enterprise crew and seemed fascinated by the human responses. He could also have been lonely, to the point where he wanted Captain Janeway for his mate. John de Lancie describes him as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. Mostly he was just plain mischievous and never really wished harm to anyone, so it was always fun when he showed up.

Ares God of War (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess- Played by Kevin Smith): Ares is Hercules’s half brother, and he did some really mean things to poor Herc. He never understood Hercules’s attachment to mortals, and wanted Herc to embrace his inner god. Much like Q, he felt mortals were there for him to play with. But, like his father before him, he fell for one…Xena to be exact and in the end gave up his godhood to save her. It should also be noted that in the alternate universe, Ares was the god of love.

Lucian Lacroix (Forever Knight-Played by Nigel Bennett): Lacroix was responsible for turning Nick into a vampire, so naturally he doesn’t understand Nick’s search for his humanity and redemption. He does care for his “son”; sometimes he just has a funny way of showing it. He really just wants Nick to embrace his inner vampire as he has. He looks at immortality as a gift not a curse. Lacroix was a Roman General in his mortal life and was made a vampire by his daughter during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but he later killed her because she was pure evil. Like Ares and Q, he sees himself as superior to mere mortals.

Spike (Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Angel: The Series-Played by James Marsters): Spike is another vampire who, like Lacroix, enjoys his immortality and feels himself superior to mortals. He first showed up in the third episode of the second season of Buffy, and claimed Sunnydale as his own territory, killing the “Annoying” (Anointed) One. (And there was much rejoicing) He was a regular for the rest of the second season, wreaked havoc upon Sunnydale and left at the end after cutting a deal with Buffy and promising never to return to Sunnydale. Of course he didn’t keep his promise and returned after having his heart broken by Dru. In the fourth season, he once again returned to Sunnydale this time to find the Gem of Amara, which renders the vampire wearer invincible. Buffy got it away from him but he followed Oz to LA to get it away from Angel. He failed, returned to Sunnydale and was captured by the Initiative, who put a chip in his head that prevented him from harming humans (Though he could still hurt demons). Upon his escape he found himself relying on the Scooby Gang and sometimes even helped them in their crusades. He was referred to as William the Bloody, which was once thought to be because he enjoyed torturing his victims with railroad spikes, but it has recently been revealed that that name was given to him in his mortal life, because of his “Bloody awful” poetry. His biting sarcasm and insightfulness has made him a fan favorite.

Lindsey McDonald(Angel: The Series-Played by Christian Kane): “You sold your soul for a fifth floor office and a company car.” This is how Angel once described Lindsey McDonald, who is the youngest lawyer to make junior partner at the powerful law firm of Wolfram and Hart. Angel has ruined several of Lindsey’s cases and even killed his clients. Angel is also responsible for cutting off his hand, so it’s no wonder Lindsey doesn’t like Angel very much, though near the end of season one when Lindsey wanted out of Wolfram and Hart, he turned to Angel for help. Angel never totally trusted him and in the end, though his motives may have been pure, he was lured back into the firm with an offer he couldn’t refuse. This season, we have seen that Lindsey does in fact have a heart. He cares for Darla and it seems he would sacrifice his career for her.

Alex Krycek (The X-Files-Played by Nicholas Lea): Krycek originally showed up on the series as a replacement partner for Mulder when the X-Files were closed, but it was soon revealed that he was really working for the Cigarette Smoking Man. When Mulder figured out what was up, Krycek quickly disappeared. He returned later assisting CSM in his dirty work, but when CSM tried to tie up all the loose ends with an attempt on Krycek’s life, he disappeared again. He appeared again to be selling government secrets to the highest bidder and ended up being locked in a missile silo (Perhaps knowingly by CSM). The next time we see him, he wants to help Mulder catch the bad guys. Mulder is reluctant; he believes Krycek is responsible for killing his father and a bunch of other mean nasty ugly things. Lea once described his character as “The guy you love to hate”, and Mulder seems to really hate him. Mulder and Krycek end up in the former Soviet Union, were Krycek loses his left arm. He returns to the US with a cure for the “black Cancer”, which he wants to use to cut a deal with the consortium, but he is betrayed by Marita Covarubius. The next time we see him, he seems to be working with the consortium again, but is he? He once again drops helpful hints to Mulder. At the end of last season we learn the CSM had poor Krycek locked up in Turkish prison then after a year, has him released to help him find a spaceship that crashed in Oregon. Krycek ends up helping Mulder and pushing CSM down the stairs, allegedly killing him. We never really know what he is up to or who he is working for. Sometimes he seems to truly want to get back at the same people Mulder wants to get to, other times he seems to be working with them. Sometimes it seems he wants to save the world, and sometimes he seems only after his best interests. Whatever he is up to, something interesting is always revealed when he shows up.

Cigarette Smoking Man (The X-Files-Played by William B. Davis): The sinister man behind the smoke, Cigarette Smoking Man, Cancer Man, Smokey, CGB Spender or whatever you want to call him, has always been there as a true power in the consortium. He’s responsible for a lot of really bad things, but he believes they are for the good of the Country (from the assassination of a President to cutting deals with alien forces) and ultimately humanity. Though he often thwarts the efforts of Mulder’s investigations, he does seem to care about Mulder. He told Diana Fowley that Mulder was his son and he once said he would never let Scully die.

Alfred Bester (Babylon 5-Played by Walter Koenig): Bester is a Psi Cop, who first showed up on Babylon 5 during the first season trying to catch a rogue telepath. The commanding officers of the Space Station always have a great distrust for the Psi Corps and work very hard against Bester every time he shows up on the station. Though Bester opposes the Shadows and President Clark, as do the folks on B5, he has a different way of dealing with things. He also altered Garibaldi’s mind for his own purposes. He ended up helping Lockley when things went bad on the station with a group of Rogue telepaths. (Much to the chagrin of Sheridan) Bester is loyal to the Psi Corps. He believes that telepaths are superior to “mundanes” and will do anything to for them.

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Fandom Gives Back (Sept 2002)

Fandom is more than just a bunch of odd people running around in funny clothing wearing long scarves and rattling off all the Doctor’s companions in order. Fandom can go beyond Doctor Who. It is the thing that we have in common that brings us together, but it can go beyond that.

One way is through raising money for charities. Whenever you have a large group of people gathered in one place, it’s and opportunity or raise money for a good cause. Most conventions have a charity auction. This year, Gallifrey 13 raised $3232 for the Red Cross; this highest item was a color print of the program book signed by the guests of the convention. That went for $225. Other big-ticket items were TARDIS plans, the original art for the convention t-shirt and a superman poster. The previous year $3048 was raised for Bonnie Langford’s favorite charity, the Cornela de Lang Syndrome Foundation. Stars of Doctor Who have used their celebrity to raise money for their favorite charities. Langford is the perfect example, as she performs concerts to raise money for the foundation.

Of course, not everyone has money to give, however there are other things fans have done. Three years ago Gallifrey collected ponytails for Locks for Love, and organization that makes wigs for children on chemotherapy. Other conventions have had canned food drives, raffles, book drives; toy drives and even made blanket for Project Linus.

Another outlet for raising money is compilation books by professional writers as well as fans. Missing Pieces raised money for Downs Syndrome Association (Peter Davidson’s charity of choice) and Foundation for the Study of Infant Death Syndrome (Colin Baker’s charity of choice). LifeDeath raised money for Amnesty International.

Something else that is often overlooked in fandom is the friendships, extended family, and sometimes even romance that emerge when you meet people with one common interest and you find that you might even have more. There is often an unconditional acceptance among Doctor Who fans. George Williams put it best when he answered the question in his Meddler spotlight “What is your favorite thing about the club?” he answered, “My fellow members treating well, despite how I look.” Well George, you look just fine and we love you. Personally I have made many friends through Doctor Who fandom and I wasn’t even Doctor Who fan to start. It was fun for the fans to share the program with me, and now I am one of them. And who knows maybe you’ll meet your Rizzo.

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Interview with a Barfly (May 1998)

Not much is known about Morn. He sits in Quarks, and though he has never spoken on camera, we know he does speak to the residence of Deep Space 9. Through them, we get a bit of insight into the character. The episode “Who Mourns for Morn” told us more than we have ever known…and how important he is to Quark’s business. (Quark created a hologram of him to sit in the bar while Morn was away, because people expect him to be there.) Recently I got a chance to talk to him…er Mark Shepherd, the actor who plays Morn.

How does morn pay his tab?
In “Who Mourns for Morn” he gave Quark a piece of latinum, which was hidden in his second stomach. I don’t think that’s how he always pays though.

What does he do when he’s not at Quarks?
He’s an intergalactic merchant. That’s where the beets that were in the cargo bay in “Who Mourns for Morn” came from.”

What is his interest in 20th century earth art?
(In one episode he bought a tacky velvet painting, which we see again hanging in his quarters in “Who Mourns for Morn.”) Maybe he’s a connoisseur, or maybe he bought it to have something to put on the wall and thought it would be good enough…or maybe he has bad taste.

What did you do on your date with Dax?
He asked her, but she turned him down. She told Worf he wasn’t really interested.

Where are your siblings and what to they do?
Morn has 17 siblings, mark has no idea what they do.

What did Morn get Dax and Worf for their wedding
That’s a tough one, what would you get them?

Mark adds , “we are finding out new stuff about Morn all the Time, but I don’t want to know too much, to give him room to grow. We may get more down the road. I don’t know what’s going to happen until I get to work.”

Mark has been an actor most of his life. He does painting, and mixed media most recently on the computer with an animator. He has a band who does live action with the animation. He describes his art as abstract, energy driven, with natural patterns and elements of quantum theory, and very cerebral. He has been doing painting, mixed with photo mosaics using pictures he has taken over the past 20 years. Some of his work can be viewed at his website.

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Couples

Star Trek: Voyager:
Kes and Neelix- Kes and Neelix were together when Voyager ended up on Kes’s home planet at the beginning of the series. Neelix, a scavenger by trade, saw Voyager as a good opportunity to travel the galaxy and Kes chooses to leave her Occmpan family behind and go with him. Neelix went through some difficulty accepting the fact that the Occampa only had a 9-year lifespan, but they decided to make the best of the time they had together. Eventually, Kes feels the need for a change and breaks it off with Neelix. After a traumatic connection with an alien being, she develops a psychic ability and super evolves out of Voyager’s time and space. Neelix has never had another lover.
B’lanna Torres and Tom Paris: Tom was a ladies man right from the start. He was always trying to get a date with one of the Deleny twins or any other woman. It seems natural that it would take a half Klingon to tame his roaming eye. It also took a near death experience for he and B’lanna to admit their feelings for each other. At first they kept their relationship secret, but hormones got the best of them and they got found out. Theirs was an extremely rocky relationship, both being very stubborn. But eventually they worked things out, and were married. She is currently pregnant with his child.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer:
Buffy Summers and Angel- A Vampire Slayer and a vampire with a soul are the most unlikely couple. From an outsider’s point of view, it would seem they have very little in common. Taking a closer look, they seem to be destined for each other, both possessing superhuman strength and the commitment to rid the earth of evil. As their love grew for each other, the inevitable happened. Unfortunately one moment of true happiness would break Angel’s curse and he would lose his soul. On Buffy’s 17th birthday he got that moment as they made love in his bed. The curse was broken and Angel became the evil Angelus. Willow was able to put the spell back on Angel, but not before Buffy had to send him to hell to stop the end of the world. When Angel came back from hell, it was obvious Buffy still loved him. But they learned their lesson and knew they could never be truly together. As it became obvious that being near each without close contact was too difficult, Angel decided to leave Sunnydale after graduation day and the rise of the mayor turned demon. Though there will always be a place in her heart for Angel, Buffy was made to realize that they could never be together and she was free to love another.
Buffy Sumers and Riley Finn- At first it seemed the intellectual grad student was going to end up with Willow. Eventually he ended up hanging out with Buffy. They each had a secret they kept from each other, but then it turned out they both seemed to be working for the same cause, using different methods. Though she is much stronger, Riley has unknowingly been given drugs to give him the muscle to compete with the slayer’s superhuman powers. When it was discovered that the Initiative was up to no good, Riley sided with Buffy. After all was said and done, he lost his super strength. Feeling inadequate for a slayer, he eventually left her for his old military friends. It wasn’t until it was too late, that Buffy realized what she was losing.
Willow Rosenberg and Daniel “Oz” Osbourne-From the stage, Oz admired Willow from afar. They finally met when they both scored high in a career test and their relationship carried on from there. They cared about each other so much, that their love lasted through Oz becoming a werewolf and an indiscretion between Willow and her best friend since childhood, Xander Harris. But when Oz started to get in touch with his animal side, for fear of hurting Willow, he left Sunnydale. Willow was devastated. When Oz returned, she had found someone new.
Willow Rosenberg and Tara-Willow met Tara in a Wicca group at The University of Sunnydale. They shared a common bond in their practice of witchcraft and started working on spells together. When Oz returned it became clear to Willow that her feelings for Tara had gone beyond friendship. It’s taken Tara a while to be accepted into the “Scooby Gang”, but she has become an important part of the team and of Willow’s life. These two are clearly the mushiest couple in genre TV.
Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase- They say opposites attract and that is exactly what happened here. Cordelia was part of the “in” crowd, and Xander clearly was not. But fate threw them together and push came to shove and somehow they went from fighting to kissing. They hid their feelings from everyone for a while, mostly because neither of them wanted to admit it even to each other. Eventually they were seen together in public. But when they thought they were going to die together, Cordy and Oz caught Willow and Xander in a lip lock. Cordy was never able to forgive Xander and after that took every opportunity to put him down.
Xander Harris and Anya Emerson-Ironically Xander ended up with the demon Cordy called upon to seek revenge for breaking her heart. When Anya’s Amulet was destroyed she lost her demon powers and was stuck in the present time. Somehow she became attracted to Xander and asked him out. They went to the prom together, but she abandoned him when the end of Sunnydale seemed imminent. (On Graduation Day.) She returned to town because she missed Xander. It seemed like a mostly sexual relationship, but when Buffy lost Riley, Xander realized that it was more than that, and told her so.
Spike and Drusilla-Spike and Drusilla were together for over 200 years. She was terrorizing a town with Angel and Darla when she first saw young William and decided she wanted him for herself. The four of them traveled together wreaking havoc across the land. Dru was so proud of Spike when he killed his first slayer. Dru and Spike stayed together and eventually came to Sunnydale. Dru had been driven insane when Angel killed her entire family before making her a vampire and Spike was determined to cure her. The two caused many problems for the residents of Sunnydale and when Angel lost his soul the three of them were nothing but trouble. But when it seemed to Spike that Dru was more interested in Angelus that him, he aligned himself with the Slayer, promising Buffy help in saving the world in exchange for her letting him and Dru leave town together, never to return. But after they left Sunnydale and Dru was cured, she felt Spike had gone soft and left him for a Chaos demon. Spike was devastated and returned to Sunnydale where he tried to get Willow to perform a spell to make Dru love him again. It didn’t work, but he left happy when everyone else’s relationships seemed to be destroyed.

Roswell:
Liz Parker and Max Evans- These two seemed to be destined for each other right from the start. Liz is shot in the restaurant where she worked and Max risked everything to save her life. His selfless act in the heat of the moment gave his deepest secret away to her. Their relationship, like that of most normal teenagers, had its ups and downs, with a twist. Max’s alien side gave the passion an intensity that no human could give to her. But at the end of last season it was discovered that in their former alien lives, Max and Tess were lovers and they were meant to be together in this one. But those who created the human alien hybrids did not anticipate the effect of the human side of them. Liz fought not to be with Max, but it was very difficult. Finally a future Max made Liz push his younger self away from her to save the world. (It was important at that moment that Tess not leave Roswell and if Max and Liz were together, she would.) Now that Tess is in Roswell to stay, things are getting better between Liz and Max again. Will they stay together, who knows; they are teenagers after all.
Maria Deluca and Michael Guerin: Michael is the most unromantic teenager/alien, yet Maria is somehow attracted to the quiet rebellious type. He clearly cares about her, but has a difficult time expressing it, while Maria has very high expectations of what a boyfriend should and shouldn’t be. They keep getting thrown together and when they do, sparks fly. It’s a rocky relationship at best, but they are great when they are working together for a common cause. Like Max, Michael is supposed to be with someone else, Isabel, but there doesn’t seem to be anything real between him and her in this life. Michael and Maria have some kind of chemistry together that cannot be put into words.

Highlander: The Series:
Duncan MacCleod and Tessa NoelIt was clear from the beginning of the series that Duncan loved Tessa more than anything. They met in Paris where Tessa was a tour guide on a boat on the Seine. She moved to Seacover with him, but when a career opportunity that could not be passed up called her back to Paris, Duncan went with her. Their relationship seemed unbreakable, though at times Tessa did have difficulty dealing with the fact that someday Duncan could lose his head to another immoratal. She also thought about growing old with him, but knew he would never grow old, or be able to give her children. They finally decided to get married anyway, but fate would not allow it and Tessa was tragically killed by a mugger after Duncan had rescued her from a wicked immortal.

Lois and Clark:
Clark Kent and Lois Lane-Though Clark first met Lois as Clark, Superman was always coming to her rescue. He was immediately attracted to her, but sat on his crush for a year and a half before he asked her out. Secret identities can really put a strain on a relationship. They got along just fine, except when Clark was always running off and not telling her what he was doing. After about six months of dating he finally had to reveal the truth. In the third season they were married and were very happy together, despite all the wackiness in their lives.(Source: Rainy Smyth)

Beauty and the Beast:
Catherine Chandler and Vincent- Vincent found Catherine left for dead in Central Park. He cared for her and nursed her back to health. All the time, she had bandages on her face and could not see him. They developed a tight bond that was not broken when his true face was revealed. As Catherine was given the chance to know and love what inside and she accepted him as he was almost immediately. He was always helping her and she hid him from the real world who would look at him as a monster, though she knew differently. When he was sick, she comforted him and they made love, but he did not remember and Catherine decided not to tell him. But on her deathbed she told him of their child. When she died, Vincent was devastated. (Source: Rainy Smyth)

For more relationships visit the following:
Science Fiction Soulmates

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The Claddagh

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel gave Buffy a Claddagh for her 17th birthday, and it has become a symbol of their relationship since then. Angel described it briefly, but what does it really mean? The phase often associated with the ring is, "in love and friendship reign". The heart symbolizes love, the hands holding the heart symbolize friendship, and the crown symbolizes loyalty. The ring should be gift, and it is considered bad luck if it is not. If worn on the right hand, with the tip of the heart facing toward the fingertips (outward), the wearer is "available". If worn on the right hand with the tip of the heart facing inward, it means you are "attached". If it is worn as a wedding ring it should be on the left hand with the heart facing inward.
There are many stories of the origin of the ring, but the most commonly accepted was that over 300 years ago, Richard Joyce from a small fishing village off the west coast of Ireland, called Claddagh, was captured and sold into slavery. He learned skills from a goldsmith, and eventually returned to Claddagh and created the ring.

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The Origins of Valentines Day

Feb 14 is celebrated as another day were the guys get scolded for forgetting to get flowers or chocolates for their loved one and children hand out little card to their classmates and eat cookies. That’s the commercialized version of Valentine’s Day, but who was St. Valentine anyway and what makes it a day to celebrate love?
In ancient Rome Feb. 14 was a holiday in honor of Juno, Queen of the gods and goddess. She was also the goddess of women and marriage. Feb 15 began the feast of Lupercalia, I preparation fro this feast, boys and girls put their names in a jar and they are drawn to be partners during the feast. The pairing would often go one for years and some even ended in marriage.
Claudius II was known for many bloody and unpopular campaigns. As a result, he had trouble recruiting men for his army. Believing the problem was that men didn’t want to leave their lovers, he banned all engagements and marriages. Valentine, along with Maruis, both priests in the temple, known for helping Christian martyrs in prison, secretly performed marriage ceremonies. When the emperor discovered what Valentine was doing, Claudius had him beaten and beheaded on Feb. 14 270 ad. Rumor has it that he left a note to the jailor’s daughter with whom he had become friends with and signed it: From your Valentine.
In 496, Pope Gelasius made Feb 14th the feast day for St. Valentine; who later became the patron saint of lovers. Eventually the date became a day for lovers to exchange gifts and flowers; balls and other gatherings were often held that day. In the 1800’s Valentine’s Day began to become more commercialized and morphed into the capitalistic beast it is today.
So what about the fat kid with the bow and arrow? Cupid, the Roman God of love…We can’t hide from our pagan past.

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The Wild Outer Rim


Originally published in Intergalactic Enquirer then given a face lift for Raspberry World

“If you’re not watching cows in space, you’re watching the wrong show.” ¬ Nathan Fillion, Firefly online teaser

“Space, the Final Frontier”, is not an unfamiliar phrase, but Joss Whedon takes the idea more literally, than any other Science fiction program in his cult program Firefly.

The basic premise of the program is that after Earth was used up, people began drifting to outer planets and making new settlement with the most primitive technologies. The Central Planets that decided that all planets should unit to join an alliance, but not everyone agreed. After the Independents lost a bloody war, they drifted further out of the alliance’s reach.

The outer planets resemble that of the old west, with their desert-like appearance, and primitive technology.

Farmers, who left the cities of the east to build new lives, settled the Old West; bringing with them only what they could. Then there was the bloody Civil War. And farmers moved further west to seek greener pastures, or fortunes in the gold and silver mines. They were also away from any real authority, thus the phrase “The Wild West.”

In Firefly, the outer planets are much like the “The Wild West;” far from the reaches of the law, where settlers are left to work the land and work the mines. As you know, life in the mines was not easy, as it is not easy for the worker on the planets and moons of the outer rim. Only the owners or overlords made any really money, and the rest scraped out a living. As with the Old West, there was much looting, cattle smuggling, and other forms of thievery. It was easier for renegades from the law to hide in the west, as it for Mal and his crew to hide amongst the outer planets. Mal and his crew participate in such crime, right down to smuggling cattle in a spaceship. They were also involved in gunfights and a train heist, and Mal was even involved in a duel over Inara’s honor.

The clothing of the old west was designed for the conditions, so it’s no surprise that many of the characters are similarly adorned. From Mal’s high hipped tight pants, held up with suspenders to Simon’s debonair fashion style of the upper class landowners. The folk in the town on Persephone are all dress in old western fashion, as are the villagers in “Our Mrs. Reynolds.” Patience and her crew on Whitefall are dress just like traditional cowboys right down to their weapons and means of transportation. On the outer planets, the residents don’t have the flying cars associated with futuristic settings. They mostly ride horses. In “Our Mrs. Reynolds” Mal and Jayne are driving covered wagon. (Mal is wearing a lovely bonnet.) In this ‘verse there are some phasers (like Vera), but there are more fashioned shot guns. Of course there are some planets that have more technology than other. The central planets naturally are very “modern” as is the planet with the floating houses in “Trash”. The film version (Serenity) got away from the Western thing a bit and focus more on the political aspects, which made more of a statement on today’s government. The movie was appeals to the science fiction crowd and the fans Firefly picked up. It is clear the Joss views space as the true Final frontier.

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Buffy vs. Buffy

I recently watch the Buffy film with Kristy Swanson on VHS. I'd seen the film before, and it is part of the reason I didn’t start watching the series until the second season.
After watching the film, I immediately watched the first episode of the series, “Welcome to the Hellmouth”, where I noticed several differences and some similarities. It is interesting to hear Joss Whedon discussing the differences on the extra audio track on the DVD.
(From here on Movie Buffy will be referred to as Buffy M and TV Buffy will be referred to as Buffy T)

Buffy moves to the Hellmouth about a year after the movie takes place. She states that she has been slaying vampires for over a year. What’s the problem? Buffy M was a senior; they were planning the senior dance. Buffy T enters Sunnydale High as a sophomore. Are the schools in LA really that bad?

Buffy M acts like Cordelia, but it is clear as she learns her true calling in the film, her attitude changes. Buffy T grew up much the same way. Buffy M was a cheerleader, so it’s no surprise that Buffy T tries out in “Witch”. However, it is surprising how intimidated she is by the squad and she does not make the team. Buffy M was dating Jeffery and at the end of the film rides off with Pike. There is no mention of either in the series, but we do meet Billy Fordam, Buffy’s friend from LA in “Lie To Me”. There is no mention of him in the film. Both Buffys have witty comebacks, but Buffy T is sharper and quicker, which may come from experience. It is evident that both Buffy’s are devoted to their calling, but they both still want a “normal life”. They both use non traditional ways of fighting vampires as pointed out by Merrick and Giles.

Speaking of Watchers, the nature of Watchers seems to differ from the film to the TV show. Merrick claims to have lived 100 lives and he can flashback with a slayer. He had been searching for Buffy for a long time, he said she had slipped through the cracks and was supposed to be trained at a much younger age. (This part is consistent with Kendra in the series). Giles is mortal and is a member of the Watcher’s Council. He waited for Buffy to come to him…and she went a year without a watcher at all. Joss said he did not want to demonize adults as he did in the film, which may be why Giles is mortal.

The de-demonizing of adults is more evident in Buffy’s mom. I the film, though her parents are together, we see Buffy’s mother as an uncaring, selfish, rich snob. Perhaps Buffy’s “troubles” changed her. After burning down the high school gym, Buffy is forced to transfer to another school and this is her mother’s wake up call. TV Joyce is much more concerned about Buffy and her own parenting skills. She is also divorced, but there is no indication why. Until the third season, she is unaware of Buffy’s calling.

The movie vampires are very different from their TV counterparts. For the most part, Joss said he chose much of the vampire lore from various vampire stories and films, based on money and practicality, as well as what you can and cannot do on TV. A TV series has a much smaller budget than a full length film, so the on thing that was cut was flying. Vampires in the film can float and levitate but the TV vampires do not. The TV vampires only look like vampires when they are feeding or angry, whereas the movie vampires are very pale and have pointy ears. Joss points out that this difference is so in the series he could have the vampires blend in, but he added he wanted to make them look like vampires when they were killed, so it would be very deliberate that Buffy was killing demons. The vampires of the series turn to dust when they die, while the movie vampires do not. Joss says this is so they don’t spend half the episode hiding bodies. In the film, Buffy gets cramps when a vampire is near, stating “so PMS is my weapon.” Fortunately Buffy T does not suffer from the same affliction. Buffy T did maintain her “keen fashion sense”, which is how Buffy M defeated Lothos. In “Welcome to the Hellmouth” it was Buffy T’s keen fashion sense that helped her identify vampires hanging out at the Bronze. Joss soon abandoned the idea that vampires dress in the style of the period they were changed in, as you would have a lot of very oddly dressed people wandering around Sunnydale at night. Vampires of both the film and TV series need to be invited into home and schools. I the film, the vampires were able to come to the school dance because one of Buffy’s friends invited them. In the series, Angelus explains that the sign on the school that reads, in Latin, “Enter all ye who seek knowledge”, and that’s a good enough invitation.

Joss Whedon said when creating the series, he didn’t, want to reiterate what happened in the film, but he wanted it to be acssesbale to people who hadn’t seen the movie as well as those who had. He also takes about the differences between a TV show and movie besides money. He needed a convenient way out of things, so he used tools like blaming all the wacky things that go one in Sunnydale on the Hellmouth. Any information they needed d could be convienetly found on the computer or in Giles's books. Anytime a vampire needed to be somewhere during the daylight, they could use the extensive tunnels under the city.

On television the viewer can spend more time getting to know the characters and the writers have longer to tell their story. They also have to be careful of blatantly obvious continuity problems from the film to the series. Joss is very good at keeping up with them.

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"The Living Doll" to "Chinga"

“Of course a doll can commit a murder.” Rod Sterling

Television series and films are no strange to dolls who commit murder, aside from Talking Tina from the Twilight Zone episode and the evil doll in The X-Files episode "Chinga", there have been a couple ventriloquist dolls on anthology series and in film, who could forget Chucky. In fact in The X-Files episode, Mulder even refers to Chucky.

To me “the Living Doll” is the most memorable Twilight Zone episode with Talking Tina, whose favorite expression was “my name is Talking Tina and I don’t like you.” I recall when watching The X-Files episode written by Stephen King and Chris Carter, it reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode. In fact The X-Files doll, though she did not look like Talking Tina, was pulled from the ocean and could have been a relative to the murderous doll.

The X-Files doll was never named, but she was more powerful than Talking Tina. Tina only made threats to Christy’s (the Tina’s owner) step father, when Christy was not around. As much as the wicked step father (Played by Telly Savales) tried to get rid of the doll she kept coming back. He couldn’t burn her, he couldn’t squish her head in a vice, and he couldn’t throw her away. When she finally killed him, it was not in a violent or bloody way, she just tripped him down the stairs.

Tina seemed to be protecting Christy, who was a very sweet girl. Polly, the girl in Chinga, was a typical brat and the doll was evil when Polly didn’t get her way. Polly’s doll controlled people’s actions, making it appear that they were killed at their own hands. Much like Tina, Polly’s doll seemed to be protecting her and she did speak around Polly. Her line was, “Let’s have some fun!”

Because of the times we live in, we seem to be more accepting of violence, blood and gore, and it is now permitted on television. The X-Files was an interesting venue to bring an evil doll back to the screen. Mulder even suggested it was a Juju, a witched object that can control the actions of others.

You can even find this sort of thing one EBAY under haunted dolls, so be careful when you are buying an antique doll.

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Oh Jonathan!
Reviewed by Jacques Stinkeeweed

Chock full of information about Jonathan the new book entitled Oh Jonathan-An Autobiography is available everywhere now. How could anyone not love this book? It gives great insight into the man the myth the legend that is Jonathan Levinson. From his humble beginnings in Sunnydale, California through his vast life experiences, Jonathan tells it all…as only Jonathan can. Well, dear reader, as ever, Jonathan doesn’t disappoint as he weaves his magic tales throughout every chapter and verse that make up this wonderful tome.

Even though Jonathan is only 18 years old, Oh Jonathan details some of Jonathan’s amazing accomplishments such as inventing the internet, winning three Grammys, seven Academy Awards (Both for acting and technical achievement), as well as his championship season in the NBA; not to mention his four People’s Choice Awards, eight MTV Music Awards, five MTV Movie awards, two SAG awards, Best Director as named by the DGA (For Braveheart) and 12 Golden Globe Awards. The Languid flow of Jonathan’s lyrical style of writing is sure to win him a Pulitzer Prize.

And who could we forget to mention Jonathan’s master of the martial arts, making him a far better fighter than the Slayer could ever hope to be, and his expertise in the field of demonology or the passion with which he plays the trumpet?

Not only is Oh Jonathan the most current offering from Jonathan, but also there are the trading cards, the comic book series, and the upcoming textbook delineating his research leading to the cure for the horrible affliction of Maximus Probiscusosis.

Perhaps the best chapter is the one detailing Jonathan’s involvement with the award winning motion picture The Matrix. Not only is Jonathan the star, he also directed, was the technical advisor, special effects coordinator (using a new technique which he developed) and executive producer. He also finally answers the probing question, “What is the matrix?”

As ever, we can highly recommend this book for anybody who is a collector of all think Jonathan, but also for those of you out there who are new to experiencing the wonder that is Jonathan, as well as getting a glimpse at the excitement of being Jonathon Levinson.

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