From the - Featured Writers - Heroines of Sci-Fi TV - March 2001


"Disco Xena and Swinging Sheena"

By Ariel Penn

Fan fiction author Missy Good charges ahead with her new t.v. writing career having penned two scripts for Xena and an upcoming one of Sheena called "Feral King." Many fans were looking forward to a new Xena musical (the "infamous" Sappho episode) which Missy has written, until it was pulled after difficulties around securing rights to the music. A pilot for Tropical Storm, Missy's original story, is in the can.

How is production going on Tropical Storm?

We are working on the first six scripts of the series - having done the pilot. It's so interesting working on story ideas for this after working on Xena, and then getting a chance to do a script for Sheena.

Did you have to complete a lot of historical research for your proposed episode about the ancient poet, Sappho?

No - I did do research for my first script (Legacy) but for this one, it was more a matter of finding a story we could wrap around the musical component that Rob wanted to use. Given that, I knew using the historical Sappho probably was not going to be viable, so I set about creating my own version.

I understand you are auctioning the script to raise money for a cancer charity?
(Note: Due to right's clearances for the music, this episode did not make it into production. This is a unique opportunity for a one-of-a kind auction item.)

Yes - I was given permission to show the script after the season ended, and I wanted the opportunity to go towards raising funds for the American Cancer Society, both in honor of the many Xenites affected by cancer, and in memory of Tonya Muir, whom we just lost to that not long ago.

What musical genre were the show's producers proposing for this episode?

Disco. The decision was made to use well known, popular music to connect with the audience in the effort to get the story told in an entertaining way. I really liked the eventual choices, and I thought we had a good story wrapped around them.

Who were you intending to play Sappho?

Renee O'Connor would have played Sappho.

You said in a recent statement that you were nervous how the episode would've been received. Could you elaborate?

Musicals are always tough to call in terms of fan response. Some people really like them, some do not, so that's always a factor. Also, we were pushing the boundaries in terms of the subject matter of the script itself - there was some very interesting things in regards to presenting lifestyles and roles that we were doing - and when you go outside the box like that you always have to wonder how it is going to be received. I think folks would have liked it. It was funny in places, touching in places, and had some rocking good music in it.

What guest stars were slated for this episode? Who were you looking forward to guest starring?

We had Alex Tydings signed for this, and I was really, really looking forward to writing for Aphrodite, who is one of my favorite XWP characters (her and Ares, whom I got to write for in Coming Home.)

Do you think the episode been well-received by subtext fans? 

(grin) Yes. 

What are your thoughts as a writer on how Joss Whedon has handled the Willow/Tara relationship on Buffy? 

I think Joss has handled that relationship perfectly by just not making a big deal out of it. It's there, it happens, get used to it. I think he's raising the comfort level of Buffy viewers in regards to alternative relationships - and that's a very good thing. Xena has done much of the same: though Xena and Gabrielle have never been confirmed as lovers, the question is raised constantly with the show's creators, and they have been very consistent in letting people make up their own minds. That has let the question be out there, and brought it up for discussion constantly. I think people react so badly to alternative lifestyles because they are strange, and strange is bad. By raising the question, it allows people to gain knowledge and become familiar and more comfortable with the idea. That comfort level is what allows change in viewpoint. I think XWP, in that respect, has done more to gain acceptance of the idea of alternative lifestyles than many shows that present fully 'out' characters.

Thanks, Missy!

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