The Blackwood Project
|Title:||The Blackwood Project|
|Date(s):||April 1989-February 1991|
|Fandom:||War of the Worlds|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
From Southern Enclave #26: "Do your co-workers give you funny looks when you talk about aliens? Are the petals on your prize-winning roses disappearing? Announcing the news/letterzine devoted to War of the Worlds."
All issues contains a variety of letters of comment (LOCs) from interested fans, clippings, articles on WOW and the casts' other works, fanzine listings and reviews, photos and more. The letters, while often complex and very mature, were completely "family-friendly"; there was no profanity, no mention of sexual relationships of any sort.
The Best of...
As this letterzine came to an end, the editor proposed a special edition called "The Best of the Blackwood Project." It was intended to be a collection of all the interviews and non-fiction from the previous issues, as well as new material. This collection appears to have never been published.
Issue 1 was published in April 1989 and contains 80 pages. There are nine LoCs. Includes episode guide (#1-8); filmographies and photos on the cast; articles on both Jared Martin and Philip Akin.
- fans almost universally declare Paul Ironhorse as their favorite character
- a fan is happy: "Hooray for a show that saved me from network program hell"
- a fan has this comment: "A minor complaint is the use of only Biblical titles for the episodes. It might be polite to include sayings from other religions. There may be some viewers who find the Christian bias a bit narrow-minded."
- a fan comments on a potential relationship and why she likes it: I thought Ironhorse had a great potential for romance with Grace Lonetree, but unfortunately in "Dust to Dust" it was lost in the end with the alien warship. I think that it would've been great to have seen them say goodbye, but not for good. I know that as the way it ended, it was still pretty open-ended and that Grace can still come back and I hope that she does. I thought that she was Ironhorse's intellectual equal and also his equal in conviction about her work as he was about his and yet they were polar opposites in many ways, because he chose the white man's army and because she is very gung-ho about the teachings of the Indian heritage and about her position as an Indian woman. It creates just the right spark to make the relationship exciting. I'm also the most terminal of romantics and I prefer to see an innocent little kiss as Grace and Ironhorse shared than anything physical. I consider it the sexiest thing in the world to see two people share spiritual communion with each other, and yet a very soft, shy, tentative, and subtle attraction for each other. I thought their dialogue about how they are from two different worlds and yet knowing that despite all that, they also share heritage and understanding was natural and what real people think and debate about when they go into a possible relationship.
- a fan has this wish: I do not want to see the show fall into what my friend refers to as the "Starsky & Hutch Trap". That is, a new girlfriend for Ironhorse or Blackwood to go to bed with each week. Not only is this a boring plot device and not typical of the characters as we have seen them developed so far, but this is the '80s where television should take a bit of responsibility and not promote the idea of a "one night stand". I do not want to see Suzanne become romantically involved with any of the lead male characters. I believe that men and women can be friends without being lovers and it would be nice to see close friendships based on mutual trust and respect develop between the characters. This would be different from the vast majority of what is currently seen on television.
- a fan comments on fandom, this zine, and illustrates the necessity, and power, of the VCR: So... a WAR OF THE WORLDS zine now, hmm? An intriguing idea, I must admit. It's a show that needs some fannish discussion. 1 should probably start off by mentioning that I'm not a very big fan of the show. My complaints and criticisms tends to really outweigh my compliments; but for some reason, I keep watching it as regularly as I can afford to. Unfortunately, I only have two VCRs, and WOTW is on opposite HUNTER (which I tape in regards to my Cannell zine) and MURPHY'S LAW (which I've grown to like, so I tape it too), I've missed several episodes. Fortunately, I've got local friends who tape WOTW regularly, so I do eventually see the missing shows. And now that MURPHY'S LAW is going off the air, I'll be able to devote my second VCR to alien infestations.
- about disappointment, and the connection among other shows: I first took note of the show when the weekly Variety mentioned that the new TREK's success was going to spawn several more new made-for-syndi shows... and that WOTW was going to come from Paramount, just like my beloved new TREK. I figured that WOTW was going to have similarly huge budgets and that it would be a real spectacular show. At the same time, I was reminded of how disappointing "V" turned out... sort of a weekly 'guerilla warfare against the aliens' kind of show, and I was leery of being sucked into such claptrap again.
Issue 2 was published in July 1989 and contains 89 pages. It has twenty-one LoCs. Episode guide (#9-16); articles on both Lynda Mason Green and Richard Chaves.
- fans have gotten wind that at least two characters will not be back on the show and this has generated many comments: Well, I fired off my letters to Paramount; I hope they do some good, as WAR OF THE WORLDS is the only show I have liked well enough in my entire life to tape all the episodes and to write a LOC to a letterzine and to go to see a star (Richard Chaves — what a nice guy!) at a convention. This even includes both STAR TREKS , and I've been a fan since Stardate 0001.0. Judging from the LOCs in TBP #1, most of you are big media fans. I'm mainly a SciFi fan.
- a fan is fearful about the possibility of the changes in the show: By the time this letter and TBP #2 see print, (hopefully) all these rumors zinging back and forth will have been resolved. And happily, I pray. As all of you should know by now, there has been serious question as to what changes are being made to crew and cast for the second year. Of most concern to the majority of us is whether Richard Chaves would return as Ironhorse. There have also been rumors as to the fate of Philip Akin and Lynda Mason Green. What the hell do you do in a situation like this? We've found a show that captures our interest like nothing else has in a long time and the powers that be (in this case. Paramount) make moves like they are going to screw it up. From their point of view, it (should) be making it better, but we know that's rarely the case. Thankfully, from what I've seen and heard, there has been an amazing response by the fans. Letters have been rolling off the printers and I don't want to see the phone bills that several of you must have. (I didn't like paying them either!) Has it helped? I hope so. Was it ever necessary? Hell, yeah. Who wants to take the chance that it wasn't. And if our worst fears are realized, what can we do but grieve?
- a number of fans describe their various PHONE CALLS to the creators of WOW and various publicists and TPTB to get information about the show's changes -- one example of a reply: "I've come to the conclusion that no one really knows what is going on. The show's publicist assured me that "no one" was being killed off, but then she admitted that she hadn't even finished reading all of the first script. I hung up the telephone not feeling very reassured by her words, even though she promised, "If you liked the show this season, you'll love it next season." Why am I not convinced?"
- many fans explain that the show has propelled them to find out more, read and research topics such as the Vietnam War and American Indian culture
- a fan gives this letterzine kudos: "I just received your zine. It is easily among the best fan-produced pieces I've seen in the past two years and that includes the ones with gorgeous color art for which we pay premium prices. TBP is well designed in a crisp and easy-to-read format. That you do it at what must be something like cost measures among the amazing. Kudos to you for representing fan work with such care."
- a common theme -- fandom gives opportunity to share interests and not feel isolated: I can't understate the mood TBP #1 has created for me. I'd felt trapped in a WOW black hole (as I wrote to you - and several others). Save for my roommate, none of my friends could 'sit through an entire episode', not even the hard core sci-fiers and lifetime STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO fans. It was so frustrating since my fannish nature depends on conversation. Several others have written back to me that they felt the same. I see TBP as the first real forum for fan contact — a relief. That initial, driving need to seek out other fans and legitimize this little -- well, okay, I'll use the correct word -- obsession has been realized. Now all we have to do is find a con where we can all get together -- wouldn't that be dangerous?
- the editor is intending to send a copy of this letterzine, TPB onto TPTB
- some fans comment on the amount of gore in the show; many do not like it -- one fan writes: The other thing that people don't seem to like is the gore content. I think it helps to show the violence and the horror to show everyone that it's more serious. V became too comic booky as nobody really got hurt and the aliens were all nice and pretty with nice clean spaceships and uniforms, etc. What's happening in WOW is not nice and this needs to be put across. This isn't to say that I think they should put it in for the sake of it, but I think it does help with the feel of the show. I must admit that I don't understand why the hockey player had his arm ripped off in "Thy Kingdom Come." This did seem to be a case of gore for gore's sake.
- about the killing off of characters, a British fan writes: Having read people's comments about some of he main characters dying, I think this idea has potential. Not to say that 1 want any of the nain cast to die but some of the supporting cast »eems like a good idea. In this way it is iomeone that you've got used to having around and will come as something of a shock. A lot of fuss was made about Tasha Yar dying on ST:TNG last year, but over here our science fiction show of iome ten years ago, BLAKE'S 7, had them dropping like flies and it does add to the realism something B7 surely needed with the dodgy sffects and even dodgier acting, not mentioning iny names here). What sort of effect would it have on Suzanne if Debi was killed or maybe her ix-husband? Harrison has had to deal with members of his family being killed; what about the others?
- a fan notices a pattern: "Norton seems to have been stuck with two handicaps in the show. The token black and the token invalid. It always seems to be the colored person that gets stuck with the handicap (such as LaForge in ST:TNG). I'm glad to see that he doesn't wallow in it and gets on with his life as normal."
- regarding romance in the show's storylines: Please spare us the STARSKY & HUTCH trap. I'm all in favor of romance for the characters, but I don't want to see them fall in love every week. I wouldn't mind seeing Suzanne become romantically involved with one of the male leads, but it would have to be a one time thing ala Hawkeye and Hotlips (M*A*S*H* TV series), born out of fear and being trapped alone somewhere. It would be interesting to see them work out the problem of going back to a working relationship, much as Hawkeye and Hotlips had to.
- on the Christian quotes as episode titles: I find the use of Biblical titles for the episodes mildly annoying, but for almost the opposite reason. Why have Biblical sayings for a show when the only character I've seen thus far who was portrayed as a Christian was a raging, homicidal maniac? I refer to "Vengeance is Mine" and the guy out to kill Ironhorse. Okay, so he changed his mind, he's still portrayed as a loon spouting Biblical quotations. The only Christian bias I see is a bias against Christians. Although actually, the titles add a sort of unity, the same kind as using all Shakespearean quotes would create. Let's face it, some of this stuff resonates in our collective psyches in a way that more obscure sources wouldn't. I can understand why they do it, but it still annoys me.
- fun at MediaWest: "I made it to MediaWest this year and greatly enjoyed the WOW panel, despite the fact that the main entertainment was trying to find out where it'd be held. Following Our Faithful Leaders from hall to bar to pool to bar rates right up there with watching my friends nod off at their own parties. You takes your laughs where you can get 'em."
- another fan comments on MediaWest: The con committee gave us time for a WOW panel, but the sliding doors between Regency C and D wouldn't close, so the people talking about crystals (probably aliens) got Regency D and we were shifted to the courtyard, which was a bit too cold and windy, so we went down to the bar, which was still occupied by the previous panel from Regency C, so (a dozen or more people in tow) we went to the poolside, but the fountain was too noisy, but then the bar emptied out and with a sizeable group, we held our panel at the bar. Over the hour we discussed the premise of the show, how it was going, why was Paramount not leaving well enough alone, etc. Later on in the con, I held an informal WOW party in my room. I'd brought along my VCR and several episodes. "Vengeance is Mine" and "Angel of Death" were the favorites as half the people hadn't seen these episodes and wanted to, and the other half wanted to see them again. One of the highlights of the convention was the costume competition. Dressed up as the Advocacy, Dawn McLevy (Advocate #3), Ken Keisel (Advocate #1) and myself (Advocate #2) won first prize in our category! Well, okay, if you insist on knowing the gory details... It was the humorous/cheap division, which we entered at the last minute. Our costumes cost, on average, fifty cents a piece. Hey, we used wimpy 39-gallon garbage bags, not Hefty Steelsacks (from the planet Cinch-Lock, we joked). It took two bags each, taped together with the real cheap type tape, eye and armholes cut out, plastic Hilton lids from glasses (found in the bathrooms) to double for the eyes, and artistically drawn circles on cardboard for the doohickies on the Advocates' heads, and el cheapo playtex gloves for the hands (we inverted the middle two fingers to create the nasty three 'fingers'). After just a couple minutes in these fantastic costumes, we realized we'd forgotten to cut out airholes. Silly us. Even with the newly formed air holes, it still didn't help as our 'eyes* steamed up, especially when we were put under bright, hot lights for people to take photos of us. If the pictures print decently. Til include them in this issue. We had catcalls of "Wimpy! Wimpy! Wimpy!" to which we responded "Hefty! Hefty! Hefty!," knowing full well our bags were definitely cheap.
- there is MUCH discussion about Ironhorse's, and the actor who played him, ethnicity: In closing, I'd like to say that as an adopted Native American, I am so very pleased to see a Native American continuing character in a television series who is such a positive role model for his people. Aside from Will Sampson's character on VEGAS, I believe that Paul Ironhorse is the first Native American continuing character in a contemporary setting on television. And blessing of blessings, Ironhorse is not a stereotype. He's a Native American who has made the white man's system work for him, but who has never lose sight of his heritage. I was also very impressed when I heard that Chaves had asked to portray Ironhorse as a Cherokee because he, himself, is part Cherokee. Thank you, Richard Chaves, for giving us Paul Ironhorse.
- every show always seems to have a reconized rival; WOW seems to be up against Star Trek: TNG, at least in this fan's mind: That brings to mind a comparison no one seems to have made: between WOW and ST:TNG. ST:TNG has all the publicity and all the praise, but I don't think it's as good as WOW, even though undoubtedly some people will disagree. Granted, ST:TNG*s stories are little morality plays, intended to make a point and give a message of hope for the future. I think WOW makes a point, too, only more subtly, and an emphasis on the dark instead of the light. Anyway, the new STAR TREK is boring, something I would never accuse WOW of being.
- a fan wrote a con report for Worldcon with an emphasis on War of the Worlds
- fiction: "Welcome to the Cottage" by Cindy Rancourt
- this issue has a number of clippings
Issue 3 was published in September 1989 and contains 102 pages. Interviews with both Richard Chaves and Jared Martin. Also, transcripts of Jared's Washington DC Creation Con and Richards's TimeCon appearances; conclusion of first season episode guide (#17-24). There are twenty-seven LoCs.
- this issue had a review by Jan Lindner of To Life Immortal #1, see that page
- there are several cartoons by Colleen Winters
- the editor says again that she has given copies of this letterzine to a number of the actors and producers, some in person
- the discussion topic is "Paramount's decision on the second season (no letterbombs, please); Harrison, Suzanne, and Norton -- what do we know about them? What are all those medals on Ironhorse's uniform? Let's identify 'em!" -- however, nobody discussed these topics as the main subject was the news that the second season wouldn't include Ironhorse and Norton (both would be killed off)
Some sample remarks:
- "I hope that Paramount picks up on the fact that they have tossed away a real good thing in its single-minded destruction of WOW."
- "I just wish the network twits had given us another season of source material; we're going to have to construct an alternative universe from stone knives and bearskins"
- " My thoughts on the second season? I try to think of it as little as possible! If I can't throw a letterbomb, I don't what to say. If the show turns into a FUGITIVE type with the good guys on the run all the time, I think it may get old pretty fast. I can't get very excited about the new "hero" since I was quite pleased with the "old" hero and didn't feel a change was necessary. I have never watched WOW for the aliens, and am not looking forward to their characters being developed. To me, the aliens were the catalyst for bringing four very diverse characters together in a controlled situation. For that reason, they are necessary to establish each episode. But I watch the show for the humans' responses to the situation the aliens cause, not to see what the aliens can come up with week after week. And to be quite honest, after watching a show once, when I re-watch it, I fast forward through all the alien parts just to get to the "good stuff." To be perfectly honest, I feel that the collective mentality of the powers-that-be at Paramount ranks right up there with slugs or other creepy little creatures. I'm not too endeared with that company at the present time."
- "According to the Daily Variety article which you reprinted in TBP #2, Mancuso's rationale for changing the "tech-oriented heroes" of the first season is because he feels they were "unaccessible to viewers." Frankly, that sounds to me as he believes WOW viewers are stupid. Regardless of whether that is his attitude or not, I have seen nothing to indicate that either Mancuso or Paramount is the least bit interested in the opinions of WOW's fans. It is this completely bored, almost contemptuous indifference that infuriates me as much as anything else. They seem to have the attitude that regardless of what they do to the program, no matter how much they may violate the characters of the original concept, the viewers are just going to have to accept it. That may backfire on them. I do not believe the program will last longer than one more season without Ironhorse."
- "What can I say about Norton's and Paul's deaths that can make it any easier for all of us to endure this next season? Nothing, except s—t. When I first heard the rumor that Mancuso the Malevolent was changing everything, I figured the changes wouldn't be too bad and the show would go on from there. Ha! Richard said it best when he said that all the ethnicity would be gone now that the Indian, the black guy, and the disabled person were nowhere to be found. I agree. As much as I like Jared Martin and Lynda Mason Green, the show needs as much diversity as possible to create interesting situations for the main characters to go through. "
- "I've talked to people and received letters, and aside from a bewildered "what's going on' feeling, there's also a distinct impression most will lose interest in the series the moment Ironhorse bites the dust."
- "Yes, I'm annoyed they'll kill off Ironhorse, and I'm stunned they're changing so many other things as well. Talk about disorienting a fandom! I started as a fan of the program! Well, we'll see... At least we have fan fiction."
- "I've just recently left BLAKE'S fandom and it has taught me one thing., your favorite character never dies in fandom. In the last episode of BLAKE, Blake (after an absence of two years) suddenly reappears on the planet Gauda Prime much changed/drastically cynical, a turnabout from his original idealistic mode (much the same as Harrison); at the end it is Avon who kills him (Avon being his second-in-command... it's along story). Avon, point blank, shoots Blake three times and it is quite obvious that Blake is dead. However, as the saying goes, "Blake is dead, long live Blake!" Fandom didn't agree, didn't like what what was done, and went about rectifying the matter in their fiction. There is (and continues to be) a multitude of post-Gauda Prime stories out there. If there is a way to bring Blake back (and not in the shower -- it was all a dream routine either!) then fan writers will find it. I fully expect to see the same thing happen in WOW once the first episode [of the second season] airs. That is, if most of the fans who are into the Ironhorse character are willing to continue with the show."
- "I find it difficult to express my anger and disappointment at the changes scheduled for next season! I simply cannot imagine how Paramount and Frank Mancuso, Jr. could possibly think that removing Richard Chaves and Philip Akin from the cast will improve the show. Mancuso has said that he wants characters that are more accessible to the audience. That's absurd! The characters on WOW were a great deal more interesting than the ones on ST:TNG. The changes in the direction of the show are understandable, but massacring half of the cast is so unnecessary, not to mention a terrible waste of good story potential. I pray they will have the foresight not to kill the characters outright, and to leave the door open for them to return at a later date, but frankly, I'm not holding out much hope. Much as I like the characters of Suzanne and Harrison, I don't know if I can bring myself to watch it any more without Norton and Paul."
- "By now, everyone is aware of the imminent demise of half of WOW's cast. Supposedly such draconian decisions by the new producers will make the show "more realistic" but it seems to me more like a case of cutting [off] one's nose to spite one's face. Given WOW's abysmal ratings we could've assumed some changes would be forthcoming but from my conversations, most people are turned off by the excessively gory effects, not by the cast."
- "One of the things Richard [the actor who portrayed Ironhorse] mentioned at Time-Con that really hit home for me was the fact that they got rid of the ethnicity of the show and the positive aspects that both Ironhorse and Norton have given to the show that made it different and special. The creators, Greg and Sam Strangis, did a wonderful thing by making a show involving a disabled person who functions and is treated as if he's not disabled and an American Indian in a high-ranking position in the United States Army. It was just an amazingly insightful move on their parts, but with the loss of both those models. and subsequent replacement by another "demographically acceptable" white male to please what they think is the public's view of a successful combination for a show, especially an action-adventure show, we have really lost a lot of the charm that gave the show diversity and most importantly, it cements the really irritating way that the "powers that be" decide about these shows."
- "I guess, in light of this, what happened at Paramount was just another part of the job. Personally I think it was dirty, rotten and dastardly -- if not to the actors themselves, then to their loyal fans; those loyal fans who, like myself, could not wait for the next episode of goo, gore and inside jokes. The jokes, the sarcastic little comments; these captivated me, made me wait with baited breath for each new dose. I cannot conceive of WOW without Ironhorse. What will be left to divert attention from the "all too thin" storylines, the lack of continuity in editing ..."
- "Actually, I wonder if Paramount's decision wasn't somewhat politically motivated. Television, and the media in general, seem to feel some overpowering need to be didactic, and teach John Q Public where his political and moral lines should be drawn. Ironhorse does not fit into their nice little "hero" mold. Maybe they wanted us to hate the guy, and were horrified at the opposite response. Whatever their reasons, the elimination of any of the four major characters changes the entire structure of the show. In addition it seems to be an incredibly stupid business move. Pd say a fair comparison would be that of a manufacturer advertising his product as "New, improved, now 50% less effective!" (Did I say 50%? Please excuse me, I forgot that the relationship between these characters was synergistic, try 80%.)"
- "In typical Hollywood fashion, Mancuso has chosen to fix (pardon the grammar) what ain't broke. Change the writers, change the format, but don't axe the one solid redeeming quality that WOW had. This is your last chance, Mancuso. Give us back our Ironhorse."
- " Ironhorse may no longer grace our lives, but he will be an embed in our memories for a long, long time. [The actor] created a "celluloid legend" and yet I feel [he has] done more than that. He and Phil, through their performances, have brought dignity, pride, and understanding to four often maligned minority groups: blacks, Indians, the handicapped, and Vietnam veterans."
- "If indeed Ironhorse is killed off for good then I'll just plug a first season tape in the VCR when WOW comes on because I won't be watching the new ones without him. At least I'll know Ironhorse will live on in publications like TBP and in the numerous zines which are coming out."
- " No matter which way I look at it, I will never understand the logic behind killing off the show's most popular character (Ironhorse). And they're killing off Norton before we even got a chance to know him. It didn't dawn on me until Richard mentioned it at the con that in doing so, all the ethnicity will be gone from the show, and the handicapped character. The second season's going to be pretty bland, sterile and WASPy, or Paramount's idea of "demographically correct." Well, you guys, I guess we're demographically chopped liver, demographically over the hill... whatever. If I hear the word "demographics" again, I'll scream. And since when does an audience of teen boys have the coveted buying power advertisers want?"
- "I am glad that we found out about the changes now -- rather than turning on the TV and staring horrified at the screen as one by one, Norton and Ironhorse are bumped off. Speaking from personal experience, it's better to know that someone is going to die -- i.e., Norton and Ironhorse are "terminal" -- this way, you can get stuff out of your system, you've got time to say goodbye. It can be stressful, but it's not like having someone drop dead on the floor. That's a maior shock and it takes a lot longer to come to terms with it."
Issue 4 was published in November 1989 and contains 108 pages. It has Interviews with both Richard Chaves and Jack Crain (creator of Ironhorse's huge knife -- the Battle Baton), and lots of lively discussion on the changes on second season. There are forty-one LoCs.
- a review of Alien Sushi, see that page
- "Goodbye to a Warrior" by Beth Muramoto
- "Why the Death of Paul Ironhorse Was a Mistake" by C,J. Guido
- the editor says she is the elected head of panels for The Ezekiel Project and needs suggestions for topics
- there is a con report con StarCon in Denver
- most of the LoCs address the second season; the first episode has just been shown -- Ironhorse and Norton have both been killed, a number of other changes have been made including a shift in tone and style -- some example of comments:
- "Well, the worst (and I mean the worst!) is over.. I've just seen the first episode of the new series. I'm not even going to call it the second season, because as far as I'm concerned the two are not connected -- the same way the old and new "Airwolf" shows aren't. I've watched it twice, the first time to see if it would be worth continuing, and the second to see if I could figure out what went wrong. I started out with a somewhat open mind about it. Granted I was disappointed that Ironhorse and Norton (have you noticed that everyone is called by their first names except the Colonel?) would be killed off, but I was willing to give it a chance. That ended by the first commercial break."
- "I am vastly disappointed, and I don't know if I will continue to watch the program. I feel sorry for Jared and the others; they deserve better than that. I will continue to write about the old series, and I hope to read others' stories as well. I look forward to your reactions to the new stuff. As far as I'm concerned, WOW lasted for only one season."
- "I guess I was angriest at the death scenes because they were such a blatant case of characterization rape. Philip didn't get the opportunity to be more than a resident computer clown. Where was the courage and resolve of "Among the Philistines"? Richard fared slightly better, managing to convey a little of the warmth he felt towards Harrison in that death scene outside the van and in his farewell line. But the death itself grates on my nerves for so many reasons."
- "As for Norton and Ironhorse's heroic deaths., they did die in performance of their duties, but I couldn't help thinking that this was Mancuso's slap in the face to the fans. These people couldn't just fit -- they had to be obliterated. It was as if Mancuso wanted to say to the fans that there is NO way you can ever bring these people back so just shut up. "
- "With any luck, the writers and producers have alienated WOW and mainstream science fiction fans so completely that this new version will be off the air before Christmas. It would be interesting if they tried to bring the old WOW back by saying the whole Second Wave was "only a dream"! Obviously Harrison must have gotten a bad carrot stick one night, and this was the result! (Heh, heh) In the hearts and minds of the fans and fan writers, the true WOW still exists and the Blackwood Project will continue fighting the Advocacy for months, maybe years to come."
- "I will be watching the second episode but mainly to assure continuity in the transition story that I am writing for fan fiction (though why I should worry about continuity when the show's writers have thrown it to the winds, I'll never know). My story will have Ironhorse alive, continuing to fight the aliens in the old WOW universe, with some unusual allies."
- "There were a lot of interesting twists in the program and a lot of things I liked about it. I'll talk about my likes first. I definitely liked the new title sequence. The music is excellent, I think. I like the destruction of the Revolutionary statue; very symbolic. The opening reminded me more of "Max Headroom" than "Blade Runner", only without the neon lights. I'm going to be blasphemous here, but I'll risk being put down -- I like John Kincaid. I think Kincaid will turn out to be a good character, but definitely not a replacement for our Colonel."
- "What is the matter with the producer? Whose "brilliant" idea was it that Kincaid is somehow a more desirable character to have on the show than either Ironhorse or Norton?! I really tried to be open-minded and look for something I could like in the new ensemble, but frankly, it doesn't appeal to me. When I watched the review of next week's show, I felt no great desire to watch it. I'm going to watch the next few episodes, and try to give it an honest chance, but unless something develops that I can't see right now, I may have to be content with my first season tapes and reading fanzines."
- "The scene [where Ironhorse dies] is too stark, too shocking! There were strong elements of "Tracers" and "Cease Fire" in his portrayal. The pain almost seemed to blaze out of Richard despite that horrible make-up. The death scene itself brought to mind "The Deer Hunter" and I hate that image because it makes Ironhorse seem like a loser! I know it was supposed to make Ironhorse seem like a self-sacrifice for Debi's sake, which would be in character, but Ironhorse is not a quitter! He wouldn't have surrendered that easily! I know this is probably over-emotional, but I still have a "hangover" from watching the episode. I've run through the tape twice now and each time the other characters lose more interest and impact but Richard's scenes take on a devastating power and vulnerability."
- "As far as I'm concerned, no character, even a Redshirt, should be killed with a good reason, dramatic or otherwise. One good reason can be that the actors who portrays the character wants to leave the show, e.g. Tasha Yar. But this mess... No. Not when Frank Jr. comes out in the 11/89 Starlog interview explaining that he never bothered to do his homework on the show or its characters, making it clear that he never bothered to do his homework on the show or its characters, making it clear that he never had the insight to see Ironhorse's gradual looscn-ing-up — Ironhorse written into a box? Only to someone with tunnel vision. He had more options, more avenues for development, than any of the others. And it makes me truly furious to hear that Junior felt Norton had to die because the wheelchair was too much trouble to work with. We are supposed to accept this as "creativity?" Like hell."
- "I don't have anything else to add except that they took a good show, and instead of making a few changes here and there to improve it, they've given us something very different that in no way measures up to the original. Thank god for our VCR."
- "I prefer just to believe the second season never happened. It's a lot more pleasant (and how it truly pains me to say this) just to believe that WOW was cancelled after the first season than to think that this ugly joke of a second season is in any way connected to what has been, and will always be a bright spot in my imagination. Good-bye "War of the Worlds." I'll see you in the reruns and in the fanzines...""
- "As to Mr. Mancuso, well, he has a lot to learn. A friend said of the changes that it sounded as if he'd just graduated from the how-to-make-a-TV-show school. In other words, he's all demographics and no heart. You know, drop the black guy in the wheelchair and the army guy. Get another white male in, keep the woman for some T&A, and hang on to the kid for the young crowd. Except, he would've flunked the school that I attended because he didn't learn that demographics don't always work. You can analyze and poll until the day after forever and never get a hit, while something 'un-demographi-cal' is a winner. First, you need a good show. That's kind of important. Then you listen to the fans. No, they do not run shows, but they can often tell you things about a show that no one else can. Mr. Mancuso's attitude -- fans are the crazed scum of the earth. Who needs them? I won't listen to them — has done nothing but slit his own throat."
- "Still cynically, looking at how Frank Jr. chose to write Ironhorse out makes me wonder ii he didn't do it as nastily as possible simply because we made so much fuss, kind of an "I'll Show The Fans Who's Boss.""
Issue 5 was published in January 1990 and contains 78 pages. It has an interview with Philip Akin; more discussion on the second season. There are twenty-eight LoCs.
- this issue contains a review of Need to Know, see that page
- this issue contains a review of The Forrester Papers, see that page
- the editors of the proposed zine, "Tales from the Cottage," write a lengthy description of the zine
- a fan writes: "despite the changes in WOTW, many of which I do not like at all, I'll continue watching the series and doing the zine. Both seasons offer opportunities."
- another fan writes about the second season: "I kind of hate to say it, but I really like the character of Kincaid. He's as devoted as our dear departed Ironhorse, but there is something definitely different about him. And I really like the fact that they are exploring the character of Debi a lot more."
- another fan is angry: "Not only is it now a horror show, but it is a horrible show. I would be delighted to see it go down the tubes. If it does go down, the Paramount executives may say publicly that it wasn't the show itself, but science fiction as a genre that failed. But they will know the truth and maybe the next time a Frank Mancuso-type will not be allowed to butcher a series in the name of demographics."
- a fan comments on an earlier letter: Nothing could convince me more that this is a free country, where anyone can express an opinion (no matter how ridiculous it may be) than [name redacted's] letter in issue #4. Listen, if "computer graphics" is your idea of what comprises a good television program, you should play video games. Another thing: ethnic diversity is nice, and if handled properly may make a program more believable or interesting, but that alone will never make good characters. People are more than their skin color, Paul — OR their gender. Do you truly believe, [name redacted], that the addition of a few black or oriental characters would be enough to revive the sorry program WOTW has become?
- a fan writes: "Paramount clearly is more interested in the possibility of attracting teenage boys to the series in spite of the fact that, judging by fandom, it is mostly adult women who like(d) the program. Frankly, I do not believe it was a dislike of ethnic diversity that caused Paramount to change WOTW; I am inclined to think that sexism was more of a factor. Anything that appeals to women cannot be good, right? -- So obviously it must be changed!"
- fan has this to say about demographics:At the risk of sounding like just another "bone-headed" fan, I think that a little clarification could go a long way here. I agree with those who have mentioned that if they just started from scratch completely and changed the title of the show and made it into a different show all together, it might've been forgiven for all of the inconsistencies. I have to say that the whole idea that demographics is what really destroyed the show and that it comes down to that is what angers me the most. I hate to be treated as if my opinion doesn't count and isn't worth acknowledging. I hate the idea even more that a show is completely altered to satisfy a statistical number rather than what appeals and doesn't insult the viewing public. It's a pity that another show has to be lost for the sake of those numbers. I don't mean lost to low ratings because who's to say what will keep it alive from this moment on, but I mean the first season's indelible character as a whole and its real life characters.
- a fan rationalizes: "About the second season... I hate to say it, but I like it about as much as the first. I think this might be because I am able to think of it as an entirely different series. Except for the first two shows, no mention of Paul or Norton is made, so the separation of the first and second season was kind of easy for me. Some of the shows I've actually enjoyed, although I'm not really sure why."
- another opinion: "Regarding the decision to remove Ironhorse and Norton from the series -- it makes me too angry to be coherent. I saw enough of them and have learned, through fanfic and LOCs, to appreciate the fine men they were."
- this fan has a rallying call: "To all those fans out there who hate the second season changes: these developments aren't divine writ. You don't have to accept them or try to rationalize them. You can ignore them. Granted, this means ignoring the second season as well. Greg Strangis created the series and as far as I'm concerned, Greg Strangis is the only one with the right to kill off any characters or change directions."
- another writes: "To those fans who are "reluctantly" watching the second season: Don't surrender so easily. That's exactly what Paramount wants and expects you to do. As long as you continue to watch, they don't care how much you complain."
- a fan writes: Mediocrity is the direction our lives are inexorably taking. It's what we like to call progress, or at least the price we pay. Just take a look around. Quality and fine craftsmanship are things of the past. We like to kid ourselves that they'll come back. They won't. Quality isn't cost-effective. We've almost reached the point where we don't recognize it anymore. We talk a lot about it, but we still don't recognize it. Not many of us, anyway. The fans of WOTW the first season did. First season wasn't always brilliant. It wasn't even always good. But it had a spark of quality. And it's fallen prey to progress, to the great festering mediocrity that will rot us from the inside out, and will probably be the undoing of our democratic capitalistic society. Cost-effectiveness is in, and we may as well get used to it. And I DO like second season, and the progress it has made!
- a fan comments: "Pat, you said you wondered what was going to happen to WOTW's fandom once Chaves left. Good question. We can but hope it will follow the pattern of other fandoras and continue on its (our) merry way, blithely oblivious to anything we don't want to know. You're a "Blakion" yourself; you know how B7'dom is still Trek'ing" on (sorry!). Ten years after the characters got blasted off Gauda Prime. Look at "Shadow Chasers." Most people have seen only 9 out of the 13 episodes made, and that fandom lasted years. It's still got zines coming out! Let's hope we're as fortunate with WOTW."
- a fan remembers another show: "Oh, blast! Do you realize that, after goodness knows how many years in "Blake's 7" fandom, here I am trying to deal with more dead people? My one steadfast rule of life was no more dead people!"
- the editor of Dee-Pice writes: We've officially committed to a second issue of Dee-Pice. I mention it here because there are two things I'd like to say: 1) Dee-Pice II will consider both first and second season material (and practically anything else; before, in-between, after, alternate universe, cross universe, cross-your-fingers). Personally, I'm greatly troubled by the doors that are slamming on fan fiction for WOTW. I've never... known a zine to restrict fiction, by policy, to a specific season. Surely, if it's your zine, you have every right to create policy for it I do with Dee-Pice. But if you're ticked off at Mancuso, why is it being taken out on fandom? Why does being "vehemently opposed to the changes instituted by Paramount" mean that there's no opportunity to explore the potential of Season Two, setting our creative (and talented) minds to fixing the things we don't like and explaining the things we do? Fandom is suffering from this kind of ultimatum. I'm sorry if this is coming across as a soap box, and I don't intend to pick on just one zine as more than one are using this policy (and on the other hand, more than one zine is looking at Season Two material). As a reader, I do not dish out the bucks (big bucks) for any zine because of its editorial policies. And I think it's fanatically unfair to assume that second season-based fan fiction is unfit to print and read. At the very least, we should be looking more hopefully to the great potential of fan fiction for what we aren't getting from Season Two. I guess this bothered me a bit more than I thought, but an opinion is an opinion. I take fan fiction very seriously because I love the potential. I'm not suggesting others don't take it seriously; I'm saying I can't restrict that potential, and I thought it was fair to let everyone know what I'm accepting for II, and why. As always, what actually gets printed depends on what I receive and how it can be worked into the zine. If you were happy with Dee-Pice, then give II a chance. 2) I'm also accepting "character addition-material. Now, I can hear the gasps of despair... This is a new term we've coined to avoid the connotations implied by the term (are you ready for this? Hold your ears) "Mary Sue." This is a particular soap box of mine, as several people have discovered. For now, I'll limit my 'tizzy fit' and simply explain that the "char add" means any fiction which includes the addition of a viable, newly created character. "Mary Sue" also has a very specific definition. Stay calm. "Char add" isn't as bad as it sounds.
- a fan writes: "The only thing that I can say is that the show needs help. Perhaps the effort would be futile, but I think that we are the only chance that the show now has. Mancuso (how I've come to hate the name) certainly doesn't know what he's doing. I don't know if anything would sway the minds of the powers-that-be at Paramount, but they have surely seen the fall in ratings and the disgust of the fans. I would be willing to help out in a letter writing campaign and/or a crusade to bring back Ironhorse (I have already submitted a plausible storyline for his return). It's just too bad that the second season isn't some horrible nightmare. They may as well take WOTW off the air now if they refuse to fix it."
Issue 6 was published in March 1990 and contains 124 pages. Second season episode guide (#25-35); reproduction of the first season Writer's Bible; and more. There are thirty-seven LoCs, most addressing the second season changes. Many fans also wrote of the division between fans who wanted to write and read about the second season and those who did not.
- there is an announcement that the show has been cancelled; some LoCs reflect this knowledge, others don't as news traveled much slower in 1990
- the editor of The Forrester Papers says she doubts she will be doing the planned issue for the second season
- there is a review of Dee-Pice #1, see that page
- there is a review of Cell-Phase Matching #1, see that page
- a fan has re-read her LoC and cringes: "Not surprisingly, I turned to my own LOC and found myself wondering who this overbearing wench was. Just shows what can happen when you put these things off until the last minute and don't bother to read through them before you send them out. If I offended anyone, I'm sorry."
- a fan writes of the concern about the show's cancelation and its effect on fandom: I desperately hope that the end of the show is not going to bring about the demise of the zines and WOW fandom in general. I think -- hopefully not over-optimistically — that the fiction zines will continue indefinitely, or at least until nobody is reading or writing anymore stories... There's no reason why a letter-zine — TBP, to be specific! -- can't continue as well! There's so many things still left to discuss from both seasons, and with the widespread use of VCRs, we don't even have to rely on catch-as-catch-can reruns on TV. Richard is still attending conventions even though he's gone from the show; hopefully Jared will do the same. So there will be cons to discuss. Also, there's the whole as-yet-untapped field of the stars' other roles. And there's no reason, all else failing, that we can't discuss zine stories --not to criticize and analyze them, but as a jumping-off point for further speculation on a particular subject or theme or character. The possibilities are unlimited. Just add imagination and stir some wonderful concoctions should result! To Life Immortal... for the zines.
- speaking of zines, this fan is unhappy with the tone and content of some of the reviews in previous issues: It is my enjoyment of these 'zines that leads me to a more serious subject. I've read [name redacted] reviews in the past three issues of TBP and I must disagree with both her comments and her style of criticism. I have written her expressing my disappointment in her hard line, hurtful, slasher technique. I've read all the 'zines that she criticized and found nothing so unenjoyable or poorly written that would justify the rather harsh statements that she felt compelled to make. As a beginning writer, I have my own version of the Colonel and I'm sure as my stories come under scrutiny that I'll be maligned for my interpretation as well. All I can say is that I think that the universe is big enough for all the WOW 'zines and writers out there. The beginners like myself would certainly appreciate a little gentle guidance from the editors and a small degree of patience from the readers. Each new edition or addition to the 'zine world is an improvement. Let's try to fan the sparks of creativity that exist in this fandom. The desire and ability to write is not so widespread that we can afford to snuff even the faintest of embers out.
- a fan writes about artist freedom: Another thing that I agree with is Pat Ames' comment that fan fiction shouldn't be restricted. As a writer, I hate seeing lost potential in the restriction of what to write. I think that those people who want to write on first season should be allowed to do so and more importantly, I think that there should be avenues for which those people who like the second season to write on their favorite characters and premises. Bravo, Pat. Well said. I think that creativity should flow for those who want to write no matter what the subject. It smacks of censorship to restrict, but as Pat said, every editor has a right to produce the kind of zine that they want. I hope that the people who like second season will produce zines for those writers to have an outlet and a publication to turn to. I admit to being an Ironhorse and first season advocate, but as a reader of zines, I would read stories with mixed seasons and second season ones to enjoy the creativity out there.
- another fan is not inspired: Second season does not inspire creative frenzies in me. It offers nothing in the way of characters that seize my imagination or care about. The Blackwood team are a sad collection of strangers to me now. And even if the characterizations were the same from last season, I'd find it difficult to write stories for them in the series' current dark and dismal format. I can't even bring myself to do a 'resurrection' story.
- about dividing up the fiction: There is precedent for that sort of restriction: I think there was a "Remington Steele" [zine] that wanted first season or first season-related (before Murphy left) and I fully expect some B&B fans will do zines that only deal with events prior to Catherine's death. I think the same restrictive principle applies to Trek zines that want stories limited to the series, to post WoK stories, to TNG only, etc. Practically any theme collection has some sort of restriction; I don't see that this is anymore serious than any of those wanting only Christmas stories, K/S stories, or whatever.
- more on the second season and also about the choices one makes in reading fanfiction: Personally, I detest the second season (as I'm sure I've made clear!) and don't intend to read any fiction based on it, just as I don't read stories based on other series I don't watch. Life is too short and time too limited to read things I don't enjoy -- I have enough reading material backed up now to keep me busy for the next ten years. I'm not trying to be snide in this, or superior, or anything else. This is just not something I'm interested in. I'm also not interested in "Starksy & Hutch" or "Miami Vice" so I don't read those either. I am told there is a lot of good fiction about both out there, but the times I have tried to read such I am never as impressed as the one who recommended it because I don't know anything about the nuances of the relationships, or the references to events, or even if the charcteri-zations are well-done. (I read one "Blake's 7" story before seeing the series because a friend liked it and came away with the distinct impression that Jenna was a hooker. Other stories left me terribly confused as to what was series material and what was invention. I never became a fan after I saw the series, either — too many conflicting impressions, I think.)
- some thoughts on fiction division:(I refer to a zine I remember as being called Half Me, Half You. Part was "Star Trek" and part "Starsky & Hutch"; one could buy the entire zine or else buy the sections separately.) If the editors who are printing second season material could arrange the stories so that all the first season is in one section and second in another, then the zine could be sold as one entity or in separate sections for those of us who only want the one. I have space and money limitations and I really don't want to waste either; I've already had to get rid of material I like in order to make room for things I liked better, so I see no point in keeping material I don't want just because it's attached to something I do want... If this is not acceptable, then I'd appreciate it if any like minded second season fan would make contact with me; one of us could buy the mixed season zine, separate the material into the respective seasons and divide the cost in proportion to the amount of material each receives. Otherwise, I'll end up tossing the unwanted material in the trash and I hate to see something wasted when someone else might enjoy it, and the shared cost would help pay for other mixed season zines I might not buy otherwise.
- about zine fiction: I don't think anyone said second season stories weren't fit to print. But just as some people read -Classic" Trek and don't like "Next Generation," (or PG vs. X-rated zines) I think fen have the right to publish -- and read --stories set in universes they enjoy. That's the purpose of fanzines, isn't it? I don't want to read TSI stories; I don't give a damn about that universe, and from the sound of TBP #4, about half this fandom feels the same. But nobody said people can't write it. Personally, I'd rather see the two universes printed separately so people who like one season but not another (even those few who like second season but not first) can avoid stuff they don't want. I don't plan to buy any second season-only zines, but I will buy zines that carry both. You, Lee Falcon, and Nancy Klauschie are accepting TSI material; that should be enough of a forum for those who want stories in that universe — and anyone can self-publish. Besides, in this case it's a matter of principle: zines are the only place those of us who reject TSI can express our opinion of Junior's character assassinations. If I were publishing, I wouldn't run the stuff either -- too much work for no reward. As you said your- self, second season offers us nothing. Why should we spend our time and money for a zine about a show we don't watch? I hope that whatever people print, they make clear in their ads what the zines will contain -- I'd be annoyed to get something that was 95% KJncaid and the Klones. Likewise, I'll support any zine that does noj publish TSI.
- a fan feels that killing Ironhorse was bad enough but that it was done so clumsily: One last observation, and please no flack from "Beauty and the Beast" fans, I found it terribly heartwrenching to watch the 2-hour season opener of B&B because I was thinking of the "The Second Wave" and how it could've benefitted from having 2 hours to play with. Admittedly I did cry a little when Catherine dies in Vincent's arms, though I found the rest a little hard to swallow at times, (but I have heard that from B&B fans so it's just not a non-fan talking out of turn), though no more so than "The Second Wave", knowing that if Richard had been given 2 hours to work up to the inevitable and how it might have given the entire episode as much poignancy as Catherine's death depressed me a little and left me feeling terribly shortchanged. She was able to die in Vincent's arms and she got a chance to say good-bye and to tell and be told that she loved and was loved. If Ironhorse had been given just a little of that kind of poignancy and compassion, it would have wiped out every store of kleenex, as it was, I was clinging to the box that I had. I still think that Ironhorse deserved two hours to say good-bye. I think that he deserved to die in someone's arms, being told that he was cared about and that he made an impact in their lives. Ironhorse's death was cheapened by the one-hour format.
- a fan writes: "After many weeks of watching in dismay, I am forced to offer my opinions on the second season of WOW. I am not opposed to change but the changes should make some sense. The new producers have taken what was a pretty good, entertaining show and ruined it. Changing direction is one thing but dispensing with continuity is deadly."
- about that "certain producer": "for this issue I'd like to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly -- the good being Richard, the bad -- the second season of WOW, and the ugly --my feelings right now towards a certain executive producer. I've been watching television for a number of years and never have I seen a series so effectively destroyed. I was told last year by a person directly connected with WOW that as far as Mancuso is concerned, the first season does not exist."
- a fan shakes a finger at another: "I've said it before and I'll say it again. As long as you continue to watch the travesty that Mancuso has made of WOW, Paramount has every right to treat your opinion as if it doesn't count. Because, for them, it doesn't. You're still watching -- that's all they care about."
- more on the second season: As far as I'm concerned, second season resembles something that's been left on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for the last nine months (forgive me for not being really insulting here). Killing off Ironhorse and Norton was the epitome of assinity, but let's not just leave bad enough alone; let's make it even worse. Why not change the personalities of our remaining characters so they're no longer recognizable, and let's transform our entire world into a cesspool in a matter of six months and offer absolutely no explanation as to how it occurred. I'm sorry, but I'm like Harrison used to be— I have a scientific mind and I need a reason why something is the way it is. If you tell me your spaceship operates by means of a warp or tachyon drive, I want to know how that works. It doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with the theory; I want an explanation.
- And: In addition to my complaints about second season versus first, I'm more than a little insulted by the entire concept that's being pushed upon us this year. 1989 was a year of positive change, and with the Berlin Wall coming down and religious freedom springing forth in the Soviet Union, Mancuso is offering us a future of sinister darkness, not only involving an alien invasion, but humanity on the brink of self-destruction. I used to say if I wanted death and hopelessness, I'd watch the national news; now I have to watch it just to get cheered up. A terrible trend is developing on television, not only with WOW, but other series as well.
- And: "As many of you have already noted, Mancuso the Malicious should be slimed at ten paces (or worse) for making the disastrous decision to not renew Richard and Phil's contracts! D--m the demographics! Roddenberry didn't worry about demographics in the 1960s and look how long "Star Trek" has survived."
- And: "Well, Mancuso, I hope you're happy -- you took "War of the Worlds' and made it like everything else on television.... The National Education Association encourages people to read more. With producers like Mancuso around, they'll get their wish!"
- more anger, and a respite: We all suspected that 'Mancuso the Malicious* had turned WOW into "buffalo chips'; especially by eliminating Ironhorse and Drake. Poor characterization, lack of continuity and weak plots didn't help the situation. It's finally happened — the axe has fallen. "War of the Worlds" has been cancelled!! There will be no Season 3! I learned this from the production manager of our local Fox Network Affiliate (WLAX-TV25). At this point, I feel totally outraged! Mancuso took a good show (first season) and changed, mutilated and destroyed the storylines, plots, settings, and characterizations. What did he get as a result? Angry fans and a cancelled series? Maybe it's a blessing in disguise that Richard and Phil weren't subjected to Mancuso and his inane ideas. Maybe another production company will want to revive the show?? We can only hope. Meanwhile, Ironhorse, et al, will live on in our stories, our zines, and Elyse's fine letter-zine.
- a comment on the appeal of Norton: When it comes to handsome guys, I'm colorblind. (Distinguishes me from ethnically-biased Mancuso and, believe me, I want to be as distanced from him as possible.) ... You are looking at the girl who preferred Lando (Billy Dee Williams) to Luke (Mark Hamill) and Han (Harrison Ford) in the "Star Wars" saga, particularly since the two installments he was in were otherwise forgettable follow-ups (foul-ups?) to the superior original. There is a lesson to be learned by Frankie in this, so listen up, pilgrim! Read my lips — if you are going to drastically alter the premise of a series, then you'd better damned well provide interesting characters to cover your ass. In "Empire" and "Jedi," Luke turned out to be terribly unsatisfying and Han became a comic book hero -- the pouty, swaggering swashbuckler, breast-beating Neanderthal type. But Lando, on the other hand, was both interesting and mysterious.
- a fan comments on one "success" of the fan campaign: "The letter campaign to save Ironhorse and Norton started in 4/89; its only apparent effect was to persuade Murder Inc. to give them on-screen deaths (Lord knows what their original intention was -- maybe to blow up the Cottage and say, "Gee, Norton and the Colonel were in there. Shucks!" Paramount clearly doesn't give an unprintable expletive about what fans think; Junior's daddy is a studio bigwig. You got it right, though -- second season is a horrible nightmare."
- a fan writes a rare (at least so far) letter in support of her right to enjoy the second season: "One thing I particularly want to bring up is the simple but -- for some reason, lately — overlooked fact that everyone is entitled to his/ her own opinion about Year 2 (TSI). I was amazed by the belligerence of some of the letters in the last issue. I'm certainly not happy with TSI myself, but that doesn't mean that anyone who likes it is an idiot! I thought we were a pretty intelligent group of people and these personal attacks are carrying things a bit too far, don't you think?"
- one fan is angry about the amount of work fans are expected to do: [Name redacted] said in the last issue that there's a great potential in fan fie for what we're not getting in TSI — in other words, explanations and continuity. That's true. It's a sad commentary on the state of this series and its contin-ty when it has to be viewed as an alternate universe. It also enraged me, however, because when I thought about it, I realized it is NOT a fan's job to do that. No, this isn't a slam at fan writers nor am I suggesting nobody write second season fiction because I know that whatever fans come up with will be more original and make more sense than what is presently on the screen. I'd even like to read some. When a show is so badly done, however, that the fans need to explain the major inconsistencies and numerous contradictions, I get mad. Fans should be intrigued by a show; they should be encouraged by the show to explore ideas, themes, characters, situations, societies, etc. That's why I got involved in fandom. They shouldn't have to expend time and energy correcting the mistakes and filling in the holes left by the show. As I said before, it's the nature of the beast that there will be mistakes and a certain amount of fill-in the blanks. It's fun to explain these things away. Nor can everything be shown in a 50 minute episode. But this goes beyond accepted TV conventions. This is a lack of respect for the audience, not to mention sloppiness.
- a rare fan says he loves the second season: I may be in the minority of WOW fans, but I like the second season changes! A loll! That is not to say that I disliked the first season; I liked it very much. I also liked Norton and Ironhorse, but the concepts of season one were growing stagnant. The aliens were weak enemies inspiring no true dread. Things were too orderly, too nice! It was time to "nasty" things up a bit -- and that they did! Dark, dismal, cyberpunk replaced "nice!" This is "Blade Runner" — with "attitude." The new Donald Trump-esque, yuppies-from-hell aliens are cold and methodical « utterly ruthless, and worthy enemies of mankind. Harrison and Suzanne have toughened up -- reality has made fighters of them. Even Debi has, like the children of any war zone, adapted to a life of security con- sciousness and gun-at-the-ready! This is urban warfare, [a] prolonged seige and the mentality of entrenchment. It is a matter of survival, and like its real-life counterparts (Beirut, the Warsaw Ghetto), is an atmosphere unforgiving of mistakes and weakness. The intensity of such a dramatic premise creates an inate tension that makes for an excellent series!
Issue 7 was published May 1990 and contains 78 pages. Second season episode guide (#36-40). Articles on both Jared and Richard. There are twenty-four LoCs.
- the editor writes that issue #11 will be the last issue of this letterzine
- this issue has a review of To Life Immortal #2, see that page
- this issue has a review of The Triangular Whatsis #1, see that page
- a fan comments on the quality of television, and fans' respite: I'm not surprised that television viewership has dropped so dramatically in the past ten years. The qualities of imagination, originality, and simple good writing have long departed from Hollywood. I am glad that it is still out there among the amateur writers of fandom. Each fanzine that I read brings new insights, new excitement, and a welcome dose of the Blackwood Project. I am eagerly awaiting the debuts of all the new 'zines that promise to be out this summer (especially BEBA, I hope there are some real talented people coming up with lots of original ways to trash Mancuso. I read Harlan Ellison for the whole evening before I felt adequately sadistic for the job.) There should be enough action-adventure, romance, and even issue-oriented stories to satisfy even the pickiest reader. I hope the real WOW lives on for many months to come in the fanzines and LOCs.
- many, many fans are still expressing their anger over the changes in the second season: My contempt for Paramount and Frank Mancuso, Jr. knows no bounds. The dark and depressing series that they "created" was not enjoyable, entertaining and certainly not inspirational. His dystopian environment served neither as warning nor prophesy. Since Mancuso had not watched any of the first season, he had no intention of building on the series' original framework or retaining any of the original fans. Like all non-creative people, he could only destroy what he did not understand. Only the characteristic trust and unflagging optimism of most science fiction fans allowed him to retain the small portion of the show*s original fandom who followed Mancuso into his dark, derivative and totally depressing universe.
- a fan comments on the second season, citing disrespect: I'm afraid that Hollywood destroyed my trust and optimism in their treatment of science fiction a long time ago. I recognized the contempt with which Paramount treated science fiction fans long before they gutted WOW. Their attitude toward "Star Trek" and its fans had always been grasping and condescending. We did not need to see the last insult to our intelligence, "Star Trek V," to recognize this. I can hardly wait to see their wonderful casting coups for "Star Trek VI, The Teen Years." Who will portray Spock? Rob Lowe? Johnny Depp? Axel Rose? I'm sure that demographics will be the determining factor! Of course, as fans we are at the mercy of the producers and large studios and the atrocities that they choose to perpetuate on intelligent viewers. I imagine the next few years will see a drought of good science fiction until the cycle swings around again and there are creative and imaginative people who make science fiction for love of the genre and not to cater to imaginary demographics that their marketing advisors invent.
- a number of fans felt that Star Trek: TNG was a rival, both in audience and in support from Paramount: It's a shame. I take it ST:TNG is being renewed for a fourth season (Yes) although to be frank (but not Mancuso) I cannot fathom how that show keeps getting high ratings. This is not to insult the tastes of its fans, for this is only my opinion. TNG gets more artificial and preachy each time I see it ... which is becoming less often. The fans seem to be satisfied with it, which from what I've read in TBP, is more than I can say for most WOW fans this season! I'm glad I've been taping WOW for posterity since it is being shelved, but without repeats, where will any so-called "second generation" fans come from? The original "Star Trek" survived by picking up new viewers via reruns and building a sizable following. I can tell that WOW fans are very dedicated and will "carry the torch" but somehow the news that there will be no repeats bothers me.
- a zine ed is coming to the rescue: you all will be happy to know that Bring 'em Back Alive! is coming along according to schedule and is still scheduled for MediaWest* Con. Hang on, kiddies, Paul and Norton aren't going to stay dead for too much longer. Nice to know there are still lots of ways to save our Dynamic Duet. (Oh, 'scuse me, that was "Starsky & Hutch", wasn't it? You fill in the noun.) And take heart, "Shadow Chasers" only lasted nine episodes in the United States and it's still generating 'zines. And I'm not even counting the four extra eps that we acquired in syndication from West Germany due to the quick thinking alertness and inventive genius of a fan who shall remain nameless even if she is Lee Falcon. Remember, War isn't over until we stop playing with it, right?
- letterzines were often a place where fans communicated how they felt about zine reviews, and "The Blackwood Project" is no different: I don't think anyone has really thanked Jan Lindner for doing those zine reviews. I always enjoy them, Jan, and thank you for saving me a lot of trouble! You have so far said almost exactly the same things as I would have said, but you've said them far better than I would have. You've been balanced between the good and bad aspects of the zines/stories, and have presented assets and flaws fairly and well, even often times including suggestions on correcting the flaws for the zine's next issue. So far you've been spot on; I've agreed with all of your editing and technical opinions as have most of the experienced writers and editors I know. I'm not saying I always like the exact same stories you do -- you're a bit more flexible than I am on many of them — but so far, disagreements have been only a matter of taste.
- the downside to a small fandom is lack of options: "The drawbacks of a small fandom, I fear, zines may reach a point where there aren't enough of any one theme to fill an entire zine."
- regarding to an ongoing discussion about zines and fans' desire/requirements regarding first and second season content: "Something else to remember, too, is that, according to longstanding fan tradition, when a person puts out a zine, they're given the choice of accepting what thev want to read. It's called "Editor's Choice," and no hard feelings. But then, if someone else wants to read another type of story, there's nothing to stop ihejn from doing one of their own, right? None of us are required to do anything in fandom except to be as fair as we can and stand up front on everything. Don't screw me over mid-stride and I'm fine."
- there is some discussion of Mary Sues: And hooray for your Mary Sue comments! As anyone who knows me is aware, Mary Sue stories are my pet peeve. They are more about the "original character" than they are about the universe or main characters. One of my friends -- an old-time inhabitant of fandom -- defined what it really is that we (she, I and most of the people who dislike MS's) resent about them. Many of us get involved with the relationship between the main characters (usually the two male leads) and the MS generally ends up far more important to one of them (the author's favorite surprise!) than his partner is. It is at that very point that I and said friends feel a flare of resentment and scorn. And I agree -- God preserve me from one more beautiful, brilliant I-can-kick-any-man's a** female military officer. Oh lord, the cliche is old. And no, I'm not saying the character cannot work; I'm just saying that so far, it hasn't. Using the cliched character is extremely hard to do, or she comes out looking like a ... well, a cliche.
- another fan writes:I tried to do a Mary Sue story of my own once and couldn't. Oh, not because I'm so great, etc., but because, once the character was actually on paper (and I'm talking within a few sentences), she wasn't me. anymore, but some interloper I couldn't stand! My one and only attempt, to be sure, as I realized then that my tastes simply didn't extend in that direction, although I have many friends whose do.
- a fan takes a positive view: I prefer to look at the world through alien goo-colored glasses and believe that we, as fans, did have an impact, maybe not us personally, but those who are a part of the Nielsen's. It is sad to see the show sacrificed for what seems like nothing, except for the fandom that has arisen from it, first and second season, and for the actors, specifically, Richard Chaves. If WAR had never been, we wouldn't be here and certainly that would've been a greater loss because I am enjoying this immensely.
- at least one fan doesn't appreciate some of the LoCs he's been reading: Now for a major gripe of mine. Throughout the last two issue of TBP, I've seen many angry comments about how the show was changed. And several seem to imply that us teenage boys are dumb, bad, undemanding or really stupid. But I'm a teenage boy and I'm not dumb or stupid. I want good scripts and stories as much as the next fan.
- a fan looks to fanzines, and the future, in a common comment: At any rate, I will miss the show. But cancellation doesn't mean the end -- it's up to the fans to keep it alive with fanzines, conventions, etc. Just remember -- there was a show called "Star Trek" that was cancelled in 1969. Great ideas have a way of sticking around.
- the conflict between fans who were "loyal" to the first season/didn't mind/liked the second season continues: There doesn't seem to be many people out there who are writing second season fiction, judging by the amount I've seen in other zines. With the exception of one story in To Life Immortal #2. all of the stories set in the second season are geared towards bringing Ironhorse and Norton back. I'm not complaining about this. Bringing back our lost heroes is a good and noble thing. What concerns me is the attitude held by some towards second season based fiction. To whit, there are some zines out there which won't even consider second season fiction. This is of course the editor's prerogative and should not be disputed. But it's a shame, because if you are in the middle of working your heart out on a story, or poem, or whatever, and hear that people aren't interested in seeing the fruits of your labors, it can be very discouraging. It gets worse when you hear that there are people who won't read it, either. Am I speaking from experience? Maybe a little. I had something I very much wanted to write, and held off on it because at the time I thought no one would take anything remotely based on second season. Instead, I decided to start up my own zine and take second season based material. Which is pretty much how and why Heretic Flotsam came into being. Right now I've got one, short, non-resurrection second season which I wrote. Does it bother me that people will refuse to read it just because it's second season? Yes, it does, but I can accept that, too.
- a zine ed weighs in on the idea of separating fiction by season in zines: A couple of people last issue suggested that zines with second season fiction should keep the first season material separate from the second season. That's not such a bad idea, for two reasons. First, if you don't want to see second season stories, then it's easier to avoid them. Second, if you do want to see second season stories, then at least they don't catch you by surprise. Will I sell an "expurgated version" of my zine which doesn't contain the second season material? No. It would drive the printing costs up, for one thing. For another, the second season stuff is a very minor portion of the zine and scarcely worth the effort of culling out. I would like to suggest, though, that even if you don't like the second season of the show, take a look at one or two non-resurrection stories. Judge the fan fiction on its own merits or lack thereof, not on the show's. A weird notion, I know, but maybe you won't mind the fiction so much.
Issue 8 was published in July 1990 and contains 90 pages. It contains interviews -- Philip Akin, Rachel Blanchard, Julian Richings and an end of the second season episode guide. There are twenty-nine LoCs.
- a reader congratulates the editor of the letterzine for winning a FanQ
- this issue has a review of Base Three, see that page
- this issue has two reviews of Bring 'Em Back Alive, see that page
- this issue has a review of Cell-Phase Matching #2, see that page
- this issue has a review of Code 47, Level 3, Authorization 10, see that page
- there is a flyer for a zine by Anne Elizabeth Zeek and Deborah June Laymon, complete with story titles and summaries that was to premiere at The Ezekiel Project that month; the zine seems to have never have been published
- the second season has ended; some fans still can't stand this season, but many fans write that the second half of the season actually wasn't too bad
- a number of fans comment on the cancelation of Alien Nation and bemoan the lack of good science fiction on television
- a fan writes: Even though I couldn't stand the series anymore and knew that cancellation was inevitable, I have to admit that now that it's over, I will miss its presence on some perverse level. A conclusion that I never thought about while writing the previous LOCs, bashing the series and all its faults, was that as long as it was on the air, there was a possibility of seeing the series rise from its depth of despair. As much I harangued about all its shortcomings, the last few episodes were actually getting better. I guess it's time to eat a little crow now that the series has bit the big one and improved on its way into the sci-fi graveyard with the other well-intentioned, but failed series of the past.
- another fan writes: Well, here we are at the end of a long and agonizing road through the second season, and yet also at the end of an era. The WAR is no more in more ways than just seeing the second season come to an end. As Mana said in "The Obelisk," it's not a choice I thought possible, but I'm actually sorry to see it end in some ways.
- more second season opinion: Well, I thought I'd add a few last comments -- surprisingly, some good -- about the final few episodes. It was actually rather interesting, now that it's all over, to reflect back on the bits and pieces I'd seen of the entire season. It reminded me a lot of ST:TNG's first season. You could see them grasping and casting about for a new direction and focus when one failed. It was constantly in transition and this, unfortunately, showed quite plainly. Not to mention the fact that that sort of thing always affects stories adversely.
- fans tended to enjoy the last episode, especially the happy ending, but others did not: Some fans have complained that fanzine writers do not do research before writing their stories. Well, in this case I'm going to complain as well because everyone connected with this last episode got paid to hand us this crap, and I think their actions are inexcusable considering the fact that a few minutes* research in any amateur astronomy book would've given them all the correct information they required.
- a complaint about a fanfic trend: "I've read all the fan fiction that I can get my hands on and genuinely enjoy just about all of it. However, I've noticed a rather disturbing trend to brand all Army officers rather than Paul Ironhorse, cowardly, sexist, incompetent bigots, if not downright psychotics."
- a number of fans are relying on zines: " I'm so glad the 'zines are proli ferating. Besides fuzzy, worn, well-memorized videotapes, it's all we have left now."
- and finally: "I miss War of the Worlds. I even miss second season. Good God, what am I saying?"
Issue 9 was published in September 1990 and contains 110 pages. It has another interview with Philip Akin; coverage and transcript of Phil's Ezekial project convention; editor's survey (a fantastic aid for submitting WOW fan fiction to zines); and more. There are twenty-four LoCs.
- in this issue, things start to wind down; there are no new episodes to discuss, some fans start to get a little snappish with each other over the subject of being a fan of the first season, the second season or both, many fans talk of the fine time they had at The Ezekiel Project, no one mentions RooCon which makes one wonder if it ended up taking place, and of course, just about everyone bad mouths the producer, Frank M. Jr.
- this issue contains a review of Heretic Flotsam, see that page
- this issue contains a review of Wasting Aliens, see that page
- this issue contains a review of The Celestial Toybox #6, see that page
- this issue contains a review of Forgive Us Our Trespasses, see that page
- about the lengthy Editor Survey: Someone remarked in a letter that the difference between fanzines and professional books is similar to the Olympics and pro sports. Participants in the Olympics do it for love, striving to do their best. Professionals do it because they like it - but they also get paid. Fanzines are very similar. Just because we're amateurs doesn't mean we can't strive for professional results. In fact, some fan writers have gone on to writing professionally published novels. Hence, last issue I proposed doing an Editor's Survey --to find out what fan editors felt their contribution was in regards to publishing zines, and how they felt about reviews in general and fanzine reviews — because many fans are new to fandom and have had questions in this area. This survey should aid the aspiring fan writer in selecting a zine to which to contribute, and give the readers an idea of zine content, which may be vastly influenced by editorial policy.
- a fan admits to some shifting attention: "I can't help feeling that, at least as far as TV goes, that the series is yesterday's news. I still enjoy the LOCs, fan-fic, and zines about WOW, but I can't bring myself to watch the episodes any more. Probably in a year or so, I'll drag out my WOW tapes and enjoy them, as I do now."
- a fan addresses the question of a fandom after the canceled show: "Will WOW fandom survive the show's demise?" I expressed a concern over this in my LOC in issue #7 of TBP. I might have come off as pessimistic then, but since writing that letter it occurred to me that (based on what I've read in these pages) many fans feel the show ended with its first season (I personally disagree, but all viewpoints are valid). So in a sense, the fandom has already survived a year longer than the show that inspired it. Right now I feel that the fandom will go on, I just hope those who like the first season and despise the second will put up with those of us (like me) who like the second season, for enjoying the second season doesn't necessarily mean we're ignoring the first like the second season production team did. The first season is, after all, what I saw first and was drawn to initially, but I like the second too.
- a fan speculates: "Will the fanzines fall into the same rut as the series did?" Well, I could point out that it's debatable whether or not the series fell "into a rut" (but like Ironhorse said, "It's a matter of semantics."). Again, I thought the second season pulled itself out of its rut midway through (admittedly that's a very debatable point). Anyway, as far as fanzines are concerned, I think the quality of the work that appears in them will remain high as long as there is enthusiasm for the show and to my mind there is a simple reason for this: we are fans, and the reason we write fan fiction (and draw fan art, etc.) is so that we can create something worthy in the show's name and share with others who are also interested in it. Let's face it, the writers who worked on the show (regardless of whether or not they were excited by the characters, situations, etc., etc.) were not fans. Some may have wished to produce a really fantastic end product and others may have just wanted to sell another script, but it was still a job to them.
- about fanfiction and its future: I doubt that Greg Strangis or any of the actors thought when they began work on this program that it would have such an impact on a group of people such as this. The creative possibilities are virtually endless in the hands of the show's fans. Fan fiction could chronicle the second season as it could have happened (or should have, depending on your point of view.). The intensity of the conflict could be escalated in a believable manner, and the colonists from Mor-Tax could arrive (in those cool, goose-necked ships!). Or, if you like the second season, you could perhaps fashion stories more in keeping with the infamous commercial spots which ran prior to the second season, making the Morthren really create disasters on a planetary scale. Then again, some may prefer smaller, more personal tales dealing specifically with the interaction of the characters. I think all the above are valid, and each person can bring a new perspective to the WOW universe.
- a fan is upset at the tone and direction of many previous letters: Okay, that's it! If I read one more letter complaining about how Norton and Ironhorse's deaths ruined WOW (yes, I'm going to keep calling it WAR OF THE WORLDS). I think I'm gonna hurt someone. They were just characters! They weren't real! Yes, I liked both of them, but look at the title of the show, WAR. In a war people are bound to be killed, and the most likely candidates to get killed are those who go looking for combat (such as a trained military commando such as Ironhorse) and those who are defenseless at a time of attack. Norton was not armed when Ironhorse 2 killed him. Think about it. Norton could have been killed just as easily in the first season if the alien (Adrian) had been bright enough to be carrying a gun. If that seems a bit harsh, it might be because it's 1:40 a.m. and I've just spent the past four hours reading back issues of TBP, which consist mainly of Mancuso bashing and complaining about the second season... It's to everyone who condemned the second season by comparing it with the first season (apples and oranges, remember). It's to everyone who has the idea that the show wasn't about humanity vs. aliens but rather it was Ironhorse and Norton vs. the aliens. It's to all the fanzines out there who will only accept submissions if they are first season. Is it just me, or wasn't the entire story behind WOW (the first season, even) that two different peoples can live and learn from each other as long as one group isn't out for the destruction of the other? And that's really how it looks to me from reading all these letters. It seems that there is this big, militant faction of Season One devotees who would rather see the show die than accept a new outlook to the show, minus a couple of characters.
- another fan speculates on future WOW fandom: Will the fandom survive? We survived Frank Jr.'s "new improved season". As Julie Evans said, "There's almost infinite possibilities," especially from fan fiction. We have season one, season two, what happened between the two seasons and what might have happened if the Strangis' would have made the changes they wanted to make... Not to mention the cartoon on page 69 of TBP #8 that suggests Malzor and company aren't the colonists, that more Mor-taxans are on the way. If aliens are found in Texas, does that make them Mor-texans? If you break the word down, Mor-taxens, these guys have got to be with the IRS. Fan fiction is going strong and growing, and there are still conventions to keep us going.
- and more: I've had time to think about the last episode and to reflect on the second season in whole, and unfortunately I must admit that the last show was the best. Regardless of past mistakes, they allowed the storyline to be tied up and to really end it. Oh, they've left it open for the fans and the writers. And that's where WOW belongs now. It belongs to the fans just as many other shows have went that way. As for the future of the fandom part, that's up to us. As for TBP1 Well, again that is up to us. There are many things to discuss and things to keep everyone posted on. One thing that fandom does is generate new fans that they never thought they would find. Look at STAR TREK as one example. The studios canceled it and the fans were enraged. We, of WOW, might not have been able to save our fave heroes or give our show another season, but we have what it means to us and have the vision of what it could have been. So as letterzines are on the growth and fanzines are popping up all over the place, I think that part of the worry is taken care of. The main question is will it last the time period of TREK or SPACE 1999. Only time will really tell. I know from first-hand experience that the road is a tough one. TREK fans have and are still fighting to survive. I'm sure there are a lot of topics that will be recovered as we look back and new fans come around, but as to falling into a rut, I doubt if that will happen.
- and more: On to the fandom of WOW; that question I think I answered a bit of in my last statement. And as I saw in TBP #8, there are a lot of new fanzines coming out and a lot of people will think of the favorite question, "What if." And I think that a lot of us are wondering what if What's-his-face didn't kill off Ironhorse, what if the Blackwood Project was written differently etc. Look at the BEAUTY & THE BEAST fans... There is a fanzine out there that combines not only B&B, but also QUANTUM LEAP, and Vincent is really Sam and he has to save Catherine. So that's the one thing fandom allows fans — the space and the limits of their own imagination so as long as we don't lose our ability to question or to dream, then the WOW fandom and TBP will always grow. We've earned our first step with the Ezekiel Project and not many shows even get that far. So I say we're on the right track.
- and more on the future of WOW fandom: WOW fandom survive the series' demise?" I think it will. From what I've read in TBP and other fanzines, there is still enough interest in the series to keep fandom running for a long time. How long it keeps going depends on us, thank goodness, not Paramount. At this point, it seems there will be no second generation fans since Paramount isn't planning to syndicate the series. Hopefully, Paramount will release the series on videotape like Universal did BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. At least WOW had a predecessor in the series since the second season of that series had to have taken place in an alternate universe like TSL Hopefully the fanzines won't get stuck in a rut like the series. From what I've read in the fanzines, the fan writers are being more creative than the second season writers.
- a fan is unhappy about the lack of science fiction shows on television: The economics of TV today make this next to impossible -- a show has to get lots of viewers right away or it's out the door. Maybe cable is the only route. If the Sci-fi Channel flies, maybe new shows for it will be done in the way that most of us would like to see. And with that thought mind, I'll close 'til next time. Again, it was a great to have met you and the other WOW fans and TBP readers. Keep the banner flying for genuine SF TV and films. Accept no substitutes. If we holler and plead long and loud enough, maybe someone will finally hear us. TA-TA!
Issue 10 was published in December 1990 and contains 118 pages. It has an interview with Greg and Vinnie, two of WOW's set dressers (read about the "squid" incident) and a report of Richard Chaves' appearance at the Satellite One convention. There are twenty-one LoCs.
- there are several con reports for Satellite One, see that page
- fans continue to discuss the viability of the WOW fandom after the show's cancelation: [About] whether this fandom will "survive". I'm not particularly concerned about "extinction". The track record has been pretty good in fandom --STAR TREK, BLAKE'S 7. I'm even enjoying this VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA fandom that has suddenly kinda pulled together after so many years. In fact, most of the shows I enjoy as a real fan are off the air and syndicated. Some of them haven't been shown for years, some aren't even on -- but I've seen them again or for the first time because of fandom (THE PROFESSIONALS, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD).
- another fan writes: Sure, things might quiet down a little, no one can burn hot forever. We are fans of WOW for many different reasons. Those reasons haven't been cancelled. A decent and sometimes interesting story, characters that were intriguing (and the actors), a series that was a little exceptional, with a sense of humor. And there's the fan fiction, the zines, the conventions, and for me this has provided the opportunity to do some pretty challenging and different things, and to learn. Then, the friendships we've made; hasn't it been a wonderful experience? Those things won't evaporate, they never do. Cancellation of the program means the fandom will "evolve", perhaps a change of niches, but I won't give up the things I've gained from the experience.
- fans also continue to debate the appeal of the second season as opposed to the first: My only point is (and this is reflected by virtually every zine I've ever read in this fandom and to date I have them all) the dominant majority of the fans prefer first season and/or the original cast of characters, including Iron-horse and Drake. My personal preference is for first season because that is the series and those are the characters which inspire me as a writer. I just can't get into all that gloom and doom stuff myself. More power to you if you can. If you're waiting for an all second season non-resurrection type zine to come out, then I'm afraid you're in for a hell of a long wait, unless you put one together yourself or some other second season fan purist surprises me. There's just no market for it. I believe in giving the reading audience what it wants and that seems to be first season oriented WOW or second season with the original characters restored. It's a classic example of supply and demand. We zine editors supply what the majority of the fans demand. Feel free to enjoy second season to your heart's content and you'll never hear an unkind word from me about your preference vs. mine. If we were all the same — homogenized -- and liked the same things, it would be a pretty dull and boring world.
- more on the debate over the tone and cast of the two seasons: [I think] people are decent worthwhile individuals. Shows like TSI only show the cruel, self-centered aspect of the human race. First season was a very positive show. Even when the team lost and sometimes they did lose, it still felt positive. You had four individuals from different backgrounds with different outlooks on life who had to learn to work and live together. Even when they did not really like each other, they still strove to be a team. The characters are what made this show so good. It certainly wasn't some of the plots; they had holes big enough to drive a starship through. Between the mass amnesia, the silly sounding alien dialogue, and the excessive violence, this show had plenty of faults, but it had people who made you care about them. What made STAR TREK such a phenomenal success was the chemistry between the characters and this kind of chemistry was happening on WOW. If the format had been left alone, I really think WOW would have improved and in the long run [would] have become as successful as TREK...
- while there has been MANY complaints about the change in seasons, with the new producer almost uniformly vilified, some fans are stepping back from this attitude: I, too, was becoming more and more dishear-tended with the continuous sniping Mr. Mancuso has received. I mean, it's as though he bopped off your favorite character or something! (sorry, joke, joke). It got to the point where if I saw the word "Mancuso" printed, I stopped reading, yawned, and then continued with the next letter as I knew exactly what was going to be written in the next few lines. It was incredibly unfair and childish (oh, oh, he bopped off my favorite character, mummy, mummy, tell that nasty Mr. Mancuso. Well, what did you expect dear, from the Devil incarnate? Now, go back to your room dear and polish your tomahawk). I'm sure a great many people will try and convince me they hate the second series WOW because of, say, the writing, the characterization, whatever, and not, they repeat, not because of the demise of a certain Native American. Give me a break, kids, I'm flp_i convinced. I'm also unconvinced of the fact that they're just as upset about Norton dying. I mean, let's use a generic quote here, "How dare they kill off my favorite character! Oh, and, er, Norton of course and duly the generic letter proceeds on and on about Mr. Chaves, who is such a wonderful man and the wonderful character of Ironhorse and it's all too beautiful. (I just wanted to burst into song then.) Wonderful and scant mention of Norton and Phil Akin thereafter. Yes, I know, I'm sure Mr. Chaves is great and I'd probably like him, if I met him, I'll grant you all that, but let's face it kids, he's an actor, not God, an actor, not let's not get them mixed up; one creates characters, the other creates humans, you have to guess which one (oh dear, I'm sounding a bit patronizing here, sorry).
- more backlash on the backlash: I have read LOC after LOC in issue after issue of people cutting apart the second season -- moaning and groaning about Ironhorse's death. I don't know about you — but if I find more things wrong with a show than right -- I don't watch it! I enjoyed the first season -- I enjoyed the second season even more! Kincaid had more depth and range than Ironhorse ever showed and he was better-looking as well (just my opinion --but I'm not into old men). Don't get me wrong --I did like Ironhorse and Norton very much and yes, I was sorry to see them go. They were just characters, folks! Life and shows do go on. And if you think about it, if you really wanted Ironhorse to come back -- those of you who boycotted the show killed any chance that that could ever happen.
- more opinion on the second show and fans' reactions: ...most of us became fans of a few people, not the whole team or the overall show. I sure took a while to get over the loss of the first season security, but one should've prepared for it, let it pass, and accepted the second invasion in stride. He also hit all the right points with the cliques that have grown in our family, rallying around only a certain element of the show(s) like Ironhorse, Jared Martin as a Hunk, etc., to the exclusion of the rest of the show(s)' elements. Picking on season two was valid, we were defending the show that left that great first impression two years ago. However, while this was natural, it may have crippled the second season's chance for a better life. NEXT GEN got off to a sh—ty start, really! Awfully derivative scripts and yawners adorned the first two seasons, then a lot of creative people came and went, just like war. Fans even sent in and had scripts developed from their fictional extensions. So if things were a bit more receptive and inputting things like that into Mancuso or the people who bossed HIM, maybe we'd have a thrilling third season. But we all must remember that WAR and FI3 came out under NEXT GEN's shadow, and were doomed to second-class treatment.
- this fan suggests taking it all to the zines: I'd still like to see the first season war carried along in fan fiction. There's a convention in BLAKE'S 7 fanfic (maybe in others too) whereby you can put a little time-tag just before the story starts, letting the readers know if it's between certain episodes or takes place after the aired first season (B7 had four seasons, so the tagging can get more involved), or involves an alternate time/world line. I'd like to see some timelines develop that don't immediately drop off into the aired second season.
- a fan and zine ed brings up the topic of fiction in zines that is published in parts: There's something I started to gripe about in the review of To Life Immortal #3. but it's not fair to point the finger at just one zine... and it's a matter someone else was talking about in a previous issue of TBP. In TLI3, the publication of a story that follows a trilogy which is still largely unpublished is a working definition of "too much." WOW fandom has developed the distressing phenomenon of scrambled continuity. This started with Lana Merkel's "Keys of Hell" in Dee-Pice I, a story which chronologically followed "The Third Beast." "Beast was not published in Alien Sushi III for trade stories with B; doing that would save us all a lot of confusion. Alternately, there's nothing wrong with writing a novelette or novella and either publishing it free-standing or finding an editor who's willing to do a feig zine. I'm curious to know how other readers feel about this. What do you say?
- another fan addresses the subject of fiction that is printed in parts: I agree with your comments regarding multipart stories that are printed in various zines. At one point several years ago I wouldn't buy a zine for a multi-part story because all too often the second part of the story wouldn't get printed for months, and on an occasion or two, it just never got printed. If a writer/editor does decide to go that route, it's only polite to the fans to say "Hey, part 2 will be in this zine. Write them for more info." WOW fandom is small enough that people can get together and organize their talents and thus avoid confusion.
- a fan wonders if, overall, fans are very powerful when it comes to affecting decisions by TPTB: While fandom could be construed as "pressure group" of sorts, they don't hold the power to kill off/or save a show (perhaps with the exception of the huge following of STAR TREK fans). Organized groups (usually churchs, etc.) can adversely affect a show if another pressure is brought to bear. Third, the ratings -- the Nielsens -- weren't at all good. Nielsens count more than anything else; the networks pay a LOT of money for ratings information... And I'm sure everybody's noticed that letter-writing campaigns just aren't what they used to be.
- a fan comments on fandom: Yes, there are some fans who are too zealous over an actor/show; it happens in every fandom, every walk of life. I remember STAR TREK went through that stage when TNG came out. I met some ST fen (hopefully a very, very small minority) who were positively hateful of the new series. (I also encountered that attitude when SPACE: 1999 came out; anything besides STAR TREK was utter garbage in their opinion. So much for IDIC.) Remember the Trek Classic" t-shirts? The division between second season and first season fans is similar, I suppose, but nothing has peaked the outrageous stupidity of the BLAKE'S 7 fiasco. I still don't know all the details behind that mess, but do know that certain fans were mudslinging viciously, and unfortunately dragged the actors into it. I have encountered some mudslinging in WOW fandom, but it appeared to be an isolated incident.
- there is a review of Alien Sushi #3 and #4, see that page
- there is a review of Dee-Pice #2, see that page
- there is a review of Let the Children Come, see that page
- there is a review of To Life Immortal #3, see that page
Issue 11 was published in February 1991 and contains 114 pages. It was the last issue. A suggested topic was "How has War of the Worlds changed/affected your life?" and many people wrote in, including some of the cast members. There are 51 LoCs, several of them by WOW actors
- this issue has no zine reviews
- the editor says she is hoping to continue The Blackwood Project as a newsletter, one that reports on what the actors are currently up to; she planned to retain the name, publish the first issue of this newsletter in May, and continue with the numbering, making it "Issue 12." There is mention of another WOW letterzine that amy be starting up, called "The Advocacy" to be published by Monica van Ness 
- the editor compiles many anonymous, lengthy excerpts from the letterzines Jundland Wastes, Jundland, Too, and Alderaan about the place and role of zine reviews; she says the purpose of printing these quotes was that many WOW fans were new to fandom itself and weren't aware of the long, complicated, and already-discussed topic of fanzine reviews
- the editor writes of this letterzine: Someone told me that I have the longest running WOW zine available. That's true, until another zine surpasses that mark. Yet I consider TBP a success due not to its longevity but because it maintained a decent level of quality, and fulfilled its purpose — to act as a public forum where fans could talk about any aspect of WOW. The series may have had lousy ratings and time slots, but I think all involved in the production of WOW would be happy to know that their show was discussed but it certainly wasn't ignored. You can't say that about every TV series. At times, some LOCers might have been less than polite in their comments; this appears to happen in all LZs. It's certainly not the cause of TBP's demise, but a very small factor; after all, I'm sure we'd all agree that it's not very productive to rehash the same arguments over and over. As is the nature of fandom, many WOW fans are moving onto new fandoms (DARK SHADOWS and QUANTUM LEAP are the most popular). WOW fandom will always be around as long as fans remember it.
- a fan responds to the question of how has WOW fandom affected your life: They say that men are the ones who suffer most severely from "mid-life crisis" when they look back at their life and wonder "What have I accomplished?" Women are supposed to look at their children and homes and think, "That is what I've accomplished!*' and there is a small satisfaction to that, but often families and careers have forced us to put aside "childish things" for adult responsibility. My creative writing was one of those childish things that I put away and thought dead and buried. What was it about 1st season WOW that resurrected the energy and inspiration to take up my "childish things" once again? More than anything else it was the sense of caring, camaraderie, and teamwork, irregard-less of race, creed, belief or differing ability. It was putting aside petty differences to work for the greater good. It was how hostility and animosity could turn to respect and genuine caring and most of all it was about daring to take risks!
- a fan writes of what she has gotten from WOW fandom: Another important event that entered my life through WOW's fandom is my venture into Vine publishing/editing. Had I not been so royally pissed off about "The Second Wave", the thought would have fluttered around in my little head for the next ten years without coming to fruition. Bring 'Em Back Alive! and Advocate Angst were experiences I wouldn't have missed for anything. 1 was able to work with a group of authors whom I grew to have a great deal of respect for and a genuine liking of. They went out of their way to accommodate my suggestions, were invariably kind and understanding, and extremely patient. I'm glad to have this opportunity to thank them publicly. Ladies, your hard work was appreciated more than you'll ever know, and I can honestly say the stories were some of the best I've ever seen in any fandom -- and my fandoms stretch across enough series to send the casual viewers screaming into the night, so that's saying something!
- a fan ruminates on WOW fandom: Through TBP I have made numerous friends. I have discovered fan publications and got brave enough to submit a story I had written. TBP has been my main source of information about conventions, fan publications, and news about the actors. I will miss it. Of course I wouldn't have discovered TBP if it hadn't been for WOW. It's been almost two years since they quit airing and still at 10:30 on Saturday night I want to turn the show on. WOW has given me a whole new group of characters to write about. So I guess the time has come to say good-bye and I find myself experiencing a feeling not unlike the ones you get at annual signing day. How do you tell a person that your life is richer because they have touched it? To tell a person that they have opened your eyes to new opportunities and new horizons? And of course, you want to say something witty. TBP has done that for me as well as introduce me to some incredible people. To those people — your LOCs and stories have made me laugh and cry but maybe, most importantly, they made me think and gave me the courage to write and submit my own story. To the people I've met, well, some of you guys are crazy but I hope to meet more of you. As Patrica [Ames] said, the fandom will evolve. I like that, and if we don't evolve, that leaves extinction.
- more on fandom: "I've sat here for some time thinking about what I should write, then about what I could write. I feel, somehow, as if I've pretty much said it all; that even though the series has been cancelled, the FANDOM hasn't been cancelled, and no one can take away the things all of us have gained from being part of this nifty collection of people. I'll stand by that."
- on fandom and longevity: It has been worth it though, to be in the fandom. Gosh, I'm starting to sound like this is (he last letter I'll ever write about WOW, believe me it won't be! And hopefully Elyse will put out a once-a-year newsletter or something. (Please) This fandom will survive, of that I am most certain. If SHADOW CHASERS still has a following then why would WOW fold up? All these shows will continue to attract more followers as the years pass. Ruth just got me into THE PROFESSIONALS fandom and it's been off the air for what? eight or nine years. (And only shown in a few American markets.) As long as the fans keep writing zines there will be new people reading them and then trying to get hold of the videotapes. Would the Malthusian theory apply here? Videoiapes might replace food in the equation -- keep your copies safe -- they might be a valuable commodity someday.
- another fan writes: "As long as everyone keeps the fanfic going and we keep running into each other at cons, there will be a WOW fandom. This might be the last TBP but life goes on and TV shows come and go. So until the next really good show..."
- and: "How has WOW changed my life? Met some people, had some fun, [and] bitter disappointment and has added a stronger streak of cynicism as well as a reluctance 10 become attached to another show. The last time was STAR TREK, when I was 11. Maybe in another 20 years...."
- a fan wonders if WOW fandom will survive: Unfortunately I'm cynical enough to believe that it won't be around all that much longer, at least not in a true capacity. "But Scott, what about fanzines? There's a whole bunch of 'em out there!" I hear you cry. Sorry folks, I have the feeling that we will be seeing a drop-off in the amount of 'zines out there. It's just a feeling, mind you, and I'm sure that there will continue to be some 'zines out there, but not as many as there are. It's funny in a way. STAR TREK survived twenty years on fanzines and the like alone, and it only lasted one season longer than WOW. How come that show garnered such a devoted following? I mean, let's admit it, ST fans outnumber WOW fans about 100 to 1.
- the division between fans of the first season and that of the second is still strong: To those of you who get tired of those of us who would've preferred to keep original cast intact, and as a fairly objective fan of WOW, I can only offer the query of what would happen to another popular sci-fi show, ST:TNG, if either Picard, Riker, Data or Troi were removed? It might just fly, but just barely. It's a marvelous piece of work THOSE writers have done in the development of the stodgy and staid Picard.
- about loyalties and free speech: onto a sort-of-controversial subject. Since TBP is a publication about WOW, I was always under the assumption that all of the characters could be discussed freely by that character's fan and the way a fan wanted that character remembered or presented on TV. I'm glad that the fans who didn't like Ironhorse or Harrison "glorification" or Ironhorse being grieved more than Norton spoke up and voiced their frustrations. If someone, however, liked Ironhorse more than Norton, that's their choice. Norton was not prominently displayed in the series, that's why many fans know he was there and know he was an excellent character, but aren't going to idolize or glorify Ironhorse because he just wasn't as prominent. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are Norton idolizers, but those who wanted to "grieve" the death of Ironhorse more and/or wanted to rip apart the second season, that is/was their choice.
- more on blame and favorites: Everyone seems to universally hate the second invasion. Initially I did too. Then I sat back and actually watched several weeks worth of stories (out of sheer boredom, if you must know the truth). And many of them were good. (Try "Seft of Emun", "Loving the Alien", and "Max" if you don't believe me.) Which really makes me wonder: how much of what went wrong with the second season was really Mancuso's fault -- and how much was Paramount's? Like it or not, Paramount has a poor track record in keeping hands off of its series -- especially any really 'creative' series. Take a look at the difference between the STAR TREK movies and ST:TNG. If that isn't the same as the 'first season/second season' debacle I'll eat alien sushi for the next five years! I'd quote you other examples but I can't think of any off the top of my head. The bottom line is that Paramount ruined a good series -- NOT Mancuso. So lay the blame where it rightfully belongs.
- a fan wants to know why continuity in shows is so hard: When I read complaints from fans in various fandoms about series continuity and characters acting out of character, I wonder why a series' creative forces don't pick up on this and hire a fan or two or some specialist to act as a consultant on these points. Of course, I don't think this would solve all the complaints from fans, but it might have some effect (Hey! You can't give this guy a brother when last year an episode claimed he was an only child!) It seems to me that this might be a good public relations gesture, by a series exec, but I suppose it could lead to other problems, since everyone reads characters somewhat differently.
- a fan writes of cons, and permission: There's a question I have to ask all of you who manage to get to so many cons. How do you do it? When I read about the cons, I try to figure out how I would explain them and my desire to go to my husband, justify the expenses, arrange to care for my four kids, etc. (My husband hardly blinked when I took our crew to Disney World last year or when I went again sans kid with my brother last month, but I think he'd look at me a little differently while I was explaining a con. I doubt he'd try to stop me from going, but he'd still think I was nuts. All I can say is — you must have wonderful spouses!
- a fan is saddened, and apologizes: I was saddened at the bitter name-calling in fandom. When a group first gets together, all is sweetness and light, simple joy at finding other people who love a show. As times goes on, they splinter over actors (/He's WONDERFUL!'/' He's a stuck-up jerk!'), characters, zine storylines, whatever. I expected the division over seasons -- I still can't reconcile it as one show, but see it as two different shows -- but hoped the personality clashes wouldn't materialize as they did. You may think I'm an idiot for my opinions and I may think you're an idiot for yours, but there's no need for either of us to try a smear campaign on the other. But then that seems to be the way of fandoms, or any inbred group. And still on that subject, I sometimes say things in anger that I later forget but which others don't; or a flip remark may be taken seriously. If I've hurt anyone's feelings, consider this a public apology. My opinion on the subject may remain the same, but don't take it personally.
- War of the Worlds bumps up, in time, to a real war, one in the Middle East: I find it very hard to gather my thoughts and be coherent. I admit it; I am concerned to the point of terror. Who knows where we'll be when this letter is printed; a week feels too long right now, as if time has slowed, stopped, but events go on. Hopefully we'll soon be at a point where we can step back and sort our feelings out. Right now I'm confused, hurt, angry, scared, and mostly disappointed. As in "I'm very disappointed in you", the one phrase no child wants to hear from a parent. I'm disappointed that we as human beings have not learned the lessons of the past; I'm disappointed that our leaders have not shown more forbearance. But... I can neither support nor condemn this war. We are now in it; I will support our troops and our leaders in any way they ask, but I will not always agree with them. "War of the Worlds" was a fun thing; it showed people working together against a common threat, a threat that came from outside humanity, a force that had many advantages over humans and yet was not invincible. It was a fantasy. Now there is a real war. War is not a good thing. People do not work together; they are at odds. People become impolite; they throw things at each other. Everyone gets cranky. I'm not trying to make light of what's happening by any means. But my view of things is now skewed by the realization of how fast a world can change; I thought events were moving fast when the Berlin Wall came down. How far have we come from those days of hope? Pretty damn far... and close to the brink of something far more scarier than anything Hollywood has thought up in years.
- another way to keep in touch? -- this fan has an idea: One possible successor, has anyone heard of the idea of Round Robins? There are two ways to do them -- one, the people in the chain get the packet, copy it, write their own responses and send the packet on to the next person. In the other system, all the members send letters to Person 1, who makes copies for all the other members. Then the following month (or whatever the schedule), everyone sends their letters to Member 2, and so on. This usually works best with 4 to 10 people; after that it starts to get unwieldy. Version #1 tends to take longer, and if one member sits on the packet it can cause a real logjam. The second system is a faster exchange of communication, but usually has to have a page limit and stricter deadlines. Anyone interested in starting one of these, if nobody picks up a letterzine? It's easier to write with someone to bounce ideas off of. Drop me a line if you'd like to try one.
- while this letterzine was most filled with very exceedingly polite letters, at least in the ones too each other, this fan took another to task: Egad, woman. Please don't apologize for sounding patronizing -- you've honed the technique to a fine art. Indulge yourself. Of course, the supercilious condescension will immediately alienate anyone you might hope to convince, but as long as you're enjoying your lofty position.... Not that I and Norton, if not by name. Remember when Kincaid wanted to shoot Mana -- his line was something like, "That bitch killed my brother!"? All Harrison had to do was say, "John, we've all lost people we loved." Or "They killed Iron-horse, too. And Norton. But it's got to stop somewhere." It would have been perfect, it would have circled back and tied the seasons together ... and dramatically, it would have pointed out that Ironhorse's having killed himself to save Debi, and the others, ultimately did save the Earth, and validate his action. But ... they blew it.
- on the end: WOW has finally been laid to rest. Its death throes went on for an entire season, despite the prayers of hopeful fans that it could heal itself and again be a program to love. With very few exceptions, science fiction shows seem born to die, and do so rather quickly. A pity, really. Hollywood continues to give American cookie-cutter sitcoms and shoot-'em-ups that drag on for years, while programs of imagination and invention finish up on the scrap heap. Angry letters to producers from fans don't make a bit of difference in the ratings game. In the end, the only people who will listen to our protests are our fellow fans, and publications such as this give us a voice.