Many thanks to Surfer Girl for the transcript

New Zealand Herald
November 1999


"Television is often accused of blurring fantasy and reality - and that's
just the news. But if there was one place where the humble viewer didn't
have to pick a way carefully through the newspeak and double think, it was
the fantasy world of Hercules and Xena.

Sadly, TV3 has perpertrated a minor crime by scheduling Hercules: The
Legendary Journeys at 3 pm on a Saturday. 3 pm! This is a very bad time,
what with summer on the way and all. But apparently New Zealanders have
little taste for these fantas-tical, tongue-in-cheek, SFX laden
programmes, despite the fact that they're made near Auckland and star many
of the nation's finest and more besides.

Both Hercules and Xena are combinations of wry kiwi humour and invention
and Yank showbiz nous. They give our actors experience, international
exposure and a chance - one they'll never get on Jacksons Wharf - to ham
it up. I must have already blathered on about their effect on our film
industry, how nearly everyone working on Lord of the Rings has Hercules or
Xena somewhere on their CV. The only problem for actors is the danger of
being typecast.

In America, Xena and Herc are in the top 20 syndicated shows, though Xena
is more popular. Despite this, Hercules has been canned and the final show
is only a couple of weeks away. Kevin Sorbo clearly thinks that six years
of wandering around Keri Keri in leather pants is enough - at least he can
cut his hair and stop being so nice all the time. If his career doesn't
take off there's always a lifetime's worth of Hercules conventions to
attend. And where has Xena, our lady of the leather wonderbra, gone? Will
we ever get to see the latest series where Lucy Lawless' pregnancy was
written in as an immaculate conception? Apparently TV3 has just as much
trouble scheduling Xena as it has had with Hercules.

Thankfully, the production set-up for Hercules hasn't just crumbled at the
whim of the American public. The gap has been filled by two new shows,
Jack of all trades and Cleopatra 2525. Jack, which stars Bruce Campbell
(Xena's Autolycus) and our own Angela Dotchin, is about a British Secret
Service agent stationed on a Caribbean island in the early 18th century.
Dotchin made her mark in Young Herucles, another one we won't see, I
suspect, even though it starts Dean O'Gorman and Jodie Rimmer. Cleopatra
is a babes-with-attitude futuristic actioner starring 3 athletic American
women and Joel Tobeck. (Tobeck was in Topless Women, but Herc-watchers
will know him as Ares' toady sidekick Strife, where he went vaguely Edward
Scissorhands and hammed it up like no other.) Cleopatra is a frozen exotic
dancer who thaws out in a future ruled by evil robots.

Both these shows go into production this month and start airing in America
in January. Who knows when, or even if, they'll go to air here? TV4 would
seem to be their natural home - as it should be for Herc and Xena, really.
It would certianly improve TV4's line-up. It could get rid of those really
rubbishy, totally American made fantasy/sci-fi shows like Deepwater Black
and Lexx.

But at this stage we can but hope, video tapes at the ready. It's a hard
life." - Fiona Rae