Saturday, January 16, 2016

Timeline for the 'Caitlin Star' trilogy

Here are the some of the key events taking place in the “Caitlin Star” universe.

7880 B.C. — Some of the events in “Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians”

1983 – A mysterious muscle-bound vigilante makes his first appearance defending a homeless man against a gang of bullies.  It is the first documented appearance of the man known as “Gunner Star”.

1985 – Gunner Star takes on his first protégé, a stock trader genius named Zahn. Gunner teaches him the “Bull Mongoni philosophy”, a credo of beliefs based on the teachings of a mythic race of hominids who vanished long ago.

1985 – 1990 – Gunner and Zahn become the Batman and Robin of Pittsburgh. They operate out of the shadows, dispensing social justice and defending those who have no voice or power to fight back. They are fearless, never hesitating to take on sadistic agents of evil, no matter how powerful and influential they are. Thus, they become heroes to those in need, but enemies many of those in power.

1990 – Zahn becomes increasingly aggressive and fanatical, wanting to go beyond the mission parameters of enacting vigilante justice. “All humans are evil. This mistake of history must be reversed. Only then can the Bull Mongoni rise again.” Gunner believes there are still worthy humans who will have a place in the new world. While Gunner wants to change the world, Zahn wants to blow it up and start over.

1991 - The disagreement between Gunner and Zahn leads to a falling out and a physical showdown. Zahn vanishes from Gunner Star’s Lair of Doom.

1992 – Gunner Star goes dark.

1999 – Gunner Star re-emerges as he takes on a new protégé named Joe Fenton.

2003 – Gunner Star rescues a thirteen year-old girl from a group of would-be rapists and begins to train her in the ways of the Bull Mongoni. That girl is Caitlin Star.

2004 – Joe Fenton publishes the book, “The Sacred Scrolls of Tarmok”. It is the first time knowledge of the Bull Mongoni has been made public. The book becomes an instant sensation and soon there is a world-wide movement of Bull Mongoni disciples.

2005 - Gunner Star begins recruiting and training an elite band of warriors to build an underground army for the dark days of revolution that lay ahead.

2012 – A new recruit arrives at Gunner’s Lair and is to be trained by Caitlin. His name is Tyrone Fulton.

2016 – The escalating culture wars result in the rigged election of a President Perkins and his new Moral Authority. Soon, any talk of an earth older than 6000 years is a felony and the bodies of all women of reproductive age are declared property of the state.

2018 – Perkins dissolves the Supreme Court and declares all of North America under the Moral Authority rule. Led by Caitlin Star, the Bull Mongoni, revolution begins!

2020 - Senator Ben Cross of Texas revives the Moral Authority, under the guise of a para-military gang known as the White Hand in Central Africa, and is intent on destroying the only remaining patch of pristine rain forest on Earth. Caitlin springs into action.

2020 -2021 —  A World War III apocalypse event takes place.

2025 — The events of “Caitlin Star and the Rise of theBarbarians”

Friday, January 15, 2016

‘Sheena’, the series

Premiering in 2000 at the tail end of the syndication boom of the 90’s, “Sheena” is a colorful, entertaining, action adventure drama, based on the character created by Golden Age comic book legends  Will Eisner and S. M. "Jerry" Iger.

Like the cult classic 1984 film starring Tanya Roberts, the series retains the spirit of the original comic book, plus works in some added supernatural elements.

Somehow I missed this show during its initial two season run. It may have poorly distributed because I do not even recall seeing it on or ever even promoted, and was not even aware of the show until years later when I purchased a slew of back issues “Femme Fatale”  magazine and saw a cover story about the series.

Finally, I saw the show was now available on DVD, and decided to take the plunge.

I am now five episodes in, and you know what? I like it. As a matter of fact I am enjoying the show quite a bit. I like it a lot.

First off, the ridiculously gorgeous Gena Lee Nolin is perfectly cast as Sheena. She exudes a raw, primal sexuality and has the charisma to pull off such a larger than life character.

Oddly enough, even though she is sporting way more clothing (most of the time anyway) than Tanya Roberts did in the 1984 film, it actually works in favor of the show. Sometimes keeping the sexuality just below the surface makes it more erotic. Keep in mind, this is all done in the context of a PG 13 friendly presentation. But like Conan and Tarzan, primal eroticism is woven into the narrative and subtext and finding a way to tap into it is a key factor to any successful adaption of these works. And thanks to Gena Lee Nolin—as well as her supporting co-star (the muscular, charming   John Allen Nelson), this show manages to pull it off surprisingly well.

Another thing I really like is that both the series, and the main character, have a philosophy. Sheena is serious about protecting her jungle, and I absolutely love this!

So far the storylines have been strong with good guest stars (Peter Onorati , Jennifer Hammon, and Ron Ely—Tarzan from the 1966 NBC series yet to come!).

Both major supporting characters are fairly well-developed. The aforementioned muscular Cutter (John Allen Nelson) reminds me a bit of Michael Douglas’s character from “Romancing the Stone” mixed in with a dash of “Indiana Jones”. Sheena’s stepmother Kali, played by the beautiful Margo Moorer, is a wonderful character.

Not having the benefit of a feature film budget to shoot on location in Africa as the 1984 film did, or in Mexico like the Ron Ely “Tarzan” NBC series, this show opts for a studio look, mixing in local Florida locations for outdoor jungle scenes. This works fine actually, because the shots are well composed and the sets nicely designed.

Along with Gena Lee Nolan, the show’s greatest asset is its feature film quality music. The score was composed by Sean Callery, who has since gone on to immense success with “24” and “Homeland”. Add this soundtrack to my list of unreleased Holy Grails.

Bottom line: If you are a fan of Robert E. Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones type stories, then the entertaining “Sheena” is a show you might like.