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Voyager at 20 and Its Impact on Female Roles August 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Televixen @ 4:49 am

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I’ve been speaking on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas for about seven years now and I almost didn’t do it this year. With a career change and a busy schedule, I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. After six years of discussing gender roles in Star Trek and its fandom, what could there possibly be to say that hasn’t been said already? I never like re-hashing material, so I convinced myself to let it go unless there was a new angle. After texting and emailing with the other women on the panel, I decided that we should exclusively focus on Voyager this year since it was the 20th anniversary of the show. The more and more I thought about it, Voyager was and is distinct. A female captain, a capable female engineer that kept the ship running and two smart science officers whose contributions were invaluable to the crew, that’s what made Voyager special. Women were front and center in the series and in the 1990s no less!

To find out what we had to say about it. Click the link below to the Women At Warp podcast. Thank you to my panelists: Jarrah Hodge, Kayla Iacovino and Amy Imhoff for their enthusiasm and knowledge. A woman’s place is definitely on the bridge and also behind a mic!

Click the banner to hear the Star Trek Las Vegas panel:



From Serling With Love: A Spy Series That Never Was August 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Televixen @ 5:15 am

As a fan of Bond and Man From U.N.C.L.E., I would have loved to see what he could have done with this type of genre. Thanks for sharing! I had no idea he pitched this.

Shadow & Substance

Imagine James Bond in The Twilight Zone. Hard to do, isn’t it? Even if you enjoy both, spy thrillers and sci-fi/fantasy stories blend about as well as tuxedos and tennis shoes.


Yet with a new Mission: Impossible movie hitting movie theaters, it’s worth highlighting the one episode of The Twilight Zone that inhabits the cloak-and-dagger world: “The Jeopardy Room” — and pointing out the surprising fact that it developed from a premise that Rod Serling had for a whole new series about spies.

His proposal to CBS in 1963 (in the wake of the hit James Bond movie “From Russia With Love”) described a show simply titled The Chase. Serling wanted it to focus on a secret government agency, directed by a Bondian spy named McGough, that would handle sensitive “international involvements”.


McGough would be a “quiet, taciturn, unheroic kind of man — calculating, predatory, and deadly efficient…

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Twin Peaks Fest: Where the Real Meets Surreal August 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Televixen @ 6:36 pm

There’s nothing more surreal than being wrapped in plastic like a living dead girl burrito, except getting wrapped in plastic in the same spot Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was discovered in the opening scene of the seminal 90s TV series, Twin Peaks.

“She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.”

I’ve attended the Twin Peaks Fest before and I’ve visited the filming locations on multiple occasions, but the one place on my bucket list I had yet to hit was the Kiana Lodge on Bainbridge Island in Poulsbo, WA. I had no idea there was a land route to get there. This year, on the last day of “Fest,” we caravaned up there. Kiana Lodge served as a primary filming location for the pilot episode. Not only was its famous log used to create one of the most iconic TV images, its interiors served as the Great Northern Hotel interiors (including Ben Horne’s office) and Josie, Pete and Catherine Martell’s house, The Blue Pine Lodge. I got to sit in the same exact spot Leland Palmer wept on the phone when he heard Laura was killed. I got to coquettishly lean against the same wall Audrey Horne interrupted the Norwegians to say her friend had “been murdered.”

The exact branch

The exact branch “Flappy” the bird sat in the opening credits.

The Kiana Lodge is a picturesque location that stands on its own because of the natural beauty of its waterline, the landscaped gardens and the ornate Pacific Northwest Totem Poles. Knowing some pivotal scenes were filmed there was definitely ice cream on my slice of cherry pie.

We even learned the location of the branch with the bird on it in the opening credits. This was all thanks to filmmaker and Peaks’ guru, Josh Eisenstadt who led the group on a walking tour of the grounds. Before the tour, he even recited all the lines and set up the scenes in order that are still missing from “The Missing Pieces.” Yes, there are still scenes that were shot that didn’t make the blu-ray and a host of others that were never filmed at all. Needless to say, I was impressed! Storytime with Josh is a thing to experience. I seriously do not know how he can remember all this, but I’m glad he can!

We had to rush through the wrapping as the tide was coming in and the water was rapidly getting close to Laura’s log. I was fortunate enough to do two different photos, one as Teresa Banks and the other with my natural hair, a’ la Laura. Unfortunately, I didn’t have David Lynch there to carefully place bits of sand on my face, but I still think the shot turned out great!


I decided to do my first “wrapped in plastic” look as Teresa Banks, the prostitute drifter, who met her demise in Fire Walk With Me. I entered the costume contest as Teresa and I had never seen anyone do her look dead and washed ashore, so why not?!

It takes an army. Four Fest volunteers wrap me snuggly in plastic at the same exact spot Laura Palmer was found about 25 years earlier.

The volunteers tweak the look and create the iconic halo of plastic around my head.

I have to say, I had it a lot easier than Sheryl Lee when it came to my corpse cameo. First of all, I didn’t have to be naked (though I faked it with a tube top). The weather wasn’t freezing cold. Quite the opposite, it was like being wrapped in a spa body wrap in the hot sun. I also only had to do it for a minute or two. The Twin Peaks Fest volunteers (who are awesome!) were all on hand to art direct and wrap us up in lightening speed. I got some pretty amazing shots thanks to Chris Forbes and my friend, Katy Acheson, who snapped some behind the scenes moments. What a way to “wrap up” an epic experience!


I don’t know how Pamela Gidley kept her mouth open and so still for the morgue scene. Josh, of course, knew! He said that Lynch put something in her mouth like dentists used to keep patients mouths open during procedures. Wish I had that!

(and one morbid one for good measure)

A lonesome foghorn blows…until next year.


Away Mission: STLV 2015 August 4, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Televixen @ 6:41 pm

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Join me at Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention at the Rio in Las Vegas. I’ll be speaking at and moderating the panel, “Voyager’s Impact on Female Roles” on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 5:15pm in the DeForest Kelley Theater at the world’s largest Star Trek Convention. My highly-qualified panelists include Jarrah Hodge (TrekkieFeminist on Tumblr and Women at Warp Podcast), Kayla Iacovino ( editor and volcanologist) and Amy Imhoff (Shoes and Starships).  Here’s the official description of the panel from the Creation website:

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Voyager, Mary Czerwinski, “The Televixen” and her team of fan girls will discuss how the groundbreaking female characters of Star Trek Voyager influence modern female characters. Do newer TV and film icons stand on the shoulders of the women of Trek? If it wasn’t for Janeway, B’Elanna, Seven and Kes, would there be a Katniss Everdeen, female Starbuck, or the women of Firefly? This interactive discussion encourages audience participation, so start thinking about your favorite female characters and join this spirited celebration of women in sci-fi.In honor of the 20th anniversary of Voyager, Mary Czerwinski, “The Televixen” and her team of fan girls will discuss how the groundbreaking female characters of Star Trek Voyager influence modern female characters. Do newer TV and film icons stand on the shoulders of the women of Trek? If it wasn’t for Janeway, B’Elanna, Seven and Kes, would there be a Katniss Everdeen, female Starbuck, or the women of Firefly? This interactive discussion encourages audience participation, so start thinking about your favorite female characters and join this spirited celebration of women in sci-fi.

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My panelists being interviewed by Trek Radio following our STLV panel last year. Connor Bright, my co-host of Glue Guns and Phasers also pictured to my right.

I will also be hosting a Star Trek Crafts Workshop sponsored by It will be at 8:30 am on Sunday, August 9, 2015. We will be setting up the workshop in the DeForest Kelley Theater bright and early. Amy Imhoff will be my crafting helper this year. Connor Bright will not be assisting me as she is representing Glue Guns and Phasers at ScareLA, which falls on the same weekend this year. Connor will have a whole slew of Halloween-themed crafts and a scavenger hunt, so if you’re in LA and can’t make STLV, check her out at this very fun event!

We had a blast hosting a costume showdown last year at ScareLA and had a great turnout for our crafting activities. I’m bummed I’ll miss it, but I know Connor will do an amazing job representing us there! If you are coming to STLV, our craft this year is a keychain in honor of Leonard Nimoy. We will have two designs to choose from, so it’s great fun for the whole family.

See you all in Vegas at the Rio. Connor looks forward to seeing you all at ScareLA at the Pasadena Convention Center.


Roddenberry on Serling June 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Televixen @ 9:44 pm

Anne Serling’s book about life with her Dad. A very good read!

This is so cool! When I met Rod Serling’s daughter I asked her if she knew if her Dad was friends with Gene Roddenberry or ever spoke of him? When she said he wrote his eulogy, I told her I was friends with Gene’s son, Rod. I’ve never read the words Roddenberry wrote about Serling, until now! They were such contemporaries, how could they not have high regard for one another and each other’s work?

Shadow & Substance

On July 7, 1975, a memorial service was held for Rod Serling. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry eulogized him this way:

“The fact that Rod Serling was a uniquely talented writer with extraordinary imagination is not our real loss. These merely describe his tools and the level of his skill. Our loss is the man, the intelligence and the conscience that used these things for us.

Gene Roddenberry Gene Roddenberry

“No one could know Serling, or view or read his work, without recognizing his deep affection for humanity, his sympathetically enthusiastic curiosity about us, and his determination to enlarge our horizons by giving us a better understanding of ourselves.

“He dreamed of much for us, and demanded much of himself, perhaps more than was possible for either in this time and place. But it is that quality of dreams and demands that makes the ones like Rod Serling rare … and always…

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Tomorrowland has two awesome female characters, so why isn’t anyone seeing it? June 6, 2015

ZZ01BC52E1-700x319It’s no secret that I am someone who drinks the Disney Kool-Aid. My Disneyland premium annual pass almost never leaves my wallet and I check in there so often that people have asked me if that’s where I work. Fans like Walt Disney products and parks for a multitude of reasons and the studio’s diverse movies for even a gazillion other reasons. Like many of you, I could not wait for the movie “Tomorrowland” to come out. The trailers gave me chills, the Disneyland preview had me singing, “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow…” But, like many of you, I did not rush out to the theater when it opened. Believe me, it wasn’t because of the lukewarm reviews. My schedule has been insane lately and I really just couldn’t get there. I would be lying if I said that the mediocre reviews didn’t affect my speed in seeing it though. I finally got around to watching it at the El Capitan a month after it came out and all I have to say is Tomorrowland is a pivotal movie to see if you’re a feminist or have a young daughter or two.Athena_Tomorrowland

“There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?” Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) asks her father quoting his own analogy. Casey is a teenage character who is not obsessed with boys or selfies, but rather with science and space. I was surprised to hear Casey was originally written to be a boy. The good news is Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof had the foresight to see that a good character is a good character and that gender doesn’t have to define them. So, these two visionaries changed Casey to a young woman. Bravo!

“There is a completely false perception of, ‘Well, our main character is interested in space travel, so it’s gotta be a boy,’ but the first time I said, ‘Well, what if it was a young girl,’ it just felt like it was exactly right for us,” said Lindelof. Wow, I might actually start liking Lindelof (I still haven’t forgiven him for Prometheus though! Never forget.). That being said, the bankability of women at the box office is growing. The Hunger Games franchise certainly proves women can be capable action stars, but unfortunately suffers from cliché emotional hang-ups centered around romance with a guy.

Lindelof continues, “What if she doesn’t get distracted by romantic entanglements? What if her “romance” is with the future?” That sounds great to me! Could this be the summer of blockbusters with strong women leading at the box office?

Terminator Genesys brings Sarah Connor back to the frontline this summer. I was happy to see this as I’ve always looked up to characters like Sarah Connor and Ripley from Aliens. Not to mention, this has been the year of female-driven comedies (Spy, Trainwreck and Pitch Perfect 2 anyone?!).

Disney has led the race in making their films slightly more progressive. Ratatouille had a strong female chef. Brave finally gave Pixar a dynamic female lead. Frozen, well, you don’t need me to tell you about the girl power that is in Frozen. Malificient proved that you don’t need the love of a prince anymore. And now, Inside Out’s Riley is complex and dynamic as female animated characters get. Let’s see if The Force Awakens continues this trend with Daisy Ridley playing the lead.

Now, as I mentioned, Tomorrowland has two awesome female characters and both are under the age of 18! Well, sort of. Athena (SPOILER ALERT) is a robot recruiter in the form of a prim and proper English school girl, but don’t let her ladylike façade fool you. She’s as tough as they come, tackling comedy and action in one particularly entertaining scene in a collectibles shop.

Athena (Raffey Cassidy) is looking for a new recruit and finds the daring, risk-taker, Casey. She has courage, determination and hope: exactly what Tomorrowland needs. Donning her father’s NASA hat and jeans, Casey is exactly the kind of female protagonist I’ve wanted to see on the big screen for a long time. She climbs fences, gets into trouble, but most of all believes that the future can be brighter. Her connection to her father and her risk-taking remind me of a young Katherine Janeway in the book “Mosaic” written by Jeri Taylor. Glad to see this trend of father/daughter relationships continuing from “Interstellar.” I loved that film for many reasons, but the father/daughter bond really cemented my love for it.

There is a spirit of optimism about Tomorrowland and both of its female characters embody it. And guess what? This film passes the Bechdel Test. Yes, you could argue that Athena is a robot and therefore, not female. That is semantics though. The spirit of the character is definitely female, so I say she counts!

Lindelof felt the script was missing a certain sweetness from Athena, who he describes as “an eleven-year-old that has to express emotional maturity, depth, intelligence and a world-weary attitude.” He could see that Raffey was capable of bringing that to the role based on her audition. It’s nice to see meaty roles for children that don’t belittle them or make them a cliché. If anything, Athena illustrates that gender and age have very little to do with getting a mission accomplished.

With Tomorrowland” behind her, Raffey hopes the things she learned will help her land a role like Saoirse Ronan’s in “Hanna” — the 2011 movie she says is her second favorite movie. (No. 1 is “Tomorrowland,” of course.) I loved Hanna when it came out, but it was another movie that seemed to come and go from theaters in the blink of an eye. It definitely left a strong impression in my mind. Young female assassin? Oh, hell yes!

For Athena’s fight scenes, Raffey had to do two months of gymnastics, swimming, and martial arts training. “She just couldn’t get enough of all of it,” said Bird, adding that Cassidy did most of the stunts herself. “She wanted large orders of everything.”

While all of this is awesome, why was all the marketing of this film centered around Frank Walker (George Clooney and young George Clooney)? Yes, I know he’s a movie star, but if you ask me, the days of basing your film’s success on star power are long gone. Look how many movies with big names tank at the box office. I’m looking at you, “Aloha.” Perhaps, Tomorrowland would have had a fighting chance at being more popular if the marketing was more action-driven and centered around the two leading ladies.

I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about from the trailers except that young George Clooney ends up going to “Tomorrowland” after following a girl into “It’s a Small World” at the ’64 World’s Fair. Oh yeah, and by touching a Tomorrowland pin you can somehow get there, but you’ll end up in a cornfield first. Not exactly marketing gold. Granted, Tomorrowland is not exactly easy material to wrap your mind around and sum up in a short trailer.


For me, the bigger picture ideas behind Tomorrowland appealed, but I’m a Star Trek fan. I already subscribe to the better future philosophy. What I didn’t expect, was seeing Clooney get a run for his money by two ladies less than half of his age. Not only did Raffey and Robertson keep up, they actually stole many scenes from him.

I don’t get it. Movies like the Avengers make a buttload of money, but the marketing is all Captain America, Thor and Ironman. Black Widow doesn’t get merchandising (for Christ’s sake the motorcycle she rode in the Age of Ultron was given to Captain America in the toy version)! Bravo to the women who protested her lack of merchandising and got that trending on Twitter.

71Z+sCpFtNL._SL1280_Sadly, Tomorrowland’s Athena and Casey weren’t given much merchandise either. Sure, they got a couple of tiny action figures, but those were hardly anything to write home about. Funko put out not one, but two versions of George Clooney’s character, Frank Walker!  Yet, they couldn’t bother to make a Pop! figure for either of the two young women. They even made one of the male villain. This speaks to a larger problem. Why won’t companies believe in the buying power of female audiences? Most of the women I know spend lots of money on their fandom through their cosplay outfits, collectibles, Blu-ray and convention tickets. It would be nice to have corporate America take notice and actually start making merchandise that appeals, but doesn’t pander to us. What I mean is that I would love Black Widow merchandise, but it doesn’t have to draw attention to the fact that it’s for girls. Let it be for everyone, but let’s just get some representation at least. I know many guys who would love some Black Widow swag. grid-cell-12438-1429561290-3

The action figures below, in all their retro-like glory, are hardly anything I would want to display on my bookshelf.  I’ve seen way more women collect Pop! figures than men, but yet, all we get are these lame “fully posable” action figures with horrible likeness from Funko. Talk about a missed opportunity.

With all this being said, I still can’t figure out why the movie did so poorly. I raved about it, but it seems like the “uncool” thing to do. Twitter can be a pool of cynical sharks on most days. At times, Twitter seems to be the realm of clever negativity. People are praised for how snarkily they can tear someone or something down. So, it’s hard to see such an uplifting film like Tomorrowland trending over there even though the message of the movie targets the very cynics that won’t give it the time of day.

417ST33eDDL._SY450_71ucrSbGVyL._SL1000_Do yourself a favor and pick it up when it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. Disney is doing right by women lately, but this trend can only continue to thrive if viewers support such films by putting their money where their mouth is. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine, but I at least hope you see the value in having such inspiring female characters be the norm in our society.


Poetry book “Elements of Change” is available NOW!

41+0vW71mqLIf any of you are interested in poetry or just interested in showing your support for my latest creative endeavour, my debut poetry collection, Elements of Change is available now on Amazon and other retail sites. This collection is deeply personal and I am both nervous and excited to share it with you all. I hope that it will resonate with you. I’ve already gotten a really warm reception from Twitter followers and friends. I’m humbled and happy that it’s finding a home on some of your bookshelves.

Here’s what a few people have said about the book so far:

The Artistic Muse: “Profound, ethereal, deep. These are just some of the many words to describe this brilliant assortment of poetry.”

@StarfleetMom on Twitter, “Mary paints pictures in my head with words. Beautifully done.”

Eva Xanthopoulos said, “Mary’s words will surely enchant you! Don’t believe me? Just read this book. I promise that one of her poems alone will have the power to awaken you, so imagine what an entire collection of them can do! Elements of Change is a must-have for any poetry lover!”

@Gettysburg7 on Twitter, “…already been moved by her words.”

@MrrWilly on Twitter, “You’re painting some many varied pictures in my mind. Well done, Mary.”

If you’ve already purchased a copy, please chime in on Amazon with your reviews or Tweet me your thoughts. As always, thanks for your support!