A lot of consideration and fore thought went into writing for The Strayer series. Here is but a small glimpse of what was happening behind the scenes.
WARNING!!! The following contains spoilers for those who haven't read any of the episodes yet (plus if you haven't read any of them you won't be able to follow along if you don't know the plots and subplots of the series)
"Fur of Dog, Skin of Human, Heart of Hero"In 1996 my dog, my friend of over 11 years, died. It really hit me hard. I needed to find a way to get through it (since my grand parents had died when I was really young I had never faced death). Then I remembered the show "Road Rovers". Wouldn’t it be cool if Bear could be one of the Rovers? A leader of a team that could help fight evil. Well, replacing Hunter was right out. The fans of the show would have fed me to the cats! Besides, I didn’t want a mere reflection of the Rovers but something a little bit different. Something special. Thus the "Strayers" were born.
This is the Pilot episode to Strayers. Everyone thinks the Pilot is the first show to air, it usually isn’t. It is the show that you present to the network in order to try and sell it. If they agree to pick it up it is usually under certain circumstances (add a love interest, it needs more action, etc.) But what the creators get out of it is a free pass (if it is picked up) where drastic changes can be made without ticking off any of the audience. There is no audience at this point since the episode hasn’t aired (and in most cases the Pilot never airs).
In fan fiction that doesn’t happen. You have to hit the ground running. Your first episode (if you are writing a series) has to be good for there won’t be any desire or the audience (the fan base) to read anything else you write. That is why this story was one of the shortest (under a hundred pages) except for "Phantoms in the Twilight" (but I basically threw in the towel for that one) of the entire Strayer series. I wanted to keep it simple. Not for the audience but for me: At this time fan fiction was all new to me.
I wrote Bear into the middle ground: He wasn’t a hero (he turned his back on others that needed help) but he wasn’t a villain either (he never intentionally tried to hurt anyone). He was someone caught in the middle, a pawn in a bigger game. He was forced against his will to do evil. There was no way out. A lot of us are like Bear. Maybe not in such direr straights but at least once we pretended not to see someone that was asking for help (someone carrying heavy packages trying to open a door, someone changing a tire, etc.) Later we would feel bad and wish there was a way to go back and change things. That is where Strayers comes in.
A lot of people have tried to psychoanalyze me. They say that I project my own personality into Bear. That my hopes and dreams are the things that happen to him in the scripts. That his life was the life I wanted for myself. Well, my response for everyone out there is #$%@&! As Freud once said sometimes a dream is just a dream. In this case, fiction is just fiction. I’m better than Bear, I’m smarter than him and I make fewer mistakes than him. And for those who know me, I have a bigger ego than Bear. And there is no way I would ever want to be turned into a dog (I’m a cat person.) There is only one aspect of Bear’s life I would want: His mountain compound (so I could get away from all you Monday morning physiatrists!)
In this episode I introduce a writing device I call Chaff, the intentional misleading of the reader (aren’t I a stinker?) At the beginning of the story two henchmen are captured by the Road Rovers. They press the prisoners on who they are working for. The weaker of the two breaks down and describes their leader as Parvo. The Rovers concentrate their resources on finding him and The Groomer. Later, it is learned that it was a lie to lead the good guys (and the readers) to discover it is really Ross Dole’s operation. In this case it had little bearing on the story (other than to surprise the readers in the end.) I liked using this device to keep the readers on their toes and to keep them guessing in later stories.
I originally planned Bear’s transformation from an ordinary canine to Cano-Sapien (just like the rest of the Road Rovers) but I wanted something different, something separating the two shows. So I came up with human to Cano instead. The problem was how. I had originally considered Research, Ross Dole’s (by the way, I came up with his name from Ross Perot and Bob Dole who were running for president in 1996) scientific adviser to come up with an alternative process to Transdogmafication. Then he would sneak into RRMC as one of the Rover’s operatives and steal their secrets. But that was kind of complicated (how would he know where their secret base is? Just because he is a dog doesn’t mean they would ignore him, etc.) and as I stated before I wanted to keep things simple so the idea was dropped.
Enter the Malamuit Eskimos (a fictious tribe.) I get asked a lot if I’m an Eskimo. When I say I’m not I get even more questions why I made Bear an Eskimo. Two reasons: 1) This is Fan Fiction! Not Fan Fact! I’m making this all up and it isn’t based on me (as stated eariler.) 2) If Bear was going to sneak in he had to have special skills and abilities to get by the sensitive noses of the Rovers. I always planned on each Strayer not to be just another white guy/gal like other series. How many shows have you seen where the hero is an Eskimo (or a wolf or an American Indian or a feline?) But more on this later.
The biggest creative effort I had to do in the story was how was Bear going to escape RRMC and the Road Rovers. They were highly trained professionals and knew how not to let the bad guy escape while Bear was this bumbling terrified and recently transformed Cano-Sapien that couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. Thus was born the phrase "He’s good! He’s real good!" Out of coincidence and luck (or maybe even divine help) he escapes the Rovers in the strangest ways which they pass off as skill and cunning. This was a tricky matter because having an amateur best the Road Rovers could have turned the fans against me. Fortunately, due to the humor injected into the chase, I never heard one complaint on this through out Strayer’s run. *Whew!*
Towards the end of the episode Bear finds himself at the cross roads. Because he helped the bad guys capture the Road Rovers (unintentionally) he is set free from his obligations. Once again he can turn his back and pretend not to hear how they were going to be killed. He could either continue down the safe road and do nothing or take the new path of giving a damn. Of course, if you read the story, he saves the day and is a hero and evil is thwarted. This foundation, of making a difference despite the odds, would be a central theme that would continue through the life of the series.
But rather having him go in their guns a blazing he turns out pretty pathetic as a hero. He is scared, reluctant and pessimistic. I wanted to keep him real. To show everyone you don’t have to have super human powers (or be turned into a dog) to have the tools to over come evil. In fact, in most of the episodes the Strayers win in the end because of their cunning and knowledge rather than brawn. Saying if we can keep our cool, no matter what we are up against, we can be victorious.
As a twist, Bear turns down the Road Rovers offer to join them (the term Strayer isn’t even mentioned until the next episode.) Again, I wasn’t out to create Road Rovers II but an entirely new spin off. He sets off into the sunset on a motorcycle leaving us wondering what is in store for him. Frankly, I had no idea where he was headed either. Oh, I knew he would end up leader of a team of Strayers but how that was going to come about I had no idea. As it turned out, things did not turn out as expected (you will learn more about this later.)
The title of this episode is broken down as follows: Fur of Dog is Bear (or the birth of him.) Skin of Human is what Bear was before the transformation. Heart of Hero is the courage he finds deep down in himself that saves the Rovers (and himself) in the end. It may seem kind of silly for me to explain this but you’d be surprised how many people have asked about this and other titles of the series which is why I’m going to explain them all.
"You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks But You Can't Make Him Perform"In this episode Bear gets a team (the Grizzlies) or rather he builds one from scratch. He starts out alone, on a new motorcycle (you will learn later what happened to the first) than we last saw him on (this one talks.) He is sent on his first mission. I didn’t have the team formed before the beginning of the story for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want to bog things down by having to spend twenty pages at the beginning filling back story. This way I could have their story unfold before you while offering some action/suspense too. 2) You didn’t know for sure if these people were just passing through (like Bear did in the previous episode) or were going to be part of the team. To start things going he is assigned an assistant: Nitro.
Nitro was not my creation but belonged to a friend of mine. I never intended to have a wolf on the team. I was currently developing a Tiger-Mutant for the role of Bear’s companion. But one day as we were swamping character profiles I was introduced to her. She was definitely Bear’s equal and I could have a lot of fun of playing off each other. I already had a feline so it was kind of silly to add another (my new tiger.) So I had to have her! Fortunately, I was given permission to use her. Plus she had a unique super power: Banshee Howl
I want to stop here stop and talk about super powers. One question I get asked a lot is why did I give Bear such a wimpy power (super hearing?) I didn’t want to make him a kind of super man, with a flick of his finger he could wipe out the bad guys (Nitro's howl originally had no recharge time limit but I added that for this very same reason.) I wanted to make it tough for Bear (and his team) so I could keep the readers on the edge of their seats. "How are the Grizzlies going to get out of this one?" It made stories rather difficult but I like a challenge.
Next up was Amani Wolf (her name comes from one of the wolves of the Sawtooth Pack I was sponsoring.) Again I wanted someone different and I wanted her to be a human. She was going to be the anchor, the character the readers could relate to. I made her an American Indian because again I wanted my team to be diverse. To really throw a curve ball I made her a black sheep. She was an arms designer, an unhonorable profession as far as her honorable parents were concerned (making weapons for the white man to kill others.)
Last up was Puffball. An ordinary cat that randomly changes between a simple feline to a Felo-Mutant. This was the wild card (an escape out of painting myself into a corner.) If the Grizzlies had their back up against the wall Puffball would change into her mutant form and save the day. The same was for the reverse when it looks like everything was under control. A plus was that she was a cat living in a canine world (comic relief.)
Actually, there is a fifth team member: Cycleborg (Cyc.) He is the talking, flying motorcycle that follows the letter of the law but also knows how tell a joke. Part living/part machine who receives updates that can reconfigure him. He came about so Bear had someone to react to when he is alone and before the others enter the picture. A lot of people got upset when they learned that Cyc had a living brain. They assumed that fully developed brains had been harvested to use in these vehicles. It wouldn’t be until several episodes later that the brains are actually cloned (not that made anyone happier.)
The team is fully assembled by the end of the story ready to launch into the next episode. But along the way they have some help. Enter the cameo! Writing for Nitro was like guest hosting. All the mannerisms, back story and details were set. All you had to do was make it fit. It was fun and a challenge. Because of this I started using characters from other stories not written by me (with permission of course.) I did this through out the series as long as new stuff was coming in.
Though some of them were temp workers I hired some of them on as full time. For example, Dixie’s soul purpose was to tick Nitro off and make her jealous of Bear (the opposite was true for Prowler for Nitro.) But I had so much fun playing off of each other’s characters that they were used throughout most of the series. It was difficult to keep them in character while fitting them into the story while keeping their creators happy but that was the fun of it (what can I say? I have no life!)
It was first here that we learn Bear’s love for John Wayne (or at least of TV/movies in general.) I introduced this plot device because I like to keep things logical. A good idea usually doesn’t pop into your head by magic, it is usually inspired by something else (like seeing an idea in a movie.) I’m not a big fan of when the hero says “Something is not right here.” Then spins around to see the bad guy is about to club him. I was more for the bad guy stepping on something to make a noise to alert the hero of the danger. It is logical.
The title of this one is based on Bear following the rules to the letter (“You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”) Or, as we learn, he follows his own book (“But You Can't Make Him Perform”)
"Time, Times and Half a Time "In the next installment of the series I threw a curveball. The Grizzlies were formed and ready to jump into their first official mission, yet they don’t appear until halfway into the story (Bear does appear in the start but it is only in a dream.) Again I wanted to be different (and keep the readers guessing.) So I let the Road Rovers have their fun and get into a jam so the Strayers could come on by.
I originally came into this one wanting to have a story of Indiana Jones experience as far as near death escapes and action packed fights (which would continue through the rest of the series.) I just had to make sure all the characters had something to do. You see, a Strayer story is two separate stories. A story dealing with the Road Rovers (without them there would be no Strayers) and a Strayer story. Just because they were two separate parts didn’t mean they couldn’t be related. Actually, there is a third part: The cameo, I always threw those in when I could.
In these early episodes Amani was held back sort of support or back up (which is why her truck had a “BUOY” license plate), held in reserved. This concept didn’t work out so well. She was suppose to be the character the readers connected with, who could pretend to walk in her shoes. But being held back she had so little to do (and even less screen time.) This was caused in my lack in the faith of my writing abilities. Keeping Amani in reserved would help me from painting myself into corners. You see, through most of Strayers I had the stories mapped out in my head. No outlines, no charts. Not every line or scene but the general ideas. Not only that, the story lines overlapping episodes. The fear was for nothing. With few exceptions there were no rewrites. No cut and pasting. Once I realized this I quit protecting Amani. Towards the end of the series I did start using outlines to guide me. Ironically, those stories lack a sense of spontaneity and humor as these originals.
Towards the end Shadow is introduced. Again, not my creation but he fit the need. I wanted to throw at Bear a force so cunning, so powerful that there was no way to overcome it. He was at its mercy. But more so, I wanted to show how he had to lie and trick those closest to him for if his secret was ever known it would be unleashed onto the world. The blood would be on his paws. This would later come back to haunt him.
I tried to make Strayer fun yet realistic (as real as a bunch of talking animals can be.) To do this I tried to keep the diabolical evil plans of the heroes down to earth. Very rarely was it about them trying to take over the world. In this case, it was simple revenge by the villainess. After all, how many times have you seen on the news of an attempt to take over the world was thwarted (not counting the Bush presidency.)
The title is derived from the three hiding places where the Eliminator hides the cure for the virus. It is also references the 1260 years prophecy from the Bible (see Revelation 12:14.) Like introducing religion in my stories is new! :)
"Severed Blood"This was the first major story in the series. The others gave us insight and back story of the Strayers but this was a make or break point. The dream of the retelling of the deaths of Nitro’s parents and family foreshadows her pursuit of finding her pack once more. Though this reoccurring dream is endangering the team (distracted, Nitro almost costs Bear’s life), his undisclosed love for her refused to kick her off the team. Here is just an example of his vulnerability: He may be a hero, he may be the leader, but he makes mistakes.
Imperfection was a recurring theme throughout the series. The heroes would stumble, make matters worse. They would make mistakes. Though they were mostly dogs, cats or other mutants they were also human. More so, they accepted blame and asked for forgiveness. The key thing is that we learned from our mistakes (that is until their next episode.)
One thing I regret is how I accelerated Bear/Nitro’s romance. In this single episode they learn each other’s feelings towards one another, their courtship and marriage proposal. These things I wanted each nurtured over several episodes and be a climax (not a blur.) But I wanted to put Nitro on the very edge of the carpet and pull the rug out from under her when Bear was turned into Rabid. Hating her and even trying to kill her, there was no hope of romance was crushed (but turned out okay in the end.)
Which comes up with the question: Why Rabid? Why turn the beloved Bear into the evil wolf? This was answered above. But this was perhaps the biggest source of complaints I received. They wanted Rabid turned back to Bear. Just for the record, I never wrote Strayer for an audience. I only wrote it for myself so all the whining and complaining would do nothing. It was just a bonus some people liked it.
The original plan was after the next story Rabid would turn good but the wedding was still off, they had to be sure they still loved each other. So with the discovery of Nitro’s pack Bear and Nitro took some time off and would become the Alphas (leaders.) Again, shooting for the unique (how many stories of wolf packs have you read?) The rest of the story would revolve around the adventures or the misadventures (since Rabid had no idea how to be a wolf.) But as I contemplated in my mind (I was still writing this story) I could never come up with a deceit storyline other than members of the pack being captured by hunters (lame but would be used in a story towards the end of the series.) With no feasible means to complete this I abandon the idea. So the wedding was still on at the end of the story.
Another reason I turned Bear into Rabid was I wanted to throw everyone in the loop. All throughout the story Shadow is mocking and tormenting Bear because he is so weak compared to him. But by the end of the story, Rabid is able to put Shadow in his place (he can sense the panther before he can sense the wolf.) Making Shadow fearful. That part was fun. But in the end Rabid was changed back to Bear mostly because having two wolves on the same team made as much sense as having two felines.
The villainess of this one (Matt Slyness) would turn out to be one of my favorite baddies. He was as ruthless and powerful as all the others but he held one ace up his sleeve: He knew Bear’s turn identity. He knew his family, his friends. All of which could be used against the hero. No matter what he did the villain would always have one up on him. Again I wanted to make Bear vulnerable, he could still be afraid yet he was still the hero.
Perhaps one of my favorite scenes in the series is Bear’s rescue of Nitro from the frozen pond. Yes, it is unrealistic (Bear first fights like for five minutes before diving under the water to save her.) Yes, it is chauvinistic (the poor damsel needs to be save by a male.) Yes, it is melodramatic (most of my stuff is.) But it is all necessary. If there is a pivotal point to Bear’s love for Nitro it is this. He has to battle his way pass armed baddies (while he is unarmed), get the keys to Nitro’s restraints and dive into the freezing water. Each step could mean certain death for him but he doesn’t give it a second thought. If that isn’t a hero (or my ego rambling on) I don’t know what is!
The title of this one always came up to debate: You can’t sever blood (it is a liquid.) The blood mentioned here is the leadership bloodline (the Alphas.) I guess, I could have called it “Severed Bloodline” but that is just plain silly.
"Attack of the killer In-Laws/Wedding Bell Blues"My comment on this one: What a #$@% mess! Yes, it is the wedding of Bear and Nitro but it is waaay too long, it was nearly 600 pages (later cut into these two episodes.) You should get a medal if you ever read the whole thing! I tried to do too much. For the wedding I wanted to fit in all the Road Rovers/Strayers villains and as many cameos (though some of them looked more like starring roles) as I could. Also, Rabid had to be changed back to Bear (interesting point: If Rabid had married Nitro and then been changed back into Bear would he still be married?) Plus I had to include the Rovers. If I had to do it over again I would just have the wedding and the Eliminator plot (and put the rest in a leading episode before this.)
The only shinning moment in the entire episode is when Rabid is changed into a human (later then changed back into Bear.) Being a human he was no match for fighting big powerful mutants (though it was hinted that if he went through retraining this would not be a problem. After all, Amani was able to hold her own.) He could not protect Nitro, he couldn’t protect his family, he couldn’t protect himself! Though against all this and when Matt bests him Bear uses his cunning to come on top and save the day (he wouldn't be a hero if he couldn't.)
I had wanted to write a story for years that had a full blown miracle. One that unquestionably was God’s work. The resurrection of Bear was just that. I thought this would have been the cause of great controversy, having the gall of injecting God into a story. But as it turned out I didn’t receive any complains. In fact, I only received one complaint for the entire series on religion even though I had indicated that both Strayers and Rovers (in my universe) were Christians. And the complaint was just to cut down on it, not totally remove it (that is a miracle in itself!)
One of the biggest shockers (or at least relayed to me by the fans) was the transdogmafication of Hunter’s mom. I originally intended her to be like a flower child out of the 60's (thus the name Dandelion) kind of like Hunter himself (that is what they objected to) but the way she talked was more like a valley girl (“Like, you know and junk”) I’m not really sure why this switch came to be. If it was intentional you would have figured I would have changed her name to like Fur-Shure or something. Regardless, none of the fans caught onto this blunder (WAKEUP OUT THERE!!!)
Another blunder on my part (there are so many that I hate this story) was that Parvo and Groomer set off with two other mad scientists for Canada for some master plan but are never seen again (in this episode anyway.) In the next episode they appear as kidnapers back in the United States but it is just a cameo. No grand master plan. I have no idea what I was setting them up for. If I were to guess it would be turning humans into bug mutants but we will never know for sure!
Every chance I get I always tried to show different areas of RRMC we had never seen in the original Road Rover show. The first episode (the Pilot) showed us a ton of new areas but this episode showed us areas you wouldn’t think we would need: Namely what happens to those that die in the line of duty. The wake and funeral may look a lot like that from Princess Diana’s funeral. It better be since that is what inspired me. Unfortunately, unlike her, Bear would be resurrected a few days later.
The titles for these two episodes break down as follows: “Attack of the Killer Inlaws” is everyone’s nightmare when future inlaws tell you what you are going right (but mostly what you are doing wrong) for the wedding. It also gives it a sort of 50's sci-fi/horror sound. “Wedding Bell Blues” is even though it should be the most happiest time for Bear and Nitro everything right before and right after is a nightmare (people keep trying to kill them) and even during (though they don’t realize it) with the Eliminator trying to blow them up with a missile.
"Shadow Boxing"In this installment Bear and Shadow go head to head! Winner take all! When asked why I wrote out Shadow I have given a lot of reason over the year, not necessarily the true reasons. Here are the real ones: 1) There are only so many ways you can write “Little Ant” speeches. It was growing harder and harder to keep the tension up but also the logic. After Shadow killed that human in the previous episode why would Bear still keep his existence a secret (the pack between them was so Shadow wouldn’t kill humans). 2) I wanted more control over my work. Shadow not having been created by me I didn’t have final say on their actions or if they lived or die. Writing him off corrected that. Don’t get me wrong, Shadow was a cool character but it was time to move on.
But I didn’t just want him to walk off into the sunset (if I didn't love him so much I would have done just that.) Besides. if he did that Bear, his friends and family would always be in jeopardy. I couldn’t kill him off (he wasn’t my character.) So I had to give him a reason not to be feared anymore. That is when I came up with Shadow’s swan song (later titled Return of the Jedi ending.) It turns out Shadow wasn’t that evil. He was set up, he was blackmailed. More so, he was given a girl friend so then they could go off into the sunset and live happily ever after. In the next story I write a simple line where it is reported Shadow has discarded the collar with the homing device Bear planted to make sure Shadow doesn’t come back. Does he just want his privacy or was he really evil? Either, I just threw it in so his creator can put Shadow on whatever track he wanted.
Enter Lydia (who had appeared in a previous episode.) She was evil! She was cunning! But worst of all she was French (just kidding.) I loved writing her. She was one of the few characters that would constantly go over the edge and only The Master could reel her back in. Keep her under control. The only character that could piss you off and make you laugh at the same time and pull it off (no?)
I had always wanted to write a trial, from start to finish. Not only that, I wanted to make it actuate as far as procedures and processes (while not putiing the readers to sleep.) That was made possible when I read two books on real life trails (where do you think I got the name of Bear’s lawyer?) I wanted it to be a tug of war, one minute it looks like Bear is in the clear while the next he is good as dead. It wasn’t obvious until the verdict I read how it will turn out (or at least for the first trial.)
I had to write Bear dying again (or at least you think he did.) Bear was saved by God in the last story. I had to knock it out of the readers head that was a one time thing. So when Bear comes back to life (because he was purposely given the wrong drug) God is not in the equation (at least directly.) Others would die (or seem to die) over the life of the series but I had to show they were saved by other means (if they kept being resurrected wouldn’t that make them immortal?)
Another moment is Strayer history where I keep kicking myself (and repeating “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!") is Bear returning to his human family though they think he is dead. I don’t regret doing this, I just hate it that I did it is such a quick manor. Learning of their pasts and characters (especially his old girl friend) should have been an episode by itself. How quickly I dispose of Duncan is laughable. I did this because the wedding had worn me out (again about 600 pages) and by this point in this story we were reaching 200. If only I had a Time Transporter for real!
The title here is pretty self explanatory: Bear going head to head with Shadow (two talking mutants go in and only one talking mutant comes out!)
"Reconstructive Surgery"Here is my favorite Strayers episode. First I have to do some maintenance. I explained how after the first episode (Pilot) Bear finds himself on Cyc (instead of an ordinary motorcycle.) It also explains how Bear turned from a loner to a Strayer (though not until the end.) But why would I wait well into the series to explain this all and not the second episode. Simple: This is suppose to be the second episode (which is why it is told in a flash back) or at least that is how I planned it. I had planned to ease Bear into being a Strayer. But then I was introduced to Nitro so I changed things around (fearing the offer to use her would not be there forever.) By the way, I had planned for the entire series for Bear to talk to himself in his head (voice over) but I found in a more action based story this just slowed things down.
Natalie was never the original Nitro. Because she detests violence I couldn’t see her as working on the front lines where all the action was (though she would eventually help on a mission latter on for the Grizzlies but it was to find Bear.) I planned to use her working back at RRMC where Bear would have an on again/off again relationship (mostly patching him up from his adventures.) But with Nitro as the love interest this was forgotten.
Natalie turns out to be Bear’s first love anyway, thanks to a flashback. (Nay! Nay! Nay! Nitro!) I swore to myself I wouldn’t turn their romance into the fast track I did Nitro’s and Bear’s. This one he had a courtship, where they learned to love each other. Where it wasn’t love at first sight. It was an old fashion romance where it wasn’t a choir to love one another, it was down right fun. The way love was meant to be. And it was fun writing it. And not hate/love relationships either (I really hate those!)
The other part of this story I love is we get to see the actual training to be a Strayer. Of the defeats and victories before even stepping out into the field. I was going to show more, like a football game between the Strayers (to build teamwork) where Bear and Prowler help each other to score the winning touchdown (I didn’t write this because I was going to write a class reunion episode and have a game but that never came to be.) Also, Dixie was going to be a cheerleader (does this surprise anyone?)
I use a technique in this story (which I reuse many more times) I call Reverse Cliché. I use an over used cliché designed to make the readers moan and groan about only to totally surprise them in the end. In this case it was Natalie’s death (or falsely reported death.) The cliché was that the hero swore how he would avenge the death of his fallen love. Since you think that is the only reason Natalie died (since you haven't seen her in any other stories) you think she is gone for good and never considers she is still alive (or at least that is what I hope you think.) That way no one is the wiser when she pops back into the story.
One of the common controversies after I wrote this one was Nitro VS Natalie, which is Bear’s truest love? I have to say Natalie. My opinion has been soured by my botching of Nitro’s courtship but I always found Natalie more fun. Where Bear and Nitro seem to always be fighting (more to do with story plots than characterization) Natalie always made love fun. She played with Bear, not to hurt him but to make love an adventure. To make its pursuit always exciting (as it should be.) Never taken for granted. Keeping you wondering how it would turn out. But most of all, Natalie will always be a love that Bear lost out on.
The title basically is the reimaging of Bear (or at least how we see him.) From lone rider (from the first episode) to team leader (and friend) in the second episode.
"Time-Out"Time travel, the most dreaded type of story you can have. It usually ends in a paradox or you spend most of the time explaining theories. So of course I had to do at least one time travel story! Though, since we don’t visit specific events that happened in the course of the series this story could have happened at any time.
I wanted to show actual classes, actual tests for Strayer academy so Bear and Nitro had to retire from the Grizzlies and become instructors. It was only logical, they were parents now. They could have left their kids with the Rovers but they were too responsible, they weren’t going to let them grow up as strangers. But to give them a really cool place to grow up I put them out in the wild. Nitro had her pack back and Bear had his horses (his dad had a ranch when he was growing up.) For the first time I allowed them to enjoy life… Well, at the start at least.
Speaking about growing up. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to keep Strayers going. Between each story a year passes (allowing me to insert stories if I missed something or had to backtrack.) Because of this I did something that was taboo in fan fiction: I altered something in the original series. In this case it was the accelerated rate of how transdogmafied sapiens aged. I wanted to get them to the teenage years fast, the fun years. The change was not that big of deal, I had been changing thing in the original series since the beginning: Colleen dumping hunter, Hubert having an ex-wife, etc. I wanted to keep things from getting dull.
Changing the future was not good enough for me, I wanted to really shock the readers into thinking “Is this really the end of the series?” Someone had to die. But she had to go out with a bang. Dixie professing her love to Bear as she died in his arms was no big thing, but him professing his to her was. Especially in front of Nitro, his wife. When confronted he could have always said he was just telling a dying friend what they wanted to hear but he loved Nitro too, he couldn’t lie to her. He had to tell her the truth even if it meant losing her. Of course, in the end she came back to life (since she wasn't my character.)
I’m a sexist pig! Well, that is what you would probably be told by the actresses who play the Grizzlies. I mean, I have surrounded Bear with three females (four when Dixie tags along.) I have to be sexist! Then again, how many shows have females as stars? Not to just stand their and look pretty, but actually contribute. That actually helped save the day. Of how if it wasn’t for them the world would be a different place. Of how they may get captured and may face certain death yet the usually end up saving themselves in the end using their brains and intellect. Not to mention Dixie died saving Bear's life (a male.) Yep, I have to be sexist alright. :)
The above paragraph is in response to the Amani seduction scene that appears in this episode. Amani has to hitch a ride into town so the Grizzlies can stop Matt Slyness from changing history. Nitro coaching on what a male wants is pathetic (she’s out of practice! She had better be! She’s married!) So it is Dixie to the rescue. Unfortunately, she is just as bad (the driver thinks Amani is having some sort of attack.) It is only when Amani comes out and asks for a ride is when she is allowed into the car. Some thought this was sexist but it was really just comedy (lighten up!)
But how could Bear possibly love Dixie? He was always telling her that Nitro was his one true love. He was always setting her straight. Again, I was trying to make this real. In a black and white world we have only one true love, but in the real world we can love more than one. In Bear’s case, he had three loves (Nitro, Dixie and Natalie.) Does that make him a bad dog? After all, he is married. Absolutely not! He never acted on these desires while he was married, he never fooled around or lusted after Dixie. His commitment was to Nitro and his family. But with Dixie dying in his arms Bear had no choice, he had to let his feelings be known. I find it ironic that she came to the series as a one time shot deal yet in the end she was so much part of Bear’s life. That was the great thing about writing this series, even I didn’t know how it would turn out.
The title is a simple play on words for the time travel plot of the story (and what Bear and Nitro needed more of.)
"You Have Got To Be Kidding"This one was perhaps the funniest to write and caused me the most grief. Even though the first page is dedicated to not to take this episode seriously it seemed everyone got offend. “How could you do this to the Strayers!” was the battle cry. Simple, for those of you at home that are just joining us, I wanted to make something different! Everyone thought this was how the series was going to be like from now on but it was a one shot deal. I guess, looking back, I should have been flattered everyone cared for my creation as much as I did…. But my mailbox can hold only so much hate mail!
In this story an arrogant egotistical person shows up. No, not me but the fictional version of me! I am seen being interviewed at the First Strayer Convention trying to peddle worthless crap so I can get rich. I never had a problem making fun of myself, even in real life. I could always laugh at myself. But people actually thought this is how I was in real life. I said this before and I’ll say it again… This is fan FICTION!!!
The end of Nitro’s pitch in this story (where the dog versions of famous actors are heard) illustrated the fun of fan Fiction than doing it for real. Here you just have to read the names and you get it, in real you would have to dress up the actors and say their names. That is the other cool thing about fan fiction. You don’t have to worry about budgets, about building sets, about trying to keep all the actors happy, about renewing contracts. The cameos/cross overs would make it impossible alone (and how would I get a snail to bow?) But on paper (or in this case, monitor) anything is possible.
Somethings I had considered putting into this episode: Kyla's idea of “Strayer Babies” flashing back to when all the characters were young and having adventures together even though none of knew each other when they were kids (a good indication a series is in the crapper when they do stuff like this.) The Grizzlies spoofing the Garbage compactor scene from “Star Wars” (arguing what is better, paper or plastic.) Hazel doing an info commercial on why it sucks being a reporter. And much much more! But people were whining about how I destroyed Strayers because of this episode so it was time to get back to the action (perhaps the only time in the history of the series I actually listened to the readers.)
The title for this one was my way of saying this was all a joke (ironically, it would be one of the most used phrases I would hear about this episode.)
"Final Resting Place"It is often questioned whose final resting place is it for? Is it because Prowler has been resurrected? Is it because Impetus died? Is it because the villainess died? I’ll have to answer “None of the above” Bear realizes that for the first time the villain intensions aren’t necessarily evil (just their methods.) As she falls to her doom Bear actually hopes she survives to continue her work. But the death makes him look at things differently from now on. Evil is not black and white.
So much for retirement. Bear and Nitro decide their kids are old enough so it is time to be Strayers again! The old Grizzly unit (with Dixie in tow once again) is reformed. Again, another mistake on my part. I wanted to explore more aspects of Strayer training (through instructors Nitro and Bear.) One thought was a troublesome cadet they didn’t think he could learn from anyone who was “demoted” to an instructor. Of course, Bear and Nitro would show him to think otherwise. But I thought it would be too boring (though I would end up using it with BJ in a later episode.) After all, the only good story is crammed pack with action (if only if I had reread “Reconstructive Surgery”) So the Grizzlies were of on a new adventure.
This one was kind of the Strayers meet the Ghostbusters (at least at the start.) I got the idea from a place you would least expect it: A commercial. There was a commercial for the Discovery Channel, in it a helicopter races into a storm and lighting flashes. It is only on the screen for like two seconds but the imagery was so profound that I had to get that into the story (thus the opening sequence.) This is how most of my ideas come about (not necessarily from TV/Movies.) A little spark ignites and the rest of the story is formed around it.
Usually, there is at least one hand to hand (or paw to paw) fight in an episode. This time around Nitro is not so successful. Though Bear and the gang save her at the last second I could have easily saved time and just have her win. But she had to lose. Nothing against Nitro but I didn’t want the readers get accustomed to every Strayer winning every fight.
There is quite a roller coaster ride in this one. In quick succession the Grizzlies are in an aero dogfight, they out run a collapsing mineshaft, they go on a harrowing mine car ride, get sucked into a whirlpool and fall off a waterfall. Even in their heighten mutated states this adventure would surely kill them (not to mention Amani who is a human.) Yes, I try to keep it real but even this trends over to the absurd. But cutting the grass is real, it is also exremely boring. So sometimes you have to throw logic to the winds and have a little fun.
One of my least favorite combinations are kids and series. Usually, the kids are smarter than the adults. They swoop in to save the day, to save the world, while the adult have their finger up their noses going duh. The only reason I let the kids go on their mission was to change this. No to let the adults to show them up but to make the kids act like, we, kids. They fail not out of determination but out of lack of experience or patience. There is a reason why the kids aren't in charge.
Why on earth would I want to resurrect Prowler? I mean, he is sexist, rude, obnoxious and just plain mean. Well, that is exactly why I brought him back. Strayers is not about everyone being perfect, even Bear loses it every once in a while. But it is all about being real. Being human. Not every hero acts like a hero. You have to take the good with the bad. Bear realized this when he restored not just the good parts of Prowler but also the bad (he doesn't have the authority to play God!)
Ecosystem was a departure from my typical baddies. Up to now the villains were evil and they knew it, they did rotten things because they liked it. While she had a purpose behind her madness, she wanted to save the environment. The only way she knows how is to take out humanity. Her heart is in the right place it is just her methods are wrong (or are they?)
Enter Pariah! Or as I like to call him: Shadow 2.0. Yeah, I needed someone to give Bear secret tips, information (to get me out of painting myself in a corner.) But this time around I wanted him not to be a nemesis but an actual ally. Though there are some tense moments, after all being experimented on things get quite messed up, in general he is a good guy. Yet he does have his secrets, his own hidden agenda. I wanted to keep the mystery there.
Did I really go to all that trouble for a really bad joke (Pair-a-Docs?) Well, originally the two people Bear runs down in the dream were his parents. As it turns out his subconscious is trying to make him feel guilty for running out on them and having to fend off the bully Duncan and mutant attacks on their newly relocated homestead. When he talks to Nitro about the dreams she tells him it wasn’t his fault, Ross Dole blackmailed him. Besides, you can’t live in the past. The important thing is that thanks to him they are all together again. He has done a lot of good. He accepts that and the dreams stop. But since I had gone down this road before I decided to change it. After rereading I guess I should have tossed out the dream (and used it in another story.)
There was a turboprop plane towards the end of this one (where Bear and Ecosystem duke it out.) It could rotate its propellers into either a vertical or horizontal position. This was not my invention but the military. I had seen it on a special on airplanes. Of course, at the time, they reported on it because it had many difficulties (a few had crashed) but it turned out more successful in my story. I was always on the lookout for new gadgets for the series, especially feasible ones. I always wanted to keep it… Come on, let’s all say it together… REAL!!!
Speaking about fistfights, Strayers is loaded with them. There are chases and gun battles but the hand to hand (or paw to paw) scenes I really enjoyed. Unlike cars and guns, where the one that had the better one (or higher ground) had the advantage, when the villain and heroine faced off all they had were their fists (and their cunning.) I always tried to start it out fair (no one is stronger than the other or their opponent isn’t already hurt.) Though, the tables may turn during the brawl (one of them finding a pipe or a knife as a weapon) but they both had the same opportunity to acquire it. I tried to flip it back and forth so the reader would say “Oh no! Bear is going to lose!” or “Yes! Bear is going to kick their tail!” (I remember a time when people use to cheering during a movie.)
"Armageddon Of The Ancients"Glitzy was originally created back in “Time, Times and Half a Time” for a reason for Exile to fall in love with Colleen (they were both dead ringers.) That was it. When I started this story I wanted to have a character that was tied to one of the Rover’s past (so they would trust her.) I didn’t want someone with too much history (you would know if they were lying or not) and someone to make the readers wonder. That is why I picked Glitzy.
Stef was one of my alter egos I use to use in chat rooms/forums. She could be playful but also like fire in the same sentence. I wanted to give Exile a decent girl friend this time around (I didn’t like how the Colleen/Exile affair went through.) So with Stef being well polished I didn’t figure there was a risk.
Originally Grendle was the chief baddie (instead of Ecosystem) and his henchman was Mauler (instead of Prowler.) The story was also set back right after “Severed Blood” (to allow these old baddies.) But I was on a Ecosystem kick so she became the new leader in this story. Also, the original title was “Orion’s Last Gleaming” (Where the very power of the stars themselves were harnessed.)
Very few people actually die in the series. This was a problem for the Ketchup/Mustard conflict. A war between the US and Canada would cost millions of lives, I got around this but making it a conflict fought with condiments. Yes, the parodies used to explain how the war come about are silly, extremely silly, but they allowed me a world crisis (so the Rovers had something to do) without having to have a high body count. Thank goodness for condiments!
The biggest change in the episode is the operation that turned Puffball from a slow stuttering person to the clear talking genius. Writing for Puffball had always been fun but I was getting sick of people saying how stupid she was (she was never dumb, just a bit slow because the mutation process was never completed.) Besides, Strayers and change went paw and paw. But to up the ante I made her super smart (sort of her own super power.) I did this so she could continue to give us comic relief.
In this one Blitz has his moment in the sun. In both Road Rovers and Strayers Blitz main purpose was for comic effect. He would either tremble in fear when there was danger or go out about biting tails (to the Rover's disgust.) Well, I thought it was time for this dog to have his day. So not only does he defeat his objectives in the base attack but he saves the Rovers too. Surprisingly, this big change had the least complaints from the fans. In fact, they actually liked it. Wow, I actually did something right!
Bear and his team are captured by Ecosystem. She tries to force them to do her bidding but being heroes they refuse. But then the villainess threatens her prisoners (the friends and family of Bear.) Usually, at this point in a story the heroes reluctantly agree. I always hated that. They are heroes, if they do what she wants the villainess will take over the world not to mention kill them all anyway. It was pointless to give in. That wasn’t going to happen in my story. But then again, they had to agree otherwise the story would stop there. It took me a while to get around this (dang painted corner.) So I had to up the ante, I made is whether or not they helped the villainess would win (she just wants them to do it because it is quicker, easier and a lot less messy.) It also bought the some time for the heroes to try and figure a way out of this mess.
Reading about all the facts and history I included in this episode everyone must think that I’m a freaking History teacher (I hope you all brought a #2 pencil, there will be a test at the end.) Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Had I wrote these stories 10 year earlier it would not be possible. For one thing, Road Rovers wouldn’t have aired yet. For another, I got all the mumbo jumbo thanks to the Internet. Cut and Paste can be a powerful tool. I tried to keep my stories as accurate as possible when dealing with the real world and the Web made that all possible.
So what was I thinking about Cyc in this one? I mean, I destroyed everything but his brain. I forced Hubert to have to connect him to Sylvia in order to save him. For starters, I had to deactivate him so he couldn’t warn the Strayers or RRMC. Of course, I could have him stunned but I’d lose the dramatic affect (if Cyc loses power he will die.) Besides, my original idea was to have Cyc permanently installed into the pickup truck. That way the Grizzlies could travel together at once. If I wanted to strand them somewhere I just had to have Sylvia break down (no painted corner there.) But then I looked back over some old stories and discovered that some of the best discussions (or arguments) were on Cyc. Just two characters (not the whole group.) The perfect soapbox. I’d lose this so I had Cyc placed back into another Cycleborg.
The meaning of the title for this one even though the power wiped out the ancient civilization it also threatened to destroy our current civilization (when the villain got her hands on it!)
"What Goes Around Comes Around"This episode marked the end of the Golden Age of Strayers. Not that what followed was crap (the following episodes were still better than most of the stuff on TV), it was just the passion dropped a bit. By now I wasn’t writing from what I had worked out in my head but on outlines I had written out. I’m not sure why I switched to this format but the spontaneity, the surprise as I wrote was taken out. I was using spoof/parodies too much (especially in this episode). For the first time the Road Rover subplot was more interesting than the main Strayer plot. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t realize this until nearly the end of the series (which was still three years away.)
The third wall. The wall that separates the character’s reality with the readers. At the very beginning of this episode it is a parody of the truck chase from Raider of the Lost Ark (Bear is even dressed like Indy), which ticks Nitro to no end (she is afraid the show is going to get sued.) I even take some pot shots at myself (I told you I like making fun of myself.) It is usually a taboo to break down this wall. So why did I do it? Hey, I love to piss people off so I do it every chance I get!
Throughout Strayers (and even Road Rovers) the baddies each had their own armies, their own equipment which they all built from scratch. I had always wondered what happened to all those bases that were destroyed. All that equipment that was trash. Surely some of it was still useful. Did it just lay around and rust? That is when I came up with Scavenger (the opening villainess.) She went around and collected what everyone thought was useless and used it for her cause (she even resurrected an old henchman - Fauna the robot from “Final Resting Place”)
The stealing of the Meowator is my answer to the Kirk/Picard debate (which is the better Star Trek captain.) Bear is obviously Kirk (all the females are throwing themselves at him) while Peekarde (sound it out phanetically) is Picard. When he would rather reason it out (which allows Bear to escape) Bear is a man (or dog) of action. He also has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Most people think this title has a deep meaning or purpose. I assure you it doesn’t. It is just a fancy way of indicating it is a sequel (from the original story of “Universal problems”)
"Loose Ends"The opening part of this episode was my tribute to the movie 1941 (if you don’t believe me check out the name painted on the side of Bear’s plane.) Almost everyone who saw this movie hated it but to this day it makes me crack up. It was wild, crazy and expensive. Totally different from the average comedy (which is why I liked it.) Even though it is about WWII not a single serious point (why must they insist on putting serious scenes in comedies?) was in it.
The breakaway of the main character in the start of the story (where Bear runs off after the villain while Nitro fends off the villainess) is usually used to focus on the action of Bear in this case (at the end we would usually catch up with secondary character, Nitro in this case, with the villainess in handcuffs.) But this time around I switched between the two of them to give them equal scene time. I wanted to cause tension (if Bear was about to die I’d cut to Nitro, forcing you to wonder how Bear is going to get out of the mess. Then when it looked like Nitro was doomed I can back to Bear.)
At the end of the opening Bear is informed “She” is here. The Grizzlies (and Road Rovers) raced to capture “She”. Usually when I don’t name the person they are after it turns out not to be a threat but some kind of comic relief (like when Colleen chased this guy in “Attack of the Killer Inlaws” around and it turned out to be a caterer for Bear/Nitro’s wedding.) But this time around it turns out to be a real baddie (Viri.) I played tricks like this to always keep the readers guessing.
Okay, what is with the title of chapters you may ask. Well, someone suggested that the scripts were too long and need to be broken up into chapters (just like a book.) Hey, I was game (especially when I could come up with some silly names.) After I finished this episode it turned out I was mistaken. They meant breaking one script into several scripts. I didn’t like that idea (mainly it would be a pain to have 25 separate web links for one story) so after this they no longer appear.
I’ve always wanted to work a physiatrist into Strayers (even though she turned out to be a fraud.) With all the death and destruction, pain and suffering, I figured they had to be a little touched in the head (like me.) At last that Psychology class I took would pay off! Yes, by the scene you can tell I don’t have a lot of faith in them. As far as the Paul Rubens movie he recalls, that is from “PeeWee’s Big Adventure!” (Paul really needs to do more movies.)
I was writing this one during 911 (the terrorist attack.) In fact, it was dedicated to all of those who died. In one scene the Grizzlies have to meet someone in the airport. After all the changes because of this attack on America I knew I couldn’t have them just walk through with their weapons even if they worked for the government so I showed the readers how they were transported on through (you have to read the story to see how.)
I had a lot of fun with the chase through San Francisco. There hadn’t been a lot of car chases (mostly planes) and those were not in a major city (with lots of things to crash into.) Also this time around I made Nitro the hero and Bear the comic relief (I am an equal opportunity employer). But my favorite part was when both vehicles barely miss a fruit cart and the owner says “Thanks Gene.” This was in reference to Gene Siskel. As he was reviewing some movie he commented how he would like to see at least one movie where the cars miss a fruitcart. This one is for you Gene!
The Nitro/Outlaw conflict is one of the dangers of using someone else’s characters. I personally had no vendettas or malice towards the Outlaw’s group but I couldn’t exactly have everyone get along (what fun is that?) So I had Nitro hate that he was a bounty hunter and belittle him and his profession (in was a pleasant change since Bear usually played the bad guy.) But I also needed reconciliation (Outlaw was a guest on the show.) So I had him saving her life. Of course, there was always the reader who would see Nitro’s attack and stop reading (which was the risk), shoot me off a flame mail saying what a jerk I was (well duh! I know I’m a jerk!) Then I would have to tell them to keep reading. Of course, I would never get an ooops letter back. Don’t you just love the Internet?
Puffball becomes distraught with the death of Outsider (or apparent death.) In here fit of anger she goes to punch Bear and in his superior wisdom says it won’t bring him back but if it will make her feel better go ahead an punch him. Usually, in stories like this Puffball would realize he is right and lower her fist. But as everyone knows, Strayers is not like other stories. Puffball punches Bear. A nice bit of comedy but I was trying to show everyone you never know what is going to happen in Strayers.
Dixie’s daughter (now there is a scary thought) was first introduced in “Reconstructive Surgery” (her birth was talked about but never seen.) She returns in this episode as Barb. This was my grand plan. I returned Prowler so Dixie would stop chasing Bear. I did this so Barb could be brought into the picture (I had to wait for a bit so she could be a teenager.) Now the three can be a happy loving family… Well, being Strayers, you know that isn’t going to happen. Barb turns out to be a spoiled manipulative brat who only cares about herself. No matter how much they try she always hates them. I always hated those stories where you have the daughter burst into tears and says how she really loves them. Instead, we get a truce at the end (because of a good old fashion paddling.)
The title calls attention to the completion of the Barb (Dixie’s daughter story.) She has finally be found!
"Leaps of Faith"Finally, Cyc gets some action. Up till now he had been a means of moving the plot again (transportation/new information.) But now he gets to fight side by side with the rest of the gang and saving their tails more than once. One of the big problems with Strayers was trying to keep everyone in the story (this became harder as the cast grew.) I tried to give them all their day in the sun (like Amani going one on one with the villain.)
Through out the series I tried to introduce tired cliché’ and totally make fun of them. In this one I took on the villain wanting to marry the heroine. Just think about this for a moment. Nitro has sworn to take Anubus down. The reason why she was captured was because she was trying to arrest him and foil his evil plan. He knows she will do anything to stop him (even kill him if it is a choice between him and the world) yet he wants her as his wife. First chance she gets she is going to crack him over the head with something. Why would he want her? I guess the public will shallow anything (I guess there is still hope for Strayer to turn into a TV series.)
My sanity came into question when it looked like Colleen was going to dump Hunter for Blitz. In my defense I did this for two reasons: 1) With the growing cast it was growing harder and harder to incorporate the Road Rovers into my stories, so this would provide a perfect vehicle for this. 2) Strayers is all about shaking things up, what is more mixed up than a love affair of Colleen and Blitz?
The Khunwen was originally suppose to be a test of friendship (between Babbling Brook and Amani) but was later changed to a test of endurance and resourcefulness of the Sawitwa tribe. This was because Amani was an Indian but most of the stuff she did came from the white man. She had lost her heritage and I needed a way for her to refind it. Since her parents were living with Bear and Nitro in the wilderness compound connecting her to her own people was out. That is why I introduced the Sawitwa (fictious tribe.) Now she could show just how much of her childhood was still in her.
The rights of mutants and those of humans had always different (as I have hinted throughout the series.) That was the Blay Edict, where mutants were turned into slaves. But if that was the case then there would be no Strayers. I needed something to have changed everything, sort of like a civil rights movement. Enter the Stien Treaty, which gave the mutants some rights. While organizations like Equal Animal Rights Network (EARN) were helping too. I threw all this in because I wanted the series to have a political edge as well. To have a real side to it. My only regret is that I never did a story that covered this in more detail.
Awks as a villain? But he was this bumbling idiot in the last episode? He was also willing to do anything to get what he wants. Because Bear didn’t expose him for the fraud that he was (faking his ratings) and gave him encouragement he created a monster. He was the perfect vehicle of what can happen when you take the law into your own hand (or paws.) The consequences of judging people as you see them, not by the facts. This also allowed to pull Sirius into the story, having to choose between the loyalty of his friend or justice. This gave me a chance to promote Snakoyl to internal affairs. Yes, it is a far fetched premise (having a shrink heading up Internal Affairs) but it was my desperate gamble to bring Lydia back into the scene (yes, Snakoyl is merely a resurrected Lydia.) She was fun to write for.
Most readers really didn’t catch the non-violence theme that was throughout the series. Oh, there were fist fights and battles but if anyone died (which was rare) it was usually by their own doing (or stupidity.) I mean, the Strayer’s weapons only froze people instead of killed them. The Justice vs Vigilantly subplot was sort of a wake up call. I tried to make the case of both sides. Yes, our current system of law needs an overhaul but you need to change the system, not the definition of justice to make things right.
Can’t I ever make up my mind? That is what some people have told me, this episode is prime example. Originally, it was Matt Slyness’ plan to mutate Nitro’s wolf pack into mutants that he could use to take over the world. But it is revealed that Gabriella (Matt’s mother and the old woman who use to read the Bible to the pack) was behind it. It was her plan all along. I always like to keep people guessing, to turn things around so when the readers were nice and comfortable I’d throw them a curve ball and changed everything.
Can I flip flop Dixie’s character any more? She came into this series a sex starved dog who loved to shop but ended up as a tough as nails team leader. Looking back I guess I should have had a different leader for Sirius’ team (like Stef) and kept her around for comic relief. With finding her missing daughter and the return of Prowler I did want to make her a bit more serious, but nothing like in this episode. It is like she could take on all the baddies of the Strayer’s universe single handedly (or single pawedly.)
Kyla finally comes of age. She was so determined to fail becoming a vet that it took her to save the life of her father. In this scene I tried to make everything as accurate as possible. Now, I didn’t know for sure if all the odds and ends Kyla used to save Bear would really work, I’m no doctor (but I play one on TV), but it is plausible (so don’t try this at home kids!) Originally I was just going to have Kyla stop the bleeding when Bear got shot to prove she has what it takes to be a vet. Then again, most of the Strayers there would have basic first aid and could have done it. I needed something a bit more advanced so I had Bear suffering from a collapsed lung instead.
A question comes up. If Bear was really pretending to fall for Wyoming then why was he having flashbacks of Natalie and himself when they were in love? Simply, he was falling for her. Again, Bear is not your average hero. He doesn’t laugh in the face of death, he does get scared. Most of all, he can be drawn to a beautiful woman (or dog) who is trying to seduce him. The important thing is Bear could have let his feelings run wild, he could have played along and let it get too far. But he knew it was not the right thing to do. Not only would it destroy his marriage but his family (and go against God), both which he loves dearly (and they feel the same about him.)
Poor Amani, she goes through boy friends faster than Bear and Nitro fight and make up. She is sort of compensating for Bear. I felt I made him get married too quickly (as mentioned before) so with Amani having a new boy friend (and new challenges) almost every episode it gave me the freedom to explore a few things (like being single in a dog/cat world.)
At the very end Awks ends up killing himself, Snakoyl Blames Sirius for putting the idea in his head. Of course, not having any proof she has to back off. Dixie asks him if he did it on purpose. He shakes his head. But as they walk away he smiles for a moment. The smile can be taken either way: He was happy Awks offed himself (meaning he did mean it) or he is glad Awks torment (the guilt for killing Xlos) is over. I never clearly indicated which was the answer. I wanted to leave it up to the reader (but later in the series you get a definate answer.)
So what is the leap of faith that the title is hinting to? Well, for starters, it is plural (more than one.) The trust of Amani towards Babbling Brook was one. Kyla questioning of her own abilities as a Vet was another. But the big one was the crumbling of Bear and Nitro’s marriage. After all these years it looked like it was over but it was The Eliminator who brought them back together (unwittingly.)
"Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow"In the last two previous episodes it is mentioned that Nitro has been under a lot of pressure and worrying a lot about her pack. It was my plan in the next episode that Nitro would go totally nuts. Getting increasingly paranoid she quits the Strayers and heads back to her pack, anyone who tries to talk her out of this (even Bear) is attacked. She even tries to destroy RRMC. She manages to escape and the Strayers/Rovers have to track her down. Outnumbered and alone, she makes a deal with Viri: If she tells the villainess where RRMC is located, who the Rover/Strayers really are and other secrets she will protect her. Nitro agrees. But before the information can be revealed the heroes arrive, arrest both Viri and Nitro. Viri mutters how her master plan almost worked. No one hears this but Bear (thanks to his super hearing.) When they return to RRMC a very detailed medical exaime of Nitro is preformed (more detail than standard check ups.) It turns out that Nitro has been infected by one of Viri’s viruses two episodes ago. So it wouldn’t be detected it slowly built up over the years slowly taking over her mind making her paranoid (so she would eventually turn against the Strayers.) There is no known cure so she will just get worse until she goes insane. Fortunately, Hubert and the gang come up with a suppressor that will stop the virus from growing and nullify the affects of it (leaving future episodes where the virus mutates into something new and the suppressor is useless.) But as I started writing this I found this a bit far fetched (even for Strayers) so I canned it all (hoping to do a story in the past would make everyone forget Nitro's odd bevahior (though a mechanical version of this would surfaced in future episodes but its victim would be Dixie.)
The Grizzlies are retiring… Again! I was trying to correct the mistake I made early on when Bear and Nitro retired (notice how Amani and Puffball are quitting too.) Everyone (but Puffball) is going to do something regarding Strayers. I wanted to show what happens behind the scenes of the across the entire organization.
Perry Jamerson (the editor of Late Breaking New) is a compilation of two famous fictional news editors: Perry White and John Jonah Jameson. Both are tough, over the top and give all those around them grief (and a reason not to be in the office.) Not only that he turns out to have alternative motives (he wants to find out the history surrounding Bear's true identity and Barb's cruel father even though both of them have been declared off limits by The Master.) He was a lot of fun to write.
Nothing like filling a loophole! That is what I did when explaining to the readers since Amani went through the Sapien-Mutator her aging has been slowed down by a factor of 3. She has been on this earth 47 years but with this new knowledge that would make her almost 16 (dividing by 3.) But that isn’t entirely true since she was 30 when the process happened and 17 years have since pasted. Taking the factor of 3 into account that means she is almost 36. If Strayers had gone any longer I would have to work some more of my magic (resetting the factor to 4.)
This time around the Road Rover subplot is for them to separate instead of working together. They are ordered to go and visit their favorite charities. This gave them something to do without having to come up with an overall plot (just random scenes.) I tried to place them in situations to further their character (how do they spend their free time?) I think I was very creative. Though, Colleen’s charity was originally “The Princess’” (how act like a princess.) But this was out of character for Colleen so I switched it to what it is now. Oh, by the way, all the assassins (except for Colleen’s) were from fellow fan fiction writers.
Growl’s Chinese Theater is a spoof on Grumman’s Chinese Theater. (Where do I come up with these?) One of the reasons I kept the Road Rovers in the series (despite Strayer's is a spinoff) was where the Strayers were a serious element with little bits of comic relief while the Rovers were the opposite. I love to dabble in comedy, the more absurd the better. With them they would be in a fire fight, stop to crack and joke and no one would complain. But the humor I used for them is more SCTV (the humor comes how the characters interacted) than SNL (telling jokes.) Most the scenes wrote themselves and isn’t that what we all want (at least the writers?)
The actor’s names that play the Road Rovers in the movies (in Strayers) are based on the real voice actors that played them in the real Road Rover series. Though I kind of made fun of them (their names, not their talent) it was my homage to them for all their wonderful work. But they aren’t alone, I made fun of myself too (AGAIN!!!) by revealing how badly I do accents: “It seems that the only hint of a British accent is you alternating blooming and bloody every other line with the occasional Guv thrown in.”) Drats! My secret is revealed!
The energy shaft (for the meteor destroying laser) was inspired by the original “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, where the heroes ride up in the big urn pushed up by lava. But where they were rushing away from danger Bear was heading towards it. And of course it had to be ridden by Bear. Not because he was the hero and star but he had to give his speech (inspired on the closing of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) on how the world had to change its ways or we were all doomed. A lot of people probably rolled their eyes when reading that. If they did then they did the same for the entire series. Because that was one of the main theme throughout: Hope and getting involved in the future.
At the end of the episode I thank all the fans for help making Strayers what it was. Everyone goes off their separate ways and the next generation of Strayers are now the Grizzlies. It sounded like this was going to be the last Strayer episode ever (which is why several characters in this story indicated that the show has been canceled.) Well, actually, that was the plan. Though I did leave everything open with Dixie and Prowler riding the highways of free love and the new Grizzlies setup for new adventures. But that was more for other fan fiction writers (if they wanted to do a cross over with my stuff.) But, as you can see it didn’t turn out that way (read on to find out what happened.)
The title for this one is simple, it is a farewell to the show. This was going to be my last Strayer's episode ever (or so I thought.)
"Tower of Babel"Strayers was over. It was a done deal. Or at least that is what I thought (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing commentary to a new episode.) A bunch of readers sent me pleading emails saying how it can’t end so soon. So soon? Road Rovers had been off the air for over six years. I figured no one would care if I rode off into the sunset. But the amount of emails indicated otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I still was writing for myself (most of the time) and flux of fan mail wouldn’t get me behind a keyboard again. What did was a new story idea (this episode.) Going back to the Golden age of Strayers reenergized me so I just had to write this.
In the original outline the Strayers and Parvo/Groomer never face off in the opening. The goodies chase the baddies all over the train. When they reach the engine they escape like in the episode. When I wrote this out it didn’t come out right. They had to clash face to face (besides, Bear had to shoot Parvo in the leg again.)
In a very early version Rabid is the one that gets abducted, when he is drugged Groomer and Parvo play his parents in order to try and trick him in revealing the location of RRMC. His conscious is played by his girlfriend when he was a human, Anna (though she was portrayed as Sue-Lynn in the series.) Also when Nitro turns in she finds a small metal canister covered with saliva (from Shadow) on her bed. She opens it up to find a note. It is addressed to Nitro and says if she ever wants to see Rabid alive she will come alone to the coordinates on the map provided. Later, Nitro goes to the rendezvous. Just like Rabid, she is ambushed and drugged. They carry her away. Nitro, bound in chains, is brought before Rabid. They slap her around and demand that Rabid tell them what they want to know, he refuses. They use electric shocks on her, but refuses for the good of all. Finally, Parvo points a gun at Nitro head and gives Rabid 15 seconds to tell them where Road Rover Mission Control is. With no choice, he agrees to tell them. But Nitro convinces him otherwise knowing that they will kill them both anyway. Rabid once again refuses. Parvo places the gun to Nitro’s head again, but this time Rabid refuses. As Parvo is about to shoot the base is attacked by Rovers and Strayers. In order to transport them they are to both be sent through the new Cano-Mutator. But as Rabid is about to be change Groomer is knocked in to (by Nitro trying to save Rabid) and their personalities are changed. Now the whining and complaining is that Rabid is a girl and Groomer is a wolf (which fits better into the complaints of the final version.) Later, Rabid confesses to Nitro about his engagement to Anna. He explains that she thinks he is dead (along with the rest of his family) Nitro has grave concerns about keeping such an important secret to himself. She wonders what other secrets he has hidden. She is not sure she can marry him (even if he is turned back to a male.) Dejected, Rabid retires to him room. Shadow contacts and arranges him to meet with Parvo to be changed back. Then the Rovers/Strayers attack and capture Parvo (but the ship remains intact.) Nitro patches up things with Rabid (after he promises not to keep any more secrets from her) and pleads to him to go into the new mutator because she knows he wants to be a human again. But as he is about to the ship goes into self destruct, they barely escape. Later, Rabid meets with Shadow and hits him with a gas bomb. He gets what he deserves for setting him up, he now has an itch on his back he can’t reach.
I tried something different this time. In the past, the characters from Road Rovers (other than the Rovers themselves) always made out to be noble and decent (after all, they are heroes.) This time around, as the Rovers are trying to recruit those that they helped saved, everyone turns out not to be as stellar. Again, using the Strayer’s mantra (change is good), I showed the readers one by one why they shouldn’t be recruited.
This is the first story in the series that is set in the past (not a flash back or uses time travel.) I allowed to cover some things that were just mentioned in other stories (like Stef’s and Hubert’s martial problems.)
I’m really proud of the dream sequence (torture sequence), it really allows Dixie to shine through. That she is really a heroine (though her morality is sometimes questionable.) Best of all we learn she still has a conscious (though it is seldom used), that there is still hope for her. True, she did show some gains raising her daughter but at the end of the last episode that was all thrown away.
There were several avenues I was considering about the conversation process (when Dixie is turned into Groomer and vice versa): Both Dixie and Nitro get swapped totally ruining any chance of marriage, but then there was no reason why Parvo would want to change them back (Groomer is not involved.) I also considered Amani and Groomer since they were both humans but where would the fun in that be (no species change). I’m glad I left it as it is, it allowed me to explore how Cano-Sapiens perceive the world compared to humans.
Well, the end of this one bugged some people. Prowler betrayed the Rovers/Strayer and gets off scot free. Well, he does get beaten up but still his plan was for Rabid to die. The reason why this came about was instead of Prowler it was Shadow who betrayed him (which is why Prowler had all that stuff to make him appear to be Shadow.) If you reread this episode replacing Prowler with Shadow you will see. Why didn’t I stick with Shadow? By this time I wrote this I hadn’t used Shadow for over three years and his creator’s site had long since gone dead. There was no way to get permission to contact them so I had to substitute in Prowler (one of the draw backs of using someone elses characters.)
The title is based on the story in the Bible where the people of Babel want to create a huge tower reaching to the heavens not in the glory of God but to themselves. When God sees this he makes every person speak a different language. They can't work together so the tower is never finished. Just like Groomer and Dixie, they are given different bodies (species) that makes them unable to do their jobs or even be trusted.
"Laodicia"And thus we return to the Strayer Academy (this time in England.) As I stated before, I wanted to retread something I missed the first time the Grizzlies retired. Some behind the scenes looks. But more importantly, BJ (Bear Junior) has come of age. He is a cadet here. The kind and lovable dog that Bear rescued from Parvo turns out to be a bad apple. He wants to be a Strayer so he can be Judge, Jury and Executioner (again, I love twisting things around.) The threats and negativity that he proclaims would automatically get him throuw out. But since Bear is in charge he lets his heart (not his mind) do his thinking. BJ is like a son to him. He refuses to cast him out even if it means causing more damage. Once again, Bear in human.
The task that Hubert is given (recover the data from the broken computer chip that was recovered from a plane that tried to ram the golden gate bridge) is the first impact from 911 in the series. Though it has been over a year since the attack on America it was still and taboo subject. I spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering if I should do this (I know this is just a script but I take my writing very seriously.) I decided more healing would be if we faced the threat instead of trying to forget about it, so I proceeded.
I pulled a fast one here. When Bear and Nitro defeat the terrorists and get arrested that usually sets up the main plot of the story (the friends of the terrorists go after Bear/Nitro for revenge or the cop that got arrested goes for revenge.) But I already had the main plot which was how the Grizzlies are missing being field units. Because of the ending they have the shortest retirement in history (again.)
In the original outline I had Scrat (from Iceage) up in the mountains searching for nuts. He finds a big one and pulls it out of the snow, in the process he falls and tumbles down the hill screaming. Later on, when Nitro is about to be killed by the baddies in the snowmobile chase, he rolls onto them and saves the day!
The scene where the Eliminator and Nitro battle each other in giant robots is inspired by the toy Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots. Also, Bear’s final battle scene with The Admiral was inspired from the movie “The Great Race” (INSPIRED, not COPIED!)
The three felines (Charlene, Nicki and Catty) were based on my own pet cats. I was inspired to do this when Charlene was killed by a dog. Well if I could have Bear live on in Strayers I figured that I could do the same for her.
In the end, the Strayers team up once more (thanks to some maneuvering by The Master.) But Bear and Nitro have reservations, they want to give their kids space and working with them will ruin that (that is fixed because their kids will work in the US and Bear’s group in England.) In the original outline Bear and Nitro were worried because of their obligations at the academy but The Master points out that is not a full time job so they agree. I dropped this because it was a bit farfetched (even if they worked one day a week they would have to stop in the middle of a mission to come back and teach.)
The title once again comes from the Bible. Laodicia is being luke warm, either hot or cold, which represents the time we live in now (and how Bear feels not being in the field anymore.
"Falsification"I brought back Resin (who was released on a technicality) because Bear needed an adversary. Not to try and kill him but to annoy him (and Nitro.) Someone to really get under his fur. By the way, the Intelligent Gun they use to get at Scavenger is a real weapon. I saw it on TV and it intrigued me so I included my version.
This time around I wanted to up the ante (always changing, always improving) in the fight between Scavenger and Nitro so I decided to have the entire fight with Nitro’s hands tied behind her back. It took some doing and a lot of consideration but I managed to pull it off.
Tyke is a throw back to the angry police sergeant that hates the cowboy antics of one of his officers. But in this case most of the antics is only in his mind. He hates the Strayers because they are American (not British.) It seems everyone in authority (except the Prime Minister) in England hates the Strayers. I wanted to build up a reason why the Strayers would eventually go back to America (though I didn’t plan it to happen so soon.)
The Tomb scene where Awks is still alive answers the question why Sirius smiled when he learned of his death (for those of you who have been paying attention.) Bear and Nitro were good, just a little too good. I really wanted to shake up the reader’s trust in them. That is why Awks was still alive and had a deep dark secret about them. Of course it turns out to be an act of love instead of hate.
Impetus returns, but this time it is the original (not a clone.) We quickly discover that she is way different and a lot nicer (I wanted the readers to consider this so when Ecosystem pretends she was used by her clones and is really decent they would believe her.) She comes back as a PR person (instead of a field agent) because I wanted to show something different in how things work behind the scenes.
It is obvious where the Cube character came from (well not that obvious or I wouldn’t be explaining it): Q from James Bond. The twist is he is incompetent.
The ending really makes me want to quote Colleen: “Eeeew! Gross!” I mean, Tad treated his sister like his girlfriend. I have to admit, this was one of the rare occasions where I came up with an idea at the last second. When I was writing this one I really wanted a shocker. Something that really floored the readers with “I never saw this coming!” Had I come up with it sooner I would have had Bear and Nitro trying to break Carmi and Tad up from the beginning (in the original outline I had Bear/Nitro to try and break them up anyway they could without revealing their secret but that just drove Carmi and Tad that much closer. I dropped this from the final story because in the other episodes they were happy they were together.) All I could do was write it up in Bear’s favor the best I could. Just like the Strayers I’m not perfect either.
The Falsification is the lie Bear and Nitro have to endure regaurding Carmi is really their daughter.
"Touch of the Reaper"Okay, I’ll admit it. This is my entry into the Indiana Jones saga. Some of the other episodes had hints and gags from those movies but this one was a full blown effort with Bear dressed as Indy, Sue-Lynn as the former girlfriend and everything. The only difference is that the item they quest for is not magical but based on science (a lighter would seem magical to a caveman.)
The original title of this one was “Gauntlets of the Reaper!” Gauntlets are associated more with the dark ages than gloves. I changed it to Touch because that would leave it more open (after all, it is the touching of the gloves that does you in.) Most titles try to be mysterious or intriguing to lure the fans in. What is touching? Why is it so fatal (Reaper?) I know this is shocking but we writers will pull any trick to get you to read our stuff!
I brought the Nitro/Dixie feud to an end in the last episode (Bear banishes her from his life.) It has happened before but this time I secure her fate by having her betray Nitro and almost get her killed. Because of her vile and wicked act she is arrested for attempted murder. I push her (and the readers) even further when she vows to kill Nitro once and for all. I felt the games of stealing Bear had run its course and it was time to move on. Little did I know how much I would miss this (and later correct it.)
Relswee and Belswee were inspired by two characters from the video game “Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb.” I kind of like how Indy had to fend off both of them at the same time so I came up with my own version for this episode. Though they are twins they act totally different: One is the brawn and the other the brains. Plus I love how they argued (I love conflict.)
Sue-Lynn falls back into Bear’s life even though he is halfway around the world (in England.) She was so key to Bear’s past life I wanted a chance to fill us in on some more. The whole fight scene (in the Museum) and the chase (in the bus was a blast.) They on their own were not neat but because they were set into a foreign country made them exciting.
Some have questioned the length of the back story surrounding the Reaper Gloves. Crusades, kings, Alchemy. Couldn’t there just be a pair of magical gloves that show up? Half of the fun of Strayers is the story telling, feeding the readers little bits of information as we go along. Not giving them the whole story. The other half of the story is Nitro beating on Bear.
Barb and Monique return, an ace reporter and her camera dog. I really like the whole Lois Lane angle here. Not just making the two most unlikely characters into Strayers like the rest but reporters. Getting the scoop, getting themselves into a jam and getting themselves out without Superman’s help.
In the original outline I had Amani use the cable cars of the castle instead of destroying them out right: Amani takes out the guards and starts on the cable car, almost right away she is spotted. Planes appear and start to strife the car, she takes them out but halfway there the car is in bad shape and is about to fall off. Amani jumps to another car going the other way but it is full of baddies. A fight takes place. Just before she reaches the end she deals with all the baddies. Then the hover jet appears, it fires a missile at the car and the bottom half is destroyed. Amani falls towards her death but at the last second Puffball flies in with Cyc and saves her, the jet chases them away. I got this idea from the video game too (though when Indy did it he was far more successful.) This was a bit too close to plagiarism so I came up with the super gun which Amani uses to take out the cars.
The old delimea: What do you do with people that have been trapped in time and are now stuck in your time? Most series would have them retrained and living perfecting in our time. I don’t subscribe to this. I mean, they have over a thousand years of learning to catch up to. It would take several lifetimes to get up to speed. So I gave them a logical alternative: Become consults to show a new generation how it really was. I imagine there are going to be a lot of changes at the museum (how we preserve the Dark Times VS how it really was.)
The title simply reveals that one touch from the gloves and your would be better of dead.
"End or an Era"The Collies have Dixie to thank for getting them out of England (and out from Tyke's thumb.) Dixie has really become a threat. Not that she really had done any evil (other than trying to kill Nitro out of jealousy) but because being an Ex-Strayer she knows all their secrets (where RRMC is, that Bear is really Steven, etc.) Yet, out of love for Bear she keeps her mouth shut. This time around I really needed for her to go over the edge, this was the end of her reign I held nothing back.
This time out I wanted Tad’s team to have a different kind of mission. Not just battling baddies but also battling the elements. To show that Strayers just don’t bust head and kick tail but they can help in other ways. That is why I had they placed in the coast guard role. Also, I wanted to show these type of rescuers face the same dangers as the those that they rescue. To give them the respect they deserved.
I finally came up with a story where Nitro could be with her pack. Of how she could have a grand adventure with them without having to turn them all into Wolf-Sapiens. To add a little spice to the formula I had her have to battle not only those who abducted her sister but forces from within the pack (Abel.) I tried to show the wolves that they were as imperfect as us (lust for power, greed, jealousy.)
I return to my argument of Administering Justice VS Taking Justice into your own Hand. Yes, this was done before with Awks but where he was doing it more for power Martin Clock was doing it because he believed it was right (he offers Puffball no reward for doing his bidding.) Just because you believe in it doesn't make it right.
This is one of the few times I took a field trip for Strayers. I wanted something real and authentic for Natalie’s big scene (when would you think a Vet would have a chase?) so I went to a local mall and scoped it out. I jotted down some notes and I covered every inch. Security probably thought I was some terrorist plotting something (after all, it was after 911.)
The destruction of Sylvia was really what the title of this episode is based on. Amani’s truck had been with us since episode #2. She was her pride and joy. But one thing that happens a lot was change. Usually that means someone had to die. This time around it was going to be something. Ever since Nolx was introduced I wanted it to be part of the team, but we had enough vihicles as it was. So Sylvia had to go.
I resurfaced the Natalie/Bear love story to focus on lost love. But like most things in Strayers things don’t end up happily. Bear loves Nitro and his family too much and rejects her advances. I set this up so before they go to face Viri one last time she seals her fate. Because once inside she sacrifices herself for the team. She is dead! Or at least that is how I made it look. I used all the clichés to make you believe she is really gone. But I pull a fast one, the sacrifice not only fails to kill her but she is transformed into a human (now she can become a human doctor like she wanted.) But more over I permanently put this love affair to rest.
I have had the Strayer battle on trains, helicopters, motorcycles and just about every other mode of transportation. I needed a new format to place them in (it wouldn’t be a battle without the final fight.) While watching a show on the resurgence of airships (if it wasn’t for TV I don’t know where I’d get my ideas) and thought that would be great. They could fight on top, inside and under it (not to mention someone getting sliced up in the props.)
"Westerlies"An amusement part, how can you go wrong with this? There are a zillion rides that recreate various environments. Anything is possible here. Especially at Mickey Rat World (I don’t think I have to tell you which real theme part this is parodying?) Come on, who hasn’t dreamed of racing a go-kart down the walk ways (or seeing a giant pink poodle driving one.)
I had always wanted to place the Strayers into a old west setting. The original plot was the Strayers are doing border patrol when they are shot down by a drug lord. Bear stays in the plane while the others bail out. He crashes with the plane but is pursued dead. In reality, he hits his head and has amnesia. The baddies find him but instead of killing him they tell him he is one of them. When the others come for the drug lord Bear protects him. There are several gun duels and he ends up killing Nitro (or so he thinks) this snaps him back. Bear leads the Strayers and busts up the ring. The whole thing takes place in a very remote setting like they all stepped back to the old west. The whole amnesia thing was too cliché so I went with this story.
In the past when the Strayers entered an alternative reality it was usually something generated in virtual reality to fool them. This time I wanted it to be real. The death and the danger plus I wanted to have some fun (the Sississippi river?) That is why I sent them off to an alternative universe.
The title is in reference to going out to the old west, or what this alternative universe calls it: The Westerlies (but it didn't really come out in the story.)
"Bad Vibes"The hatred that Bear spoke when he was pretending to be under Cleopatra’s control was not all the artificial. To make it real Bear let down his moralistic view. This way we see that it wouldn’t take that much for him to turn on the Strayers (he says they are weak and ineffective because when one evil is subdued a new one pops up.) That is why it takes all his will to stop himself from hurting Nitro. But thanks to his belief in God he manages to stay on the side of good.
I did original intend to have a lengthy fight between Bear and Nitro (him trying to convince Cleopatra that he is under her spell.) He was even going to cut her (not kill her) and mug up. But I thought that was going a bit too far. After all, he is a hero not to mention in love with his wife. He would never harm her even if it meant his death.
In the potter room scene where a pot is broken and Nitro says “You break it you bought it!” and Cleopatra states “Why would I want to buy a broken vase?” is based on a real life experience. My friend and I were golfing once. His landed just off the course near a house (which by the way the course was there way before the houses.) The owner pops his head out a window and shouts at us “You break it you bought it!” I respond “Why would we want to buy a broken window?” Needless to say the owner was not pleased (yes, I can be just as obnoxious in person as over the Internet.)
This episode was based on an idea for a script from one of my other series call “Kalatir”, it fit in good because that one was about a race of alien canines and felines set into the future. I had stopped writing that series in the middle of it and this idea was still just in my head so I wrote it for Strayers. After I finished Strayers I went back to Kalatir and used this script to write for it when I continued with that series. So I guess I plagiarizing myself.
This title is based on the super weapon (which sends out viberations that shake its target to pieces) the baddies plan to use to take over our universe.
"Phantoms in the Twilight"Though this would turn out to be my last episode I would write for Strayers I did leave a few unfinished works: One was called “Whose Got The Rovers?” It was a story designed to introduce the Road Rovers to readers who had never seen the show (since by then the show had gone off the air like two year earlier.) The Rovers are missing and The Master orders Persia (of the Space Rovers) to find them (finally giving her some decent screen time.) She goes off and interrogates the major friends and foes of the Rovers (thus introducing them.) Meanwhile, the Rovers are being held my a mystery captor. He has them dragged out and questioned. But they are asked weird questions like what is your favorite color, who is your best friend, etc. I put this one to a halt because since I had to explain who was who and their past it was getting way too long. Besides, for a seasoned fan of the show it was a snooze fest. So who turned out to be their captor? It was sport who was going to release them after he collected all their likes and disklikes and be their best friend (a lamo ending which is another reason I threw it into the garbage!)
Some other story ideas that I had in mind (but never written down) was the Strayers going back in time to stop 911. But as it turns out they end up rescuing a mass murder who would have died (that ends up wiping out the population of half the world with a virus including the families of the Strayers/Rovers themselves.) Since this is far worse they all go back into time and stop themselves from stopping 911. I never did this one because I thought it would have drug up a lot of bad memories for that day.
When I started writing this one Road Rovers had been off the air for seven years. I had written 27 episodes (not counting all the other non-staryer and alternative stuff) non-stop and the fanbase (for Road Rovers) was gone. I was burned out (which is reflected in the rehash of peril in the opening battle scene.) In fact, the plot for this episode was one I had rejected earlier when Nitro freaks out. The previous two stories were average at best and this one was quickly going down hill. I knew it was time to quit but I just couldn’t bring myself to throw in the towel.
Walter Basins (Geekzilla) is based on a lot of Internal IT people I have worked with. Arogant, self center and completely annoying. The worst thing that can happen in business is the IT guy meets someone who actually knows something about computers. I tried to keep it simple this time around for two reasons: 1) So the non-technical readers could follow along. 2) I was lazy (see my burned out statement from above).
Though I was running on fumes for this one the one shining moment did come up regarding Smoky (1050’s pickup truck.) Since Nitro stole Nolx I had to come up with something new for Amani. Her previous vehicle was sleek and high tech so I went the other way. But what? Then one day I saw a 1950’s old pickup truck driving along belching out smoke. Then and there I knew I found it. I knew something built by area 51 from the 50’s would drive her crazy.
I always tried to bring back characters that had starred in previous episodes. Not because I was lazy but it made Strayers more of a family (“Oh no! Here comes cousin Mortamer again!”) The ones I tried to pick were off beat and a low profile. That is where Snarlynn came in. She did have a bit of a large part in the last one but her constant comparison of her alien technology VS earth was refreshing (and drove Bear crazy.)
This is how lazy (or burnt out) I got for this one. I give credit to Puffball for being the first Felo-Mutant while Strayers takes place after Road Rovers where Felo-Mutants already existed (the first enemy Bear faces are Felo-Mutants.) You can also see how tired I was by the short description of looks and actions through out the script.
Halfway through writing this I was so burnt out that I finally conceded. It was time to cancel Strayers once and for all and move on. I did exactly that. But about a year later one the fans sent me an email begging that I at least complete this story. For the first time using an outline paid off. I basically cut and pasted into and expanded on it to complete the story.
I don't have the slightest clue what the title is suppose to mean or indicate. Sorry.
After this story I walked away and never looked back. Strayers was a blast (except for the last few episodes.) The fans were great! The artists were great! Everything was great! There may be some things I would have done differently (if there wasn’t I wouldn’t be writing this commentary) but I still would have done the series. All I have left is to thank everyone that read and supported Strayers. It was the love of my life. THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL RIDE!!!
"I’m Turning Japanesa"Or at least I thought I could walk away from it! Over two years after I called it quits something happened. I promised myself if I ever came up with a really good idea for an episode I would come back and continue the show. That promise has been fulfilled. I had this weird dream where the Strayers were turned into Anime characters. The more I thought of this idea the better it got. When I actually sat down to write it was like riding a bike, it was like I never stopped writing for Strayers. True, some of the facts and history of the characters had left me (the reason why this commentary came about was me rereading all the old stories.) But all the basics were there. I’M BACK BABY!!! (as if anyone is still here to read this)
My original idea was for the Strayers to be turned into Anime characters by Parvo. This later developed into the current idea of going under cover in Japan. The only problem I had with this was making everyone turned into Anime they could all share their pain, so only one of them could be transformed. Bear was out because he was the big TV/Movie addic. He would love for this to happen to him. Amani was out too because an Anime animal is much funnier that a human. Puffball was all logical and stuff so she wouldn’t be embarrassed. So that left poor Nitro.
In the last few episodes the Road Rovers got less and less screen time. But with the return of Strayers I gave them their big break: They spare with Parvo/Groomer in the opening action sequence. These types of action started a lot of episodes. It gave everyone a chance to shine and save the day. But more so, they instantly drew in the readers to show they what was in store for them. And quite frankly, the were far more entertaining that how some of the episodes ended (especially towards the end of the show’s original run.)
While reintroducing myself to the Strayers (rereading their stories) I noticed something odd: Even though Bear had returned to active duty he never regained ownership of The Grizzlies team name. After all, he is the one that formed that team name. While he was off in England that was understandable (Collies seems to fix that country better than The Grizzlies) But when he came home he should have reclaimed that name. So I corrected that in this episode. But in order to have this happen the current Grizzlies needed to depart. Not to just disappear, I sent them on special assignments that would resurface from time to time in future stories.
When I started writing this one I had planned to bring Lydia back all along (I really love this character) and Wyoming. But initially I had planned to make Wyoming the mysterious villainess that was lurking in the shadows trying to off the Strayers and Lydia being the morphing spy within RRMC. But halfway through I decided that Lydia would be more willing to kill than Wyoming (The former hated the Strayers with a passion while the latter was just a con artist.) So I switched the two. I had briefly considered the missing Rover Operative playing the part of Lydia (heading the pirate operation) but I considered this too obvious and readers would probably figure this out right away.
At the end when Wyoming had used the chip in her head to teleport out of the cell I originally had this attempt fail (as mentioned in the story how cells are shielded from this happening.) But like with most of my stories, I wanted a comical ending (plus Havoc had to get what was coming to him) so I allowed her to successfully escape with the wrong information.
Originally, when the Strayers arrived on Strayer Alpha (the transport plane) I was going to have Cyc do this huge briefing about the backgrounds of the characters of the Japanese show (the suspects) and the philosophy of Anime. But I had learned early on it is better to reveal information like this as the story progressed rather than stopping everything for a kind of narration so a dropped it. It was kind of a shame because Cyc would have gotten a lot of screen time there.
This story is not my attack on Anime. Though I prefer the American (traditional) animation style I don’t have anything against Anime. I just came up with the weird idea of Japanese actors living as their characters as being different, something new I could bring to the table. As far as the undercover Grizzlies would not be accepted unless they were stereotypes I just have to say: The world is not as opened minded as I would hope. This has been reflected through the series (humans not accepting mutants into their society.)
The two really main themes throughout the series I tried to covey were saving the planet (ecology), a lot of the things the Strayers do and say support that (Nitro talking about animals being hunted into extinction and Cyc using garbage as fuel or the reactor at RRMC using sand for power in this story.) The other being that after so many years after civil rights people still are closed minded. In Strayer’s case the mutants (Cano, Felo, etc.) play the role of minorities. I could have had everyone live in a utopia where everyone gets along but in order to address a problem you first have to show it is a problem.
The title refers to poor Nitro having been turned into an Anime character (and the lyrics from an old song.)
"Born To Follow!"Bear finds himself all by himself (Nitro is there too but we don’t see her until the end of the opening action sequence) at a luxurious resort at the start of the story. I let Bear have all the fun since this is the only action he sees in the entire story (Very rare for the series). But not to worry, it isn’t all fun and games for him (No, not in the sense an assassin tries to kill him but he is the butt of the joke that everyone but him figured out he was sent to the resort as part of a trap.)
The Rovers don’t have a lot of screen time in this one for two reasons: 1) They were on center stage for most of the last story. 2) If I included them more I would be well over 150 pages (I was trying to keep below that.) So I stranded them in the Antarctic this time around.
I had wanted to do something different this time around as far as the mission. I wanted something mundane, something that seemed straight forward. That way no one expected when all heck broke lose. This also allowed Bear to step out of the picture and allow Amani to lead (If it was something complicated he would want to go along.) The only reason why I wrote this one was to fulfill Bear’s promise in the last story let Amani get some leadership experience.
I brought the reporting team Monique and Barb back as a subplot for this one. Originally, they showed up in the last story as the opening action sequence. But then I realized their predicament (And escape.) was better than most of my work. There was a lot I could do for this one throughout the story. They could collect evidence against Lance Strongarm (A play on words of a famous American cyclist), stake him out and so on only to be captured at the end. So I shelved it for this sorry. But as you can see, other than the opening meetings with Perry none of this existed. I was trying to keep my stories under 150 pages and doing this would put me way over. I could have saved it for another story but as I tried to develop this (The girls get some dirt on one of the council members that he has on his payroll, they help the girls to nail him but it really turns into a trap) I found the story too political so I left it as is.
Puffball has always been the least temperamental of all the Strayers. Before her operation she wasn’t the most brightest one of the bunch but she always had heart, was always for the team. Afterwards when she was the smartest she was the same way. But it was time to show you all that she was just like the others. In the cafeteria scene where she belittles Outsider for breaking up with her she shows pettiness instead of understanding. It is not until Amani shows her her error (Amani is the queen at being dumped) that she mends her ways.
Tad’s new team (The new Collies) fulfills what was said in the previous story (This entire story is made up of lose ends) where Tad and Carmi were going off to be team trainers. And their first assignment is a doozy. The leaders turn out to be jerks and those under them are the real heroes. Of course, out of their cowardness and lack of thinking that soon changes and the villains get the shaft. Originally, the turning point was going to be towards the end when they went on patrol in a mall. Spot and Yowl use excessive force to apprehend a shoplifter proving they don’t deserve to lead. But this would result in them being dismissed from the Strayers where I wanted justice to prevail by them being demoted so I cut that scene.
The wedding dress scene was my attempt to twist a stereotype (Something you all know I love to do.) When Bear is nice to Nitro and gives into her request to renew their vows she thinks he is being nice because he did something wrong and wants to cushion the blow. I have yet to see any TV or movie where when there is a scene like this it turns out the guy is innocent. I tried to lay it on nice and thick so the readers would say “Oh gee, I wonder what Bear did this time” only for them to realize at the end “Oh, I never saw that coming.” Always keep them guessing.
The last time we saw Sue-Lynn, Bear’s Ex-Fiancée, she was on top of the world back in England. Of course, things don’t always turn out for those in the Strayer universe. We find her at the bottom of the dump here, disowned and unwanted. I also brought her back to fill in a few gaps of Bear’s younger days through the reminiscing.
So in the end Amani is a failure as a leader and refuses to ever put herself in that position again. How sexist can I be? I mean, she is a woman so I made her fail. Or at least those with narrow minds think that way. Normally, in these types of stories the female always prevails. She has to or the audience will be offended. Well, I always knew you guys were more intelligent in that. The sign of the barrier of the sexes being taken down is not that women always prevail but they turn out to be like everyone else. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. After all, isn’t that what equality is all about?
The title of this one is based on Amani’s failure to become a leader (Born to be a follower.)
"Whispers From The Past"The opening action sequence was originally written for the previous story. But in that story Bear didn’t have a lot to do so I changed it so he would have some action. For this story he has his fair share so I used it here (I believe in recycling) and gave Nitro the spotlight. This scene works better here because it shows how easily she loses her temper (as explained in the following paragraph.)
After Nitro loses it with Dixie it is explained why she has such a temper (she was born a wild animal and then turned in a humanoid while the others were first domesticated.) The scene where Bear raps both Dixie and Nitro on the nose with the rolled up paper was classic Strayers. Originally, the boiling point was going to be Dixie having a monitor on Bear/Nitro’s shower so when he took one she would know and would bust in. But that leaned her too much as a villainess. Yes, Dixie does cross the line from time to time but no so much that with Nitro’s over reacting it balances everything out. In this case Nitro would have to go as insane as Lydia (who also appears in this episode proving she is still a threat) to balance this one out.
Monique and Barb are on the heels of a hot story once again. But this time it is part of Strayer history. Periwinkle J. Stein, father of the Stein treaty that freed all Mutants from slavery (more of which you will learn in the next story.) But more so it is the vehicle to finally get Perry’s wish: To break up the reporting team so he can learn the deep dark secrets of their families. By now the whole reporting thing had run its course. They always got their story and defeated the villain. But this time things go horrible wrong as they turn on each other. As always, nothing lasts forever in Strayers.
The return of Natalie, this was being hinted well since a few episodes back. But as she meets Bear we learn her life has been totally turned upside down. She is a mutant again and forced out of school. Too ashamed she drifts endlessly. With no money or a place to call her own she is forced to do some desperate things. The only person she can turn to is Bear, the dog she almost married. Have I brought her back to rekindle their romance? You’ll just have to wait and see.
The death of Amani’s Grandmother was a vehicle to get her to return to her tribe. She had been banished when she became a weapons developer. Even after she quit she was still not allowed to return. With the death of her grandmother both her and her own mother are forced back to face the tribe. I did this to get some insight into the lives of her tribe but more so to give her a new home. Till this point we don’t really know where she has been leaving. Off the record, she has been living at Bear’s mountain retreat with her family but I wanted her to end up with something unique. Thus all is forgiven, her and her parents return to the tribe.
The Dixie/Nitro torment (when they have to take a vacation together) started out only as a point of humor. But as I was writing the fights between them I soon found that this old joke had been going on too long. It was time to end it and this was the way. Also, I had planned the girls to have this long action pack adventure: Originally, when they got free they kick the baddies out of the van but is flies off and dock and into the water. They are rescued by a passing cargo ship but it is attacked by pirates. The girls are made to walk the plank (since it is unlucky to have females on a boat). They manage to survive the sharks to find themselves stranded on an island of cannibals. It went on from there but as it turned out I didn’t have enough filler for the other story lines (I stretch it enough as it is) so all that was dropped.
The idea of having the Rover turn up in the end as Dixie/Nitro’s abductors was a last minute idea. Oh, I did have the Master originally behind the plot as it is in the finished story but the culprits were just hired by him. In the final version they are doing him a favor.
The last scene where Nitro makes up from nearly killing the hunter at the beginning was also carried over in its entirely, taken from the recycle bin. The only difference was that this scene appears right after the action sequence (originally Bear storms off in anger, not because he got a phone call.) Also, as they make up it is also a promise Nitro makes about not letting Dixie get to her. This was later changed when I came up with the rolled up newspaper scene (I think it worked out way better.)
The title of this one comes from the return of Natalie into Bear’s life.
"Sacrifice of the Heart"Our story (well, my story) starts back in time when Nitro and Bear are teaching at the academy. I needed to go back here for two reasons: 1) Introduce the statue of The Sacrifice of the Heart, the theme of the story. 2) To explain two concepts of the Mutants pass. The point where the world declares them as slaves and the point where they are set free (see Sirius’ and Kyla’s presentations.) There is a third reason, it is so darn fun. When Nitro/Bear are instructors it is different than other stories. No one is shooting at them, no one is chasing them, they are just trying to share the knowledge with the next generation.
Also in this story Kyla and Bear have a little adventure, this was originally suppose to be used two stories ago but was also longer than this. The story continued with Kyla being afraid of strangers that she takes one of the Strayers guns to protect herself. Normally, this would not be a big deal except she takes a prototype of one of the original weapons which only has a kill setting. When Bear tries to take it away it goes off and he is shot in the leg, he survives but Kyla is not able to sit down for a week after. This leads to a big discussion (in Bear and Nitro’s case, a fight) of what kind of affects the Strayers are having on the kids. The latter part was dropped because it was found not to be that healthy and the only way to remove it was for their parents quit. We couldn’t have that!
As we return to the present day we discover Tad is daydreaming, he yearns for a normal childhood (the way he was brought up was in the past training to defeat The Admiral. No fun, no playing, just training.) Of course, except for one episode where he has problems dealing with people other than his family this never came up. He seemed to have had a normal childhood. Because that is what I had planned. But knowing this was the last story he would be in (see below) I had to make him the central focus. To do that I had to give him a problem thus his unfun childhood.
Since having Bear’s family go camping to recapture Tad’s childhood there wasn’t going to be a lot of action, which is where Kyla and her group came in. The original idea was after they chased Yuma from the Smithsonian was that the chased continued. Through the streets of Washington DC and finally on the subway system. Kyla and her team were going to leave a path of destruction. But since the camping trip lasted two weeks (giving Tad plenty of time to reacquaint himself with his family) I couldn't have the chase last that long. So it was cut short.
The flight in the museum on the old Kitty Hawk plane the Wright Brother flew did not come easy. I knew I wanted adventure in the Smithsonian, the most known museum in the world. Exactly what I didn’t know. Then I remembered at one time (I don’t think it is there anymore) the model of the Enterprise of the original Start Trek series was hanging there. It was about 10’ x 12’ and weights about 200 pounds. More than enough to stop Yuma (if it fell on him) in its tracks and pissing off the Trekies to get Kyla and friends in trouble. I toyed with the idea of the saucer section getting caught in the air and glide down and hit him. But that was a bit farfetched even for me. That is when I remembered planes use to hang from the ceiling thus the flight in the museum was born (Sorry Kirk.)
Towards the end Bear and his family are captured by a villain (so Tad could sacrifice his life to save them.) Originally I toyed with the Eliminator or The Admiral taking that roll but then I wanted it more personal. Thus I broke Rex out of prison to get revenge. Originally, I had him working together again with Yuma (he was in Washington to kill Kyla) but that was a bit farfetched. Besides, if he was there to kill her he wouldn’t have run away and couldn’t have that great chase.
The scene with Moonie setting Tad straight on his childhood was a test to the true Strayer fan (if any still exist.) Only the true fan would remember that Moonie was dead already and an angel had taken his form. I had originally had the angel taking the form of Carmi to give him a sisterly talk but since the previous scene was of her getting captured everyone would know right away it wasn’t her.
I kept the funeral of Tad (and for that matter the remarriage of Nitro) simple for one reason: We have done this before. At Bear’s wedding and his death it was done superbly and quiet frankly, I don’t think I could top myself. So I kept it to the point. In the end Nitro runs off not wanting to face death again (just like she did when Bear died.) Yes, we had done this too (much better in fact) but it was necessary to set up the next story (yes, you will have to wait for the next one to find out what happens.) The first time I can recall Strayers having a cliffhanger ending. Shame on me!
The birth of Natalie’s kitten, Hope, was mainly done to complete the end monologue “Life is but a cycle” covering the birth part. But the more I thought about it the more ideas I came up with. For now, I only have two more stories in my head for Strayers and then I’m tapped out once more. Both of them involve to new kitten.
Tad had to die. Well, not really him, but someone had to. At this point Strayers was starting to get comfortable. Yes, people almost die but they were always saved at the last moment. Someone had to die (and stay dead) in order to return that uncertainty back to the show. I considered some of the other kids: Monique had to hang around until I completed the story arc with her and Barb (yes, there is more even though they no longer work together.) Sirius was off in space working. Yes, there are many opportunities for death out there but it would be a distant death, none his family couldn’t witness. Carmi still had some stories left in her, after all she was born by Bear and Nitro but not a lot of her childhood was revealed (though some was shown in this story) so she was spared. Kyla was out because, well, she is my favorite out of them all. She is more human than the others, tripping and insecure. I couldn’t kill her. So that left Tad who, quiet frankly, wasn’t working out that well. After he couldn’t marry Carmi he wasn’t left with much to do. So Tad got the axe.
Will Nitro return? Will Bear stay behind to help Natalie raise Hope? What is Kyla’s punishment? At this point I can go either way with this so I have no idea! Stay tuned to see!
The title of this one comes from what Tad has to do, the ultimate sacrifice, for his family. Also, it is the name of the statue on the grounds of the Strayer Academy.
"The Walkabout"The story begins with Bear in psychoanalysis over the death of his son Tad. Bear seems to be handling it quite well. I mean, he lost his son yet he really doesn’t need to be in there with the shrink. Though I could have gotten a lot of mileage on this I had to make him cope for what was coming (read on to find out what.)
The rebuilding of the kittyhawk (which was destroyed in the previous story) was a planned carry over. I thought it would be funny that every time Kyla, Amani and Puffball were about finished it got destroyed. Also, I wanted to show that even though they were doing good in the process of destroying the original Strayers still have to pay for their actions.
I want to speak up saying that Nitro had to die (or at least to appear as such.) You see, the actress that was playing her was asking for too much money to renew her contract that we had to let her go… But seriously, I loved writing for Nitro and have no qualms against her creator. It was just that the character had run its course. If there was a real person playing her she would have asked to be let go. Nitro had done it all. Raised a family, faced divorce, faced death and had to deal with Dixie. I honestly had nothing left good for her to do, that is sad when she is the co-star. To keep her on would turn her into a stereotype, I couldn’t do that. Now if she was my creation I would have killed her off, making sure the above didn’t happen. But since she was not I had to fake her death and release her so her creator could do with her as she wished. What is the super secret mission Nitro heads off on that is so important to leave her friends and family behind? I have no clue. I wanted to keep it open and let the readers decide. Farewell Nitro!
Carmi’s search to find out what her mother was really like actually was suppose to find out how Nitro really was when Carmi was growing up (before she revealed she was her real mother.) But so much time had passed since she found out the truth she had plenty of time to find this out on her own. So I changed it to Carmi’s search to how her adoptive parents really were. Standish was sort of thrown in at the last moment as being evil, I didn’t think people would really care about her adoptive parents since we never met them. Plus this gave Carmi a chance to have her own adventure instead of just standing on the sidelines.
Bear sets off on his own to find himself now that Nitro is gone. Does he really want to be a Strayer or does he not want to watch everyone around him die? Despite his best efforts, Natalie tags along. The detour to the circus was actually an idea I came up with back in a previous story, when Natalie returns to the show. But having to deal with her emotions on her pregnancy, Bear’s sister appearing and the lot I cut it out and added it here.
My original idea was that Serah didn’t pretend to be a saleswoman for Stacies Department store but she got fired. In fact, every real job she had was a failure so she ran away and joined the Circus (which she was quite good at). But I could just hear the complaints (if people still read my stories) that it was sexist for a woman to fail so I rewrote it so she was a successful detective.
Slappy the Clown was never intended to be the master villain in this one. In fact, the only other scene he was to have was to profess his love to Serah (instead of the Magician). One of the lines I considered Bear telling her “I always knew you would end up with a clown.” But then I thought if anyone was going to be evil Slappy would be the last one anyone would suspect so I changed him into an evil clown.
The final scene where Natalie and Bear are arguing which movies are better is taken right out of “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow” except I replaced Nitro’s dialogue with Natalie’s. It was kind of a hint of things to come (or at least of things planned to come.) Nitro and Natalie are two dynamically different characters. Nitro is strong, fearless and confident where Natalie is cautious and unsure. Kind of the shot in the arm the show needed.
The title of this one comes from what the Australian aborigines do to find themselves. They spent a short period of wandering the bush as an occasional interruption of regular work. It clears the mind and help sets focus. Which exactly what Bear needed to do in this one.
"A Year in the Life!"This one is a fine example of an idea appears great in your mind but when you put it on paper it isn’t that great. Not that it is an awful story, though you will be thankful it is the shortest story of the series (so far.)
The original idea was to have the common denominator of Dixie and Natalie fighting for Bear’s affections (now that Nitro is gone) through out the story. What was going to be different was to have action elements for every holiday. But instead, this one kind of took a life of its own and that faded to only two scenes. Instead it turned out to Natalie whining and Dixie taking advantage of the situation.
This will turn out to be Dixie’s swan song as well. Just like Nitro, her character has really run its course. From trying to steal Bear from Nitro, to caring friend, to evil genius back to trying to steal Bear. She too was fun to write for but unlike Nitro, she will just drift off into the sunset. Farewell Dixie!
Originally, I was going to write some funky lyrics for the chase scene for Halloween but I couldn’t come up with anything I really liked.
The title of this one comes from where I got the idea for this one. I wondered what if the final episode of the Road Rovers (“A Day in the Life”) had really been for an entire year.
"Bark Wars - A New Joke!"Didn't think I would be writing a Road Rover story again, but after watching the Family Guy version of Star Wars I was inspired to write at least one more story. I had originally slated it as a Strayer's story but when I was trying to figure out who would play R2 I hit on the idea of Sport (his size was perfect) and Blitz as C3PO (the perfect whiner). With them in it had to be a Rover production.
The scene where Greedo, the assassin set to kill Han in the Cantina, was actually played by a secretary (in costume) in the original Star Wars. Thus, that is why she is giving Exile all his messages instead of killing him. Let me explain some of the interactions as they are a bit obscure. Think of them in terms of the actor who played Han Solo in the movies:
"Marion wants to know why you haven't called her back." refers to Marion Ravenswood from the first Indian Jones move who isn't mentioned until the fourth Indy movie.
"Eli wants his hat back." I have no idea what this is in reference to. Honestly!
"George told me to tell you you can't have a suicide note." Supposedly by the third Star Wars movie Harrison Ford wanted Han to be killed off as he felt he had done everything with the character that he could.
"Tom says you still owe him!" Tom Selleck was the first choice to play Indiana Jones, but when his shooting schedule for Magnum PI wouldn't allow him to take the part Ford was chosen.
In the original script for the movie the Characters of Brigs, Camie, Fixer and Deak all had extended parts (They watch the battle between the rebel blockade Runner and Imperial Star Destroyer towards the start of the film. All but Brigs is cut from the final film which is mentioned in my script.
I'm surprised no one has picked up on playing Ben as a sterotypical old fart, whining and complaining. I guess it was out of respect for the actor who played Ben. Of course, I have no respect when it comes to parodies. :)
The graphic technology was state of the art when the movie was made. I thought it would be funny to have the battle plan on the attack on the Deathstar be done by the video games of its time.