Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Mr. Goodkat » Mon May 16, 2016 3:35 am

Kooshmeister wrote:
Ty-Chou wrote:Yes, I expect it to be better. Why am I not allowed to expect it to be better? Why can't I expect the writers to learn from past mistakes? Why is lazy writing in one episode automatic permission to be lazy in another? These people are professionals. They are paid to do this. Can't I hold them to a higher standard? Can't I expect them to make the script as flawless as possible before sending it out to have thousands of dollars spent on it for production? And if it falls short, am I not allowed to be disappointed?


And you can do all that, I guess. I'm just not sure why. If it were a new episode, sure, I can see having high expectations and being disappointed when it turned out to be the way that it is. But it's from 1994 and it reads like it. To me, this is a good thing, because it has that cheesy 1994 feel to it. What you call "it reads like a fanfic," I call "it reads like a SWAT Kats episode, with all that that entails." Maybe I just have really low standards. :lol:

I agree on that, Kooshmeister. To me this reads like a typical SWAT Kats episode with all its inconsistencies and flaws. Concerning the terms "professional" and "paid", I think that's actually the problem. IIRC Lance Falk said in his commentary about When Strikes Mutilor that he wrote the script on a weekend which isn't much time to come up with a good story that is (mostly) flawfless moreover. Many of these scripts are written while the shows are already in production, so there is not much time to think about every little detail and to learn from past mistakes. I think it's actually quite an acomplishment that there aren't even more of those issues in it. Furthermore I don't think that these guys are being paid that well that they can take all the time in the world to write their stuff (unlike a fanfiction writer who is doing this just for fun). I think they actually live from script to script and from show to show.

So in the impossilble case that a film studio would contact me, saying: "Hey, we want you to write a script for our show, but you only have the next 48 hours to do that." it would be highly unlikely that I would come with something that could go into production. Professionals like Glenn Leopold or Lance Falk on the other hand are able to do that, but for a price nonetheless: inconsistencies and flaws.

And that's actually why I don't expect that Revolution will be much different in that matter, by the way. Although I hope that the writers get more time on their scripts such that they can improve.

Kooshmeister wrote:At the end of the day, as you yourself have pointed out, you're basing your opinions on my summary, which is no substitute for the actual script. Therefore I do plan to type up the entire script at some point so everyone can read it. Or, failing that, send a copy of the physical script to Matt and see what he can do with it. I doubt anyone's opinions will change much, but, I think the full script is something everyone deserves to read.

Do you (or Mark) have the option to scan it? I think that a lot of optical-character-recognition-tools are good enough these days to be used for such a task. And if this OCR-software-approach doesn't work at all you could still send the script to mutiple persons rather easily such that the "type up"-work could be split up. I think would probably be way less tedious than doing this all by yourself.
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Ty-Chou » Mon May 16, 2016 3:43 pm

MoDaD wrote:
That's a pretty good point-by-point breakdown, and a reminder that one should probably grade these sorts of things on a curve. That's what I kept in the back of my mind as I was reading your summary, as any of the issues I had with this story are present rather frequently throughout the series and aren't unique to Succubus!

I also share your frustrations. But, I ultimately have to accept that this show isn't exactly prestige-caliber to begin with, for a lot of the reasons that have been pointed out. I also give the writers a lot of leeway because they were fighting a lot of uphill battles to deliver something that wasn't completely terrible in an environment where they're forced to re-write things that were good and turn them mediocre to appease executives with little-to-no-interest in taking risks or breaking a status quo.


I just think it's interesting that if a weakness of this script is pointed out, the knee jerk reaction is to bring up more "flawed" episodes to compare it with. Why is the standard on the low end of the scale? Why can't I compare it to say... The Deadly Pyramid which had, in my opinion, one of the tightest, well written scripts of the series?

Yes, Swat Kats had some weak episodes, but it also had some very strong episodes. Swat Kats was a GOOD show. Yes, it was often aware of how over the top it was, but it was a good show. It took a lot of chances, it had interesting characters and it was very bold with how it attacked its genre. It had many really good episodes with good scripting and characterization.

I just find it a bit odd to take the stance that since some of the episodes were weak and corny that it's okay if the rest of the episodes were weak and corny. Instead of saying "hey, look at how good these episodes are. Clearly, there is talent in this project. I want to hold the show to this high standard because I know the people working on it can reach it because they've reached it before."

And just for the record, Kooshmeister mentioned Greenbox's sudden turn in Unlikely Alloys as a weakness in the story. Personally, I thought his descent into madness was great. Who are we to say he was out of character in this episode? We hardly know anything about him. I do think Zed's brainwashing did have a lot to do with Greenbox's state when we see him near the end, but this story suddenly turned Greenbox into a deeper, more interesting character and I felt it only added to the story. I still remember seeing Greenbox's reveal after we hadn't seen him for a while. I loved it.
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Ty-Chou » Mon May 16, 2016 4:19 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:If you want to see it that way, that's fine. I choose to see it as Felina's episode. And that's at least one reason I'm annoyed it never got finished. Succubus! isn't perfect, but it basically did for Felina what am trying (only somewhat successfully) to do with my script, Bad Vibrations; give her what is largely her own adventure. Yeah, the SWAT Kats come in and steal her thunder at the end after she's lured into a stupid trap, but I just accept that that's how the show was and appreciate what comes before it. She's given more to do here than in almost any previous episode she's been in.


You're right. It definitely could have been a Felina episode, too. Or both of them. A Feral family episode where we learn about both characters and their relationship with each other. And really a good opportunity to see Felina with her Enforcer skills at work. Another reason why Callie made even less sense to get involved. Pretty sure Felina could have contacted Abby herself for some assistance in the case. The Enforcers ARE able to do their job without Callie's help. (Still love you though, Callie!)

Kooshmeister wrote:And you can do all that, I guess. I'm just not sure why. If it were a new episode, sure, I can see having high expectations and being disappointed when it turned out to be the way that it is. But it's from 1994 and it reads like it. To me, this is a good thing, because it has that cheesy 1994 feel to it. What you call "it reads like a fanfic," I call "it reads like a SWAT Kats episode, with all that that entails." Maybe I just have really low standards. :lol:


I also have extremely high standards and I'm aware every fan is going to hold this summary to their own personal level. As a writer myself, I tend to hold professional writers to a higher standard--a standard I would hold myself to in that position. And I get frustrated when it seems writers are satisfied to deliver a product with problems that, to me, seem very easy to fix if one just took a few extra minutes to tweak it.

Kooshmeister wrote:
This is really where you lose me. You can expect the writers to do more. Even accepting SWAT Kats is a silly action show, many episodes of this show are absolutely riddled with aggravating, sometimes even infuriating, mistakes and shortcomings and I wish they were different, but one thing I don't wish is that they'd never been made. Changed? Yes. A lot. But never made? That's a little extreme.


You know what? I totally agree with you. I take back what I said. Despite my criticisms, if this episode were to be made, I believe there's just as much chance that this episode would become a fan favorite as it would possibly be an episode where fans would say "What was up with that one?" And it is a shame that we will never know.
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Kooshmeister » Mon May 16, 2016 9:00 pm

Mr. Goodkat wrote:Do you (or Mark) have the option to scan it?


I have a scanner, but it sucks. Also, I had to wipe my computer, so all the software relating to the scanner is long gone. The CD containing it gone, too. This particular scanner is several years old and my old room at my mom's house is a mess with things frequently lost or thrown out over time. And on top of this, although I can use XnView to scan things somehow, it likes to randomly crash my crappy computer apparently for no other reason than its own sadistic pleasure, so scanning the script, page by page, would be, on my end, tedious in its own right.

I daresay having the open script in front of me to copy from and typing it up into a .txt file would actually be less tedious for me. :lol:

However, I do want to get a physical copy to someone who can scan it (or ask Mark if he can), if only to prove that it's real, as my greatest fear throughout this has been someone accusing me of making this all up wholesale. :lol:

Ty-Chou wrote:I just think it's interesting that if a weakness of this script is pointed out, the knee jerk reaction is to bring up more "flawed" episodes to compare it with.


Because I think you're dismissing it for the same things you're willing to forgive or overlook in other episodes made at the same time. You're right that Succubus! doesn't deserve a free pass. But I'd ask you: why do the other episodes I listed? Because that's the implication I'm getting, intended or not.

Ty-Chou wrote:Why is the standard on the low end of the scale?


This exists in a weird sort of limbo where it's both an abandoned episode, but also one Hanna-Barbera fully intended to air. So I look at it as being, from a writing standpoint at least, pretty much just as "done" as the other episodes. Done and ready to go, and would've been finished and aired if the show had lasted. So I think it ought to be held to the same standards as its other season two brethren. This is one reason why I don't hold it to higher standards, acknowledging but also accepting its flaws because "it's a SWAT Kats episode," and I see the show as highly flawed but enjoyable.

Ty-Chou wrote:The Deadly Pyramid which had, in my opinion, one of the tightest, well written scripts of the series?


The story is tight, yeah, but there are two problems I have with it. Firstly, the Pastmaster's plan prior to Callie losing her glasses is... to kill Mayor Manx using giant mummies, someone he's never met before and has no reason to care about. The obvious explanation is Glenn Leopold needed him to be up to something, anything, suitably villainous before he notices Callie's similarity to his long lost crush, but he could've thought up something a little more creative.

I also have never liked the ending. After all the abuse heaped upon poor little Cybertron, his fate is left unresolved and Leopold seems to think a joke about Hackle offering the SWAT Kats Arnold Schwarze-Bot will cover for it. Why not ditch the gag with the bigger robot entirely and just show Hackle reviving Cybertron successfully? It felt like a very weak ending.

So even an episode that's tight and well-written - for this series, anyway - has a few issues with it I can find which needed some work. They're negligible compared to other episodes' issues, I admit, but I think that's largely because the story is so economical. When there's less to mess up, there's fewer screw-ups. In contrast, most of the problems in Succubus! seem to stem from Leopold trying to do way too much than the episode's allotted 22 minutes allowed, causing it to feel a bit jumbled.

He seemed to have learned his lesson by the time he recycled the story for Jonny Quest, since Eclipse was more streamlined, but in doing so I felt like he made it too economical. For example, combining the servants into one single character irked me. In a live-action show, I can see the need for smaller casts, but an animated show has no such constraints, so giving Elise just the one evil servant seemed like an odd, needless downsizing. Removing the servant's ability to turn into a monster like his employer was also mistake (at least, I don't recall him being able to do this).

And as much as he ruthlessly pruned things in some areas, Leopold also made Eclipse complicated in others. The conflict between Elise and her servant wasn't needed, I thought, and splitting the villain's target into two characters by having Elise being romantically interested in Hadji while wanting to drain Jessie complicated things a bit too much. Katrina's love interest and the target being the same character was not one of the problems from Succubus! that needed fixing.

Ty-Chou wrote:It had many really good episodes with good scripting and characterization.


Does Succubus! have its problems? Yes. Exposition at the beginning is clunky, a lot of Callie's decisions early on don't make much sense, I find the name "tri-head" for the three-headed monster a little too trite and on the nose, even for Leopold, I wish more of the story was told with Feral himself as the focus, as a subject rather than an object, I found Felina and T-Bone's jovial attitude despite failing to save the foreman to be aggravating, a little too similar to Razor's virtual non-reaction to the subway train being eaten in The Giant Bacteria, and I wish, wish, wiiiiiiish that the script didn't sideline Felina to minion cleanup duty at the end while the SWAT Kats stole her thunder, as much as I accept that, yes, that was expected. And although your problem is that Otto brings Felina in, period, my problem isn't so much that, but rather that he and Laszlo didn't even frisk her beforehand. That's an amateur mistake, and these guys are supposed to have been working for Katrina doing this kind of stuff for how long...? :lol:

And I wish the final battle had gone differently. As written, it was hard to follow, and I admit I cheated slightly and re-ordered some small things - like when, exactly, the falling Feral is saved (it happens last of all, after Katrina dies, meaning he falls for a rather improbably long time).

So, yeah, even though I like it overall, I can bash the crap out of it and acknowledge its (often goofy) shortcomings. :lol:

But for all of these issues, I find there is more to like than dislike in it. I like the leisurely pace, the time taken for the characters to interact with one another, the focus given to more minor characters, in what seems to have been an effort on Leopold's part to prove the show didn't need to focus exclusively on just T-Bone and Razor.

I also liked the villains. Katrina was a little one note, especially at the end when she won't shut up about how her evil plan is almost finished, etc., but I enjoyed some things about her, particularly the notion of a powerful female villain, and I found the idea of her wearing her pet ferret-like creature as a fashion accessory to be a suitably eccentric/subtly creepy choice (for some reason it reminds me of something The Real Ghostbusters would've done to give a seductive villainess an "otherwordly" air) and I got a kick out of the creepy servants with their stereotypical Eastern European sounding names, and all the nods to Hollywood Boulevard, which was also about an older woman trying to regain her lost youth, albeit in a far different way. Heck, Leopold's decision to model Otto on Erich von Stroheim even calls that film to mind, since he played the creepy chauffeur in it.

I liked the idea of Jake being a classical music fan, further establishing him as the more intellectual of the duo. It was great seeing him and Chance doing stuff related to their garage and their civilian lives after an entire season of the show seeming like it wanted to pretend that side of their lives didn't exist. I liked seeing Chance's latest ill-advised "upgrade" to Callie's car, completely with it almost failing spectacularly. It was a cute callback to the similar scene in The Giant Bacteria. Heck, I liked the fact that, despite this initial setback, he and Jake manage to make it work regardless, and Callie both acknowledges and enjoys it.

And yes, many of these things aren't executed terribly well, but they tickled me enough that I found it an overall enjoyable readthrough, and I tried to make that come through in my summary. :)
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Kooshmeister » Wed May 18, 2016 9:00 am

Typing the script up progresses ahead of schedule. I'm done with Acts I-II! Just need to type up Act III and it'll be ready to go up on the Encyclopedia. :D
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Ty-Chou » Thu May 19, 2016 12:32 pm

Kooshmeister wrote:
Because I think you're dismissing it for the same things you're willing to forgive or overlook in other episodes made at the same time. You're right that Succubus! doesn't deserve a free pass. But I'd ask you: why do the other episodes I listed? Because that's the implication I'm getting, intended or not.


I am not forgiving or overlooking anything from other episodes. You are making that up in your own mind. What I have been trying to say for several posts now is that if I say something like "I feel Callie being forced into this script when it could easily happen without her is the biggest weakness of this story" I don't consider "But other episodes" to be a valid counter point. "Even though Callie has nothing to do with the end of the episode, she still moves the plot further and has some good scenes at the beginning" is a valid point.

If you want to talk about the weaknesses of other episodes, there is a thread for pretty much every episode already. Go ahead and talk about them until your heart's content on that episode's thread. Other episodes are not the subject of this thread. Only this episode. And while the series as a whole may make you want to "grade on a curve" when you read this, what happened in other episodes has no effect whatsoever on this episodes weaknesses or its strengths. I feel like I'm not allowed to give my honest critique because of other episodes and that mindset just doesn't make any sense to me.
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby marklungo » Thu May 19, 2016 1:41 pm

Whoa! I never expected the script to become this controversial. It looks like tempers are beginning to get a little heated around here. Let's all stay calm, okay?
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby AkaneKitty » Thu May 19, 2016 6:57 pm

After thinking about the last part of the summary Koosh posted, I've come to the opinion that this episode would have been a mixed bag. There's some good, and some bad.

The good:
Feral family love. I love this and how it showed how relieved Felina was to see that her uncle was okay. It would have been nice to finally see this during the show's run.

The bad:
The SWAT Kats showing up to score the win against the big bad, taking agency from Felina.

I get and know that this is the SKs show, but this was an episode focusing on Feral and Felina. The SWAT Kats (and Callie) being forced into an episode which could have explored the Feral family dynamic plus show us other things like how Feral is on down time is a missed opportunity. We could have also actually seen other Enforcers in different capacities like crime scene techs and detectives. A district attorney wanting to prosecute someone. This was not an episode, in the way it was setup, that needed a SWAT Kat focus.

If they just had to have SKs show up, they could have took out the tru head in spectacular fashion.

The ugly:
I hated how Felina went from being able to handle things on her own to being downgraded to almost a damsel in distress just so the SWAT Kats could swoop in and save the day. Felina should have been kicking Katrina's tail during the last moments of the episode. Feral is her uncle and Felina's character should have been given that opportunity. She could barely make it, but she does it and survives. If they wanted to avoid the catfight implications (heh) have the fight when Katrina was a monster.

Other thoughts:
With how Callie disappeared it now shows that she was only there to set up the pairing part of the episode. Which why I think some are having issues with the pairings in this episode. Her nosiness into Feral's life was not needed and stuck out. Ironically if Feral and Callie weren't so adversarial and on better terms, I could get why Callie would be concerned about him because I could see her being compassionate. Imagine the fight between Feral and Callie with Feral accusing of her being jealous of Katrina.

Do the SWAT Kats just have communicators lying around to give out to she-kats like T-Bone did with Felina? Really?

This episode highlights the need for the Enforcers and Feral to have an ally. With how Feral starts to look when Katrina starts draining him, nobody but Felina says anything? And for all of Callie's snoopiness where Feral's personal life is concerned, where is she when he starts looking like that? A friend of Feral's could have confirmed Felina's suspicions at the very least.

So in all, a very mixed bag episode. I would have taken it, but there would have been a lot of missed opportunities for characterization.

Thanks Koosh!
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Felony » Fri May 20, 2016 1:04 am

Thanks Mungo for sharing with you, and thanks to you for sharing this Koosh! I wanna draw so many of these scenes. X_x. This is quite an interesting episode premise.
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Re: Succubus! (The Curse of Kataluna) Plot Summary

Postby Kooshmeister » Fri May 20, 2016 4:59 am

As it turns out, I was wrong. My mistake was that in my eagerness to summarize the plot, I got ahead of myself in the worst way. Even though I had the dang thing right here to consult, I didn't really do this until I reached the middle portion; prior then, what I would do is read a few pages in one sitting, put the script down, and type up a general summary of what I'd read, which led to some misremembered things. Even when directly consulting the script so I could better describe some of the action-y bits starting around the middle of Act II, I didn't go back and re-check the early scenes.

What this is all leading towards is a confession: Callie being suspicious of Katrina for apparently no properly explained reason, and her attending the performance at the philharmonic hall to spy on her and Feral, was a product of me misinterpreting and mis-remembering things from the early part of the script quite badly.

Instead, as I rediscovered to my surprise and embarrassment, this is the actual order of events which occurs leading to Callie and Jake going to the philharmonic hall together, and exactly when she begins distrusting Katrina:

1. Felina is the one who bristles at Katrina, and there is a subtly suggested mutual dislike between them. Callie doesn't seem to have much of an opinion about the Moorkroft heiress one way or the other. If anything, Manx is the issue. Manx is the one who first introduces Feral and Katrina and "thinks Katrina the best thing to happen to Megakat City." Callie's problem therefore is that she thinks Manx is kissing Katrina's butt and being a busybody, but the subject is quickly dropped because...
2. After Katrina invites Feral to the philharmonic hall and he accepts, Manx, busybody that he is, suddenly puts Callie on the spot by asking her who she is taking to the performance. The way Callie reacts, her attending at all hadn't crossed her mind. She complains, "A date? I don't even have my car." It's clear (to me) she attends just to seem polite, and wouldn't have gone if Manx hadn't insisted.
3. Consequently, Callie's "date" with Jake still isn't quite a date, but simply a social nicety as part of her job. I.e., Manx wants Katrina kept happy, so he wants everyone to attend the performance, including her, and she takes a date so she won't seem so out of place.
4. And finally, she doesn't suspect Katrina of any wrongdoing at all until Dr. Sinian reveals that succubi turn into beautiful women. It's also implied Sinian called her.

As for Felina, her own sequence of events, which I also slightly mangled, leading to her suspecting Katrina, are a little more like this:
1. She dislikes Katrina on sight, but otherwise doesn't give her a single thought or have a problem with Katrina dating her uncle until she finds the kidnapped foreman's hardhat near the Moorkroft Manor. This is when she finally confronts Feral about his and Katrina's relationship, because she has found evidence implicating Katrina (or at least her staff) in a crime.
2. Similarly, she doesn't actually suspect Katrina herself of being the succubus at first. It takes Dr. Sinian mentioning that succubi turn themselves into beautiful women to make Felina realize Katrina herself is the one committing the murders, not merely complicit in them. This is when she puts two and two together and it clicks for her (and Callie), leading to her second confrontation with her uncle.

Also, Sinian contacts Callie and Felina not about Katrina, who she has never met, but merely about the killings. She suspects a succubus is behind it, but doesn't know the succubus' identity. This is what Callie and Felina bring to the table.

So, there, phew. I mangled that part of the plot badly because I (overconfidently) relied too much on my memory and didn't consult the script enough for the summary, and continued relying on said bad memory even when trying to defend the script, and basically dug myself a big hole and I didn't realize how wrong I'd been until I actually began physically typing the script up. So here, then, is my apology, and a more proper summation of the early events, which, I hope, leave Callie emerging from this smelling a lot better. To say nothing of me. :lol:
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