In the past few months with the announcement of a new female zorro tv series coming soon both the Queen and the Whip have been ignored. Many articles have been made about the announcement making it seem like a groundbreaking achievement when you have previous work done already. The concept of a female version exists which isn’t an exact copy of the vigilante or Don Diego. They have their own circumstances that push them to become vigilantes.
It’s difficult to keep up with the Zorro brand. There are many books, series, and movies to watch especially from the golden age. It seems like there is always something to discover or rediscover. It is understandable for the general audience not to know but for journalists or broadcasters to not know about any of this or purposely ignore it is disappointing.
Which is better? The Queen or The Whip. Let’s do a female Zorro Standoff: The Queen vs The Whip. Before we start, yes, I consider the Black Whip in its original version as a series by today’s standards as I mentioned in the article “ZORRO’S BLACK WHIP: THE FIRST FEMALE ZORRO ON SCREEN”. Therefore, it can compete with the Queen. Both are very interesting adaptations of a female iteration of Zorro and should be properly acknowledged for their existence.
THE FEMALE ZORRO STANDOFF: THE STORY
Zorro’s Black Whip has an interesting story spread over 12 short episodes. The main issue is so current, it’s frightening. Corrupt business owners try to influence an election because they don’t want to lose power and want things to stay the same.
Queen of Swords has episodic adventures. Tessa has initial goals, defend her people, and avenge her father’s death. She defends her people, but you don’t see the avenging part realized. The series only lasted one season with 22 episodes.
Both series have great talent and were progressive for their time. Zorro’s Black Whip deserves special recognition for having Linda Sterling as the star of the show. Her name is not the first in the credits, but she was recognized as the star anyways. She was also part of other series that made her more popular at the time. The story of the Whip pretty much centers on the voting issue.
Queen of Swords by being episodic had the possibility to tell a different story every episode showing new characters from different ethnicities and classes including Japanese, Natives, Gypsies, African slaves to free-willed black men. It wasn’t annoyingly preachy. They were just part of the episodic story.
THE FEMALE ZORRO STANDOFF: THE FILMING
The filming on both the Queen and the Whip was not perfect. In Zorro’s Black Whip the punches Gordon gives during his fights sounded like whip sounds. The actor is very athletic, and the fights were well coordinated for the time, but the sound mixing was strange. Maybe it was something of that time.
In Queen of Swords, ships were CGI-ed at the coast near the beach. They look unreal, very much like paintings. The series experienced challenges during the filming of the first season that I discussed in the article “THE NEXT FEMALE ZORRO ON TV: QUEEN OF SWORDS”. Despite those challenges, they still manage to finalize the episodes of the first season.
THE FEMALE ZORRO STANDOFF: THE MUSIC
The soundtrack for the Black Whip is traditional old Western music. The music on Queen of Swords mainly the theme song tries very hard to be modern. It has a weird combination of modern pop-rock with guitar (flamenco) melody which I mentioned in my article about the Queen of Swords. It doesn’t suit the series set in the 1800s but that is just my opinion.
THE FEMALE ZORRO STANDOFF: THE COMEDY
The Black Whip has comedic relief that pretty much helps during tense situations. In Queen of Swords Tessa and Marta try hard to be funny at times and they fail most of the time in my opinion. Overall, I think the series is too serious. They try to make Grisham like a sexy buffoon, but it doesn’t work for me. He is too serious and is too handsome to be funny. The Colonel makes him responsible for guarding his gold and would have his head if he loses it. Grisham is reminded of this at every turn and acknowledges it which should be funny, but it isn’t.
If they were to continue with the series, they could always incorporate new characters that do the job, but they didn’t. as a result, the series feels incomplete after watching it. Unlike the Whip which had a satisfying ending. You know there is more work for the Black Whip, but the main issue was resolved. Tessa never knew what happened to her father. She doesn’t know she daily deals with her father’s murderer.
THE FEMALE ZORRO STANDOFF: THE COSTUME
The Black Whip is very much covered up that you can’t immediately distinguish whether it’s a man or a woman. It also helps that she is completely covered in her chest area and her face is half covered. The hat also helps.
The Queen is clearly a woman. Her face is barely covered with a lace-type mask covering her forehead. Further, you can easily recognize her physically as Tessa. Why did they choose the Clark Kent trope? I don’t get it. Especially in this era where it is so dangerous for anyone that dares to challenge tyranny and corruption. The probability to be falsely accused and sentenced is high.
If you like the old style of the 40s and the 50s you will enjoy Zorro’s Black Whip. If you like the 90s series and Antonio Bandera’s Zorro, you will most probably enjoy Queen of Swords. Because they are from different eras, they have many elements that make them unique.
Personally, Zorro’s Black Whip was a satisfying watching experience for me but if the Queen would have been a little bit more lighthearted and got the opportunity to complete the journey of looking for what happened to her father maybe it would have been my preferred series.
Zorro’s Black Whip is public domain so you can probably find it everywhere. Queen of Swords on the other hand is not available on DVD in the West. The Japanese version is available and there is also a French version but that seems to be out of stock for a while. The series is not streaming officially anywhere. However, you can find some episodes on YouTube. It seems that it’s a little bit difficult to watch the Queen with the intention to make an impact. The DVD sales or streaming numbers could have been used to determine her popularity and increase her fanbase.
Both series deserve an equal chance to be seen. I do hope more people will consider checking them out.
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