The series Xena: Warrior Princess, is a spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It is set in Ancient Greece and incorporates Greek Mythology. If you are deadly serious about your Mythology then you may not enjoy Xena. The writers do not follow the myths strictly. They take a piece from here and a piece from there and twist it to centre Xena (Lucy Lawless and her sidekick Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) at the heart of it.
The show doesn’t follow a strict historical path either. Xena is well travelled and aside from meeting one or two Greek gods, she has also found herself involved in some bible stories, as well as encounters with Cleopatra, Helen of Troy and Julius Caesar. The show is very campy and tongue in cheek. You will not be able to take any mythological reference from the show and state it as a complete fact, so be warned. You don’t want to make an ass of yourself discussing such a weighty topic and citing Xena as your research.
Xena was formerly a power hungry Warlord. She tried to kill Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) as a show of how powerful she was but, circumstances found Xena teaming up with Hercules to fight against evil. In order to see where Xena is coming from you should try to get hold of the Xena trilogy from the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The episodes are Warrior Princess, The Gauntlet and Unchained Heart in that order.
Xena is not alone in her new quest to atone for the wrongs of her past and defend others in the name of good. In the first episode of the first season Sins of The Past, we meet Gabrielle when Xena saves Gabrielle’s village from slave traders.
Gabrielle is quickly taken with the fighting skills of the Warrior Princess. She believes that she will find adventure and excitement by travelling with Xena rather than staying at home and entering into a boring marriage. Xena doesn’t encourage her at all but, after much persuasion, she becomes Xena’s travelling companion and eventually, best friend.
Gabrielle is totally different from Xena but, somehow the friendship grows strong and the chemistry between them is what makes this show worth watching for a lot of Xenites (fans of the show). Gabrielle is essentially a good person, she searches for the good in everyone. She is a talker and will try to talk herself out of a situation rather than have Xena fight a way out. She keeps Xena grounded.
Kung Fu Meets The A Team
The premise for Xena is not really new. If you enjoyed The Hulk, Kung Fu, The Fugitive, The A Team, and others in the action/adventure/drama genre, then you may enjoy Xena. Xena isn’t searching for the one-armed man, or the man that killed her father, but she is searching. Along the way she helps people by fending off power hungry Warlords and tyrants, rescuing or helping the gods. Sometimes she crosses paths with past enemies. It sounds simple but, there are many differences that set it apart from other shows. There is a lot of action in the form of sword fights and martial arts. If you enjoy Kung Fu movies, you’ll love Xena. If you enjoy your action with a little humour, good strong storytelling and prefer your heroine to have a dark side, then Xena is a must-see.
Personally, I like Greek and Roman Mythology. I enjoy films like Jason and The Argonauts, Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger, and Clash of The Titans. I was glad that I discovered Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess as, both series satisfy my appetite for fantasy and mythology (however twisted the mythology).
Becoming a fan
It wasn’t long after watching Xena that I realised that this could become my new obsession. I wanted information and lots of it. I subscribed to the alt.tv.xena newsgroup on Usenet. I found the group to be very interesting indeed. It seems to be split into two main factions. Those who believe that Xena and Gabrielle are just really good friends and those who think they are lesbians or at the least bisexual. The subject of a subtext is quite often debated. If you are considering subscribing to this newsgroup, I advise you to read the FAQ. Here you will find many newbie questions answered. It also pays to lurk for a while, to get the feel of the group.
When I first caught an episode of Xena (I can’t recall the name), I thought Xena and Gabrielle were really good friends and that Xena was Gabby’s protector. As I watched a couple more episodes, I realised that there is definitely something more there. The way they look at each other, the smiles, the touches and the things they say. On further reading, I discovered that the writers have deliberately left it open to debate as to whether they are a loving couple or just good friends.
Some members of the cast and production team have admitted that they add a little subtext to tease the audience. I personally hope that they never make a commitment to the relationship. I enjoy the teasing as much as I enjoyed it in Moonlighting and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Once the teasing stopped in both shows, I lost interest.
Xena is made more brilliant by its amazing cast of actors.