Xena: Warrior Princess had always been the series I’d get back to one day. I had caught a couple of episodes on TV, but never followed the series while it ran. Xena ran from 1995 till 2001 and only now, in 2012, have I taken the time to really sit down and watch it. A few weeks ago I started on it and I raced through the 6 seasons like you wouldn’t believe it.
It’s certainly not a kids show – I have no idea how I even saw those few episodes on TV – as it features many mature themes. There was violence, death and half-nudity aplenty. I must say it was the performances of Lucy Lawless (Xena), Kevin Smith (Ares, God of War), Bruce Campbell (Autolycus), Ted Raimi (Joxer), Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite, Goddess of Love) and Renée O’Conner (Gabrielle) who made the series worthwhile. Though I must admit Gabrielle’s persistent naivety throughout the series had me rolling my eyes many a time. In the end, she did redeem herself somewhat.
I was surprised to find many actors I knew from other shows or movies – like Karl Urban who I knew as Éomer from The Lord of the Rings – appearing in the series. The guy who played Haldir in LotR was in there as well. It was always a lot of fun to rack my brain trying to come up where I’d seen that face before. It was also funny that some actors played multiple roles during the series; Karl Urban for example played several characters. He was Cupid, Julius Caesar, Kor the caveman and Mael.
Though the effects were hilariously awful at times and the acting could be a little…too much, it was a very fun and moving show. The relationships between all the characters were the series’ biggest plus. They all worked so well together. I could just feel the sexual tension between Xena and Ares (and sometimes Ares and Gabrielle as well), the friendship between Xena, Aphrodite and Gabrielle and the two best supporting characters Joxer and Autolycus. The fact that the Olympians were just as petty and jealous and zealous as mortals fit well with the mythology.
I also liked the way they introduced other cultures and religions, even though they might not always have been truthful depictions. But hey, what are you going to do? It’s a TV show, right? It deals with themes like love, friendship, death, vengeance, redemption, and more and I’m glad I took the time to watch it. Xena is by far the coolest female protagonist I’ve ever seen in any TV show; not just because of the amount of ass she kicked, but mostly because of her big heart and the way she would not think a moment to sacrifice herself to save those she loved.