XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS...
Xena: Warrior Princess is a fantasy action-adventure show that follows the adventures of the title character as she tries to find retribution. Originally a murderous villain, Xena now uses her exceptional fighting skills to help others.
At the surface, Xena works wonderfully as pure entertainment. Firstly, Xena is portrayed by the stunningly beautiful and extremely charismatic Lucy Lawless. Her presence is commanding, and her size and stance make Xena a believable female character. She is not some pint-sized eye-candy! She is a warrior and looks like one!
The fight scenes in the show nod to over the top kung-fu movies, complete with grandiose flips and exhilarated acrobatics. Xena uses such skills to fight off gods, monsters, and warlords. The action and adventure aspect is truly captivating. Xena travels through many lands, and the accompanying backdrops (often filmed in the New Zealand country side) are breath taking. The fight scenes are so outrageous and excessive at times, that they are utterly brilliant. Xena has some extravagant skills, and is not shy about using them (in one episode she carries a 700 pound elk on her shoulders on her own)!
It also outlines a theme in Xena that works far beyond mer surface entertainment. That when faced with terrible odds or harsh realities, Xena can dig deep and find within herself the skills and attributes to over come such huge obstacles. This theme of wanting to solider on in the face of adversity is appealing to many. In fact, Lucy Lawless has stated that many fans who identified with her character have over came substance abuse and other difficulties in their lifes after being inspired by Xena.
This fact emphasizes perfectly the other huge appeal of Xena. She is a hero, and many viewers identify and are enthralled by heroes. The notion of someone going out of their way, and even risking injury or death to help others is a very romantic and optimistic notion; and one that appeals to the good and positive in legions of people. Xena certainly encompasses the attractive traits of many heroes, but is also quite unique. Throughout the show she is dark, cold, and violent. She is tortured and has to over come her darkside many times to do what is right. In truth we are all flawed and heroes that appear too perfect are less identifiable. Xena's flaws simply make her more attractive.
Another resonating theme in the show, is Xena's complex friendships and relationships with the other characters. This Includes a lesbian-esc relationship with side-kick Gabrielle, a lust/hate relationship with the god of war, and even feelings of guilt and compassion at times for enemies like Callisto. In real life, most relationships and interactions are indeed complex, and the intricacies of such relationships in Xena add a real depth.
Xena's main quest, to find retribution for her past crimes is also an appealing motif - That no matter what one's past, we can all strive to better ourselves and move beyond. We are not prisoner to being held back by past mistakes (no matter how large they may seem).
The underlying messages in Xena, interwoven with its fantastic and outlandish (and even campy) adventures, meld perfectly a blend of entertainment and wonder, with deeper substance.
Nothing is perfect and Xena is no exception. Several episodes take the camp trait too far and veer off into total ridiculousness. I for one skip such episodes, which don't detract from the main season arcs. However, some fans do enjoy them, and I can appreciate that. However, at its best, Xena quite frankly is the best!Nothing is perfect and Xena is no exception. Several episodes take the camp trait too far and veer off into total ridiculousness. I for one skip such episodes, which don't detract from the main season arcs. However, some fans do enjoy them, and I can appreciate that. However, at its best, Xena quite frankly is the best!