Jump to content

Xena: Early Feminist! er Warrior Princess!


  • Please log in to reply

2676 replies to this topic

#1

TheRomanAmputee

TheRomanAmputee

    Channel Surfer

Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 1:46 AM

felt like bumping this. I watched scattered episodes of Hercules (maybe a dozen overall) and was largely underwhelmed and as for Xena....it was the best of shows, it was the worst of shows.
I appreciated the complexity of it's heroine, the evolution of Gabrielle as an individual and their relationship with each other, I was enthralled with the supporting cast. With two exceptions (The Quill is Mightier....and Old Ares Had a Farm) I didn't like their comedies, finding them stupid and juvenile rather than funny. My preferred Xena was a serious drama or action show. And for the first 3 years I thought the show was handled impeccably (some lame special effects aside). I loved the one-offs, and the arcs surrounding Callisto, and The Rift between Xena and Gabrielle. There are only a handful of episodes in those seasons I thought weren't well acted, written and dramatically satisfied.
IMO Season 4 started poorly (with Adventures in the Sin Trade Pt.1 &2) and was their first uneven season, still worth seeing but there were cracks developing in the armor. I think it has been well discussed how utterly junky Season 5 was. Not only did they completely rewrite their mythology, they focused on a wan and boring Christian-lite perspective, bogged down the show with unsympathetic waste of space characters and unengaging plots culminating in the utter rubbish that was The Twilight of the Gods. Every episode was practically a painful experience as Xena and Gabrielle's relationship somehow became more distant and more cloyingly sappy at the same time (by this I mean more grand pronouncements of love yet diminished and stilted interaction between the two leads. Show me the affection between these characters, don't just tack on a mushy two minute coda after they have been apart all episode), the plots became crippled by massive contuinity problems and a general malaise I found appalling.
I do believe they rectified this situation somewhat in the last season, downsizing unpleasant aspects and once again crafting good drama (The Norse Series, Dangerous Prey, To Helicon and Back etc) I am glad they ended on a strong(er) note but it was too little, too late and my perception of the show will always be negatively colored by the undiluted garbage that was season 5.
What is everyone's favorite Xena season? Mine would probaly be Season 3, I think The Deliverer/Gabrielle's Hope, The Debts I&II, Maternal Instincts/The Bitter Suite and Sacrifices I&II were powerful two parters and this season also featured some of my favorite stand-alones (Forget Me Not, One Against An Army)

Edited by TheRomanAmputee, Jan 1, 2004 @ 1:55 AM.

  • 0

#2

Tanker

Tanker

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 7:38 PM

I haven't thought of this show in a long time. Man, it had some babes, didn't it? Male and female (the late Kevin Smith was one of very few men who could make me go, "Hmmm"). Here's a poll question: who had the cutest bellybutton, Gab, Callisto, or Aphrodite? Heh.

I think I liked S3 the best too, although S2 was also great. They had a good balance of humor and drama. Later eps seemed to be either all drama or high-concept farce. Anyway, S3 has some of my all-time favorites, mostly including the ones mentioned above. Also high on my list is The Quill Is Mightier. You can't beat a show with 3 naked Gabrielles.
  • 0

#3

Lutanite

Lutanite

Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 7:43 PM

2nd and 3rd seasons -- great stuff. Bittersuite was great. I liked the Dahak arc through Gabrielle diving into the pit to save Xena and the world. And there was soom good funny interwined with high drama. I got pretty tired of Eli, though I liked the tension between him and Xena. I do think Lawless was phoning it in for the last half of the show, which made it hard to watch sometimes. I understand she was deeply depressed there for a while, which gotta make it hard.

Kevin Smith (Ares) was great. So sorry he died.
  • 0

#4

Midnight Creeper

Midnight Creeper

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 8:07 PM

For my money, this show took a lot risks that other series wouldn't dare. The writers seemed willing to gamble dangerously and to play with themes and characters and concepts that other shows would've dodged. And in the early going, the series really had a sense of humor. So I really liked the earlier stuff, where you never knew what they were going to do or what abrupt change of pace or tone might strike the writers' fancy.

Then it became Serious and Epic and proceeded to suck the lift out of itself. I think part of the problem was that each episode kept raising the bar for the character of Xena herself, and while she starting out duking it out with small-time punks, she kept becoming ever-stronger, until the only challenge left for her was battling a god, and then multiple gods, and then whole pantheons. The writers seemed afraid to say, "Wait--enough. She's great, but she has limits, and sometimes she's going to be beaten." There just seemed to be a deathly fear of showing her as anything other than ever-triumphant.
  • 0

#5

shimi

shimi

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:35 PM

Seasons Two and Three were also my favourites. I loved the Dahak/ Bitter Suite stuff and the early Callisto arc was nicely intense. Later on some of the India arc was spotty but I did like Gabrielle's evolution through pacifism and back into some kind of measured warriorhood. Eli was extremely annoying. Was S3 the one that ended with the crucifixions/Caesar's death? Because that finale was fucking awesome. Or was that S4? In any case, after that the show definitely went downhill for all the reasons stated above. I still loved watching it but it just wasn't as interesting. A big part of that was giving Xena another kid that they had to Miracle-gro. *shudder*. solon had a nice send-off and a good backstory. Eve was just gross and by the end they dumped her with a bunch of hippies so you could tell how invested the writers remained in that SL! LL was depressed? I hadn't heard this before. Can you tell me more?

Hee, seeing Karl Urban in LoTR gave me a weird flashback to his days on X:WP. I preferred his sulky Cupid to his posturing Caesar anyday.
  • 0

#6

Unusual Suspect

Unusual Suspect

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:42 AM

I really only find Karl Urban hot when he's playing Cupid. I liked that bleached blonde surfer look.

I left Xena for the middle seasons (didn't see what happened after Gabrielle killed herself and her kid) only to return when Xena and Gabrielle woke after spending 20 years frozen.

My favourite plot arc was definitely early Callisto. Hudson Leick really nailed that role, and was a superb foil for Xena. Possibly one of my all-time favourite episodes was "Ten Little Warlords", with Xena in Callisto's body.
  • 0

#7

taylor3698

taylor3698

    Couch Potato

Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:30 PM

Kevin Smith died?! Wow I did not know this at all. He was hands down my favorite character in Xena. Does anyone know how he died? He looked so young and healthy.
  • 0

#8

Unusual Suspect

Unusual Suspect

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:59 PM

Accident while filming, I think.
  • 0

#9

Shadowlass

Shadowlass

    Couch Potato

Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:01 PM

He died in an accident on location (not for Xena)--IIRC, it was in a fall.
  • 0

#10

Lutanite

Lutanite

Posted Jan 3, 2004 @ 1:25 AM

shimi, Lawless said she was deeply depressed during parts of Xena. I don't remember when, but I think it was during parts of the first season, and then starting again in the fourth. I'm pretty sure there are articles up about it at Whoosh. IIRC, there is also a really sweet section of homages to Kevin Smith on that site.
  • 0

#11

Vaya

Vaya

    Fanatic

Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 2:22 PM

Definately the show went down hill after Callisto exited as a villain....really when it became all. about. Gabrielle. I couldn't stomach it anymore, cause she irritates me so very, very much.

And alti, while a cool character, the story arc was so being weighed down by Gabrielle's considerable crap that she couldn't save it.

Also, being a Winnowill knock-off didn't help.

REally, when the show started taking itself way to seriously, that's when I had had enough.

Oh and poor Kevin Smith :(

But we have Karl Urban in Lord of the Rings now!
  • 0

#12

CarpingSlav

CarpingSlav

    Couch Potato

Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 8:55 AM

Actually, Lord of the Rings does have several hotties...


Karl Urban...would love to ride his horse any time...
David Wenham...gladly like him to storm my tower...
  • 0

#13

LTG

LTG

    Network Executive

Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 11:25 AM

Karl Urban...would love to ride his horse any time...

In the commentary for The Two Towers, Karl pissed me off a little bit. He was speaking about how hard the work on the movie was and how he had to learn to ride a horse and use a sword. I know he had to do some of that stuff on Xena (I know we saw him ride a horse at least once, and he must have had a swordfight or two), and I was angry at him for not giving the show some credit or a mention.

In one of the Two Towers commentaries, someone does compare the experience of building the Xena and Hercules forts and temples and palaces with the work that went into building Helm's Deep. I really think there are a lot of ways that both shows primed the pump of New Zealand film-making to make the local industry more prepared to do the work that was necessary to make LotR.

#14

CarpingSlav

CarpingSlav

    Couch Potato

Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 11:52 AM

I liked Xena and Hercules. They were two good fullsome family shows, where the mom, pop and two kiddies could sit and watch.
  • 0

#15

ktaborn

ktaborn

    Channel Surfer

Posted Jan 31, 2004 @ 10:53 PM

Nevermind

Edited by ktaborn, Feb 1, 2004 @ 8:27 PM.

  • 0

#16

Jeebus Cripes

Jeebus Cripes

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 1:46 AM

The writers seemed afraid to say, "Wait--enough. She's great, but she has limits, and sometimes she's going to be beaten." There just seemed to be a deathly fear of showing her as anything other than ever-triumphant.

-Midnight Creeper

ITA! The thing that really bugged about Xena above all else, was her "god-like" ability to overcome all obstacles. I mean, watching Hercules do these incredible (most of the time ridiculous) feats of heroism is one thing... he's half-god. But watching Xena do 13 consecutive flips, mid-air, whilst yodeling that wretched war-cry? Argh! I'm pretty good at extending my belief for the sake of fantasy, but she's just SO over the top. Most of the time I couldn't really enjoy the show because-- "Oh no, she's fighting Ares again, and she's WINNING. AGAIN! How can a mere mortal defeat a god, multiple times even, not to mention multiple gods? I know there was some speculation a while back... something about Ares being her father or some such. Malarkey. This would explain her incredible skills, but it would also cause me to violently regurgitate. And I don't wanna go there. I know incest was all the rage back in ancient times, but dude, that shit is just-- Eww.

The concept that this woman, guilty of committing horrible deeds, is seeking redemption by helping others-- that's what intrigued me about this show. Somewhere along the way, the show just lost sight of that IMHO. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the show for the most part. I did, particularly in the beginning (I stopped watching towards the end). Most of the time I didn't even mind the campiness. It's just the way they put Xena on a pedestal above all. It Irked.

ETA: The more I think about it, the more I realize I did NOT enjoy the show for the most part. Got a little nostalgic there for a moment. Honestly, I think I really only like the first 2 seasons. Somewhere between Gabrielle's pregnancy and Xena & Gab dying-- they just lost me. Can't comment on the twilight of the gods and all that crap, cause by then I was just watching bits and pieces. But from what I gathered it sucked and then some.

Edited by Jeebus Cripes, Feb 1, 2004 @ 1:58 AM.

  • 0

#17

Aussie Andrew

Aussie Andrew

    Couch Potato

Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 3:19 AM

Turns out down the Track, Xena was a half god too, daddy was actually Ares, who turned up one night, dressed like Soldier Dad, got with Xena's mum and presto! Warrior Princess!

This series got seriously wierd, like with Mermaid Gabrielle, them dying, the whole Stone Soldiers and stuff.. It got confusing.. I swear, I could NOT tell you how it started and ended, I just remember things here and there.

Oh wait, Xena was an early Angel, you know, fighting for redemption or something. And a wacky moralizing sidekick, trying to bring them closer to society. Gee.... sounds similar...
  • 0

#18

Vaya

Vaya

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 10:44 AM

Turns out down the Track, Xena was a half god too, daddy was actually Ares, who turned up one night, dressed like Soldier Dad, got with Xena's mum and presto! Warrior Princess!


No, that was a story they fed the Furies...I mean if Ares really was Xena's dad....euuuuuuuuwwwwwww.
  • 0

#19

Jeebus Cripes

Jeebus Cripes

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 5:56 PM

Oh thank god you clarified that Vaya. I was about to go all hysterical over here.
  • 0

#20

Scade

Scade

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 1, 2004 @ 10:48 PM

Well, the gods got around, so I'd say it's safe to assume she might be at least one hundredth-god, right? That would make sense? Oh, it doesn't matter. Rationalizing falls flat in the face of the almighty camp.
  • 0

#21

Aussie Andrew

Aussie Andrew

    Couch Potato

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 7:48 AM

I'm sure Xena confronted Ares in an episode with Xena's dear old mumsy and he was all like "remember those stories about soldiers coming home for one night" and explained to Xena and Xena's horrified mum that daddy's here. And somewhat odd...

*Confused* Furies?
  • 0

#22

Vaya

Vaya

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 9:41 AM

Yeah....look Ares got the furies to condemn Xena with madness and persecution because she never avenged the murder of her father at the hands of, surprise, her mother, cause he was going to sacrifice the little princess to Ares or something.

But, killing her mom wouldn't be a way out as the annoying one discovered.

So, Xena convinces the furies that Ares was her actual father, and used this story about how Ares disguised himself as one of his warriors (in this case, Xena's dad) to impregnate their wives.

She then proceeded to mop the floor with his leather clad butt to prove this point, which was enough for the furies who released the curse. (See, if Ares is Xena's dad, then there's no obligation for her to avenge the death of her supposed dad)

Afterwards Ares is all like, "you know I am not your father" and she's like "I know, but they bought it" and we are all like, "thank the gods, that was about to get too squigy"

The thing is, at certain points in the episode some heavy anvils are thrown, but then discounted later, and it seems they were thrown to support Xena's case, so one has to wonder why Ares was throwing them...

really, I just chalked it up to laziness on the writer's part.
  • 0

#23

jah1986

jah1986

    Couch Potato

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 9:49 AM

I realized the only episodes I really liked were the ones with Ares, until he went all soft and let Xena beat him up every week.

I think one of my favorite episodes is the one where Xena got her butt kicked by the chick from Cold Case, because they both loved Gabrielle (okay so that's where I stopped liking it) maybe my favorite part was just seeing SOMEBODY beat Xena up ONE time.
  • 0

#24

Scade

Scade

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 5:25 PM

Oh, the psycho jealot murdering avenger woman?
  • 0

#25

mad_typist

mad_typist

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 8:04 PM

Najara, the zealot, yeah. When I first saw promos for Cold Case, I was all, "Damn, who IS that? She looks so familiar." I laughed when I finally figured out who she was. I loved her weird battle with Xena over Gab's heart. Just like the valkyrie from the last season. Gabby sure attracts the hot blondes, eh? Even though she obviously prefers brunettes. Heh.
  • 0

#26

Scade

Scade

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 2, 2004 @ 9:45 PM

Poor Aphrodite.
  • 0

#27

Vaya

Vaya

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 3, 2004 @ 7:39 PM

Gabby sure attracts the hot blondes, eh? Even though she obviously prefers brunettes. Heh.


Hrm, I think it's a frequently used device in television, that for some bizarre reason everyone wants to bang the most subtly annoying female character.

Really, the more I watch, the more she bugs me.

Like I was watching the first one with Callisto and she's all like, "Oh this cycle of hate must end and blah blah blah"

And when Perdicus dies, she's all blood thirsty.

I mean, I realize it's supposed to be this huge growth experience when she has the opportunity but doesn't, but it doesn't make me any less annoyed with her.

And don't even get me started on Hope!
  • 0

#28

DemonRum

DemonRum

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Feb 4, 2004 @ 4:00 AM

I agree with whoever said that Xena was at it's best when it was the story of a woman seeking redemption for her past. The first two seasons were great, although there probably were a couple of moments that bugged me but I can't recall them off the top of my head. When Gabby got knocked up by Dahok and dumped Hope's ass in the river, that was when I knew things could get ucky, although The Debt I&II came to me in all its glory, giving me the belief that it was a fluke. I couldn't really handle Season 4, because that's when it stopped feeling like that same show I came across channel surfing when it was way past my bedtime during the first season (plus I was devastated when Gabby chopped her hair off, I was 11 years old and Gabby was my first girlcrush).

I chalk Season 5 up to one very long, horrendously awful trip on some sort of psychotropic substance (Married With Fishsticks? seriously, dude, just say NO!).

I pick and choose eps and scenes from Season 6. After the horror that was Season 5, I barely decided to brave it and watch S6. I'm glad I did, because Coming Home is one of my fav eps. KS was awesome ("Four ways? Nasty" cracked my shit up), and I think the reason the ep was so good was because it was penned by the lovely Missy Good, who is as devoted to the characters as the rest of the xenaverse fandom, and she always writes the characters the way that we love them. THoA annoyed the crap out of me, and Heart of Darkness only had a few redeeming points (that dance was one hell of a sexy thing IMO, minus Virgil with the cockblocking/twatblocking Xena). The series should have just ended with When Fates Collide, instead of stumbling along and slapping me in the face with FINI&II. So. Wrong.
  • 0

#29

mad_typist

mad_typist

    Fanatic

Posted Feb 4, 2004 @ 7:08 PM

I agree with whoever said that Xena was at it's best when it was the story of a woman seeking redemption for her past.


I agree too. Which is why the finale was such utter bullshit. For 6 seasons we had watched Xena atone for her sins by trying to make the world a better place and by walking the straight and narrow path (most of the time). But then they decide that really, the only way Xena can TRULY atone for her sins is to die. Right. And she didn't even die atoning for some great evil she did. She died atoning for some stupid behavior which caused a fire that accidently killed a bunch of people. Talk about contradicting the message of the show. "Oh, we take it back. You can't really ever atone for your sins, and all the good deeds in the world that you have or could do in the future don't matter."

When Fates Collide was brilliant and in my mind that WAS the series finale.
  • 0

#30

DemonRum

DemonRum

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Feb 4, 2004 @ 9:24 PM

Word, mad typist.

I'm also confused. Xena stays a ghost? Whatever happened to Tartarus, the Amazon Land of the Dead, reincarnation, and heaven? Does she get to pick which one? Xena bit it because she tripped over a bad plot device, died horribly (and disgustingly), and now Gabrielle's left alone and everyone thinks she's a lunatic because she's talking to air.

I will give RT this though. In essence, Tapert owned Xena and had a right to do whatever he wanted with the characters and what he did was bold. I don't like the ending, but dude had balls.

But IMO, he took a show that glorified life and the struggle to do what's right, the power to reinvent yourself despite the wrongs of your past, the power of love and redemption, and chopped its head off (literally). In the end the moral is that there is no redemption in life. There is no forgiveness, no true atonement other than suffering as much as possible. So for a show about the power of courage and love, we are left with the idea that honor, redemption, and forgiveness can only be found in death.

But I completely disagree with this definition of redemption. I think a much more powerful a statement could have been made if TPTB allowed Xena to choose life over death. To be given this decision at the point where Gabrielle was going to put her ashes in the fountain--Xena you can choose to stay dead if that really makes you "feel" redeemed, but by your actions, your willingness to give up your life and willingness to separate from your soulmate *is* your true redemption--therefore you may choose life and you are still redeemed. And she accepts, and lives her life next to the only one who truly matters to her and walks the "Path for the Greater Good." Isn't this a better statement, more hopeful and more in keeping with the series' themes?

Another thing that irked me: Gabrielle. WHAT? Is a warrior's path--with all the guilt, remorse, and killing--Gabrielle's true path? What happened to her code, what happened to the path of friendship? Seeing Gabrielle on the boat with the chakram on her waist was an awful image. Saying she's going to the land of Pharaohs like Xena had said was disheartening, it didn't ring true. Many applauded her new talent to throw the chakram - I cried. It killed the Gabby I've grown to love. It backs up Ares' view that the world was built by warriors - the statement that sickened Gabrielle in Seeds of Faith.

Am I an angry, disgruntled fan? No, just a sad and dissapointed one. Although, the scene where Xena teaches Gabrielle the pinch was the most romantic scene that had ever occurred on this show while they were both awake, alive, with memory, etc.
  • 0