Translated by Rosa Alonso from the Spanish news site Blogs El Pais
When we think of Xena: Warrior Princess we can’t help remembering those summer mornings when the five most important TV channels in Spain devoted quite a few hours to programs whose aim was to entertain the youngest among their audience. Television Española bought the rights to broadcast the series in 1998 (two years after it started airing in the US) and gave it a permanent slot in La 2, that bohemian channel where you could find a handful of popular shows in between their trademark documentaries. XWP has very little to do with the shows about armoured warriors wielding swords that we can enjoy nowadays, like Game of Thrones, Spartacus or Vikings, among others. Still, here are ten good reasons why we got hooked on XWP.
Of course. Lucy Lawless was a hero, a pioneer on TV when she played the fierce warrior who captivated thousands of fans, both male and female. Dressed in her Amazon outfit, the actress, listed as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world, became a sex symbol who is still very popular, especially among the lesbian community because of her relationship with her sidekick Gabrielle. The Warrior Princess was a tough, brave woman, the female alternative to Kevin Sorbo in his show Hercules: the Legendary Journeys.
2. Her war cry
That memorable sharp cry is similar to the one used in certain Arab ceremonies and rituals or in belly dance performances. The war cry Xena used before she started a fight against her enemies was the prelude to their crushing defeat.
3. The throwing disc
A sword is not enough of a weapon for an Amazon warrior. Skilled in the use of the sword and formidable in hand to hand combat, the warrior princess also had a chakram, a throwing disc made of steel with a sharpened outer edge. Xena was incredibly skilled in the use of this weapon, whose origin is in India, so that she was able to deflect the chakram back towards her, allowing her to catch it after having hit multiple enemies in one throw.
What would the warrior princess do without her loyal sidekick? Gabrielle (Renée O'Connor) was the bard who travelled with Xena, writing the stories of their heroic deeds and helping her in battle even if she wasn’t an expert warrior herself. In the last episodes of the series Gabrielle became a competent fighter, capable of using almost the same weapons as Xena. The relationship between them made them an iconic couple, similar to Batman and Robin, or to Hercules and Ioalus from the show where the main character was played by Kevin Sorbo. Gabrielle represented the light, the idea of kindness and peace that contrasted with the warrior’s fire and passion. By the way, O’Connor is still working as an actress, producer, writer and director.
5. Her enemies
Gods, warriors, monsters, Julius Caesar… Among the many enemies the warrior princess had to face we find an almighty god like Ares (god of war in the Greek mythology), the Roman general and emperor Caesar (played by Karl Urban), emperor Caligula, or Goliath, the giant who, according to the Bible, was defeated by king David and his slingshot. Xena could fight against ninjas, Greeks, Romans and mythical creatures regardless of history dates and facts, just like Zorro does in the Simpsons episode called EEIEI (sic).
6. Historical references
Xena witnessed all sorts of historical events and starred in legends. She took part in the War of Troy, she saw the Chinese warriors turn into the Terracotta Army, and she played a part in the Odyssey. Curiously enough, there is also a connection between Xena and the Christian faith. For example, in the ninth episode of the second season, A Solstice Carol, Xena and Gabrielle cross paths with a man and his pregnant wife (Joseph and Mary) and decide to help them out. It’s also written that the birth of Eve, Xena’s daughter, will mean the death of the gods and the starting point of monotheism.
The clumsy warrior who travelled with Xena and Gabrielle in several episodes was played by Ted Raimi, Sam Raimi’s brother (producer of the show). He was a comical character and was in love with Gabrielle, in a platonic kind of way. There’s no doubt that Joxer added to the show the kind of humor Raimi is so fond of, something we’ve seen in many of his movies like Army of Darkness (1992, last installment of The Evil Dead) or the Spiderman trilogy (starring Tobey Maguire).
Xena: Warrior Princess was a spin-off of the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, so Zeus’ son (played by Kevin Sorbo) had to appear on the show whose main star was Lawless. The Greek hero and his friend Ioalus cross paths with Xena and Gabrielle a few times, and there are even hints to a romantic relationship between them (each with their own, logically).
9. Bruce Campbell
He is well-liked by many of Sam Raimi’s fans and by those who enjoy many of the B movies made in the last two decades. We are talking about the actor Bruce Campbell, who played Autolycus, the King of Thieves, a comical antihero, master of disguise, skilled with a sword and very persuasive, who appears in eight episodes in the series. It’s obvious that the role of the King of Thieves was written with Campbell in mind, since it allows him to show his talent for comedy and to star in the action scenes that the actor is so fond of.
10. The special effects
If there’s something a series like XWP needs to succeed is the required special effects to bring to life the many fantastic and mythological creatures it features. Problems might arise when the show comes to depend so much on imaginary characters and the budget must be adjusted. However, producer Sam Raimi is an expert at creating fantasy with very little money [he only needed $375,000 to film The Evil Dead], so gods and demons were present throughout the series. And so we find beasts like the Cyclops, the terrible Grendel from the Nordic myths, or the Greek god Poseidon, whose body was made entirely of water. The special effects gave a memorable charm to a show that will forever be part of the history of television.
Original article in Spanish is located here