Xena: Warrior Princess is a television series which aired from 1995 to 2001. It was a spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Set in a fantasy ancient Greece, the series told the adventures of former Hercules villain Xena (Lucy Lawless), a reformed warlord, on a quest to redeem her past sins. Xena was accompanied on her travels by Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor), a young girl who became her best friend and most trusted ally. The series was filmed in New Zealand.
The show freely borrowed names and themes from various mythologies around the world, primarily Greek mythology, adapting them to suit the demands of the storyline. Real historical figures and events also made numerous appearances. These ranged from an encounter with Homer (before he was famous), to the capture of Julius Caesar by pirates with Xena cast as the pirate leader. This quirky mix of timelines and the amalgamation of historical and mythological elements fueled the rise of the show to cult status during the 1990s, and the name Xena became synonymous with a strong and independent female heroine.
The show was a mixture of styles, ranging from high melodrama in one episode to slapstick comedy in another. Although ostensibly set in ancient times, the themes of the show were essentially modern: taking responsibility for past misdeeds, the value of human life, personal liberty, and friendship. This universal, flexible fantasy framework accommodated a considerable scope of content and style, even including an original musical episode, The Bitter Suite. Despite being deeply concerned with ethical dilemmas, such as the morality of pacifism, the storylines rarely sought to provide unequivocal solutions. The resulting conflicting answers and ambiguity gave Xena a complexity that went largely unremarked by the casual viewers, but generated much lively debate among fans. It was also hinted that Xena and Gabrielle were lovers. This was left deliberately ambiguous, leading to much heated debate over what became known as the Subtext. Some critics found it to be a marketing tactic—or, conversely, outright cowardice—avoided by most shows thereafter until the character Willow explored her sexuality in Buffy. The fandom became increasingly divided over the issue, particularly with the development of a romantic storyline between Xena and Ares, the God of War, which was also left ambiguous.
The Xena fandom also popularized the term Altfic (no relation to the evil Alti character in the series) among fans to refer to general homosexual romantic stories, as slash fiction was generally perceived as focused on male/male couples. See yuri. Xena fandom also expanded its fan fiction raw materials to include stories making Xena, Gabrielle, Ares and other archetypes and inserting them in different cultures at different times, from the prehistoric to the far future (and everywhere between). This type of Xena fan fiction was coined as "Uber" in 1997 by Kym Taborn of Whoosh.org. Its use can be found on-line as "UberXena", "Uberfic", or similar variations.
The show also featured a wide assortment of recurring characters, including adversaries Ares (Kevin Smith) and Callisto (Hudson Leick); and trusted friends like Autolycus (Bruce Campbell) and Joxer (Ted Raimi).
Most exotic among the weapons used by Xena is a variant of chakram, a flying disc.
See also: List of Xena episodes
- Joxer the warrior wannabe, played by Ted Raimi
- Ares, the God of War, played by Kevin Smith
- Callisto, a warrior with a serious grudge against Xena, played by Hudson Leick
- Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, played by Alexandra Tydings
- Autolycus, the self-styled King of Thieves, played by Bruce Campbell
- Alti, outcast Amazon shaman, played by Claire Stansfield
- Cyrene, Xena's mother, played by Darien Takle
- Livia (Eve), Xena's daughter, played by Adrienne Wilkinson
- Borias, father of Xena's son, Solan, played by Marton Csokas
- Caesar, love/hate interest for Xena, played by Karl Urban
- Ephiny, queen regent of the Amazons, played by Danielle Cormack
- Eli, healer and teacher, played by Tim Omundson
- Amarice, young Amazon, played by Jennifer Sky
- Varia, young queen of the Amazons, played by Tsianina Joelson
- Draco, warlord and former friend to Xena, played by Jay Laga'aia
- Discord, Goddess of Retribution, played by Meighan Desmond
- Lila, Gabrielle's sister, played by Willa O'Neill
- Marcus, one of Xena's former love interests, played by Bobby Hosea
- Hercules, the man credited with turning Xena from evil to good, played by Kevin Sorbo
- Iolaus, Hercules' best friend, played by Michael Hurst
- The IMDb entry on the show (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112230/)
- Whoosh (http://www.whoosh.org/)
- The Xena Online Community (http://pub209.ezboard.com/bxwpweb)
- XWPonline (http://xwponline.net/)
- Michelle's Xena Library (http://www.warriorprincess.com/)
- Xena/Ares Fan Fiction Library (http://www.xenaaresfiction.com/library/index.php)
- Lucy is Lawless (http://lucyislawless.com)
- Xena Online Resources (http://www.xenite.org/xor/)
- Australian Xena Information Page (http://www.ausxip.com/)
- AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Files (http://www.lucylawless.info/)
- AUSXIP Renee O'Connor Information Page (http://www.reneeoconnor.info/)
- Mount Olympus (http://medlem.spray.se/chakramarcs/mountolympus.html/)
- Xena's Ultimate Page (http://www.xenafight.com/)