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Xena is the leading example of a new genre that has sprung up over the last few years. The tongue-in-cheek Fantasy shows started with Hercules, really took off with Xena, and now include Robin Hood, Sinbad, Roar and even a Conan the Barbarian show!
Xena is a spin-off from Raimi & Tapert's Hercules series, and has actually become more popular. In this it has followed in the footsteps of Mork and Mindy, which was originally spun off from an episode of Happy Days. Yes, Robin Williams owes his entire career to the Fonz!
The character of Xena was originally cast in the Hercules episode Warrior Princess for Vanessa Angel [best known for Weird Science: the series]. However, when Ms Angel was unable to fulfil her commitment to the show the producers had to find a replacement. A New Zealand actress named Lucy Lawless , who had previously played a centaur's human lover, was selected for the part and thus began the meteoric rise of her career.
The character of the evil female warlord was brought back for a second Hercules episode, where she turned good, and when Hercules came back the next year for a second season it was joined by a new sister series, Xena: Warrior Princess.
The one episode of the first season that really stands out is Callisto, which introduces two of the most important recurring characters. Joxer the Mighty is a comic buffoon of the type that, post-TPM, can be described as a human Jar-Jar. The actor? Ted Raimi, of course - hey, his brother is the producer and always guarantees him a supporting role in everything he does. Remember Dark Man? American Gothic , anyone? And the real tragedy is, poor Ted's best performances have been in his non-brother-provided roles. He was the heart and soul of Seaquest DSV and his role in Baywatch [ Pamela Anderson 's Boyfriend - he got to massage her fingers on-screen!!!] was an eye-opener that this reviewer did not expect!
The second recurring character? Why, the title character, Callisto herself - an evil female warlord in the mould of Xena herself, but with different goals. Her family was killed in one of Xena's raids, and she wants revenge.
So what makes Xena better than its imitators? Well, in comparison with Robin Hood the real difference is the production values. Xena is filmed in sunny New Zealand, Robin Hood is shot in the former USSR. Xena has lots of SPFX and recognisable guest-stars; Robin Hood is blatantly shot on-the-cheap! But Robin Hood is still a brave effort, and rises above its failings. The real problem with an imitator is that by definition it cannot be a trend-setter, it merely follows in the footsteps of the true trailblazers.
Ares frames Xena for murder. Gabby is her defence lawyer. Xena is give a choice - join Ares or be executed.
Xena has a Doppelganger named Diana.
The ending is pure subtext.
Xena goes to Hades to save her lover, Marcus.
Meleager (Tim Thomerson - Trancers ) helps Gabby defend a village.
Xena's father makes an appearance. The quest is to rescue some slave girls from Ares' warlord.
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