I was battling the wilds of Netflix and Hulu, desperately seeking a show that my husband and I could watch with our 10-year-old son without wanting to tear our hair out. Murder, She Wrote was now only a treasured memory–after watching all 12 seasons, Sid requested a break. Seinfeld, while initially promising, was somehow declared both “too boring” and “weird” (aka too much adult content–you got me there).
“Back!” I said to horrible Disney and Nickelodeon “tween” shows. “I must defeat your simplistic characters, wafer-thin plotlines, and offensive gender portrayals!”
But just as I was about to be engulfed by swarms of tweens who are inexplicably famous/rich/cyborgs, I heard a cry: “Ay yi yi yi yiiiii!” That’s right–Xena: Warrior Princess rode to our rescue.
I’d never really watched the show, other than idly catching an episode or two when I was too lazy to turn the channel. But we’ve watched three episodes now and it. Is. Great. And it’s all on Netflix!
If you’ve never watched the show, a brief thumbnail: produced by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, the good Spider-Man movies) Xena: Warrior Princess was a syndicated television show spun off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Filmed in New Zealand and set in “Ancient Greece,” it centers on the adventures of Xena, played by the athletic, expressive Lucy Lawless (she was actually the fifth choice to play the character, which seems inconceivable because she was born for the role). While Xena started out as an evil warlord in Hercules, she’s had a change of heart and is seeking redemption by defending the innocent.
While she starts out burying her (amazing) leather outfit, armor, and weapons in the dirt, Xena quickly takes them up again to defend a small village, earning the admiration of Gabrielle, a young innocent girl who longs to leave her home (and an upcoming marriage) for a life of adventure!
While the hard-bitten Xena rebuffs her, Gabrielle perserves, following Xena and proving her worth: while she has no fighting skills, Gabrielle is clever and smart, talking her way in and out of danger.
So that’s the setup: two independent and very different women partnering up to complete their individual personal journeys, while learning from–and leaning on–each other. Did I mention Xena is a 20-year-old show?
In case you were worried that the show is all about feelings, rest assured: this is Sam Raimi. The action and fight scenes are gloriously ludicrous, and Lawless glows with savagery and humor as she battles thugs and warlords alike. In fact, everyone looks like they’re having a hell of a time!
And the costumes! As my husband noted, if cosplay had been as popular 20 years ago as it is now, we’d have seen hundreds of Xenas and Gabrielles. I caught myself thinking, hmm …
So yes, three episodes in, I love it! But let’s get to the important part: yes, Sid’s loving it too. Whew.
I hope all six seasons are good. Tell me they’re good. They don’t add some tween pop star, do they?!?