SCI-FI TV & MOVIES
Many thanks to Kevin James for the transcript and the scans below
HELLBENT FOR LEATHER
It's definitely worth staying in on a Saturday evening now we've got a six foot something Amazonian, dressed in leather and kicking butt all over Ancient Greece.
Like Hercules. Xena: Warrior Princess lives in the space between mythology and science fiction, with a good measure of camp Hollywood sprinkled in for laughs. Loosely based around traditional Greek myth, Xena battles her way through an almost imaginary land, meeting enemies that owe as much to Homer Simpson as they do to the other Homer, the one who wrote The Odyssey.
Once, Xena was the wrong-doer leader of a tribe of generally bad women in leather. It is unknown what made her so angry, although the destruction of her village, Amphipolis on me borders of Thrace and Macedonia, by the warlord Coltese and his band of metal-masked men could have been a justifiable reason. Xenaphiles may also point to the time when aged only six or seven, Xena's father Atrius had threatened to kill her. She was only saved when Atrius himself, was slain by her mother Cyrene.
Whatever, at the start of the first series, Xena decided to turn and use her powers for good. But, with all that pent-up anger and hatred running around inside her powerful body, staying good is not easy for Xena.
With side-kick Gabrielle in tow, they battle traditional figures from Creek mythology, such as Morpheus (the keeper of the dream world), Ares (the god of war), Posedion (the god of the seas) and King Sisyphus (who captured Death end was ultimately punished by Hades to push a boulder up and down a mountain for eternity). They also aid well-known characters from that time, including Helen of Troy, Boadicea and even Hercules (played by Kevin Sorbo, in an early Hercules/Xena tie in). In fact, Xena got her first break in Hercules : The Legendary Journey, although at that time she was still less than a good person. Back then, she tried to divide the great friends Hercules and lolaus to turn them against one another before conquering all of Greece. Naturally, this plan fell though, but her fate to star in her own series was sealed. People were quickly won over by her obvious charms. Or at least a couple of points.
Xena [Lucy Lawless] Xena herself is played by the awesome New Zealander Lucy Lawless, who stands an inch and a half under six feet tall. Lawless has not just been an actress - before treading the boards in Australia and Canada, she worked as a gold-miner in the Outback. Top training for a warrior!
Gabrielle [Renee O'Conner] To aid Xena's new good-girl image, her virtuous buddy, the Amazon Gabrielle played by Texan actress Renee O'Conner is constantly by her side. Joxer [Ted Raimi] One of the regular characters Xena and Gabrielle meet on their adventures is Joxer. He is played by Ted Raimi, the younger brother of legendary schlock-director Sam. Strangely enough, Sam Raimi is one of me leading lights behind Xena and one
of Raimi's first stars, Bruce Campbell (Ash from The Evil Dead films) plays Autolycus in series. Could there be a link here...
Callisto [Hudson Leick] A girl's gotta have a nemesis, and Xena's is me ruthless immortal nut-case Callisto. Tall, leather-clad, blond, buxom and beautiful, Callisto, played by former model Hudson Leick, is hell bent on revenge for the destruction of her village by Xena's armies. She will not be stopped until Xena's friends and family -and Xena herself -are toast. She has murdered Gabrielle's husband and Xena's son and allied herself with all the truly bad people in Xena's life (such as Ares and Gabrielle's evil daughter, Hope). She keeps getting almost killed and incarcerated in places like a pit of lava, but has an alarming way of getting free in the middle of a series to wreak havoc and behave like a psycho once again.
IS IT EDUCATIONAL?
Strangely, for something that is little more than fantasy-adventure with its tongue firmly placed in its check, there are many who believe it to have a far more significant vision. Just check out Whoosh!, the Journal of the International Association of Xena Studies (their website http://www.whoosh.org/). Aside from all the usual fanzine stuff about their favourite characters, and plotlines, it features complex dissertations on history, post-modemism and feminism with titles like Disparate Cultures: Shock of the Other, Collision, Apartness and Resolution. The same site has an authoritative historical text, which suggests that Xena would have to have owned a Jeep and lived for over half a millennium to do all the things she has claimed to do.
Like Hercules, many of the plotlines do have their basis in history and the mythology of the time, although some of the historical time-lines are a bit off. It is a bit unlikely that someone in Ancient Greece would encounter Boadicea, have a relationship with Julias Caesar, befriend Goliath, visit China, fight in the war between the lsraelites and the Philistines, the Mitoan-Thessalian war and the Greek-Trojan War, as well as meet up with Hindu deities and mystics. But who cares? No-one accuses Xena of historical accuracy - Xena: Warrior Princess is an epic tale of heroes and bad-guys, a love story across space and time.
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