Many thanks to Karen for the transcript

Non Sport Magazine

April / May 2001

XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS Series 4 and 5 BY David (Otis) Miller

Xena--The Warrior Princess was first introduced as a character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. By the time all was said and done, the show Xena Warrior Princess had not only earned higher ratings then Hercules by being television's highest rated first-run action hour for the last four consecutive seasons, it had outlasted it as well. Xena debuted in national syndication in September of 1995. The show is now seen in more than 115 countries.

Although the show will cease production after the sixth season is in the can, it is going out on top. Its six-season run is remarkable considering the staggering number of first-run syndicated shows that last only one season. Xena's sixth and final season will air through summer of 2001. The show airs on over 200 television stations nationwide, which gives it coverage in over 99% of the United States. Part of the success of Xena can be contributed to filling the niche for a strong television female action hero. With this concept, the show pulled in a large audience of women in the highly desired 18-to -34-year-old audience.

Although the show is destined to end soon, all is not lost. Xena reruns already air on the USA Cable Network, and reruns of a show this popular will be airing on stations across the globe before you know it. As a former overnight Master Control Operator for a television station, personal testament to the show's popularity can be provided. The show would air one morning a week at 1:08 AM, and if it looked like something was going to interfere with that, the phones would ring and ring often.

These were people who stayed up to watch the show, or wanted to know what time to set their VCR, or if they were going to have to start recording and just let the tape go for six hours. The majority of them were women. Three other reasons for the shows success are the executive producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi,and R.J.Stewart. They are no strangers to the success spotlight. Some of their earlier Renaissance Pictures productions were Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Timecop, and Army of Darkness to name a few. Also, they produced the motion picture The Gift, which was released in January. Surrealistically beautiful shooting locales in New Zealand, innovative and dazzling special effects, and well-researched, freshly written subjects and story lines have also contributed to the show's success.

However, it is the show's great cast members that have become popular culture icons. The show follows the life-and death body-switching afterlife adventures of Xena, The Warrior Princess, and her faithful sidekick Gabrielle. Xena is played by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless, who is just under six feet tall. Texas native Renee O'Connor portrays Gabrielle. Xena, who now fights for right and justice, was at one time a scourge known throughout the lands. She and her army would plunder and pillage for fun and without mercy.

After having as epiphany, she hooked up with Gabrielle, and their crusade against oppression began. In addition to being a faithful side-kick, the character of Gabrielle is representative of the voice of good and mercy for Xena, who is still "do it now and ask questions later" at heart. Their are recurring characters that have also assisted in the show's success. One of them is Joxer. Detroit native Ted Raimi, who is the younger brother of producer Sam Raimi, plays him expertly. Joxer completes the role reversal for the Xena hero. He is inept, and most of the time Xena and Gabrielle have to save him. Other popular recurring characters include ally and antihero Autolycus, King of Thieves (Bruce Campbell) and the villainous mythological god of war Ares (Kevin Smith).

Capturing a Warrior Princess The fine people at Rittenhouse Archives have captured Xena:Warrior Princess Seasons 4 and 5 on cards that should be as popular as the television show. Rittenhouse's Steve Charendoff explained, "With its long run of six seasons, a wide following, its successful merchandising and very well attended conventions, it is a great license to obtain. It's at a level of popularity next to Star Trek." This attractive card set will start with a 72-card base set. There will be a Xena title card followed by a card for each episode of Seasons 4 and 5. Each of these card's title is the official episode title.

Then starting with card 46 of the base set, there will be cards devoted to specific show themes. These cards are titled Warriors in Action, Faithful Argo, and Sisters in arms. There will be plenty of chase cards to hunt down as well. This will not daunt the die-hard Xena fan. According to Charendoff,"We target the hard-core fan--those who are really into the show - those who collect feverishly and attend the conventions." The first bonus set is entitled Xena Allies (1:4 packs). These gold-foil etched cards will feature nine of Xena's friends from Seasons 4 and 5. The next set will be Xena's Enemies (1:9).

This subset will feature six of Xena's worst enemies from these two seasons, and will also be gold-foil etched. The third chase card set will be titled Gabrielle: The Warrior Bard (a tribal poet singer who composed and retold verses about heroes and their deeds) cards (1:10). This holo-foil Gabrielle set totals nine cards. Next is Xena:Face of a Warrior (1:40). This holo-foil subset will total nine cards. An even rarer holo-foil chase card set will be the Xena Undressed cards(1:80). (Hey, you'll have to collect these six cards to find out!)

The Xena Autograph cards (1:80) will be signed by one of five of the shows actors: Lucy Lawless (Xena), Ted Raimi (Joxer), Jennifer Sky (Amarice), Kevin Smith (Ares), and Claire Stansfield (Alti). There will also be Xena: Warrior Princess (1:480) hand numbered cards (# 1 through #999), and will feature Xena and her majestic horse Argo. Finally, there will be an exclusive case topper "From the Archives" Costume Card. This will feature a piece of the Xena memorabilia that will make fans salivate with anticipation. Charendoff noted, "We acquired an actual Xena costume that will provide the material for (these) chase cards." To induce sales of the accompanying binders, there will be an exclusive binder autograph of Timothy Omundson who played Eli, the magician, in the Season 4 Episode "Devi."

Coming Soon Devotees of the Warrior Princess will be glad to know that there is even more Xena on the horizon. Charendoff stated, "We will definitely produce a Sixth Season set." Collectors will also be interested to hear that a related set is in the pipeline. According to Charendoff, "We will also be producing a Hercules set, which Kevin Sorbo will be autographing cards for." Xena: Warrior Princess Seasons 4 and 5 by Rittenhouse Archives cards are the perfect complement to the show, and will be enjoyed by the show's fans. Xena:Warrior Princess has revolutionized the female hero role for many women of all ages. In the spirit of the Lt. Uhura role on the original Star Trek, it will be interesting, years from now, to see how many successful women will cite the Xena character as an inspiration.

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