1:00 pm EST, April 14, 2014

Fandom Flashback: ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’

Hypable’s Fandom Flashbacks returns as we look back to the days of Xena: Warrior Princess!

Fandom Flashbacks are a weekly Hypable feature that takes a look back at old shows (classic, vintage, and freshly dead) and takes our readers onto memory lane as we express our favorite moments, characters, and plots.

SHOW SYNOPSIS

synopsisheaderNothing explains Xena: Warrior Princess better than the voiceover during the opening credits: “In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power. The passion. The danger. Her courage will change the world.”

greenquote“I’m losing sight of your plan. Are you going to flirt him to death?” -Gabrielle

Xena follows the life of the titular hero and her eventual best friend and sidekick Gabrielle as the roam across Ancient Greece saving innocents from the hands of both humans and gods alike. Although her record wasn’t exactly clean at the start of the series, her actions during the course of six seasons allowed her to forge a new name for herself, one that was synonymous with being a protector of the people.

Over the course of the series, Xena battles against her arch enemy Callisto, all the while being tempted back to her old ways by Ares, god of war. Many other gods flit in and out of the picture, as do other antagonists. Xena makes it her duty to fight them off and redeem herself in the eyes of the people of Greece.

THE CHARACTERS

synopsisheaderXena: Warrior Princess has an array of interesting and memorable characters, both mortal and immortal. Bards, warlords, kings, and even gods weave their way through the narrative, sometimes helping Xena on her road to redemption, but — more often than not — hindering her instead.

Xena Xena
As one of the most fearsome warriors of her time, Xena is a stoic character focused on redeeming her name. Though she is often tempted to go back to her former ways, her best friend Gabrielle is always there to get her on the right path.
Gabrielle Gabrielle
Though Gabrielle started off as a simple farm girl who was mostly there as comic relief, she became so much more than that over the course of the series. She and Xena quickly became best friends, and Gabrielle became a strong warrior in her own right.
Ares Ares
Charming and devilishly handsome, Ares is also a dangerous foe and sometimes friend. As the god of war, his bloodlust runs high, but so do his feelings for Xena. Although his intentions are often ambiguous, over the course of the series Ares becomes a character you can sympathize with.
Callisto Callisto
Callisto is Xena’s arch enemy. After watching her family die at the hands of Xena and their army when they torched her village, Callisto was traumatized and subsequently went insane because of it. Her sole purpose in life is to torture, but not kill, Xena in order to get her revenge.
Joxer Joxer
Joxer is lucky he’s so bad at being a warrior. Otherwise, he might’ve ended up on the wrong side of Xena’s sword. Though he tries to be mighty, he just can’t pull it off. But that’s okay. Joxer is (eventually) loved for his quirky charm, klutzy demeanor, and devout loyalty to Xena and Gabrielle.
Draco Draco
Although Draco isn’t a super important character throughout the series, it is where everything started — and ended — for Xena, the warrior princess. Draco was the warlord she fought alongside before she eventually left him in order to become a better person.
Hercules Hercules
Although Hercules only appears in a few episodes, he makes a big impact on the series, and on Xena herself. When she appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the two were enemies at first. In the final episode of her arc, and his subsequent appearances on Xena, they became strong allies.
Argo Argo
Who would Xena be without her horse? Argo is a brilliant steed; one that is loyal until the end and always seems to know what Xena needs from her. Not only is Argo her normal mode of transportation, but she’s also pretty handy in a fight.

BEST CHARACTER

favouritecharacterheader

It’s difficult choosing between Xena and Gabrielle when it comes to picking our favorite character from the series, but we have go with Gabrielle because her overall transformation throughout the series was such an amazing thing to watch. Starting out as nothing more than a sidekick with some witty dialogue, Gabrielle turned into a woman that Xena not only loved (not the easiest thing to do for the warrior princess), but someone she could count on to be there when she needed her. The road to becoming a warrior wasn’t an easy one for Gabrielle, but it’s one she accomplished nonetheless.

funfactpink
Xena originally appeared in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys for a three-episode arc before getting her own television show due to the popularity of her character. (She was originally going to be killed off!)

Gabrielle’s first and most obvious skill lies in her ability to talk her way out of dangerous situations. She uses this skill from the very first episode (against a cyclops), and it later develops into something more than just a way to get people to do things for her. She eventually becomes a well-known bard, recording her adventures with Xena. They later become quite popular and help to turn Xena into even more of a legend.

Though Gabrielle has no fighting abilities at the beginning of the series, she soon learns to wield a staff with great skill. Xena teaches her skills in combat, but Gabrielle also becomes the Queen of several Amazon tribes. Beside her fighting staff, she also becomes talented with her sai, and even eventually learned how to properly throw Xena’s chakram.

Over the course of the series, Gabrielle discovers herself and helps Xena to stay on the right path. It isn’t always easy, and the two of them go through so much together, but Gabrielle certainly comes out on the other side with more confidence and purpose than she had going in.

BEST EPISODE

favouritecharacterheader“The Bitter Suite” is one of those episodes that’s so strange it shouldn’t work, but perhaps that’s why it does. The beginning of the episode follows up with the death of Xena’s son, caused by Gabrielle’s daughter. Each of our two heroines blames the other, and within minutes of the opening they’re at each other’s throats. However, before Xena and Gabrielle can finish each other off, Callisto takes them to Illusia, a strange world with the purpose of tormenting them.

greenquote“You’re gonna cut your throat AND jump? That’s overdoing it a bit, don’t you think?”
-Xena

Now while that might sound like a typical episode of Xena, the action is punctuated by several songs performed by Callisto, Ares, Joxer, and many of the others, including Xena and Gabrielle. Some of the songs are silly (and quite catchy!), but many of them put into words Xena and Gabrielle’s feelings in a way that dialogue just couldn’t. Although at many points the episode is boisterous and funny, you often find yourself sobered and teary-eyed as the two best friends confront each other over the sins they’ve committed. The episode was so well received, in fact, it gained two Academy Award nominations.

The real purpose of this episode, however, was to remind Xena and Gabrielle how much they mean to each other, and to work through the pain they feel after the events of the last few episodes. Their friendship is one of the strongest ones seen on television, and the two have gone through so much together. Even death could not tear them apart, and after such an episode as “The Bitter Suite,” we’re reminded why that is so.

Check out the second page for funniest episode, more fun facts and more!

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