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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Xena: Warrior Princess is a fantasy action-adventure show -- which earned an avid cult fan base when it aired in the late '90s -- that frequent violent fight scenes. Also, there are subtle suggestions of a lesbian relationship between the two main characters, which may go over the head of young viewers.
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What's the story?
Part action, part drama, part comedy, and part fantasy, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS follows the adventures of Xena of Amphipolis (Lucy Lawless), a warrior who seeks to redeem herself for her former misdeeds as a treacherous warlord by serving as a protector to those who can't protect themselves. A spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena rewrites Greek mythology to create unique storylines that mesh historical figures, chronologically challenged timelines, and a variety of very modern topics while simultaneously attempting to resolving ancient disputes. Xena shares her adventures with constant companion Gabrielle (Renee O' Connor) and fights enemies such as Ares, God of War (Kevin Smith) and Callisto (Hudson Leick) with the help of friends like Autolycus (Bruce Campbell) and Joxer (Ted Raimi). Using no-holds-barred martial arts, gymnastic feats, and brute force, Xena dispassionately fights her enemies, usually sporting facial expressions that would frighten the wildest of animals, not to mention the bravest of men.
Is it any good?
Sometimes tragic, often quirky, and usually violent, the series presents Xena as a strong and empowered woman who exists in a very masculine world. But she's still a beautiful woman who endures ill-fated relationships with unsuitable men, including Ulysses (who wants to tame her) and Ares (who wants to conquer her). Subtle but strong hints throughout the series suggesting that Xena and Gabrielle are romantically involved lesbians add to the show's intriguing nature.
While Xena: Warrior Princess (which still airs in reruns and is available on DVD) is violent and contains its fair share of bare midriffs and sexual innuendo, it also offers viewers a refreshingly strong and independent lead character who's able to hold her own. This, along with the show's fantastic nature and its various subplots, continues to make this show a cult classic among many viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different kinds of action heroes in Xena: Warrior Princess. How many of them are women? Why do you think there are more male action heroes than female ones? How are female action heroes different than male action heroes?
Families can also talk about how historical facts are often blurred with fiction to create interesting stories. What elements of the show are based on history? Which ones are fantasy?
- Premiere date: September 4, 1995
- Cast: Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, Ted Raime
- Networks: Logo, Oxygen
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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