Monday, July 18, 2011

A Land in Turmoil Cries Out For a Hero!

To call me an aficionado of escapist fiction would be... a nice way of putting it. Just don't call me a twitchy nut job to my face and we can surely be fast friends. Friends just like Xena the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle the Battling Bard!

In 1995, as most of you will surely be aware, New Zealand gave us the first of what would become SIX seasons of a spin-off program from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It was, and ever shall be, known as Xena: Warrior Princess. It features the motley adventures of the titular Xena (Lucy Lawless), a notorious baddun-turned-good by a close encounter with hunky Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), and her jocular, endlessly talkative companion Gabrielle of Potidea (the lovely Renee O'Connor whose poster adorned my chambers from 1996-2002. *Sigh*).

X:WP takes place in a fantasy version of mytho-historical Greece, where one might encounter the Trojan Horse (1184 BC), blind Homer (800 BC), and noble young Hippocrates (440 BC) all in the space of a few months. Not to mention Pandora's granddaughter, sleeping giants, hungry cyclopses, and shrieking "vintage" CGI harpies.

Xena is somehow a superhuman, with limitless abilities dictated only by the tale in which she finds herself. Horsemaster, weaponer, martial artist, medic, and able to literally leap thatched three-story buildings in a single bound. She was the beloved of Ares, God of War, due to her formerly wicked ways, and he ever seeks to reclaim her heart. A woman of wry wit who prefers to speak with her bladed chakram or a boot in the face of evil.

Gabby is anything but ordinary, the anachronistic scholar/farmgirl who attaches herself to Xena for story material, extolling her more powerful chum's many virtues to anybody unable to get out of earshot fast enough. Amateur pan flautist, honorary Amazon, and wielder of the staff (so to speak), Gabrielle can out-talk Euripides and dodge arranged marriages with style (even one to Morpheus, God of Dreams).

Together with long-suffering mare Argo, they roam the beautiful countryside spoiling for a fight with tyranny and bullying brigands. Crossovers and cameos abound, cross-pollinating with sister series Herc at every opportunity.


"Sins of The Past" by producer Robert Tapert & R. J. Stewart
Everything you need to know about X, G and the world they kick butts in.

"The Titans" by R. J. Stewart
Yup, it's X & G vs the sleeping giants who should never have been awoken... awaked... roused.

"The Royal Couple of Thieves" by Steven L. Sears
There is nothing so good Bruce Campbell cannot make it ten times as awesome. Appearing here as sleazy Autolycus, self-proclaimed King of Thieves.

"Callisto" by R. J. Stewart
It's two-for-one with the menace of Xena's arch-nemesis the hissing lunatic Callisto out for entirely justified vengrance, and the first appearance of Ted Raimi as Joxer the Mighty, inept warlord from a line of warlords who would really be much better off in ANY other profession. Fishmonger, for example.
O.K., so it's Cheesy Cheesecake from Cheeselog Junction, but I enjoy it ever so much. I prefer my mythology like my history: a string of horrible nonsense and lies with corny jokes, strange costumes and occasional sex. (Suitable for television circa 1995.)

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