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Cult | News | 09 December 2004

Xena, Warrior Princess

Review: The leather-clad heroine rides out one last time.

With the whole of Xena: Warrior Princess out on DVD, we searched around for just the right reviewer - and we found the perfect choice. So, here's what a thirtysomething lesbian geek had to say about the set.

Back in the 90s a TV schedule in turmoil called out for a hero, and was answered by Xena, Warrior Princess. After saving legions of Saturday afternoons from the tyranny of angst-ridden teen drama, she's now been preserved in full with this Complete Xena, Warrior Princess DVD box set.

A Forest Gump take on ancient history, Xena was a boon to anyone who ever wondered what really happened between Anthony and Cleopatra, how the Olympians were deposed or what drove Lucifer to the Underworld.

Xena and her cohorts are unlikely to be rolled out as a study aid though - seeing classical history as a playground, the production team took more liberties with timelines than your average episode of Quantum Leap. They also laid on a sexy subtext and leather bikini action.

They did however, stay true to other Greek traditions with story arcs providing pathos, denouement and bucketloads of catharsis. The episodes became more lavish and opulent as the series grew in popularity and confidence. But did they do enough to ensure we don't get that "Sinbad and the plasticine monster" feeling?

Strangely, seeing Xena outside her Saturday afternoon timeslot does her a disservice. The intelligence each episode showed in providing classic entertainment for all the family doesn't resonate in the same way without a room full of kids. And the opportunity to give Xena a bit of context is disappointingly missed as the box set doesn't tie in with the very lively Xenaverse still powered online by a loyal fanbase.

Sadly, this is probably the last we'll see of Xena. No big screen action is planned, and there's no archive of comics to turn back to. Still, even if today's strong women are more Ripley than Warrior Princess, they're still measured against the bench mark for tortured, mean and tough she-heroes she set.

No merchandising was harmed during the writing of this piece, although I will offer suplication to the gods of trade later on. Just to make sure.

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