A true cult classic, Xena: Warrior Princess started as a humble spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, but soon elevated itself above its predecessor not only in popularity but also in ratings. The fantasy adventure series kicked its way onto screens in 1995 (created by Robert Tapert and John Schulian) and ran for six seasons until it concluded its action-packed journey in 2001. Xena possessed so many qualities that some TV shows now seem to lack – it had melodrama, ridiculous slapstick comedy (without being cheesy), action and adventure, whilst also dealing with complex issues like pacifism, sacrifice and concepts of morality and friendship.
Lawless’ character, despite her many faults, is a rather loveable character who has earned cult status in a number of Lesbian communities for her complex relationship with her comrade, Gabrielle; the two display sultry and sexual behaviour towards each other throughout the series. This type of overarching Lesbian relationship was one that wasn’t often suggested on screen, but Xena offered audiences a sub-textual relationship to debate and garner interest and enjoyment from. The character of Xena is one that is widely acknowledged as being popular amongst women; Xena offered women a complex character to root for who wasn’t just known for her ‘strength’, but her wit, determination and at times, fragility. Xena was a realistic representation of women, and is often cited as influencing the next generation of Female action heroes, such as Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Quentin Tarantino’s Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride.
Xena is one of the classic shows in which you wish that they never had to end, but by the opening of the Sixth Season, and with the majority of Xena’s foes having perished in the finale of the Fifth, it seemed like there was nowhere else to go with the story, thus the epic journey had to finish and it did make logistical sense to call it quits there. Despite its conclusion, Xena: Warrior Princess maintains itself as one of the greats of fantasy television, whose kick-ass theme tune (eloquently orchestrated by Joseph LoDuca) will have you reaching for your chakram and preparing your battle cry.