Teen TV Critic

'Xena' fans will hate me, but I just don't "get" this show.

By Vivian Rose

They say you can never go home again. Maybe someone should have told USA Network that when they decided to make the syndicated show Xena: Warrior Princess a cable series rerun that begins at the beginning.

In the original first episode, "Sins of the Past" (premieres August 3 at 7 p.m. ET on USA), Xena (Lucy Lawless) does go home again--to warn her long-estranged mother and all the villagers of the upcoming invasion by Draco's troops. Confused? So was I, since I've never watched the show, but as the episode progresses it loops back to explain the series' premise: Xena is an ancient warrior princess (if you haven't figured that out already) and Draco is her arch enemy.

When she returns to her former village, Xena finds that she is no longer welcome, even by her mother. (Apparently Xena had warned them of a previous attack and made things worse, which is why everyone disowned her.) Not surprisingly, Draco's warriors show up and, although vastly outnumbered, Xena fends them off quite easily. She's a heroine again, and her mother forgives her.

Oddly enough, though she has an opportunity to kill Draco--who would kill her in an instant if he had the chance--she doesn't. You have to wonder if maybe she's secretly smitten with him. More likely, Xena knows that if she killed Draco, she'd be out of an enemy; the show would end, and out the window goes all that money. Xena might just be a pretty smart chick at that.

In a subplot, Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor), a smooth-talking young girl, decides to join up with Xena. Although Xena doesn't want her company, she can't shake her. Gabrielle talks more like a girl of the nineties than an ancient peasant girl--is this a failed attempt at humor by the writers?--but she's the only believable character on this show. We all know people like her--you don't want their help, you don't need their help, but you just can't avoid having it forced on you anyway.

None of the action scenes come close to being believable. You see Xena raising her sword to stab someone, you see the blade going into his chest, but you don't see her actually doing anything. (And I thought the special effects in some movies were bad!) Xena never loses a battle, even when she is terrifically outnumbered; she never gets around to killing off her sworn enemy, Draco; and the only realistic character is the annoying Gabrielle, who only detracts from the story.

I applaud the attempt to win over female fans by making this show's hero a woman but that's the only thing the creators did right. Even taken at face value as a live-action cartoon, the plot is such misconstrued nonsense that it failed to amuse me. I know Xena fans will hate me but I just didn't "get" this show. (Is there anyone out there who feels like I do? If so, do me a favor. Please remind me to take down my e-mail address to prevent the avalanche of hate mail I'm sure to get.)

Totally Teen TV! is delighted to welcome Vivian Rose as a regular contributor. Best known for her daily film reviews on the popular Teen Movie Critic website, the Winslow, Arkansas native began her career at the age of 9 on a local radio show. Now 15, Vivian has been writing celebrity interviews for the Tampa Tribune for the past three years. She also reviews movies with adult anchor Steve Voorhies on the local CBS affiliate KFSM-TV in Fayetteville-Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

To write Vivian about this site,
contact vivianrose@ipa.net (Vivian Rose)

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