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YMMV / Xena: Warrior Princess

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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: The death of Joxer.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The opening scene of "Forgiven" actually went through one during filming. Originally the scene had Tara giving a Curb-Stomp Battle to Gabrielle in a straight fight, which the crew thankfully realized the fans would never accept, so the scene was rewritten with Gabrielle making extremely clear she does not want to do any fighting at this particular time, followed by Tara pulling dirty moves to get the better of her.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Base-Breaking Character: Either Joxer is a funny comic relief character or an obnoxious scrappy who shouldn't be in the same shadow as Xena and Gabrielle.
    • Eli. Fans either like him for his bond with Gabrielle and being kind, courageous, and willing to lay down his life for the sake of humanity to be free of Jerkass Gods, or fans find him unbearably preachy, hypocritical for forcing his beliefs on others, and consider him the keystone to the Seasonal Rot the show faced. The fact his introduction led to the inclusion of Christian story lines in a show meant to explore ancient mythologies and religions is also a point of contention.
    • Eve after her Heel–Face Turn also had a similar reaction. Some people liked her story on how she switched from hunting followers of Eli to becoming one of her greatest champions. Others saw her issues similar to that of Eli and felt that her sudden turn robbed fans of a gradual turn to good as Xena did in season one.
  • Best Known For The Fan Service:
    • "The Bitter Suite" is best remembered for Xena getting a Shameful Strip from Ares and to a lesser extent Gabrielle running around naked.
    • To say nothing of the three nude dancing Gabrielles in "The Quill Is Mightier".
    • Or the infamous bathing scene.
  • Bizarro Episode
    • "Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire" opens with Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer breaking into a rendition of Edwin Starr's War and spends the rest of the episode having two warring parties fight it out in a battle of the bands rather than with swords. This episode followed up right after several very serious episodes too.
    • "Married With Fishsticks", which mostly forgets about the story arc going on at the time to do a pointless filler episode where the feuding Aphrodite and Discord accidentally send Gabrielle into an alternate world where she's a mermaid, and is entirely populated with merpeople. The whole thing is incredibly weird, and ends with it apparently being All Just a Dream as Gabrielle wakes up back with Xena.
      • Given that this was in season 5, it's noted on the DVD special features that everyone was quite wary that this not be the show's 100th episode.
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    • The season 6 Clip Show "You Are There": a 20th century reporter (played by Michael Hurst) runs around Ancient Greece interviewing people about our heroines.
    • Multiple episodes taking place in modern day with the principal actors playing reincarnations/descendants/look a likes of themselves, because...why not?
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: This trope's even funnier when you realize there really IS a guy named Draco in Xena, and that he DOES wear leather pants. The show even plays the trope straight after everyone was suddenly made to love each other by Cupid's playful son, who somehow got a hold of daddy's arrows. The effect was later reversed, except for Draco. Xena suggested Cupid not undo this one to make the warlord a better, less dangerous-to-society person. This comes back to haunt them in a later episode.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Callisto and Ares. Well, everyone is sexy in this series - all right, maybe not Salmoneus... but the villains tend to be sexier than the average peasant.
    • There is also Athena.
  • Foe Yay: Xena and Callisto, Xena and Ares, Gabrielle and Ares.
    • Alti and Xena. Considering Alti despised Borias and cursed an unborn Solan to never know Xena's love so she wouldn't leave her, Alti came across as a psychotically obsessed with Xena. And then when Alti tries to be rebirth herself by taking the soul of Xena's unborn child, she makes quips like "I always wanted to be inside you" and "I like you too much to do that" when Xena threatened to kill herself.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment
    • In the early season one episode "Cradle of Hope", Gabrielle scorns the idea of someone sending a baby down a river. Then came the season three episode, "Gabrielle's Hope", in which Gabrielle sends her (evil) newborn baby down a river rather than kill her — an act that comes back to haunt Xena and Gabrielle in a big way.
    • The many deaths of Joxer who died permanently in season 5.
    • Ares falling out of the sky after Gabrielle accidentally depowered him. Sadly, Kevin Smith died in a similar way, by falling from a prop tower in 2002.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "Remember Nothing," Xena is finally driven to take back her wish upon seeing Gabrielle kill someone. Congratulations, you've saved your partner's innocence...for a whole one year. Well, that and saving her from the torture and degradation of slavery and the destruction of her village. Not to mention saving the life of her mother who died in the alternative timeline.
    • "Dreamworker" was the first episode to address blood innocence and the importance of Gabrielle maintaining it. The final scene sees Xena compare a first kill to throwing a stone in the lake, saying the stone will always remain under there and that the lake is forever changed. Cut to "The Deliverer": Gabrielle kills for the first time and laments that Nothing Is the Same Anymore.
    • During "The Execution," Gabrielle learns that Meleager lied to her about quitting drinking. She takes that hard, later telling Xena that friends don't lie to each other. That sure takes on some new meaning when you watch the endings of both "Gabrielle's Hope" and "The Debt" two-parter.
  • He Really Can Act: Hudson Leick played bit parts in soaps and never really garnered any attention... until she played Callisto. The range and depth of her acting as well as her development of the character was just insane (... as in insanely awesome). When she had to play Xena for a couple of episodes (Makes Sense In Context) she was jaw-droppingly good, and she played one of the most complex and heart-rending villains to ever grace the television screen without dropping a beat. It was her acting as a reformed Callisto that justified the entire existence of the "Xena and Gabrielle die and become angels" plotline.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: "The Key to the Kingdom" ends with Meg certain she'll never have a family of her own and Xena trying to convince her it is possible. After Season 5's Time Skip, viewers see that Meg did have a family with Joxer.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Chariots of War," Cycnus (Jeffrey Thomas) tells Xena they met at the Battle of Corinth. It wasn't that much later when Thomas was cast on Hercules as Jason, the king of Corinth.
    • "The Athens Academy of Performing Bards" features the story of Spartacus. Lucy Lawless would eventually be featured in Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
    • It's even funnier when Lawless's character in Spartacus talks about how much she hates Thracians, considering that Xena is from Thrace.
  • Les Yay:
    • The homoerotic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle constantly walked the line between subtext and text. It's text in the modern-day reincarnation episodes, they get married and everything.
    • Xena and Callisto. Although, that was more Foe Yay.
    • Gabrielle was canonically lusted after by a Valkyrie in a later season, and it was implied that Najara was in love with Gabrielle as well.
      Xena: (about Najara) "She's a tough girl, but she's got a weakness. It's the same one I've got."
    • In "The Play's the Thing", Gabrielle's play convinces two girls to become "thespians".
      • That would be Minya and Paulina, with Minya's former boyfriend Howar nowhere to be seen and its heavily implied she left him for her.
    • There's also Lao Ma, who attempted to teach a younger, angrier, Xena the value of peace, and of dancing with girls. They share an Underwater Kiss at one point, and when Xena says she's willing to serve Lao Ma, Lao Ma says, "It's easy to serve someone you love."
    • When Xena saved Cleopatra from an Assassination Attempt, the ruler of Egypt said that Xena would be welcome to come to her kingdom at any time. The looks both gave each other seemed to have a lot more going than just friendship.
    • Xena and Najara have some philosophical differences, but sometimes when they argue it's like they're just fighting over Gabrielle.
    • Xena and Akemi, who she took in as a student and she grew to love, and was devastated by her death. Akemi's admiration reads like a crush on Xena, and the two's relationship reads similar to Xena and Gabrielle's. Which may be the intention as the finale shows parallels and foils in both pairings via flashbacks and present sequences.
  • LGBT Fanbase: To unbelievable levels. The show is such a hit with queer women given the implications between Xena and Gabrielle, as well as with other women such as Lao Ma, Brunhilda, M'Lila, Najara, and Akemi. There was a group called the Marching Xenas that had participated in Pride Months, Suburu utilized Xena's popularity among queer women when they marketed their cars towards them, as they had ads that said XENA LVR (Xena Lover), and Xena even pioneered some of the earlier fem-slash fan fiction online, which was known then as "altfic".
  • Mis-blamed: Fans complained loudly and often about Season 5, usually blaming new show-runners Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci for everything. While being show-runners made them responsible for many creative decisions, they nonetheless still had to answer to Rob Tapert, and the series was also hurt a number of experienced, local personnel leaving to work on the big-budget The Lord of the Rings's trilogy.
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Ask about this show to a random person, and at the very least they'll recognize the title. Ask about Hercules: The Legendary Journeys to the same person, and you'll probably get a blank stare and a "What?".
  • My Real Daddy: Although John Schulian created the character in Hercules for the episode "The Warrior Princess", his Xena was more of a Femme Fatale and then a Distaff Counterpart to Hercules. It was the head writer for Xena, RJ Stewart who refined the character as we know her.
  • Narm: Livia/Eve's bad acting causes this. When she's angry she sounds less like Rome's champion and more like a Valley girl.
  • Nausea Fuel: "In Sickness and In Hell" sees Xena suffer from a nasty case of lice, Gabrielle getting disgusting foot rot, and bad cooking leading to stomach poisoning (which includes a moment of Gabrielle vomiting on Joxer). The production staff didn't miss this reaction to the episode, either; "Deja Vu All Over Again" features an exchange about how repulsive and unfitting for the show it all was.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate, a 3D Fighting Game for the Nintendo 64, is the very definition of "button masher". Characters' standard attacks are performed by rapidly pressing the C buttons repeatedly, and those were the only Combos the game offered due to high ending lag on all attacks. Special moves and throws had such a high amount of startup lag, often for a full second (!), that the only way to not get punished for them is to camp. To make matters worse, there was a fairly large amount of Hitbox Dissonance to go with it. And the game's villain is an Original Character, a Big Red Devil with the fittingly generic name of "Despair". That said, the music and the graphics were well-done. Fun fact: the game's developer was Titus Software. Yes, THAT Titus Software.
    • The Hack and Slash game largely avoided this fate and is much better received.
  • Retroactive Recognition: This show provided a stepping stone for many now-familiar faces in the science-fiction circuits, such as pre-Roswell Shiri Appleby, pre-Firefly Gina Torres, pre-Farscape Claudia Black, pre-iZombie Rose McIver, and pre-Hellboy Selma Blair. There was also an early appearance from Kathryn Morris of Cold Case fame, and Manu Bennett almost a decade before his roles in Spartacus and Arrow. (Other Spartacus actors who earlier appeared on Xena include Craig Parker, Kevin J. Wilson, Antonio Te Maioha, Stephen Lovatt, Craig Walsh-Wrightson, Jeffrey Thomas, and Peter Feeney.) And of course, Karl Urban, who played no less than four different characters across the first five seasons.
  • Seasonal Rot: Despite being more popular than its parent series, which for reference got better as it went along, Xena seems to have peaked in season 3. Four is considered a let down compared to the previous season and season 5, to put it bluntly, was not liked, due to a lack of actionnote  and the infamous "Twilight of The Gods" arc, which is considered by some to be one of the worst storylines in TV history. Season 6 is seen as a modest improvement, although fans are split on how the series ends.
  • Special Effects Failure: Some of the CGI and blue-screen effects used in the earlier episodes (such as in "The Titans", "Prometheus" and "Mortal Beloved") have not aged well.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The gods in the "Twilight of the Gods" arc. They are trying to take 1 life in order to save their families and the beings they love at the very least (putting aside their responsibility to humanity and their godhood). Considering that we already established that if Eve had died as a baby, she would have gone straight to Heaven or the Elysian Fields, to eventually be reincarnated - something that the Gods know and are very familiar with - from the Gods' perspective you can see exactly why killing her seemed reasonable. Additionally, a good deal of this arc can be boiled down to: "an unseen god seeks to remake the world even if it means killing off established gods, and a newborn daughter will be instrumental to achieving this." Does that sound familiar? Because, while not being exactly the same, it still sounds suspiciously like Season 3's Hope storyline. While there was far more concrete evidence about Dahak and Hope's natures upfront, but from the outsiders' perspective, it's not hard to see why the Olympians and others were suspicious and thought the worst.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: "Deja Vu All Over Again" zig-zags it with Joxer. When super fan Annie learns she's the reincarnation of Joxer instead of Xena, she's devastated—calling him a comic relief idiot that never should've been introduced. By the end, though, she comes to terms with it—saying that Joxer (for all his faults) was a guy with a big heart who'd do anything to help his friends.
  • The Woobie: Joxer. Usually his Butt-Monkey ways are played for laughs, but episodes like "For Him The Bell Tolls" and "A Comedy Of Eros" play his misfortunes in a far more sympathetic light.

For the video game:

  • Breather Boss
    • The second boss, the Cyclops, is arguably easier than the first, the Pirate King. For most of the battle Xena is actually taking cover in a copse out of the cyclops' reach, and have plenty of opportunities to maim the cyclops by throwing the chakram into it's eye before hacking its fingers causing it to fall off the cliff.
    • Right after Dyzan the Dragon, who can breath fire on Xena from a distance away and takes multiple stalactites to even defeat, the following boss is the Golem... whose sole attack is trying to whack Xena using it's club. It's also slower on foot compared to Dyzan, and can be defeated instantly by being pushed into the lava.
  • Breather Level: Upon escaping Hell, the next level is the village of Tir'na, which is pleasantly devoid of platformer elements or instant death scenarios. The enemies are just standard-issue mooks and searching for the exit is just a matter of travelling along a straightforward path.
  • Complete Monster: Kalabrax. See here.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Literal bats are a reoccurring enemy in the hell stages; while they are manageable at first, they started attacking en-masse when reaching the deeper parts of hell, which is problematic when Xena needs to cross the narrow rotating bridge to reach Hades’ sanctum. Worse of all is that because of how small they are, any bats killed in battle doesn’t count towards Xena’s kill-tally at the end of the level.
    • The Harpies on Mount Olympus can be rather distracting when Xena attempts to leap from one platform to another.
  • That One Boss: The Druid Sorcerer, who not only have a massive life bar, but can also absorb plenty of Xena’s hits and can cast all kinds of spells that can kill Xena instantly regardless of her health. And if his health is taken down to a tiny fraction, he then retreats into a crypt; and while finding a way into the crypt is difficult enough already, he then sics massive bolts of lightning on Xena that can destroy her instantly.


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