Movies

Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess, ...

(Xena: Photofest)

B+

It would be easy to dismiss ”Xena: Warrior Princess” as a campy spin-off of an even campier syndicated series (namely, ”Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) because, well, it was. But there was more to ”Xena” than just the bitchin’ battle cry. Star Lucy Lawless ushered in a new era of TV action heroine, one who was strong, smart, and – of course – sexy. But what set ”Xena” apart from copycats like ”Queen of Swords,” ”Relic Hunter,” and, perhaps most regrettably, ”Sheena,” was its mix of well-choreographed stunts and absurd ancient-era fun (a formula first concocted by ”Xena” exec producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi on ”Army of Darkness”). Xena: Warrior Princess Season One remains the finest: The newly reformed Xena still has the capacity to turn evil, making the character more than just a one-dimensional do-gooder. Plus, the first seeds of her sapphic relationship with Gabrielle are oh-so-subtly planted. Throw in such colorful characters as the thieving Autolycus, Ares God of War, and she-villain Callisto, and you have a show for the ages. Of course, I’m probably overanalyzing. If you just wanna see a fatal-Frisbee-packin’ mama repeatedly kick bad guys in their family jewels, look no further.

Originally posted May 2 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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