28 day xena: warrior princess challenge, day 1: in which I was introduced to xena: warrior princess …

So I’m going for full transparency here. I was *thisclose* to postponing this challenge until the break between the summer and fall semesters. Microbio is certainly fun and all – and I’m not saying that sarcastically, either – but it’s a very involved course. God, I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I’d tried to do it in five weeks like I did with developmental psychology. Anyway, instead, I decided to tackle this with the same gusto as the warrior princess herself.

When I was a kid, one of my mom’s favorite shows was Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, mainly because she thought Kevin Sorbo was just one of the sexiest men alive (I personally preferred Michael Hurst, who played Hercules’ sidekick, Iolaus), and my sister and I would watch it with her. I loved the expansive world, with its rather loose creative licenses the writers took with mythology – something Xena gleefully continued – and that included the colorful cast of secondary characters. Bruce Campbell’s Autolycus (I’ve been in love with Bruce since I first saw Evil Dead as a young teenager) and Kevin Smith’s (may your memory be a blessing, sir) Ares were insta-faves, but then Xena showed up at the tail end of the first season of Hercules.

Unlike Herc, Xena was mortal, gifted with strength and military prowess not because of divine heritage but because of who she was. She also chose a life of atonement, leaving behind her warlord ways to help the helpless. Redemptive arcs are obviously not new, but for preteen me, this was something so different from what I’d seen on television and movies. The bad guys were just bad, didn’t have reasons for their actions save an appetite for destruction, and they certainly didn’t get to reverse course and be at least somewhat morally gray, right?

Once I found out Xena got her own show, I very rarely watch any of Hercules’ adventures. X: WP had everything I wanted: a badass woman, writing wrongs with her best friend (I was young and didn’t quite catch the subtext) across Ancient Greece, Rome, China, Japan, Palestine … it gets a little ridiculous, okay? You might say that the show was my first foray into feminism and one of the first bits of inspiration I had when creating one of my first stories. It was awful, mind you, but I was proud of it at the time. And I’d like to think that Xena would have been proud of it, too.

Art Credit: Varese Sarabande

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