Why Xena: Warrior Princess Has Been Sucking Lately

Y'know, I remember when this was a fun show about high adventure in ancient Greece with Xena and Gabrielle kicking warlord and/or godly butt, and Ares and Callisto and Caesar were worthwhile villains.

Now the show veers between meaningful, serious episodes and goofball slaptstick. Where once they managed a good balance of the two, now they can only do one extreme or the other. They spent half a year assassinating Gabrielle's character last season, Ares has become a toothless villain, Caesar's dead, and Callisto's an angel.

Plus they've been on this tiresome Judeo-Christian kick and are writing the Greek gods out. I am, to say the least, annoyed, especially with the way they're setting it up that the Judeo-Christian elements are inherently superior to the Greek gods, something that annoys this agnostic no end. (Especially since the on-screen evidence points to them being far more manipulative and nasty than the Greek gods ever were, viz. Michael's willingness to wipe out humanity in the fifth-season Hercules finale.) Besides, there are still plenty of stories to tell with the Greek gods (beyond Ares lusting after Xena, a subplot that I thought the show had moved on from).

And we've got Xena's baby, unsubtly named Eve. I fear that this will result in a spate of baby-in-danger stories, more doofy slapstick episodes revolving around potty jokes, and tiresome "can we justify exposing a child to our dangerous lifestyle?" chest-thumping. I had been hoping for a Lone Wolf & Cub riff, but I doubt we're gonna get it.

It's maddening. Xena's going downhill; Babylon 5, Hercules, Deep Space Nine, and Homicide are all off the air (and all of them ended weakly); ER and La Femme Nikita aren't as good as they used to be (though LFN has an intriguing storyline this season after losing its way last season, so we'll see); Angel's losing my interest realdamnfast; X-Files and Voyager long ago lost my interest; NYPD Blue and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit have this unfortunately tendency to suck big green rocks through a straw; and the less said about the abysmal Cleopatra 2525 and Jack of All Trades the better. Thank God for Buffy, Farscape, Sports Night, and The Sopranos, otherwise my life as a media whore would be in serious jeopardy...

[First posted on sff.people.krad at SFF.net on 13 February 2000. Amazingly enough, the season got worse. See Part Deux of this diatribe...]


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