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THE XENA ERA(1995-2001)

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The finger of Ares pointing to Amazon territory

Ares, in the episode "Path of Vengeance" pointed to the area along the west coast of the Black Sea to indicate Amazon Territory.

When Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) described the Amazons he placed them in Samatia (Ukraine), and further stated that they previously had lived in central Anatolia (Turkey). The Amazon Queen Penthesilea, feeling suicidal after accidentally killing her sister, Hippolyta, intervened in the Trojan War (circa 1200 B.C.) on the side of the Trojans, and that would make some sense if her people were living in what is now central Turkey. According to Aeschylus (in Eumenides) the Amazons lived in Themiscyra on the Thermodon (Terme) River, and before that they lived in Sythia at the Sea of Azov.

No one knows where the name Amazon comes from, but the ancient greeks seemed to think it derived from a-mazos, meaning "without breast" probably referring to the practice of "breast ironing" which is only known to have been practiced in Cameroon.


Joy van Uden as the Amazon Rhea in KINDRED SPIRITS


The Lost Girl podcast DRINKS AT THE DAL, in their 74th episode, discuss the differences and similarities between Xena and Lost Girl's heroine Bo. The sidekicks, Gabrielle and Kenzi, are also discussed.

Xena and Bo


Amber, Gabrielle's horse

Gabrielle's horse, introduced in season five of Xena, was played by a gelding named Flash. I cannot find a reference to the horse's name in the series, but according to the website ARGO AND FRIENDS, it was named Amber. When she was a child, Gabrielle had a pony named Timpany, whom she could not ride. Timpany died prior to Gabrielle's first encounter with Xena.


Gabrielle's first line in episode one season one was: "Take me. Let the others go." (To warlord attempting to abduct the young females of Potidea.) The last words spoken by Gabrielle in the last episide of the series were: "I knew you'd say that." (To the spirit of Xena.)


The name "Gabrielle" is not exactly Greek. Since the French language did not begin to take form until the 9th century A.D., it's probably not French either. That means it must come from Hebrew roots(the feminine of Gabriel meaning "strong of God"). Her sister Lila (spelled without a double L in the credits and pronounced with short vowels) has a name which means "plaything" in Sanskrit.


Xena the German Shepherd

Xena is a bitch. Xena the Dog pictured above is listed on the website of Labonte Canine Services in Raleigh, NC.



Xena's chakram was probably made of Wootz steel from Southern India and, if so, it would be the earliest recorded instance of this metal. (It should be called Wook, the Anglicized version of the Tamil word for steel, but it was somehow mis-transcribed by a translator and Wook the noun became Wootz the adjective.) The chakram was an Indian weapon favoured by the Sikhs, who often wore them ornamentally. The weapon is traditionally thrown by spinning it on an upraised index finger and propelling it forward with an overhand motion and wrist-flick.


Galen of Pargamon Hippocrates

Regarding IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (Season 1 Episode 24): Galen and Hippocrates were not contemporaries. Hippocrates was born somewhere around 460 BC; Galen in the second century AD. Galen, far from being a superstitious fellow, espoused a rational approach to medicine. He went to Rome and became a successful physician but left because Roman law forbade the dissection of corpses. That must have been another Galen.


Gabrielle holding her sai/another style of sai

In the last two seasons of XWP, Gabrielle's primary weapons are a pair of zai. The sai (singular) is a South Asian weapon that seems to have originated in either Indonesia or India as a refinement of the trisula (trident). The sai is typically used in pairs, one in each hand, just as Gabrielle demonstrates. It is a weapon that can be used both lethally and non-lethally. The knuckle end is good for concentrating the force of a punch, while the long shaft can be wielded to thrust, to protect against a blow to the forearm, or to stab as one would with a dagger. Some films have portrayed the sai as a Ninja weapon, but it was never used in traditional Japanese martial arts, though it was used extensively by natives of Okinawa.

the furies

The Furies visited Xena:Warrior Princess three times. Season 3 Episode 1 THE FURIES, Season 5 Episode 22 MOTHERHOOD, and Season 6 Episode 1 COMING HOME. Initially, Alecto was portrayed by Swedish model Asa Lindh, Tisiphone by Celi Foncesca, and Megaera by Argentinian tango dancer Graciela Heredia. In COMING HOME Megaera was played by Smeta Chhotu. In COMING HOME and MOTHERHOOD, Annemarie Dennis was Tisiphone.

Celi Foncesca is the local correspondent for SalsaPower.com in Bahrain.

In Greek Mythology, the Furies visited psychological punishment upon the perpetrators of crime. Interestingly, they were all women. Their job was to drive crimminals mad, and for this each Fury had her own weapon. Alecto drove her victims mad with anger. Tisiphone made them obsessed with revenge. Megaera infused them with jealousy. Aeschylus described the Furies thusly:

"(they are) utterly repulsive, and they snore with breath that drives one back. From their eyes drips the foul ooze, and their dress is such as is not right to wear in the presence of the gods."

Following the trial of Orestes (after the Trojan War), at which Athena convinces them to be lenient, they become known as The Kindly Ones and get cleaned up a bit. So when they appear in Xena, they no longer have an offensive physical appearance.


Bellerophon as pictured by the Greeks - insert is Craig Parker as Bellerophon in Xena

In "TO HELICON AND BACK" (Season 6 Episode 15) Bellerophon was portrayed as the son of Artemis, which he was most certainly not. In fact he was the son of Proteus, the King of Tiryns, a city about halfway between Athens and Sparta. Bellerophon, who rode the winged horse Pegasus, had a knack of getting powerful people angry at him, but he was of noble blood and they could not simply kill him, so they kept setting him tasks he was not expected to survive. He was sent against the Chimera, which was a fire-breathing combination of lion, goat, and snake, and he killed it. Then he was sent to fight a warlike tribe called the Solymi. He beat them too. The Amazons were his next task and he drove them out of Lycia. Artemis was one of the three virgin goddesses of ancient greece (the other two being Hestia and Athena). It is reasonably certain that she was not Bellerophon's mother.


Michelle Blanchard as the Amazon Queen Mawu-Ka

The Amazon Queen Mawu-Ka was portrayed by Michelle Blanchard in two episodes of XWP - "To Helicon and Back" and "Path of Vengeance". The Name Mawu-Ka is identical (except for the hyphen) to that of the Mawuka people of the northwest Ivory Coast.


Selma Blair (Cyane in XWP) kisses Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions

Selma Blair, who starred with Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions, was the first Cyane, a girl from the 21st century who transported by a shaman to ancient times to rule the Tretomlec people, a tribe composed entirely of women, in the XWP episode "LIFEBLOOD" (Season 5 Episode 16). Cyane taught the Tretomlec to ride horses and renamed the tribe Amazons.


GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (Season 2 Episode 4). In this one we meet Bacchus (Romanization of Dionysus), the god of revelry, wine, and fertility. The Bacchae (followers of Bacchus) are portrayed as religiously ecstatic and that is correct, as far as what is known about the sect. But the Bacchae were also portrayed as shape-shifters and vampires. There were shape-shifters in Greek (and Macedonian) myths, but there were no vampires. Closest thing to a vampire in Greek mythology is a Libyan queen who drank blood, but apparently did not gain eternal life from the practice.

Shape-shifting was connected to cannibalism. By extension, one could call the drinking of human blood cannibalism, but it is a connection that the Greeks never made. They mentioned munching on entrails. The preferred form for a multimorph to take was the wolf and a commonsense explanation for this would be a disease transmitted by cannibalism that caused howling and ferocious behaviour.

The Xena vamps are, I believe, symbolic. I am surprised one of them was not named Hannah.

The misplaced vampires in Xena (probably) led to a Buffy episode several years later about a powerful and ancient Greek vampire named Kakistos.


Aphrodite kisses Gabrielle in the episode "The God You Know"


Xena heads to Northern Europe to meet Beowulf (story of Beowulf usually dated to circa 500 A.D. The Eddas containing the stories of Norse Mythology were written down much later, but were probably unwritten sagas for a very long time). Norse gods show up for a truncated retelling of the Ring of Niebelung with a happy ending. Near as I can tell, Xena is Alberich, Gabrielle is Brünhilde, Grendel is Fafhner, and Beowulf is Siegfried. That makes the XWP character actually named Brünnhilde a coincidence. It makes a sort of sense if you take into account the dwarf's magic helmet that enables him to shape-shift.

Later in the season, Gabrielle finds a bra somewhere (Ares Had A Farm), then gets a poem by Sappho (who was alive circa 600 B.C.) for her birthday after just missing one of Sappho's readings.

Sappho The best episode of that year was WHEN FATES COLLIDE (Season 6 Episode 18) in which Caesar takes control of the Loom of the Fates. It could be used to justify most chronological inconsistencies. It should be noted that the next episode saw Xena getting Gabby Sappho tickets. Sappho lived abou 600 B.C., which is about the time the Japanese Empire was established. The series finale takes place in Japan. So WHEN FATES COLLIDE must have begun in the first century a.d., and ended at the beginning of the sixth century b.c.

quotations from Gabrielle The second episode directed by O'Connor was DANGEROUS PREY (Season 6 Episode 11) which was an homage to Cornel Wilde's 1966 film THE NAKED PREY, Here Prince Morlock (Sandy Winton), a decadent aristocrat, is hunting Amazons for sport. Xena trains a reluctant Varia (Tsianina Joelson) to become the next Amazon queen and in the process outwits Morlock. Tsianina is pronounced cha-nee-na.

H.G.Wells described Morlocks (in THE TIME MACHINE) as troglodytic descendants of humans who fed on Eloi, other descendants of humans, whom they treated as cattle. Prince Morlock hunted humans for sport, not food. But the name is probably not a coincidence. The episode also echoes the Deep Space Nine episode Captive Pursuit (1993) in which an entire species was discovered which had been bred to be prey for a hunt.


XENA - SEASON FIVE - Gabrielle

The chakram gets jazzed up. Christian mythology enters in a big way. Then another musical episode. Livia becomes Eve. Season 5 Episode 18 was "Antony and Cleopatra". The biggest problem with this episode was the notion that Xena could make Mark Antony believe she was Cleopatra. Cleo died 12 August, 30 BC. In 40 BC she had given birth to twins fathered by Antony. In 36 BC she and Antony were married, and in that year she gave birth to another of his children.

Episode 15 Season 5: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS was
reviewed by Obscurus Lupa.

THEM BONES, THEM BONES (Season 5 Episode 5) is a pharmacologically interesting episode. At the start of it, the pregnant Xena asks Gabrielle to find her a mushroom that will relieve her morning sickness. She does so, and when Xena eats it she experiences severe stomach cramps and must be taken to a midwife. Xena has a nightmare which borrows heavily from ALIEN, and awakes with a need to go see Yakut for advice. quotations from Gabrielle

Did Xena really eat the mushroom (possibly claviceps purpurea spartinae), or did she dream that too? These mushrooms contain alkaloids that cause muscle spasms and historically have been used to induce abortions. If Xena wanted an herb to relieve morning sickness, she would have chosen ginger, mint, or anise. So either Xena had a nightmare about aborting the pregnancy, or she actually tried to abort.

Regarding the ritual for going to the land of the dead, reindeer in Siberia frequently consume the fly-agaric mushroom (amanita muscaria) which is an hallucinogen that also makes the animals fearless. Native peoples, upon locating animals thus intoxicated, have been known to kill and quickly consume their blood and flesh which is psychoactive for a short while after the animal's death. Yakut may have been using this drug (muscimol) to "treat" Xena's urge to destroy her unborn child.

ACCIDENTS DON'T HAPPEN - aka Rubbernecking - unreleased - Ashton

Poster for Accidents Don't Happen. Note picture of Astrid Devi in top right corner Fenderbender Films explained that the film had been modified to satisfy a distributor and then the distribution deal fell through and that basically the original film was lost and no one knows who exactly owns what's left. Rubbernecking continues (and probably will continue) to be unavailable.

The film was screened in its original form at several film festivals, including New York International Independent Film and Video Festival (2001). Directed by: Sean Kinney and Ross H. Martin. Co-starred Corbin Bernsen (retired cop Henry Spencer on Psych) and Astrid Devi. About the individual reactions of a bunch of folks to being stuck in traffic. Jennifer Lien, who plays a nurse in this, was Kes in Star Trek: Voyager.

Renee O'Connor on the phone in ACCIDENTS DON'T HAPPEN Renee O'Connor and Kent Toussaint in ACCIDENTS DON'T HAPPEN



Renee O'Connor dragon tattoo Xena takes on Alti in an altered state. Shortly after that, both Xena and Gabrielle are afflicted with fleas and fungi. They go to India for a while. Episode 5 of Season 4 dealt wth the Battle of Dyrrhachium (Greek name Epidamnos), which took place on 10 July, 48 B.C. This is one of the very few identifiable historical dates in XWP. The account of the battle is reasonably accurate in the sense that Pompey could have defeated Caesar but refused to believe the advantage he held when the right flank of Ceasar's army collapsed. Caesar made an orderly retreat and resupplied. On 9 August of that year, he defeated Pompey soundly at Pharsalus.

O'Connor directed two episodes of XWP. The first was DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (Season 4 Episode 22) in which reincarnations of Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer discover their past lives. Xena, it turns out, resides in the body of a fake therapist who makes a living out of convincing people they had lived previously. She is played by O'Connor. Gabrielle is in the body of a klutzy guy who looks a lot like Joxer, and Joxer is in a Lucy Lawless body that was quite disappointed to find that her spirit was not Xena's.

The most interesting thing about this episode is having some version of General Patton turn up in neoXena's waiting room. Patton believed in reincarnation, and often relived battles he had fought in "previous lives". He in fact believed himself to be a reincarnation of Julius Caesar. This was not lost on Xena's producers. In the episode DESTINY (Season 2 Episode 12), when Caesar appears there is music from the film PATTON.

IF THE SHOE FITS (Season 4 Episode 12) in which Joxer, Xena, and Gabrielle tell different versions of Cinderella to a runaway Princess.

The story of Cinderella was first written down by Tuan Ch'eng-shih about 850 A.D. although the manner in which the story is written seems to imply that the folktale was well known to the public at the time. In the Chinese tale, Cinderella is called Yeh-shen. Instead of a fairy godmother, a magical fish is Yeh-shen's benefactor. The shoe she loses is golden, not glass.

Charles Perrault was the next to write of Cinderella in his Contes de ma Mere L'Oye in 1697. In this version, a fairy godmother, a pumpkin carriage, animal servants, and glass slippers appear. There is a school of thought that says that Perrault used the French word "verre" (glass) by mistake, actually meaning to use "vair" (fur). This is not at the moment a popular theory.

The Brothers Grimm version, Aschenputtel (Ash Girl), has no fairy godmother. Aschenputtel plants a tree on her mother's grave and the magical help shows up in the form of gifts (like under a Christmas tree) and a white dove. In the end, the eyes of the stepsisters are pecked by birds from the tree to punish them for their cruelty.

None of this proves that the story did not exist in Ancient Greece. It may not have been written down by the Greeks, or all record of it may have been lost. Still, Greece is a long way from China, and the Greeks did record their myths and legends profusely.


episode title: For Those of You Just Joining Us
(Season Five Episode Nine) - Sunny Day

Renée O'Connor as Sunny Day in For Those of You Just Joining Us

Staff of the show "Hercules" go on a corporate retreat at Camp Wannachuck to improve the show's quality. But the group dynamic isn't helped by someone's attempts to eliminate the staff. This is a continuation of the previous season's "Yes, Virginia, there is a Hercules", but O'Connor was not in that episode.


XENA SEASON THREE - Gabrielle & Hope(disguised as Gabrielle)

Gabrielle kills somebody, gets pregnant, and follows Xena to China. Musical Episode ensues (The Bitter Suite).


Armageddon Now Part 2
(Season Four Episode Fourteen)- Gabrielle

Hercules and The Soverign (evil Herc) are trapped in limbo for most of this, the main reason being Kevin Sorbo's aneurysm, which rendered him unable to work more than 5 or 6 hours at a stretch. Iolaus is sent back in time by Ares to protect Hercules' mother.

HERCULES AND XENA: The Battle for Mount Olympus

animated - direct to video production - voice of Gabrielle

Hera attempts an Olympian coup by releasing the Titans. Gabrielle gets changed into a bird and stays that way for most of the movie. So there is not very much of ROC's voice here. Joy Watson is the voice of Hera. She was a palmist in the Xena episode "Tsunami". Peter Rowley (the voice of Zeus) was Charon in two Xena episodes, "You Are There", and "Seeds of Faith".



Callisto returns. Also Xena lookalikes turn up for the first time and "The Xena Scrolls" is the first reincarnation episode. Episodes 12 (Destiny) and 13 (The Quest) were the direct result of the injury Lucy Lawless sustained on the Jay Leno show (fractured pelvis). Xena "died" and inhabited Autolycus' body for a while until Lucy recovered and Xena was resurrected.

Susan Ward was the voice of Psyche in Xena Episode 35, and she had two lines: "I'm Waiting.", and "Cupid, are you coming?" She was impatiently exhorting Cupid (Karl Urban) to come to bed, while he was busy getting his son Bliss (Cameron Russell) to sleep. Cupid says to his offspring at one point "That's my boy."

Susan Ward as Psyche in HERCULES:THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS Psyche was, in Greek mythology, a goddess with butterfly wings and represented the force that animates living things. In Roman times, a King and Queen of Sicily named one of their daughters Psyche. She was a bit like Helen of Troy, in that her beauty caused a lot of grief to herself and everybody else, and the myth of Psyche and Cupid seems to have come from stories about this particular princess. The first written story about her was included in a novel by Lucius Apuleius, THE GOLDEN ASS, written around 170 A.D. In the tales of Cupid and Psyche, which are primarily Roman, not Greek, the couple has one child, Voluptas (Hedone in Greek), a name which translates into English as "bliss". She was definitely female and became the goddess of sensual pleasures.

Ward also portrayed Psyche in episode 44 of HERCULES:THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS. Susan Ward's only two lines in Xena (Season 2 Episode 22) said to Cupid (Karl Urban) from offscreen: "Cupid, I'm waiting." and "Are you coming?"


Stranger in a Strange World (Season Four Episode Five) - The Executioner

Renée O'Connor as The Executioner in Hercules (Stranger in a Strange World) Iolaus changes places with another Iolaus from an alternate universe. Hercules tries to teach the other-Iolaus (a court jester) to be a "man" while fighter-Iolaus battles The Sovereign, a tyrant who looks a lot like Hercules.

Part Three of the three-part story of Hercules and the Golden Hind. Hercules becomes mortal to marry Serena (who was the Golden Hind) Serena is killed, Herc is suspected and must become a fugitive and hunt for the one-armed man who killed her. (Am I getting this mixed up with something else?) Gabrielle shows up to help Herc.



Short tour of myths and legends from the general region of Greece. Cyclops, Prometheus, the Titans, Abraham and Isaac, the Amazons, and Celesta (who was entirely a Xena invention). Hades had no sister called Celesta. His sisters were Hestia and Hera. Thanatos, a terrifying creature of darkness usually represented as a winged youth with a lighted torch in his hand, was the god of death.

The first season and part of the second season of XWP were shot using 16mm film. This explains the graininess of the picture. Other series (most notably Sex and the City) have done this to save money. Some movies have used 16mm film to create an intentional amateurish effect (e.g. CLERKS).

The character Callisto (Hudson Leick) is a human named after a legend, and was introduced near the end of the season. The Callisto for which the character was named was a nymph who, through a convoluted interaction with the gods, eventually became the constellation Ursa Major.