Following XENA: The Action (I)

Welcome to another Xena Thursday! If you’ve read yesterday’s big announcement, you’ll know that we’re embarking on our last ever regular series of posts on Xena: Warrior Princess, the iconic action show that aired in first-run syndication from 1995-2001 and is most responsible for cultivating my interest in television and storytelling. Since Xena Thursday’s start over two years ago, I’ve covered my favorite episodes and my least favorites episodes, discussed Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (off of which Xena spun), and treated fans to the Opinionated Episode Guide — which covered every episode of the series, and included both my thoughts, and the opinions/recollections of the cast and crew. Most recently, I also covered the best episodes per character. This last series of entries is in that vein, as we will be looking at particular themes/arcs/elements through a handful of accompanying installments. My hope is that this can be a resource, like so many of the other posts here, for those who are just beginning their adventure with Xena. For our debut post, we’re looking at the most memorable action sequences from the series. For those who love a good fight scene, these are the episodes to watch . . .

 

01. Season 1, Episode 1: “Sins Of The Past” (Aired: 09/04/95 | Filmed: 06/26 – 07/05/95)

Xena journeys homeward determined to make amends for the sins of her past, but her efforts to begin a new life are challenged by the vengeful warlord Draco.

Story by Robert Tapert | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Doug Lefler | Production No. 876901

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Chosen for the iconic fight between Xena and Draco on the scaffolding in an Amphipolis barn, I featured this episode as #23 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

02. Season 1, Episode 2: “Chariots Of War” (Aired: 09/11/95 | Filmed: 07/06 – 07/18/95)

After being befriended by a peace-loving homesteader named Darius, Xena takes on a blood thirsty warlord and his son, who have mercilessly pillaged Darius’s community.

Story by Josh Becker & Jack Perez | Teleplay by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster | Directed by Harley Cokeliss | Production No. 876902

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This episode is chosen for the series’ best ever chariot chase in the climax. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

03. Season 1, Episode 22: “Callisto” (Aired: 05/13/96 | Filmed: 02/06 – 02/16/96)

Xena is once again reminded of the sins of her past when a malicious female warrior, whose family was killed by Xena’s former army, exacts her revenge on the Warrior Princess by impersonating her.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. 876920

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Chosen for the ladder fight between Xena and Callisto — among the series’ best, I featured this episode as #3 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

04. Season 2, Episode 13: “The Quest” (Aired: 02/03/97 | Filmed: 11/14 – 11/25/96)

Xena’s spirit puts into action a plan that may allow her to return to the land of the living and reclaim her body. And Gabrielle is faced with a big decision after meeting up with her old friends—the Amazons.

Story by Chris Manheim, Steven L. Sears, & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Michael Levine | Production No. V0221

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Chosen for the memorable fight between Gabrielle and Velasca on the vines, I featured this episode as #21 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

05. Season 3, Episode 1: “The Furies” (Aired: 09/29/97 | Filmed: 03/28 – 04/08/97)  

At Ares’s prodding, the Furies curse Xena with madness for failing to avenge her father’s death. But lifting the curse may prove troublesome when she learns who the murderer was.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Gilbert Shilton | Production No. V0224

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Chosen for the fast-paced fight in the temple between Xena and Ares, I featured this episode as #36 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

06. Season 3, Episode 4: “The Deliverer” (Aired: 10/20/97 | Filmed: 05/27 – 06/05/97)

Xena, Gabrielle and the first priest of a monotheistic cult head for Britannia to battle their common enemy Caesar — who promptly captures Gabrielle.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0403

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Chosen for the face-off between Xena and the demented Khrafstar, I featured this episode as #17 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

07. Season 3, Episode 13: “One Against An Army” (Aired: 02/09/98 | Filmed: 11/20 – 12/01/97)

Xena’s solo efforts to stop an approaching Persian army leave a poisoned Gabrielle to fend for herself after the duo are double-crossed by a Persian spy.

Written by Gene O’Neill and Noreen Tobin | Directed by Paul Lynch | Production No. V0413

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Chosen for Xena’s epic battle with the Persian army (probably the show’s most ambitious action sequence), I featured this episode as #7 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

08. Season 3, Episode 16: “When In Rome…” (Aired: 03/02/98 | Filmed: 01/08 – 01/16/98)

Efforts to engage in a prisoner exchange involving a Gaul warrior and a member of the Roman hierarchy are hindered by an uncooperative Caesar.

Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by John Laing | Production No. V0416

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Chosen for Xena’s showdown with the gladiators in the Coliseum, I featured this episode as #12 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

09. Season 4, Episode 2: “Adventures In The Sin Trade (II)” (Aired: 10/05/98 | Filmed: 06/29 – 07/09/98)

Xena’s continuing search for Gabrielle in the Amazon Land of the Dead leads to a climatic battle with the evil shamaness Alti.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. V0608

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Chosen for the tree-bound fight between Xena and the evil shamaness Alti, I featured this episode as #38 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

10. Season 4, Episode 8: “Crusader” (Aired: 11/16/98 | Filmed: 07/27 – 08/06/98) 

Xena and Gabrielle are attacked and then befriended by a radiant young woman who preaches about the light, but their budding friendship ends when she later competes with Xena for Gabrielle’s heart and soul.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Paul Lynch | Production No. V0613

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Chosen for the fight in the tavern in which Najara kicks Xena’s butt, I featured this episode as #16 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

11. Season 4, Episode 14: “Devi” (Aired: 02/08/99 | Filmed: 11/12 – 11/20/98)

While traveling in India, Gabrielle suddenly acquires the power to heal, but Xena is suspicious of the power’s source.

Written by Chris Manheim | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V0615

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Chosen for the fight that pits Xena against Gabrielle (who’s possessed by an Indian demon), I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

12. Season 4, Episode 16: “The Way” (Aired: 02/22/99 | Filmed: 12/03 – 12/15/98)

Still in India, Xena seeks the help of the god Krishna to rescue Gabrielle and Eli from the clutches of the King of the Demons.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V0617

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Chosen for Xena’s many-armed battle with Indrijit, I featured this episode as #40 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

13. Season 4, Episode 21: “The Ides Of March” (Aired: 05/10/99 | Filmed: 03/09 – 03/18/99)

When Xena learns that Caesar has put a six-million-dinar price on her head, she decides to go to Rome and kill him. Meanwhile, Caesar sends Brutus to capture Gabrielle and Amarice. Complicating matters is Callisto, who has been released from Hell and put on a double mission.

Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Ken Girotti | Production No. V0624

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Chosen for the shocking moment where Gabrielle abandons the Way of Love to save Xena from the Romans, I featured this episode as #1 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

14. Season 5, Episode 21: “Eve” (Aired: 05/08/00 | Filmed: 03/07 – 03/16/00)

Xena must decide whether she can kill her own daughter, who continues her murderous campaign to eliminate Eli’s followers.

Written by George Strayton & Tom O’Neill | Teleplay by Chris Manheim | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V0922

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This episode is chosen for the beautifully choreographed fight between Xena and Eve (or Livia, rather) in the temple. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

15. Season 5, Episode 22: “Motherhood” (Aired: 05/15/00 | Filmed: 03/17 – 03/29/00)

With the lives of Gabrielle and Eve hanging in the balance, Xena faces the gods in a final showdown.

Story by Robert Tapert | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0923

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Chosen for the fight in the tavern between Xena and the Olympians, I featured this episode as #34 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

16. Season 6, Episode 11: “Dangerous Prey” (Aired: 01/22/01 | Filmed: 08/30 – 09/08; 11/23/00)

Xena becomes the ultimate prey for the deranged Prince Morloch, who has been hunting and killing Amazons in his twisted quest for an adversay who can match his skills.

Written by Joel Metzger | Directed by Renee O’Connor | Production No. V1413

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This episode is chosen for the climactic battle between Xena and Prince Morloch on that Jenga-like pile of wood. Check out my thoughts on this episode, along with the opinions and recollections of the cast and crew here.

 

17. Season 6, Episode 14: “Path Of Vengeance” (Aired: 02/12/01 | Filmed: 11/23 – 12/05/00)

Xena and Gabrielle fight to save Eve from execution when she returns to Amazon lands to make amends for her past.

Written by Joel Metzger | Directed by Chris Martin-Jones | Production No. V1418

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Chosen for the fight between Xena and Ares’ new protege Varia, I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.

 

18. Season 6, Episode 21: “A Friend In Need (I)” (Aired: 06/11/01 | Filmed: 03/08 – 03/19/01)

Summoned by a long-lost spiritual soulmate, Xena heads for Japan with Gabrielle on a daunting mission to save the city of Higuchi from destruction and make amends for her past.

Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Robert Tapert | Production No. V1424

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Chosen for the action sequence in which Gabrielle shows Xena how she would save a burning town, I featured this episode as #45 on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. heck out what the cast and crew had to say about the two-part finale here.

 

 

 

Come back next week for another installment of Following Xena! And tune in tomorrow for another Joan Blondell Pre-Code Film Friday!

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2 thoughts on “Following XENA: The Action (I)

  1. Great list! OAAA is my favourite “action” episode (and also my favourite episode of the entire series).
    I think the ladder fight “Callisto” was the first time where my mind was really blown by the fight scenes. It was nice to see a call back to that scene in “Friend in Need”, although it’s a shame that the fight choreography in the final battle in that episode was hampered by the Yodoshi actor’s injury.

    • Hi, Agent86! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Yeah, the last physical fight is a letdown. What I particularly enjoy about Part I’s Higuchi action sequence is that, even more than the symbolic act of Gabrielle catching the chakram, we’re concretely shown that the Battling Bard has learned enough to continue Xena’s legacy — even though her methods may not always be exactly the same. I think it’s a more effective way of getting the point across.

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