Xena: Warrior Princess is an American television action series created by John Schulian and Robert Tapert as a spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which details the adventures of former Hercules villain Xena, a reformed warlord on a quest to redeem her past sins.
The series originally aired in the USA in syndication, from 4 September 1994 - 21 May 2001. There are 134 episodes in six seasons.
Xena aired in South Africa on SABC2 from the late nineties.
Initially it was broadcast on Thursdays at 17h00, but after a complaint to the Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa about some of the content, it was deemed inappropriate for younger viewers and moved to Sunday nights at 22h15.
The show is a historical fantasy set in ancient Greece, although with a flexible time setting, and also features heavy Oriental, Egyptian and Medieval elements in various episodes.
The series details the adventures of former Hercules villain Xena, a reformed warlord on a quest to redeem her past sins. Xena is accompanied on her travels by Gabrielle, a young woman who becomes her best friend and, eventually, most trusted ally.
The series was filmed in New Zealand.
The show freely borrows names and themes from various mythologies around the world, primarily Greek mythology, adapting them to suit the demands of the storyline.
Historical figures and events from a number of different historical eras and myths make numerous appearances, and the main characters are often credited with resolving important historical situations.
These include an encounter with Homer, before he was famous, in which Gabrielle encourages his storytelling aspirations; the fall of Troy; and the capture of Caesar by pirates, with Xena cast as the pirate leader.
This quirky mix of timelines and the amalgamation of historical and mythological elements fueled the rise of the show to cult status during the 1990s and early 2000s.
It was one of the first shows to tap into to its internet following, allowing for fans from all over the world to discuss and suggest things related to the show. The fandom continues to this day.
The show is a mixture of styles, ranging from high melodrama in one episode to slapstick comedy in another, from whimsical to all-out action and/or adventure in another.
Although it is ostensibly set in ancient times, the themes of the show are essentially modern: taking responsibility for past misdeeds, the value of human life, personal liberty and sacrifice, and friendship.
The flexible fantasy framework of the show accommodates a considerable range of styles, including an original musical episode, The Bitter Suite.
Although the show often addresses ethical dilemmas such as the morality of pacifism, the storylines rarely seek to provide unequivocal solutions.
In addition to Xena and Gabrielle, the show also features a wide assortment of recurring characters, including adversaries Ares, Alti and Callisto, and trusted friends Salmoneus, Virgil, Autolycus, Eli and Joxer.