Monday, May 2, 2016

31 Day Xena: Warrior Princess Challenge, Day 2: Favorite Season

Whenever I do this particular challenge post, it's usually a lot of hemming and hawing, reading back through plot summaries and watching various episodes, and while I do like to be a little dramatic and make it seem like it's the equivalent to Sophie's Choice, I can't say that making the choice is really that difficult. Season One isn't the best season* but it most definitely is my favorite.
Via Wikipedia
The first season does an overarching theme, sure, but it doesn't have the same type of serialization that later seasons do, which would normally put it lower on the totem pole for me. It's not that I don't like one-shot kind of shows - I mean, with all its flaws, Friends is basically one of my favorite television shows ever, and it is exceptionally episodic, even when it does have a storyline that goes throughout the season - but when it comes to dramas, I am a lot more picky. A big reason that Orphan Black drew me in was because of how all the episodes tied together, weaving this gorgeous, mysterious tapestry that left me wishing it was longer than ten acts.

But with Xena, every single episode from Season One is just so iconic for me. It may not have had its footing quite yet like later seasons, but it did such an excellent job of setting up the rest of the series by introducing key motifs (redemption, friendship, helping the helpless, etc.) and the amazing supporting cast of regularly recurring characters. Even though the episodes don't all tie together, they are very much spiritually linked. You really do get to know who Xena is and just keep cheering her on.

Now, and I know that this is retrospective because I've obviously already seen the rest of the show, I like seeing where Xena and Gabrielle came from. Gabrielle wasn't necessarily my favorite part of the show, especially in early seasons**, but watching her in Season One and knowing where she was going to end up was fascinating and made me appreciate the creators of the series so much more than I already did. I don't know if it was their plan at the beginning to go where they did (unlike Babylon 5***), but it makes for a good story if you believe they did.


* I actually kind of regret that I don't have a challenge day dedicated to that topic ... hmmm, maybe supplemental post later on this month??
** Honestly, Renee O'Connor was just so ... I can't put my finger on it. Like, she was just trying too hard to be spunky and naive. I don't know. Her performance kind of irked me, at least when she was doing comedic scenes. Her dramatic abilities are top notch, though.
*** Even if you don't watch that show, go read about its creative team. Cliff's Notes version: they planned the entire five season series with no intention of going over that length of time. But you really should watch it. There's this whole controversy thing with it and Star Trek: Deep Space 9, too, which is just so juicy.
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