Xena: Warrior Princess debuted in syndication on September 4, 1995. In its opening minutes, it quickly established it would not be a clone of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the series that introduced the character. It also became quickly clear that the spin-off Xena was a much better series than Hercules, and there's no secret as to why. Simply put, Xena was a much more interesting character than Hercules. Xena had been an evil warlord, and now decided to change her ways and fight for good. In contrast, Hercules was a clean-cut hero with few doubts about himself and few problems with his past (This could have been different; in mythology, Hercules killed his family and spent his life trying to make up for it. The TV show did not go this route, instead having Hercules's family killed by Hera). This gave Xena a much darker tone than the lighter Hercules, and the stories for Xena were more interesting as a result.

When Xena first began, many people hailed it as a milestone for women, as if this kind of show had never been done before. Such claims are actually ridiculous. People said the same thing about Wonder Woman twenty years earlier, and they said the same thing about Buffy The Vampire Slayer only two years later. Anyone familiar with Hong Kong kung-fu movies knows that female heroines are nothing new, and Xena breaks little new ground. Even the show's executive producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi have acknowledged that Hong Kong kung-fu movies provided a great deal of inspiration for Xena.

The first season overall has the darkest tone of the entire series. Although Xena's sidekick, Gabrielle, is used for comedic purposes throughout, only one episode (Warrior... Princess) has a comedic theme. Xena herself is very grim, quiet, and serious. In subsequent seasons, she would begin to lighten up a little, and more full-out comedy episodes were done (much to the dismay of some fans).

Many fans consider the first season to be the best, but I can't agree. There were many solid episodes, but few real standouts. The best episodes overall would probably be Dreamworker and Callisto. Many fans have picked Is There A Doctor In The House? as their favorite of all time, and while the final moments of the episode are outstanding, the rest of the episode is not as spectacular.

Season 1 Episode Guide

The Land Of Xena