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"Xena: It's a Wrap- Almost!"

With only a few episodes left before Xena saunters into the golden sunset of t.v. history,
I thought I'd pick my best of the best of its six year run. Whether one hated or loved the
show, there's no denying it paved the way for series such as Buffy, Relic Hunter, and
Sheena. Here's a look at a show that revolutionized the female super hero once and for

Best Dramatic Episode
The Nominees:

"Destiny" - The episode where we discover exactly what made Xena go bad.

"Ides of March" - The satisfying conclusion to Xena and Gabrielle's main character arcs...
Gabrielle: Will she be a warrior? Xena: Will she make the ultimate sacrifice for her

"Between the Lines" - A deeply effecting spiritual episode about the continuity of life
and friendship through time.

The Winner: "Ides of March" - Gabrielle finally comes into her own as a warrior to save
her friend, but not before she experiences the highest spiritual state of her life. And
what a pleasure it was to see Caesar finally get what was coming to him.

Best Fight Scene
The Nominees:

"Sins of the Past" - Xena returns home to face off with an old beau who wants her back.
They settle it (literally) on the heads of some helpless villagers.

"One Against an Army" - Xena fights the entire Persian army and lives to tell the tale.

"Callisto" - Xena and Callisto duke it out on 75 foot flying ladders. Glad their not
afraid of heights.

The Winner: Tie: "Callisto" and "One Against an Army." This was a difficult one to pick.
The ladder scene in Callisto included the most soaring crane shots seen in episodic
television. 150 camera set ups and 4 days later, the crew had a masterpiece on their
hands. The Persian Army fight scene in OAAA was the most beautifully shot frentic fight
scene I have seen until "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The incredible lighting and
cinematography dazzled the eye as streams of light filtered in through what appeared to be
bullet holes (although they didn't have bullets back then). This eight minute sequence
never let up for a second. We'll never forget the wrap up. Xena admonishing them, "Go
home, there are thousands more like me."

Best Villain
The Nominees:

Julius Caesar: Never crucify your girlfriend on a second date. But hey, if it's to take
over the world and ensure you're the absolute ruler of the universe, who could blame you?

Callisto: "Love is a trick nature plays to get us to reproduce," sayeth Callisto.
"Beautiful day for a blood bath." The show's favorite psychotic at her best.

Alti: Kicked out of the Amazon tribe for having powers which were too great. Personally, I
thought it was for too much mascara.

The Winner: Alti. Stealing the soul of Xena's unborn child, using your spiritual powers to
"help" people relive their worst pain, and attempting to destroy Xena's soul lifetime
after lifetime certainly gets her the trophy. Caesar doesn't deserve it because,"Dude, get
a clue. Maybe it would have been better to get Xena on your side?" And Callisto's evil is
well explained. Now that she's been redeemed, she no longer fits comfortably in the baddie

Best Comedy
The Nominees:

"The Quill is Mightier than the Sword:" Who could forget the "drinks are on the house"
scene or the time Gabrielle awoke with a jerk? A charming episode where everything
Gabrielle wrote came true. If only life could be like that.

"Fins, Femmes & Gems:" Aphrodite puts a spell on Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer and the last
thing they look at becomes their obsession. Great slapstick imagery of Gabrielle getting
knocked out by a kite.

"If the Shoe Fits:" Reveals what really happened with Cinderella as a prince is told to
"pedal his shoe somewhere else."

The Winner: "Fins, Femmes and Gems:" There's something so charmingly goofy about this
episode. Maybe it's the little song Gabrielle creates about herself, "Let me tell you a
little story about Gabrielle..." Or the fact Ted Raimi spends most of the episode in a
pink nighty as Attus, the ape man. Or maybe it's Xena deciding that fishing is worth
giving up being a warrior princess. High camp at its best.

Best Special Effects
The Nominees:

"Fallen Angel:" The show's producers recreate heaven and hell (who took notes?) for this
episode. Or maybe it should be renamed, "Just Another Day in Hollywood"

"The Ring Trilogy:" Valhalla, Flying horses, Flying Valkyries, Flying reindeer (whoops,
wrong show!)

"Between the Lines:" Best light show of the series and it had better be to avoid studio
executive heart attacks. Believe me, words like, "Their tattoos begin to glow" and "Sweet
Indian girl sends Xena through a portal to a past life" better live up to its potential in
post production or the writer will never live it down.

The Winner: "Fallen Angel:" The audacity of this episode was the fact it was even made.
Over 240 effects shots were needed to complete the show along with oodles of wire removal
work. Actors were in harnesses for 2/3rds of the episode. Of course, they blew their
effects budget for the entire year, but still it was worth it to see their very creative
vision of heaven and hell.

Best Boat
The Nominee & Winner:

Rob's Folly: Okay, okay... I'm not playing fair. There was only one boat in all of the
Xena episodes. It was called Rob's Folly after Rob Tapert, the show's executive producer.
The boat was built for the show, but a slight alteration in the sails and on-deck dressing
could almost fool you into thinking it was a different boat every time.

Bottom Line: Xena, you will be sorely missed. None of your children have quite lived up
to your quality and potential (with the exception of Buffy and there might be some debate
about the "child" part since it premiered as a movie a few years before Xena's arrival).
Battle on!

  - by Ariel Penn

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