In our world, when we think of princesses, we think of a certain type of character. She is a dainty, angelic young woman, usually a damsel in distress who is waiting for her beloved to rescue her. She has no agency, does not have much of a character arc, and walks off into the sunset in some version of happily ever after.
In 1995,Xena: Warrior Princess premiered and destroyed the stereotypes. An off-shoot of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena (Lucy Lawless) is a warrior princess with a less than clean past. Seeing the need to redeem herself, she fights against evil with the help of Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor).
Back then, this show was revolutionary. As a female character, Xena (and Gabrielle by extension), broke the mold. She was everything the classic princesses were not. There was also an element of romance between the main characters, opening the door for LGBTQ characters and viewers.
The legend of Hercules has been around for thousands of years. The son of a mortal woman and the king of the G-ds, he has abilities that few have. He also has enemies who would love to take him down for good.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys aired from 1995-1999. The show starred Kevin Sorbo was the title character and Michael Hurst as his best friend/traveling companion Iolaus. Together, they saved countless humans from vengeful g-ds and creatures that can only be found in the darkest reaches of the imagination.
Back in the day, I was a fan of this program. It was one of those shows that is very (and I mean very in every sense of the word), genre specific. As an action/fantasy program, it was entertaining and opened the door for the genre for the next ten years or so. Would it watch if it was on today? Maybe, but only for nostalgia sake.
Do I recommend it? Yes, sort of (if that makes sense).
In the late 1990’s Kevin Sorbo was the King of the scifi/fantasy genre. He was known at the time for playing the title character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Hercules was schlocky, hokey and the writing was questionable at best. Instead of preventing type casting by playing an entirely new character in an entirely new genre, he went in even further. He dug his heels in Kull: The Conqueror.
In an ancient, faraway land, Kull (Sorbo) is a barbarian slave. Kull kills the old king in battle and is now the new king. But the old king’s heirs are not pleased with the upstart on the thrown. They resurrect the ancient sorceress Akivasha (Tia Carrere) to seduce Kull and kill him so they may take the throne for themselves.
If Hercules was bad, this movie is worse. Were the critics wrong? Absolutely not. If I were teaching film or screenwriting, this movie would be a perfect example of what not to do. It’s not even worth spending a rainy Saturday afternoon watching. I’d rather be outside in the rain than watch this waste of a film.