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Xena was better than Buffy

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posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 10:20 AM
When Xena originally aired, I was like most people and didn't watch it. I thought it was "chop socky" low brow crap. I happened to catch a few near the end of the run (they were about Norse Gods and the Reingold) and they impressed me quite a bit. I kind of wished I'd been watching from the beginning at that point.

I was a big Buffy fan. I have the DVDs. I've drank the kool-aid on Buffy. However, what I've discovered in the past two months is that Xena was a better show than Buffy. I hate to make that admission as I've defended Buffy for years and always scoffed at the Xena fans who seem to only watch it for lesbian subtext. So, fast forward.... 2005. The Oxygen network starts showing Xena reruns everyday. I get a 70 hour "extra" TiVo. These two facts come together and I'm up to Xena Season 5 now in a few short months.

Here's my comparison of the two shows:

Buffy is well known as a very very funny show, and so it is. "The Zeppo" is an example of how good the humor in Buffy can be. In Xena the humor is less subtle, but no less there. The difference between the humor in both shows is that Xena never took itself so seriously as a show. The episode where Xena has lice and Gabrielle has a skin fungus is just straight slapstick. What Xena has that Buffy doesn't is a physical, almost Three Stooges, aspect to the comedy. Which makes sense as it's such a physical oriented show. Buffy's humor all seemed to be dialog driven and clever one liners. The shows are probably about even in the humor category.

Xena wins here hands down. The show was centered around Hong Kong Cinema style action and Lucy Lawless is much better at being an "action hero" than Sarah Michelle Gellar.

This is where I was so surprised by Xena. On paper Buffy is a better written show, it has better dialog and better structure and probably one of the best *written* shows ever. What Xena lacks in clever writing is imaginative writing and scope. The Xena crew must've been clinically insane considering the things they decided to tell stories about and the sheer SCOPE of the stories. Gabrielle gives birth to the spawn of Satan while Xena's outside helping the Britons defend themselves against Caesar, who is trying to destroy a temple because Ares (God of War) doesn't want the new "One God" religion to take hold and force out the Gods of Olympus. That's just one episode. All that in 42 minutes of television. Now that's freakin' scope.

Story Arc
Buffy can't touch Xena on ongoing stories. Buffy had seasonal "Big Bads" but the only real season to season arcs were character development arcs. Xena had ongoing background arcs that lasted the entire series... Within seasons there wouldn't be a single arc, but rather several that intertwined in a web of great storytelling, even if the writing was sometimes subpar the storytelling was always above average.

Character Arc
Xena and Gabrielle develop in a real way over the series, rather than just getting a year older then learning a lesson and crying about it like Buffy, the girls on Xena learned from eachother. It seems pretty obvious that the main development is Xena herself as Gabby teaches her how to be "good" but just as major and even more intriguing is how Gabby develops over the series into someone who sees the need for Xena's "darkside". They both grow... and that's not even getting into the lesbian subtext.

Lesbian Subtext
Tara and Willow were lesbians. This was beaten over our heads with baseball bats. The show was ballyhooed as breaking boundaries and being brave with the portrayal of lesbians on TV. Meanwhile, Xena had been telling stories about 2 lesbians (as the leads) for years and doing it in a much better way. Buffy's lesbians were charicatures of what geeks think lesbians are like. Xena and Gabby were just in love. We didn't have to see them in the sack or have them crack jokes about being gay constantly. They just lived and loved and it seemed so natural that there was no reason to constantly bring it up... Now ask yourself which is a healthier portrayal of lesbians on TV?

One way to compare apples to apples with the two shows is the musical episodes. In 1998 Xena aired "The Bitter Suite" as a musical episode culminating from a story arc where Gabby's daughter had killed Xena's son so Xena killed Gabby's daughter. Pretty tough test there for a couple, huh? In 2002 Buffy aired "Once More With Feeling" a musical episode culminating from the story arc of Buffy dying and going to Heaven and then being pulled back by Willow... oh yeah, and her love for Spike. Both are very good, but if you watch Xena's "The Bitter Suite" (set your TiVo just for that episode if you dont' watch any other Xena) you'll see that the Buffy musical is a pale shadow of the Xena episode. First of all, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor can actually sing. Second, the songs are moving and real and done the way a great musical is always done. Buffy's musical is close, and the emotions are real there too, but... Xena totally did it first and better I'm sad to say.

When Buffy sacrifices herself and goes to heaven, we see the reactions of everyone she left behind and how pathetic their lives have become. They mope around mourning the death of Buffy not knowing exactly how to channel all their angst. When Xena sacrifices herself (as does Gabrielle) she goes to heaven and we follow her there. She get her wings, becomes and Archangel, gets a sword and leads and assualt on hell to beat the crap out of demons... Which would you rather see?

All in all, both shows are great, but I never thought I'd come to a point where I realized Xena was better than what at one time I considered the best show on TV. Xena is truly an overlooked gem, and it's become obvious that Buffy owes a lot of it's success to Xena. I recommend everyone check it out on the Oxygen network and see what I mean.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 11:20 AM
Xena was an amazing show!

I religiously watched it when it was originally on...too bad it couldn't have lasted longer.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 12:53 PM

Originally posted by djohnsto77
Xena was an amazing show!

I religiously watched it when it was originally on...too bad it couldn't have lasted longer.

Well, it seemed to last the right amount of time. Like I say, I remember watching a few from the final season and they were really really good. The last seasons of Buffy or The X-Files really showed that those shows should've hung it up after about 5 years.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 01:56 PM
Buffy was head and shoulders above for one reason, and one reason only. Behold:

Of course, this may just be a personal thing.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 02:22 PM
Huh? Are you nuts? You think THAT is better than:

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 02:27 PM
You know, I guess when you put it like that, I am kinda nuts. I dunno, when buffy used to be on, and willow on screen, i was more captivated than any of the pied pipers rats. To be fair I could have found a better pic.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 08:40 PM

Huh? Are you nuts? You think THAT is better than:

And the winner is....

Not to mention Callisto.... I dig psycho blondes...

And of course the whole lesbo angle..... Scantily clad women in leather? Not much competing with that....

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 08:54 PM
I thought Xena was great.

The moment I saw the names Sam Raimi and and Rob Tapert I knew I was going to be a happy tv viewer. And as if that wasn't enough, then they bring in Bruce Campbell on a recurring role.

posted on Jan, 12 2006 @ 09:45 PM
Can't forget that...the King of Thieves! What a perfect role for him.... S Mart!

posted on Jan, 13 2006 @ 10:23 AM
Xena could kick buffys butt
i loved that show she always had the coolest clothes on

posted on Aug, 19 2008 @ 07:31 PM
WOW! that waz a REAAAALLY good comparingness! i agree! xena ish WAY better! shows like buffy are good when yuu watch them at first. deh graphics are better an has more suspense but once yuu see it once ish not as fun teh watch it a second time. xena episodes are creative an teach yuu things! xenas ALWAYS different everytime yuu watch it too! yuu always see another angle everytime or get another feeling..... i saw deh series like 4 times so far an i still get surprised! ish also realleh fun cuz every episode seems so long an has so much stuff innit so when yuu think back on it it seems like 4 different episodes.

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