Whoosh! Issue 30 - March 1999


Exclusive to Whoosh!
By Bret Rudnick
Content copyright © 1999 held by author
Edition copyright © 1999 held by WHOOSH
11498 words

Author's Note: Paul Robert Coyle is a great storyteller, as well as just an all-around great fellow. He is responsible for many key episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess as well as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. His stories can be thoughtful, nail biting, or humorous, but they are inevitably entertaining. The Xenaverse (and Hercaverse) are very lucky to have such a skilled bard sharing such stories with us. WHOOSH! is grateful that Mr. Coyle took a significant chunk of his day on 19 February 1999 to talk to us.

For my next trick...

Paul Robert Coyle, talented writer for both HERC and XENA. Photo courtesy Debbie Cassetta.

In the Beginning (01-03)
STAR TREK (04-05)
Moving from Science Fiction to Fantasy (15-21)
Moving to HERCULES (54-55)
Return of Callisto! (91-94)
WAR WOUNDS (95-108)
TOP GOD (109-111)
The Dahak Arc and GENIES, GRECIANS, AND GEEKS (112-120)
ONE FOWL DAY (121-122)
SKY HIGH (131-140)
On Being a Fictitious Character (153-154)
Santa Monica Convention (155-168)
Leaving HERCULES (169-170)
More seasons for XENA (171-174)
The Future (175-181)

An Interview With Paul Robert Coyle

In the Beginning

[01] Going back to the beginning, please tell us how you got started in writing for television.

[02] I started writing on The Streets of San Francisco. That was the first thing I sold. When I was very young I decided I wanted to pursue this career. I was living back East and moved out here immediately after High School. I took some writing courses and wrote a lot of spec material. I finally sold my first script to The Streets of San Francisco and I was the youngest writer they had heard from at the time. I was virtually just out of college.

[03] I was attracted to Quinn Martin (QM) shows. The Fugitive was a favorite when I was a kid. I got in on the tail end of the QM years with Streets and Barnaby Jones. I then freelanced and wrote a lot of cop shows, Simon and Simon, C.H.I.P.S....


[04] I noticed in researching some of your credits you wrote for the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.

[05] I wound up doing a bunch of Star Trek's because Mike Piller, who had been story editor for Simon and Simon, later wound up taking over Star Trek: The Next Generation. I did a lot of rewrites on Next Generation, a lot of uncredited work. I was coming in after writers had done a script and finished or fixed them. They hired a lot of freelancers to do that during the Trak years. I did write for Deep Space Nine and Voyager too.


Are you saying there's something wrong with two women living together?

Officers Took and Castle of SPACE PRECINCT. They were two strong female characters who worked together and shared an apartment together.

[06] Prior to Hercules and Xena, the most interesting credit from you for me personally was when you wrote for a show that I absolutely loved that was on at one or two in the morning called Space Precinct.

[07] [smiles] Oh, my God, you saw that?!

[08] Not only saw it but loved it.

[09] A lot of people I know saw that. Liz Friedman is a big fan of that show. A lot of people in college watched that show.

[10] I'm ex-law enforcement myself, now working in astrophysics and spacecraft engineering, so I guess it's a natural blend. [both laugh]

[11] It was out there, that's for sure. It was all shot in England, yet the writers were mostly Americans. David Karren and Larry Carroll, who are now on Diagnosis Murder, were the American-based writer-producers on that show. They didn't have an office here, they worked out of their home. I'd go over to David's house and we'd have meetings. Everything was done on the phone with England. I did the show about the prison break.


[13] I was actually pretty happy with the outcome. I thought it made a decent episode.

[14] I remember it to this day.

Moving from Science Fiction to Fantasy

[15] That [SPACE PRECINCT] and the STAR TREKs had me moving more to sci-fi. I always had an interest in that genre as a kid but there weren't many sci-fi shows on TV during the time I was writing through the 70's. Just junk like BUCK ROGERS. So mostly I did cop and detective shows. CRAZY LIKE A FOX, JAKE AND THE FATMAN, and others. Finally I wound up here.

[16] How did you end up crossing over? I know you started out with XENA.

[17] I wrote a bunch of XENAs. What happened there was... Well, this is a business of who you know and personal contacts. R.J. and I have a team of writers/producers in common, George Schenk and Frank Cardea, for whom we both worked a lot. I started out with them on CRAZY LIKE A FOX. R.J. was on staff with them on THE GREAT DEFENDER about five years ago, a short-lived show. I didn't actually write for that show but they asked me to come up with stories. During that process I came in and briefly met R.J. one day. The show was cancelled right after that, before I even got an assignment.

[18] I established a brief contact with R.J. then and both R.J. and I went on to write the Cosby Mysteries, both George and Frank were producing that show. A year later, R.J. went to XENA before it went on the air. George and Frank called and said "Our friend R.J. is on this new show called XENA and he's looking for writers. Do you want us to give him a call and recommend you?" I said, "I think I'll pass. I don't know what it is, but any show called XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS must be a kiddie show and I wouldn't be the least bit interested in working for it." [both laugh] That was my attitude for the better part of a year.

[19] On at least three occasions that I can remember George and Frank wanted to know if I wanted them to call R.J. and I passed every single time. When XENA came on the air I ignored it for a long time but started watching it just to watch the credits to see who was writing for it. I saw a few minutes at a time from week to week and then started getting hooked on it. The New Zealand scenery made the show look different from anything I'd seen. I could see they were doing straight drama but had a streak of humor running through it.

[20] I found myself laughing with the show, not at it. It was a long time before I watched a full episode from beginning to end. I think it was THE TITANS on rerun number two or three. I started kicking myself and saying "This is a really cool show and I could have been writing for it!" But jerk that I am I completely p*ss*d it away.

[21] I finally broke down and called George and Frank and said, "If R.J. is still looking for anybody, I'd be interested." I came in to pitch, finally. Everybody gathered together. That's unusual, to have the entire staff sitting in the same room. Rob was there, and I thought it was neat that the Executive Producer of a show would come to a pitch by a freelance writer. It turns out they don't see many freelance writers and to them it was kind of a big deal. I pitched six or seven stories and kept striking out because they already had similar stories in development. That's a good thing from their point of view because it shows them I'm on the right track, that I've studied the show, and I'm thinking along the same lines. But I was disappointed because I kept striking out. I can't get an assignment if they've already done every idea I came up with.


I don't mean to be shellfish -- I'm like this for the halibut

Xena (in Callisto's body) contemplates airbourne lobster.

[22] The very last idea I pitched was an Agatha Christie kind of "Ten Little Indians" story, but Rob doesn't like mysteries. He didn't want to do a murder mystery. I pitched my villain as a magician and Rob hates magic. We never do magic on HERCULES or XENA. I broke those two rules but they said "We'll think about it and get back to you." I figured I'd struck out and that was that. But they called back. They brought the element of Ares losing his sword and godhood. They turned the magician into Sisyphus, so he was not in fact a magician. That worked out, and I went on to write a bunch more.

[23] Right after I did that episode Lucy [Lawless] had her accident on Jay Leno. TEN LITTLE WARLORDS was scheduled to shoot right after hiatus. I hadn't met Lucy at that point but I felt bad. No one was sure how serious it was going to be. It was finally decided they'd do five episodes without her and mine was the first up. They came up with the body swap idea and I had to do an emergency re-write, so I guess I proved myself under fire.

[24] I have to say, TEN LITTLE WARLORDS is a personal favorite of mine. I thought that was very well executed. As I've told other people, I'm sorry Lucy had to be hurt at all, but the staff rose to the occasion and produced some fine work under difficult circumstances. Hudson Leick was extraordinary as Xena.

[25] Absolutely. I'm very indebted to Hudson for helping save that episode.

[26] I've heard her tell others and me several times she absolutely hated to play Xena instead of Lucy, but she did such a good job.

[27] It's kind of an oddity now, it's the only XENA without Lucy Lawless. But it's one of my personal favorites because it was my first script produced on the show. The director, Charlie Siebert stepped in and played the villain himself. I'm extremely fond of that, it's one of my favorites to this day.


[28] The next credit I have for you broadcast is A NECESSARY EVIL.

[29] I think I actually wrote THE EXECUTION second. But A NECESSARY EVIL, I don't remember the genesis of that. I know they [producers] wanted Xena and Callisto to team up and go after Velasca, who was introduced in THE QUEST. That was another of the emergency episodes. A NECESSARY EVIL was the first full episode Lucy shot after the accident. They had her injured in the teaser because they weren't sure if she'd be limping during the episode or how she'd feel. You can't look at that episode and tell she was recovering from an injury, though. That episode got me a lot of praise over here but I can't really take the credit for it. Mark Beesely superbly shot it, a first time New Zealand director.

[30] It hit the ground running, picking up immediately where THE QUEST ended. Velasca, Melinda Clarke, had already been established from the previous episode. She staggers in, swallows the ambrosia, and we're off and running! Rob Tapert really liked that show.

[31] It's very popular among fans, no doubt about it.

[32] People always ask me, as they did at the convention, are we gonna bring Velasca back? The answer is: Everyone here would absolutely love to but the actress is not available.

[33] I heard people say they had hope as soon as SPECIAL OPS FORCE was cancelled, but she got another job right away on another show.

[34] Believe me, the day I heard that show was cancelled I went running to Rob and said "We may have a window of opportunity here to bring Velasca back." But he already heard about it and checked into it and it wasn't going to happen.

[35] Melinda Clarke was, I understand, one of the contenders for Xena in the first place. Apparently she came very close to getting it. They're fans of hers, as am I, but I can't hold out any hope for anyone to ever see Velasca again, for that reason. I don't think it's worth recasting because part of the success of that character is what Melinda Clarke brought to it. Unfortunately, she went into the lava pit and I doubt she'll ever be heard from again.


[36] THE EXECUTION was an interesting episode because that's the second time we get to see the Meleager character, who is very popular.

[37] He's very popular and again, someone who occasionally can come back. But Tim Thomerson does work on other series, sometimes he's available and sometimes not. It's a possibility we might be able to work something out but probably not.

[38] That story I pitched as Xena coming into town to find a famous warlord about to be executed. He calls her into his cell to talk to her. He says "You and I both know I committed hundreds of murders, just as you did, they never caught me for those but the irony is the one they caught and tried me for and convicted me on I didn't do, and guess what, Xena, you did!" She realizes this is true and helps bust him out so he can redeem himself with one last deed. It was something to do with his daughter, before he comes back and accepts his fate.

[39] They liked elements of that. They called me back to say they were going to do the story but changed some elements here and there. The warlord would be Meleager, whom they used before. They wouldn't reveal Xena committed the murder until mid-way through. That worked out really well and I was happy with that too. I have nothing bad to say about any of my XENAs, they're all my favorites. [both laugh]


The new stage set for the XENA rock musical GREEKS

Most people expected Callisto to die, but were unprepared for the death of Gabrielle.

[40] SACRIFICE II was the last XENA broadcast that you did.

[41] That came about after I'd already been on staff at HERCULES for a year. I was busy over here, although the two are sister shows. There are separate writing staffs. No one moves back and forth freely between the two. I had been doing HERCULES all of last season, Rob had been doing that Dahak arc, which threaded in and out of both shows. I had been heavily involved in that because I did ARMAGEDDON NOW. When it came time for XENA to do the two- part season finale, picking up where Callisto was imprisoned in the vortex where they left her at the end of ARMAGEDDON, they brought me in to help out and ultimately asked me to write it if I could break free from HERC for awhile to do it.

[42] How much of SACRIFICE II did they give you as an outline and how much did you have to come up with completely on your own?

[43] They knew where they were headed to end the season. They knew they wanted to do this business that Callisto somehow died and Gabrielle appeared to die. They knew what the finale was going to be. They had the Seraphin character and so forth.

[44] Originally, I was supposed to write Part 1 and Steve would write Part 2. That's as it should be, because he's a full-time guy and I'm just a freelancer on XENA. We started our meetings and we worked out on the board what the beats of both story parts would be. This went on for weeks, as they often do. Something happened, and it's hard to explain if you're not there. The story elements ended up switching. Somebody realized there were problems with both halves of the story. Some things got switched, and they ended up dropping some things, and Steve wrote a prequel to my half of the story.

[45] To my astonishment, I wound up with Part 2. They said "Are you comfortable with that?" I said "I'm elated, but I feel bad about it, I don't want to usurp Steve." But he was very generous about it and said he was fine with it. That's how I wound up writing the big season finale of XENA. Many of the elements were in place and I brought some others to it. I was extremely happy and honored, and it turned out to be a great episode.

[46] A lot of people went without fingernails that summer.

[47] [laughs] I can 'fess up now to the fact that the death of Gabrielle was always kind of a "stunt" in a sense. Word had already leaked about the death of Callisto. People already knew about that, so that was not much of a surprise.

[48] Most people were taken entirely by surprise with the death of Gabrielle.

[49] We used the death of Callisto to disguise that we had another trick up our sleeve. I even went so far as to write a phony last scene. I said, "If the scripts are leaking, why don't I write a phony last page? Secretly you can channel the real last page to New Zealand." And that's what I did. The phony ending had Gabrielle's hand come up out of the pit, she climbs out, and it's a happy ending. But that's not the way they aired it, obviously. [both laugh]

[50] I said, "Do I have to figure out a way to save Gabrielle next season?" They said, "No, we'll figure that out later." I don't think they ever really did! I think you'll hear them admit they haven't really plugged that hole yet.

[51] I've heard it said in other places that they wish Gabrielle's comeback had been different.

[52] I went so far in my original draft as to have the Fates cut Gabrielle's lifeline. Because when the scissors move from Xena's lifeline I had them go to Gabrielle's. But R.J. said "If we do that, how will we ever get out of that one?" I said "I don't know R.J., but if you want to bring me back I'll figure it out." [both laugh] They didn't go that far because they never could have gotten out of it.

[53] SACRIFICE II is definitely one of the high points in my career. I look at that and say "It can't get any better." I hit the ground running with elements that the entire season was leading up to. You can't ask for much more than that.

Moving to HERCULES

[54] Now sometime after THE EXECUTION but prior to SACRIFICE II, you moved over from the XENA side to the HERCULES side.

[55] That happened because I was doing well writing freelance XENAs, and at the same time I began to watch XENA, I started checking out HERCULES. I was impressed by that show, too. As a freelance writer you're always looking for work where you can find it. It made sense to try to also write for a sister show.


[56] I wasn't even thinking of a staff position when I thought about writing for HERCULES. I asked Liz, "Do you want me to write a HERC?" She said, "Let me think about it." Many months went by, and a story I had originally pitched to XENA about Autolycus stealing the Kronos stone, they wanted to do for HERCULES instead.

[57] That became END OF THE BEGINNING.

[58] Exactly. It started as an extremely different story. It began with the frozen village, pretty much as you see it now. But originally I had the stone fall into the hands of a villain who used it to bring weapons from the future back to use against Hercules. He brought back a machine gun, even a tank. I did a full draft of that story, which was much more sci-fi since although it didn't involve Herc going to the future, it involved weapons from the future.

[59] The executives at Universal read it but they said, "We don't want to cross that line with HERCULES. We don't want guns on the show." We had to completely rethink that story. They had already done the GOLDEN HIND trilogy but I hadn't seen it because I hadn't come to HERC yet. They started thinking about time travel and bringing the Serena character back. I was kind of lost because I didn't know what they were talking about at that point. They restructured the story into what it became, which was a fourth episode of the GOLDEN HIND trilogy.

[60] I worked on it, smoothed the story out, and brought in the two Autolycii. I figured if we were only going back in time a few years, Autolycus could meet himself. That was a tricky show because I went from slapstick comedy with the two Autolycii to a dramatic story involving Hercules, the woman he loved, and Ares. I had fun with it and was very happy with the results there too. When they came in with a staff offer I thought it was going to be for XENA but it was for HERC. So here I am.


[61] The next broadcast credit I have for you on HERCULES is REGRETS, I'VE HAD A FEW.

[62] I feel very close to that show because it's the only one I got to be in New Zealand for. They keep us busy here writing and we can't go back and forth as we'd like to. That was shot during a hiatus period immediately after I'd finished here in the office. We were all off for three months. It became the perfect opportunity for me to go over and hang out, which I loved doing. I wish I had more of a chance to do it.

[63] In thinking about REGRETS, and the story it tells, I can't help but notice what I perceive to be a trend in your work. You seem to like to take characters and put them in very difficult and tense situations -- it's almost like placing them into a pressure cooker. They have to reach within themselves to get out of a tough situation. When I watch your episodes I become aware of not breathing for long stretches. It's very effective.

[64] [laughs] Thank you. REGRETS started out as a YOUNG HERCULES flashback. It was something like 70% YOUNG HERCULES and 30% HERCULES. It was the last episode shot and Kevin [Sorbo] wanted to finish early so he could leave early on hiatus. We had already shot the YOUNG HERCULES pilot. But Rob wanted to shoot a HERCULES episode and use YOUNG HERCULES footage to promote the release of the two hour video. Later on as the season progressed and Kevin had his medical problems, we had to go back to YOUNG HERCULES more often, as you know. At that time, though, REGRETS was going to be the only one. Rob wanted to do a "Young Atlas" story.

[65] Most of the HERCULES episodes I worked on for the first year and a half all came from Rob, that's true. Not only for myself, but all the writers on staff. They were all one-line ideas that Rob wanted to do and we'd each take one and develop them. In this case he wanted to do a YOUNG HERCULES flashback episode. He wanted to do the "Young Atlas" story. We all got together to work on it.

[66] I wasn't too crazy about it and I could see Rob wasn't too crazy about it either. I said, "Before we get started, I have some ideas that might make a better YOUNG HERCULES episode, especially if we're only going to go to YOUNG HERCULES once." Then I pitched essentially the story you saw aired, with Young Hercules getting into a fight with a gang kid, not knowing his own strength he takes the kid's life and feels bad about it. He returns to the farm with the kid's body and he doesn't lie but he doesn't tell the whole truth. The father makes the assumption he was the kid's best friend and Hercules goes along with that, ends up living with the family and finding the family he never had with Zeus.

[67] It's a heart story. Rob sparked to that and that was the story I ended up doing. That's probably not a fan favorite but it's one of mine. I borrowed the Celeste character from a XENA episode [DEATH IN CHAINS], played by a different actress this time.


Reaction from the cast as the director drops trou

Everyone is very different in STRANGER.

[68] After REGRETS we have STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD. I personally love this episode. Was it you who came up with the idea of the alternate universe?

[69] This is another example of Rob at work. Rob wanted to do a bizzaro world episode. He had seen those STAR TREK episodes, like MIRROR, MIRROR (STAR TREK). DEEP SPACE NINE has also gone back to that alternate universe almost every season now. He wanted to do a story like that. Because I was the "sci-fi guy" I was handed that premise. I think he had in mind a straight drama. When I started working with it, it started to turn into a comedy even to *my* surprise. It just became a wacky situation and I went with it.

[70] There were some fantastic one-liners in there. I caught at least one homage to THE PRISONER, when Iolaus says "I am not a numeral..."

[71] That was very deliberate on my part. Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci][HERCULES producers] are young and never saw that show. They didn't understand that line. A lot of people didn't understand the reference and I had to fight to keep it in. Mike Levine, the director, was a big PRISONER fan. The first thing he said was "I love that line!" At least I knew the director was on my side and chances were it wasn't going to get cut.

[72] STRANGER is also extremely high on my list. Every single word of that script was mine. I did all the rewrites. Kevin Sorbo hated that script at first. I don't think he understood that he was scheduled to play the Sovereign. But none of his original notes addressed the Sovereign. He was concerned that Hercules got left behind in the "real world" while Iolaus went and had the adventure. Yet I always felt that the wacky fun part was in the bizarro world, but the heart of that story was Hercules left behind with the alternate Iolaus, teaching him to be a hero and sending him back.

[73] Kevin had a lot of concerns, nevertheless, so I did an emergency re-write, days before shooting. He was so concerned that the story should be put off and not shot at that time, but if we did that, we would have lost Lucy because she was only available to us for two days before XENA started shooting again. A lot was at stake there. I worked literally around the clock to please Kevin and fix production concerns. But every word is mine and I take great pride in that one.

[74] And rightly so. That episode came off very, very well. It's a classic. It's talked about by fans of both shows as a favorite. Everyone looked like they were having a great time, it all came off very well.

[75] I liked the effects, too, the vortex. It originally did not have that ending. We left the Sovereign in his world originally and everyone was concerned about how we could leave this evil dictator in power. How could we neutralize him without killing him, because then Hercules would die. It seems easy now, because you know what happened, but we didn't know what to do back then.

[76] At first I thought the vortex was a doorway between worlds, I didn't see it as a tunnel. But I said "If we make it a tunnel, the Sovereign could chase Iolaus through, Hercules can meet him midway and knock him down, then the vortex collapses on the guy, trapping him between worlds." That idea was a hit with Rob and everybody, so that's what we did.

[77] That episode was chock full. We had Ares as the God of Love, Aphrodite, and more. A lot of the stuff that Michael {Levine] shot ended up being cut. I really wanted to concentrate more on the bizarre nature of the alternate world, Rob only wanted to concentrate on the characters. A lot of the stuff that Michael shot involving the wacky world just got lost. I still have the dailies on that thing. It must have been 11 minutes cut from that episode in the end. But what's there is very tight and fun. I don't think the sequel is quite up to the same standard, but we'll talk about that.


[78] Next shown was IF I HAD A HAMMER.

[79] That was the Cory Everson show that got put on the shelf for about six months because she's tough to book. She's a great character and someone I'd love to bring back, but she's impossible to write for because she has a busy schedule with her exercise show and so forth. She's only available to shoot a thing like this one or two weeks out of the year. That's why we haven't seen Atalanta again.

[80] HAMMER was directed by Steve Polivka, one of our film editors. I'm extremely fond of it. I think it's one of our more underrated episodes. It's mostly what I wrote. We couldn't do that kind of story anymore with Kevin playing a dual role on camera 95% of the episode. Not since his accident. He's recovered, but we would not want to put that kind of stress on him. HAMMER was 95% Kevin on the screen. It was great, but we could never do another episode like that again.


Callisto roats her own marshmallows

Callisto gets a little too happy with the fireballs in ARMAGEDDON NOW.

[81] Then we get the double whammy of ARMAGEDDON NOW.

[82] Now as we get into the second half of the season, this is the "Kevin Lite" or "Kevin Free" part of the season. As you know he had an aneurysm and a series of small strokes, so he was down for the count for awhile. We were scrambling to come up with Kevin Free shows. MEN IN PINK came out of that, as did PORKULES, and YES VIRGINIA. I think it was a lot of great stuff. It forced us to be creative.

[83] As with Lucy we wished it had never happened. We all felt bad for Kevin. But the writers had an opportunity to come up with some off-the-wall stuff. There were constant meetings, emergency meetings, throwing out scripts and stories that had been prepared and coming up with new ones. Do you remember the scene in YES VIRGINIA where Michael Hurst as me is saying "What if we trap Hercules in the vortex?"

[84] Yes!

[85] That's literally how ARMAGEDDON came about. What happened with XENA was, with TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, they had already shot INTIMATE STRANGER where Callisto and Xena swap bodies. That was a fully self-contained episode. At the end, Xena goes back into her own body. After Lucy's accident, they called me in and said "Here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna recut the end of INTIMATE STRANGER so Xena doesn't get back into her own body and we're going to carry that over into TEN LITTLE WARLORDS." It was my job to do that re-write. So I thought maybe we should apply a similar band-aid to HERCULES. We had STRANGER which hadn't aired yet but was coming up fast. I said to Rob, "Here's what I propose we do: We recut the ending of STRANGER so Herc gets caught in the vortex with the Sovereign."

[86] He liked that idea but it was too late. STRANGER was already going out to stations via satellite to air that weekend. So we could not fiddle with that episode. I said "We'll do another episode starting from scratch where Herc gets trapped in the vortex in the first act with the Sovereign." That would allow 85% of the story to take place without Hercules. Someone said "Let's do TERMINATOR where someone travels through time to try and kill Herc's mother."

[87] The whole thing was a mad scramble to get a two-part episode together. It might have started out as a one part, I don't remember. It was so big it became a two- parter. Lucy became available for two days and did her part. I really wanted to write both parts, but both halves were due at the same time. I plotted both stories out and wound up having to give away the teleplay to part two.

[88] You had the particularly challenging task, in my opinion, of having to come up with Callisto's backstory.

[89] Let me tell you, I was kind of disappointed with that. I couldn't do what I really, really wanted to do. I wanted to tell the true story of what really went on in Cirra. A surprise revelation of what happened with young Callisto there. I had something specific that I shouldn't tell you because there's a one- percent chance that might yet get done on XENA someday. In other words, I had an idea and Liz really sparked to it. R.J. however felt, and rightly so, I fully understand his motivations, that since Callisto is primarily a XENA character tied closely to Xena's past, if such a revelation is to be made it should happen on XENA and not on HERCULES. I agreed and said "R.J., you're absolutely right, I won't do that on HERCULES."

[90] So then what do we do? We have to do something. I think it was Alex who came up with the idea "How about she ends up killing her own parents? She tries to do good but she's such a psycho it goes wrong." I thought it made a good scene, but it's meaningless because at the end of the day we're going to roll back the clock and say it never happened. Whereas the revelation I had in mind would have really happened and we would have just learned about it. I was slightly disappointed that I couldn't do what I wanted to do, but we got to do something else that was exciting.

Return of Callisto!

[91] It's already on the Internet that Hudson is coming back, otherwise I wouldn't mention this. But since the secret is already out, I can tell you I'd like to write Callisto into this last HERCULES that I'm doing. I wouldn't get to do what I wanted to do originally, but I would get to do something along the same lines. She'll be in the season ender of XENA and in the season opener of XENA. We'd also like to have her in the season opener of HERCULES but we're still negotiating that. I don't know yet if that's going to happen.

[92] There sure are a lot of people who will look forward to seeing her, I can tell you.

[93] It was no trick when I killed her off in SACRIFICE 2. They felt the character had outlived its usefulness and Hudson was going on to make movies and couldn't do the show anymore. A month ago at a convention someone asked me about that and I said "Believe me, I don't think we're going to see Callisto again."

[94] It was to my surprise she's booked for XENA again. Now it may be as a karmic spirit or it may be as a time travel thing or it may be something else altogether, I don't want to reveal details. But yes, Hudson is back, on XENA at least, and we're all happy about it.


I...uh...who am I again?

Iolaus loses his train of thought in WAR WOUNDS.

[95] Then we have WAR WOUNDS. I was particularly fond of this episode. I really enjoyed it.

[96] Thank you. That was one that had been scheduled for earlier in the season when Kevin was 100%. In other words, Hercules would have been the lead throughout that entire episode. As it wound up shooting, he's in the teaser for a little bit, then he gets called away and pops up later. I had to do a series of re-writes just cutting Hercules out of that story.

[97] Luckily we had Iolaus who was also a war vet to play a lot of those scenes. At one point I thought we were reaching the point where I said "Why do we have Hercules in this thing at all?" I think I suggested bringing Meleager in and saying he was a veteran and Meleager and Iolaus could go to the island together. But Tim Thomerson had never been seen on HERCULES before, only on XENA, and they didn't want to bring him in on such a major role. Finally it was decided that Kevin was up to coming back, but he was only up to about 30% capacity. I think the show got hurt because of that. It played out as Iolaus' story about halfway through, and then Iolaus gets pushed aside and Hercules' back.

[98] But we also get to see Iphicles again, who's a very popular character.

[99] I realize that. Kevin Smith played Iphicles on HERC before he played Ares. Ares became a more prominent character. It seemed odd to me going back to have him play Iphicles. I had a generic king character already in that story. It was Liz who suggested Iphicles, and she was absolutely right, so I wrote it that way. I heard a number of people say "I saw Kevin Smith in the credits, but where was Ares?" It was a testament to his ability that he was able to disappear into that character.

[100] The returning veterans put you in mind of the Vietnam vets of our time.

[101] That was exactly my intent. I must say, it was Rob's idea to do a story about war vets, but I turned it into "GOING HOME". He was a little taken aback and wanted to do more of an action show, but I crammed it with plenty of action by using the sand sharks.

[102] Those things spooked me from Day One. OUTER LIMITS flashbacks, perhaps.

[103] I did have the serious social issue I was talking about, though. I wasn't in Vietnam myself but I had friends who were of draft age.

[104] I'm sure you knew people who went.

[105] Absolutely. I didn't want to shortchange that element of the story. I wanted to treat it honestly. I think I did. I wish we could do more stories like that. I'd like to say more things about modern society. Rob's concerned about the show becoming preachy. Overall I feel good about that show and I've gotten good, strong reaction to it.

[106] You can't go wrong with Nebula.

[107] Let me tell you about that! She was in the episode because FAITH, originally scheduled for last season, went this season, and they wanted to build the Nebula/Iolaus relationship prior to FAITH. I didn't think Nebula really fit into WAR WOUNDS. She wasn't a veteran herself. She had no connection to the issue or any of the characters involved. She had a ship and that was able to get the characters back and forth to the island but that was it.

[108] I have nothing against Gina Torres, she's terrific, but at first I fought against Nebula being in that particular show and I lost, but then I went along and tried to use her to good advantage. If the character seems shoehorned in, that's the reason, because FAITH was supposed to come immediately after WAR WOUNDS. The whole season got thrown into chaos though.


[109] Then we have TOP GOD.

[110] TOP GOD was another of the emergency shows. It was thrown together and we used another YOUNG HERC episode. I can't really take credit for that story, it was gang- banged out by the entire staff at the time. Gerry Brown, Alex, Bob, myself, Liz, all in the conference room. It wasn't even determined until it was half on the board that I was going to be the one to take it away and write it, put it on paper and come back with it. The point here was we were looking for another god villain other than Ares. We tried Apollo, but Apollo didn't work. He wasn't supposed to come off as a male version of Aphrodite at all. I saw him more as a frat kid. He wasn't supposed to be boogie boarding, he was supposed to be riding lightning bolts. They couldn't make that work, though. So he became a boogie-boarder.

[111] Again, just as I had with WAR WOUNDS, I tried to make a contemporary issue out of Young Herc accepting the ambrosia. I turned that into a kids in school, peer pressure to use drugs issue. Again, Rob probably wasn't crazy about it, but we went with it. That episode is not close to my heart because it wasn't a story I was dying to do, then I left it and Gerry Brown ended up doing the script because I left to do SACRIFICE II. So I couldn't even follow that episode all the way through. I don't mean to be badmouthing it, it's perfectly watchable, but it just doesn't jump out as one of my favorites.


[112] After that we have GENIES, GRECIANS, AND GEEKS.

[113] That came about after I did the Norse thing. I went through many drafts of the Norse saga for what seemed like months. Rob wasn't happy with it and I ended up leaving it behind. Someone else took it over. They were in the middle of this whole Dahak arc, which I wasn't nuts about.

[114] You mentioned that at the Santa Monica Convention. You commented how glad you were the Dahak arc was finished.

[115] I was. I didn't directly write any of those episodes. Not that I refused to, I would have had they needed me to. I just wasn't into it. I didn't agree with turning the show into a serial and dragging that thing out over 12 episodes.

[116] Therefore, when it came time for me to do something else, they said "We need an Autolycus show, we have a Bruce Campbell commitment. We want you to develop that show independent of the Dahak arc." I said "Fine, I love Autolycus." I hadn't written him since END OF THE BEGINNING.

[117] Salmoneus really shone in that episode too. Robert Trebor got to play three parts.

[118] We hadn't seen Salmoneus since MEN IN PINK and everyone loved the chemistry between those two characters. Someone said "Let's team them up again." Bruce had a commitment, so he was definitely in. The question was, was Herc going to be in it or not? If he had been in it, we would have had to wait until after the 12-episode Dahak arc. We couldn't do a comedy in the middle of those unless Herc wasn't in it altogether. So it was determined we'd have to do it without him. Rob aired it fourth this season because the other episodes were so dark and grim he needed some relief. I think the station owners thought Kevin was ill again or something, because here we had a HERC episode with no Herc in it. But it was done simply because he couldn't be in it, Hercules was off in Norway or Ireland.

[119] When they asked me to come up with the Autolycus story I went home that night and came back the next day with 22 one-line possible Autolycus stories. One of which was THE 4-D MAN, the old Robert Lansing picture about the guy who could walk through walls but he couldn't touch anything. I thought it would be cool if we could do that with Autolycus -- he has to steal something but he can't touch it. I also had a MULTIPLICITY story based on the Michael Keaton movie. But I had already done multiple Autolycii in END OF THE BEGINNING. Someone suggested we could bring in Salmoneus and he could be the one who splits. Then someone suggested linking it together with a genie. But I said, "Rob's never going to go for that because Rob hates magic and I don't know how you pitch a genie and make it not seem like magic." I got the idea of a she-genie and pitched it as Sandra Bernhardt. I said, "That's who it's going to be and she's not gonna take any lip from these guys."

[120] Rob thought that was terrific and he got right on the phone to Sandra Bernhardt's agent. Turns out she's a fan of the show apparently and might have done it but she was pregnant at the time and couldn't go to New Zealand. Then it became a matter of casting. I had a whole list of other names, like Catherine O'Hara and Jan Hooks, any one of whom would have done well. We ended up not with an American at all but with a kiwi comedienne.


[121] I was happy with the script, frankly. I hadn't done much slapstick. Actually, ONE FOWL DAY, from last season, the giant chicken episode, was heavily mine. Adam [Armus] and [Nora] Kay [Foster] wrote the original draft but it had to be thrown out because it was originally a Kevin story. When Kevin was down for the count we had to throw that out and come up with an original story from scratch. We still credited it to those writers, but Gerry Brown and I really did it. The giant chicken was my idea. I got to do slapstick there, and then I got to do slapstick with GENIES. I was an old THREE STOOGES fan, as is Rob. I liked it a lot, but casting-wise didn't quite work out to satisfaction.

[122] Bruce Campbell is always great. I had lunch with Robert Trebor and told him about it, he was delighted to be going back. We've kind of short-changed Salmoneus lately. I felt we could make up for it by having him play a multitude of roles in one episode.


[123] You were credited with the story for NORSE BY NORSEVEST.

[124] What happened there was I had worked on that two- parter for months earlier that season. I researched Norse mythology. I read EATERS OF THE DEAD by Michael Crichton, which Rob wanted me to read. He wanted to do Viking and Norse gods, and Odin and Thor. I was happy to throw myself into that. It was independent of the Dahak arc that was in development. But I couldn't nail it to Rob's satisfaction. He wanted the mistletoe scene where Balder is killed. I couldn't work that into the story. I thought Herc would look like a sap if he's the one that throws the mistletoe. So I didn't nail that.

[125] After many tries, they took the entire two-parter and boiled it down into the first half of the finished product. They threw out a lot of other elements I had in there, like Brunhilde and the Valkyries. Gerry Conway took it over and added Ragnarok. It all became very dark. I wanted to do something lighter. I wanted Thor to be a fun character after all the Dahak darkness. I'm not sure it worked all that well. I wasn't happy with some of the casting.

[126] I thought the New Zealand people did a terrific job with the sets. I thought the show really looked like HERC went to a foreign land. I didn't think that look was achieved with Ireland, I thought Ireland looked a lot like New Zealand. [both laugh] But I think it was successful going to Norway. It looked like they went to a cold climate. The snow we saw, the ice cave they built for Loki. I wasn't all that happy with the rainbow bridge itself.

[127] The title was mine, though. A lot of the action was mine. The general arc of the Herc/Thor relationship was mine but I don't think it was as fully realized as it could have been.

[128] I've heard a number of people say they were happy to see an attempt at change of location, and several people liked the Ireland and Norway stories. I've also heard it mentioned that it gave Kevin Sorbo a chance to do some different things and they appreciate that as well.

[129] Absolutely. I agree with all of that. I'm just saying maybe we could have done those stories a little better, and I take some responsibility for the Norse stories because I attempted to do it and wasn't fully successful. There's a lot more to do with the Norse gods, and I wouldn't mind seeing them again, but there's nothing on the schedule right now.

[130] Oh, and let me say something about the character Loki is speaking to in the ice cave. That's supposed to be Dahak. More specifically, that's supposed to be Iolaus as Dahak. By that point Dahak has possessed Iolaus' body. So why he had a claw for a hand I can't answer you. The way things were written last season, sometimes continuity went for sh*t. They were shot way out of sequence. Things were kept secret and sometimes so secret people forgot what was supposed to happen. So I look at that episode and I cringe at parts of it, but other parts were very successful. It was ambitious, and there's nothing wrong with being ambitious. It showed a whole other set of gods.


Velasca's clothes fit me.  You got a problem with that?

Ephiny was a welcome sight in SKY HIGH.

[131] Next on the broadcast list for the season so far we have SKY HIGH. People were so pleased to see Ephiny come back.

[132] I'm glad about that. SKY HIGH was sort of a sore point for me. I had mixed feelings about it. I'm kind of fond of the show as I look at it. The script was taken away after I was done with it and was completely overhauled. The characterizations were blunted, I felt. The dialogue, some of it, was embarrassing.

[133] More than one person has asked me "How come Ephiny had to sprain her ankle?"

[134] I hated that. I absolutely hated it. I wrote the disclaimer for that show, saying "Ephiny's leg was not harmed but the writer does apologize to Amazons everywhere for writing her out of the big finale." I didn't do that and I want it on the record that I didn't do that. [both laugh]

[135] I don't even know why it was done. Frankly, had it been Iolaus or Autolycus or any male character I doubt we would have broken their leg and left them behind at the finale. I hated it. I just can't explain it. Well, let me back up. The episode was based on WAGES OF FEAR, about a bunch of French truck drivers hauling nitro glycerin. I thought HERC needed to get back to adventure after the Dahak arc. This would give him a chance to be a hero. We didn't have nitro but we had explosive crystals from Atlantis and I thought "Yeah, we can make that work."

[136] Originally they wanted Nebula in the episode because she had a commitment. Then I came up with the idea of a convict and connection with a centaur. But with WAGES OF FEAR, where I got the idea from initially, that had all the characters working toward a common goal. There was no infighting among them. So I wanted to ratchet it up and not only is Herc hauling explosives, but everyone on the mission hates everyone else, guys on the outside are shooting arrows, so I overloaded the thing.

[137] I was generally happy with the story. Liz supported me with the story. Nebula dropped out at some point and we had to have someone else for Herc's partner. It couldn't be Iolaus 2 because that would be too much of a jump for him. If he was going to be a big hero on this mission, how could we have him jump at his shadow afterwards? Alex fought for the Dirk character from MERCENARY, he wanted to bring him back. I said "I love Jeremy Roberts, I have nothing against him, but I don't see how he fits into this story." Somebody else wanted it to be Jason but I didn't want it to be a man at all. I wanted a female presence in there. I pitched Atalanta, but there was the old Cory Everson problem of availability.

[138] After a long, long time, in a meeting one day, I had overlooked her previously and I said "Hey, why not Ephiny?" We already had a centaur in the story and there's a long established rivalry with Amazons and Centaurs. Rob had talked about how great she was. We hadn't seen her in awhile, not on HERC since PRODIGAL SISTER. She was available and I was extremely happy to bring Ephiny to that story.

[139] I wanted to re-establish Ephiny as a heroic figure. I thought she was shortchanged a little in the last XENAs she had done. I gave her a big independent fight scene in the middle of the episode. While Herc is saving a wagon from being blown up she goes off and deals with these guys in the woods. I was glad to bring Ephiny back and use Danielle again and was extremely upset when it was taken out of my hands. I don't know how an Amazon breaks her leg crossing a bridge. [both laugh] I thought it was ridiculous, but no one paid attention to me.

[140] SKY HIGH on balance is a good show. I think it's the kind of show we should be doing. But it wasn't strictly what I wrote, and I'm sorry about that.


[141] And the last one we've seen from you so far is STRANGER AND STRANGER.

[142] There's a big history to this one. It started out as the big 3-D episode. Rob said there would be a huge amount of money going into it and we should make it the sequel to STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD. We'll bring Lucy back for it and we'll go all out. I worked for months with the 3-D technical people they had hired as to how to best take advantage of the process. I went through a lot of drafts of the story. Rob wasn't happy with a bunch of them.

[143] Remember, I had Callisto and the Sovereign in the netherworld at the end of ARMAGEDDON NOW. At the top of SACRIFICE Callisto gets out, minus the Hind's Blood Pendant which the Sovereign obviously kept. Something went on between the Sovereign and Callisto during those months in the netherworld that I was interested in learning about. I said since this is the netherworld and we make up the rules and anything can happen in this bizzaro world, the Sovereign is pregnant.

[144] We were going to do JUNIOR, the Arnold Schwartzenegger movie, where the Sovereign is pregnant with Callisto's child. Liz thought that was fun and she wanted the child to be Jonathan Winters. This was all far too wacky for Rob to get a handle on so we did other passes at the story. I spent time working with the 3-D people to take advantage of the technology. We would have had to schlep camera equipment over there. It would have been too heavy for the camera operator to do any hand-held shots.

[145] A massive amount of publicity would have to be poured into that show. People would have had to pick up the glasses to watch it at 7-11. There would have to be merchandising tie-ins. It just became too big.

[146] By the time the 3-D plug was pulled, I had already worked out the story. I finally had a story everyone was happy with. The Universal executives kept getting into it since this was going to be a heavily promoted show. They got involved with the story and sent notes, which they never do normally. Suddenly we have to please all these people all over the place. I kept doing a draft of the story and then had to sit for a week or two to have a meeting before moving on again. So it was start and stop, start and stop, for many months.

[147] While I was waiting I developed SKY HIGH. So then they asked me to do stories beyond that. I had stories lined up like planes on a runway, waiting to go. Then I got the go-ahead on both at the same time so I couldn't write both of them. I left STRANGER and went on to SKY HIGH. I don't know if STRANGER AND STRANGER works or not.

[148] After the 3-D plug was pulled, Lucy was out. So we brought Nebula in without changing a word, just changed the character name. So the empress became Nebula instead of Xena. Bruce Campbell came in to direct and I think he was relieved it was no longer a 3-D episode. I think we'd still be shooting if it was.

[149] I wasn't nuts about the labyrinth. I was told that the gods would be trapped and Herc and Iolaus 2 would have to go through a labyrinth. I had had it with labyrinths. There were far too many on this show. But that was to utilize the 3-D effects. The giant snake would be cool in 3-D. For that reason the labyrinth and snake sequence came out disappointing to me because it's not in 3-D.

[150] I think Kevin had a lot of fun playing the Sovereign again. I didn't want to kill the Sovereign, that was something I was told to do. What did you think of it?

[151] I liked it. As you say, it's very hard to follow an act like STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD, but I thought it was a good effort.

[152] I think Alex and Bob topped themselves with the YES VIRGINIA sequel. It was a lot funnier than the original. I had hoped to get there with STRANGER AND STRANGER but I don't think I did.

On Being a Fictitious Character

[153] Speaking of alternate universes, how do you feel about seeing yourself portrayed, twice now, as the chain- smoking "lounge lizard" character, which I'm sure isn't anything like you in real life?

[154] [laughs] Michael [Hurst] has caught the essence of the real me. [both laugh] Actually, there's a little bit of truth in every one of those characters. A lot more with Rob than the rest of us. It is true that I go to Vegas and I do play blackjack. The guys picked that up and went with it. I was delighted. How often do you not only get to write for a show, but be portrayed as a character on that show? I loved it.

Santa Monica Convention

Nothing up my sleeve...

Santa Monica Convention photo courtesy Debbie Cassetta.

[155] I was interested too in a couple of comments you made at the Santa Monica convention and if you felt like expounding on those.

[156] Sure.

[157] You did take a lot of flak from fans when Iolaus was killed off.

[158] People have been writing to me since then, since I accepted the petition and I said I'd be happy to write back to anyone who sends me a letter. I didn't feel that I was being beat up on. From my memory, only about 5 percent of the time was taken up with those questions. Did it seem like more to you?

[159] The feeling that I got from talking to a lot of people after the fact was that you were unfairly dumped on for this particular event. After all, you were the guy who stood up there and took questions, for which I think people should be grateful.

[160] It's true that I had nothing to do with it. Other people on staff developed it and Rob OK'd it, and I didn't write any of it directly. Not that I wouldn't have if they asked me to do it, as I said before. I voiced my objections and hopefully I didn't b*tch about it all season.

[161] I thought we had made mistakes. But as far as the Iolaus thing goes I know we're going places with it at the end of the season that the audience doesn't know yet. Some of the audience is being somewhat unfair in that regard. There's more to the story yet to see. Alex and Bob didn't go up there because they got threats. I fully understand their not speaking after something like that.

[162] I heard about that. That sort of thing is inexcusable.

[163] I think some of the extreme fans have to own up to some responsibility for them not being there.

[164] I absolutely agree. Threats like that are intolerable.

[165] But I didn't feel beat on. One woman at the microphone said something about not finding STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD so funny. I thought later to say "Thanks for sharing!" It didn't occur to me at the moment. Of the shows I've had my name on, some have been greater than others, I've had a few minor disappointments, but nothing I've been ashamed of.

[166] I think the silent majority is far more prevalent. A fan friend of mine didn't actually do this, but he told me before you spoke he wanted to get into the question line to thank you for "being the man who saved HERCULES." He appreciated a lot of your stories and many others have shared that with me too.

[167] If people write me a letter I always try to respond. There are certain things we're not allowed to say, as you know. I can't give away specific plot developments. I encourage people to watch the season finale the week of May 17. Even if you have been discouraged this season, I encourage people to tune in that show. If you don't like things after that, thanks for watching up to now.

[168] You can't please all the people all the time, on this show or any show. People have accused us of intentionally trying to destroy the show. That's ridiculous. This show is worth millions to Rob. He's not going to allow that to happen.

Leaving Hercules

[169] I understand at the conclusion of this HERCULES season you're going to be going back to XENA?

[170] I'm ending staff here at HERCULES. I go through March 16. I'm writing an episode for next season. Then I'm basically freelancing. I may possibly go to some other show. I doubt I'll write any more HERCs. If Rob wanted me to write something I'd gladly do it. I just don't think there's going to be a need. All the assignments are going to be eaten up pretty fast. But XENA, of course, I just love the show. XENA will go on at least another year beyond HERC. I'm definitely available, and I love working with Steve and R.J. and Chris. It's high on my list of shows I want to get back to doing.

More seasons for XENA

[171] The last thing the general fan community has heard was this is pretty certainly going to be HERC's last next year, and probably the last for XENA too. Do you think that's likely?

[172] No, the shows have always been a year apart because HERC started before XENA. It's always been that HERC would end a year before XENA.

[173] So as far as you know the plan is for XENA to go on one more year beyond HERC.

[174] Yes. And there are certain behind-the-scenes situations that no one on the Internet has picked up on yet. I expect that to happen any day now, things I can't talk about yet. I don't want to make it sound like some veil of secrecy or some secret reason why I'm leaving. But there are certain things about next season that no one's picked up on yet, so I shouldn't say anything.

The Future

No doubt about it -- I gotta get me another hat!

Many fans hope to see more of Paul Robert Coyle's work. Photo courtesy Debbie Cassetta.

[175] What are things coming up for you personally that you're excited about?

[176] Well I want to go on record as saying this has been a tremendous two years. I've loved every minute of this. Rob and Liz haven't always been easy people to work for -- they're not writers and they don't think like writers. But it's been a joy and a privilege to work for them. I have nothing but the highest regard for them. I hope they think kindly of the work I've done for them.

[177] I'd like to work for Renaissance again. I'd be back to XENA in a minute as soon as R.J. needs me. Other than that, I'll go out and start looking around. I'd love to be on staff. I love to be a night person. They're very flexible here. I love to work at night and I don't have to be here in the daytime except for meetings. I always have been, I've never missed one. But I've never been a 9 to 5 person.

[178] It's about 5:30 PM here, and after this I'll go home and get some sleep, then come back here at midnight and work until the morning. I have been the night shift at Renaissance for two years. A lot of shows wouldn't tolerate that. They want the person here during the day for impromptu meetings. This show has been very accommodating to me in that regard. I'm extremely grateful to them. I don't know if others would be as far as a staff position goes. But it will be interesting to get out there and see.

[179] I haven't written a contemporary show in awhile. I've written my fill of cop and detective shows. It might be nice to get back to writing a show where people can talk on the phone to each other. [both laugh] The answer is I don't know what my immediate plans are. Maybe a vacation.

[180] In any case, best of luck to you in whatever you do, and I very much appreciate your taking the time to talk about your work.

[181] I hope I've been able to give you something interesting.


Bret Rudnick Bret Rudnick
Whoosh! Staff
IAXS Executive Committee
"You can never have too much money or too many Amazons"
When he's not working for a big Science/Engineering company that (amongst other things) designs, builds, launches, and operates exploratory spacecraft, Bret writes fantasy novels and short stories. Bret is a man of many skills, having also previously been an Olympic-qualified archer, a drummer in the Butch Grinder Band, a news reader for Public Television Station KVCR, and a Deputy Sheriff for the County of San Bernardino, California. He also collects Japanese swords, armor, and art. He and his dog hunt down stray Bacchae in New England.
Favorite episode: HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206), and THE QUEST (37/213)
Favorite line: Xena: "What's this?" Gabrielle: "I'm... an amazon princess?" Xena (rolls eyes): "Great." HOOVES AND HARLOTS, 10/110; Xena after being goosed by Joxer: "Are you suicidal?" WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP, 30/206; Joxer: "Ha. Ha." A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222); Autolycus: "I'm not just leering at scantily clad women, you know, I'm working!" THE QUEST (37/213)
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)
Least favorite episode: IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404)

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