Whoosh! Issue 75 - January 2003

By Xiomara Suro
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
1487 words

Flattery Gets You ??? (01-03)
Seeing Double (04-05)
And the Band Played On (06-07)
Fish Out of Water (08-10)
Bring Out Your Dead (11-13)
Kept Under Cover (14-15)
Short Shrift (16)


Flattery Gets You ???

If you act now, we won't send you the sequel!
BUFFY did a musical too, which caused problems instead of resolving them.

[01] It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We all know that Xena: Warrior Princess has been a precursor of many new female action shows in the late 1990's and the first years of the new millennium. After Xena roared onto the television market, in September 1995, we started to see shows like Relic Hunter, Dark Angel, and Alias popping up, shows portraying strong, independent women with the will and the ability to fight for what they believed was right.

[02] One of the most popular shows to emerge was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which premiered in March 1997. This series was based on the movie of the same name that was released in 1992 with Kristy Swanson in the title role of Buffy.

[03] Yet, flattery can go wrong sometimes. I will pinpoint some cases where Buffy has imitated Xena. On some occasions, the imitation paid off, but in others, it did not.

Seeing Double

[04] There were many times I would watch Xena and then a week later be watching Buffy and see something that was very similar to events that had taken place earlier on Xena. For example, in Season Two of Xena, Callisto escapes from Tartarus and takes over Xena's body and life in INTIMATE STRANGER. Then we see the same thing happen in Buffy in Season Four when Faith returns from a coma and switches bodies with Buffy in a two-part type episode entitled THIS YEAR'S GIRL and WHO ARE YOU.

[05] In both shows, this formula of body switching worked very well. It flowed easily and marvelously. The reason it worked so well was because of the four actors involved. On Xena, we had Lucy Lawless as Xena and Hudson Lieck as Callisto and on Buffy, we had Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy and Eliza Dushku as Faith. These actors had complete control of their respective characters and were able in turn to mimic the essence of the character of which they were taking the place. All four of those actors are very good, solid performers.

And the Band Played On

[06] Another instance in which the resemblance between the two shows was obvious was the use of musicals. Both shows have used musicals either to fix or to explain things in the show that would have taken a very long way to explain or solve otherwise. In some cases, they were another way to tackle a subject. In the case of Xena, the rift between Xena and Gabrielle was solved with the musical, THE BITTER SUITE in Season Three. Then later, in Season Five, in LYRE, LYRE, HEARTS ON FIRE, Xena revisited the musical venue. This time it was just for fun. At the same time on Buffy, it was ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING (better known as "The Buffy Musical") in which feelings and questions the characters had were presented and some were answered.

[07] On Xena, THE BITTER SUITE was an excellent musical. The music, the acting, the whole episode flowed marvelously. The second try at musicals on Xena was good also. It was just for fun, and you could see the cast was having a great time. However, I do not think things went all that well for Buffy and its musical. I know that many thought The Buffy Musical was very good, but when I saw it, it just did not do anything for me.

Fish Out of Water

Neither wanting to get their hair wet, a pushing match ensued
The XENA musical ended happy ever after... sort of.

[08] The Buffy Musical did not flow as easily as the musicals on Xena. The actors involved in the first Xena musical had total control of their characters. They seemed at ease with their characters and what their characters were doing in the musical. This was the same in the second Xena musical.

[09] Nevertheless, on Buffy, the actors seemed tense, as if they felt like fish out of water. They did not seem confident with what was going on and that translated to their performances and to the audience.

Bring Out Your Dead

[10] Another major coincidence between the two shows was the deaths of Xena and Gabrielle at the end of Season Four in IDES OF MARCH and their being brought back to life at the beginning of Season Five in FALLEN ANGEL. Buffy died at the end of Season Five in THE GIFT and was brought back to life at the beginning of Season Six in BARGAINING.

[11] Eli brought Xena and Gabrielle back to life, while Willow brought Buffy back to life. Both of those episodes were excellent. So, what is my complaint? The answer to this question is very simple. First, it only took Xena one episode to get over being brought back to life. She had changed and lost something in the transition from dead to living. That was all fixed in the episode CHAKRAM, and after that, Xena was back to normal for the rest of the season.

[12] With Buffy, she whined about the fact that she was dead and brought back to life all season long. It got to the point where even her sister told her so.

[13] I expected that after Buffy was brought back to life, she would have a few episodes of confusion and then get back to the business of killing vampires and demons. I also thought that during the run of Season Six, Buffy would get closer to her sister and friends since Giles was gone and she was the leader of the group. However, I was totally wrong. Buffy became a whiny, self-centered character, and the episodes felt like they were bouncing left and right with no real direction.

Kept Under Cover

[14] Then, for me, comes the subject of the subtext. The writers on Xena were able to keep the subtext in the show very carefully interwoven during the whole run of the series. Right up until the end, they kept it very tightly guarded.

[15] On the other hand, on Buffy, TPTB (the powers that be) made a bold decision. They decided to make Willow gay. As the show progressed, however, they found that it was hard to keep the gay relationship going (I personally do not understand why), so they resorted to a very cheap trick: killing off Tara. It was a bad move on their part. Tara gave the Scooby Gang, and especially Willow, a note of stability. She had become the matriarchal figure of that family of misfits. With her gone, the whole bunch fell apart. By bringing her back for the last few episodes and then killing her again, they did a disservice to the character and the show.

Short Shrift

[16] As far as flattery goes, Buffy has done a great job of flattering Xena, but has sometimes fallen very short of the standards established by Xena. Buffy is a very good show in its own right that deserves more acknowledgment than it has received. I enjoy the show very much, but for me the master is and will always be Xena: Warrior Princess.


Xiomara Suro. A View of Xena: Warrior Princess. Whoosh! #42 (March 2000)
Xiomara Suro. A Pregnant Action Hero: What a Concept. Whoosh! #58 (Jul 2001)
Xiomara Suro. Why This Ending. Whoosh! #59 (Aug 2001)
Xiomara Suro. The Xena Oxygen Marathon. Whoosh! #64 (Jan 2002)
Xiomara Suro. Did We Say Violence? Whoosh! #68 (May 2002)
Xiomara Suro. Friend In Need Revisited. Whoosh! #70 (July 2002)

Ms. Suro also writes reviews for the Whoosh episode guide.


the author Xiomara Suro
Xiomara Suro (Beboman) was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She retired from the military and a ten-year stint as a Coast Guard Special Agent, went to hide in Nevada, and worked for a time in a casino, in the surveillance department. After a few years of watching others playing, she decided that was no fun, so she left the casino life behind. Now she just works on writing short stories, poetry and trying to get her romance novel published. She also enjoys taking long motorcycles rides in the company of her husband "Wolfman." She is the mother of two and the grandmother of two.

Favorite episodes: WHEN FATES COLLIDE (130/618), ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69-70/401-402), IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124), and A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
Favorite lines: Xena: "Gimme, Gimme" A FRIEND IN NEED I (133/621); Xena: "Be Nice" THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
First episode seen: A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) (after a bad spill on a Harley)
Least favorite episode: GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), and IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404)



Return to Top Return to Index