Bringing Out the Warrior Princess

However much fans might
wish for another season of their favorite show, not even out lesbian Xena
producer and writer Liz Friedman (pictured left, and currently a producer on Fox’s House)
thinks it would come back as an ancient Greek action-adventure version of The L

“As much as I would
love to see it — and I’m speaking as somebody who watches The L Word obsessively — there was something really
wonderful and romantic about the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle,”
she told “And I think it’s actually easier to have romance
without sex. You don’t then get into issues about ‘Will this relationship last?’
There was never — well, until they started killing each other’s children — the
question of a breakup.”

I asked if she thought that
times had changed enough that a series could now be made with two legendary
female heroes shown unambiguously as romantic partners.

“If you look at the
lesbian relationships that are on TV now, it’s either niche-market stuff like The L Word, or it’s Cashmere Mafia that gets you all excited
because there’s a kiss in the pilot, and then by Episode 3 she’s hitting on
boys again,” Friedman said. “Certainly in a single-lead action show
we’re not ready for an openly gay heroine yet. Well, I think we’re ready
for it. I don’t think the networks are going to let us do it.”

Then she laughed. “Look,
obviously I’m biased. I loved the show the way it was, so it’s like, don’t talk
about messing with my Xena. It worked
pretty well, thanks very much. … If I were doing the Xena movie I would try to get there to be a kiss, but there are
plenty of ways that you can do that without changing what the relationship is.”

That raises the question
of just how much would have to change in order to bring the subtext into the

It’s undeniable that
there are some scenes — and even whole episodes — where it’s hard to make sense
of what happens without believing that Xena and Gabrielle are at least a little
bit more than friends. Most of the time, these moments occur in the more
humorous episodes, but as series writer Steven Sears told, “We
didn’t cross the line completely but … these are two women who live together,
travel together, had domestic duties together, die for each other, fought for
each other, continually say how much they loved each other, but no. They’re not
in a loving relationship.”

Steven Sears talking with Christie Keith

He shook his head. “Excuse

Writer Katherine Fugate (currently
executive producer of Army Wives) sees it much the same way. She is the
author of “When Fates Collide,” widely considered one of the most
subtext-friendly — and romantic — episodes in the entire series.

Katherine Fugate

Set in an alternate
universe where Xena’s old enemy, Julius Caesar, has imprisoned the Fates and
used their loom to undo the events that led up to his assassination, “When
Fates Collide” is about the inevitability of both destiny and love.