UK DVD release
Series 1 (eps 1-12)
September 17th 2001
Universal Playback

US XENA, Trek and Sci Fi Convention
Dearborn, Michigan
October 13-14
Hudson Leick and Kevin Smith
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Sorbo Slags Off XENA!!
27th September 2001
Thanks to Mark A for scanning these extracts from Kevin Sorbo's interview in SFX Magazine.

All of which brings us, albeit in a roundabout way, to something Kevin Sorbo is more than willing to discuss in great detail: his feelings on Hercules' sister show, Xena. And he's not a happy bunny.

"I never really watch that show that much, to be honest with you; I didn't like the fact that, er... there was a big fight with the producers - well, Rob Tapert - who was responsible for Hercules. The idea about Xena was to spin off a series by the end of season two of Hercules would be compatible with it, and what happened was they made her a female Hercules, except a far more violent one! In that show they had two issues that separated it from Hercules: one, it was heavily into lesbianism, as people know, and number two: it was heavily into violence. It was far more violent than Hercules was. She killed 20 people an episode, Hercules killed two people in seven seasons! So it became much darker and..."

Stopping mid-flow, he frowns for the first time, and for a moment we get a glimpse of genuine irritation behind those sparkling eyes. "I don't know what happened with that show!" he declares, flatly. "I think they should have had more crossover episodes; I think the shows could have worked together more; I think that even though she lived in the mythological world of Hercules she shouldn't have been able to beat the gods, you know? She should have been beating up the evil warlords and kings and tyrants and things like this; that way the shows could have crossed over in more of an effective way. I think they missed the boat with that. I don't know what happened. It just got strange. I heard they killed her at the end, I don't know, is this true? [We nod] See, I never... I don't know. But it's TV. They killed Iolaus three times, too."

Ah, but lolaus's alarming tendency to croak was somewhat lessened by his uncanny ability to come back from the dead, with his "final" death softened when an Iolaus from another dimension took his place. What was with that? Uh-oh. Sorbo is off again.

"I hated that! That was a storyline that I absolutely hated. I fought the writers on that. I fought the producers on that. I said, 'This is stupid; why treat the audience like they're idiots?' You know, you do it once, and that's it, but otherwise don't keep doing it, because then if anybody dies, why don't we just bring them back? Why not just bring back my family? You know? Nuts. It drove me nuts. I had big arguments with [Tapert] about that, but I think ultimately I was right and he was wrong."

And he hasn't finished railing on Xena, yet. The floodgates have been opened. Stand back, Warrior Princesses everywhere. "Xena took all my directors, they took half my writing staff, they took everybody to go and work for that show. They took half my crew! So, you know, it upset a few people, including myself But I just think of it as like, why are you stabbing us in the back? We're the show that started it! So it was kind of weird... it was a weird vibe. We never really saw them. People think because we shot in New Zealand, you know, we had, like, seven locations, and because each crew was so big, we could never be in the same location at the same time, so we would rotate. You know, I would bump into them once every four months and say, 'Hi, how ya doing?"'

Blimey! We had no idea there was all this tension between the shows. "Oh, yeah!" nods Sorbo. "All kinds of tension! Oh, but on my show we all got along famously. We got along really great. I was frustrated because I really think both shows could have benefited by a better working relationship and it never happened."

Both the shows were similar, that can't be denied. "Renee O'Connor was actually a female version of Iolaus, you know," Sorbo agrees. "She'd be the goofy one getting in trouble and landing in the mud pie or falling into a vat of grapes, or something."

Except, of course, he wasn't having an affair with Iolaus, unlike Xena and Gabrielle's oft-discussed relationship. "Uh, no. We were flaming heterosexuals!" Sorbo says loudly, and then chuckles. "We made jokes about it, though: Hercules And Iolaus: The Untold Adventures! We didn't do any spooning things. He did dress up. He liked wearing dresses."

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