It's the 10th anniversary of Xena: Warrior Princess. My article, What We Owe Xena, appeared last week in Salon.com. (If you have trouble accessing the content as a non-subscriber -- Salon requires you to watch an ad -- you can also read it here.)
I suppose I could have prefaced this with a disclaimer like "A little frivolity to cap the weekend," or "we all have our guilty pleasures." (In linking the article, ms. musings calls yours truly "an unabashed fan," and Tim Cavanaugh at Hit & Run an "out-of-the closet Xenaholic.") But I have no apologies. It was a great show -- campy, yes, but also smart, funny, well-written, well-acted, feminist in the best sense of the word (women on Xena were simply human, no better or worse than men, and the show never beat the viewer over the head with a female-empowerment message), and at times capable of greater depth and complexity than critical favorites like, say, The West Wing.
In related news, Xena is No. 12 on Boston.com's list of Top 50 sci-fi shows (a definition that obviously includes fantasy as well as sci-fi). A few of my other favorites rank high as well: The Outer Limits, No. 13; Sliders, No. 10; The Twilight Zone, No. 7; Stargate SG-1, No. 6 (though I lost interest after the first three seasons); and the original Star Trek, for which I have a quaint affection, No. 1. No Prisoner or Farscape, though, which is a shame. But nice to see Xena get her due.