Author’s Note 3-25-16: This is my personal reaction to the speculation surrounding the news that a Xena pilot has been ordered for a reboot. Obviously the world of TV is ever-changing, and this is all very early conjecture.
It’s funny that this news came out last week because I’ve recently been trying to re-watch the original Xena these last few weeks on Netflix. So far it’s been slow going; I have to watch it in bits and pieces because otherwise I feel overwhelmed by the ’90s and nostalgia for my childhood. I felt conflicted at first when I heard the news about the Xena reboot, but probably not for the reason a lot of other people are.
The producers have revealed that in the reboot, Xena will be an out and proud lesbian. This is huge and wonderful news, because a key relationship that was only ever sub-textually hinted at in the original will now be a main focus of the reboot. For a mainstream network (rumors are saying the pilot is being put on by NBC) this is a huge leap forward. I’m happy, and definitely want to see what a 2016 Xena show could look like. Better graphics, better writing, there’s so many possibilities for improvement.
But I’m also a little disappointed. In re-watching the show, my honest opinion is that Xena is bisexual. I’m sure a lot of that comes from the fact that they had to show relationships with men to draw a more mainstream crowd in the ’90s, and they couldn’t do more than hint at a relationship with Gabrielle. The fact that they felt that they had to choose only between two options for the reboot, though, is part of a bigger problem with bisexual erasure in our culture.