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Xena: Warrior Princess (S1)
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: JaneBlo
Xena: Warrior Princess (S1) order
Director:
Various

Actors:
Lucy Lawless
Renee O'Connor
Kevin Smith

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
This great six-disc DVD set includes all 24 episodes of the first season of the television series XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. From the first-ever episode which introduces Xena (Lawless) and her sidekick the young Bard Gabrielle (O'Connor), the viewer follows the adventures of the two as they wander through different lands conquering evil, helping the needy and coming face-to-face with trouble and danger wherever they go. This first season serves as an introduction to many of the interesting characters and mythological entities that Xena viewers have come to know, love and hate throughout the entire six season run of the series.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Before getting her own TV series, the character of Xena made her TV debut in the first season of the popular TV show HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS as a wicked warlord who initially did not have a heart of gold but was in fact, quite evil. Then, in her final appearance on Hercules, Xena told Hercules that she had to go on her own and put right the things that she had done wrong in her past and that's exactly where the first episode of her own series starts off. Ultimately, the character of Xena redefined the role of the female action hero on TV. She is a fierce warrior but with values, honor and a heart of gold. The morale of the entire series is that one can indeed change for the better, even someone as cruel and heartless as Xena once used to be, and she proves this to the viewer episode after episode. Along with the help of her peace-loving, poetry-writing best friend and sidekick Gabrielle, Xena meets and conquers all kinds of weird and wonderful mythological creatures and characters including gods, giants, monsters, and villains.

Throughout the first season, we meet Valkyries, Centaurs, Titans, Amazons, as well as mythological characters such as Pandora, and historical people such as Helen of Troy and Homer. Not to mention Gods and Goddesses, such as my favorite, the God of War Ares. Throughout the entire series, the viewer is offered plenty of innuendos about the true nature of the relationship between Xena and her best friend/sidekick Gabrielle and the deep love that the two share is never clearly defined. This was often done tongue-in-cheek and became something of an inside joke for many of Xena’s fans. The one episode that ever came close to finally defining the love Xena and Gabrielle had for each other was “cut short” due to technical difficulties, thus permanently leaving the viewer with the burning question, “Are they or aren’t they?” This was a great move, in my opinion, because the mystery of their relationship is partly what made watching Xena and Gabrielle together so much fun. However, we do not see anything of this nature in the first season as Xena and Gabrielle are only “friends” here. We do, however, get some background information on the history of Xena’s life, adventures, friends and enemies all jam-packed into 1080 minutes of raw action and pure fun.

The first-ever episode, “Sins of the Past”, where the initial meeting between Xena and Gabrielle takes place is especially interesting to see again after all this time and was for that reason one of my favorites. The raw, natural beauty of New Zealand, where the series was filmed, is also something very beautiful to behold throughout, not to mention the natural beauty of the God of War Ares, portrayed beautifully by Kevin Smith, a wonderful actor who is sadly no longer with us. I always liked him. Callisto, Draco, Joxer, Prometheus, Hercules, the chakram, the Xena battlecry, all the usual Xena elements are also present here. My personal favorites on this DVD set were “The Reckoning” because of the intense interaction between Xena and her mentor, the God of War Ares. They really sizzle together on screen. Another classic was "Warrior…Princess” because of the humor and the twin/look-alike story-line which is always fun. My least favorite episode was “Athens City Academy of Performing Bards” due to way too many flashbacks which almost had it feeling like half a show rather than a full one. All in all, a wonderfully entertaining collection of some of all the classic Xena episodes.

Episode Guide List:

DISC 1: Sins of the Past, Chariots of War, Dreamworker, Cradle of Hope

DISC 2: The Path Not Taken, The Reckoning, The Titans, Prometheus

DISC 3: Death in Chains, Hooves and Harlots, The Black Wolf, Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts

DISC 4: Athens City Academy of Performing Bards, A Fistful of Dinars, Warrior…Princess, Mortal Beloved

DISC 5: The Royal Couple of Thieves, The Prodigal, Altared States, Ties that Bind

DISC 6: The Greater Good, Callisto, Death Mask, Is There A Doctor in the House?
THE EXTRAS
The extra features on this DVD set were disappointing, to be honest with you. They are the bare minimum and one has to wonder why this "deluxe" edition wasn't given more attention in terms of featurettes, commentary tracks, interviews, behind-the-scenes, etc...

Season I Photo Gallery: Features a pretty cool gallery of on-set and on-location shots of the Xena cast of characters. Nothing special.

Director and Actor Bios: Brief but thorough biographies of all the main actors and directors, I found this to be minimal and very basic.

Series Trivia Game: A very short (10 questions) and easy trivia game, the most boring of all the extra features.

The Xena Chronicles: Detailed information on Xena characters and Season 1 episodes such as categories on the Mortals, the Creatures, the Gods, Treasures. Includes the chronological history of Xena’s life which I found very cool.

Xena Screensaver: Dozens of cool screensavers for your enjoyment, some better than others, but overall a quality selection to choose from.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This attractively-packaged 6-disc DVD set is a must-have for any true Xena fan like myself and offers the viewer over 18 hours of pure action and entertainment. Unfortunately, if "extras" is what you also crave in your TV collections, this one is a dud, with very little to write home about in terms of additional information on the popular series. The entire first season does have an above average rewatch value however, so if you haven’t already purchased it, you should definitely do so now...especially if you consider yourself a big fan. Late-night TV re-runs of the show might not be worth it, but this DVD set certainly is. Enjoy and rock on with Xena!
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