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?
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.