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Xena: Warrior Princess (S5)
DVD disk
10.20.2004 By: JaneBlo
Xena: Warrior Princess (S5) order

Lucy Lawless
Renee O'Connor
Kevin Smith


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In Season Five of the television series Xena Warrior Princess, Xena (Lucy Lawless) and her trusted companion Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) journey on across the ancient world to fight for justice, to vanquish evil and to bring good to all mankind. Along the way, they meet up with all kinds of interesting characters from Gods and Goddesses, shamans and spirits of the dead, to angels and devils, Amazons, and even Selma Blair.
Season Five of Xena Warrior Princess is better than ever, along the same lines as the previous seasons have been. Firstly let me start by saying that anytime the amazing Kevin Smith is acting in any episode, it becomes a favorite episode instantly. It was great to see him again. It is sad that the world lost him in 2002 due to an accident in China on the set of a film he was shooting. No one could play the God of War Ares any better. In the first episode entitled “Fallen Angel”, Callisto (Hudson Leick), Xena and Gabrielle end up as angels and devils fighting in the sky and in other realms, with wings, horns and everything - brilliant make-up and costumes here. In the end, Callisto is a full-fledged angel. It’s freaky to see her being nice, since she’s always been such a horrible bitch. Eventually her soul ends up reincarnating in Xena’s daugher, which is even weirder. It was a spectacular show, very visually attractive. And speaking of attraction, in the episode “Animal Attraction”, the makers of Xena decided to do an ode to Sergio Leone and the wonderful spaghetti western, which is one of the reasons I really enjoyed that show, being such a huge Leone fan myself.

What makes this season stand out particularly is a few things (a lot of action and greatly entertaining storylines are a staple) but most important among them is the birth of Xena’s daughter Eve/Livia. As a baby, Eve is a cherub-faced angel who becomes as an adult the gorgeous, powerful Livia, pupil of Ares the God of War, a star warrior who means business. Great casting for Xena’s daughter. A very cool storyline, to say the least. Everyone is after Xena’s newborn baby, including all the ancient Gods because her birth will bring about the end of their Olympian rule. Which brings us to Hercules (only half-God, but still) who shows up in the episode entitled “God Fearing Child” to help Xena, and the acting by Kevin Sorbo is as usual, amazing. Would there even be a Xena show if Hercules didn’t exist first? So, he is important. Selma Blair, whom I love, is a guest star Amazon in “Lifeblood” but she’s dressed in modern clothes, which is odd. Alti, the Shamaness, played by the wonderful Claire Stansfield, is in a couple of episodes, and she is also a great guest star on this show as she lights up the screen with her evil ways perfectly. Aphrodite, Athena, Eli the Prophet, Cleopatra and so many more only add exciting flavors to the whole season of this amazingly fun, entertaining series. Can you tell yet that I am a Xena fan?

There are as usual some comedic episodes in this season, “Married with Fishsticks” in particular, which is visually very colorful and Gabrielle’s “fish” kids are hilarious. Also, a musical episode, “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire” which is my least favorite due to my not being a huge musical fan (with the exception of “Grease”, of course). Grease is the word. It was a treat to see Solan again, Xena’s long dead son, and also Xena’s old friend from the land of Chin, Lao Ma, even if it was only in flashbacks that we saw her. “Little Problems” is a take on “Freaky Friday” where Xena changes bodies with a little girl. Ending with the explosive season-ender, “Motherhood”, as you can tell, there is a whole slew of very interesting and action-packed stories here to keep you fully entertained for many, many hours.
Interviews with cast and crew, audio/video commentaries with cast and crew: Most episodes of this season feature either an audio or video commentary by the cast and crew or interviews with the cast and crew and in some instances, an episode will feature both commentaries AND interviews, and some, neither. These bonuses are amazing because they add the final element to an already jam-packed DVD set. Illuminating, funny and at times informative, these interviews and commentaries will satisfy any true Xena fan. True, the video and audio commentaries are identical for the same episode, but maybe some folks want to see it on video (which is shorter too, because it doesn’t follow every scene in the show) whereas others might want to get more detailed analysis and therefore they could listen to the audio commentary instead. It is enjoyable to see the stars of the show out of their character clothes and make-up and as they naturally are (Lucy Lawless’ Kiwi accent especially).

Featurette - Bringing Monsters to Life at K.N.B EFX Group: A Tour of the special effects studio that is responsible for the Xena series’ special effects. A very detailed look into all the costumes, make-up and special effects and all the intricate work involved in creating them. Same feature appeared on Season Four as well. About ten minutes long.

Special Featurette - 100th Episode B-roll footage: Xena, Gabrielle and Ares are featured on the set of “Seeds of Faith”, their hundredth episode. An interesting look at how the fight scenes are filmed and the behind-the-scenes of the filming. A bit slow at times as it goes into much detail. Thirty minutes long.

Alternate Director’s Cuts and Deleted Scenes: For the shows “Motherhood” and “Animal Attraction”. Not the coolest feature, not my bag really, but some of the Xena fans out there might enjoy seeing alternate takes the makers had for these two episodes. Approximately half an hour long.

Gabrielle Wardrobe Test: Five minutes of Renee O’Connor (Gabrielle) posing in her Xena costume for the camera. No narration, a very useless feature for the viewer.

Still Photo Gallery: A photo retrospective of Xena characters.

CD-ROM with Actor, Director & Writer Bios, Series Trivia, Xena Chronicles, and Legends, Extensive Original Production Designs and Sketches.
This fully-loaded ten-disc deluxe collector’s edition will keep the viewer totally entertained with over seventeen hours of all things Xena. A mixture of adventure, action, humor, quirkiness and even love, makes for a thrilling journey in Xena’s world where there is never a dull moment to be found, and a lot of visual candy to be seen and appreciated (some of the actors and actresses are quite stunning.) This is a really engaging season, one that will keep the fans wanting more, and yes, there is one more season, the last and sixth which we Xena fans are anxiously awaiting. As all the previous Xena seasons, this one is also full of many bonus features that will fulfill any Xena fan’s deepest desires, although it is a drag that some of the features are so alike from one season to another. Still, it does not ruin the effect of all these extras for Season Five as they are still relevant here. If you like your action adventures spiced up with mythological characters and a dose of history too, then pick this DVD up real soon and sit back to enjoy action and adventure galore, even if you are not a Xena devotee.
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