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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Xena Warrior Princess - Season One
Xena Warrior Princess - Season One
Starz / Anchor Bay // Unrated // April 29, 2003
List Price: $99.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted May 10, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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Movie: Most people have some kind of guilty pleasure they watch on television. I have several. One of my past guilty pleasures was Xena: Warrior Princess (as well as the show that spawned it-Hercules). Seeing a bunch of attractive gals running around, showing ample amounts of cleavage and leg while they went through their paces seemed like such harmless fun. Now that Xena is being released in season boxed sets, a lot of people will likely buy them. The show developed quite a fanbase over the years and it all began with a few appearances on Kevin Sorbo's old show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In Hercules, Xena played a female warrior who torn through the countryside killing and pillaging as she and her armies went. Hercules stopped her and eventually showed her a different path and the Xena series started off with that premise (hey, it was a cute idea for a spin off and eventually surpassed the parent show in ratings). Here's a list of the episodes and a brief description provided by the folks at TV Guide but you can get very detailed descriptions at the official website, http://www.xenahercules.com/

Episode 1: Sins of the Past (Sept. 4, 1995): The formerly murderous warrior (Lucy Lawless) dedicates herself to fighting evil. In the opener, Xena tries to make amends for her "Sins of the Past".
Episode 2: Chariots of War (Sept. 11, 1995): After being befriended by a homesteader named Darius (Nick Kokotakis), Xena takes on a bloodthirsty warlord and his son, who have mercilessly pillaged Darius' community.
Episode 3: Dreamworker (Sept. 18, 1995): Xena enters a mystical realm known as the Dreamscape to save Gabrielle, who has been taken there and forced to complete a series of daunting tasks that will make her worthy of becoming the bride of the dream god, Morpheus.
Episode 4: Cradle of Hope (Sept. 25, 1995): Xena and Gabrielle set out to find the parents of an abandoned baby, and discover that the infant's been marked for death due to a prophecy declaring him a future threat to a local king (Edward Newborn).
Episode 5: The Path Not Taken (Oct. 2, 1995): Xena faces ghosts from the past when she revisits one of her old haunts and ingratiates herself with murderous former "colleagues" in order to locate a kidnapped princess (Nicola Cliff) who is being hidden there.
Episode 6: The Reckoning (Oct. 9, 1995): When villagers declare war on an innocent Xena for killing four of their neighbors, she's forced to consider an offer made her by Ares (Kevin Smith), the god of war.
Episode 7: The Titans (Oct. 30, 1995): The stage is set for a clash of the Titans when Gabrielle inadvertently releases three of the giant deities from a centuries-long entombment and one of them proceeds to terrorize a village - against the wishes of the other two.
Episode 8: Prometheus (Nov. 6, 1995): Upon realizing that Prometheus has been captured and chained by the gods - thus causing great harm to mankind - Xena sets out to find the one sword that will free him.
Episode 9: Death in Chains (Nov. 13, 1995): Hades, god of the Underworld, asks Xena to undertake the daunting task of freeing his sister - the embodiment of death - from the clutches of a greedy king (Ray Henwood) who's captured her in order to give himself eternal life.
Episode 10: Hooves and Harlots (Nov. 20, 1995): Xena has a tall order to fill trying to prevent a war between the Amazons and the Centaurs; and Gabrielle finds herself with some pretty big shoes to fill when she's chosen to replace an Amazon princess who died in her arms.
Episode 11: The Black Wolf (Jan. 8, 1996): Xena fights her way into a dungeon (on purpose) in order to rescue the freedom-fighting daughter (Emma Turner) of an old friend.
Episode 12: Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts (Jan. 15, 1996): At the behest of Helen of Troy (Galyn Gorg), Xena goes to the embattled city to help end a 10-year war with the Greeks. But while trying to rein in the hostiles, she discovers a Trojan horse who's working with the enemy.
Episode 13: Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards (Jan. 22, 1996): Gabrielle forsakes a new Homeric odyssey with Xena in order to audition for the Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards at their annual storytelling competition.
Episode 14: A Fistful of Dinars (Jan. 29, 1996): Xena is drawn into a treacherous treasure hunt that forces her to team up with a despicable assassin and a ruthless warlord (Peter Daube Hurst) - who happens to be her former fiancé.
Episode 15: Warrior...Princess (Feb. 5, 1996): The Warrior Princess learns that life as a blue blood can be a royal pain in the neck when she stands in for a look-alike princess (also played by series star Lucy Lawless) whose life is being threatened by assassins.
Episode 16: Mortal Beloved (Feb. 12, 1996): A visit from the ghost of her beloved Marcus (Bobby Hosea) prompts Xena to travel to the Underworld - where a madman (Paul Willis) has stolen Hades' Helmet of Invisibility, causing total chaos in the realm.
Episode 17: A Royal Couple of Thieves (Feb. 19, 1996): Xena's asked to steal back a pilfered chest containing the world's most powerful weapon, so she enlists the help of Autolycus (Bruce Campbell), the self-proclaimed King of Thieves.
Episode 18: The Prodigal (Mar. 4, 1996): Gabrielle returns to her home town, only to find it under attack by a greedy warlord, and under the protection of a faded warrior (Tim Thomerson), who's lost his self-confidence.
Episode 19: Altared States (Apr. 22, 1996): Xena and Gabrielle agree to hide a 12-year-old boy (David de Lautour) who has run away from home after learning from his mother that he was to be sacrificed in the name of a new "Supreme Deity".
Episode 20: The Ties That Bind (Apr. 29, 1996): As the God of War, Ares, schemes to make Xena lead his army, the Warrior Princess meets a guy claiming to be her long lost dad.
Episode 21: The Greater Good (May 6, 1996): When Xena is incapacitated and left near death after being struck by a poisoned dart, Gabrielle is forced to impersonate the Warrior Princess in order to protect a group of innocent villagers.
Episode 22: Callisto (May 13, 1996): Xena is once again reminded of the sins of her past when a malicious female warrior (Hudson Leick), whose family was killed by Xena's former army, exacts her revenge on the Warrior Princess by impersonating her.
Episode 23: Death Mask (June 3, 1996): After learning a raiding party's leader was responsible for the destruction in their village, Xena and her brother set out to destroy him. Guess who wins?
Episode 24: Is There a Doctor In the House? (June 10, 1996): Caught in the middle of a fierce war, Xena and Gabrielle aid the wounded inhabitants of a healing temple; then try to mediate talks between the warring factions.

Picture: The picture was presented in full frame, 1.33:1 ratio as originally aired on television. It did look like it had way too much grain and the focus was somewhat soft at times but the dvds looked better than my cable connection ever did so it's a step up in that regard. There was a fair amount of edge enhancement which didn't help the picture either.

Sound: The sound was remixed into a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and it sounded much richer than the original presentation.

Extras: The extras were mostly placed on a separate CD ROM and included a long photogallery, Director and cast biographies, a trivia game, a database of trivia called The Xena Chronicles, direct access screens, and a Xena screen saver. There was also a collector coin and a contest that allows you to win a sword made of gold (it ends 7/1/03).

Final Thoughts: The show was always an anachronism in that it addressed modern ideas in an ancient Greek/Roman setting but with the silly sense of humor that Sam Raimi always seemed to be able to introduce in a show. In short, it was a fluff piece that gathered a large following for a variety of reasons-be it guys wanting to lust after babes, kids who like the fights, women who liked the independent female characters or whatever. Whatever technical limitations the season one boxed set has, it's still well worth the price for fans and there's an awful lot to enjoy here. Take it from a guy that's just watched the whole season in two sittings (okay, one and a half sittings), it's worth a High Recommendation.

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