Xena: Warrior Princess on DVD. Review by Violet Kane

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Fans of the Xena: Warrior Princess television show should expect the same quality from the DVD box sets as they do from the show itself: Generally good, with shining highlights, but far from perfect.

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Season 2
Don't get me wrong. I was a devoted fan of Xena beginning with Season 2 when I first started watching. Xena pushed the envelope—not only with its infamous subtext—but with its character-centered drama. While in many ways Xena is a classic heroic fantasy, it captivated many fans by testing the limits of its characters, putting them in philosophically challenging sitautions where they found their loyalties divided. The relationship between Xena and Gabrielle redefines the the hero/sidekick dynamic (again, not just in its subtext) with character complexity. Some Xena fans love every last episode. I, on the other hand, will concede that these six season yielded a handful of sinkers. I find that the good folks at Xena do drama much better than they ever did comedy. Xena's slapstick humor was never my style. The series, however, evolves to progressively high quality, culminating in a stellar sixth season where—I'll confess—even a few of the comedies left me tickled.

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Season 3
Expect quality digital mastering from these DVDs, but don't get your hopes too far up for the extras. While the DVDs do come with a number of special features (featurettes, commentaries and interviews) the quality is only mediocre. The featurettes often look amateurish in in their producation values. The interviews attached to a number of episodes are probably the best feature offered in these sets, but expect sparse editing to accompany the sleek camera work. Expect to hear a lot of "umms" and "uhhs" from the actors and production team. In many cases, the interviewers clearly did not refresh the actors' memories of particular episodes by screening them ahead of time. The commentary tracks on select episodes are ever more poorly edited. Commentaries with Rob Tapert contain some interesting insights. But commentaries by the actors are particularly dull. Who wants to watch an episode of Xena listening to Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor laugh at themselves between declarations of "Remember that?... remember that?" These DVD box sets are also rather pricy considering the mediocre quality of special features.

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Season 4
Xena fans will find these DVD sets to be worth their investment, but will likely be disappointed in the extras. Other DVD collectors would be better off buying these sets used if they are interested in expanding their collection.

Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.

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Season 5
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Season 6

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