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"Xena - Season 3"
French and Spanish
Friedman, Lucy Lawless, Hudson Leick, Renee O'Conner, Ted Raimi,
Oley Sasson, Steve Sears, R. J. Stewart, Alexandra Tydings
||Retrospective on "Sacrifice"
on the actors, directors and writers.
writers, editors and set designers
and deleted Scenes
blooper reel, CD-Rom Features: Series trivia, Xena Chronicles,
Production Designs and Sketches, Director's notes, storyboards
Renee O' Conner, Ted Raimi, Kevin Smith, Adrienne Wilkinson,
||R. J. Stewart,
Steven Sears, Noreen Tobin
Liz Friedman, Sam Raimi
Bruce Campbell, Michael Levine
For a mortal Xena sure gets around
and into a lot of trouble. The warrior-priestess continues
her wanderings with her sidekick and partner Gabrielle in
this third season set. There's a number of strong highlights
in this 22 episode set including the two part "The Debt",
the dark "The Furies", the comedic "Been There, Done That"
and the clever "The Quill is Mightier Than the Sword". The
story arc involving the two parters "The Debt", "Sacrifice",
"The Deliverer", "Gabrielle's Hope" and "Maternal Instincts"
was particularly moving and effective.Between plots that focus
on a battle with the Green Dragon, fighting off the Persian
army single handed and Xena's involvement in Roman politics,
we see a variety of moods and tones in the series. Luckily,
Xena never takes itself too seriously. Sam Raimi ("The Evil
Dead", "Army of Darkness", "Spiderman") and his long time
associate Rob Tabert's fingerprints are all over the series
reflecting their unique, twisted and creative sense of humor
and love of B-Movies. ***
"Xena" was a perfect compliment
to "Hercules" featuring Kevin Sorbo. Both series reflected
the executive producer Sam Raimi's love of bad Italian historical
dramas. Luckily, Raimi's tongue-in-cheek sensibility survived
intact despite the fact that he wasn't supervising the day-to-day
production of any of the television series he developed. While
the series was inconsistent during its long run relying all
too often on the same type of storylines, there were also
a number of ambitious and downright peculiar episodes that
demonstrated the type of risks more televisions series should
take. The often over-the-top writing, direction and acting
created an environment where, like "Hercules", just about
any subject could be tackled in just about any style imaginable.
Not since "Star Trek: The Next Generation" had a series taken
has many risks in jumping genre boundaries. ---
the series presentation is in a nonanamorphic standard aspect
ratio, it looks especially good. The transfer doesn't demonstrate
many of grain and compression issues that dog many television
series. There are some minor edge enhancement issues. Some of
the digital optical effects don't hold up well under the heightened
resolution of DVD but, on the whole, the picture is very good.
The sound is presented in Dolby Digital Surround and although
there isn't near the attention to detail that you'd see with
a theatrical feature, it's very much comparable to other syndicated
and Network series from the same time frame. Yes, the resolution
is very good on the episode where Lucy Lawless and the cast
sing in the clever and well written "The Bitter Suite". ---
haven't seen a series with so many extras in quite some time.
There's both video and audio commentaries by a wide variety
of producers/writers/actors and other crew members for the series.
There's also deleted and alternate scenes that were shot for
"Sacrifice" but not used. It's a pity that there weren't more
deleted/alternate scenes included in this set from the story
arc established for "Sacrifice". The featurette focusing on
"Sacrifice" runs around 30 minutes and is an intriguing peak
behind the scenes on how this important two part episode was
produced. The blooper reel, a photo gallery and CD-ROM featuring
biographies, trivia and the production sketches is a nice touch
as well. ---
audio/visual commentary on key episodes was particularly enjoyable.
Including the producer, writer and director of key episodes
in the commentary is a nice touch. This is something that "Babylon
5: Season 4" did a particularly good job on as well. It's nice
to see that the DVD producer for the "Xena" series is willing
to involve all the creative team (unlike, say, Paramount's sets
for "Star Trek" which, while very informative, rarely solicits
the directors and never includes a commentary of any sort).
Again, the commentaries presented are done very nicely and comparable
to the commentaries done for "Stargate: SG1 Season 5". --
designed package for fans of the series, "Xena: Season Three"
will give fans an overdose of Xena which is precisely what they
want. The inclusion of lots of very nice extras will make going
back to this set a joy for many fans of the show. Ultimately,
extras are meant to increase the enjoyment of a particular series
and also provide new things to discover each time you view particular
episodes. In that regard, "Xena" has more than lived up to the
expectations of fans and critics. Anchor Bay has done an exceptionally
nice job packaging and presenting a popular television series
the way it should be done on DVD.