Combustible Celluloid

Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Xena: Warrior Princess - Season Three on DVD.

Anchor Bay's excellent box set collects 22 episodes on eight discs, plus a ninth disc: a CD-Rom with all kinds of trivia and info. (Making it nearly as big as Fox's Alien Quadrilogy box.) "Xena" earned its cult following by offering rich sci-fi and fantasy stories and characters, but never taking itself too seriously and turning on the sex appeal whenever possible (both sexes). The very first episode, "The Furies," pits Xena (Lucy Lawless) against three scantily clad women who writhe and dance when they're not spreading evil across the land, but the war god Ares (Kevin Smith) provides eye candy for other orientations. This third season emerges with the stories and characters in full swing, even if it occasionally gets bogged down by the storyline about Gabrielle's (Renee O'Connor) demon baby. Either way, how can you go wrong with anything that stars Bruce Campbell? Our favorite cult actor appears in three episodes, and even directed one, "The King of Assassins." Each episode comes with various extras, such as interviews or commentary tracks. The set also contains a hit-and-miss blooper reel and a photo gallery.

Buy Xena: Warrior Princess - Season Four on DVD.

Lucy Lawless plays Xena with Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle, who both go through enormous changes during this season. Bruce Campbell appears in three episodes, and even directed one, "The Key to the Kingdom." The set contains "hours of extras," including interviews, commentary tracks, director's cuts on three episodes, a featurette on the two-part "Adventures in the Sin Trade," a featurette on the monsters, bloopers, outtakes and photos. Like "Season Three," this set packs 22 episodes on eight discs, plus a ninth disc of extras and a tenth CD-Rom. The CD-Rom is full of bios, trivia, chronicles and designs and sketches. Best of all is the 26-minute "Cabin Fever," in which Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi interview each other more candidly than any professional could.

The following DVD has also been recently released:

Lost in Space (1965-66, Fox)
This massive box set contains only the first season of this popular sci-fi show, with 29 hour-long episodes packed onto 8 discs, plus a 30th episode: a never-before aired pilot. I used to enjoy this show in afternoon re-runs during summer vacation, but I don't remember the early, dark episodes, such as episode one in which Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) accidentally stows away on board the ship and programs the robot to kill the Robinson family. In other words, these early episodes prove that the show wasn't quite as cheesy as I remember it, and certainly not as cheesy as the silly 1998 movie would have us believe.

May 19, 2004

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