Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Lucy Lawless, Renee O’Connor, Bruce Campbell
Extras: Bios, Still Gallery, Trivia Game, Screensaver
Six DVDs jam-packed with Xena episodes and a seventh disc with supplements, that’s what Anchor Bay is serving up with their Season One box set of ’Xena – Warrior Princess.’
The show itself is presented in a fullframe aspect ratio on this DVD set and is very clean and clear. Quite a bit of grain is noticeable in select shots, but it appears to be a general limitation of the production itself. Colors are vibrant and rich, perfectly restoring the saturated look that Xena always had, giving the production that rich quality that makes it unmistakable. The transfer appears a bit dark, though, and many indoor shots are a bit too murky for my taste. I was unable to determine whether that was intentional, or if it is a result of the transfer, really. Contrast is very good, though with highlights that are never blooming. No notable edge-enhancement is visible and the compression of the material has been handled masterfully, making this the best-looking Xena presentation to date despite its obvious limitations.
The DVDs feature a full 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track, which has been nicely produced and makes good use of the surround channels. Ambient effects, the music and many sound effects are spatially placed to create an immersive sound field that makes the most of the presentation without ever being obtrusive. Xena contains a lot of ADR produced dialogue and as such, sadly dialogues are a bit uneven in timbre and frequency response, but throughout the quality is quite good.
A Photo Gallery, Screensaver, Bios, Trivia game and an encyclopedia called ’Xena Chronicles’ are the supplements found on this release. Sadly no behind-the-scenes or production featurettes and documentaries can be found here, which is a bit surprising given the series’ success and relatively young age.
While ’Xena – Warrior Princess: Season One’ makes a good impression overall, one can’t help but think that it’s a bit lackluster. The comparably low budget of the series caused some clear limitations in the video presentation and the lack of extras will clearly be a disappointment to many fans. Still, there is no better way to collect all the episodes than on this box set that Anchor Bay is sending your way here.