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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Happy Anniversary, Xena!
by Betty Jo Tucker

No doubt the year 1995 was notable for many important events, but to a host of Xena fans it will always be remembered as the year Xena: Warrior Princess first premiered as a television series. To commemorate this 10-Year Anniversary, a special 7-Disc Ultimate DVD Tribute was released on July 26, 2005.

A must-have for Xenaphiles, this impressive 10th Anniversary Collection boasts 16 exciting episodes (selected by fans from over 130 fantastic adventures) that were aired during Xena’s six seasons. Is one of your favorites included? Check out this list: Sins of the Past; Calisto; Is There a Doctor in the House; A Day in the Life; Been There, Done That; The Bitter Suite; One Against an Army; The Ides of March; Fallen Angel; Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire; Amphipolis Under Siege; Motherhood; Old Ares Had a Farm; When Fates Collide; Many Happy Returns; A Friend in Need Part 1 & 2.

I’m very happy The Bitter Suite made it into this Anniversary Collection. It’s the episode I like best, perhaps because I’m the world’s most avid musical fan. Told entirely through musical numbers, it features a lovely original score reminiscent of Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables.

Even if you’ve already seen the episodes mentioned, it’s great fun to watch the legendary Xena (Lucy Lawless) and her pal Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) fight their amazing battles against evil villains again and again. Nothing on TV today can match this wildly imaginative series for pure entertainment value. Themes of friendship, courage, redemption, love and loss are highlighted in episodes filled with mythological as well as historical references, fast-past action, memorable combat sequences, colorful characters, ribald-alternating-with-tongue-in-cheek humor, incredible special effects and first-rate production values. 

The DVD bonus materials contain a wealth of fascinating Xena lore. In addition to the customary interviews and commentary, there are items showcasing the 2005 10th Anniversary Convention (with its “Xena Re-enactments” and “Xena Fanatics” contests), Xena’s Hong Kong origins, Zoe Bell’s work as Xena’s stunt woman, and Bruce Campbell’s (Autolycus) successful career as a B-actor.

It’s entirely fitting to celebrate Xena’s 10th Anniversary. Beginning as a spin-off of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, this television series earned six Emmy nominations and gave us a powerful female action hero who rivaled the daring feats of any man. Lawless was flawless in her portrayal of Xena, and her millions of fans throughout the world remain loyal to this day. Happy anniversary, Xena!         

(Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and Davis-Anderson Merchandising Corp. Not rated by MPAA. For more information, visit the official site.) 

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