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DVD Review: Witchblade – The Complete Series

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Contrary to what my fanboy husband likes to think, I did have an interest in some things in the sci-fi/comic/fantasy realm before I met him. I was big into Voltron as a kid. V was one of my all-time favorite alien series. And despite the campy film, I liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer series as well. In 2001 — not long before we met — I also got into a new show on TNT — Witchblade.

Though I started watching the series regularly, life intruded and I was not able to watch it on a regular basis. So, when the entire series was released on DVD, I was very excited to finally be able to catch up on all that I’d missed. Not only that, the disc extras helped put the story and characters into new perspective that I didn’t expect.

Witchblade follows New York City detective Sarah Pezzini (Yancy Butler) as she faces some bizarre and tragic personal and professional circumstances. Her father is recently murdered by the local mob kingpin (who is also out for her blood) and she has sworn revenge within the parameters of the law. As Pez goes after the mob boss and his henchmen, she becomes briefly fascinated with an armored glove in a museum. Moments later, she’s nearly gunned down by an assassin and the whole place is blown sky high. How did she survive? The glove, later revealed to be the Witchblade, chose her as its wielder and protected her from harm.

Pez spends the whole series trying to unravel the mystery of the Witchblade, how it came to be in her possession, and why she is now the chosen warrior. This all mixes in with characters who walk the line between being shady enemies and allies who will save her in a firefight. And of course you have both traditional criminal baddies and those who are looking to gain the Witchblade for themselves.

The cast of regular characters includes: Gabriel Bowman (John Hensley), an antiquities dealer who tries to help Pez; Danny Woo (Will Yun Lee), Pez’s first partner who is gunned down early on but keeps making appearances as a ghost; Jake McCartey (David Chokachi), Pez’s new partner who very obviously has a little thing going on for her; Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro), cryptic billionaire who tries (albeit not very hard) to school Pez about her destiny; and Ian Nottingham (Eric Etebari), Irons’ lackey who shadows Pez and whose sanity is as much in question as which side he and his boss are really playing for.

Probably the coolest thing about the series is the actual Witchblade. It’s almost a living weapon that remolds itself to suit the needs and styles of the wearer. In centuries past, it was more like metal armor or shielding. For Pez, it’s a silver bracelet that transforms into a metallic glove that goes up to the elbow. It also has an amber jewel that acts as an eye, opening and closing at the will of the glove itself. Then, there’s the actual blade, which extends like a long, deadly middle finger (literally) to opposing forces.

I’ll be the first to admit I am in no way an expert or even an avid fan of the genre as most fanboys are, so I approached this series as what I perceived it to be, which was a new television show. I didn’t know that it was based on a comic book series when I first started watching; I just thought it was a kick-butt program at the time.

Sadly, I lost touch with the show after the first season, as life tends to interrupt entertainment every once in a while. As more and more shows started to be released on DVD, I knew that it was only a matter of time before Witchblade made an appearance. Little did I know it would take this long. That said, I’m happy that I’ve been able to see where the story went throughout the rest of the series and think that it was definitely worth the wait. For those who have seen the series in its entirety, the bonus features are enough of a reason to check out the set:

“Bringing the Blade to Life”: This featurette goes into detail about the origins of the comic series, the character and how the writers/artists who created Witchblade worked with the production company to bring this impossible character to life on screen. This features a lot of interesting people giving their two cents, like Butler, Marc Silvestri and David Wohl.

“Wielding the Blade”: This featurette could almost be a continuation of the previous one. Many of the same people were involved in explaining the ins and outs of building the armor, creating the scenes to reveal little by little what Pez’s destiny could be, infusing the blade’s history into the story, etc. Very interesting stuff and features many of the same faces as the first featurette.

Original Casting Sessions: These show Butler, Anthony Cistaro, David Chokachi, Eric Estebari, and Will Yun Lee trying out for their shot at being part of the series. These are okay.

Gabriel's Philosophical Insights: These are little add-ons to selected episodes where we get a look at what Gabriel Bowman thinks about our heroine. Again, these are okay and don’t really add much to the set.

Easter Egg: I’ve read online that there is an Easter Egg feature that will bring you to a music video where two of the cast members perform an original Witchblade tune.

In all, this set is a good bet if you’re a fan of the comic and looking to get some more insight into the history of the series or even want to hear from the creators some of their thoughts on how this title was brought to life in the first place. For fans of the series, this is the best chance to get every episode on one neat little package. Win-win no matter how you look at it.

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About Robin Kavanagh

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    Thanks for the great review!