Witchblade: The Complete Series (2001)

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Fantasy
Warner Brothers || NR - 1122 minutes - $69.98 || July 29, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-08-15


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, Christina Z, Michael Turner (creators)
Cast: Yancy Butler, David Chokachi, Anthony Cistaro, Will Yun Lee, John Hensley, Eric Etebari


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Witchblade: Gabriel's Philosophical Insights on Select Episodes
  • Wielding the Blade
  • Bringing the Blade to Life
  • Original Casting Sessions for Series Leads


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Stereo Surround)
  • Subtitles: English

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

“Sara Pizzini, you were chosen by the Witchblade. To wear it. To wield it. To serve it.”

“Witchblade” aired on TNT for two seasons during the summer before being cancelled after 24 episodes. The series follows Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler), an impulsive New York Detective who comes across a strange artifact while in pursuit of a suspect through a museum. During a shootout, the glass casing housing this armored gauntlet breaks and somehow, someway it attaches itself to Pezzini and protects her.

After a massive explosion, she suddenly has gained a bracelet around her wrist. What is it? How did it get there? Billionaire Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro) may have the answers. Irons has been following the artifact known as The Witchblade throughout its history as it had been passed on to worthy wearers. We find that Pezzini may have a connection to the past and now she must figure out how not only to wield this weapon but if she was truly destined to wear it.

In all honesty, I had a hard time following exactly what was going on. I understand the concept well enough that the Witchblade is something that only one person can handle and wield. In this millennium that person looks to be Detective Pezzini, though the Witchblade isn’t just a weapon but has very supernatural properties with the ability to control time. Beyond that, I was still confused other than that Kenneth Irons wants it to stay alive.

The show itself is fairly cheesy at times. It reminded me a lot of “Angel” with its supernatural elements mixed with real life drama. While most episodes aren’t that fantastic for those unfamiliar with the comic book (during my days of collecting comics, I did run across the title, but never got into it), but I think the potential was there, especially in the first season. It took chances with these characters and actually managed to surprise me from time to time.

Yancy Butler has the look and toughness to play the role, but at the same time her skills were limited. I’m not sure if it was the writing or her acting, except sometimes I felt there was something missing. She emotes well enough with the screaming as the Witchblade takes control during her test or when she loses a loved one, yet the way she delivered the lines just felt off. Obviously this didn’t have the budget of a “Lost” or “24” (given it aired on TNT); most of what it does have goes to some shoddy special effects, so I do cut her and the rest of the cast some slack.

The series’ co-stars perform, I’d say, well enough. Anthony Cistaro sometimes hams it up, though thankfully is also more subdued than in some of the Superman movies; David Chokachi as Pezzini’s partner has enough mystery to make his character interesting; Eric Etebari as Irons’ right-hand man plays well opposite Butler; John Hensley -- now on “Nip/Tuck” -- playing Pezzini’s right-hand man (gatherer of information of everything Witchblade related) develops nicely. However, I found myself more fascinated with Will Yun Lee as Detective Danny Woo, Pezzini’s first partner. He appears throughout the first season before getting to see more action in season 2.

Speaking of the second season, I think the most interesting thing the writers did was turning the TV show concept on its head. I don’t know if it was intentional, if the show’s future was unsure and they had to come up with something to go on for the second season, but you don’t find much originality in these TV conventions. For those who haven’t seen the show yet, I won’t reveal it, although I’m sure some could argue it’s a cop out, but for me, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

“Witchblade” had much potential as a TV series. Sure, the acting wasn’t top notch and the writing had much to be desired, but as far as entertainment value goes, it certainly delivers. It is a shame that TNT didn’t allow it to go on for another season or two. The show is definitely a few notches below other cult faves like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, but I definitely believe it deserves to be in that class, but more of a C+ grade...

By the way, some of the series highlights are: ‘Witchblade’ (feature length TV movie), ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Maelstrom’, ‘Periculum’ (with a classic pose even those unfamiliar with Witchblade should recognize), ‘Transcendence’ (season 1 finale), ‘Emergence’ (season 2 premiere) and quite a few others, but those were my personal favorites.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All special features are presented in full frame and all featurettes are contained on the seventh disc.

Witchblade: Gabriel’s Philosophical Insights – On select episodes, the character Gabriel gives his views on the events using what looks like a crappy camcorder. These originally aired on TALISMANIAC.COM.

Wielding the Blade (7:17) – Just a basic background on Witchblade the comic book and trying to translate it to television which, for anyone who has even seen the illustrated version, knows would’ve been difficult. I thought the best part was after Yancy Butler got the role, she went into a comic book store to actually see the character and was a bit shocked.

Bringing the Blade to Life (11:41) – Cool, but all too short, featurette that features interviews with the various people involved with bringing “Witchblade” to television, including the creator Michael Turner who recently (June 2008) passed away.

Original Casting Sessions (~26min.) – While I find these fascinating as it give us common folk insight into how Hollywood works when it comes to casting, I also find some of these awkward to watch. In any case, 5 casting sessions (Yancy Butler, Anthony Cistero, David Chokachi, Eric Etebari and Will Yun Lee) have been provided. Each one was recorded on a regular video camera with so-so audio.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Unlike their releases of “Birds of Prey” and “Fastlane”, Warner Brothers has given “Witchblade” a proper anamorphic widescreen transfer. The picture itself looks alright but it’s also soft at times. I may be wrong, but I also believe I saw a couple dust or scratches here and there, but overall it’s a good transfer.

The series comes with a Dolby Surround Stereo track. Given that the show aired starting in 2001, before HD television really took off, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track would’ve been nice as there is plenty of action. However, the stereo is adequate enough, but disappointing.



.::OVERALL::.

“Witchblade” may not be high art or even a guilty pleasure like other supernatural dramas, but I still found myself enjoying this series. The acting isn’t particularly great but the mythos is interesting enough to keep you entertained. I actually found season 2 to be better as it seems the show found its groove, only to be cancelled by TNT. However, it’s great that Warner Brothers finally has released this on DVD with some decent features.