-This review pertains to the Witchblade: The Complete Series 7-disc DVD collection-
Not only was it one of the most complex series in the history of cable television, Witchblade was easily one of the most underrated. Witchblade debuted in a full-length television pilot on TNT and then after its initial success became a full-fledged series in 2001. In many ways the show was ahead of its time. It managed to be both science-fiction (when the genre was suffering from unoriginal sequels and poorly made remakes), fantasy (before the genre was validated by The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Pan's Labyrinth) and added a healthy dose of cop drama. The intricate plotlines featured such esoteric subject matter as psychic visions, cloning, abnormal psychology, time travel, reincarnation, demonic possession, mythological motifs, multiple conspiracies, occult philosophical ideologies, and also benefited from clever pop-culture in-jokes.
The series was brought to life by strong acting from a diverse, if not at times dysfunctional cast, lead by the feisty and fierce Yancy Butler. Witchblade also featured a greatly varying soundtrack (this DVD does not include all of the artists I've named here; see my comment for further explanation) that included everyone from The Crystal Method to Peter Gabriel, from Rob Zombie to Enya, from Three Dog Night to U2. The series burst off the small screen with great visual flare, the special effects were almost on a par with the first Matrix film, and the camerawork was equally impressive.
There have been some fans of the comics who have complained about the many differences between the show and the comics. But as I was at the time unfamiliar with the comics, I enjoyed the show from a fresh, purely objective perspective. I also think that most fans of the source material understood that this was not an adaptation in the strictest sense but more of a loosely inspired series that dealt with some of the same themes.
And now fans of this cult classic can enjoy their favorite comic book-inspired heroine on DVD... at last.
The cast and characters include characters include:
Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini- A New York homicide cop and the "Blade-wielder"
Will Yun Lee as Danny Woo- Sara's partner and close friend.
David Chokachi as Jake McCartey- Sara's rookie partner in training.
John Hensley as Gabriel Bowman- A young occult/novelty shop owner and close friend of Sara's.
Anthony Cistaro as Kenneth Irons- A billionaire who may be more than he seems.
Eric Etebari as Ian Nottingham- A mysterious bodyguard/assassin in Iron's employ.
Black Dragons- A group of assassins who underwent experimental training.
White Bulls- A secretive fraternity of corrupt vigilante cops.
Here is the entire listing of episodes, including the pilot film (which is also included in the 7-disc set):
0. Witchblade: The Movie
New York homicide detective Sara Pezzini encounters a mystical weapon that can only be wielded by women. She is also introduced to the enigmatic billionaire, Kenneth Irons and his stoic bodyguard/assassin, Ian Nottingham.
Sara uncovers a plot involving a group of elite assassins, called The Black Dragons, who plan to kill billionaire Irons.
After a supermodel is found dead, Sara must discover the identity of the killer, which leads her to a former "Blade-wielder".
A serial killer is stalking members of the art community and patrons of a gay bar but the primary suspect seems to have a perfect alibi.
An Irish rocker comes to town and a killer takes inspiration from his lyrics, all the while Sara may be falling in love with the dreamy singer.
A man who may have killed a priest claims that he's possessed but the clues point to corruption within the church itself.
Sara's lover, the Irish rocker Conchobar, is kidnapped by corrupt counter-terrorists and Sara sinks into violent desperation.
The Witchblade tests Sara, at her most vulnerable, while pulling her deeper into its mysterious past.
Ian Nottingham goes renegade and targets Sara's rookie partner, Jake, who he believes to have betrayed her.
A corrupt vigilante force within the NYPD, called The White Bulls, has its sights on Sara while she must protect a witness to their violence.
A psychotic rapist/killer is on the loose and only Sara can stop him but she's busy evading The White Bulls.
Nottingham dies to save Sara but then is resurrected in an even more deadly and unpredictable incarnation.
After turning back time itself Sara must face the consequences and solve a murder involving a live porn site.
Kenneth Irons obtains The Lance of Longinus with which he intends to confront Sara and take back the Witchblade.
A dangerous new street drug is at the heart of an investigation and Jake takes the blame for a drug bust gone very wrong.
Nottingham is possessed by Irons and puts out a hit on Sara and the assassins he's hired are the uber-elite Black Dragons.
A series of strange incidents leads to a subliminal influence, in the form of white noise, which may have instigated murder.
A homicidal, serial child-rapist is released from prison and his next victim is Danny's niece.
Sara falls in love with the perfect man, but is this mysterious stranger really what he appears to be?
A mysterious criminal mastermind is uniting rival crime syndicates and all the clues to his identity point to the most unlikely person of all.
A secretive political schism hunts down Gabriel and Sara after they come across a roll of film that reveals them as murderers.
An enigmatic young vigilante takes out members of a cult devoted to hatred and Sara must choose aid her in bringing them down.
Sara is reunited with Conchobar while investigating an underground fight club that worships violent primitivism.
12. Ubique *
Sara's dreams may be premonitions of her greatest challenge yet and all she loves will hang in the balance.
* The Season Two finale was never intended to conclude the show's plotline, however as the series was canceled the story was left sadly incomplete.
The 7-disc collection includes the television pilot film, all 23 episodes, "Gabriel's Philosophical Insights" on select episodes, "Wielding the Blade" featurette, "Bringing the Blade to Life" featurette, and original cast auditions.
I hope you will check out one of the coolest shows in recent years. "Rock on dot com!"
Here is a link to the official Witchblade: The Series website:
Here is a link to Warner Bros. DVD store where you can purchase the 7-disc DVD set:
What did you think of this review?
Witchblade: The Complete Series stars Yancy Butler (As the World Turns), John Hensley (Nip/Tuck), and David Chokachi (Baywatch) and features guest star Roger Daltrey (The Who). This seven-disc collector's set includes all 23 episodes from seasons 1 and 2, the original made-for-TV movie and never-before-seen bonus features.