Based on the comic book series by Top Cow productions, "Witchblade" started with a feature-length pilot (which is included on this DVD set) and then ran for two seasons on TBS before being cancelled in 2002. The show starred Yancy Butler ("As the World Turns") as Sara Pezzini, a homicide detective from Brooklyn who is granted the power of an anicent weapon when, in the first episode, the weapon attaches itself to her arm in the midst of a battle at a local museum. She later finds that it is the legendary Witchblade, which morphs into a bracelet when not in use. One of the elements of the series is Sara's attempts to master the blade, which appears to have a will of its own.
The series followed Sara as she used the weapon to fight crime in the city, although one of her main foes through the series is Kenneth Irons (Anthony Cistaro), who has followed the tale of the blade and wants to possess it for himself. Sara also must face other enemies throughout the season, including rogue cops, possession, clones and other forces of evil.
The series isn't running with a massive budget and it does show in some of the effects and sets for the series, which appear to be on the low-end. Still, despite some so-so visuals at times, the creators do at least try to give the series something of a visual style, or at least all the style that can be brought to the table when working with a made-for-cable budget. It'll be interesting if the upcoming feature film on the comic book can deliver more of the comic book style with its (likely) larger budget.
Still, while the show is a little rocky in spots and takes some time to get its footing, it is helped quite a bit by Butler, who's enjoyable portraying the tough cop who has to come to terms with her new weapon in the fight against crime, which helps her in the fight, but also has a will of its own. The series was apparently put on hold during the second season (which was already slumping, in part due to a decision to essentially "reboot" the series in season two) due to Butler's personal issues, but even when she did come back, the series ended up being cancelled anyways. The first season is certainly the better of the two, but the second season isn't too terrible. Overall, this is a mildly entertaining take on the story and manages to pull off some enjoyable episodes with a low budget.
Note: apparently some of the music has been changed, as the box notes that the set features an "all-new soundtrack", selected by the show's exec producer.
T- 1 27 Aug 00 Witchblade
1. 1- 2 227105 12 Jun 01 Parallax
2. 1- 3 227102 19 Jun 01 Conundrum
3. 1- 4 227101 26 Jun 01 Diplopia
4. 1- 5 227103 3 Jul 01 Sacrifice
5. 1- 6 227104 10 Jul 01 Legion
6. 1- 7 227106 17 Jul 01 Maelstrom
7. 1- 8 227107 24 Jul 01 Periculum
8. 1- 9 227108 31 Jul 01 Thanatopis
9. 1-10 227109 7 Aug 01 Apprehension
10. 1-11 227110 14 Aug 01 Convergence
11. 1-12 227111 21 Aug 01 Transcendence
12. 2- 1 227851 16 Jun 02 Emergence
13. 2- 2 227852 16 Jun 02 Destiny
14. 2- 3 227853 17 Jun 02 Agape
15. 2- 4 227856 24 Jun 02 Consectatio
16. 2- 5 227854 1 Jul 02 Static
17. 2- 6 227855 8 Jul 02 Nailed
18. 2- 7 227857 15 Jul 02 Lagrimas
19. 2- 8 227859 22 Jul 02 Hierophant
20. 2- 9 227859 5 Aug 02 Veritas
21. 2-10 227860 12 Aug 02 Parabolic
22. 2-11 227861 19 Aug 02 Palindrome
23. 2-12 227862 26 Aug 02 Ubique
VIDEO: "Witchblade" is presented by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. While the series does have a fanbase, it is admittedly a smaller title and it is nice to see that the studio has not only presented the series in its original aspect ratio, but given it a rather spiffy transfer (considering the material), as well. Sharpness and detail aren't outstanding, but at least the picture appeared decently crisp throughout and usually clean. The only concerns spotted throughout the episodes were some instances of light artifacting on a few occasions and some slight edge enhancement that was spotted very infrequently. The show's color palette remains largely subdued (apparently by intent), but colors do look spot-on and occasional instances of brighter colors do appear warm and well-saturated.
SOUND: The show is offered with a stereo soundtrack that offers crisp, clear dialogue and bassy music. The show's audio is nothing remarkable, but it gets the job done.
EXTRAS: "Witchblade: Gabriel's Philosophical Insights On Selected Episodes", "Wielding the Blade", "Bringing the Blade to Life", original casting sessions.
Final Thoughts:Overall, this is a mildly entertaining take on the story and it manages to pull off some enjoyable episodes with a low budget. The DVD set provides fine audio/video quality and a decent selection of minor supplements. Recommended for fans.