Witchblade: The Complete Series (2000) (DVD)

These past few decades haven’t particularly sold me on the Witchblade franchise that’s for sure. For one, I never found too much to take away from the comic book beyond Michael Turner’s fantastic art, and then here came the TNT Television series that was nothing but underwhelming and completely void of any potential to rise above the television crime series doldrums it practiced.

In spite of my best efforts to enjoy it upon its premiere, “Witchblade” could never quite convince me that it was something worth sitting through until its end after two seasons. It hasn’t aged too well eight years after it premiered. It’s filled with bullet time (courtesy of “The Matrix” craze), and bears numerous references to Ricky Martin, but watching it again after so long, it’s not as bad as I remembered.

Yancy Butler could never convince me that she was an actress worth leading the series as often her performance feels disconnected and cardboard, while never as imposing as the Witchblade weapon dictates. Meanwhile the Witchblade itself was never an interesting device. Whether that’s due to poor writing, or a low budget, all that the medieval weapon ever seemed good for was shielding from bullets and turning in to a sword at will. It’s not the impression you get from reading the comic book, that’s for sure.

Still though, “Witchblade” moves pretty slow at times with the television movie at ninety minutes that’s pretty demanding of our attention; it’s frankly a boring introduction in to the mythos and one that didn’t particularly inspire me to stick with the show. In it we meet Sara Pezzini, a woman still mourning the loss of her best friend killed by a gangster who was freed of all charges. While the exploration in to the mythos can be quite fascinating, the villain of this pilot is cliché and often stock in his menace and attitude.

At the half hour mark the series pilot finally finds its footing, delving in to the mythos, only to get back in to the cheesy gangster motif. By the second episode, “Witchblade” seems to realize its potential however slowly. It’s just sad that the writers never convinced us this thing was good for anything more than a dinky sword, and a shield. And they never had the cojones to feature Butler in her skimpy Witchblade body suit, either. That stinks. Either way, while not as terrible as I remember, it’s still not as good as it could have been. I’m still not sold on the “Witchblade” property.

As for the DVD, it’s a dazzling little treatment with seven discs in a flip set. The series is featured in a full screen format, with bells and whistles that indicate more about the powers of the Witchblade than we actually see in the series. There are a series of hokey thirty second introductions from character Gabriel who provides clunky precursors that rivals the narration from “Heroes.” There’s also “Wielding the Blade” a seven minute montage featuring interviews with creator Mark Silvestri and producers, all of whom seem to be talking more about the comic than they do the show. But they do acknowledge fan complaints and the basic problems with turning the Witchblade from alien type armor in to a cliché medieval armor.

There’s the eleven minute “Bringing the Blade to Life” that points the camera at Mark Silvestri who created the comic who doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about the series, but seems satisfied that the comic book was turned in to a television series, nonetheless. Finally there’s the “Casting Sessions” for the actors including Butler. I would have loved to see a mini-comic or a CD Rom Capable first issue of the series. All in all it’s an okay variety. In spite of the dazzling packaging, the special features are generally mediocre for a series that was never anything above sub-par. “Witchblade: The Series” is not as bad as I originally remember, but it’s still a series you’ll forget long after watching.