USA Weekend

25 September 1999

Many thanks to Mezzo for the scan and the transcript

xegabf1.jpg (33997 bytes)Xena uses opener to great special effect (title)

In what's being billed as one of TV's most special- effects-laden episodes ever, next week's fifth-season debut of the syndicated Xena: Warrior Princess sends our heroines the computer-generated heave and hell.

Xena (Lucy Lawless) and sidekick Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) walk on divine water and through flames, then fly through air inhabited by archangels and demons, as they fight to regain their mortal lives. (In May's season finales, the two were crucified by the Romans.)

The episode features 270 special effects, up from the standard 50 to 100, and "they don't look like anything anyone could go out and photograph," says Doug Beswick of Flat Earth Productions.

It took Flat Earth five weeks to insert the effects, less time than for a movie. "In TV, we go straight form the computer, because we don't have to worry about blowing up the image," Beswick says.

In October, Xena becomes TV's first pregnant action hero; the father will be revealed in January. In real life, Lawless is expecting a baby in October.

blurb by Jefferson Graham.

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