Yes, the Canon XL1 is a nice camera. Though depending on how much you're going to have to pay, I wouldn't rule out other options. The Canon HV20 & HV30 are very nice cameras, that while small and shooting compressed HDV (or 4:3 or 16:9 standard definition) produce a beautiful image, and they can be had for very reasonable prices.
Whether or not it's necessary is debatable of course, but there are certainly a lot of camera options available. Personally I always preferred the look of DVX100 footage to that of the XL1, but either is a great choice.