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CLEOPATRA 2525   All you'll ever
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from Cult Times #70

The Premise:
Cleopatra, a stripper cryogenically frozen after a botched boob job, awakens to find machines called the Bailies have taken over the Earth. Keen to help reclaim the planet, although unprepared for what she’ll find, Cleo joins a unit – guided by the mysterious Voice in leader Hel’s head – to fight injustice in the now underground human world and occasionally take on the Bailies on the surface.

Background:
When Hercules came to an abrupt end with its eight-episode sixth season, Renaissance Pictures decided to split Hercules’ hour into two half-hour action shows, Cleopatra 2525 and Jack of All Trades, both starring Renaissance favourites who’d appeared in Hercules and/or Xena. Cleopatra originally began life as ‘Amazon High’, showcasing the warrior maidens from the aforementioned series, but the format was altered to distance its set-up from Jack. The ‘Amazon High’ pilot formed part of the Xena episode Lifeblood.

First Run:
Cleopatra 2525 declared war on the Bailies on January 17th 2000 in US syndication.

Number of Episodes: Twenty-eight: a season’s worth of half-hour episodes, then, after the cancellation of Jack of All Trades, six more hour-long instalments.

The Good Guys:
Hel, short for Helen (Gina Torres), the team leader who obeys and relays Voice’s commands, given through a receptor in her jaw; Sarge (Victoria Pratt), tough, no-nonsense second in command (real name the not quite as tough Rose); Cleopatra (Jennifer Sky), screaming wimp who helps and hinders the team; Mauser (Patrick Kake), former Betrayer android who can build anything but isn’t programmed for sex, much to Sarge’s annoyance. Plus the mysterious Voice (Elizabeth Hawthorne).

The Bad Guys:
Creegan (Joel Tobeck), a ‘friend’ of Hel’s dead father who knows more – a lot more – than he’s telling. Plus assorted mutants and Betrayers, robots that the Bailies use to replace humans which turn into armour-plated killing machines.

And Isn’t That... Quite a few familiar faces from Hercules and Xena turn up, including Joel Tobeck (formerly gods Deimos and Strife), Danielle Cormack (Amazon leader Ephiny, here playing Raina) and Marton Csokas (Borias in Xena), who appears in No Thanks for the Memories.

Overdone Clichés:
Fight scenes can go on for most of an episode with shields stopping anyone ever getting hurt.

Fashion Statements:
The most revealing attire available for the freedom fighters, especially when Cleo is called upon to strip, and a worrying amount of bondage gear for some of the villains.

  Cleopatra 2525's trio of heroines
Keep Hope Alive

Reality Check
Cleo realizes her 2525 life is a dream. Or is it? Great fun with Hel and Sarge in our time and with a neat twist.

Mauser’s Day Out
Mauser gets some depth as he apparently reverts to his Betrayer programming in this touching story blissfully low on action and high on characterization.

The Voice
The final episode. A clip show in which Creegan looks back on his crimes. But it answers many questions and leads to several big shocks and a downbeat ending...

 
Fighting to Survive

A large number of the first season episodes are gunfire from start to finish with minimal plot. The worst offenders are Creegan, Baby Boom and Pod Whisperer.

 

Channel 5 logoCleopatra 2525 is currently airing on Fridays, 19.00

See listings section of this Cult Times for details

 
 
 
 
 
 

Paul Cleospraggra

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Photo © Renaissance Pictures / Channel 5

Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction.