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Cleopatra 2525

Following the end of Xena Warrior Princess and The Adventures of Hercules, Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert went into production on two new shows to fill in the gap left by Xena and Hercules. The shows were Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525. Both shows were also filmed in New Zealand using much of the same crew from its predecessors. Many stations aired Jack of All Trades and Cleopatra 2525 as part of the Back2Back Action Hour, beginning in January 2000.

Being a huge Evil Dead fan, I stumbled upon the Back2Back Action hour in early 2000, and was delighted to see Bruce Campbell starring in Jack of All Trades. The second show, Cleopatra 2525, was weird. From first glance, it featured three attractive women and guy channeling his own take on the Joker. Still, that was enough for me to keep watching, and quickly I fell in love this goofy TV show.

I’ll allow the opening narration to explain the premise:

Five hundred years into the future, she will enter a world where machines rule the Earth. Mankind has been driven underground and Cleopatra is about to discover there’s no place like home!

The she being described is Cleo, an exotic dancer from the 20th century who is placed in suspended animation following complications during a breast augmentation surgery. She wakes up in 2525 and joins two women (Hel and Sarge) who are fighting against the machines called Baileys that control the Earths surface.

Cleopatra 2525 uses the fish out of water plot device well, although at first Cleo seems really out of her element and you even begin to wonder why they bothered utilizing her character. Slowly, she came into her own and the show improved as she became a intricate part of the team.

The always delightful Gina Torres (Firefly, Hannibal) stars as Hel and Victoria Pratt (Mutant X) plays the muscle as Sarge. Joel Tobeck plays Kreegan, the before mentioned Joker knockoff, and he ends up stealing the show as he chews up the scenery.

The CGI was always a bit a rough, but that as to be expected with a syndicated sci-fi show from the year 2000. Luckily, the show leans into it’s campiness that its easy to overlook. No one is trying to pass this off as The Expanse.

Another defining part of the show was the theme song, which featured a cover of 1969 hit, In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) by Zager and Evans. It really sets the tone of for the goofiness of the show.

Sadly, Jack of All Trades was cancelled after just one season and that left Cleopatra 2525 to fill the void. The show expanded from 23 minutes to 45 minutes, and it didn’t help the pacing. The show had already started off quite slow, and now the plots were dragged out a bit longer than needed at times and the quality suffered. Cleopatra 2525 was canceled after the second season and just twenty-eight episodes.

Cleopatra 2525 is not a show you’ll hear about often and it’s definitely not for everybody. It’s slow, campy, and a bit goofy, but I always enjoyed it. The DVD is out of print and rarely do I see Cleopatra 2525 streaming, so it’s hard to come by, but if you like campy syndicated sci-fi from the 90’s, Cleopatra 2525 is worth your time.

Published inTelevision

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