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Series: Relic Hunter
"Welcome to Ancient Studies. I'm not really a stickler for attendance, from time to time I'm called away from the classroom myself."
Sydney's Season Two pre-credits introduction.

Relic Hunter was a television series that ran for three seasons in syndication from 1999-2002. Relic Hunters are adventurers who travel the globe to track down lost or stolen objects and return them to their owners or donate them to museums, sometimes for a fee but never working entirely for profit - unless they're this week's bad guy who'll get their comeuppance at the end.

The tough girl heroine, Sydney Fox (Tia Carrere), is a renowned Relic Hunter but also has a day job as a university professor of Ancient Studies which she is somehow never fired from despite taking a ridiculous amount of unscheduled time off to Relic Hunt (occasionally Lamp Shaded by a boss who complains Sydney is never in). Her Hugh Grantesque teaching assistant Nigel Bailey (Christien Anholt) accompanies her on hunts and largely gets used as the comic relief, whilst secretaries Claudia (seasons one and two) and Karen Petruski (season three) hold the fort back at Trinity College. The latter two were respectively played by Lindy Booth and Tanja Reichert.

The show sometimes features bursts of cheesy dialogue and various national stereotypes and all violence is carefully filmed around with no visible blood for reasons of transmission time.


This programme provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Sydney Fox. Relic hunting can be dangeorus business.
  • Action Dress Rip: Sydney at a garden party.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Sydney was born and raised in Hawaii, as was Tia Carrere.
  • Adorkable: Nigel Bailey
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Guess who ?!?
  • Ancient Conspiracy
  • Artistic License - Physics: Episode 13 features the diamond of Thutmose III, which is revealed to have a refractive index so high that it "absorbs light and doesn't allow it to escape". Apparently, this mostly means it fires a big exploding laser when you shine bright light on it.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sydney.
  • Bad Habits: Sydney and Nigel dress up as monks/nuns more than once.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Many of the plots revolve around a mysterious artifact that granted a historical figure amazing powers.
  • The Cast Showoff: Sydney gets to sing on occasion. Tia Carrere is also a singer and sang the Award Bait Song for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Nigel isn't always one but has his moments.
  • Disguised in Drag: Episode 63 involves Sydney and Nigel dressing as harem dancers to infiltrate a Persian palace.
  • Distressed Dude: Nigel, more than once.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Sydney doesn't.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys
  • Evil Is Not a Toy
  • Fanservice:
    • Sydney didn't have much of a nudity taboo and needed surprisingly little encouragement to take her clothes off.
    • Her first scene has her teaching introducing a class on tribal culture by demonstrating pacific island styled dance in a bikini. She spends most of the next scene in her bra, changing clothes in front of Nigel who she's known for all of ten minutes.
    • The season one credits even include a shot of her taking off her top!
    • Nigel also gets ShirtlessScenes, though he's far more reluctant than Sydney to take his shirt off.
  • Flashback: Every episode begins with one, set in the distant or not-so-distant past.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Nigel and to a lesser extent Sydney.
  • Hot Librarian: Sydney during her university job (though she is a professor, not a librarian)
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Run Sydney Run".
  • Identical Grandson: The Thief of Baghdad was apparently an identical distant ancestor of Sydney's. She also had an identical grandmother who was a singer at the Moulin Rouge.
  • Improbable Age: Sydney looks like she's about 30 years old in the first season (Tia Carrere was 32 when it was shot), yet she is already a full professor with her own secretary.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Nigel's harem dancer disguise in episode 63 is not particularly convincing, even with the veil over his face.
  • It Belongs in a Museum: Most of the relics do. Sydney's mission often is to ensure they end up there.
  • Large Ham: Many of the differing villains might fit this.
  • Lingerie Scene: Sydney gets quite a few of these.
  • MacGuffin: Many of the relics Sydney is hunting.
  • Mega Crossover: Part of the epic crossover fanfic "Chicago Convergence".
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard
  • Mud Wrestling: Check it out here.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Episode 8 contains a scene at a Swedish nudist spa, with about 5 minutes of continuous Scenery Censor, as well as Nigel Digging Himself Deeper while attempting to talk to a sunbathing girl.
  • No Nudity Taboo:
    • Sydney obviously doesn't have a problem with strangers seeing her in her underwear.
    • As the nudist resort episode shows, she has no problems with them seeing her completely naked either.
    • In episode 2 of season 1, Sydney insists on sharing a shower with Nigel (there is no sexual intent, she is just really dirty and needs to clean up quickly). The scene ends up with a wet and miserable-looking towel-clad Nigel standing outside the bathroom door, with Sydney calling for him to come back in. "Bathing with people of the opposite sex is a great way of relaxing."
  • Oire Land
  • One True Sequence
  • Parental Abandonment: Sydney's mother is dead and her father rarely around, Nigel is an orphan.
  • Punctuated Pounding
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl:
    • Sydney doesn't seem to mind taking her clothes off in front of strangers.
    • In episode 8, Sydney and Nigel must enter a Swedish nudist spa to search for a medieval runestone. Sydney doesn't appear to have any problem with this at all, while Nigel is plainly uncomfortable and agrees to the plan only after Sydney promises not to look.
    • Then in episode 13 she's forced to undress inside a taxi in order to remove a less-obvious-than-usual listening device, while the driver watches. She does eventually force him to wait outside, at least.
  • Shoot the Money: Whenever Sydney and Nigel travel to foreign locales, particularly the castles.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Nigel and Preston.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Claudia replaced with Karen.
  • The Knights Templar
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Other than her field outfit, Sydney seems to have one. So do her secretaries.
  • UST:
    • Sydney and Nigel - played for laughs when they have to go undercover in a nudist colony.
    • To a lesser degree, Karen and Nigel.
  • Valley Girl: Claudia, who at one point confuses astrology and astronomy.
    Sydney: For her, history starts with Marilyn.
    Nigel: Monroe?
    Sydney: Manson.


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alternative title(s): Relic Hunter
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