"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!"
Cleopatra 2525 is a pulpy 2001 science fiction television series which ran for two seasons.
In 2525, an exotic dancer named Cleo (Jennifer Sky, right) is awoken after being cryogenically frozen after a boob job mishap in 2001. She is rescued from certain doom as a test dummy by two female vigilantes, Helen (Gina Torres, center) and Sarge (really named Rose) (Victoria Pratt, left). These two fight to return humanity to the surface, after they have been pushed down into the Underground - a series of shafts and levels created by an unknown entity - by human-killing robots called Baileys.
These robots come in a variety of forms. Some are nearly indistinguishable from humans. They are termed Betrayers, and many episodes revolve around killing one or escaping from them.
One of these Betrayers is Mauser, whose synaptic nets have been reprogrammed by Helen and Sarge. He serves as the technical guru. The final member of the team is Voice, an unknown entity that is connected to Hel via a chip in her brain. Voice is known to work with other teams, and at some point in the past was responsible for causing one team leader to gain telepathic abilities and betrayal from another. Both individuals are considered villains aside from the threat of Baileys and Betrayers.
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Helen and Sarge, mostly.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: the Baileys were originally designed as terraforming machines, whose goal was to restore the Earth that humanity has polluted. At some point, however, they decide that humans don't deserve to live on the world they destroyed and start hunting them. They do manage to finish their job, however.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Sarge comes from a tribe who believes the Baileys are aliens, which is treated as absurd. But since no one knows (until the finale, at least) what the Baileys are, "they're aliens" makes about as much sense as anything else. Admittedly, they specifically think the Baileys are benevolent aliens, which, well...
- A-Team Firing: Those gauntlet lasers seem to be inaccurate even for veteran Voice operatives, as any fire fight with them seems to have more damage done to the environment than to the enemies.
- Audience Surrogate: Cleo
- Bare Your Midriff: Cleo even lampshades it.Cleopatra: (imitating Sarge) "You're very concerned about your appearance, aren't you?" Like those exposed midriffs of yours are functional.
- Big Bad: A draw between the Baileys and mutant criminal/terrorist Kreegan. Then the finale reveals that Kreegan is the one who created the Baileys in the first place, making him THE Big Bad of the show.
- Chainmail Bikini: Lampshaded by Cleo in the very first episode
- Charm Person: Raina can do this, but mostly uses it just for Playing with Puppets
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Gina Torres (Hel) sang the theme song.
- Energy Weapon: Everybody uses energy weapons by 2525. The protagonists have their wrist-mounted. The Betrayers have their arms turn into these. The only kinetic weapon seen in the entire show is an old 9mm (in full working condition!) kept by a guy from the 21st century.
- Family-Friendly Stripper: The title character is an exotic dancer by trade, but the few times her talents are called upon, usually in a seedy bar setting of some sort, she never goes down to anything beyond a relatively modest bikini. In one episode, to create a diversion, she even takes over for a dancer who is wearing far less (but still in a skimpy bikini) and ends up enthralling the crowd with her PG-rated striptease.
- Feminist Fantasy: Definitely a "yay girl power!" sort of show, in the vein of Xena: Warrior Princess.
- Fetish-Fuel Future: Whew, lad...
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Cleo. And it gets flipped around for Hel and Sarge when Cleo gets trapped in a simulation of her own time, and they have to jump in to rescue her.
- Floral Theme Naming: Sarge's real name is Rose and her sister is Lily.
- Grand Theft Me: In the episode "In Your Boots" Kreegan does this to Hel.
- Human Popsicle:
- Human Resources: One of the later episodes reveals that the Baleys are constructed using human body parts.
- I Fell for Hours: Something of a novelty in that it (generally) isn't played for laughs. Indeed, it's pretty much the primary mode of transportation in the series.
- Intangible Man: Kreegan and Hel's father have developed a device that allow a person to become phase-shifted. The person becomes invisible and can pass through solid objects. For some reason, the person doesn't fall through the floor. Hel brings this up at one point, only to be Hand Waved by Kreegan. While working on the device, Hel's father somehow ends up being able to do this without the device, as long as he's maintaining concentration. He becomes a spy for the Voice.
- It's Personal: Hel's relationship with Kreegan, as a result of You Killed My Father.
- Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The villain of one episode ends up using an impenetrable Deflector Shield. That is, impenetrable to the Energy Weapons they all use in the year 2525. Not impenetrable to a bullet from a good old-fashioned 9mm (kept and maintained for nostalgic reasons by a guy from the 21st century).
- Monster Clown: Kreegan - although Clown Monster might be more accurate
- Nature Is Not Nice: Played for laughs when Hel has to hike across the surface for the first time and finds herself seriously questioning why they are fighting so hard to reclaim it.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The show was filmed in New Zealand. You could occasionally tell when the bit players were locals.
- Opening Narration
- Psychic Nosebleed: Subverted - a telepath spends six months deliberately inducing a nosebleed as part of her escape plan.
- Required Secondary Powers: There is a device that keeps showing up that allows one to be phase-shifted. The person becomes invisible and is able to walk through walls. Hel once brings up the problem of falling through the floor. Kreegan simply mentions that he has worked for months on the problem... and that's all we get as far as explanation. Although he mentions something about a polarized field on the soles of the shoes/feet, there is no mention of how that's powered/operated, and there's absolutely no mention of how phased characters can breathe, let alone talk, especially since they can only be heard by each other, or people with special psychic powers like Reina. Which brings up a bunch of Fridge Horror on its own, especially for Hel's father.
- The Reveal: The final episode is mostly Voice debriefing a captured Kreegan, culminating in the reveal that he mostly like is Bailey, the creator of the Baileys, and that he has thus been alive since before humanity was driven underground. The last shot also shows the human resistance is finally launching a full scale counterattack to reclaim the surface. Of course, the Baileys are also preparing for something big.
- Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: Sported by Cleopatra.
- Sentry Gun
- She-Fu: Sarge and Hel (Gina Torres). Hey, what do you expect in a show made by the same people who made Xena: Warrior Princess?
- Shout-Out: At least once an episode. Cleopatra is fond of making 21st century pop culture references that no one else gets.
- Slept Through the Apocalypse: Cleo.
- Spot the Imposter: One betrayer took the form of the hero, Cleopatra. The fact that both the hero and imposter believed themselves to be the original version made it more difficult to figure out.
- Stripperiffic: Heck, at this point, even the three actresses will admit that the biggest part of the show's charm is that it's campy, silly, cheesy, scantily clad fun.
- Taking You with Me: There are several examples of villains in the story doing or trying this, mostly the Bailey "Betrayers." However, the most notable example is Kreegan. He designed the Baileys to completely exterminate humanity if he dies. It's the only reason Hel didn't kill him when she had the chance.
- Title by Year: It's the year this is set in.
- Underground City: As noted, the Baileys pushed humanity underground, so they live in one of these.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: As upbeat and campy as the show was, the villains could be downright terrifying, especially the Baileys themselves (giant faceless robots who show up to shoot you the moment you stick your head over ground) and their Betrayers (who look like everyone else right up until they start sprouting massive deadly weapons).
- Voice Changeling: Cleo, as revealed in the first episode.
- Wall Crawl: Raina the evil telepath.