She Spies was an action/adventure/comedy series that ran in First-Run Syndication from 2002-04. The premise was self-described as "three beautiful ex-cons saving the world on an almost weekly basis."
The main characters were three beautiful women (Cassie [Natasha Henstridge], a confidence woman; D.D. [Kristen Miller], a computer hacker; and Shane [Natashia Williams], a burglar), who were released from prison on the terms that they would work for the government as spies.
The two seasons were markedly different in tone. The first season (which involved graduates of Moonlighting and Duckman behind the camera) was light-hearted and comedic, with a great deal of tongue-in-cheek humor and exploitation of spy-genre tropes that to the point that the characters were aware of them and constantly
doing Lampshade Hanging Breaking the Fourth Wall.
The second season, involving producers from Tower 12 Productions, was essentially a series reboot — in the first episode the girls learned that Jack (the equivalent of Bosley in the inevitable Charlie's Angels comparison) had been reassigned, headquarters had been completely remodeled, and their residence had been moved. Basically, the only things remaining unchanged were the general premise and the three lead actresses. The tone of the series changed to a straightforward action/adventure series, with much less of the trademark humor that was the first season's greatest asset. The cast weren't too thrilled at the change and it seems that many fans agreed, as the show didn't survive past the second season.
"Bad Tropes Gone Good":
- Actor Allusion: In one scene, the girls are attempting to break into a house in broad daylight, they notice that some teenage boys are watching them. Cassie (Natasha Henstridge) turns around and says, "Hey kids, Species is on cable." One of the more famous things about Species was Henstridge's nude scene.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Charlie's Angels specifically, and probably of Spy Fiction as a whole.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Our trio, one of two ways:
- Option A: Shane is the Brawn, her prior sentence was for battery, and was considered the toughest fighter. D.D. was the Brains, being a computer hacker, and Cassie was the Beauty, being a con woman who would frequently have to flirt or seduce men to trick them.
- Option B: Shane is still the Brawn, see above. Cassie is the Brains, having to outsmart people as a conwoman. D.D. becomes the Beauty, being a non-confrontational goody-two-shoes and something of a Ditz.
- Boxed Crook: The show's premise. Our heroes were criminals offered freedom and specialized training to become spies with plausible deniability.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:Cassie: Wait a minute! Excuse me... In case nobody noticed, I just swallowed a live bomb! Do you really think this is the right time to be running credits?!
- Credits Gag: See Breaking the Fourth Wall above.
- Does Not Like Guns: Played straight with D.D., averted with Shane. She wanted them, but according to Jack, since they were felons that technically weren't even paroled, they weren't allowed to have them.
- Don't Explain the Joke: D.D. was a frequent offender of this.
- Eat the Bomb: In one episode, the Cold Open has the girls captured by a villain gloating about his tiny, but powerful bomb. Cassie then kicks it out of his hand, catches it in her mouth, and swallows it. Since the bomb is heat-activated, the villain is forced to set them free before the bomb warms to Cassie's body temperature and explodes in the middle of his base. The girls run to freedom and the opening credits start to run... only to be shoved off the screen by Cassie complaining that she has just swallowed a live bomb and will not survive through the credits. Once she coughs up the bomb (and kicks it back down into the villain's base where it explodes), she allows the credits to resume where they left off.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Cassie and D.D. did this a lot. When asked about it, Cassie explained, "Great blondes think alike."
- Glass Smack and Slide: In the first scene, the trio swing down from the roof of a building and crash through the penthouse windows — except Cee Cee, whose window refuses to shatter on impact. She's stuck there smooshed until the other She Spies pull her in.
- Groin Attack: The series plays this trope from time to time, with the three female spies usually striking their opponents where it hurts the most.
- Improbable Weapon User: Since the girls weren't allowed to have guns, they would resort to other weapons to win fights, including kitchen utensils, towels, and even kids toys.
- Lampshade Hanging: More in season one than season two.
- Older Than They Look: In the episode "Poster Girl," the title character - a disabled little girl called Amy who fronts a charity - is actually an adult woman who ages slowly due to illness and the leader of the con game the charity's a front for. But as Jack tells D.D. after she confronts the "girl," drags her out of her wheelchair and throws her to the ground, "Amy really is disabled"...
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Cameron Daddo as their boss in season 2, Mr. Cross, didn't manage to hide his Australian tones that well.
- Spiritual Predecessor: In a lot of ways, to Chuck, the action / adventure / comedy premise especially.
- Take That! / Hypocritical Humor: The first few episodes were aired on NBC; when the show was dropped into first-run syndication, they apparently didn't take it well. In one episode, while taking care of a baby, they mention She Spies action figures: "You wind them up and they dare you to find their timeslot."
- Treasure Chest Cavity: One episode has the objective hidden in the target's tooth filling on a microchip.