Time passed slowly, as if in a dream, and I awoke one recent morning and realized that a TV show so patently nonsensical that it could only have existed in the depths of my subconscious mind had, in fact, once aired on stations across the length and breadth of our fair Republic.
I refer, of course, to the utterly confounding sci-fi action series Cleopatra 2525, which ran in syndication for two seasons from 2000 and 2001.
The premise (courtesy of a certain online encyclopedia with dubious credibility):
When complications arise during her breast augmentation surgery, 20th-century exotic dancer Cleo (Jennifer Sky) is put into suspended animation. Awakening 500 years in the future, Cleo joins two women in their fight against the Baileys, armed flying machines who now control Earth's surface.
...and as announced every episode in the opening theme song, whose lyrics are rewritten from the appalling 1969 Zager and Evans worst hit record of all time:
In the year 2525
There are women with the will to survive
Fighting for a brand new day
Nothing gonna get in their way!
In the year 2525
Three women keep hope alive
Joining forces to reclaim the Earth
Looking ahead to humankind's rebirth!!
I'm not kidding about the breast augmentation surgery, BTW; that's the show's real backstory.
Seriously, Cleo was one of the (it only felt like) hundreds of shows that sprang up in the wake of the enormous success of the Hercules/Xena Warrior Princess franchise, and I feel confident when I say that it was the most ridiculous. Every week, it was pretty much a tossup as to which was more laughable, the scripts or the CGI killer robots, and Sky's title character was borderline unbearable, but I watched it mostly for the other leads -- Gina Torres, a Hercules/Xena vet who, as they used to say in my Marines days, was really built, and Victoria Pratt, a Beverly Hills fitness trainer turned action babe who looked like she wanted to dominate you within an inch of your life. Torres, by the way, turned out to have some talent; she's very funny and very affecting as Chris Rock's spouse in I Think I Love My Wife (the 2007 Erich Rohmer remake that's one of the most underrated flicks of the last decade, although that's a subject for another day).
In any event, in case you believe that I made all of the above up -- and frankly, I wouldn't blame you -- you can order all 28 episodes of Cleopatra 2525 on DVD over here.
And just for the heck of it, I'm gonna weigh in tomorrow on two other Hercules wannabes that come close to Cleo's level of absurdity. You'll want to tell your friends, I'm sure.