REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS 1 by Sally Dye
SYNOPSIS 2 by Thomas Chaser
SYNOPSIS 3 by Loretta Miller
COMMENTARY 1 by Thomas Chaser
COMMENTARY 2 by Loretta Miller
JUST MORPHING AROUND
Jim R. Coleman (Ngama)
Written by Bill Taub
Directed by Jon Cassar
Filmed on location in Orlando, FL and Africa.
TV GUIDE PROMO
Sheena and Cutter must deactivate a downed satellite before the military targets it and bombs the area.
After a U.S. defense department satellite crashes into the jungle, it's up to Sheena, Cutter and Cutter's old nemesis, Tyler, to track down and deprogram the satellite before the area is bombed by the military. Sheenatv.com
When a downed defense satellite with classified information falls into the LaMistas, Sheena and Cutter must get to it and deprogram it before the Russians get there.
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 10-09-00
An AA average of 2.0
Competition from Action Hours:
Inv. Man 1.7
This synopsis is by Sally Dye.
A group of monkeys is happily playing in the jungle, until a jeep roars through the area. The driver seems to be following a beacon of some sort. A couple of gorillas block the way, and the driver pulls out a rifle. Suddenly Sheena shows up, knocks the guy out, and looks through his things to find out what he's doing there. She finds the locator he was using. Looking up, she sees what looks like a large fireball falling from space into the jungle.
Cutter is working on his motorcycle. Sheena brings the locator and shows it to him. She wants to know what the locator is and shows him the guy's i.d. Cutter recognizes the guy, and tells Sheena that it must have been a meteor that fell into the jungle. She says she will take him to the guy.
A plane lands at a formal looking airstrip, with a red carpet leading up to President Ingama, who is sitting under a canopy. Several Russians descend from the plane and tell the president that they are going into La Mista to study the soil composition. Ingama says yeah, right, he knows that a U.S. defense satellite has gone down in his country and it's a little too coincidental that the Russians would want to study the soil at just that moment. He will allow the leader, Yaskov, to go, but with his own personal troops instead of the Russian soldiers. He also warns Yaskov about the darak'na. Yaskov is not impressed.
Sheena takes Cutter to the guy -- Tyler -- whom she has tied to his jeep. He and Cutter apparently worked together before. He tells Cutter that the defense satellite has classified info on it which must be destroyed before it falls into the wrong hands. He says if they can't get to it in time, that some bomber jets are coming to destroy the whole mountainside where it went down. Cutter realizes that there are a couple of villages there that will be destroyed also. Cutter cuts him loose and says he will help him find the satellite.
Sheena tells Kali what has happened. They see soldiers on the river and realize others are looking for the satellite, too.
Tyler wonders where Cutter has been since he left "the agency". They realize a leopard is following them. Tyler wants to shoot it, but Cutter tells him to go on ahead, that he will deal with the leopard. Sheena morphs into human form. Suddenly she throws a rope and knocks Tyler down. She says he was about to shoot them. Tyler denies it. He said he was just being cautious. Sheena lets him go and says she knows a shortcut across the gorge. They set off together.
Yaskov and the African soldiers arrive in La Mista.
Sheena, Cutter and Tyler come to a rope bridge and start across it. Suddenly a shot rings out. It's the African soldiers, shooting at them. Sheena leaps off the bridge and grabs a rock with a shiny substance inside it. She uses it to blind the soldiers so that Cutter and Tyler can get across the bridge.
They look through binoculars at the soldiers and see Yaskov among them. Tyler recognizes him and knows he is there to get the satellite, too. Sheena tells Cutter and Tyler to go on ahead. She becomes the darak'na and kills the two soldiers left to guard the bridge.
Sheena, as the darak'na, is following Yaskov and the other soldiers. The soldiers see vultures and know that the darak'na is nearby, which makes them very nervous.
Tyler quizzes Cutter about Sheena. Tyler cuts a tension vine and a dead tree falls on Cutter, pinning his legs to the ground. Tyler almost leaves Cutter there, saying he just doesn't know whether or not to trust him, but then he comes back and helps free him.
The soldiers find the bloody shirt of one of the men left at the bridge. The soldiers say they would rather face Ingama's wrath than go on with Yaskov. Yaskov continues on alone.
Sheena rejoins Cutter and Tyler and they find the satellite. But it is buried and will take time to get to.
They unearth the satellite and Tyler begins the procedure to extract the disc. They estimate thirty minutes til the F117s arrive. Cutter tells Sheena about his job with the agency. He was a sniper, and Tyler was his spotter. On his last mission, he accidently killed an innocent bystander instead of his target.
Russian paratroopers begin parachuting out over the area. Sheena sees a hawk and morphs into one. She tears the parachutes of two of the Russians, and they fall to their deaths. She then morphs back into human form and takes out the ones who landed.
Tyler finally gets to the part of the satellite where the disc is stored. He takes out a remote and gives it to Cutter, telling him to get about twenty feet away and if he can't get the disc out, to blow the satellite (and Tyler with it) to smithereens. Just then, Yaskov appears and says to give him the disc and the remote or he will just shoot them and take it anyway. Cutter says he could just detonate it. Yaskov: "Are you so willing to die for your country?" Just then growling is heard close behind Yaskov. Cutter (to Yaskov): "That's the darak'na. Are you so willing to die for your country?" Yaskov scoffs at first, but then Sheena tackles him. She and Yaskov fight while Tyler and Cutter get the disc and begin to erase it. Sheena easily defeats Yaskov, and the erasure of the disc sends a signal to the approaching bombers, and they abort the bombing run.
Tyler leaves. Cutter says he'd appreciate it if Sheena didn't end up in his report. Tyler: "Sheena who?"
This synopsis is by Thomas Chaser.
This episode opens with a man in a jeep tearing along a trail, crashing through the brush. On the seat next to him, a small tracking unit beeps impatiently as he drives pell-mell along the dirt path. Suddenly, a large gorilla appears in the path in front of him and he slams on the brakes to avoid hitting the animal. The man beeps the truck's horn, yells, and waves his arms to try and scare the animal off the path. Frustrated that his attempts aren't working, he grabs his rifle and aims at the gorilla. Suddenly, something hits him on the head and he falls to the floor of the jeep.
A slender arm descends down and picks up the tracking unit. Its Sheena! She turns the device over, examining it, trying to figure out why its beeping. She grabs the device and exits the jeep as the screen fades to black and the opening credits roll.
I think this scene was done pretty well. I'm glad to see a Sheena that doesn't recognize high-tech gadgetry that most of us take for granted. How would a jungle child know about something that's she's never seen? At least the producers recognized this limitation to her character.
Sheena takes the device to Cutter, who asks her where she got it. She describes the jeep and the man and demands to know what it is and why the man wanted to go into the jungle. Cutter is reserved and tells her very little, other than to take him to the man and the jeep. This whole scene is key for two reasons (a) it sets up the background relationship between the man and Cutter and (b) it shows just how bad an actor the guy playing Cutter really is. Now, don't get me wrong. I can handle bad acting in an action-adventure show, so long as there's enough adventuring going on to mask the bad acting. Unfortunately, in "Sheena" there's bad acting going on by just about everybody except the man in the jeep (who's name is Tyler, but more about that in a bit).
Meanwhile, a biplane cargo transport lands, carrying a Russian "scientific" team sent to study soil samples in the forbidden section of the jungle (the region has a name, but I've forgotten it already). Some more bad acting goes on here between the leader of the Russian team and the representative of the generic African nation's government, but some more critical information comes out - that an American defense satellite is going to impact in the forbidden jungle and some super-secret spy stuff is logged on its computer disk. The African leader agrees to allow the Russians into his country but only if African soldiers escort the team. The Russian agrees and the team goes in.
Cutter and Sheena find the man in the jeep, where Sheena had tied him across the hood so that he couldn't escape. Sheena hides in the brush as Cutter interrogates his old partner. We later learn that Cutter used to be a sniper and the man, named Tyler, was his spotter. They had a falling-out when Cutter accidentally shot an innocent store clerk who happened to pass in front of Cutter's line of fire during an operation. After some wrestling between Cutter and Tyler, they form a tentative partnership (Tyler spots Sheena in the bushes and thinks Cutter is going to double-cross him). Eventually, Cutter introduces Sheena to Tyler and the three head into the jungle.
For some reason, Sheena knows what "DEFCON-3" is from reading Tom Clancy novels, but doesn't know what "ballbuster" means. I think the writers had a good idea - make her somewhat unaware of civilization's problems but not so uneducated that she slows down the storyline - but they could've done a better job of exposing her lack of knowledge about modern things.
The Russian team and the African platoon leader have some dialogue, where the platoon leader expresses the superstition about the Drakma creature that kills anybody who goes into the forbidden jungle. Cutter and Tyler are crossing a rope bridge over a high mountain gorge when the Russian team shoots at them. Sheena jumps off the bridge as Cutter and Tyler get tangled up in their gear. Eventually the two men scramble off the bridge as two soldiers come after them. Sheena transforms into the mud-covered Drakma creature and scurries under the rope bridge. The two African soldiers panic and try to shoot the Drakma by firing through the flooring of the bridge. Sheena scurries back and forth until, eventually, the soldiers have sufficiently weakened the bridge support and they fall through.
This scene was pretty well done - a highlight between some rather boring dialogue scenes before and after it. The stuntwork was fantastic - the special effect of the Drakma running, upside down, under the bridge was good. The stunt performers should receive a bonus for that work. The stunt double for Gena Lee Nolin should get some extra special attention, as she does her work wearing only a short cotton skirt, a mask, and bodypaint. This happens to be the closest thing to T&A on the whole episode, and if you blink you'll miss it.
There's some more bad dialogue as Cutter, Tyler, and Sheena continue on to the satellite, reaching it just ahead of the Russian team. Tyler tries to deprogram the satellite and send a signal to a flight of F-117s on their way to bomb the whole forbidden jungle to destroy the satellite. Cutter and Sheena are left to deal with the Russian team leader (the rest of the team has fled the jungle in fear of the Drakma). As Cutter leaves the satellite's impact trench to battle the Russian, Tyler, working "in the blind", hits a wrong button and Cutter has to help Tyler deactivate the satellite. Sheena must battle the Russian by herself. There's some more bad dialogue and a pretty weak fight scene, but during the whole thing the satellite gets deactivated and the forbidden jungle is saved from destruction.
This synopsis is by Loretta Miller.
The episode begins with Tyler, an assassin that works for the Fed's is tracking something into the jungle. A surly gorilla blocks his path and when shouting doesn't scare off the animal, he levels his rifle with intent to shoot the beast. Sheena attacks him, and winds up tieing him to the hood of his jeep. The satellite streaks to earth and lands nearby. Sheena takes the tracking device and his I.D. to Cutter who is stunned by her find. He recognizes the man in the photo I.D. as a former partner with the agency he once worked for.
Tyler had been tracking the United States spy satellite that had been whacked out of orbit and headed Earthbound and it's Tyler's mission to search and destroy the data onboard before the Russians, led by a man named Yakov, gets it. The Russian goes to the nation's President Ingama and asks for permission to be in his land for purposes of studying their soil composition. The President insists that his own men help in the study. The men spot vultures circling above and tell Yakov of the Drak'na legend. A tattered and bloody shirt hanging from a tree scare them all. Yakov says that if the creature gets his way, it'llbe dead by dawn.
Against the clock, Tyler knows that the U.S. have sent F-17's their direction with orders to destroy the entire mountain that the satellite rests upon in order to keep the data out of the wrong hands.
Cutter tells Sheena about his days being a "trained killer" where Tyler had given "at your discretion" orders to shoot at a target they had set up on. Instead of hitting his intended target, he killed the grocery clerk that stood behind him.
5 Russians parachute in and Sheena "becomes" a falcon or eagle and uses the talons to slice the parachutes and bringing several of them crashing to Earth.
The U.S. Stealths arrive as Tyler and Cutter work feverishly to now disarm the satellite that Tyler accidentally set in motion when he pulled something out of sequence. He gives Cutter a remote that will destruct the satellite if need be. Once more "at your discretion". Cutter reminds Tyler that "always choices".
Tyler manages at the last minute to turn the computer disk around that signals the Stealth bombers to abort their mission.
Sheena talks with Kali and she tells Sheena that there is a warrior in all of us, and the warrior must think his reasons are good and perhaps Matt came to doubt them. She surmises that that's possibly the reason why Cutter is in their region, and that Sheena helped to acknowledge it.
When Cutter tells Tyler that Sheena isn't into goodbyes, Tyler mentions that she is "like a cat."
"More than you know," Cutter replied.
This commentary is by Thomas Chaser.
Except for the two scenes I pointed out above, this episode was pretty weak. The show sabotaged itself with bad acting, poor character interaction, and lack of adventuring. There just wasn't enough action going on, and the dialogue scenes were poorly scripted.
One thing that surprised me was the lack of T&A in the show. Given the background of the producers - "Baywatch" and "Xena" - I expected a little more pin-up girl flavor to the episode. The show's plots are comic-book quality, but without the comic book human figure artistry. There just wasn't anything that would appeal to a male's hormones in this episode (unless you like your women to look like bipedal mud monsters).
I think this show is oriented towards pre-teen children. There's certainly nothing in there that would keep a teen-ager's attention, much less an adult. The plots are paper thin, the dialogue is terrible, the character development is limited, no romance at all, no mind-expanding plots and nothing particularly complex in the storyline. But even if this is a kid's show, the violence certainly wouldn't endear it to parents. If this show survives 22 episodes with its currently formula, it'll be a television miracle.
This commentary is by Loretta Miller.
Okay, so this isn't a hard-hitting drama (not even close) but, overall this show isn't bad. The plot line of the spy satellite crash landing in the Somalian jungle brings us knowledge of Cutter's past. That he was once a trained killer and that he left the agency "bitter". We see his vunerability and his remorse at having killed an innocent man. We see him as he questions the motives of a former friend and colleague, as he now wants to protect his "home", the land he has adopted as his own, and Sheena.
At this point I feel I know Cutter far better than I do Sheena. I know she is a protector, but beyond that I wonder, with all the books she's read, that she hasn't wanted to step out of the big bad jungle and see the world. The world that she evidently knows exists but at this point seems not the least bit interested in joining.
If we could get Nolin to exude a little more emotion as she realizes a wrong has been done to her community. For living her life within the jungle, you'd think that she would "look" more mature and react more maturely and have cynical comments as men infiltrate her land for all sorts of reasons....none of them good.
So, we aren't covering women's rights here but, perhaps we could address the depletion of the rainforests. Perhaps Sheena could have a cynical overall opinion of man, the species she is least likely to trust. An understanding of her feelings, and how deep they run and what has she encountered in her life. Has she ever been attacked by a rogue gorilla, for instance? What does she fear? What about religion? Does she ever want to leave? Does she ever want to seek out the family, that truly is hers, beyond the dense foliage of the jungle?
Hope we find out as the show unfolds. Stephen Sears, from the Xena series and various shows like A-Team and Swamp Thing before that, offers us a fairly good show. Eye candy, granted, with a story-line that's not too deep. It doesn't address any specific philosophical questions, but it's entertaining.
Will these questions be answered or will more questions crop up next week? Stay tuned....
JUST MORPHING AROUND
10-04-00. Writer Bill Taub was a former producer and writer of RELIC HUNTER.