Cleopatra 2525
Volume 2

Starring: Jennifer Sky, Gina Torres and Victoria Pratt
RRP 15.99
37115 10223
Certificate: 12
Available now

Freedom fighters Hel, Sarge and Cleopatra have to deal with a Betrayer that has feelings, a ghost from the past, the return of Creegan and Raina, a doppelganger of Cleo, a stockpile of deadly plutonium, and an awesome underwater city...

The seven episodes on this DVD comprise the latter half of Cleo's first season of sexy, witty and action-packed adventures.

There's a noticeable trend during this volume for resurrecting characters and developing ideas established in previous instalments. The villainous Creegan (Joel Tobeck) returns in Perceptions, while the telepathic Raina (Danielle Cormack) escapes incarceration once more in Trial and Error. Such tactics allow the scriptwriters to overcome some of the plotting limitations of the 22-minute episode format, by using "ready made" familiar elements.

The Christmassy Choices is a rather cheesy and sentimental episode (the weakest one on the DVD, in fact), but it nevertheless succeeds in introducing the notion that Betrayer replicas have feelings, too - at least until their programmed killing instincts kick in. This aspect is played upon later in the season during the hugely enjoyable Double, which also follows up events that took place in the two-part Home/Rescue. Choices also establishes the fact that Hel (Gina Torres) has lost her father, an element of back-story that comes to the fore during Perceptions.

Additionally, the episodes collected here develop a couple of this series' wider-ranging and more disconcerting concepts. In both Perceptions and Trial and Error, our heroes are annoyed to discover that Voice (Elizabeth Hawthorne) has not been entirely honest with them. The closing two-parter Hel and High Water (which, in curious contrast to Volume 1's Home and Rescue, has not been edited into a single double-length episode) expands upon the fact that we know next to nothing about the mechanical Baileys or their motives.

The two-parter also introduces some even saucier outfits for Hel, Sarge (Victoria Pratt) and Cleo (Jennifer Sky) - as shown on the front cover - presumably under the pretext that the girls need different attire for their underwater excursion, although no explicit explanation is given. Not that I'm complaining!

Both Hel and High Water and The Last Stand bring to the fore the acting talents of Victoria Pratt. Hers is a predominantly action-orientated role, but these episodes (like Home and Rescue before them) illustrate that, when required to be more emotive, she is entirely capable of delivering the goods.

The conclusion to Series One leaves us with a fair few unanswered questions. But fear not, because Carlton assures me that the second series of Cleopatra will be comin' at ya soon!

Richard McGinlay

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