Relic Hunter

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Relic Hunter
RelicHunterTitle.JPG
Genre Mystery
Fantasy
Action
Adventure
Created by Gil Grant
Starring Tia Carrere
Christien Anholt
Lindy Booth
Tanja Reichert
Composer(s) Donald Quan
Country of origin Canada/France Co-Production 1-2 series
Canada/United Kingdom Co-Production 3rd series
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 66 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Jay Firestone
Adam Haight
Simon MacCorkindale
Running time 43 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel first-run syndication (1999-2002)
Original run September 20, 1999  – May 20, 2002

Relic Hunter is an anglophone Canadian television series, starring Tia Carrere and Christien Anholt.[1] Actress Lindy Booth also starred for the first two seasons; Tanja Reichert replaced her for the third. It was inspired by the success of the video game Tomb Raider.

It centers on Sydney Fox who is a professor but primarily a globe-trotting "relic hunter", looking for ancient artifacts to return to museums and/or the descendants of the original owner. She is aided by her linguistic assistant Nigel and occasionally by her somewhat air-headed secretary Claudia. She often ends up battling rival hunters seeking out artifacts for the money. The series includes fantasy and science fiction elements, with many of the relics featured having genuine supernatural powers or being pieces of unusually advanced technology.

It ran for three seasons in the U.S. between 1999 and 2002 after fulfilling its initial three-season, 66-episode contract, from which it was not renewed. In both Ireland and the United Kingdom, it is aired on Sky1 and subsidiary channels, while in Canada, it is aired on CityTV and Space, CTV's sister network A-Channel and recently Showcase. The series was shot in the Toronto area, explaining Carrere's frequent attendance in courtside seats at Toronto Raptors games during the time.

Overview and themes[edit]

Relic Hunter follows the globe-trotting adventures of unorthodox American archaeologist Sydney Fox (Tia Carrere), and her more reserved British assistant Nigel Bailey (Christien Anholt). They are assisted at their "home base", a generic American university identified only as Trinity College, by ditzy student secretary Claudia (Lindy Booth), the spoiled and fashion-conscious daughter of one of the college's major donors. The character of Claudia was replaced in the third season by Karen Petrushky (Tanja Reichert), who is closer to the standard "sexy secretary" stereotype but with a facility for predicaments of a bureaucratic nature.

At the beginning of each episode, there is a short flashback in which a relic or artifact is used or abused in its original time before being lost, stolen or hidden. The show cuts to Trinity College in the present day, where Sydney and Nigel are asked to find the relic by some person or agency such as a museum, private collector (in disguise) or government. Most episodes feature the duo traveling around the globe, hunting for clues in order to find the artifact. Complications abound, often with rival relic hunters getting involved, generally giving Sydney a chance to show off her martial arts prowess. It is then up to Sydney and Nigel to seize the relic and ensure it ends up in the proper hands (such as the rightful owners or a suitable museum). Each episode ends with a scene at Trinity College explaining what has happened to the relic.

The plots in Relic Hunter usually take a grain of historical information and are dramatized in order to fit in with the story. There are, however, some historical errors on the show. For example, the episode "Devil Doll" mentioned Cuzco as an Aztec city but Cuzco was an Inca. Also "Gypsy Jigsaw" features some goofs: though the action takes place in Romania, the plate number of the taxi is not Romanian, the name of the places have no any resemblance with any Romanian place, and the Romanians in that episode talk with a rather Slavic accent than Romanian one. (Romanian is a Latin language and not a Slavic one.)

Nigel shows an artifact to Sydney.

Many episodes feature comic moments interlaced with the action. Sydney also knows how to hold her own in a fight and Carrere is often involved in many fights and stunts in the show. The show also exploits the sexual tension between Sydney and Nigel, including one episode in which they went undercover in a nudist colony. Sydney is also frequently seen wearing skimpy clothing, with lots of cleavage and tight-fitting shorts; this was a major aspect of the series.

Cast and characters[edit]

Relic Hunter featured four starring roles throughout its run. The two protagonists of the series, Sydney Fox and Nigel Bailey are the only characters to appear in all 66 episodes of the series.

  • Tia Carrere as Sydney Fox (Seasons 1–3): The main protagonist and titular relic hunter of the series, Sydney works closely with Nigel Bailey whom she meets in the first episode and is proficient in both hand-to-hand (seen in most episodes) and weapons (seen in particular in episode thirty, "Roman Holiday") combat. She has many contacts all over the world, in the archaeological fields and otherwise and is very protective of both her assistants as well as her students and colleagues. She is willing to fly to any country without notice to fetch back, "save" or avenge them.
  • Christien Anholt as Nigel Bailey (Seasons 1–3): Sydney's more reserved British teaching assistant and companion who accompanies her on her travels whilst searching for the relics. Nigel often finds himself in situations that are uncomfortable and needs Sydney's help to get out of them. This evens out as the series progresses though. He is secretly in love with Sydney.
  • Lindy Booth as Claudia (Seasons 1–2, Episodes 1–7, 9–37, 39–44): Sydney's office assistant who often helps out Sydney and Nigel from the campus back home whilst they are abroad. She sometimes plays a vital role in finding the relic and shares witty banter with Nigel. In spite of her general incompetence, she possesses a savant-like ability for organizing unorthodox and creative solutions to travel difficulties that Sydney and Nigel face, in one case arranging for them to sneak over the Angolan border disguised as Catholic missionaries.
  • Tanja Reichert as Karen Petrushky (Season 3, Episodes 45–66): Claudia's replacement for the final season. She was portrayed as far more competent than Claudia, though she had more of a habit of getting kidnapped.

There were also a number of recurring characters in the series, as listed below:

  • Tony Rosato as Stewie Harper (Episodes 1, 8, 21): Relic hunter who has a love-hate relationship with Sydney.
  • Thomas Kretschmann as Kurt Reiner (Episodes 6, 12): An ex-partner of Sydney turned rival.
  • Louis Mandylor as Derek Lloyd (Episodes 7, 26, 46): A CIA agent who requires Sydney's help on several occasions.
  • Lori Gordon as Lynette (Episodes 8, 10): Claudia's replacement while she's away.
  • Nancy Anne Sakovich as Cate Hemphill (Episodes 25, 34, 53; mentioned in 47, 54, 59, 66): An Interpol agent and occasional romantic interest of Nigel.
  • Crispin Bonham-Carter as Preston Bailey (Episodes 42, 65): Nigel's brother and worst enemy.
  • Simon MacCorkindale as Fabrice De Viega (Episodes 47, 58, 66): Sydney's sworn enemy who killed her mentor Alistair Newel when she was ten.

Relics featured in the series[edit]

The following table lists the relics featured in each episode, together with the time and location of the flashback sequence and any other locations used in the episode.

Episode title Relic Flashback details Other locations
1 Buddha's Bowl Buddha's alms bowl Nepal 523 BC Hong Kong
2 Smoking Gun Al Capone's diamond-encrusted gun Chicago 1930 United States
3 The Headless Nun Remains of Sister Evangeline Nova Scotia 17th century Canada
4 Flag Day Pioneer's Bear Flag of California California 1846 United States
5 Thank You Very Much Lost guitar of Elvis Presley Germany 1960 Germany
6 Diamond in the Rough Magical Glove of former baseball great Jimmy Jonesboro Fenway Park, Boston 1946 United States
7 Transformation Paracelsus scrolls Salzburg, Austria 1946 Peru
8 Etched in Stone Treasure of legendary Viking Jann the Bold Northumbrian Coast 935 AD Sweden
9 The Book of Love Casanova's Book of Love Casanova's Hideaway, Italy 1749 Italy
10 The Myth of the Maze Minotaur's Maze Athens 3000 BC Greece
11 Irish Crown Affair Lost crown of the last King of Ireland Ireland 1000 AD Dublin
12 The Emperor's Bride Coffin of the bride of a Chinese Emperor Huang River, China 1000 BC Alaska
13 Afterlife and Death Diamond of Thutmose III Egypt 1425 BC Amsterdam
14 Nine Lives Statue of the cat goddess Mafdet Egypt 1895 New York
15 Affaire de Coeur Rings that belonged to lovers, Callum and Elena Scotland 1430 Scotland
16 A Vanishing Art Scepter of the Kingdom of Hungary Budapest 1897 Atlantic City
17 A Good Year Crown jewels of France Paris 1792 France
18 The Last Knight Templar Grand Master's sword Paris, circa 1300 France
19 Love Letter Records proving a secret marriage on the eve of the French Revolution Village South of Paris 1789 France
20 Possessed Zeus' sacred sundial Libya 14th century Brussels
21 Nothing but the Truth Ruby Chalice of Truth The Barbary Coast 1534 Paris
22 Memories of Montmartre A tiara known as the Heart of Europe Moulin Rouge 1930s France
23 The Put Back Idol from the Temple of Woot Kuba, Africa 100 AD Democratic Republic of the Congo
24 Dagger of Death Dagger of Kali Temple of Kali, India 500 AD Calcutta and Kashmir
25 Last of the Mochicas Vessel believed to contain the Great Warrior Spirit of the Mochicas South America 662 AD Peruvian jungle
26 The Legend of the Lost The Kai Nomata (lost tribe) Vanuatu Islands 4800 BC New Guinea
27 Fertile Ground Idol of Lono Hawaii 1779 Madagascar
28 Gypsy Jigsaw Crown of the Romani people Romania 1830 Bucharest, Romania
29 Three Rivers to Cross Jade Empress Three Rivers, China 1245 AD Hong Kong and Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan, China
30 Roman Holiday Caesar's breastplate Rome 44 BC Italy
31 Cross of Voodoo Haitian Cross of Utu Haiti, late 18th Century New Orleans
32 Lost Contact Sacrificial bowl Burma 1824 Myanmar
33 The Reel Thing Relics of Egyptian Pharaoh Amun II Egypt 1516 BC England
34 M.I.A. Faberge egg St. Petersburg, Russia 1886 New York City, several clips from other episodes
35 Out of the Past Cleopatra's necklace Egypt 30 BC Alexandria, Egypt
36 Eyes of Toklamanee Eyes of Toklamanee Mississippi Valley 1605 St Louis
37 Run Sydney Run Sword of Ateas Ural Steppes, 339 BC Russia
38 French Connection Prophecy of Nostradamus Church Of Cordiers Salon, 1600 France
39 Don't Go Into the Woods Golden Falcon of Maribor Carpathian Mountains 1711 AD Ljubljana, Slovenia
40 Midnight Flight Ruby-encrusted scepter of Gunther the Brave Germania Circa 400 AD Luxembourg and Paris
41 The Executioner's Mask Executioner's Mask Bourg, France 1789 Paris
42 The Royal Ring Ring of Anne Boleyn Tower of London 1536 London, Leeds, Kent, England
43 Set in Stone Magical sword of St. Gabriel Balaton, Hungary 1595
44 Deadline First Christian Tau cross Jerusalem 1099 AD Paris
45 Wages of Sydney Chinese dragon's egg Quan Shu Fortress, Manchuria 1359 New York, USA and Quan Shu, China
46 Mr. Right Bowl of Parvati Bali, Indonesia 1459 AD Singapore
47 Sydney at Ten Egyptian necklace St. Beatrice's School 20 years ago Turkey
48 The Light of Truth Light of Truth Arabia 843 AD Morocco
49 Treasure Island The treasure of Treasure Island The Spanish Main 1790 South Seas
50 Star of Nadir Star of Nadir Palace of the Talibs, Endostan 1423
51 Vampire's Kiss Vampire Chalice Czechoslovakia 1720 AD Prague, Czech Republic and Târgovişte, Romania
52 Devil Doll Cursed Aztec Devil Doll Meso-America 1488 AD Central America
53 Incognito Lancet which causes anyone cut with it to gain incredible strength New Guinea 1522 AD Papua New Guinea, Lisbon, Portugal and Valletta, Malta
54 All Choked Up Statue of Athena Greece 800 BC Skyros Island, Greece
55 Warlock of Nu Theta Phi Wicca amulet New England Colonies 1692 AD
56 Women Want to Know Statue of Ganesha Southeast Asia 1075 AD
57 Fire in the Sky Extraterrestrial artifact Pacific Northwest 1398 AD
58 Hunting with the Enemy Ashes of Confucius Cambodia 1952 Rayong Province, Thailand
59 Antianeiral Belt of Hippolyte Asia Minor 1200 BC Istanbul, Turkey
60 Under the Ice Anasazi mummy Arctic Circle 1355 AD
61 Arthur's Cross Cross of King Arthur England 455 AD Chepstow, Wales
62 Faux Fox Crown jewels of Charles IV of Spain Royal Palace, Madrid 1808 Seville, Spain
63 Pandora's Box Pandora's Box An-Najaf, Persia 422 AD
64 The Warlord Kahina's Saddle Bekkastan, 1401 AD
65 Fountain of Youth Water from the Fountain of Youth Pascus Florida, West Indies 1521 Seville, Spain and Cotswolds, England
66 So Shall it Be Keys to Stonehenge Stonehenge, England 121 AD Bristol, England

Production[edit]

The "Trinity College" campus scenes were filmed at the St. George campus at the University of Toronto in Canada. Campus landmarks prominently featured throughout the series include Victoria College and the Soldier's Tower (directly adjacent to Hart House).

The "Antianeirai" episode ship scenes were filmed aboard HMCS Haida, the last Tribal Class destroyer in the world, when she was berthed at Ontario Place, in Toronto, Canada. For instance, the scene where Sydney finds the belt was filmed in the forward mess deck. All onboard signage was covered with Russian words. Haida has a red maple leaf on one of her funnels and this was covered with a "bird" design. Anything that would show the ship to be of Canadian, or "western" origin, was removed for the film shoot.

All seasons were filmed in widescreen 16:9 but mainly shown in pan and scan 4/3 as are most of Fireworks Entertainment productions from 2000. The widescreen versions of all seasons are available for viewing at Netflix in Nordics as of 2012.

International distribution[edit]

Relic Hunter was broadcast in many countries around the world including:

DVD releases[edit]

Alliance Home Entertainment has released all three seasons of Relic Hunter on DVD in Region 1 (Canada only), for the very first time.

In Region 4, Warner Home Video released season 1 on DVD in Australia in two volume sets in 2005, these sets are now out of print. Madman Entertainment subsequently acquired the rights and released the second season on DVD in 2006 and the third season in 2010. A complete Season 1 box set was released by Madman on February 2, 2011.

DVD Name Ep# Release Dates
Region 1 (CAN) Region 4
Season 1 22 April 20, 2010 February 2, 2011
Season 2 22 May 18, 2010 June 21, 2006
Season 3 22 June 8, 2010 June 2, 2010

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]