Sheena (TV series)
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|Created by||Douglas Schwartz
Steven L. Sears
|Starring||Gena Lee Nolin
John Allen Nelson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||35|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Douglas Schwartz/Steven L. Sears Productions
Columbia TriStar Television
|Original release||October 7, 2000 – February 23, 2002|
Based upon W. Morgan Thomas's comic book character Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, which previously spawned a 1950's TV series of the same title; this turn-of-the-millennium version updated its title character to the 21st century. There were two seasons, containing 22 and 13 episodes. It starred Gena Lee Nolin and John Allen Nelson, and was developed for television by Douglas Schwartz and Steven L. Sears. In this version, Sheena was given the mystical ability to transform into almost any jungle animal; she also spoke whole sentences, unlike Irish McCalla's interpretation of the character. Several episodes from the first season are available to view for free in Minisode format on Crackle, as well as on Hulu.
Sheena's parents were archaeologists who died in the jungle when she was about six years old, orphaning their daughter Cheryl Hamilton (as explained in the episode "Stranded in the Jungle"; otherwise, Sheena remembers nothing of her parents, or of her pre-Africa childhood). She was taken in by Kali, a local Shamaness of a tribe who brought her up; five years ago, she was taught how to morph into birds and other animals...thus acquiring their abilities, up to and including flight. She also befriended animals such the zebra Marika, elephant Chango and monkey Tiki. Moreover, she became a mythical creature called "The Darak'na" who relies on people's fear of the unknown. For this, she covers herself in a dark liquid mud which allows her to be largely unseen in the low light of the jungle. With above-average strength, agility and speed - and armed with a pair of bone-clawed gloves - she is a formidable one-woman fighting force. She does kill sometimes.
In the first episode, she meets Matt Cutter (John Allen Nelson) who runs a safari business by air, water and land. In his youth, Cutter had a promising career as a football player till a knee injury ruined it (he has no apparent injury now). He joined the CIA, being code-named "Jericho" and fought as a mercenary. He was a first class sniper but an accident meant he killed an innocent person which caused him to abandon his old life for the life he now leads.
On their first meeting, Sheena is not sure what side Cutter is on, as she is a protector of the jungle and Cutter seems willing to do anything for money. He is unknowingly helping criminals. Within several episode, Cutter had become more responsible, and less booze and money orientated. Sometimes there is chemistry between Sheena and Cutter, hinting at a development of their relationship, and at other times, the plotline appears to show a platonic friendship. This is notable in an episode where she meets an old "Agency" friend of Cutter's and a deeper level intimacy is suggested than in any of the scenes with Cutter.
Mendelsohn is a run-down buddy of Cutter's who services his plane and does odd jobs for him. The three come up against the local petty tyrant, would be dictators, small armies, a police officer who cannot wholly be trusted, evil tribesmen, evil foreigners, people from their past, assorted traps, etc.
- "Pilot": Matt Cutter is in for a life changing experience when he meets Sheena.
- "Fallout": An American satellite crashes near by and the information is sought after by the Russians and the troops of the corrupt president N'Gama.
- "Revenge of the Jirds": Sheena and Cutter try to find out who's smuggling mice-like creatures called jirds into the country.
- "A Rite of Passage": An ugly secret from Kali's past reemerges on Sheena's birthday.
- "Tourist Trap": Terrorists steal a dangerous virus and hold Cutter's tourist group hostage.
- "Buried Secrets": Sheena and Cutter are trapped in a cave while investigating an area from Sheena's childhood. They aren't alone...
- "Lost Boy": A runaway military school student leads a tribe against N'Gama's troops.
- "Wild Thing": Cutter and Kali must rescue a half transformed Sheena.
- "Doing as The Romans": Sheena and Cutter go undercover to rescue a woman from becoming one of N'Gama's wives.
- "Children of the LaMistas": An old enemy from the past leads Sheena and Cutter to a gene splicing nightmare....
- "Prey": Sheena and Cutter try to stop a group of hunters who target endangered species, but find themselves as prey.
- "Divas of the Jungle": Cutter is hired to guide a photographer and models through the jungle. But the photographer isn't what he seems...
- "Forbidden Fruit": Sheena and Cutter turn on each other after eating a mysterious fruit.
- "The Fool Monty": A documentary maker ends up causing a tribal war while searching for the Darak'na.
- "Sanctuary": Sheena and Cutter try to help refugees reach a sanctuary, only to get involved with a fight against the warlord's soldiers.
- "Jewel": Sheena and a reluctant Cutter search for a tribe's pilfered jewel.
- "Friendly Fire": Tuli, an old friend of Sheena's, find a plant which may cure radiation poisoning, but is injured by a rival.
- "Between a Rock and a Hard Place": A corrupt tribe leader wants to own a sacred rock.
- "Tyler Returns": An old CIA pal of Cutter's (Peter Onorati) shows up to lead a mission to kill a terrorist responsible for the death of a friend of Sheena's. Or is he there for that?
- "Unsafe Passage": Sheena must save Kali from being sold into slavery.
- "Marabunta": Sheena and Cutter are trapped by killer ants.
- "Cult of One": Sheena must prove the true evil of a supposedly benevolent cult leader.
- Rendezvous: Sheena finds herself falling for an Interpol agent she's helping.
- The Feral King: Sheena must help a young woman find a feral young man, who in reality is the heir to a fortune, as a way of repaying her debt to his father, before hunters paid by the young man's evil uncle and the father's partner kill him.
- Mind Games: An old enemy of Kali seeks to control Sheena.
- Collateral Damage: Sheena and Cutter meet a CIA sniper being targeted for assassination by rogue operatives.
- Meltdown in Maltaka: Sheena, Cutter and Mendelsohn help a female boxer with her dreams.
- The Treasure of Sierra Mende: Sheena and Cutter search for a treasure that could help a tribe afford irrigation supplies. But a treasure hunter has her eyes on the treasure as well.
- The Darkness: Is a mystic beast responsible for several deaths?
- Still Hostage after All These Years: Cutter's ex-wife is called in to negotiate a hostage situation.
- Return of the Native: A former love of Sheena's returns to change Maltaka's education system.
- The Maltaka Files:
- Stranded in the Jungle: A group of explorers compete in a jungle trek challenge for five million US$, unaware that civil war has erupted in the area. One of the participants holds clues to Sheena's past.
- Coming to Africa: A princess who was sent to the US as a child returns for an arranged intertribal marriage with a life-view which both villages find hard to comprehend, whilst sibling rivalry simmers.
- The World According to Mendelsohn: Mendelsohn is mistaken for a tribal deity when their king is poisoned, leading to the trio helping save the tribes' sacred statues.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released both seasons on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. Season 1 was released on June 5, 2012, while season 2 was released on July 3, 2012. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available via Amazon.com, DVDEmpire.com & Warner Archive Collection.
Mill Creek Entertainment re-released Sheena: The Complete series on DVD.
- Lambert, David (June 1, 2012). "Sheena - Availability Date for 'The Complete 1st Season' with Gena Lee Nolan". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved June 8, 2012.