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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action TV > Relic Hunter - Seasons 1 & 2

Relic Hunter – Best of Seasons 1 & 2


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Episodes: C+



Tia Carrere had become a big enough name, especially in the action genre, that the idea of her heading a TV action series made sense.  She was even signed to a contract before they could figure out what kind of show she would do.  The producers finally came up with an Indiana Jones-type series called Relic Hunter, debuting in 1999 and the results were mixed.


She plays an archeological expert who lands up going on adventures all over the world looking for a rare item that is introduced in its original form and in its original time at the beginning of each show.  As Sidney Fox, she combs the globe to get what she is after, even if her well-meaning British partner Nigel Bailey (well-played by Christien Anholt, who has some interesting chemistry with her) is a bit inept.  The problem is not that the show is more comic than it should be, which it is, but that the teleplays are too basic for the comedy to have anything to hang on to.  Add Lindy Booth as their loopy secretary and you have a well-cast show that does not go as far as it should have.  The episodes are as follows:


1)     Legend Of The East

2)     Last Of The Mochicas

3)     Fertile Ground

4)     Gypsy Jigsaw

5)     Three Rivers To Cross

6)     Lost Contact

7)     Cross Of Voodoo

8)     Roman Holiday

9)     Diamond In The Rough

10)  The Real Thing

11)  The Book Of Love

12)  Out Of The Past

13)  Eyes Of Toklamanee

14)  Etched In Stone

15)  Run Sydney Run

16)  M.I.A.

17)  Love Letter

18)  A Good Year

19)  Nothing But The Truth

20)  The Last Knight

21)  Possessed

22)  Memories Of Montmartre



These shows meant for hour-long timeslots cover five DVDs and were part of as cycle that the huge syndicated success of Hercules with Kevin Sorbo and spin-off Xena (reviewed elsewhere eon this site) made economically feasible.  Well, Miss Carrere certain has more screen presence than her counterparts like Lucy Lawless, and the camera tends to like her more.  Miss Carrere also has the athletic capacities and several forms of self-defense under her belt, so this made sense.  Instead of doing this show as a stilted variant of those with a little Moonlighting thrown in, they should have really went crazy and remembered that Indiana Jones was inspired by the various Perils Of Pauline sagas that went back to the silent era.  Despite the expense put out for this show, they never let thing loose and forget that the item everyone is after should never be too much of the focus for the stories.  When it becomes so, the geek factor takes over basic Hitchcock sensibilities; i.e., The MacGuffin is the thing everyone but the audience is interested in and after.


Beyond all that, Carrere is a beauty up there with the great TV heroines of the past, like Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Diana Rigg’s Mrs. Emma Peel, Lindsay Wagner’s Bionic Woman, Joanna Cameron’s Isis, Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl, Anne Francis’ Honey West and Barbara Bain’s Cinnamon Carter from Mission: Impossible.  The producers just leaned too much on it, making this more like Remington Steele than anything else.


Back in the 1980s when Raiders Of The Lost Ark went over so big, shows like Tales Of The Gold Monkey and Bring Them Back Alive tried to duplicate the film’s success in a retro way, but Relic Hunter is modern day.  Not that some of the production design of the “exotic” places fits that, but it is not as plastic as those earlier predecessors.  Likely a cult classic of some sort down the line, Relic Hunter has some moments and Carrere is always appealing.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image has some grain, but usually looks decent, though there are moments of Video Black trouble here and there.  With a still limited budget and the weekly grind of TV in general, the show manages to come up with some uniqueness to its look, but that also comes out of its independent circumstances.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is just new enough and has just enough Pro Logic surrounds that the fidelity has not aged badly.  The music is not overdone.  Extras include text biography info on the leads and even more of the behind-the-scenes talent, an interview with Carrere and Anholt that would had up to filling a half-hour slot, a making-of segment that could fit another such slot (that cloud add up to the space of an entire show), a stills section that goes through the stills on its own (!), and weblinks.  Relic Hunter is worth a look if you are curious, while this critic is curious to see if the show picked up in later episodes.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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