Sheena fans are in for a treat when Mill Creek releases a collection of Sheena entertainment on DVD. Are there Sheena fans? Are there enough to warrant a big crowd surrounding the TV hoping for Sheena? In either case, for fans of pulp comics and just all around good old fashioned camp, the “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Collection” packs a ton of content in to a small package, and spans a pretty hefty time period where Sheena was portrayed in various mediums beyond the comics. The 1984 movie “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle” is a camp and cult classic that’s managed to re-emerge over the years mainly for being such a weird and awful movie.
Sheena is played by blond bombshell Tanya Roberts, who gives a mostly groan inducing performance as the titular heroine. Orphaned as a child, Sheen is raised by an African tribe and granted powers to telepathically communicate with all creatures big and small. Soon Sheena finds herself framed for a crime she didn’t commit, and begins falling for a news reporter, as played by Ted Wass. She’s inevitably forced to defend her village when an evil prince decides to invade it. “Sheena” is mostly remembered as being glorified soft core porn, with Roberts going about as far as she can in scantily clad clothing, and mumbling through most of her performance. Some movie fans may remember this playing in the US on “USA Up All Night.”
Then there’s the syndicated TV series from the late nineties starring ex-Baywatch Babe Gena Lee Nolin as the titular Sheena. This series lasted two seasons with thirty five episodes total and is a decent adventure show with solid special effects and some interesting performances. There’s even a recurring appearance from horror effects guru Tom Savini, who plays a villain for a few episodes of the series. I fondly recall watching this series on Sundays late at night in 1998, and it’s a decent show with some great action set pieces. Gena Lee Nolin is also quite stunning in the role of Sheena. This iteration of Sheena allows her to transform in to various animals, and even has the ability to transform in to a primal monstrous version of herself.
It’s a worthwhile live action adaptation with definite camp appeal, here and there. Along with the material for Sheena fans, there are even five bonus episodes from the 1950’s TV series starring Irish McCalla, included. They’re decent quality serials, and fans will appreciate the nostalgia value here. For pulp fans, this is a solid box set.