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Found in Space
'Cleopatra in Space,' a crackling fun sci-fi series, is hiding in plain sight on two streaming services.
Now Streaming: In my childhood days, it was easy to find a television show that I liked.
I got up, turned on the television, waited for it to warm up, then switched between the channels that were available to our pre-cable family: national channels CBS (2), NBC (4), and ABC (7); local channels 5, 9, 11, and 13. We didn't have a rooftop antenna, so we couldn't watch PBS, whose signal required something more powerful than the rabbit ears on our little black-and-white TV. At some point -- I'm not saying it was me, but it was probably me -- broke the channel knob, so we had to use a pair of pliers to change the channel.
Even in monochrome, though, I loved Looney Tunes cartoons. As I got older, I would watch them again in order to get all the jokes and subtle asides that were cleverly interspersed between the visual hijinks. Entering my late teens, I got distracted by other entertainment options, but watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) [now streaming on Disney Plus] renewed my personal interest in watching cartoons -- they're brief, they're colorful, they're snappy -- and also enticed me to learn more about the art of animation.
Nowadays, my interest in animation remains strong, and I've enjoyed watching animation made in other countries, especially anime from Japan, as well as some animation that is more clearly targeted at adults -- or, what The Criterion Channel terms art-house animation -- but I am always on the lookout for animated family-friendly shows that appeal to my intelligence and life experience as a PCA (Person of a Certain Age). My search led me to Peacock TV and its animated action & adventure shows for kids category, where Cleopatra in Space is the first show listed (and branded as a "Peacock Original").
I always love a good science-fiction series (or movie), especially one that I haven't seen before, and the first two episodes are available on the free version of Peacock TV, so I gave it a whirl and immediately fell in love.
The first series from Dreamworks Animation to be released on a streaming service other than Netflix or Amazon Prime, Cleopatra in Space is inspired by a graphic novel series by Mike Maihack, first published in 2014. The first episode bursts out of the gate as we meet Cleopatra as a teenager in ancient Egypt, with her kindly father (?!) Pharaoh urging her to continue her training and education, so she can one day rule Egypt.
Somehow, she is transported 30,000 years into the far future, where she lands on a planet ruled by talking cats and is said to be the foretold savior of the galaxy. Her lightning-quick warrior skills are soon put to the test, and she must make friends, gain allies, and learn new combat techniques in order to survive.
What makes it a pleasure to watch is the lightning-quick banter between Cleo and her new friends, including Kensu, a very independent talking cat, and her two new best friends, Akila and Brian, who range on the far side of silliness. I've only seen the first two episodes, but those episodes are overflowing with genuinely witty dialogue and plenty of action, along with a zippy pace that makes it easy to recommend for adult viewing.
Though the series was first available in the US on Peacock TV, now comprising three seasons and totaling 26 episodes, it has been added to Hulu as well. The show was designed to allow for commercial interruptions, which makes it fine to watch on Peacock, where the Premium plan grants access to all the episodes. Since I have a Hulu no-ads plan, though, that's where I've added it to my personal watchlist. The choice is yours.