US tv series (1979). Universal Television for NBC-TV. Created by Kenneth Johnson. Produced by Richard Milton. Directors included Joseph Pevney, Nick Havinga, Tony Lo Bianco. Writers included Johnson, Gene R Kearny, Jeri Taylor, Nona Tyson. Cast includes Stefanie Kramer (Princess Tara 2), Mark Lenard, Diane Markoff (Princess Tara 1), David Opatshu (Hator), Geoffrey Scott and Charlene Watkins (Millie). Twelve 20-minute episodes. Colour.
The setting is Cheyenne, Wyoming, in the late eighteenth century. Pursuing a gang of gold-shipment robbers known as The Phantom Riders and being led by a reported sighting into a system of caverns, Marshall Jim Donner (Scott) discovers the futuristic Underground City of Chimera. Captured by its Emperor Thorval (Lenard), Donner learns that Chimera plans to conquer the surface world with its advanced Technology, which includes mind control (a device powered by gold – hence the Phantom Riders' raids), Death Rays, Robots, and more. Scenes above ground were shot in black and white while scenes in Chimera are in colour. The Secret Empire aired as one of three serials shown weekly in the Television anthology series Cliffhangers (1979), but was cancelled before reaching its conclusion. [GSt]
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