Flashback TV #2 = Highlander the Series (1992)

highlander3Highlander the Series stars Adrian Paul as Duncan MacCloud, an immortal from the exact same clan as Connor MacCloud, who was played by Christopher Lambert in the 1986 movie.  The series takes all the good stuff from the Highlander mythos and puts it into a television format, with Duncan competing in an ongoing battle.  The problem with that is Connor won “The Prize” at the end of the 1986 movie.  Or did he?

 This episode begins with Stan Kirsch breaking into Duncan’s antique’s shop house thingie.  He tries to steal some stuff, but Duncan is screwing Tessa in the next room, so he walks out to stop him.  Petty theft 101: wait until people aren’t home, stupid.  

highlander1Anyway, an evil supervillain jumps down through the skylight and challenges Duncan.  Connor MacCloud then jumps from the shadows to help out, but the supervillain jumps out a window when the police arrive.  Stan Kirsch jumps out another window and gets away.  Wow, that’s a lot of people jumping in and out of this show.    

The good thing about this episode isn’t the fighting, it’s the relationship stuff.  Duncan’s dilemma is that he can’t grow old, but his girlfriend Tessa can.  She seems apprehensive about it, but Duncan blows it off.  Responsibility is one of the themes in this episode.  Duncan grows from a guy who lives in the past and hides from his future to a protector and champion.  

highlander2Christopher Lambert guest-stars in this pilot episode and he gets all the catchy one-liners.  You’ve got to give him credit for this brief appearance, because I think he set up the series as well as Adrian Paul did. As an aside, I noticed there were no stunt doubles when he spars with Adrian Paul and Lambert pretty much carries every scene he’s in.  He does a good job.

The episode makes a connection between Native Americans and immortals.  In a flashback, Duncan grieves over the slaughter of his tribe, who were killed by Americans as the scene opens.  Much like the traditions of his clan, the Native Americans held something special for him, and had a spirituality like immortals.  The parallels are cleverly done in the episode.  

All in all, I was surprised at how good this pilot episode was.  Adrian Paul’s acting needs some work, but everyone else is pretty good.  The supervillain is over-the-top, but he does his job being an evil one-dimensional jerk.  The best part is the evolution of Duncan’s character, which is sorta unusual in a pilot trying to establish some ground rules.  In the end, Duncan realizes that he can have both his immortal life and the woman he loves by his side, but I suspect he’ll have to defend her again, since there can only be one.  Oh, and this tv show has Queen, which means it’s awesome.