Today will be the first part of my discussion about the Highlander TV series. First, a confession that will probably inform everything I write about this show:
I HATE RICHIE RYAN.
I do, though.
In theory, the series solves one of the problems with the Highlander franchise by removing Connor. Instead it focuses on his younger cousin Duncan, who has charm and killer abs and a visible will to live. Duncan MacLeod is played by Adrian Paul, and though I didn’t remember it when Highlander: The Series first appeared, I’d seen him before both as a dancer on The Colbys and in the early-’90s Dark Shadows revival as Barnabas Collins’s ill-fated brother. (I’ll bet you always wondered who watched that show.)
Connor does show up in the first episode to pass the torch, as it were–and since I’d never seen it before, I decided to give this one its own TCBOM! entry.
When the show begins, Duncan is living in “retirement” from the whole beheading thing with his mortal girlfriend, industrial sculptor Tessa. They are—surprise!—running an antique store, a fact that makes me begin to wonder if the next town over from mine is merely quaint or secretly infested with immortals.
Richie, a “streetwise” thief who exudes all the menace and worldly experience of the bad kid in an after-school special, is caught trying to rob the store. It’s what must, to someone else, be the beginning of a beautiful friendship (especially since Richie is a not-yet-“killed” immortal); Duncan bails him out of jail and eventually takes him as a sort of sidekick.
The episode itself is a crash course in the Highlanderverse, with the music and a discussion about the perils of mortal/immortal relationships, with flashbacks and a treasure cave of sorts (Duncan’s is less blatant and has a lovely fireplace) and the “villains should drive like madmen” rule firmly in place.
And just like the first movie, a lot of the energy in the episode comes from the bad guy. This is the last time I’ll say “and so-and-so as the Kurgan, kind of,” but Richard Moll (Bull the bailiff from Night Court, for those of us who watched too much TV in the ’80s) is not only a wild-eyed, leather-clad, articulate barbarian, he’s GREAT at it.
In fact, there are only two things I dislike about this episode, other than Richie and my old nemesis “Who Wants To Live Forever?”:
- The villain’s name is Slan, which you’d think could be said in a sinister tone, but apparently can’t;
- Connor is still wearing those goddamn sneakers.
I’m resisting the temptation to say this opening sequence “turns the Freudian symbolism up to eleven,” but darn it, you know what I mean. They’re missing a comma, too.
Next time: An even bigger fairy tale.
Next time on TCBOM!: Going to spend two more weeks on the series, then move on to Endgame. (Those of you familiar with Highlander movie-naming conventions will correctly deduce that’s not the last movie, either.)