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Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series
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Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series (DVD)
The world's favorite western/sci-fi/comedy/action cult hit rides again! Here on 8 discs is the complete series about Brisco (Bruce Campbell), a tough-as-rawhide cowpoke, debonair ladies' man and Harvard-educated smarty-britches who roams from Frisco to Jalisco in pursuit of outlaws who killed his father...and in search of a mysterious orb possessing out-of-this world powers. Hot lead and cool anachronisms await Brisco as he and his sidekicks - including Comet, the intellectual equine who doesn't know he's a horse - fight for justice in the way, way, way-out West. Put your boots in your stirrups, your tongue in your cheek and join the fun. Let's play cowboys and aliens.]]>
A science fiction-Western and comedy-drama with echoes of The Wild Wild West and Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.: The Complete Series is uniquely entertaining. Anchored by the comically heroic style of likable B-movie actor Bruce Campbell, Adventures lasted one television season in 1993-94. But it left behind a full 27 episodes (including two two-part stories) full of classic TV Western production values and a running storyline that resembles The X-Files after awhile.
Campbell plays Brisco County Jr., a bounty hunter and son of a legendary U.S. marshal (R. Lee Ermey) gunned down by the villainous John Bly (Billy Drago) and his band of misfits. The younger Brisco is hired by a consortium of businessmen to protect their interests from the likes of Bly, and while he's dedicated to that cause, Brisco is also determined to avenge his father's murder. Helping him do a little of both is a fussy attorney, Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson); a rival bounty hunter, Lord Bowler (Julius Carry); a wacky inventor, Professor Wickwire (John Astin); and a sultry saloon singer, Dixie (Kelly Rutherford). Rockets, mysterious orbs, and superhuman strength are some of the delightfully out-of-their-element phenomena that find themselves alongside more conventional cowpoke ingredients, including a horse so smart he can chew the ropes binding Brisco's hands. For the most part, the stories stand alone. But as the season progresses, a lot of things get weirder, albeit in a good way: the truth about Bly and his connection to a golden orb everyone wants, for example, are certainly unexpected. But the show is always dazzling, often satiric ("Oy!" Dixie exclaims when Brisco outlines the steps involved in stopping a runaway wagon they're trapped within), yet heartening in an old-fashioned way. Special features include Campbell's reading of a chapter about the series in his autobiography. --Tom Keogh
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Here's the complete series episode breakdown, with some highlights:
When U.S. Marshal Brisco County, Sr. is murdered by John Bly and his gang, the robber barons of San Francisco's Westerfield Club hire Brisco County, Jr. as a bounty hunter to round them up. Brisco meets a line-up unusual people along the way, including rival bounty hunter Lord Bowler, and the Westerfield Club's stuffy lawyer, Socrates Poole also Prof. Wickwire. He also learns of a mysterious ORB which John Bly (Billy Drago, reoccurring on Charmed) would do anything to possess, for the supernatural power it can give him.
2.) The ORB SCHOLAR
On X-Files, whic happen to run after Brisco, they had Mythos episodes that continue the continuity of the alien-cover-up storyline. In Brisco, episodes would spring up exploring the mystery of the ORB so desired by the murderer of Brisco County Sr. Here we learn more about the ORB, and of Brisco's destiny with it. Very good for such an early episode.
3.) NO MAN'S LAND
This one has little ORB continuity, but it does have a town propulated only by women, the Schwenke Sisters, and Professor Wickwire.
4.) BRISCO in Jalisco
Brisco and Socrates head to Mexico to recover some stolen guns. Brisco is in for a shock when Pete Hutter turns up as the thief, trying to sell them to a crooked General.
5.) SOCRATES' SISTER
`Nuff said. Prof. Wickwire invents his Amazing Innerspace Suit (a diver's suit) too.
Yep, you guessed it a gambling sting on riverboat. The invention of jeans, too.
Brisco & Bowler try to capture crazy land-pirate Blackbeard LaCutte, a wanted member of the Bly gang, who has stolen all of a town's supplies, including the medicine needed to save a sick boy (awe-say it ain't so).
8.) SENIOR SPIRIT
More Prof. Wickwire and the ghost of Brisco County Sr.
9.) BRISCO FOR THE DEFENSE
Brisco uses those lawyering skills we've heard so little about, to defend an old collage buddy.
Brisco & Bowler head to Brisco's hometown, to help an old girlfriend and her sheriff father stop a town takeover.
11.) DEEP in the HEART of DIXIE
Dixie and Brisco are on the run from a hitman and his gang. The superb David Warner makes a guest appearance.
12.) CRYSTAL HAWKS
Every bounty hunter in the West is out for Brisco for a crime he didn't commit, lead by lady bounty hunter Crystal Hawks played by Sheena Easton. Bly is in this one too.
13.) STEEL HORSES
Brisco & Bowler try to capture Bly gang member Juno Dawkins, and recover the prototype motorcycles he's stolen to use to intercept a government wagon transporting the mysterious ORB.
14.) MAIL ORDER BRIDES
The disturbing Swill Bros. have stolen the dowry of 3 mail order brides.
15.) A.K.A. Kansas
Brisco uses the alias of Kansas Wily Stafford, to infiltrate the ranks of an ex-Bly gang member and ex-husband of Dixie, with Dixie's help, ofcourse.
16.) BOUNTY HUNTER's CONVENTION
This is a take off of Agatha Christie's THE TEN LITTLE INDIANS. Its a mystery who-done-it in the classic sense, complete with an old hotel, thunderstorms, and secret passages.
17.) FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
Brisco vs. the Best-looking gang he's ever seen, while we learn Bly's true origin and purpose.
18.) HARD ROCK
A great episode! We get to meet Sheriff Aaron Viva (one of the best characters in the series), an Elvis knock off (get it Aaron Viva) that can eat as well as he can "use his stuff" in hand to hand action, this is one of hundreds of pop culture and rock references. Whip Morgan also shows up for the first time.
19.) The Brooklyn DODGERS
Brisco and Bowler help kids get to San Francisco and fight off the Johnnies.
20.) BYE BLY
A woman from the future helps Brisco in his final confrontation with Bly and the origin of the ORBs. Sets of the future of the series giving Brisco and Bowler a mission from the President himself.
21.) NED ZED
A run of the mill story is taking to another level by presenting the episode as a father and son reading a dime novel about Brisco and Bowler! Super! It's also got the old lumberyard gag and the machine gun.
Brisco transports a lady spy to Mexico by stagecoach for a prisoner exchange, unaware that an assassin is already among them.
23.) WILD CARD
Brisco , Bowler and Whip Morgan try to help Dixie and her sister Dolly get back a casino which was swindled away from Dolly by a hood's son.
24.) AND BABY MAKES 3
Brisco, Bowler, Whip and Dixie protect the infant future Emperor of China, while foiling Peter Hutter's "diabolical" plans along with the idea for "Air Screw" from Da Vinci.
25.) BAD LUCK BETTY The introduction of another fun character Betty O' Donnell, while Brisco, Bowler and Whip investigate spooky goings-on. Meanwhile, the "rain bath" is invented just in time to spoof Psycho in a very familiar boarding house
Final 2 parter HIGH TREASON
After Brisco and Bowler are asked by the army to put together a team (including the Professor, Whip, Pete and Aaron Viva) to rescue a kidnapped young woman, they find that the situation is not as they were told, and soon find themselves accused of high treason. A crooked Colonel and General do their best to see that Brisco and Bowler are found guilty and executed and that's just the middle!! The second part features Terry Bradshaw leading an army of bounty hunters after Brisco and Bowler. These bounty hunters are played by real Cowboys, the NFL kind. Prof. Wickwire invents a Zeppelin airship, leading to lots more rock references.
When I’m not watching episodic storytelling I’m reading, everything from nonfiction to westerns, but at least half of my time is spent reading sci-fi and fantasy.
Sci-fi and fantasy authors I like include Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke, Earnest Cline, Suzanne Collins, Abe Evergreen, Diana Gabaldon, William R. Forstchen, Joe Haldeman, Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Hugh Howey, George Martin, Larry Niven, Andre Norton, George Orwell, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, John Steakley, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Andy Weir.
Just when you thought they had run out of ideas, they'd come up with a wild character like the sexy Miss Dixie Cousins (the incredibly beautiful Kelly Rutherford), the amazing Whip Morgan, the Professor (John Astin), Crystal Hawks (Sheena Easton), or a naked female time-traveler (really, no kidding!!) to send the series spinning off in a new direction. And hanging over the entire series was a supremely nasty bad guy named Bly played wonderfully by Billy Drago and a funny metallic object (sorry, this is a spoiler), a wonderfully funny but smart wonder horse named Comet, and always... "The Coming Thing". The adventurous theme music of this show went on to become one of the themes of an Olympic Games telecast. SIX HUGE Stars for this amazing TV series.
* Trivia: Executive producer Carlton Cuse played Owen in the pilot.
*When the greedy Fox TV Network decided they wanted better ratings than Brisco was delivering (which were very decent), they unwittingly created the "Black Hole of Friday Night TV", show after show (and millions of dollars) disappeared into the 'Brisco County Jr Black Hole': remember M.A.N.T.I.S? VR.5? Brimstone? Millennium (moved it to save it)? Strange Luck? John Doe (moved it to save it)? Sliders (3 Fox Seasons, jumping the shark twice)? And more recently in the 21 Century: Doll House and Sarah Connor Chronicles. Yes, that's a good example of shows that crashed and burned usually within a year or two. Over a decade later, they finally replaced Brisco with another SciFi winner called "FireFly", which promptly got the same disgusting treatment from Fox TV and disappeared in less than a complete year, only to re-appear as a successful multi-million dollar theatrical movie called "Serenity" and a 500,000 unit selling "Firefly" DVD set and, thankfully, Fox got not a dime since they stupidly gave the complete rights to Joss Whedon. As of this review, a rerun of "24" occupies the old Brisco time slot.
*Is there any chance Bruce and Co could make a movie of "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr"? Who's up for it? This is so Do-able. I AM!!)
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