Year(s) Aired: 1993, 1994
Year of DVD Release: 2006
Rated: Not Rated
Approx. Running Time: 1385 minutes
Format(s): DVD (8 discs)
My Rating: Not Yet Viewed
From Back Cover:
Smile when you watch this, pardner!
The world's favorite Western/sci-fi/comedy/action cult hit rides again! Here on 8 discs is the complete series 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 deosn'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!
Episode Summary (From booklet liner notes, written by Bruce Campbell):
Episode 1: Pilot
Howdy, gang! I am pleased to be your tour guide through the only season of this unique show. As an actor, one of the best parts about being in this Pilot Episode was working with other actors who had already starred in a TV Western series of their own. James Drury headlined The Virginian. Stuart Whitman was a marshal in Cimmaron Strip and Robert Fuller was the trail master in Wagon Train - not to mention John Astin, who was in one of my favorite shows of all time, The Addams Family. It was an honor to work among them and to watch how these veterans made it all look so easy.
The purpose of any pilot is to introduce a new TV show to viewers. In it, all the major players are introduced, the tone is set (which on Brisco was "just under over-the-top:) and the audience is taken along for a ride week after week. With any luck, theis Brisco pilot will keep you coming back for more.
Episode 2: Socrates' Sister
This week, Brisco searches for another member of John Bly's notorious gang: Jack Randolph. Complications arise, however, because the lawyer defending him is non other than...Socrates Poole's sister! Judith Hoag puts on a great show as the snooty sis. Yvette Nipar also makes her debut as Ellie, a feisty tavern proprietess. In retrospect, it was great to see how this show provided many diverse roles for women. Aside from being a bonus to viewers, it wasn't bad for me either! The climax, shot in a full-sized underwater tank, resulted in the only on-screen, bad-guy death at Brisco's hand (in self-defense, mind you). Will Brisco stop Jack's master plan to break the U.S. Treasury? Dive in and find out!
Episode 3: The Orb Scholar
In this episode, that darned orb plays a featured role. I've often been asked what the orb was and what it symbolized. Sorry, but that's strictly "need to know." If I told you, I'd have to kill you. The Orb Scholar pits Brisco against his old nemesis John Bly, played by the wonderfully creepy Billy Drago) over the shiny object. I enjoyed how the relationship between Brisco and Bowler (the formidable Julius Carry) began to change. Former rivals, the guys were now becoming unlikely partners. Julius made for a fantastic sidekick, I'd like to add, because he could basically do anything really well. Aside from the fact that this monster of a man made me look like an errand boy, he kept me on my toes as an actor. Bring on the orb!
Episode 4: No Man's Land
This episode had it all (except men, I guess): tanks, a rocket on wheels and the Swill Brothers. The plot was fun - Brisco, Professor Wickwire and Bowler end up in a town that allows only women within its borders. The inbred Swill brothers arrive on the scen with a primitive tank and the mayhem begins. Aside from seeing stuff blowing up and many pretty women, watch in glee as master comedian John Astin struts his stuff. Corey Everson and her sister Cameo Kneuer left an indelible mark as the muscular Shwenke sisters; we'll see more of them in later episodes. I'd give the Swill Brothers the Dysfunctional Bad Brothers of the Year award. I'm glad they appeared in several episodes because it's always great fun to watch these idiots.
Episode 5: Brisco in Jalisco
Oh, to watch Dixie sing. Kelly Rutherford joins the cast again as the sultry siren we love to love in this south-of-the-border tale of gun stealing, corruption and polygamy. In this installment, Brisco embarks on a road trip with Socrates Poole (played by the indispensable Christian Clemenson) to retrieve a stolen shipment of guns. Aside from a roll in the hay with Dixie, the great thing about working on this episode was filming at one of the few remaining Hollywood movie ranches. By late 1993, the Western genre had been dead for decades, but a handful of frontier sets remained - the Valuze ranch among them, which boasted a Mexican town, complete with a mansion on a hill. Viva la revolution!
Episode 6: Riverboat
This was flat-out one of my favorite episodes. Set in New Orleans, this slightly more serious story has the look and feel of the classic James Garner TV show Maverick. Check out my cool new (albeit temporary) threads! Brisco is on the trail of Brett Bones, a dangerous gambler and member of John Bly's gang (starting to see the pattern?). To beat Bones at his own game, Brisco reprises his undercover persona of Roscoe Merriweather and dupes Lord Bowler, now his borderline sidekick, into boxing Brett Bones' best fighter. As you might suspect, Dixie Cousins arrives on the scene, but whose side is she on? The double-crosses fly fast and furious in this high-stakes showdown. Sit back, get out the popcorn and put up your dukes!
Episode 7: Pirates!
Ahoy! Pirates are everywhere in this off-beat episode, but there isn't an ocean in sight. Andrew Divoff brings smoldering intensity to his role of Blackbeard LaCutte (another Bly accomplice) as his band of marauders ravage a small town. In this dangerous tale of quicksand, sword fighting and manhood, male bonding is thick as thieves - first between Brisco and Bowler, then between Brisco and settler Clayton Sims (nicely played by John Walcutt), then, finally, between Bowler and Brisco and Socrates. Have I covered them all? There is plenty of B-movie-style action as well. You can't have pirates without a good bar fight, and sooner or later someone's gonna pull out a sword. Prepare to set sail, mates!
Episode 8: Senior Spirit
Kidnapping is a bad thing. Kidnapping a boy is worse. Kidnapping a boy at the hands of Brisco's nemesis John Bly is worst of all. To rescue the lad, Brisco turns to an unlikely ally: his dead father. Brisco's dad returns to warn of danger - and to give Brisco unwanted advice about life, happiness and gun polishing. Enter the mysterious orb. Bly holds professor Wickwire against his will until the missing piece to this otherworldly object is found. Billy Drago is so good at being Bly, I always get shivers watching him (I shouldn't tell you this, but he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet). This story is chock full of prophecy, fire ants and a cliffhanger that literally forces our hero to jump to his death. Use the Force, Brisco!
Episode 9: Brisco for the Defense
I often refer to this episode as Brisco, She Wrote. Brisco returns to his law roots (after a five-year abscence) to defend a doctor friend accused of murder. Almost every character involved has a motive for the murder, but technology, one of the hallmarks of Brisco, comes to the rescue. The first use of fingerprinting tips the scales of justice. And look for plenty of action outside the courtroom. In a jailhouse blast, Brisco, Socrates and Dr. Carter narrowly escape doom, thanks to the last-minute heroics of Comet the Wonder Horse. Actors usually complain about not having enough dialogue, but this episode cured me of that complaint forever. I remember my note to the writers after reading the script for the first time: "It's great, fellas, but please don't rewrite my dialogue once I start to memorize it - there's too much!" Eat your heart out, Angela Lansbury!
Episode 10: Showdown
Brisco goes back home and finds more than his old girlfriend Annie - a family of lawless ranchers are threatening to take over the town. Then the bad guys up the stakes by hiring Utah Johnny Montanta, fastest draw in the West. Playing him is my pal John Hawkes, who turns in a perfectly weird performance (look for us together again in the film Congo). Our favorite Brisco anachronisms are fast and furious. In a fight, Brisco introduces the phrase "flip me the bird," then later administers first (if not horse-bound) sobriety test. And Lord Bowler alludes to a modern-day doughnut chain. Drop in to see if tough love, a hundred head of cattle and some muscle from Bowler can tame this part of the Wild West. Annie...get your gun!
Episode 11: Deep in the Heart of Dixie
Socrates and Brisco start the episode off with a little boy talk. Hint: Socrates might have a date. Speaking of which, before Brisco says hello to Dixie, she's kidnapped! Without knowing it, Dixie was involved in an early recording experiment. A "sensitive" conversation she had with a politician was stored on a wax cylinder, but now it's lost...and the robber barons want it back. So does Brisco. Soon our heroes find themselves fighting on moving trains (and doing other things with Kelly Rutherford), hiding in missions and falling in love with psychopaths - just another day at the office. I know you'll enjoy Socrates' encounter with his charged-up secretary Rita. She gives new meaning to "clearing your desk."
Episode 12: Crystal Hawks
Brisco is framed for murder! What's going on around here? Sheena Easton headlines as a feisty bounty hunter (huntress?) who plans to bring him in for the murder of a wealthy robber baron. This story marks the return of Big Smith, and of M.C. Gainy, who plays him with such relish. While Brisco runs from the law (aided only marginally by a used-horse purchase). Bowler is hired by the robber barons to track Brisco down! Things get ugly fast, then positively X-Files when Big Smith explains Brisco's destiny with the orb - or tries to. As you might expect, John Bly is only one step behind and Brisco battles him for control of this strange and wonderful object - across the entire town! Will Brisco catch Bly once and for all? Tune in!
Episode 13: Steel Horses
Know what "the coming thing" in transportation is? Find out as Brisco, Socrates and Bowler stare the future in the face. Brisco gets a peek at some "motorized cycles," when Juno Dawkins (another Bly chum) steals the top-secret machines to interfere with a shimpent headed toward Nevada. A shipment of what? I'll give you a hint: it's round, gold, very mysterious and the government is hoping to study it at a research facility. The location for this episode was extremely windy and dry conditions led to brush fires around Los Angeles. During a scene where Julius and I are riding and discussing the future, the entire background is filled with smoke from nearby fires. hey anything to get the shot! Viewers, start your engines.
Episode 14: Mail Order Brides
"It's gonna be one of those days," sighs Brisco at the beginning of the show. Truer words have never been spoken. Mail Order Brides is a fun tale of misbegotten brides, inbred families and a million-dollar bull. Brisco and Bowler must help three East Coast brides regain their dowries, stolen by the notorious Swill family. This episode is chock full of action, as you might expect when these backwater bad guys are around. There's a great bar fight early on that had me scrambling for cover. Brisco employed a lot of stunt guys on the tail end of their careers and several of them, brought in for the one scene, had doubled for big Western stars - John Wayne among them. It was a thrill just to take a punch from these guys!
Episode 15: A.K.A. Kansas
Director Rob Bowman (The X-Files) makes TV shows look like movies and A.K.A. Kansas is a good example. It's also one of my favorite episodes. Christopher Rich as Doc McCoy (curse him for being so smooth!) is after a "super-cannon" that can drop knockout gas on a remote facility where the orb is housed. Gulp! To make matters worse, Doc is Dixie's ex-husband. This epic tale incluse a second Brisco (I learned extra lines of dialogue to prove it) and a peek into Bowler's opulent mansion, where Socrates needs to hide from his date-turned-stalker-secretary Rita. Be sure to watch it all the way through. The ending is full of shocking revelations, from U.S. Attorney Breakstone's first name to Brisco's real feelings for Dixie!
Episode 16: Bounty Hunter's Convention
Who is killing all the great bounty hunters? In the spirit of Ten Little Indians, the hunters become the hunted in this "whodunit" episode. Things heat up as characters die mysteriously (including one from a bad "acid trip") and Brisco finds himself lashed to a flagpole in a lightning storm (rain scenes are about as glamorous as a migraine) while Bowler takes part in target practice - only he's the target! The finale takes place at the ocean, where Brisco and a strange armor man engage in a hoof chase. When ti comes to riding horses at high speed near the water, we found that the best way to get the right effect was simply to fake it. While chasing the bad guy, all my "horseback" closeups were shot on the back of a jeep - not Comet.
Episode 17: Fountain Of Youth
"It it me, or was that the best looking gang you've ever seen?" Brisco and Bowler go up against studly bad guys in this tale of vanity and eternal youth. Socrates, on his own mission, runs into Chinatown operative Lee Pow. I hope you enjoy the return of James Hong. And Bly is getting more cryptic by the episode. His references to "going home" and "612 years in the future" lead us into uncharted Brisco territory. The climax takes place in a cave. You'll see a pattern of similar sets as the episodes progress - there were only so many to go around. Here, the comsmic stuff pays out in spades, complete with glowing keys, secret bullets and time travel. Stay through the big climax to find out if Brisco's destiny is finally sealed!
Episode 18: Hard Rock
This is an envelope-pushing episode about long-lost love, a wayward father and a sheriff who bears a striking resemblance to the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Gary Hudson is great as Aaron Viva, top lawman in the beleagured town of Hard Rock. Lord Bowler (or should I say James Lonefeather?) answers the call of his old flame for help against a bully offering "protection" to this peaceful town. As you can imagine, it doesn't take long for trouble to erupt. Along the way, we get a peek at the first drive-thru, the making of a new sandwich ("like steak, only soft") and Lord Bowler fighting a bear. Will Bowler rekindle his flame? Will Sheriff Viva get a patent on his "day glasses?" Find out right here at the Heartbreak Hotel.
Episode 19: The Brooklyn Dodgers
Lesson #1: Never steal the hero's horse. More lessons follow as Brisco and Bowler escort two trouble orphans to San Francisco, presumably before they are killed for their inheritance. From a clerk who boasts a photographic memory to a chef who's convinced that raw fish will take the world by storm, this episode has a high count of kooky characters. I suppose that was half the fun from week to week, to see what wacky folks would crop up in Brisco's world. This is a textbook episode - it's got that Spencer Tracy/Boys Town sentimentality, but it packs plenty of action. Before the kids reach their destination, our heroes are chased (and chased and chased), run down, shot and left for dead. Has luck run out for Brisco and Bowler?
Episode 20: Bye Bly
This story opens with a clear reminder of one thing: John Bly wants to rule the world. Thanks for clearing that up, John. But Brisco and Bowler first must turn their attention to Pepe Bendix, the last member of Bly's gang. But wait, why is the government trying to get Pepe to steal the orb for them? Is there a rogue agent we need to know about? And don't stop there. A woman from 5502 (hint: it's not her address) shows up to help Brisco catch up on orb trivia. Actress Melanie Smith was quite stunning. It's amazing how many men needed to "approve" the look of her sheer body suit...myself included. You might finally get the definitive answer on what the orb is. The truth will either stun you or, in my case, confuse the heck out of you!
Episode 21: Ned Zed
In a town called Mishap, anything could happen - and it does. Frederick Coffin and Phillip Van Dyke are cute as the father and son who stay up late, reading a pulp story about Brisco and Bowler grappling with the mean-spirited bank robber, Ned Zed (a fun turn by Casey Siemaszko). In a nod to classic silent films, Brisco soon findse himself lashed on a log with a grinding saw blade between his legs. Watch out for splinters! Find out if Ned Zed will get his grubby paws (not to be confuezed with the one-armed menace, Frenchy Bearpaux) on a modern-day suit of armor, complete with a "machinery gun." If he does, no bank will ever be safe again! Brisco and Bowler had better catch Ned in his own "trap."
Episode 22: Stagecoach
Brisco must escort a beautiful spy to Mexico. (It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.) This episode is peppered with twists and turns - it's a combination of Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat in that it takes place largely in one place (in this case a stagecoach), and Ten Little Indians because the passengers drop like flies. Those aboard this bumpy ride are a fun blend, from Mr. Milo, an "herbalist" played by Dr. Timothy Leary, to Shock, the Indian stage driver (who works from "7-11"), to the deadly spy Emma Steed. Brisco may be handcuffed to more danger than he can handle, but Bowler and Socrates are afoot, so there's plenty to sing your teeth into - snakes, fatal kisses and runaway boulders. All aboard folks, the stage is leaving!
Episode 23: Wild Card
A-gambling we will go! Jeff Phillips returns as Whip Morgan, the fast-acting, slow-to-reason gunslinger in this tale of high stakes, high hopes and high skirts. This time out, we get to meet Dixie's sister Dolly as the two women enlist Brisco, Bowler and Whip to help them get a Reno casino back from the Mafia. And just in case the plot isn't thick enough, Whip adds a new wrinkle by putting the moves on Dixie! Christian Clemenson, great in a slot machine bit, confirms the awful truth about Socrates' gambling "issues" and the last duet with Dixie and her sister is worth the price of admission. Will Dixie settle for firebrand Whip Morgan? Will Reno fall to the mob? Will Socrates go completely broke? Roll the dice and see for yourself!
Episode 24: And Baby Makes Three
Everybody is Kung Fu fighting! Brisco and the gang - Bowler, Whip and Dixie - are charged with protecting a baby (dumped by the rascal Pete Hutter) who might be a future emporer. But the task won't be easy: Our heroes are up against the notorious Black Lotus a gang that gunned down Brisco's mother when he was just a boy. With a baby around, the group dynamic is turned upside down. Bowler gets a quick sample of fatherhood...the liquid kind. And speaking of motherhood - was that Dixie I heard clucking? Kelly Rutherford definitely shows her maternal side in this free-for-all episode. In case you've wondered, being trapped in a manhole is bad, but being trapped with Kelly Rutherford makes it a whole lot better!
Episode 25: Bad Luck Betty
Happy Birthday Socrates...or is it? This cheery celebration quickly turns into a nightmare as our favorite lawyer is kidnapped! In this Psycho-like story, Brisco, Bowler and Whip track Socrates to one weirdo town: Midnightville. There, our intrepid do-gooders encounter horseless hearses (say that three times, real fast), place settings for dead people and a supersitious deputy. The guys had better get to the bottom of things quickly, because characters are dying fast in this creepy place. You'll learn never to shower with your back to the door in this kooky tale of life, death and mother complexes! On a production note, it was fun to shoot some of the episode on the Universal Studios backlot where the original Psycho house was.
Episode 26: High Treason Part I
Uh-oh, things are getting serious for Brisco and Bowler - they're accused of treason! An all-star cast complements this first of a two-part finale: Whip Morgan, Professor Wickwire and Sheriff Aaron Viva (who bears a strong resemblance to a certain hip-gyrating singer). As the courtroom drama intensifies, be sure to catch the nice job football great Terry Bradshaw does as the evil Colonel March (and yes, I did get an autographed picture). Pete Hunter is on hand to lie (or should I say "on stand to lie"?). There are forty-four minutes of rip-snorting, horse-lathering action, so be sure to hear Brisco and Bowler's last thoughts, feel the tension as they are sentenced to death and watch helplessly as Brisco and Bowler are...killed?
Episode 27: High Treason Part II
In this second of a two-part finale, we begin where Brisco and Bowler were last seen - at the wrong end of a firing squad! How can they escape certain death? Hint: Think rubber and think Professor Wickwire. Only a mad genius could pull off such a daring scheme to rescue our friends. This sprawling season finale has it all: blimps, football stars and an offer that Brisco and Bowler can't refuse. Terry Bradshaw is back as Colonel March and this time he's got a squad led by Ken Norton Jr., Carl Banks and Jim Harbaugh (real-life NFL members) to track Brisco and Bowler down. I hope you enjoy the fateful hijinks of the finale aboard a lighter-than-air-ship. Hey it's no Led Zeppelin, but it might just be their stairway to heaven!
I bought this set because of my love of most things Bruce Campbell but haven't actually watched it yet. I did watch most of the pilot episode, but wasn't really getting into it. I'll give it another shot (though I can't say when), however, as I'm hoping that I just wasn't in the mood for it the first time.
Not Rated (MPAA)
Not Yet Viewed