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Without a doubt, THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR. was one of the most unusual shows on television at the time. One part Bond, one part Indiana Jones, one part western, and one part sci-fi, it was also one of the most fun shows. It had the right combination of cast, characters, comedy, action, and adventure. And unlike the shows that would try it later (HERCULES, XENA, and others), BRISCO knew how to make its contemporary stylings work. The show never took itself too seriously. Billy Drago was a great villain as John Bly, a character that appeared in a story arc running through the season. Whenever Brisco wasn't busy tracking Bly, he was busy searching for one of Bly's gang or some other bad guy. It was also interesting to see the buddy cop concept (one white, one black) in a western setting. Bruce Campbell and Julius Carry had great chemistry. The interplay between them was often hilarious. I also liked how Brisco and Bowler weren't friends at first, but rather were more like competitors, and only after several episodes of crossing paths and being forced to work together did they learn to like one another and partner up. Of course, Kelly Rutherford was hot as Brisco's on-again/off-again love interest, saloon singer Dixie Cousins. Many episodes featured some nice father/son moments as Brisco found himself talking with the ghost of his legendary bounty hunter/father, well-played by Lee Ermy. Those scenes, while sometimes brief, were always a nice addition. It's tame violence and family-friendly stories helped make it an audience favorite and develop a following that continues to this day, but Fox ultimately decided to pay attention to THE X-FILES instead, and they canceled BRISCO after just one season, despite it's big audience and decent ratings. But I'm glad the show was then and not now, as it would have been canceled after just the third episode to make way for some lame drama or comedy. Cudos to Carlton Cuse and (the late) Jeffrey Boam for creating such a good show.
THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR. was a really bizarre show, but I guess that's why I loved it so much. Bruce Campbell played the title character who was a Harvard-educated attorney turned bounty hunter that fought bad guys in the year 1893. Most of the episodes were focused on Brisco chasing after John Bly [Billy Drago], the criminal responsible for the murder of Brisco's father during a train robbery, though it was the episodes with more tongue-in-cheek humor that I liked the best. Sadly, Fox canceled this fantastic show after only one year on the air and in my opinion, it was the biggest mistake the Fox network has yet to make. The show will most likely never become available on video or DVD, which is a shame since this is possibly the most underrated show in the history of television.
It's one of those sad things that sometimes, shows don't really market
themselves very well and, as a result, are woefully undervalued. Such is
Brisco County, a western genre light comedy show with a hint of sci-fi
thrown in for good measure.
When this show first came out I didn't watch it, primarily because I assumed it was simply another Western series, like Bonanza, or High Chapparal, to which I had been forced to endure by my parents as a kid. So I missed out (first time round) on something really fantastic.
Luckily, I have since started gathering up any episodes I can find and have been able, at last, to appreciate the wonder that is Bruce Campbell. Is there nothing he can't do? If ever there was an actor that is deserving of fame and fortune, it is him.
As for Brisco County, Bruce's portrayal is surprisingly subtle to those familiar with his Evil Dead work. But the trademark quips and facial expressions are all still there, just slightly understated.
As a show Brisco is harmless and great fun. It won't tax your brain, and is a welcome way to unwind with a beer or two. The supporting cast are all good, even the Mr T clone, Julius Carry. I haven't seen all the episodes yet, but I look forward to watching Messrs Campbell and Co eagerly.
Look out for Comet, Brisco's horse. He's as much a character as any of the human cast.
There were a lot of Briscoe County fans who went postal when it was
canceled. I had mixed feeling about it. Yes, it was one of the best TV
series of all time, but I'd seen too many other great series turn
mediocre after the creative well ran dry. Given a choice between ending
where it did and seeing it slip into formulaic mediocrity, I was
satisfied. The original story arc was neatly wrapped up with lots of
diverting side trips along the way.
I've always been a big fan of shows that aren't easy to categorize. This was one such show. A western with elements of SF, overlaid with clever writing and wit without self-consciousness. Each character was eccentric in his/her own way and great fun to watch.
There isn't a bad performance in sight! Bruce Campbell as Briscoe is perfect, as always. It's to his credit that the late Julius Carry as Lord Bowler was able to routinely steal scenes from him. Kelly Rutherford as Dixie does the best Mae West since the original. John Astin as Professor Wickwire is excellent, as usual. Billy Drago as John Bly has to be one of the creepiest villains ever, and John Pyper-Ferguson as Pete Hutter has to be one of the funniest and most bizarre villains of all time. All of the "minor" roles, stating with Comet "the wonder horse" are equally excellent.
But what makes the characters stand out is uniformly excellent writing from a team of certifiable eccentrics in their own right. With the talent in front of and behind the cameras, everything just clicks!
WB finally brought out a boxed set of DVDs and it's great! I just watched it again and felt compelled to update this review. The only sad note was learning of the death of Julius Carry this year. Highly recommended!
I love this show ! I used to watch it every Friday night--my sister and I started watching it because it starred "that guy from EVIL DEAD", but it wasn't till "Brisco" that I considered myself a Bruce Campbell fan. The show also introduced me to another favorite actor, Billy Drago, who made John Bly the weirdest Old West villain in TV history. The camaraderie between Brisco, Bowler, and Socrates was great, and I loved the anachronisms and bad puns ("You got the sheriff!" "Yeah, but I didn't get the deputy."). Some great guest stars from earlier Old West shows, and John Astin as the recurring Prof. Wickwire. Sci-fi, Old West, slapstick--this show had something for everyone. Find it and check it out!
Bruce Campbell played Brisco County Jr, bounty hunter son of a much
marshal who was gunned down by a smarmy villain by name of John Bly
Drago). Brisco forms an uneasy alliance with Lord Bowler (AKA: James
Lonefeather), a hulking Civil War Union soldier turned fellow bounty
lawyer, and a mad scientist played by John Astin in his various missions
personal quest for vengeance that often found him up against various
technological advancements like motorcycles and also a funky alien gizmo
looked like a big gold orb with spikes and possessing various "magical"
properties. Kelly Rutherford played Brisco's on again/off again
Even though I wasn't big on westerns I was really excited when this show came on and I enjoyed watching it every Friday night. It had action, adventure, comedy, and the last episode actually had a naked time traveling FBI woman! (Sorry, had to get that out of my system)
Despite its high entertainment value, this show got canceled while "The X-Files", which debuted the same year, went on to become one of Fox's longest running staples for reasons I can't fathom.
This is one series you either get or you are far too enamored of reality. It was obviously made by a group of people who escaped from an institution featuring padded halls, probably on some other planet in a galaxy far, far away where the residents were tortured by watching too many old westerns spiced by the occasional grade "B" science fiction movie and bedroom farce. Billy Drago has never been better, utterly over the top and so far off the wall that he is in the next room; John Pyper-Ferguson gets to speak some of the most bizarre lines in television history; Bruce Campbell is simply perfect as the titular lead; and nobody lets down the side in acting. The music by Bunch, Edelman and Graziano is among the best ever composed for a television series, perfectly complimenting the Western theme of the series and the absurdity of the incidents chronicled. The writing of the first episodes is unsurpassed though it, as so many series, fails in some later ones. Still the most amazing writing: where else can one find a character criticize Impressionism, refer to Existentialism, and make references to "The Wizard of Oz"? And, by the way, Sergio Leone should sue over the gunfight in the pilot. I have been forced to wait far too long for the DVD, and purchased it on the day of release. I must say that "Brisco County Jr." is even funnier than I had remembered. I cannot recommend it highly enough, though not for children who would miss most of the jokes anyway. Simply great, if quite entertainingly bonkers with the most absurd one liners.
I loved this show! I spent more time laughing at this show than any other
on tv with maybe the exception of I Love Lucy.
Bruce Campbell plays Brisco County, Jr. who is a bounty hunter trying to find his father's killer, John Bly. Julius Carry is his friend Lord Bowler. While Brisco and Bowler travel around looking for John Bly, they run into Dixie Cousins, Brisco's sometime girlfriend and saloon girl, and a host of other characters that make up this show.
My favorite episode is one I've always called The Elvis Episode because I can never remember the real name of the episode. In this episode, Brisco and Bowler are aided by Aaron, the sheriff, who happens to dress in leather, has his hair slicked back into a DA, and runs around acting like singer Elvis Presley. In one scene, with the gang in jail, while Brisco and company are given a meal of bread and water, Aaron gets a huge tray full of food. He then gives the delivery person a tip and then says to him "This don't feel like no pound and a half of bacon". When the delivery person hands over the bacon, Aaron takes his tip money back.
What I love about this show is it is just plain hilarious from the get go. Brisco's horse, Comet, thinks he's human and not a horse. Socrates Poole is a friend of Brisco and the proverbial wet blanket.
I'm just sorry this show had to be canceled so quickly because it was such a laugh.
Adventures took the TV Western in a direction that hadn't been seen since Maverick and The Wild Wild West: light-hearted comedy. As an additional twist, they tossed in the TV-parodying elements of Maverick (we see 'Dr. Quintano, Medicine Woman' and Terry Bradshaw leading a team of football players/bounty hunters), and the futuristic (by 1890's standards) gizmos of the West (motorcycles, dirigibles). Throw in the story arc of John Bly, master villain of the future, and you've got a story that is a very weird blend of so many elements its hard to describe. Bruce Campbell show she has the stuff to be a series regular, but another strength of Adventures... is the continuity and the supporting cast - many of which are given a chance to show up often and get some character development. Catch it on TNT.
I totally agree with the shape23's comments. I first saw TAoBCJ back in
about 94/95 when it was first aired in the UK and really liked it. I
have recently downloaded the series and watched it again 10 years
later. I now see far more than I did then, the chemistry of the cast is
superb between Brisco, Bowler, Socrates and Dixie. You can see how the
relationships have formed due to the 'adventures' they have shared. If
I had to give this series a liking, it would be an Indiana Jones cowboy
series, where the violence is enough to set the scene but not graphic,
the humour is enough but not distracting from the story, the stories &
plots enough to ensure you forget the historical inaccuracies and see a
really good family programme. Unfortunately only released on video
shortly after its TV release, its gonna be released on DVD supposedly
in the summer of 2006 ( follow this link for more details
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/newsitem.cfm?NewsID=4615 ). I suspect this
release will be on R1 only. A great pity unless you have a multiregion
player, but then this series is worth the cost of investing in one.
I am now sitting down to watch it again, this time with my stepson who is curious to see "whats it all about". After all who doesn't enjoy a good cowboy.
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