Highlander: The Series

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Highlander
Highlander titles.jpg
GenreAction/Adventure
Drama
Fantasy
Science fiction
Created byDavis-Panzer Productions
StarringAdrian Paul
Alexandra Vandernoot
Stan Kirsch
Amanda Wyss
Jim Byrnes
Philip Akin
Michel Modo
Lisa Howard
Elizabeth Gracen
Peter Wingfield
Opening theme"Princes of the Universe"
Composer(s)Roger Bellon
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes119 (Episodes list)
Production
Running time48 minutes per episode
Production company(s)

Rysher Entertainment
Gaumont Television
Atlantique Productions and Reteitalia

CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Broadcast
Original channelUS: Syndicated
France: TF1, later M6
Original runOctober 3, 1992 (1992-10-03) – May 16, 1998 (1998-05-16)
Chronology
Followed byHighlander: The Raven
Highlander: Endgame
 
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Highlander
Highlander titles.jpg
GenreAction/Adventure
Drama
Fantasy
Science fiction
Created byDavis-Panzer Productions
StarringAdrian Paul
Alexandra Vandernoot
Stan Kirsch
Amanda Wyss
Jim Byrnes
Philip Akin
Michel Modo
Lisa Howard
Elizabeth Gracen
Peter Wingfield
Opening theme"Princes of the Universe"
Composer(s)Roger Bellon
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes119 (Episodes list)
Production
Running time48 minutes per episode
Production company(s)

Rysher Entertainment
Gaumont Television
Atlantique Productions and Reteitalia

CBS Television Distribution (2007-present)
Broadcast
Original channelUS: Syndicated
France: TF1, later M6
Original runOctober 3, 1992 (1992-10-03) – May 16, 1998 (1998-05-16)
Chronology
Followed byHighlander: The Raven
Highlander: Endgame

Highlander: The Series is a fantasy science fiction action-adventure television series featuring Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) of the Scottish Clan MacLeod, as the Highlander. It was an offshoot and another alternate sequel of the 1986 feature film with a twist: Connor MacLeod did not win the prize and Immortals still exist post-1985. In fact, original Highlander star Christopher Lambert appeared in the Pilot episode so as to pass the torch to Adrian Paul. The series was an international hit and was nominated three times for the Gemini Awards and once for a Saturn Award in 1998.

History[edit]

In the pilot episode, the main character was established as Duncan MacLeod living quietly with his girlfriend Tessa Noël (played by Alexandra Vandernoot). They were co-proprietors of the antique shop MacLeod & Noël Antiques. The pilot introduced Richie Ryan (Stan Kirsch) as a thief who entered Duncan's shop and witnessed the confrontation between Duncan, evil Immortal Slan Quince (Richard Moll) and Duncan's fellow clansman Connor MacLeod, the hero from the movies. It was established that Duncan had lived nearly 400 years, and that there were many such Immortals in the world. Connor came to Duncan to ask him to return to The Game and help good win over evil, where "The Game" is the term used by the Immortals to describe their hunting of one another, seeking "Quickenings" by beheading their opponents. Duncan had hidden from other Immortals for some time, removing himself from The Game. Hunted by Quince, Duncan had no choice but to face him and by the end of the first episode, Slan had been defeated and Duncan was clearly caught up in The Game again.

Storylines revolved around Duncan MacLeod and his relationship with mortals and other Immortals. These relationships were a theme in the series, especially Duncan MacLeod's relationship towards his friends, family, lovers and foes (see Duncan MacLeod's relationships). As the series progressed, there were changes in concept and normal growth in the characters and their relationships. Several recurring Immortal characters such as Amanda and Methos became frequent guests on the show and the Watchers like Joe Dawson were introduced in season 2.

In the final episode of season 5, "Archangel", the character of Richie Ryan was killed and the supernatural demon Ahriman was introduced into the storyline. Of the 13 episodes of season six, two did not feature MacLeod, while a few showed him in cameos while the producers experimented with introducing a new female Immortal character for a spin-off series. None of these were chosen, and what came to be Highlander: The Raven would feature recurring character "Amanda" in a starring role, though it would be canceled after one season.

Narration[edit]

Each episode began with an opening montage of scenes from Duncan's life, over which was a narration giving a brief overview of the series' theme. The first six episodes of the first season were narrated by Duncan himself:

'I am Duncan MacLeod, born four hundred years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. I am Immortal and I am not alone. For centuries we have waited for the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword and the fall of a head will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can be only one.'

This narration was slightly changed in the show's sixth episode, "Deadly Medicine" (again by Duncan):

'I was born four hundred years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. I am immortal and I am not alone. Now is the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can be only one.'

The narration changed again in the second season, when Watcher Joe Dawson was introduced (narrative by Joe):

'He is immortal. Born in the Highlands of Scotland four hundred years ago, he is not alone. There are others like him - some good, some evil. For centuries, he has battled the forces of darkness, with Holy Ground his only refuge. He cannot die, unless you take his head, and with it, his power. In the end, there can be only one. He is Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander.'

The narration changed again at the beginning of the fourth season, and remained until the end of the series' run (narrative by Joe):

'He is Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander. Born in 1592 in the Highlands of Scotland, and he is still alive. He is immortal. For four hundred years, he's been a warrior... a lover... a wanderer, constantly facing other Immortals in combat to the death. The winner takes his enemy's head, and with it, his power. I am a Watcher, part of a secret society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere. We know the truth about Immortals. In the end, there can be only one. May it be Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander.'

Production history[edit]

Origin[edit]

Highlander: The Series originated in Europe.[1] Christopher Lambert, who starred in the first four Highlander movies, had previously worked with French leading entertainment conglomerate Gaumont's president Christian Charret. Lambert knew that Highlander producers Peter Davis and Bill Panzer wanted to make a Highlander series and connected them with Charret.[2] Gaumont bought the rights to the series.[1] Highlander was one of the first projects developed by Gaumont's television branch opened in 1992 and one of its financial backers was the French bank Credit du Nord.[3]

The French leading production company Gaumont Television bought the rights to the series to have it produced in syndication in America with a local crew, a ground-breaking move at the time.[1] Highlander marked the first time a French production company was creatively involved in a show intended for the American market.[4] The show was co-produced in syndication by international partners including Gaumont, RTL Plus (Germany), Rysher Distribution (United States), Reteitalia Productions (Italy), Amuse Video (Japan)[5] and TF1 (France).[6] The budget of the first season was US$26.1 million.[6] Keith Samples, president of Rysher, stated that "about 75% of the guaranteed budget came from overseas sales."[7] The remaining 25% came from United States sales[8] and the producers retained the distribution rights,[1] which allowed the show to produce $800,000 per episode only from international income, believed to be the top result of the 1992-1993 season.[9] To secure an adequate share of European content,[6] and as a result of the co-production agreement, each season was divided into two segments, the first segment was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (posing at the fictional location of Seacouver, Washington, United States),[10] the second in Paris, France.[11][12] The production of the first segment began in Vancouver on 13 July 1992,[13] while the production of the second segment started in December 1992 in Paris and used the studios of French state production agency Société Française de Production (SFP) at Bry-sur-Marne near Paris.[6]

The swordfight at the end of the thirteenth episode, "Band of Brothers", was filmed at Vancouver Harbour, British Columbia, Canada[14]

The executive producers were Bill Panzer, Peter S. Davis, Gaumont Television president Christian Charret[3] and Gaumont co-production chief Marla Ginsburg.[1] Steven Maier, Sheryl Hardy and Guy Collins were co-executive producers. Kevin Droney and Philip John Taylor were supervising producers at the beginning of the season; from the seventh episode onwards, David Abramowitz became supervising producer instead of Taylor.[15] The producers were Barry Rosen and Gary Goodman. Executives in charge of production were Marc du Pontavice and Denis Leroy. Scripts were contributed by both staff and freelance writers, Brian Clemens among the latter. Brent-Carl Clackson was line producer on the Vancouver segment, from episode one to thirteen. When production moved to Paris, Clackson was succeeded by Patrick Millet (with the title of production manager) for episodes fourteen to twenty-two. The regular directors were Thomas J. Wright, Jorge Montesi and Ray Austin. The fencing coach was Bob Anderson, who coined for himself the title of Master of Swords.[16] Anderson choreographed the fights on the Vancouver segment then was succeeded by Peter Diamond, credited as second unit director and stunt coordinator on the Paris segment. The opening theme was "Princes of the Universe" from the 1986 album A Kind of Magic by Queen; incidental music was composed by Roger Bellon.[17] The pilot episode was originally intended to be a third Highlander Movie (To act as a TV movie), but the low budget and Lambert agreeing to reprise his role as Connor Macleod late into production caused the pilot to be written as a 1 hour pilot.

Casting[edit]

Christopher Lambert did not wish to do television, though he agreed that there should be a series, and originally Connor MacLeod was to be the protagonist. After Lambert declined, and because there were still films being made with the Connor character, it was decided at Adrian Paul's request to have the series focus on another MacLeod. Lambert agreed to appear in the pilot and pass the torch. They were only able to afford him for three days of filming. Lambert declined to do any future episodes.

Alistair Duncan, Anthony De Longis, Alexis Denisof, Geraint Wyn Davies, Gary Daniels, and James Horan were all in the running for the lead role. Marc Singer who was originally offered the role of Conner MacLeod in the original movie was also a front runner for the lead before Adrian Paul was cast. Adrian Paul beat out 400 hopefuls from The U.S, Canada and Europe for the lead role. Originally, the actor was a tough sell to the investors because he was an unknown (though he played Russian ballet dancer Kolya in The Colbys). But some of the producers felt that he would appeal to both men and women fans of the franchise. Paul reminded them of a young Sean Connery. Adrian said in an interview that he was drawn to the series because it had so many layers: history, romance, adventure, spirituality. In an interview he said that he was the first actor to audition for the role in Los Angeles.

Canadian actor Adrian Holmes auditioned for the role of Richie Ryan. The characters name was originally going to be called Cole Ryan

Location[edit]

The first segment of the season was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Although Immortals are scattered around the world, the events of the series are most notably located in Vancouver, British Columbia and Paris, France. However, flashbacks during the series often brought the show to a variety of places. The locations for the present switched at the midway point of season 2-5 from Seattle/Vancouver to Paris. Thus it became the second international TV series about a Scottish swashbuckler in France after the series Quentin Durward which had already been shot in back in 1970 and resembles many of Duncan McLeod's (and Connor McLeod's) historical flashbacks. In Paris, Duncan lived on a barge located on the Seine River (at approximately 48°50′12″N 2°22′30″E / 48.836743°N 2.374941°E / 48.836743; 2.374941) while in the fictional city of "Seacouver, WA" (somewhere in the Pacific Northwest) Duncan moved after Tessa's death from their antiques store to an apartment above his recently acquired freestyle dojo.

Season overview[edit]

Season One[edit]

Duncan MacLeod and Tessa Noel have been living in a city in the Pacific North West for several years, where they run an antiques store. One night, a young street punk called Richie Ryan breaks in to the shop whilst they are celebrating Tessa's birthday, but is caught by MacLeod, who threatens to cut off his head with a sword. Stunned by MacLeod's seeming over-reaction, Richie watches in disbelief as another man jumps in through the skylight and challenges the antiques dealer, only to be disconcerted by the appearance of a third man with a japanese sword, who is in turn hunting him. The intruder is Slan Quince, who is hunting Duncan, unaware that he is himself the target of Duncan's kinsman, Connor MacLeod. Intrigued, the kid follows the MacLeods, only to see first Connor, then Duncan fight Slan. He sees Connor defeated, but escape, leaving Duncan to behead Quince. Amazed, he watches Duncan caught at the centre of lightning and explosions as he witnesses, for the first time, a Quickening. Before he leaves, Connor tells Duncan that he must watch Richie, which Duncan does by taking in the boy, who has no family, and employing him in the antiques store. After what he has seen, MacLeod also tells Richie the truth about himself and the others - that he is 400 years old and he, like them, is Immortal. As the series progressed, Macleod encountered Immortals like Howard Crowley whom he killed in revenge for killing an Immortal friend of his and framing an innocent man for it, Kiem Sun and taking in an Immortal student Felice Martens. He even saves Tessa from Immortals like survivalist Caleb Cole(For the first and only time in the series, Tessa sees Duncan caught in the power of a Quickening) and Andrew Ballin who wanted to kill her after she witnessed him killing his former lover. Alexei Voshin, with whom he has an old score to settle, and Walter Reinhardt, another immortal he had crossed paths with before.

The idyllic life of Duncan and Tessa was to be shattered forever by the arrival of a message from one of Mac's teacher, the priest Darius, in "Band Of Brothers" Darius' most powerful enemy, Grayson, was coming to Seacouver, to eliminate a mortal peacemaker and disciple of Darius, Viktor Paulus. Grayson was a lieutenant of Darius when they led an army across Europe in the 5th century, but turned against him when Darius killed the then oldest living Immortal at the gates of Paris and became a man of peace. Determined to protect Tessa and Richie, but uncertain of his ability to handle Grayson, he sends them to Darius for protection, then sets out to face Grayson. Grayson, a fellow Scot, offers MacLeod a position at his right hand, but Duncan refuses. In what is probably the best fight in the series, Grayson takes MacLeod to the limit before the younger Highlander prevails. MacLeod follows his friends to Paris, where he and Tessa decide to stay, living on Duncan's barge; Tessa takes up a post as a curator, Duncan takes up the role of a kept man and Richie that of a fish out of water, in his role as a kept man, Duncan does the shopping, but as he is returning to the barge one morning, he sees a clown dressed as a mime kill an elderly man, ("For Evil's Sake"). Helping the police, he tells them that he could identify the man. The police inspector, LeBrun, is convinced he has seen Duncan before. Later, mysterious men with guns stake out the barge and, when Duncan fells one, he finds that he is a policeman. LeBrun has remembered Duncan - when he was a young gendarme, they were chasing the assassin Kuyler and he saw Duncan then. LeBrun's assistant is in Kuyler's pay, but Duncan silences the mime forever and LeBrun arrests his assistant. Duncan hasn't finished with LeBrun, for when his old enemy Xavier St Cloud crosses his path again, Duncan throws one of Xavier's gas grenades into a cement mixer and LeBrun fishes it out, ("For Tomorrow We Die"). Convinced MacLeod is the gas poisoner, LeBrun tries to run him in whilst, in a race against time, Duncan has to stop Xavier from gassing an exhibition Tessa is organising. Frustrated, Xavier comes for Duncan, but in the fight, Duncan cuts off Xavier's hand and he disappears into the Seine. The series also introduced two old Immortal lovers of Duncan’s. to test Tessa's restraint. Grace Chandel, on the run both from the police, who want to arrest her for killing her husband, and the Immortal ex-lover who was the real killer, the possessive Carlo Sendaro, ("Saving Grace"), was welcomed by Tessa, when Duncan and Darius help her escape, Duncan making sure that Carlo will not trouble her again. The same was not true of Amanda, described by Duncan as "a bad habit". It was in "The Lady & The Tiger" that we first met the unprincipled cat-burglar with a passion for circuses, robbery and 400-year old Scotsmen, here trying to set up MacLeod so that the Immortal thief she had double crossed, Zachary Blaine, would not take her head. In the end, she takes Zachary's, but not before Duncan has done all the hard work. Which pretty much set the pattern for all of the Amanda stories to come.

In the season finale Duncan's old friend, Hugh Fitzcairn, comes to see him, with news that Immortals are disappearing. When they go to see Darius, they find him decapitated inside the church. Returning to Fitz's hotel, they are attacked and Fitz is spirited away, whilst Duncan returns to the church, finding a book hidden by Darius. It is a history of Immortals written by a secret society of mortals. When these mortals come for Duncan, he is ready and follows them back to their hideout, rescuing Fitz, who is about to be guillotined and confronting their leader, a wild eyed fanatic who wants to destroy all Immortals. He gets away, leaving a shattered MacLeod to mourn his friend and teacher. The series ends with MacLeod vowing revenge on the men and pouring Darius' ashes into the Seine, to flow out to the sea.

Season Two[edit]

This Season opened with a new title sequence and a mysterious voice over explaining who Duncan MacLeod is and giving a quick summary of the Rules of the Game. Not so mysterious a voice, as we were to find out, as it is the voice of Joe Dawson. In the first story, ("The Watchers"), a bitter MacLeod returns to Seacouver, determined to find Darius' killers, but with only the Chronicle left by Darius to guide him. He follows a clue to a bookstore, where the owner, Dawson, denies knowing about the book. When MacLeod chases down two men watching from across the street, Dawson follows and tells Duncan that he is his Watcher, one of a secret society of mortals who observe and record the history of the Immortals, but never interfere. He refuses to believe MacLeod's assertion that Darius was murdered by mortals, but is forced to when the leader of the killers is revealed to be his own brother-in-law, James Horton. MacLeod confronts Horton, who shoots him, but not before MacLeod extracts his vengeance for Darius and runs Horton through with his sword. Believing Horton dead, but now aware of the Watchers, MacLeod carries on with his life and tries to help two old friends, but with differing results. Gregor Powers has become a photographer but has lost touch with his humanity, pushing his feelings for others away to avoid the recurring pain of loss, ("Studies In Light"). Duncan helps him to learn to value his life and the gift of his Immortality, whilst watching his own former lover, Linda Plager, who is mortal, die of old age and infirmity. Soon after, another Immortal friend, Michael Moore, appears, looking for Mac's help in hunting down Quenten Barnes, Michael's long time enemy, who has reappeared after a long absence, ("Turnabout"). Also reappearing is Joe Dawson, who tries to enlist Duncan's help, as Barnes is hunting down and killing the men who tried and executed him years beforeTurnabout. Barnes was buried and has only recently been disinterred. An uneasy peace is struck between Watcher and Immortal, as the terrible truth dawns - Michael is Quenten Barnes, the two sides of his personality fragmented into a schizophrenic existence. As Quenten slowly takes permanent control, Michael pleads with Duncan to end it and MacLeod kills his friend. During this episode, Mac takes Richie to a martial arts gym, or "dojo", run by Charlie DeSalvo, where they intend to train. thoughts of extra-curricular activities are put aside as the reopening of the shop gets nearer. After a spooky encounter with a palm reader reminds Mac of the gypsies' warning that he will never marry, he tempts fate by asking Tessa to marry him. Overjoyed, she accepts and, as they plan the wedding, Mac is lured from the shop by a group of Watchers, whose leader, Pallin Wolf, stuns Richie and kidnaps Tessa. Using her as a lure, he entices MacLeod to his home, where he has a lightless room in which he hunts and kills Immortals, using a nightscope to see his prey, a la "Silence Of The Lambs". Fate smiles on Mac by allowing him to defeat Wolf and rescue Tessa despite "The Darkness", but he makes a decision that will haunt him. Sending Tessa with Richie, he stays to rifle the man's files, but as they leave, they are mugged and shot. MacLeod runs out to find them dead in the street. As he holds Tessa in his arms, Richie revives, a newborn Immortal. Grief stricken, MacLeod sells the store. Richie arrives at the loft one night with a girl he has rescued, who was being pursued by an Immortal, ("Under Color Of Authority"). From the description, Duncan recognises that the hunter is Mako, an eternal lawman. The girl is evasive, but it transpires that she is on the run for murdering her husband, who abused her, but she fears that she will be killed if she goes back, as her husband's father runs the town. Mako doesn't care - he has a warrant and will take her back to stand trial. Richie refuses to stand by and helps her to flee, but when Mako accidentally kills the girl, Richie is enraged and challenges Mako, whom he kills, despite Duncan pleading with him not to. For the first time, Richie feels the power of a Quickening, but it is tinged with sadness as Mac tells him that he is now on his own and must leave.

Season Three[edit]

Season Four[edit]

Season Five[edit]

After the events in "Judgment Day", the Watchers abandon all pretense of not interfering in the Game. Believing that MacLeod is responsible for the slaughter of the Watchers, Jack Shapiro, their head, orders his death and, at the beginning of "One Minute To Midnight", Duncan is trying to survive their manhunt. Believing the only way to avoid a war between the Watchers and the Immortals is to convince Shapiro of his innocence, MacLeod goes to their battle headquarters, only to find that the Immortal who is the real killer has beaten him to the punch. The bitter irony of the situation is revealed - Jacob Galati is hunting the Watchers after Horton killed his Immortal wife, Irena, during his rampage across Europe in 1992 that ended when he killed Darius in Paris, ("The Hunters"). Jacob refuses to believe that the Watchers are not evil, but agrees to meet JoeOne Minute To Midnight, who has been nursed back to health by Methos. Joe won't meet Jacob though and helps the Watchers to capture him. Duncan is forced to stand by whilst the Watchers murder Jacob and is devastated to receive his friend's Quickening. Methos rejects Joe and the Watchers for what they have become, but MacLeod returns to confront Shapiro, to put an end to the killing. When Shapiro refuses, Joe belatedly realizes that his friend has become another Horton and helps Duncan to secure peace with the Watchers. Wanting nothing to do with Paris, Duncan returns to Seacouver. There, he finds the Immortal Cassandra waiting for him. She is being hunted by Roland Kantos, one of her students, and she tells Duncan of a "Prophecy" that he will defeat great evil. Kantos relies on the hypnotic power of his voice to defeat his opponents, but Duncan, after nearly losing his head to Kantos' tricks, defeats the mesmerist by plugging his ears. Joe comes to the dojo and gets the cold shoulder from Duncan, but before he leaves, he tells MacLeod that Richie is in town, ("The End Of Innocence"). Duncan tries to make his peace with Richie, but the young Immortal is still plagued by nightmares after Duncan almost killed him in "Something Wicked" and warns Duncan to stay away from him. When Richie challenges and kills Carter Wellan, his mentor Haresh Clay comes for Richie, breaking his sword. Richie is arrested trying to steal another one from a museum and is bailed out by Duncan, who warns him that Clay is as good as they come and gives him a sword. The two Immortals work out their differences and, now acting as equals, it is Duncan who asks Richie to stand aside as he avenges his humiliation at Clay's hands when they first met and takes his head. In "Archangel" Duncan accidentally kills Richie thinking he is a demon he is destined to face.

Season Six[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction to Highlander: The Series has been generally favorable, and more favorable in general than the film sequels to the original Highlander, which have mostly received negative reviews (with the exception of the animated film Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, which has received more positive reviews).

Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict said, "The direction is sometimes uncertain, but Highlander: The Series gives viewers something unique and inspiring. Each episode gives us a provocative glimpse into the trials and concerns of immortality, great swordfights, stylish flashbacks to bygone eras, and occasionally wicked immortals with awesome quickenings."[18] Lineberger added, "These actors, writers, producers, directors, and crew delivered one of television's great successes, particularly in the fantasy genre. Highlander: The Series took us to places we otherwise could not have gone, and did so with intelligence, style, and wit."[19] Lineberger gave the six seasons scores of 92,[18] 93,[20] 90,[21] 92,[22] 87,[23] and 70[19] out of 100, respectively.

Abbie Bernstein of Audio Video Revolution said, "Although it would be another two years until the series fully hit its stride, it was already [in the first season] offering something out of the ordinary narratively; in terms of production value, it remains one of the best-looking quasi-period shows ever to come down the pike, holding its own and then some against much better-funded product from the major studios."[24] David Oliver of CHUD said that "whereas the sequels ultimately strayed from the mythology of the original [film] in the pursuit of more storytelling (translation: more money), the series built upon the mythology."[25]

Carlo Cavagna of About Film criticized the series, saying that it consisted of "pedestrian one-hour confrontations pitting Duncan MacLeod against one overacting nefarious immortal after another, each a pale imitation of Clancy Brown's delicious overarching villainy in the first film," and felt that the series featured "a wide array of unappealing supporting characters" and that "the writers didn't know what to do with the Highlander concept."[26] Similarly, Danél Griffin of Film as Art remarked that "the six-season Highlander: The Series has a loyal following, but let’s be honest: Adrian Paul, the lead, is not an interesting actor, and there’s not one moment in the show—not one—that comes close to matching the wit or liveliness of the first film."[27]

Critics have pointed to the middle seasons of the show as its best. Lineberger remarked, "There was a dramatic boost in quality from season one to season two. Season two had better writing and quality control, [and] season three is better than season two."[21] Bernstein claimed that "during season five, [the show] was at the peak of its creative glory."[28] Kathie Huddleston of Syfy said that "season four was arguably the best season of the series, as the show said goodbye to characters from the previous season and delved into what made the regulars and the most notable recurring characters tick."[29]

Critics have singled out the sixth and final season as the worst of the series. Lineberger remarked, "I haven't attempted to hide my disappointment with this season. For the first time ever in my life as a Highlander enthusiast, I found myself utterly uncaptivated."[19] Oliver awarded the sixth season a score of 3.9 out of 10, saying: "Like The X-Files, Highlander: The Series simply went on too long. If the star is wanting to get out of a show as much as Paul was ready to hang up his katana, then I say let it go."[25]

Spin-offs[edit]

Films[edit]

The series continued in Highlander: Endgame (2000) and Highlander: The Source (2007). The films feature Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod, Peter Wingfield as Methos and Jim Byrnes as Joe Dawson.

Highlander: The Raven[edit]

Plans for a spin-off series led to a group of sixth-season episodes focusing on five new female Immortals to serve as the spinoff's lead. The candidates that were introduced were Alex Raven (Dara Tomanovich), Katherine (Claudia Christian), Kyra (Alice Evans), Katya (Justina Vail), and Reagan Cole (Sandra Hess). According to the behind the scene interviews and Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide, fan reaction was negative concerning these original characters and so the lead for Highlander: The Raven went to Elizabeth Gracen reprising her role from the original series as the popular, recurring character Amanda. The spin-off only lasted one season due to low ratings and the change in the marketing of syndicated shows.

The Methos Chronicles[edit]

The 2001 The Methos Chronicles was an animated Internet Flash-series based on Methos, a character drawn from the television series. Peter Wingfield was the voice actor for the main character of the short series, which lasted only one eight-episode season. There was some plan to develop a live-action series in the early 2000s (decade), and Peter Wingfield was willing to participate. However, since then there hasn't been any significant news.

Reunion[edit]

In 2008, a reunion special was filmed starring Peter Wingfield, Elizabeth Gracen, and Jim Byrnes reprising their roles. The 17-minute special was a low budget project that takes place 10 years after the series (or between the fourth and fifth movies). Filming took place at producer Peter Davis' beach home with the actors volunteering in their roles. The plot involved the characters discussing Methos' plans to get married and settle down with a mortal woman and her son.

Audio plays[edit]

Season One

In 2009 Big Finish released a series of four audio adventures featuring Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod. They are set sometime after the events of Endgame. These are:

Each play in the first season is around an hour long, and contains a new music score and new Highlander audio theme by Jamie Robertson

Season Two - The Four Horsemen

In 2011 Big Finish released a box set containing a linked series of four audio adventures featuring the actors who played the Four Horsemen in the TV series, pitted against a new recurring villain. These are:

Big Finish have indicated that the audio range has now discontinued.

Books[edit]

The Highlander: The Series novels are canon. Events from them are included in the Watcher Chronicles CD-ROM, which contains an extensive database of the events and immortals of the television series.

An Evening at Joe's[edit]

Spinoffs[edit]

Other "Highlander" books have been produced by other authors that deal with Immortal and Scottish families, but they are not canonical parts of the Highlander universe. These include:

Comics[edit]

See Highlander (comics).

In popular culture[edit]

In the TV series, Reaper, season 1, episode 15 ("Coming to Grips"), Bert "Sock" Wysocki pretends to be Duncan MacLeod as he wields the scythe 'vessel' they are going to use to capture the escaped soul; presumably because - like swords in the Highlander series - it could be used to decapitate someone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Brennan, Steve (23 April 1992). "Euro players eye 'Highlander'". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. 10. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  2. ^ Head of Production Denis Leroy, in Russell, Maureen (1998). Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books. p. 1. ISBN 0-446-67435-4. OCLC 38898097. 
  3. ^ a b "In Transit". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). 1 May 1992. p. 12. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  4. ^ Farrell, Pia (21 April 1993). "French share co-prod'n 'credit' CBS: To jtly dev, produce & distribute telefilms w/ TF1, France". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. 7. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  5. ^ Levy, Hal (14 July 1992). "Reel Deals". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). pp. 1–4. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  6. ^ a b c d Farrell, Pia (22 December 1992). "'Highlander' series flys [sic] to TV". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. 16. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  7. ^ Brennan, Steve (5 June 1992). "Syndie's new century: half of sales from overseas: Revenues will hit $13 billion, study says Almost 50% of all revenues for US TV syndication sector to be mined from foreign mkts by 2000". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. 1. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  8. ^ Marich, Robert (16 April 1993). "Signs of surging sales make for hopeful MIP-TV: New satellite channels heighten product demand". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. 1. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  9. ^ Marich, Robert (12 April 1994). "In on the Action". Hollywood Reporter (BPI Communications L.P.). p. S-3. ISSN 0018-3660. 
  10. ^ Name from "The Gathering". Highlander: The Series. Season 1. Episode 1. Syndication., Bonus Material, Article: "Richie Ryan", in Highlander: The Series (season 1) (DVD, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2001), disk 1.
  11. ^ Russell, Maureen (1998). Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books. p. 1. ISBN 0-446-67435-4. OCLC 38898097. 
  12. ^ Thomas, Scott (November 1997). "There can be only one - The Making of "Highlander: The Series" Season One". Retrovision (Retrovision). OCLC 40987681. Archived from the original on 11 November 1999. Retrieved 26 April 2008. 
  13. ^ "Paramount signs talent". Electronic Media (Crain Communications Inc.). 13 July 1992. ISSN 0745-0311. 
  14. ^ Bill Panzer, in episode "Band of Brothers". Highlander: The Series. Season 1. Episode 13. Syndication., Bonus Material, Bill Panzer's interview, in Highlander: The Series (season 1) (DVD, Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2001), disk 5.
  15. ^ Adrian Paul, in Russell, Maureen (1998). Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books. p. 90. ISBN 0-446-67435-4. OCLC 38898097. 
  16. ^ Sword Master F. Braun McAsh, in Russell, Maureen (1998). Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books. p. 82. ISBN 0-446-67435-4. OCLC 38898097. 
  17. ^ Russell, Maureen (1998). Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books. p. 150. ISBN 0-446-67435-4. OCLC 38898097. 
  18. ^ a b Highlander: The Series, Season One review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, December 17th, 2002
  19. ^ a b c Highlander: The Series, Season Six review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, February 16th, 2005
  20. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season Two review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, March 18th, 2004
  21. ^ a b Highlander: The Series, Season Three review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, March 29th, 2004
  22. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season Four, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, June 8th, 2004
  23. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season Five review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, September 22nd, 2004
  24. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season One review, Abbie Bernstein, Audio Video Revolution, November 12, 2002
  25. ^ a b Highlander: The Series, Season Six review, David Oliver, CHUD, 02/10/2005
  26. ^ Highlander: Endgame Review, Carlo Cavagna, About Film, October 2000
  27. ^ Highlander: The Source Review, Danél Griffin, Film as Art
  28. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season Five review, Abbie Bernstein, Audio Video Revolution, August 10, 2004
  29. ^ Highlander: The Series, Season Four review, Kathie Huddleston, Syfy, August 23, 2004

External links[edit]