'The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. - Series'
(Bruce Campbell, Julius Carry, et al / 8-Disc DVD / NR / (1993) 2006 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Hired by local robber barons, Harvard Law Graduate Brisco County, Jr. searches for the members of the infamous John Bly gang, the same men who killed his father, a famous marshal and western legend. Accompanied by his one-time rival and fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler, Brisco rides through the West trying to bring his father's killers to justice. Along the way, he encounters mysterious golden orbs with strange abilities and colorful characters who help or hinder his mission as he hunts down the Bly gang one by one.
DVD Verdict: Few DVD releases will generate the excitement among fans that this boxed set will, and for good reason: The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., is arguably one of the best TV shows of ANY genre to have been produced in the past 20 years. (As its tag line promised, "Smile. You're about to meet your new hero.") Not only does this box set include pristine transfers of the entire series (comprised of 27 episodes which aired on Fox from Aug. 27, 1993-May 20, 1994), it also boasts an in-depth feature interview with star and cultural icon Bruce (Army of Darkness) Campbell, who supported this DVD release in every way. In addition, the studio has announced these great "extras" include Brisco's Book of Coming Things; A Brisco County Writer's Room, a write-em cowboy reunion; History of Brisco County Documentary; A Reading from the Book of Bruce; and Tools of the Trade, an interactive gadets gallery. Kudos to Fox Studios for getting it right! (Note: while the individual episodes have been available for sometime on VHS, this is the first time the series has been released on DVD, and the first time the show has been released in a single boxed set in any format.) While the series is clearly a western, it truly defies classification because it incorporates many different and unexpected elements including science fiction, time travel, ghosts, the supernatural, comedy, amazing gadgetry and core morality issues that make it a truly unique and unforgettable viewing experience. In the pilot, the saga begins simply enough when, "one of the greatest lawmen the West has ever known," U.S. Marshal Brisco County, Sr., (played by R. Lee Ermey) is on a train with other lawmen transporting outlaw John Bly and his evil Gang of 12, whom he had captured, to face justice. But, the tables are abruptly turned when the prisoners are freed and the Marshal is killed by Bly. The Marshal's son, Brisco County, Jr., a Harvard graduate who earned a law degree, is hired as an unlikely bounty hunter by the members of San Francisco's Westerfield Club to track the outlaws down. Brisco straps on his father's gunbelt with its famed ivory-handled six-shooter, which he handles better than a western trick star, and never looks back. Brisco, ably assisted by Comet the Wonder Horse (who has more intelligence than most people), meets a variety of friends and foes as he pursues his goal and also stumbles onto an incredible legend: the tale of a supernatural golden glowing orb that bestows unimaginable powers on the person who possesses it. Brisco soon realizes that Bly will stop at nothing to obtain the orb and wield it for his own diabolical purpose. Campbell, who is perfectly cast, brought a warm, human depth to the character along with an inside wink to the audience underscoring life's absurdities. He also gave deadpan deliveries of puns laced with sexual and non-sexual overtones. The primary cast includes Julius J. Carry III as James "Lord Bowler" Lonefeather, a rival bounty hunter packing a sawed-off shotgun strapped to his back who eventually became Brisco's best friend and "side-kick"; Christian Clemnson as Socrates Poole, the straight-laced Westerfield Club attorney befriended by Brisco and Bowler; Kelly Rutherford as Dixie Cousins, dance hall singer and Brisco's love interest; John Pyper-Ferguson as bungling outlaw Pete Hutter, in love with his six-shooter; the late John (Addams Family) Astin as brilliant, eccentric inventor Professor Albert Wickwire; and Billy Drago as the infamous Bly. There are also great and unexpected guest stars throughout including Terry Bradshaw, Sheena Easton, and Timothy Leary. In addition to the two-hour pilot, episodes are: The Orb Scholar; No Man's Land; Brisco in Jalisco; Socrates' Sister; Riverboat; Pirates; Senior Spirit; Brisco for the Defense; Showdown; Deep in the Heart of Dixie; Crystal Hawkes; Steel Horses; Mail Order Brides; A.K.A. Kansas; Bounty Hunter's Convention; Fountain of Youth; Hard Rock; Brooklyn Dodgers; 'Bye Bly; Ned Zed; Stagecoach; Wild Card; And Baby Makes Three; Bad Luck Betty; High Treason Part I; and High Treason Part II. Ironically, while the series was short lived its memorable theme song, composed by Randy Edelman, has been heard on NBC broadcasts of the World Series and the Olympic Games! This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
27 episodes on eight discs
Commentary by Bruce Campbell and Carlton Cuse on the pilot
Brisco's Book of Coming Things: video catalog of the show's signature references to future items and ideas
"The History of Brisco County" - retrospective documentary
Tools of the Trade: interactive Brisco lore featurette gallery
A Reading from the Book of Bruce
A Brisco County Writer's Room: round table with key series creative personnel
Booklet liner notes by Bruce Campbell