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Old March 15 2011, 06:12 AM   #1
OsmiumJohnnycake
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just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Did a search and the older threads on this are pretty old so I hope it's okay if I start a new one.

I started watching about a year ago and finished up tonight with "To Be"/"Not To Be." I probably would have finished sooner but the last couple of seasons really killed the momentum.

Season one was entertaining for me but often in a laughable, cheesy way. The original opening credits have Duncan mumbling the narration like he's backstage, repeating his lines over and over before his big scene. That combined with the corny effects and the great Queen song had me hooked. (The narration during the credits changed around six or so episodes in and it was slightly more professional, I guess. Then later on they made genuinely decent opening credits but I sort of missed the silliness of the original.)

Early on there's a scene where Duncan and another immortal are in a city park, about to fight, but call it off because a car full of kids drove by. That sort of stuff made me chuckle. Duncan fights off killer mimes with a baguette because he doesn't have his sword handy! The tail end of the season improved, with Darius' death and the group of mortals hunting the Immortals, but I watched the bulk of it like I would a bad but fun movie (who told Marc Singer to speak that laughably low in the Mountain Men episode?).

Seasons 2 & 3 were the best in my opinion. Good storylines, nice twists and supporting characters came and went (sometimes I was sad to see them go, but I also appreciated the feeling that anything could happen and just because someone was in the opening credits didn't mean they were going to stick around the whole season) and somewhere in here I went from finding Duncan amusing to really liking his character (along with a lot of the other actors as well).

There's nothing really wrong with season 4, but the magic was wearing off for me. We still had a good plotline, but I'll confess to not being a fan of Amanda and I think it was here she moved from occasional guest to regular.

Season 5 is where it fell apart for me. Too many comedic episodes. And while the cast is always enjoyable, the stories were often ones that didn't need immortals or sword fights to be told (and a few of them didn't have them at all). I suppose after all the lightheartedness, Richie's death could have been very shocking to some people, but it felt very cheap to me. If season 5 had been filled with good Richie stories and then he died tragically, I think I could have gone for that. As it is, it felt like Theo on the Cosby Show being killed in the season finale. The tone of the show just hadn't earned it.

Season 6 was all over the map, with some of the episodes dealing with Duncan's reaction to Richie's death, some random "normal" episodes, sometimes with dead people like Fitz thanks to the ability to show stories out of sequence, some episodes without Duncan at all, and then the rather good finale.

I'm glad I watched the show. There were lots of interesting guest stars (why so many musicians? Roger Daltry, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Young Cannibals guy, Vanity). I enjoyed the fact they sometimes shot in Europe - it really added a lot to the production values of the show. And as a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it made me realize Joss Whedon did not create the idea of a shocking death (Tess dying really surprised me and pissed me off). I'm glad I managed to go into this show spoiler-free. I do wish they had either ended it earlier or the last two seasons had been drastically reworked.

I didn't ever pay that much attention to how well the flashbacks and Duncan's history worked. For all I know it contradicts itself all over the place, but casually viewing it nothing jumped out (well except that Duncan/von Stauffenberg/Hitler assassination plot didn't sit well).

Just two last things:

Why didn't they carry over the alias idea from the Highlander films? When an immortal would show up and claim to have been searching for Duncan for centuries, I wondered how hard can he be to find since he always goes by 'Duncan MacLeod.'

I feel fairly safe assuming this television show has more beheadings than any other, and that fact would occasionally amuse me while watching it. "It's about this good guy, see, and he cuts people's heads off. Every week."
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Old March 15 2011, 06:21 AM   #2
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

The main reason why season 6 was so off-kilter was that Adrian Paul injured himself at the beginning of the season and was out of commission for some time (why in many episodes he was a background element while the episode focused on others). That is why you had episodes such as the Joe/Methos team-up and the episode that was just guest stars (which was actually a test run for the short-lived spin-off Highlander: The Raven). Seems like TPTB made the best of a bad situation.
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Old March 15 2011, 07:07 AM   #3
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

I didn't like Amanda either. She was in the show way too much. Then they announced she would be the star of the spin off show instead of the other women they did stories about. I never bothered to watch the Raven since I did not like Amanda.

I really disliked that Macleod killed Richie. That was so lame after the whole Dark Quickening "You can trust me, Richie" recovery.
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Old March 15 2011, 08:13 AM   #4
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

I found Highlander to be pretty hit and miss. Overall I enjoyed watching it. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact I was spending time with other fans who were into Highlander more than I was and I got caught up in their buzz. I enjoyed the European aspect of it. It was nice to see something different for a change in that respect. I really enjoyed the Methos character. I liked Darius too and was sad when Werner Stocker died. Highlander is showing at the moment in the UK. Occassionally I'll catch a moment or two, but it seems to have aged enormously for me. I did catch the last (latest?) Highlander film 18 months or so ago. It was pretty rubbish but I enjoyed it tremendously!
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Old March 15 2011, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Broccoli wrote: View Post
The main reason why season 6 was so off-kilter was that Adrian Paul injured himself at the beginning of the season and was out of commission for some time (why in many episodes he was a background element while the episode focused on others). That is why you had episodes such as the Joe/Methos team-up and the episode that was just guest stars (which was actually a test run for the short-lived spin-off Highlander: The Raven). Seems like TPTB made the best of a bad situation.
I hadn't heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense. I actually liked the character of Amanda, but I found myself disappointed when she was chosen to get her own spin-off. She's a great supporting character, but we had learned enough about her during the run of "Highlander" that I didn't see what new elements she could bring to the show. A fresh, new Immortal with a whole new past to explore would have been a much better route to go IMO.
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Old March 15 2011, 05:07 PM   #6
Hanukkah Solo
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Seasons 3 and 4 were the high point, for me. Season 1 wasn't great, but most ongoing shows' first seasons are usually pretty weak. It definitely started to get better in Season 2, but the Kalas storyline in Season 3 was when the show really became something great. The ongoing storyline with the Watchers and the Hunters, introduced at the end of Season 1/beginning of Season 2 and coming to head at the end of Season 4/beginning of Season 5 was another highlight, for me.

Season 5 was still good, I thought, but it was clear that the show was starting to lose some steam by that point. I hated the Season 5 finale, not because of Richie, but because of the introduction of Ahriman and Duncan being some kind of Champion destined to stop the apocalypse.

And then Season 6, aside from a couple of episodes, was just awful. Apparently they wanted to jump the timeline ahead after Season 5 and have Ahriman succeed in his plan, and Season 6 would have been about Duncan trying to destroy Ahriman in this post-apocalyptic world. I don't know what it was with TPTB behind Highlander and their love for apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic storylines. The beauty in the concept is it's about these people and their struggle to survive throughout history and in the contemporary world. Moving things ahead to the future ruins that.

But the real gem of the series, in my opinion, was Methos. He was by far my favorite character, and just about every episode he was in is up there among the series' best. I would have loved to see a series focusing on him.
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Old March 15 2011, 05:14 PM   #7
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

I miss Charlie


my favorite things about the show were Mac's Thunderbird and Citroen DS
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Old March 15 2011, 05:17 PM   #8
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

This is one of my favorite shows. I saw the whole thing in reruns in 2002.

- Loved the Paris setting as well.

- Season 5 did have some bad episodes.

- I liked season 6.

- The Raven spinoff should have gone with one of those other women that were featured in their own episode, one of which was played by Claudia Christian.

- I didn't know that Adrian Paul was injured either.
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Old March 15 2011, 09:12 PM   #9
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

God Magnus wrote: View Post
I hadn't heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense. I actually liked the character of Amanda, but I found myself disappointed when she was chosen to get her own spin-off. She's a great supporting character, but we had learned enough about her during the run of "Highlander" that I didn't see what new elements she could bring to the show. A fresh, new Immortal with a whole new past to explore would have been a much better route to go IMO.
Agreed. I like Amanda too, and I think the actress was certainly capable, but she's one of those characters who works far better as a supporting foil for MacLeod than being strong enough on her own. One thing I would have liked to see a little better explained (and I never did get into HTR, so I'm not sure if it was brought up) was exactly how skilled Amanda was supposed to be. She's never shown actually taking a head, and the history established that she had a hard time adjusting to the Game in terms of killing enemies instead of simply avoiding them.
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Old March 15 2011, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Highlander is kind of the fantasy show that time forgot, isn't it? It's like a proto-Angel.

Really liked it. Things that stood out included the flashback transitions and Peter Wingfield's Methos.
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Old March 15 2011, 09:36 PM   #11
Hanukkah Solo
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Unicron wrote: View Post
Agreed. I like Amanda too, and I think the actress was certainly capable, but she's one of those characters who works far better as a supporting foil for MacLeod than being strong enough on her own. One thing I would have liked to see a little better explained (and I never did get into HTR, so I'm not sure if it was brought up) was exactly how skilled Amanda was supposed to be. She's never shown actually taking a head, and the history established that she had a hard time adjusting to the Game in terms of killing enemies instead of simply avoiding them.
I liked Amanda, too, but I never saw much of The Raven, so I can't answer that. The only time I ever recall hear taking a head in Highlander was in her debut episode, "The Lady and the Tiger" (which also featured Jason Isaacs, as the villain of the week), and even then she let MacLeod do the actual fighting before sneaking up on Isaacs' character and taking his head.

She never had much actual interest in the Game. It seemed to me she only made sure she was good enough to hold her own long enough to find a way to escape.
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Old March 15 2011, 10:22 PM   #12
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

It didn't help that the series (and later movie) producer apparently got sick of the Highlander universe and subsequently enamored with a futuristic setting that was introduced with Highlander 2... So much so that he wanted season 6 of the series to be in a dystopian future, had the abominable animated series set there, and the last movie there too. Didn't like any of it, as few people were.

That said, HL remains one of my favorite series of all times. I love fantasy stories set in a world with real logic and limitations to the fantastic elements. The Immortals were essentially just everyday people, only long-lived, and the stories were based around this fact (instead of the magic) and therefore very human for many of the show's better episodes. Add in awesome chemistry for the cast (especially for Duncan, Joe, Methos and Amanda) plus great sword fighting, and it's an overall winner even now. The Raven tried to change a beloved character too much too soon; I would have much preferred they went with one of the "pilot" Immortals they were trying out in the final season, since they basically went with the Claudia Christian concept anyway (hell, they didn't even bother changing the mortal sidekick's name!).

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Old March 16 2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

Skywalker wrote: View Post

But the real gem of the series, in my opinion, was Methos. He was by far my favorite character, and just about every episode he was in is up there among the series' best. I would have loved to see a series focusing on him.

Ditto that. Peter Wingfield was great and did total justice to the character. A spin-off based on Methos would've been a far better decision, IMO. It'll be interesting to see if the new movie (which I believe is a reboot or re-envisioning of the Highlander concept) includes the character, even though he would most likely be portrayed by a different actor.
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Old March 16 2011, 02:31 AM   #14
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

one thing that struck me about the sword fights - you could often tell when Duncan was about to take the other guy's head - there was back hand swing he frequently used to do the deed.
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Old March 16 2011, 04:27 AM   #15
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Re: just finished watching Highlander the TV Series (SPOILERS)

OsmiumJohnnycake wrote: View Post
"It's about this good guy, see, and he cuts people's heads off. Every week."


Greatest way to explain the series ever. For real. I'm one of those people who doesn't like Dexter, House, NuBattlestar, etc for how dark, arrogant, and/or vile some of the characters could be. Not a fan of shades of gray, generally.

And Duncan really IS a boyscout that I think is great. But when you phrase it like that, it does make one think...
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