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.The above is the intro for the fourth season of a show that I would have sworn would never make it past the first....Highlander: The Series.
To really understand the series, you have to understand the movie it was based on. The original Highlander film starred Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery and put the idea out there that there were men and women, immortals, who could live forever, but only be killed by cutting off their heads. Now, as these immortals went about their business, hiding in the shadows, they were also playing "The Game". "The Game" was the term used for immortals hunting each other, battling to the death and, when one was killed (remember the head cutting off thing?), their energy (or "quickening") would go to the victor to make them stronger. How would immortals be able to tell each other apart from normal folks? Glad you asked. They had an extra sense that would let them know when another immortal was nearby, which was also handy in preventing them from getting taken unawares. The more "quickening" an immortal took, the stronger they became until, as legend told, the few surviving immortals would meet for a final battle and the winner would claim "The Prize"....which, basically, amounted to them becoming like a god.
Some rules that went along with The Game.
- Battles had to be one on one
- You couldn't fight on holy ground. (It was said that the incident at Pompeii was due to two immortals fighting at a church)
- The only weapon allowed was a bladed, melee, weapon.
I have the power! Aye, the quickening that empowers me! I feel everything! I know... I know everything! I am everything!
Highlander: The Series didn't come out until 1992. Starring Adrian Paul, the show chronicled the adventures of Duncan MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod, an immortal fighting for the forces of good by striving to be the last, surviving immortal and claiming The Prize. He was a kinsman of Connor MacLeod, the lead character from the Highlander movie, who made a guest appearance on the pilot episode as a sort of 'handing off of the torch' to Paul's character. The cast changed up quite a bit. In the first few seasons MacLeod has a mortal girlfriend, Tessa Noel, and a streetwise kid who helps out around their antique store...Richie Ryan.
When I first saw commercials for it, I'll admit, I scoffed. When I started watching the first season, I still scoffed due to it being very formulaic (MacLeod meets immortal...they fight....he wins...rinse, repeat). As the second season came out, though, I started thinking "Hey, this isn't half bad." From there things got very interesting as we were slowly introduced to a group known as The Watchers, who chronicled the lives of immortals and kept tabs on them. The Watchers added a whole new dynamic to the show and was a good part of what kept me tuning in each week.
As with most shows, the final season went a bit off the rails, but it remained interesting as they were still trying different things and keeping the scripts fresh.
In the end....there can be only one!
On a brief side note, I once met Adrian Paul at a convention and, honestly, he was one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. I expected some 'pretty boy snob', but he was quite the opposite. A very gracious actor who really appreciated the fans.
Honorable Mentions: Hart to Hart, Hogan's Heroes, The Highwayman
Tune in tomorrow for a couple of real cool cats who made a living at The Cold War.