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The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
BriscoCounty.jpg
Brisco County launch poster
Format western / Science fiction
Created by Jeffrey Boam
Carlton Cuse
Starring Bruce Campbell
Julius Carry
Christian Clemenson
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 27
Production
Running time 45 minutes per episode
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Original run August 27, 1993 – May 20, 1994

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. is a short-lived western television series with science fiction elements set in the 1890s, starring Bruce Campbell as Brisco County, Jr. It could be considered a thematic descendant of the 1960s show The Wild Wild West, since it combined elements of the science fiction and Western, and Steampunk genres. It was one of the few western shows aired in the 1990s.

Contents

Plot

Brisco County, Jr. is hunting down the John Bly Gang, who murdered his father. By the end of the series, only nine members of the 13-member gang were seen to be captured by Brisco on screen, though in episode 20, "Bye Bly," Brisco and Bowler mention several times that they caught all of Bly's gang. Those seen captured are:

Throughout the series, a recurring theme is the large golden "orb" that Bly is searching for. By the end of the series, it is revealed that both Bly and the orb are from the future - the late 25th century and 56th century respectively - and that Bly wants the device so that he can use its power to return to his time as a conqueror and tyrant.

Style

The series featured a mix of tongue-in-cheek, self-referential humor (a running joke throughout the series was that County could actually understand the neighing of his beloved horse, Comet) and real drama, usually centered around County's troubled relationship with his late father and his growing fear that he will never be able to settle down.

Another main theme was that Brisco was always looking for "the coming thing" which he found with great regularity. While many were technological (motorcycles, blimps, tanks, and denim), many others were cultural. This includes references to future musicals such as "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Hello, Dolly!" as well as cultural events such as Elvis impersonators, Dunkin Donuts, Led Zeppelin and sobriety tests.

The show also featured classic cliffhanger deathtraps halfway through each episode such as the classic sawmill trap to being tied up and thrown in quicksand.

Props

Two Mare's Leg pistol props from the show were later reused in the science fiction television series Firefly as a rifle by the character Zoe Washburne.[1]

Theme music

Though the show only lasted one season, the series' theme song, composed by Randy Edelman, found a new life as part of NBC's sports productions, namely during NBC broadcasts of Major League Baseball and the Olympic Games (played while announcing the upcoming events).

Characters

Brisco County, Jr.

Played by Bruce Campbell, Brisco County, Jr. is a Harvard-educated lawyer turned bounty hunter now on a quest to bring to justice the infamous John Bly Gang who murdered his father, Marshal Brisco County, Sr. (R. Lee Ermey). Along the way, he gets into a series of seriocomic adventures involving fantastic villains, beautiful women, and a mysterious brilliant golden sphere known as "The Orb". The Orb's paradoxical nature and seemingly supernatural power is the driving force behind the plots for about a third of the series' episodes.

Lord Bowler

Played by Julius Carry, Brisco's rival/partner, real name James Lonefeather. In the beginning of the series, Lord Bowler was a rival bounty hunter who competed with Brisco for monetary rewards. Midway through the series Bowler became Brisco's partner and friend. Bowler was frequently depicted wearing his bowler hat and carrying a sawed-off shotgun in a sheath on his back.

Socrates Poole

Played by Christian Clemenson, Socrates Poole begins as a milquetoast attorney for the Westfield Club, Brisco's employer. Poole and Brisco become close friends by the series' end.

Dixie Cousins

Played by Kelly Rutherford, Dixie is a con-woman who is Brisco's true love. She is a gifted singer and performer, who regularly woos the crowds with her acts in the many saloons and bars that Brisco encounters on his travels. Though in the earlier episodes her character was portrayed as one of the villains, her conscience routinely convinces her to take the higher road as the series continued, continually challenging her morals. In the later episodes she is much more clearly identified as a "good" character such as in the episodes Wild Card and in And Baby Makes Three.

Pete Hutter

Played by John Pyper-Ferguson, Pete is a mean but hapless gunslinger who "dies" in his first appearance - he was shot in a gunfight - but returns several times throughout the series as a comic foil to Brisco. He has a great affinity for his "piece" (his pistol), leading to the character's catchphrase, "Nobody touches Pete's piece." In the final episode, he declares that he is a "connoisseur of penal lodgings" in reference to jailhouse architecture.

Professor Wickwire

Played by John Astin, Professor Wickwire was an eccentric inventor who supplied Brisco with wacky gadgets that were precursors to modern inventions, such as a land-based rocket on railroad tracks or an "Inner Space Suit".

John Bly

Played by Billy Drago, Brisco's mysterious archnemesis. In the pilot, Brisco County, Jr. is hired by "robber barons" Robert Fuller, James Drury, and Paul Brinegar, to track down and arrest all thirteen members of the John Bly gang after they kill Brisco County, Sr. while escaping from a train. The series finale reveals that Bly is from the far future and seeks the orb for ultimate power while fleeing the authorities of his own time.

Whip Morgan

Played by Jeff Phillips, first appears midway into the series in Hard Rock. His character is a risk taker anxious at first to avenge his uncles death, but as his character develops the audience sees a more charismatic side to him. His strengths are his quick shooting, poker skills, and a fearless/oblivious attitude toward danger and the many situations he is getting himself into. His main weakness is with the ladies who he constantly falls for in all the episodes that he's in.

Guest stars

The series featured several notable character actors in guest starring roles, including: R. Lee Ermey as County's father; Denise Crosby as a sheriff in an all woman town; Sheena Easton as a rival bounty hunter; Jane Sibbett as a Norman Bates-like murderess; Terry Bradshaw as a rogue colonel who gives orders to his men like a quarterback; Robert Picardo as a corrupt small-town deputy; Timothy Leary as a self-referential spoof of himself, and M.C. Gainey as Bly's right-hand man, who is seemingly killed in the pilot episode only to return later in the series with superhuman powers, courtesy of the Orb.

In the pilot, veteran western actors Robert Fuller and James Drury made an appearance.

Episode list

Each episode ran for 1 hour (with commercials), except where noted.

Episode Airdate DVD Order Summary
"Pilot"
Two hours
1. August 27, 1993 D1-E1 Marshal Brisco County is killed by John Bly and his (12 strong) gang during their escape from the train transporting them. Brisco County, Jr. is hired by "the robber barons" to bring the escaped men to justice. Elsewhere, the Orb is unearthed in a cave which gives the Chinese indentured servants digging it incredible strength, allowing their escape.
"The Orb Scholar" 2. September 3, 1993 D1-E3 Brisco and Lord Bowler both track John Bly to Poker Flats, where Brisco's childhood partner Deputy Donovan,is sheriff. While there, Brisco meets a man, Professor Coles, who has been studying the Orb for a long time and knows its secrets.
"No Man's Land" 3. September 10, 1993 D2-E1 Brisco and Professor Wickwire end up in a town inhabited by only women. Elsewhere, Lord Bowler has been hired by Brisco's employers to track down and recover a "mobile battle wagon" (tank) that they had made for the government but was stolen by The Swill Brothers. They also end up in the women-only town.
"Brisco in Jalisco" 4. September 17, 1993 D2-E2 Brisco and Socrates Poole go to Jalisco, Mexico to track down a shipment of stolen guns and wind up in the middle of a revolution.
"Socrates' Sister" 5. September 24, 1993 D1-E2 Brisco captures a suspected member of John Bly's gang, Jack Randolph. While in custody he claims to be a different Jack Randolph and hires Iphigeneia Poole, Socrates' sister, to defend him.
"Riverboat" 6. October 1, 1993 D2-E3 Brisco tracks Brett Bones, a member of Bly's gang, to New Orleans. While there he attempts to win back the money that Socrates lost to Bones gambling and get justice for another murder Bones committed despite his friends in high places.
"Pirates!" 7. October 8, 1993 D2-E4 Blackbeard LaCutte, a member of Bly's gang and a former pirate forced off of the sea, is wreaking havoc on a small town. Brisco (and Bowler) track him down and attempt to steal back the medicine he stole and capture him.
"Senior Spirit" 8. October 15, 1993 D3-E1 Jason Barkley, son of "robber baron" Jebediah Barkley, is kidnapped by John Bly who demands an Orb rod that belonged to Brisco, Sr. for his safe return.
"Brisco for the Defense" 9. October 22, 1993 D3-E2 Brisco defends a college friend, Dr. Carter, who is being tried for murder.
"Showdown" 10. October 29, 1993 D3-E3 Brisco returns to his childhood home and finds that lawless ranchers have taken over. When he begins to police the town the ranchers hire Utah Johnny Montana to kill Brisco.
"Deep in the Heart of Dixie" 11. November 5, 1993 D3-E4 Dixie Cousins is involved in an early test of audio recording and records a "sensitive" conversation with a politician. Instead of placing herself in danger by testifying she flees and it's up to Brisco to bring her back.
"Crystal Hawks" 12. November 12, 1993 D4-E1 Brisco is framed for a murder and suddenly finds himself running from his fellow bounty hunters. Female bounty hunter Crystal Hawks is hot on his trail as Brisco tries to clear his name and find out what all of this has to do with the Orb.
"Steel Horses" 13. November 19, 1993 D4-E2 Juno Dawkins, a member of Bly's gang, steals "the coming thing" in transportation, motorized steel horses to aid them in a stagecoach robbery (for the Orb). Brisco and Bowler, with help from Prof. Wickwire, must get back the "steel horses" and stop the stagecoach robbery from taking place.
"Mail Order Brides" 14. December 10, 1993 D4-E3 Brisco and Bowler run into three women from the East coast who are headed for a small western town as "Mail-order brides". However, on their journey westward The Swill Brothers attacked them and stole their dowries, without which no man will take them. Brisco and Bowler volunteer to track down the Swills and get the dowries back for the ladies.
"A.K.A. Kansas" 15. December 17, 1993 D4-E4 Doc McCoy, a member of Bly's Gang and Dixie Cousins' ex-husband, attempts to steal a "super cannon" which can precisely drop knockout gas from a distance so he can use it to steal the Orb from the facility it is being stored at.
"Bounty Hunter's Convention" 16. January 7, 1994 D5-E1 A number of bounty hunters, including Brisco and Bowler, are invited to a "convention" on a small island. Upon arrival the bounty hunters all begin mysteriously dying one by one and it's up to Brisco to figure out why and at whose hand.
"Fountain of Youth" 17. January 14, 1994 D5-E2 Brisco and Bowler are contacted by Professor Coles who asks them to come find him. Instead of Coles they find his daughter Lillian, who says she too was asked to come, but can't find her father. Brisco, Bowler and Lillian attempt to track down Professor Coles and find themselves tangled up with members of Bly's Gang in a fight for the Orb.
"Hard Rock" 18. February 4, 1994 D5-E3 Brisco and Bowler ride into Hard Rock, the town Bowler grew up in. While there they meet Sheriff Viva and try to help him stop Roy Hondo, a member of Bly's gang who has been running a "Protection racket". They also meet Whip Morgan who is attempts to "call out" Hondo.
"Brooklyn Dodgers" 19. February 11, 1994 D5-E4 Brisco and Bowler run into two orphans who are on their way to San Francisco to claim an inheritance before the leader of their orphanage can claim it. At the same time members of the New York Irish Mob begin hunting the children in hopes of claiming the inheritance.
"Bye Bly" 20. February 18, 1994 D6-E1 Brisco and Bowler are tracking down the last member of Bly's gang, Pepe Bendix, but lose him in an alley when the US Government saves him under the condition that he will steal the Orb for them. Later a naked time traveler named Karina appears in Brisco's room while he's sleeping and informs him of the supernatural nature of the Orb. She convinces Brisco to track it down and kill Bly once and for all.
"Ned Zed" 21. March 11, 1994 D6-E2 A man reads his son a Brisco County, Jr. dime novel which recaps his dealings with the notorious, mouthy, bank robbing member of Bly's gang named Ned Zed with his "machinery gun" and Frenchy Bearpaux who still holds a grudge over what Brisco County, Sr. did to him.
"Stagecoach" 22. April 1, 1994 D6-E3 Brisco must escort a spy to the Mexican border where a prisoner trade is to take place, who unbeknownst to him is in danger from a high ranking government official who is attempting to incite a war.
"Wild Card" 23. April 8, 1994 D6-E4 Dixie Cousins' sister Dolly is cheated out of her casino in Reno. She enlists the help of Whip Morgan to win it back, but he too is cheated. Meanwhile Brisco and Bowler have a money truck they are escorting to Reno robbed. Brisco, Bowler, Whip, Dixie and Dolly all join forces to get back Dolly's casino and drive out the mob element that is sprouting up in Reno.
"And Baby Makes Three" 24. April 22, 1994 D7-E1 Pete Hutter has been contracted by the "Black Lotus" clan to steal a baby. After doing so they back out of their agreed upon payment and Hutter, in a panic, drops the baby off with Dixie. It's up to Brisco, Bowler, Dixie and Whip to keep the baby safe and return him to his rightful home.
"Bad Luck Betty" 25. April 29, 1994 D7-E2 Socrates is kidnapped from his birthday celebration and Brisco, Bowler and Whip track his kidnappers to "Midnightville". While looking for Socrates the guys find themselves in the midst of a lot of creepy goings on.
"High Treason – part 1" 26. May 13, 1994 D7-E3 Brisco and Bowler are accused of "high treason" and brought before a court-martial to determine their guilt.
"High Treason – part 2" 27. May 20, 1994 D7-E4 Brisco and Bowler escape their fate and go on a quest to prove, once and for all, that they are innocent.

Scheduling

Brisco County DVD cover

The series ran for 27 episodes from August 27, 1993 to May 20, 1994 on the FOX television network on Fridays at 8 p.m., otherwise known as the Friday night death slot, just before The X-Files which also made its debut in 1993.

Syndication

The show was later broadcast in syndication airing on the U.S. cable channel Turner Network Television (TNT) from January 1996 to January 2001, but has only been rebroadcast sporadically since. The series was released on DVD on July 18, 2006. On November 16, 2005, AOL and Warner Bros. announced that the series would be included in their new In2TV online television network, and available for viewing online.

DVD release

On July 18, 2006, Warner Home Video released The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1, an 8-disc DVD set that contains all 27 episodes of the series. The release includes commentary tracks from Bruce Campbell and Carlton Cuse; an interactive menu of Brisco's signature references narrated by Campbell; The History of Brisco County, Jr. documentary; a feature called A Reading from the Book of Bruce; and another gallery hosted by Campbell focusing on the gadgets from the show.

Notes

  1. ^ Whedon, Joss (2006). "Have You Ever Been with a Warrior Woman?: Zoe's Pistol and Vest". Firefly: Official Companion, Volume One. Titan Books. pp. 104.  

External links








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