Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Brisco County on DVD; Eureka begins tonight on Sci-Fi

On paper at least, "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." should have been the coolest show in the history of TV. And for one season or so, it proved to be so.

Maybe, like so many other great but short-lived shows, "Brisco" was just too cool for network TV. Now, for fans of crazy Westerns everywhere, Bruce Campbell and his co-conspirators ride again on DVD, with all 27 episodes captured on eight discs and slathered with extras.

If you're not familiar with "Brisco County," I'd best describe it as a cross between "Firefly" and "Buckaroo Banzai," a sci-fi Western that was often very, very funny. B-movie hero Campbell played Brisco, a Harvard Law graduate-turned bounty hunter tracking down members of the infamous John Bly gang, the same men who killed his father, a famous marshal and Western legend.

Along for the ride is former rival-turned partner Lord Bowler, played with great comic flair by Julius Carry, and the slightly solacious showgirl Dixie Cousins, a constant distraction brought to life by Kelly Rutherford.

What made the show so much fun was its total lack of respect for the notion of time. Mad scientist John Astin was always popping up to provide Brisco with futuristic gadgets that would make James Bond drool, and while on their steeds our heroes would riff on pop culture nuggets that had nothing to do with the Old West.

The extras on the last disc include, according to the IMDB: Commentary by Bruce Campbell and Carlton Cuse on the pilot; Brisco's Book of Coming Things: a video catalog of the show's signature references to future items and ideas; "The History of Brisco County" - a retrospective documentary; Tools of the Trade: an 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, and booklet liner notes by Campbell.

At its best, "Brisco County" worked like the old Western serials that once brought kids to movie theaters each week to find out what happens next. Take this trip back in time and be ready to laugh a lot. I promise you'll enjoy the ride.

"Eureka" tonight on Sci-Fi

I don't have much time for dramas on prime-time TV because, like Emily Gilmore, I just don't find forensic work as fascinating as the rest of the world. I do, however, love most of the original programming on the Sci-Fi Channel, and tonight's premiere of "Eureka" at 9 should add another winner to the pack.

Here, according to Sci-Fi, is the plot synopsis:

With the help of Albert Einstein and other trusted advisors, President Harry S. Truman commissioned a top-secret residential development in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest, one that would serve to protect and nurture America's most valuable intellectual resources. There our nation's greatest thinkers, the ├╝ber-geniuses working on the next era of scientific achievement, would be able to live and work in a supportive environment. A community was created to rival the most idyllic of America's small towns — with one major difference: this town would never appear on any maps. At least, none that haven't been classified "eyes only" by the Pentagon.
Most of the quantum leaps in science and technology during the past 50 years were produced by Eureka's elite researchers. Unfortunately, scientific exploration is rarely what one expects, and years of experiments gone awry have yielded some peculiar by-products.

Looking at the cast list for this one, the one name that stands out is the always-welcome Joe Morton, who I haven't seen in years. This being TV, you can expect the requisite eye candy for both sexes to go along with the big brains.

The premise, eerily reminiscent of "Twin Peaks" in ways, intrigues me, so I'll definitely tune in tonight. If it doesn't get shifted this fall, however, it will be up against "Veronica Mars" on the new CW schedule. Now there's a dilemma. I look forward to the fight.


Kristen said...

I enjoyed this show when it first aired. I've already added it to my netflix queue...

themarina said...

I've never even HEARD of "Brisco County" but if it's in the same sentence as Firefly, you just know I'm going to have to check it out!

1031 said...

So what'd ya think of Eureka? I really enjoyed it. I think they've created a world rich with storytelling possibilities.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm cautiously optomistic, 1031 ... Was slightly disappointed by the pilot, but I agree that the show could go in any one of many interesting directions .. I'll definitely tune in for more