In October 2022 Highlander, The Series celebrates its 30th Anniversary! Of course a spin-off from the movie franchise which started in the 80’s. I liked the movies but I really was a fan of the TV series. Adrian Paul was Duncan Macleod as the Highlander. Okay he was a bit stiff in the first episodes but that soon changed. When the show started he had a girlfriend, Tessa, who knew what he was, and he took care of this kid, Ritchie, who of course later also became an immortal, something Duncan already felt from the moment he met him but the viewer obviously did not yet know that. What is sad of course is that Stan Kirsch, who plays Ritchie, has passed away on January 11, 2020 at the age of 51!
I can’t explain why this show made such an impact on me, but the main character, Duncan Macleod, was someone who didn’t want to die of course but he wasn’t someone who deliberately would go an hunt for another immortal just to gain his strength. Duncan Macleod had a moral compass and only when he had no other options, or when friends of his got threatened, he would defend himself or defend his friends.
At the time when the show aired, Duncan was about 400 years old, still “young”, but experienced. Hugh Fitzcairn, played by Roger Daltrey, was one of his best friends whom he knew for a large number of years. Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) was another immortal which Duncan knew well. She was much older than him, her moral compass was not like that of Duncan, she was a thief most of her life and during the series Macleod tries to “educate” her it also possible to lead a different life. Darius (Werner Stocker) is also a dear friend of Duncan’s, Darius was a warrior in the past but he no longer fights, no longer chops off heads, he has become a priest. There is also a group called “the Watchers”, who watch the immortals, led by James Horton (Peter Hudson). James Horton and his followers kill Darius, in real life the actor Werner Stocker died of cancer at the end of the first season. Duncan Macleod’s watcher is Joe Dawson, played by Jim Byrnes. Although watcher should always remain at a distant, aren’t allowed to intervene, make contact, Dawson and Duncan become the best of friends. This because the leader of these watchers, has other plans, he wants to take out all immortals, sees them as freaks. Dawson and McLeod work together against Horton.
These “Watchers” become a big part of the show, something that didn’t happen in the movies which I believe, was a nice addition to the show. Methos (Peter Wingfield) is also an immortal who pretends to be a watcher, he knows about their existence for a lot longer and is working as a watcher, he tries to keep himself safe. Methos carries a dark past with him. He too becomes a close friend of Duncan.
It was kind of a big show, it was filmed in France and the US. I always felt it was a shame that the beheadings could never be shown, for that matter, the show was on TV a decade too early. If it had come on TV 10 years later, I believe the beheading would no longer be done out of view. It always bugged me, for me it hurt the show that something so important to the show, could not be shown. But in the 90’s that was not yet possible. If you see what is shown today, it’s 10 times more frightening.
My last rewatch dates back to 2014-2015, 7 to 8 years ago, didn’t think it was that long ago but I obviously was mistaken. Last time anyways it did feel like it was a bit dated but still very entertaining, the stories hold up well and the cast is simply outstanding. Highlander ran for six seasons, the last two seasons were shortened to 18 (season 5) and 13 (season 6) episodes. In the last seasons there was a bit of experimentation going on, because they were planning a spin-off and they were testing the waters. They were planning to get a female lead, Claudia Christian from Babylon 5 seemed to be a serious option but in the end it became Elizabeth Gracen who of course was Amanda Darieux in the original series. It was called Highlander: The Raven, it only lasted one season where Adrian Paul did not even make one cameo. It was an okay season not in the same league as its original.
The original series has been released om DVD, all six seasons and seasons 1 to 3 have also been released on Blu-Ray. However this was discontinued for many reasons, one of them was the apparently bad transfer which looked even worse than the already grainy DVD box-sets.
Two movies were made where Duncan Macleod plays the lead role. First one in 2000 called Highlander: Endgame. Christopher Lambert also has a lead role in this movie but it wasn’t that good, not in the same league as the TV Show. In 2007 another Highlander movie was created where Adrian Paul plays the lead as Duncan Macleod but that movie was even worse than the first Highlander movie which revolves around Duncan MacLeod.
Highlander, The Series, is one the best TV shows of the 90’s, still hold it in high regard. If you’ve never seen it before, see if you can check it out, I believe you can stream it on Amazon Prime and also the DVD set isn’t that expensive for six seasons. Of course I can only recommend to (re) watch this great TV show. It looks a bit dated but the stories still hold up. Just forget about the movies, although if I had to choose, I would go for Highlander: Endgame.