Review: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr (1993-94 television series)

This rather strange television series, a mixture of Western, comedy, and science fiction, was steampunk before steampunk was cool. It ran only 28 episodes over a single season. Bruce Campbell plays the title character, a graduate of Harvard Law School who’s happier as a bounty hunter. When his father, federal marshall Brisco County Sr, is murdered by the Bly gang, Brisco Junior accepts a commission from a group of tycoons to hunt down the killers, said gang having cost the tycoons a lot of money. The tycoons employ another lawyer, a citified fellow named Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson), as their liaison with Brisco.

Julius Carry plays a towering former calvary soldier of black and Indian ancestry who calls himself Lord Bowler and owns a classy home in San Francisco where his English butler addresses him as “my lord.” He’s initially a rival bounty hunter but over the course of the series gradually becomes Brisco’s friend and colleague.

Early on, Brisco meets a hot blonde femme fatale named Dixie Cousins (Kelly Rutherford) who starts off as an ally of the bad guys but as she turns up from time to time in later episodes evolves into Brisco’s main love interest. John Astin is another recurring character, an inventor ahead of his time. There’s also an unhinged villain named Pete who keeps getting killed and showing up a few weeks later all better, and a few episodes feature the sheriff of a town called Hard Rock who acts like Elvis Presley.

Several episodes involve a set of mysterious orbs with strange powers. They have something to do with time travel and perhaps aliens. The writers admitted they never did figure out what the things really were.

Most of the plots don’t exactly hold up to logical analysis, much of the acting is questionable, and the jokes are often deliberately bad. On the other hand, everybody is obviously having a good time and the cast is pretty consistently likable, so provided you just agree to put up with the dumb stuff, it’s a fair amount of fun. The show aimed to be “just under over-the-top,” and that’s pretty much what it was.

Also, Kelly Rutherford: Woo, woo!

Here’s a collection of promos for various episodes:


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Review: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr (1993-94 television series) — 3 Comments

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