RieView: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

For more than two decades (and coming up on three now…) this picture has hung on my wall:

20200731_143128

It’s not a great sketch, but I did my best. 🙂 Heck, I even did one of my longest pieces of fanfic for this series–The (Future) Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. — a mashup of about a dozen series woven together. It used to be up online, but the website no longer exists. I’ll keep looking for a copy and share if I find it.

I had just moved back to Austin in 1993 after realizing that being a teacher was not for me. I was living with friends, trying to get used to a new job…not a real happy place. And then, one night, pretty much by accident, as I remember, we turned on the television and discovered The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

I instantly fell in love, and I have been a huge Bruce Campbell fan ever since. I went back to find everything he had done previously and have watched everything I can get my hands on since. While Ash will always be a favorite, Brisco holds a special place in my heart.

So, when looking for Steampunk to RieView on this website, I decided this was a great place to start. 🙂

Set in 1893, in the waning years of the Victorian Era there are a lot of Steampunk elements involved–from Professor Wickwire’s rocket to Brisco’s obsession with “the coming thing.” The mysterious orb that holds the whole series together could be something straight out of Jules Verne or H.G. Wells. With elements of horror and science fiction to leaven the Western setting, it holds something for everyone.

The series starts with Brisco County, Sr. talking to a reporter after successfully rounding up John Bly and his gang. The bandits wind up escaping–and Marshall County is killed, setting up the premise that Brisco is looking to complete his father’s work.

The writing still holds up after all these years, full of word-play and smart repartee. The characters were all well-drawn. The acting is generally a little over the top but fits the style of the series beautifully.

Guest stars abound, from John Astin to Robert Picardo to Terry Bradshaw–and there is no more wicked villain than Billy Drago‘s John Bly. Many familiar faces from the early days of TV Westerns pop up now and then. And then there are the tongue-in-cheek references, like “Doctor Quintano, Medicine Woman.”

Even after all these years, when I see John Pyper-Ferguson in any role (and there have been quite a few) I see Pete Hutter obsessing over his “piece.” When a bit player makes that big an impression, you know that the whole series is well-done.

To see this show is to love it. It is available to stream free on IMDB TV with a few minimally invasive ads, or to buy on DVD. (I have a set, though many of the reviews on Amazon seem to say that the discs don’t last very long–I watched on streaming for this review.)

Apparently, despite the fact that it only ran the one season, there were plans for a second. And Bruce has intimated that he would still be interested in reviving the role. Of course, it could never be quite the same without the late Julius Carry or Billy Drago, but I am sure that they could figure something out.

I would definitely give this one 5 Cogs.

5 Gears

 

About RieSheridanRose

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2,  and Killing It Softly. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.
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