I think we’ll all remember the first time that Fox broke their heart with a prematurely cancelled show. Mine was ‘The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.’, a little known science fiction western (‘Firefly’ fans’ eyes are probably going wide at this moment) starring the B-Movie star of the century, Bruce Campbell. It was also one of the earliest media to have elements of Steampunk (excepting ‘Wild Wild West’, of course), and that’s why it’s the subject of today’s Throwback Thursday, Sciencefiction.com’s celebration of great science fiction of the past.
So, I feel like I said all I could really say to entice you. Steampunk/scifi western starring Bruce Campbell? You’re probably not here anymore, right? I’m probably just typing into the ether because you’re off trying to find episodes.
Well, for those of you who are still with me, I’ll elaborate.
Brisco County Jr. is the son of a famous bounty hunter, and a bit of a disappointment to his father because he had decided to go to Harvard and study law as opposed to bodily kicking the asses of all the criminals in the West. He returns to the West when his father dies, and begins to do some bounty hunting himself under the direction of Socrates Poole, an uptight lawyer with a name Brisco loves to make fun of.
Together, with Brisco’s very headstrong and obscenely intelligent horse, Comet, they unravel the mystery of mysterious orb marked “U.F.O” that gives it’s possessor’s supernatural powers (and is also responsibile for the death of Brisco’s father).
If it sounds silly, it is. It’s unabashedly silly. One of the first scenes involves a burlesque background painter painting scenery a giant rock on set of train tracks so the train won’t see it and stop.
Then, there’s a standoff over a stick of dynamite in a restaurant, and… gosh, I could go on, but suffice to say, it’s like a live action cartoon at times. It’s perfectly Bruce Campbell.
While the show was cancelled before its time, it had a decent run of it. But still, it joins the annals of shows that FOX has cancelled far too early. In twenty days, it’s the twentieth anniversary of the last airing of a Brisco County episode, so on May 20th, raise your glass to what could have been.