Watching Highlander Again
Anyhow... I'm into season two, dreading each reappearance of Ritchie... and starting to feel guilty about that. And I generally cringe whenever they have Charlie (Charlie? DeSalva? Whatever.) try to "act like a former SEAL." And I'm probably the only person who doesn't adore Amanda. (Reminds me of Q on Star Trek.) Because I remember a great deal of most episodes I'm finding myself being a little more analytical than usual.
Today I was thinking about the changes between season one and season two and happened to think of another of my favorite televisions shows... the first season of Human Target. Just the first season.
In the first season of Highlander Duncan was passionately in love with a mortal woman. I don't know if someone decided to make him single, or if the actress decided to leave the show so they had to do without her, but in about episode 3 of season 2, she dies. Duncan moves away from the antique store to a more masculine venue, buying a gym and moving into snazzy bachelor digs in the building. Two new male "regulars" join the show... Dawson and DeSalva. Testosterone oozes from every frame. And trust me, women LOVE this show.
The first season of Human Target was an adventure / bromance show featuring Christopher Chance and two other men. Winston, a former cop and good-guy who is interested in Chance's redemption, and Guerrero, an amoral monster who's only redeeming feature is loyalty to Chance. Each episode brought a new adventure, and about half of the time a sexy woman to play against Chance's near monastic existence. Chance is alternately seeking his own redemption or death, he doesn't have much faith in redemption and he figures he deserves death. This was a great over the top adventure show with some serious moral undertones.
So on to season two... What did they do? They added girls. Let's broaden (heh... I punned) the appeal of this manly adventure! And we get Mrs. Pucci (yes... poochie...) as a fabulously rich benefactor and naif... and Avery (I think her name was) to be a perky and annoying apprentice to Guerrero... which was actually sort of a fun relationship for an episode or two. Winston is sort of left on his own, no longer the moral compass - having given that up to Pucci, and without a new female cast member to play off against because, Dum dum dum!, Pucci and Chance are paired. Pucci classes up their bachelor digs and gives them a jet to use and is shocked, shocked!, to find that gambling is going on in this establish... well, no, but nefarious law-breaking... how shocking to hire a former professional hit man and his crew of "outside the law" bodyguards and find that they... DUM DUM DA DUM!... break the law!
Most of season two wasn't terrible... but it wasn't good either. Maybe if Avery was only an occasional helper on a caper and if Pucci had been as she promised an *absentee* owner and less of a naif... maybe if it was still about the relationships between the men instead of the relationships between the men and women... maybe if Pucci and Winston had found common ground instead of Pucci and Chance...
Highlander played for six seasons.
Sure, Adrian Paul is a sexy guy, but Mark Valley isn't chopped liver either. Duncan and Chance are similar characters... tortured by their past, trying to make up for evil they've done, lonely and alone - ultimately, and asked to make the hard moral choices at the expense of their own souls, and doing so.