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A "western" in name only, the short-lived Fox Network series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. was actually a wild and wooly fantasy/sci-fi outing, with more in common with Jules Verne than Zane Grey. Set in the early 1890s, the series starred Bruce Campbell as the titular Brisco County Jr., a Harvard graduate who had journeyed westward to track down the gang that had killed his father, legendary lawman Brisco County Sr. The younger Brisco knew that the culprits were the minions of the scurrilous John Bly (Billy Drago), an outlaw who possessed awesome, almost otherworldy powers, and who was much despised by the "robber barons" of the Westerfield Club, owners of the local mines. Offering his services to these millionaires, Brisco was given an unlimited budget and access to all manner of marvelous new inventions (so new that many of them wouldn't be invented for the next forty or fifty years or so!), many of them the creations of the eccentric Professor Albert Wickwire (John Astin). Unfortunately, the villains were likewise equipped with futuristic paraphernalia, so Brisco and his assistant, nervous Westerfield Club lawyer Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson), often as not had to rely on their own wits to get out of scrapes. Also in the cast was Julius Carry as black bounty hunter James Lonefeather, aka Lord Bowler, who wanted to get Bly before Brisco did; thus, sometimes he worked with our hero, sometimes against him. Other semi-regulars included dimwitted by affable thief Peter Hutter (John Pyper-Ferguson), gorgeous soldier-of-fortune Dixie Cousins (Kelly Rutherford); and Brisco's faithful horse Comet, who in certain ways was the smartest character in the cast. Predominent throughout the series were the mysterious orbs, which possessed unique powers that could be used for good or evil, depending on who was in control of them. It was eventually revealed that the orbs were artifacts from the distant future (2056 AD, to be exact)--and so, for that matter, was the seemingly indestructible John Bly. Played in a rip-roaring dime novel fashion, even unto dividing its action into "chapters" and ending most episodes with a "continued next week" cliffhanger, the 60-minute The Adventures of Brisco County debuted August 27, 1993, ending its run exactly one year and one day later. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Close
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