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HIGHLANDER SERIES: BEST OF THE BEST

 



Highlander Series: Best of the Best


Actors: Adrian Paul
Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
Language: English
Region: 1
Number of discs: 6
Studio: Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
Run Time: 720 minutes
Bonus Features: Candid interviews with cast and crew; Special sword demonstrations; Featurette where the Highlander team takes you inside the set
 

Movie:
Disc:

 

In no way can this mid-1990s TV series inspired by the Highlander movies be described as good television.

Some episodes literally creak and fall apart at the seams under the weight of bad plotting, awkward acting, cheap sets and costumes, not to mention mediocre directing and overambitious special effects.

In one episode a youth somehow magically manages to climb unnoticed into someone who he is stalking's car boot while that person is also busy getting into the car. You try doing that one day, and see what happens! Some scenes are so badly directed that the actors seem unsure what to do with their hands.

Episodes are formulaic as only television can get. Five or seven minutes before the end you know our hero will get into a swordfight and decapitate an opponent pretty much in the same way that the A-Team got "a plan" and started building all kinds of contraptions, MacGyver escaped an impossible situation and Magnum PI's girlfriend for that episode got killed so that the continuity can be preserved and he can be a single bachelor again for next week's episode.

To recap: actor Adrian Paul plays Duncan MacLeod, one of a secret race of "Immortals" who lives amongst us ordinary mortals. (Paul plays a relation to the character played by Christopher Lambert in the big screen movies and isn't supposed to be him.) See Macleod was born 400 years ago and still looks like he's in his mid-thirties, an anti-ageing trick that not that eternal teenager Michael J. Fox managed to pull off.

Calling them "Immortals" is a misnomer though: they can be killed by lobbing off their heads. I suppose smashing their atoms to bits in a nuclear explosion ought to do the trick as well. Actually the "Immortals spend a lot of time killing off each other because as anyone who has seen the original 1985 Highlander movie will know "there can be only one."

THE DISCS: Image quality is often mediocre due to either grainy source footage or poor compression artefacting. But can a mid-1990s TV show already look this poor? We've seen movies that are a half-century old which boasts better sound and image quality on DVD.

WORTH IT? It is unclear who exactly this six-disc set is aimed at. One would like to say that it is aimed at newbies such as myself to the show, but no attempt at any coherent, single narrative is made in the selection and order of the episodes. The first disc kicks off with a two-parter storyline from the show's fifth season in which one character is featured prominently. A later episode found on the third disc also from that season introduces that character for the first time. There is no logic to the order in which the episodes are presented at all. One can only assume that Highlander: Best of the Best is aimed at nostalgic fans who are unwilling or unable to fork out the $170 or so dollars for all six seasons on DVD.

RECOMMENDATION: The weird thing about Highlander: The Series though is is that no matter how bad the episodes get, it all remains hypnotically and inexplicably compulsive viewing in the way that only time-wasting television can be. Maybe it is because of Arian Paul's lazy charm, or perhaps the fact that despite the consistent flashback narrative structure that there are always new characters and locales with each episode. Or perhaps it is because deep down we all yearn that our lives be as predictable as the TV shows we watch.

Whatever the reason, it is clear why Highlander: The Series lasted a whopping six seasons from 1992 to 1998 (loads of Immortal opponents popping out of the woodwork for Duncan Macleod to behead each episode!): once I started watching one episode on this collection I couldn't stop myself. Highlander: The Series is like Pringles chips - you know it's bad for you, but once you pop you can't stop as the advertising slogan goes . . .

NOTE: In a recent interview Russell Mulcahy admitted that he had no idea at the time that the Highlander character would become so popular. Check it out:

Movies

1. Highlander - 1986
2. Highlander 2: The Quickening aka Highlander 2: Renegade Version - 1991
3. Highlander 3: The Sorcerer aka Highlander 3: The Final Dimension - 1994
4. Highlander: Endgame - 2000
5. Highlander: The Source - 2007

TV Shows

1. Highlander The Series - 1992-1998
2. Highlander The Raven - 1998

Animated Series

1. Highlander: The Animated Series - 1994-1996
2. The Methos Chronicles - 2001 (Internet/Flash)


 



 

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