Lady: Is that where you're from?
Brisco: No! That's who I am.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was a wacky TV series mixing sci-fi and western genres that starred Bruce Campbell (best known as Ash from the Evil Dead films) as the title character, a brash, Harvard-educated lawyer turned wild-west bounty hunter after the murder of his father by archvillain John Bly and the "Gang of 12." The show aired on Fox from 1993-1994, earning a significant cult following before its untimely cancellation after only 27 episodes.
The show follows Brisco's adventures as he seeks revenge for his father's murder. To finance his vendetta, Brisco works for the Westerfield Club, a group of robber barons who have hired him to round up the rogues responsible for his father’s death out of fear that they might be next. Brisco’s liaison with the Club is their legal counselor Socrates Poole, who often gets unwillingly caught up in Brisco’s wacky adventures. Brisco is also aided in his quest by his friend Lord Bowler, a fellow bounty hunter who claims he is helping Brisco merely for a cut of the bounty money involved.
Along the way, Brisco discovers that his archnemesis Bly is obsessively pursuing "the Orbs" - golden, spherical objects created by aliens that give their owners mystical powers. These Orbs would obviously be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands, so Brisco's a secondary mission becomes trying to keep Bly from obtaining the Orbs. This ongoing subplot speaks to the show's obsession with paranormal phenomena, science-fictive elements, and general weirdness. Similarly, Brisco’s horse Comet could talk and thought it was a person, and there were episodes featuring time travel and UFOs.
Other regular characters on the show included professor and inventor Albert Wickwire and sexy saloon singer Dixie Cousins. Dixie was Brisco’s main love interest but was not just your typical dumb broad. Sassy and smart, she was as tough-minded and clever as any man in the cast, part of the show’s general policy of presenting all its women as strong characters.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was created by Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse. Boam was a screenwriter for the Lethal Weapon films, among others, while Cuse had been a regular writer for the acclaimed drama Crime Story. The quality pedigree of the pair guaranteed the kind of taut pacing and clever dialogue that earned the show a small but loyal following, but also contributed to the overly high expectations that led Fox executives to heavily advertize the show and air it in the deadly Friday at 8 p.m. time slot. When the show failed to live up to these expectations and cross over to a broad audience, it was cancelled, although the show retains a cult following today.
Interestingly, the stirring theme music from the show was later used by NBC Sports in its Olympics broadcasts.
Brisco County, Jr. - Bruce Campbell
Lord Bowler - Julius Carry
John Bly - Billy Drago
Socrates Poole - Christian Clemenson
Professor Albert Wickwire - John Astin
Dixie Cousins - Kelly Rutherford