Brilliant but canceled

Santafe.com - July 21, 2011

"As I mentioned in my first blog, I am hoping to begin a list of excellent shows that somehow never captured a big enough audience to actually make it"

As I mentioned in my first blog, I am hoping to begin a list of excellent shows that somehow never captured a big enough audience to actually make it.  (Excellent but Unappreciated) Making it, in TV terms, means being on the air for more than three years. I do realize there is a current web site called Brilliant but Cancelled, which explores much of the same territory.  However, their show listings only coincide a few times with mine, and I’m not setting up a website but just discussing shows I wish had been on the air for well say as long as Friends.

I was looking on Wikipedia for information on one of my favorite shows: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.   Wiki gives a detailed run down of the actors, plot, music, characters, etc. of the show.  What they left out was some of the anachronistic and simply sparkling humor the show gave its audience for the 27 episodes it did get to air.

The show included elements of Wild, Wild West,and Blazing Saddles with a lot of Steam Punk thrown in for great measure. In what other Western could you ride into a town named Hard Rock and, of course, have the name of the Café be ________________?  Sorry, but you get no points for figuring this one out.

On what other show could you have the Sheriff of the town be a man with long sideburns who plays a guitar and swivels his hips when he sings?  The sheriff’s name: Aaron Viva. When Brisco asks the Sheriff where he was the day before, the sheriff answers in sing song, “Well I was going to a party at the county jail.” Later, when Brisco and Aaron are in the saloon talking, the bad guys shot at them from outside and Aaron again singsongs, “We’re caught in a trap, we can’t walk out.” And for a couple more:  When the Café is burned out leaving only the kitchen functioning, Brisco suggests that maybe they could use the window in the back of the kitchen to ride up on their horses to order and get their food.

On what I believe was a different episode, Brisco thanks a young man who has sold Brisco some donuts by saying, “Thank you, Dunkin.” Another time, Brisco was working, undercover, for a bad guy who nick name was Doc. One morning Brisco greets his boss with, “Enn, what’s up Doc?”

What about the steam punk, you are probably asking—I least I hope you are or this transition doesn’t work at all.  That generally came through the interaction with Professor Wickwire, who created a rocket-powered train, steel horses (motorcycles), and air vehicles. On one the last episodes, Wickwire transports Briscoe and his sometimes partner Lord Bowler on his air transport to try to get our heroes to Washington D.C. to see the President. Wickwire is elated that his new vehicle is wanted by the Germans, who are calling it a Zeplin. Wickwire explains that they want to put lead around it so it would be—and I’m sure you’re way ahead of me here—a Lead Zeplin.

Some have suggested that maybe the show was too sophisticated, maybe it was on the wrong network, maybe it didn’t get enough time to develop.  Whatever the reason, Briscoe was gone after one season. And with it, IMHO, went one of the truly original TV shows ever given to the TV-watching public.