Brisco County, Jr. (character)

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Brisco County, Jr.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. character
An image of a cowboy, leaning with his arms on his right knee. A revolver pistol is holstered on his left hip.
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "High Treason Part II"
Created by Carlton Cuse & Jeffrey Boam
Portrayed by Bruce Campbell
Information
Aliases Roscoe Merriweather
Gender male
Occupation bounty hunter
Family Brisco County, Sr. (father, deceased)
Significant other(s) Dixie Cousins


Brisco County, Jr. is a fictional character played by Bruce Campbell in the American science fiction/western television series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., which aired for a single season on the Fox Network in 1993 and 1994.

Background[edit]

The character of Brisco County, Jr. exists in a fictional Old West of 1893. It is partly a traditional Hollywood depiction of the frontier, with settlers, gunfighters, outlaws, and cowboys. In the world of Brisco County, Jr., however, there is also steampunk technology, such as zeppelins and rockets, and Weird West elements, such as time travel and supernatural powers.[1][2] Robber barons direct the financial and industrial workings of this west from the boardrooms of the Westerfield Club in San Francisco, California. An outlaw named John Bly is disrupting the industrialist's businesses and they are desperate to capture Bly and his gang. Bly himself is intently searching for a supernatural object called The Orb, a bronze-colored device unearthed in a California mine.[3] It is into this setting that Brisco County, Jr., a Harvard-educated lawyer-turned-bounty hunter, enters the search for John Bly.

Arc[edit]

When the story of the television show begins, famous U.S. Marshall Brisco County, Senior has captured notorious outlaw John Bly and his gang. Bly and his gang manage to escape, murdering Brisco County, Sr. in the process. His son is Brisco County, Jr., who vows to avenge his father's death and bring John Bly to justice. Brisco is hired by the robber barons of the Westerfield Club to track and capture Bly and his gang. Brisco is assigned a liaison to the industrialists, a lawyer named Socrates Poole. Socrates relays financial support and information to Brisco, and the two men often work together. A rival bounty hunter, Lord Bowler, tries to beat Brisco to the Bly gang.[3] Although the two bounty hunters begin their relationship as archrivals, they often find themselves helping each other, and as the series develops, they become partners.

While tracking John Bly's second-in-command, Big Smith, Brisco stumbles on to the existence of the Orb, and the powers that it possesses. Brisco learns that one of the robber barons who hired him is also in league with John Bly to acquire the Orb.[3] Several times throughout the series, Brisco encounters the Orb. In one encounter, Bly mortally wounds Brisco with a gunshot, but Brisco uses the Orb's power to heal himself.[4] At another encounter, Brisco uses the Orb to travel through time and save the life of Bowler. When Brisco finally defeats Bly midway through the series, the Orb is recovered by a time traveler from the future.[5]

Throughout his travels and missions, Brisco frequently meets with Dixie Cousins, a saloon singer who was once romantically involved with two members of John Bly's gang. Brisco and Dixie begin a brief romantic encounter in the pilot episode, but subsequent episodes deepen their relationship. Dixie's life is endangered occasionally when her plans intersect with Brisco's missions, and Brisco often saves her from trouble. Later in the series, Brisco and Dixie fall in love, but their lifestyles continue to keep them apart.

Concept and creation[edit]

The character of Brisco County, Jr. was conceived by Boam and Cuse when they were approached by Fox to create a television show. Cuse had the idea to combine the science fiction and westerns genres. He invented the character of Brisco, who would be on a mission to track down the outlaws who murdered his father.[6] Brisco was originally conceived to be a womanizing character, with a different girl in every episode. The producers later decided to make him a "one-woman man", due to Kelly Rutherford's well-received performance as Dixie.[7] Cuse and Boam wanted Brisco to be a hero who could think his way out of tough situations, rather than resorting to violence. Brisco has a gun, but rarely uses it, and never to kill. Cuse said, "he'll shoot a sign and have it crash down on somebody's head. He just finds a clever way out of a jam."[8]

Reception[edit]

Writing in Variety, Todd Everett compared Brisco to Indiana Jones, saying that Brisco is also a "university-educated adventurer, only more skilled and less humble. Dashing in his own way but a bit bland, Campbell is no Harrison Ford." [9] Mark Schwed and Todd Holland praised The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. in TV Guide, calling Brisco "an Ivy League cowboy hero" who is "smart, hunky, and funny...a hero for the '90s - an old-fashioned Lone Ranger type with contemporary wit."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Klaw, Rick (2008). "The Steam-Driven Time Machine: A Pop Culture Survey". In Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. Steampunk. San Francisco, CA: Tachyon Publications. p. 352. 
  2. ^ Green, Paul (2009). "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.". Encyclopedia of weird westerns : supernatural and science fiction elements in novels, pulps, comics, films, television and games. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-7864-4390-1. 
  3. ^ a b c David Simkins (writer) & Bryan Spicer (director), "Pilot". The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Fox. Episode 1. Aired on August 27, 1993.
  4. ^ Carlton Cuse (writer) & Andy Tennant (director), "The Orb Scholar". The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Fox. Episode 3. Aired on September 3, 1993.
  5. ^ Carlton Cuse (writer) & Kim Manners (director), "Bye Bly". The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Fox. Episode 20. Aired on February 18, 1994.
  6. ^ Cuse, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series: "Pilot" commentary
  7. ^ King, Susan (1994-04-12). "She's Got Starlet Allure, '40s-Style : Acting: Kelly Rutherford looks to old movies for inspiration. And many compare the 'Brisco County Jr.' star to a combination of Dietrich, Bacall and Mae West.". The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times). "If "Brisco," whose ratings have been low, returns for a second season, Cuse would love Rutherford to be a regular on the series. Dixie, Cuse says, has changed dramatically since the pilot. "The original idea was to make Brisco more of a womanizer, where the guy has a different girl every episode. Maybe it was a pull of the times, in combination with Kelly's extraordinary talent, which led us to kind of change that. We decided to keep Brisco a one-woman man."" 
  8. ^ a b Schwed, Mark; Ty Holland (1994-04-02). "Save Our Shows!". TV Guide 42 (14): 20–21. 
  9. ^ Everett, Todd (1993-08-27). "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.". Variety: 4. 

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