Highlander: The Raven

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Highlander: The Raven
Highlander raven titles.jpg
Genre Action/Adventure
Drama
Fantasy
Science fiction
Created by Davis-Panzer Productions
Directed by Dennis Berry
Starring Elizabeth Gracen
Paul Johansson
Patricia Gage
Theme music composer Axel Belohoubek
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 22 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Christian Charret
Peter S. Davis
Marla Ginsburg
William N. Panzer
Producer(s) Denis Leroy
Steve Wakefield
Location(s) Toronto, Ontario
Cinematography John Berrie
Arthur Cloquet
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Rysher Entertainment
Gaumont International Television
Atlantique Productions and Reteitala
CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network USA Network
Audio format Dolby Stereo
Original release September 26, 1998 (1998-09-26) – May 17, 1999 (1999-05-17)
Chronology
Preceded by Highlander: The Series

Highlander: The Raven was a short-lived spin-off from the television series Highlander, continuing the saga of a female Immortal. The series followed the character of Amanda (played by Elizabeth Gracen), an Immortal who had a recurring role in Highlander: The Series. The series was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Paris, France and was produced by Gaumont Télévision and Fireworks Media in association with Davis-Panzer Productions.

Premise[edit]

In the pilot, Immortal thief Amanda meets Nick Wolfe (Paul Johansson), a cop who is investigating a series of robberies. During the course of the investigation, Amanda is framed for murder by a crooked cop from Nick's department. Amanda's name is cleared, but not before Nick's partner Claudia Hoffman (Torri Higginson) sacrifices her own life to save Amanda's. Nick discovers Amanda's immortality when he sees Amanda die, then get up and run away.

Claudia's death has a profound effect on Amanda, and throughout the series (with help from Nick's own strong moral code), she attempts to change and become a good person. She discovers that she caused the deaths of a battalion of soldiers in World War I, which further influences this change. Amanda finds herself facing up to Immortals, even if she doesn't think she can beat them, when previously, she would have run away.

In the final episode, Nick inhales a deadly poison, and is told he has twenty-four hours to live. Amanda, trying to do the right thing, shoots him. When he awakens a few seconds later, he discovers that he too is Immortal. The reason behind shooting him was that his immortality could only be triggered by the shock of a violent death. Unfortunately for Amanda, Nick is none too happy about it. The series ends with Nick walking away, angry at Amanda for not telling him that he was Immortal (which she had known all along), and for making the decision for him.

Characters[edit]

  • Amanda (played by Elizabeth Gracen) – A 1,200-year-old Immortal, a thief and Duncan's lover on more than one occasion.
  • Nick Wolfe (played by Paul Johansson) – An ex-cop who befriended Amanda and together solved crimes.

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction to Highlander: The Raven has been mixed, more so than Highlander: The Series, which has received generally favorable reviews from critics. Rob Lineberger of DVD Verdict praised several episodes of the show ("War and Peace" in particular, for "recaptur[ing] the magic of classic Highlander through carefully staged flashbacks, compelling moral questions, Immortal ethics, and amazing stunt work") and said that "there is something singularly compelling about [the show], something that makes [the DVD set's] $40 street price worth considering," but said of the show overall: "The writing is below the common denominator, using clichés in the blandest ways, ... the chemistry between the two leads is rudimentary at best, with little to no character development, [and] the style of the show is somehow off, the music awkward, the direction formless."[1]

David Nusair of Reel Film said: "[While] Gracen and Johansson are effective in their roles, ... it's not terribly difficult to see why Highlander: The Raven never took off; the show essentially abandons the sort of elements that made the previous series and all the movies so successful, choosing instead to take a less conventional route. And while all these episodes are entertaining enough, fans hoping for another by-the-book Highlander spin-off will surely be disappointed."[2] Peter Schorn of IGN criticized the series for its "weak writing, lame action, and utter lack of chemistry between the stars." Schorn said that while the second half of the show "beg[an] to find its footing" by having a "greater sense of atmosphere" and "balanc[ing] the cast to preserve some semblance of Highlander continuity," the first half "features generic cop show convention exploited to exhaustive effect while the characters undergo rote personality arcs and character development better suited for Moonlighting knock-offs."[3]

Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk also felt that "the second half of the series is more interesting [than the first]," saying: "At first I did not find the show appealing at all. The problem was the show is not Highlander and it tried to move in too many different directions. For the most part it tended to be a cop show with immortals. ... Once the series was about halfway through, my opinion began to change. I found the show was getting more entertaining as it started to fall back to the traditional format of Highlander. By the end of the last episode, I felt cheated there was not more because the finale ends with a cliffhanger that would have been a great lead into a second season." Robinson concluded: "I enjoyed watching Highlander: The Raven, but not enough to recommend it."[4]

DVD release[edit]

Anchor Bay Entertainment has released the complete series on DVD in Region 1.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
The Complete Series 22 June 14, 2005
  • Brand new behind-the-scenes audio and video commentary from cast and crew, including Gracen and Johansson
  • Cast Bios
  • Trivia
  • Featurettes
  • Raven Chronicles
  • Blooper Reel

References[edit]

  1. ^ Highlander: The Raven DVD review, Rob Lineberger, DVD Verdict, August 3rd, 2005
  2. ^ Highlander: The Raven DVD review, David Nusair, Reel Film, July 18, 2005
  3. ^ Peter Schorn (July 5, 2005). "Highlander: The Raven DVD review". IGN. News Corporation. 
  4. ^ Highlander: The Raven DVD review, Jeffrey Robinson, DVD Talk, June 4, 2005

External links[edit]