"From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you...until now."
With these words, spoken by none other than Sean Connery and followed by a friggin' awesome Queen song, the Highlander saga began...and continued a lot longer than it probably should have, as one awful movie sequel after another followed in the wake of the original film. However, unlike the movies, I thought the spinoff Highlander television series was extremely well done for the most part - so well done that it's my favorite TV show of all time. (Or at least since I started college, watching reruns of it on the Sci-Fi Channel, back when it was called that.) And as you can tell from the title of this blog, it's also the subject of my 100th INCspotlight review!
It all began with Russell Mulcahey's 1986 cult classic film Highlander, starring Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown, Roxanne Hart, and Sean Connery. The story had been conceived by Gregory Widen during a trip to Scotland, inspired by the idea of a medieval knight still being alive today. Widen wrote - and sold - a screenplay based on this premise while he was still an undergraduate film student at UCLA. (In fact, he wrote it as a class assignment.) The end result was a visually striking, endearing fantasy about a mysterious race of Immortals of unknown origin. They're seemingly ordinary humans until their immortality is triggered by a premature death - in battle, an accident, that sort of thing. They don't age once they become Immortal, they heal from any injuries (except for stuff like missing limbs and injured vocal cords), and they can't have children. More importantly, the Immortals are fated to battle each other throughout history, able to be killed only via decapitation (hence all the sword fighting), although fighting on holy ground of any faith is forbidden. When one Immortal kills another, he or she gains the dead Immortal's strength, power, and essence, absorbing it in an explosive lightning-laden process known as a Quickening and becoming stronger as a result. The last Immortal standing wins The Prize, the power of all the Immortals who have ever lived. If an evil Immortal claims it, they'll have the power to dominate the world for eternity, and all will suffer. So the stakes are pretty high, and it's part of what gives the story a fantastical, epic scale. It's also naturally where the famous Highlander slogan comes from - "In the end, there can be only one."
Duncan, however, refused to do that. He made friends and allowed himself to fall deeply in love, even knowing that a painful farewell was the only possible outcome, one way or another. Also, because Duncan had a five and a half year series to himself, there was more room to explore how he'd changed over time, transforming himself from an illiterate sword for hire into a cultured gentleman, less battle-hungry and more of a thinker. Connor only had Ramirez and Nakano (played by Mako in Highlander III: The Final Dimension) for teachers, but the length of the series gave Duncan opportunities to seek out many other Immortals besides Connor to learn various skills from - Hamza el-Kahir, Mei Ling Shen, Graham Ashe, and future enemy Ottavio Consone, among others - even mortals such as Hideo Koto. We also got to see Duncan in the role of mentor, trying to train other Immortals in the rules of the Game the way he had been trained by Connor - with mixed success.
When I originally posted this on Channel Awesome, it was only in two parts. Now that I'm hosting it on my own site, I've decided to split it into three instead. So now that we've done with the preliminaries, it's time for the main event, which now commences in Part 2 of this review!