Hail the Immortal Hero
Paraphrasing the opening narration of each Highlander TV episode, “If there can be only one actor to play Duncan MacLeod, let it be Adrian Paul.” I'd like to thank the person or persons responsible for this casting decision. With his dashing good looks, dancer-trained moves, and flair for comedy as well as drama, Paul fits this role perfectly. Like Antonio Banderas, Paul is incredibly watchable no matter how far-fetched the situations faced by the character he plays.
I wish my review could be more objective, but this DVD collection of Highlander: The Series – Season Five is now my favorite guilty pleasure, mostly because of Paul’s performance as an Immortal born in Scotland over 400 years ago and still fighting evil. If you’re reading this, you probably already know these “Immortals” only die when another one chops off his/her head. Duncan MacLeod (Paul), one of the “good” Immortals, has taken many of the “bad” Immortals’ heads. Thankfully, none of the decapitations are shown in a gory manner.
Many people consider Season Five the most powerful Highlander season of them all, and I understand why. The villains include some of the most evil Immortals of them all (going back as far as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse); one main character meets a disastrous fate; and two shocking episodes are directed by Paul himself. The episode I enjoyed the most is Duende. MacLeod does a bit of flamenco dancing and engages in a swordfight with a real swordsman here. Muy bueno! A close second is Dramatic License. It’s such fun watching Paul use his comic talent to show MacLeod’s embarrassment at being depicted as a hero in a silly romance novel.
Eighteen action-packed Highlander episodes plus eleven hours of “extras” make up this nine-disc collector’s edition. Because I’m an incurable romantic, “The Romances of Duncan MacLeod” stands out for me among the many bonus features. It’s filled with short scenes of MacLeod’s many love affairs -- some funny, some steamy, some tragic. Also included among the bonus materials are interviews with actors, producers, editors, writers, set and costume designers. Comments about the surprising way Season Five ended are particularly intriguing. And there’s the usual blooper reel (watch for “The Slippery Horse” sequence). Rounding out the remaining materials are such items as a photo gallery, the Watcher Chronicles, Duels (another original featurette), audio commentaries, deleted scenes, alternate endings, original production design and a CD-ROM containing all 18 shooting scripts and series trivia.
(Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment and Davis-Anderson Merchandising Corp.; not rated by MPAA. For more information, go to www.highlander-official.com.)