Goodbye, Duncan MacLeod
Even though the final season of the Highlander TV series failed to live up to its sensational Season Five run -- mostly because star Adrian Paul was absent from certain episodes -- this Season Six Eight-Disc DVD set offers its share of thrills and excitement. Paul gives us a more subdued Duncan MacLeod here, but he’s just as fascinating to watch, and the swordplay is awesome, as always.
Comments in the bonus features from a number of people involved in this popular series indicate how difficult it must have been to bring Highlander to an end. I sympathize with their feelings, for I became an avid Duncan MacLeod fan as a result of DVD viewings, and I admit it’s very hard for me to say goodbye to Adrian Paul as the legendary “Immortal” hero who’s battled Evil since the mid-1400s.
In a two-episode finale reminiscent of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, MacLeod finds out what the world be like without him. This experience shocks him out of his depressive guilt over the death of a close friend and serves as a bittersweet ending to the Highlander adventures. Paul projects considerable emotional depth in these last episodes -- which, of course, makes it even harder to see him go.
However, of the 13 episodes in Season Six, my favorite is not a serious one. Instead, I enjoyed most the parody of Agatha Christie mysteries in “Unusual Suspects,” co-starring Paul and Roger Daltrey. As their characters outdo each other in bungling several attempts to solve a series of murders, the two actors appear to be having a ball working together on a comedy -- and both performances benefit from their great rapport.
Unfortunately, not that successful are episodes serving as auditions for actresses in order to find someone strong enough for a spin-off series. But I’m not very objective about this -- taking camera time away from Adrian Paul seems almost sacrilegious to me.
In addition to interviews with actors, producers, editors, writers, set and costume designers, DVD bonus items include six enlightening featurettes: Swordmaster – A Retrospective with Bob Anderson; Backstage Documentary; Immortal Memories – Season Finale Retrospective; Four Hundred Years – The Journey of Duncan MacLeod; Favorite Quickenings; and La Carrera Panamericana (Adrian Paul’s auto racing experience). The DVD also contains Watcher Chronicles and a CD-Rom with biographies, production notes, shooting schedule and all 13 shooting scripts.
Impressive production values, creative storytelling and villains we love to hate add to the entertainment quality of Highlander: Season Six. Yes, indeed. I’m definitely going to miss Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod. Thankfully, I have Season Five and Season Six on DVD to help me remember him.
(Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment & Davis-Anderson Merchandising; not rated by MPAA. For more information, go to www.highlander-official.com.)