Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: Legend

Probably not many people remember this short-lived series that ran in the spring and summer of 1995, but I watched every episode and thought it was excellent. LEGEND, like THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY, JR. (another favorite of mine) was a very appealing blend of Western action, science fiction, and humor. Novelist Ernest Pratt, played by Richard Dean Anderson (MacGYVER), was the author of a long series of dime novels featuring the gallant hero Nicodemus Legend. Suffering from writer's block, he teamed up with eccentric scientist Janos Bartok, played by John deLancie ("Q" from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) to have actual adventures in the Old West that might serve as the basis for future dime novels and get Pratt's New York publisher off his back.

As a set-up, it's maybe a little too busy and complicated, but it worked really well. Anderson and deLancie played off each other splendidly, the plots were imaginative, and the whole series had an added layer of humor about the writing business, with wisecracks about editors and the creative accounting of publishers that most viewers probably didn't fully appreciate. Most viewers probably didn't appreciate the series, period, because it only lasted for 12 episodes. But it was mighty good while it lasted, in my opinion.

LEGEND isn't available on DVD, as far as I know, but some of the episodes can be found on YouTube. On a side note, the series was co-created and several episodes were written by Bill Dial, a veteran TV writer who also worked on WKRP IN CINCINNATI. Dial played station engineer Bucky Dornster in a couple of episodes of that show and did a great job. I always like it when a writer gets to appear on-screen.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know it but THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY, JR. is available on DVD and we got the boxed set at Costco.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

This sounds pretty good, but I don't remember it at all. I wasn't watching much TV at that time, reading and playing with the computer most of the time.