Highlander: The Series was the 1992-1997 series that was inspired by the popular Highlander film franchise. It starred Adrian Paul as Duncan Macleod, the younger kinsman of the film's central character, Connor Macleod. Initially, there was uncertainty as to whether the film character would be recast or a new character created; even Adrian Paul wasn't certain who he would be playing for a time. But the decision was made to develop a whole new character for the series.
The central premise was a bit predictable at times; Duncan would encounter an old immortal enemy, or an immortal friend with someone after him, and the episode would end with Duncan battling his opponent and beheading them. Modern day scenes were interspersed with flashbacks from earlier periods in Duncan's life, usually his first encounter with the enemy of the week. The constant violence did draw criticism at times, and eventually, the networks required that a couple of episodes each season end without a beheading. Even these episodes, however, still usually featured a situation that Duncan could only escape because he was immortal, Unfortunately, these episodes tend to be the least popular of the whole series.
There were some unavoidable Continuity Snarls between the films and the series, though many things were retconned to fit in with the series canon. Still, the series managed to be appealing to fans of the film franchise, and it gained a cult following that still exists today.
The series was a French-Canadian co-production, which resulted in Duncan beginning each season in the fictional city of Seacouver, in the Pacific Northwest of North America, either the US or Canada. The name was actually Ascended Fanon, the city originally had no name and the Fan Nickname combining Seattle and Vancouver was eventually adopted. Midway through the season, something would prompt Duncan to travel to Paris, where he would spend the rest of the season. The exception to this was Season 6, which took place entirely in Paris.
Initially, the core cast was Duncan, played by Adrian Paul; Duncan's longtime lover, Tessa Noel, played by Alexandra Vandernoot; and Richie Ryan, a streetwise teen befriended by Duncan after he attempted to break into Mac's antique shop. But Vandernoot didn't like the long commutes for the Canada half of the season, and chose to leave the series after season 1, when her father became ill. However, she did return for a two part plot as a Tessa lookalike Magic Plastic Surgery gambit intended to take Duncan out.
The series' other two characters were introduced after Vandernoot's departure. Jim Byrnes played Joe Dawson, Duncan's friend and a member of the Watchers, a secret society dedicated to recording the lives of the immortals they studied. They were forbidden from contacting their subjects, but Joe and Duncan broke the rules and ultimately changed the group forever. Peter Wingfield played Methos, the 5,000 year old legendary immortal who was once "Death" of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and terrorized Bronze Age Europe. Another recurring character was Duncan's on and off lover Amanda Darieux, the 1,000yr old immortal Classy Cat Burglar whom Duncan once described as a 'bad habit'.
There was a large Internet Backdraft and fan backlash following the death of one of the characters at the end of season 5, and many fans choose to deny the sixth season even exists. It is agreed that the show suffered a big drop in episode quality in season 6, whose episodes were primarily an attempt to find a female character other than Amanda to use in a spinoff. Initially, the character of Alex Raven was to be used, leading to the spinoff being named Highlander the Raven, but it was ultimately decided to use Amanda anyway.
The character page can be found Here
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Obviously.
- The Ageless: A potential immortal has to die first in order to resurrect, and whatever age they were is the age they remain once they are immortal.
- An Axe to Grind: Caleb.
- Artistic License History: Like the film, the series got the location of the Macleod clan lands wrong, and also the chief living in the village with the clan. (unless Ian was an underchief, which is possible). Also the snowy Waterloo, an unavoidable weather issue during filming.
- Can't Live with Them Can't Live Without Them: Duncan and Amanda have a centuries-long off/on relationship, with her usually showing up when she needs his help to steal something, and him eventually helping her while trying to reform her. They genuinely care for each other, but neither is willing to change.
- The Caper: Amanda, frequently.
- Changeling: It was believed by his clan that Duncan was this.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Need a problem solver? Being harassed by lowlifes? Got an immortal psycho on your case? Want your fence painted? Just call Duncan Macleod!
- Classy Cat Burglar: Amanda.
- Cool Car: Duncan's T-Bird.
- The Character Died with Him: Werner Stocker as Darius.
- Crazy Prepared: Surviving for centuries in a world where nearly everyone like you wants to kill you tends to make one more than a little wary.
- Methos, especially. He probably plans an escape before he makes breakfast.
- Cultured Badass: Duncan. In spades! A lover of opera, a reader of poetry, a bit of a gourmand, a lover of fine art, a skilled dancer, a collector of fine antiques, and is qualified to teach history at the college level. He's also fought in Waterloo, the Spanish Civil War, World War II, is trained in who-knows-how-many martial arts, and has survived for 400 years by chopping the heads off of his enemies with a katana.
- Justified - he's had plenty of time to develop all of these skills.
- Deadpan Snarker: Methos has probably forgotten more about this trope than most people have learned. I guess living for five millenia has a tendency to make one a trifle cynical. He mellows a bit the more time he spends with Duncan.
- Decapitation Required: What did you think the swords were for? Slicing bread?
- Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Jim Byrnes as Joe Dawson.
- The Drifter: After a while people start to notice that you never get a new wrinkle or grey hair, and it's time to pick up stakes and find a new place in which to settle for a decade or so.
- Eternal Love: The DeLioncourts, for the most part.
- Fake Nationality: A half British-half Italian playing a Scot. (Although Britain and Scotland are in the same nation, most would say it's different.)
- Faking the Dead: When an Immortal can't pass for the age on their ID anymore, it's time to stage an accidental house fire, or just forge a death certificate, and pick a new name and city in which to live.
- Or a person might be killed and their killer will drop his guard, unaware that his victim is Immortal and will resurrect in a few minutes.
- Fan Service: Duncan frequently went shirtless, and was naked in a bathtub at least once.
- Face Heel Turn: Methos, during the 'reunion of the Horsemen' arc.
- The Fog of Ages: Methos.
- Genre Savvy: You don't survive for centuries being hunted by decapitating lunatics, some with a penchant for dramatic flare, without noticing some recurring themes.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: But lost limbs don't grow back.
- The Gump: Immortality, plus a severe case of Chronic Hero Syndrome, put Duncan in the middle of a lot of historic confrontations.
- Healing Factor: Immortals don't get sick, and recover from flesh wounds and broken bones in a matter of minutes. Lost limbs (and heads) not so much.
- Heel Face Turn: Methos, over the years.
- Heroes Prefer Swords
- Hot Chick with a Sword: Amanda.
- I Am X, Son of Y: Duncan's "I am Duncan Macleod of the Clan Macleod" is a variant of this.
- Immortality Begins At Twenty: Averted. Immortals remain the same age as when their first death occurred, which can be from childhood to middle age.
- Immortality Hurts: Quite a few times. Though Immortals recover from most injuries, any wound hurts just the same. There was an Immortal who got stranded on a desert island and repeatedly starved to death, one who got buried underwater, one was burned at the stake, one was hanged....
- Immortal Immaturity: Averted. While some characters are less stuffy than others, when the chips are down, they are all hard-nosed survivors. Even an immortal kid is a Manipulative Bastard, using his seeming innocence to make people drop their guard.
- Immortality Immorality: Amanda at times, and quite a few others.
- I Have No Son: Duncan's father.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Duncan's weapon of choice.
- Killed Off for Real: Charlie and Tessa and Richie.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Arguably Amanda some of the time.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Duncan and Amanda do this in the circus in one episode.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Duncan. Sometimes to a fault. His chivalry kept him from killing an Immortal woman even though she killed many other people and tried to kill him.
- Les Cops Sportif: During the French half.
- Life Drinker: Variant. Immortals don't need to suck the life out of people to stay alive, but if they behead another immortal they will absorb their knowledge and skill.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: For some.
- Living a Double Life: Methos, for a while.
- Master Swordsman: Many characters.
- My Grandson, Myself: Duncan.
- Never Recycle a Building: The characters always find a empty warehouse nearby when they need to fight. While this is usually plausible, there is at least one case when they manage to find one close to the Seine in the center of Paris, in an area where it would need TARDIS-like features to fit.
- Not Himself: Duncan, after the Dark Quickening.
- Off with His Head
- Police Are Useless
- Put on a Bus: Charlie. Turned into The Bus Came Back and then Bus Crash.
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Pretty much every immortal. Especially Kenny, though.
- Resurrective Immortality: Any normally fatal injury will cause an immortal to die and resurrect completely healed. Drowning, gunshot, hanging, burning, explosion, jump out a window: all minor inconveniences.
- Rise from Your Grave: Kanis.
- Samurai: One of Duncan's teachers was a samurai, Hedeo Koto, from whom Duncan received his katana.
- Seppuku: Hideo Koto in 'The Samurai'.
- Spider Sense: Immortals can sense when another Immortal is near.
- Sticky Fingers: Amanda.
- Sound-Only Death: To minimize the gore, we never saw anyone lose their head,only Duncan (or sometimes Methos or Amanda)swinging.
- Sword Fight: Once an Episode, practically.
- Sword Pointing
- Sword Sparks
- Waking Up At the Morgue: Richie once, and several other minor characters
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: For some of the characters, anyway. Not to be confused with one of the Queen songs from the film.
- Workout Fanservice: Duncan's routine involves him doing sweaty, extremely sexy kata.