Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Magnificent Seven: Complete Series (1998–2000)

It doesn't take place before or after the existing films. It's its own thing in terms of both tone and continuity. And the men are all new, with the exception being Chris Larabee (Michael Biehn), clearly a small screen version of Chris Adams, the leader of the Seven as first portrayed by Yul Brynner in the films; although the TV version of Chris is rightfully his own man, too, not just a carbon copy of the movie Chris.

With it being an ongoing series it made sense to localise the group, to give them a single town from which to operate, with the added benefit that it would provide a place that we as viewers can also form an attachment to. Although not always operating within the parameters of established law, the Seven nevertheless become the town's unofficial protectors. The unique skills that each man has is put to good use for its betterment; e.g. one is a healer, one an ex-preacher, etc.

Most of the time they get on well with each other, but because they have such different temperaments and goals in life there are occasional internal conflicts. It's a credit to the writers that the men all remain likeable even when they're clearly doing something morally wrong (mostly that means Ezra Standish). In truth, there wasn't a single one of them that earned permanent derision, perhaps because collectively they represent feelings or failings that most of us will have experienced or struggled with at some point in our life - they're relatable.

A number of recurring secondary characters play an important role, often as a voice of conscience or a lure of the heart, deepening and/or complicating the determination to defend and preserve the town. Yes, that sometimes means romance, but it's not always as straightforward as that statement might imply.

Season Two introduces Robert Vaughn as a Judge; Vaughn was one of the actors in the first Magnificent Seven (1960) film, but he played a different character.

Ironically, every once in a while the only reason the townspeople were placed in danger was because the bad guy(s) had gone there in order to confront or kill the Seven! But that's just life, right? Even good deeds have consequences.

22 episodes, approx 60 mins each (the Pilot is 90 mins).

4 holes in the clouds out of 5

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