Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Highlander The Raven - The Complete Series |
Actors: Elizabeth Gracen, Paul Johansson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
"She is a creature of legend?like the Raven, a thief who stole the sun and the moon. They sent a warrior to bring her back. He found her, and together they brought light back to the world. Sexy Amanda Derieux, teaming u... more »
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Rosanna M. from BELLEVILLE, IL
Reviewed on 5/3/2011...
If you happened to miss this series when it was on TV and you are a big Highlander fan, don't bother. I understand from some other people's reviews that the entire staff blamed each other for the show failing, but I think it was doomed from the start.
To better understand what went wrong with this show, we have to go back to the original series for a moment. By the time season 5 was in production of the original series, the crew had no idea if they would get renewed for a new season or not and when they did, season 6 ended up being a "short" season. The produces, who had turned a cult classic movie into hugely successful TV series wanted to keep the cash cow going, despite drooping ratings. So, in season 6 they started playing around with the idea of a spin off. They introduced the audience to several lead female immortals, some who had an affiliation with Duncan Macleod, some who did not (for these episodes, Adrian Paul didn't even appear). The idea was to ease fans into the idea of a spin off before it was even off the ground. But the produces did not expect the overwhelming fan support to give Amanda her own show if it was to be a female lead. So that's what the producers did, knowing that the fan base that already existed would watch.
But that's where they decidedly screwed the pooch. All cast and crew issues aside, the mythology aspect was already there, and we already knew some of the characters background from the original series. BUT, they totally changed the character of Amanda in a way that didn't work. She is still an immortal thief taking heads as part of "The Game". But in the series pilot, Amanda gets involved with cop Nick Wolf and his partner. The partner dies trying to "save" Amanda from being shot by the bad guy and this supposedly changes her and it makes her into a completely different character. Most of the things she does in the show are completely out of character and unbelievable, especially if you watched Amanda's episodes in the original series. It is like they took Amanda and gave her a lobotomy, and replaced it with Duncan's sense of chivalry and doing right. They took all the fun loving aspects out of the character that made it so great. She is no longer the fun loving, free wheeling, who gives a damn about anyone but me kind of person. In this series it's all about helping the little guy and saving people who have death threats against them.
Half way through the show they brought in Jim Byrnes, who plays the Watcher Joe Dawson, as a way (I thought) to relate back to the other series. If they had maybe had a few more "guest spots" by other characters we already knew, it might have worked out. The produces didn't do this however, because they wanted to see if the show could hold up on it's own without support from charcaters from the other series. This was (in my opinion) why it failed so miserably. One of the biggest action series around at the time was Hercules and Xena. Everyone knew that the shows related back to each other all the time, and the audience loved it! I think if they had a guest spot by Duncan/Adrian earlier in the series to deal with Amanda's change of conscience the series would have flowed better and made more sense. Also, they didn't include near as many back stories in Raven, all be it because of the tight budget, but that was also part of the appeal of the original. All in all this series is not a keeper.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Theresa Flynn | Virginia | 08/10/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Reality fans will love this one - except fans of the Highlander franchise tend to prefer fantasy over reality, so the final verdict is a tad mixed. Included on each of the eight discs is a ten minute segment of a featurette entitled "Highlander Confidential: The Unraveling of a Series". Unlike most commentary, where behind-the-scenes conflicts are downplayed or quietly ignored, these interviews are basically a sounding board for the creative forces behind this series to boldly complain about "what went wrong". Blame is abundant and, shotgun-like, hits everyone. The producers blame the actors, the directors and writers blame the producers, the actors, with well-performed hubris, blame themselves...and others. So much vitriol is spewed that it could leave a bitter taste for those who enjoyed the series. Among the reasons given for the series failure are Elizabeth Gracen's hair color, her "crazy" boyfriend at the time and the hugely unfortunate timing of the Clinton investigations. Only David Abramowitz (head writer, listed here as "Creative Consultant"), in my mind, seems to come close to the truth of the matter. He correctly states that "spin-offs rarely succeed". He is correct. I would go further and say that the original series with Adrian Paul had begun to decline in the fifth season and hit the skids in the sixth, so launching a spin-off was probably unwise to begin with. Given that this show was in syndication, the Panzer-Davis production team had to know that the declining ratings would result in poor timeslots (in my market, one had to search the post-midnight hours to find airings for it). Lastly, Buffy & Xena aside, going with a female lead in a franchise known for their beefy male "immortals" was a critical mistake that cost them a good chunk of the female audience (can anyone say "Lost opportunity with Peter Wingfield?") When all was said and done, the actual show wasn't bad. Much like the original series, there were some clunky inconsistencies, but overall they did what the fans enjoyed: Very beautiful people who live a long time making love, spouting philosophy and hacking off heads with pretty swords. An extra shout-out for the historical flashbacks, always done with great eye and skill, despite the teensy budget. For Panzer-Davis - take a Midol. For the very gorgeous Paul Johannson, congrats on "One Tree Hill" (oh, for a better vehicle). And to Elizabeth Gracen - take a cue from your character, Amanda, and get a backbone when it comes to men."
Unusual for a DVD set: too much information
Tony | Washington, DC | 08/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this set recently. The first thing on the Disc One menu isn't the first episode. It's a behind the scenes series of interviews, which are titled, "Highlander: The Raven The Unraveling of a Show".
When I watched the show during its orginial broadcast run in 1998, I thought it was a funny, action-oriented series with three or four well developed characters. When the show was cancelled at the end of its first season, I figured some network suit had decided that another "Friends" like sitcom or one more knockoff of the home-video shows that depict stupid human tricks would get higher ratings and/or cost less to make.
I didn't know how much Hollywood BS had gone on. How Elizabeth Gracen and Paul Johansson despised each other. How the creative team had had no idea where to take the show after the initial episodes. How the money dried up in mid-season.
I have watched the first five DVDs, and there has to be about an hour of the interviews I mentioned. I suppose a better title for these vignettes would be "Elizabeth Gracen and her enablers". She went well out of her way to give Johansson a hard way to go, even demanding of the show's brass that one script's ending be changed. This ending did not directly involve Amanda's character, but did involve Nick's.
Personally, I find the conversations on these discs surprising. What is depicted is pretty much How Not to Make a Succesful Show. "The Raven" suffered as a result, and something that could have been very good was cut short after 22 only episodes.
Incidentally, the episodes themselves are pretty good. Well written, and for the most part well acted. Lucy and Bert Myers are excellent supporting chracters in what is pretty much a cop show."
Highlander - The Raven! I liked the DVD.
Hathor | Cleveland, Ohio | 07/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of course I loved the series when it first aired so it's no surprised I loved the DVD too.
I really enjoy the lead character, Amanda! She is beautiful, elegant, dangerous, and more than a little eccentric!
I also liked the variation on the Highlander theme, of using an immortal female as the lead. And I thought she looked great during the sword fighting. ( I just wished there was a little more of that)
I enjoyed the whole romance thing they've added with Nick Wolf, a mortal man. But then I'm a sucker for romance.
I totally disagree with the above review that claims there was no chemistry between the leads. I felt and saw a connection on screen - which I guess means they were professional actors in spite of the fact they didn't get along off camera.
And lets remember extreme dislike creates heat too.
I thought the interviews were a total hoot! I absolutely loved them!
You listen with your jaw on the floor, you really do!
I couldn't believe how honest everyone was about how bad the atomsphere was on the set. I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like it!
The interveiws made this worth the purchase price for me!
But I loved the series and I really wish they could have had at least one season more...
There IS a big reveal in the last episode and I would have loved to see what a new season would bring to the characters Amanda and Nick.
But the actors would have killed each other if it had!"