We are living in a time of reboots, remakes and re-imaginings. It’s something that fans of film and TV entertainment have either been fighting to avoid or accepted with open arms. And, hey, sometimes these projects work. Did anyone need a “Hannibal” or “Bates Motel?” No, but Bryan Fuller and Carlton Cuse have proven such small-screen genre adaptations could bear some wonderful fruit.
Wednesday (June 22) is Bruce Campbell’s 58th birthday and looking back on his career, there’s one project that really stands out that we think deserves a redo: “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” To honor the man most have come to know as Ash, here’s three reasons why FOX should bring back this wacky western series.
It’s a genre mashup
In 1993, FOX was still a rather young television network and given the quirky vibe that came with its early programs — we’re looking at you, “Herman’s Head.” There was a certain danger that came with the network’s lineup. With every “Martin” there came an “X-Files.”
Yes, this was the year Mulder and Scully debuted on small screens everywhere and it seemed that FOX wanted more sci-fi to add to their roster. Enter Carlton Cuse and Jeffrey Boam. Their series idea was snatched up by the network and blended the old west and sci-fi in such a way that there was definite promise the program would go far. Or … not.
It lasted only one season and soon fell into the world of cult obscurity. Yet, with its humorous mix of characters — Lord Bowler (Julius Carry), Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson) and Dixie Cousins (Kelly Rutherford) — old west action and futuristic mystery, there is a lot of fertile ground that begs to still be covered.
We can all probably agree FOX has made some odd choices with their shows in recent years. Renew “Sleepy Hollow” but cancel “Almost Human?” Right … don’t even get us started on that “X-Files” sequel series. Yet, if “24” and “Prison Break” can be revisited, why not delve into the past a bit more and bring back a show that never fully lived up to its potential?
The power of the chin
Since 1993, Bruce Campbell has blossomed from obscurity into a multifaceted acting powerhouse. Yes, that’s right … “powerhouse.” After “Brisco County, Jr.” Campbell moved on to other small screen roles in genre hits like “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” And while he proceeded to continue working in both major and indie motion picture hits, it was his character work that truly helped him stand out.
The lasting power of “The Evil Dead” — the sequels, video games, that meh 2013 remake and now the Starz series — has helped maintain Campbell’s name in the world of genre entertainment. Yet, in 2007, he broke through with the role of Sam Axe in USA’s hit series “Burn Notice.” It looked like those decades of hard work finally paid off. Think of it this way, your grandmother probably now knows who Bruce Campbell is.
This brings us to the notion of a return to “Brisco.” We know Campbell is a busy man. Aside from reprising his role as Ashley J. Williams in “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” the man continues doing movie work while also keeping busy on the convention circuit. But there has to be something nostalgic about his first big TV role. Sure, he’s too old to play Brisco now, but if the opportunity presented itself, we’re positive the man would jump at the chance at a cameo.
You know the name. At the very least, you’re familiar with his work. After “Brisco” was nixed by FOX, Cuse went on to executive produce programs like “Nash Bridges,” “LOST,” “The Strain” and “Bates Motel.” If it’s one thing he’s proven over the past two decades, it’s that the majority of the shows he runs have staying power. Which is why it would be amazing to have him get another go at the sci-fi western series.
The television landscape has changed a lot since 1993 — yes, we know that’s an understatement — and with that change comes a maturity that could make a new and improved “Brisco County, Jr.” so much more appealing to TV audiences. One could simply rework a few things to update this series concept. Maybe ramp up the story stakes a bit? Every episode doesn’t need to have a happy ending. The members of the Bly Gang were never much of a threat. And, seriously, we never truly got down to the business behind that mystical Orb.
We know this whole thing is a big pipe dream on our part. Why would FOX bring a show back after 23 years? Then again, why would the network adapt a 43-year-old horror movie — cough, “The Exorcist,” cough — to series? Sometimes it’s nice to dream and, honestly, bringing back “Brisco” wouldn’t be that crazy of a notion, would it? FOX has made weirder decisions — we’re still looking at you, “Herman’s Head.”
There are so many possibilities that could make a return to “Brisco County, Jr.” an exciting one. Seriously, FOX … if Cuse is busy, throw Chris Miller and Phil Lord at the project. Those dudes are owning your Sunday night lineup and from what we’ve seen thus far, there’s really nothing they can’t do.
Even Campbell says “never say never” to a reboot.
“You never know. Never say never,” he said at the 2015 summer TCA press tour. “Old TV shows used to age like fish but not anymore. Now, they’ll open up that file drawer and they’ll pull anything out of the hat.”