Saturday, August 16, 2008


If you're lucky, you work on a project in your lifetime that outlasts you. As a young reader, I was moved to laughter and tears by Dorothy L. Sayers' descriptions of Lord Peter Wimsey's adventures. Feeling the catch in my gut as Harriet Vane gazed longingly at the curve of Wimsey's ear in "Gaudy Night," I was amazed at the realization that although the author was dead, and the character as well, had he been real, would have been long gone, the books could continue finding new readers to fall in love with him. He continued to exist on those pages.

When I became a writer, this was my highest goal: to create a character who would still be gaining admirers after I was gone. It is either my good fortune or my greatest obstacle that in my first staff job, before the age of 30, I was part of one of those rare shows that continues on in the imagination even when it's out of production. "Highlander: The Series" stands the test of time. It continues to find new viewers. As deeply proud and honored as I am to have been a part of the team that built those characters, it's also a hard act to follow. I could spend the rest of my life searching for another show as creatively fulfilling.

None of us left Highlander fully behind when it ended. Those of us who were part of it will always be a part if it, like alumni of a shared school. Or like Brothers in Arms. I left the staff in 1997, at the end of the 5th season, but remained a consultant on the ancillary merchandise for another few years. "Evening at Joe's," the compilation of short stories written by cast and crew that I spearheaded, was published in 2001 -- its very existence further proof of the staying power of the show. If you came to most crews and actors three years after a show had gone off the air, asking for stories set in that world, most of them would be hard-pressed to even remember it.

As recently as 2003 I was spending weeks reviewing videotapes and being interviewed for Highlander DVD extras. And at a Highlander Convention in October 2007, almost 10 years after we'd finished filming, the stories and characters were as fresh in our minds as ever.

Recently, Highlander's head writer David Abramowitz has been able to revisit our beloved characters, writing new scenes for the original cast. One of them was performed live at that Convention last October -- It was absolutely magical to have those characters we'd lived with for years come back to life once more. The actors transformed before our eyes from their casual panel-giving selves, into these characters that they owned, brilliantly recapturing their cadences and nuances. And of course, since they were written by the man who was the heart of the original, the lines were perfect, blending humor and heart.

Other brand new scenes have been filmed for a new DVD called "Reunion." You can see a clip at The bittersweet thing about new Highlander material is that it just makes me want more new Highlander material. "Reunion" isn't enough, but it's something.

My Time Machine moment: The beach house where this was filmed is also the corporate retreat where I had my first big story meeting after being promoted from Script Coordinator to Associate Creative Consultant on the show, at the beginning of Season Three. The episode "Samurai" was conceived that day.


Ginny said...

Thanks for posting the link, GH - duly added to my feed, and shared on Google Reader here.

GH said...

Google Reader is great, isn't it! It's like TiVo for Blogs -- just tell it your Season Passes, and it collects all the new episodes! It has saved me so much time.