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The Bruce Campbell Sci-Fi Western Series You Probably Forgot Existed

While Bruce Campbell is one of the biggest B-movie stars out there, it took him a while to gain a foothold in the world of television. 

His most well-known TV gig, fittingly enough, was when he revisited his seminal role as Ashley "Ash" Williams of the "Evil Dead" trilogy of horror films in the Starz series "Ash vs Evil Dead" for three seasons, but that wasn't his first time on the small screen. The cult-favorite actor starred as hard-drinking lover boy Sam Axe in the long-lived USA Network Series "Burn Notice." This action-comedy ran from 2007 to 2013, and even spawned an Axe-centric TV movie called "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe." He also made guest appearances on various primetime TV shows, and fronted the series "Jack of All Trades," which aired in syndication during 2000 and assumed timeslots left behind by the conclusion of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" in 1999 (per Campbell's Twitter). The show lasted for only one season but was nominated for an Emmy Award its rousing theme song.

However, there's one other lesser-known Bruce Campbell primetime show that is worth revisiting, from his days before "Burn Notice" — and while for some it's a beloved cult classic, it's likely that many fans of the genre have forgotten about it.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. was an off-kilter cult darling

"The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." — in which Campbell starred as the titular character — combined western, humor, romance, action, adventure, drama and science fiction elements to make for quite the unusual program. The series aired on Fox for only a single season, from 1993 to 1994, but it has since been reappreciated as a cult classic which lived too brief of a shelf life, with Entertainment Weekly once calling it a "one season wonder."

The show takes place in 1893 and centers itself around non-practicing lawyer and full-time bounty hunter Brisco, the son of legendary U.S. Marshall Brisco County (F. Lee Ermey). Brisco Sr. is murdered by John Bly (Billy Drago) and his 12-man gang, all of whom Brisco Sr. had previously brought to justice. Vowing revenge, Brisco dedicates himself bringing Bly and his gang back in with the help of fellow lawyer Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson), attaché of the Westerfield Club, a team of powerful land barons which are financially supporting Brisco on his quest. Along for the ride is daffy ladies' man Professor Albert Wickwire (John Astin). Wickwire's inventions are among the many things which Brisco encounters that presage commonplace future objects. 

Also aiding Brisco on his quest are the mysterious orbs, whose properties include abetting time travel and healing the grievously wounded. Two of Brisco's enemies — fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler (Julius Carry) and independent chanteuse and former Bly gang moll Dixie Cousins (Kelly Rutherford) eventually become Brisco's best friend and girlfriend, respectively. Brisco is in a race against time to bring in the Bly gang before it's too late and Bly harnesses the power of the orbs, resulting in a catastrophe that will impact both present and future.

Brisco left behind quite a legacy

"The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." had to face down two different obstacles in its attempt to gain prime time success — a Friday 8 PM EST timeslot and ABC's TGIF juggernaut. Though the show was cancelled after a single season, it started to gain fame as a cult series when it went into reruns on the cable network TNT for multiple years. The show has managed to accrue quite a fan following since. "Brisco" often comes up when fans gather talk about one-season wonder shows that ought to be resurrected (such as when Esquire ran a TV reboot tournament featuring shows that only lasted for one season). The show's surviving cast reunited for a charity livestream reading of the show's pilot episode in 2020 (per Horror Geek Life). And to top it all off, the theme song has been used multiple times by NBC to underscore its Olympics and World Series coverage (via the Los Angeles Times).

If you missed out on "Brisco" during its network run, we have good news for you. The program recently joined Tubi's ad supported line up of free-to-watch movies and television shows. Now fans and those entirely new to the show or those who want to relive its glory days will get to see "the coming thing."