To Be or Not to Be- The Methos Chronicles
Note: This was published in the PWFC newsletter Thrive!!!!
"Live, grow stronger, fight another day," -Methos
Whether there should be a spin-off of Highlander: The Series centered on the character of Methos has recently been a topic of hot debate among Highlander fans. Methos was the worlds oldest living immortal (cannot die unless another immortal takes his head, and with it, his power…) on Highlander: The Series- older than 5,000 years. That was when he took his first head- "it gets a bit fuzzy before that," (HL:TS). He has been many things in his lifetime- one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a doctor frient of Lord Byron (who, incidently, is also an immortal), a doctor to slaves before the Civil War… "lawyer, doctor, indian chief- what ever you need- I've got paper work to cover it," he says, (HL:TS). When Duncan, the main character of Highlander meets him, Methos is disguised as Adam Pierson, a mild- mannered Watcher (group of mortals; observe and record immortals; never interfere). Highlander has ended, though, and the question of whether or not Methos should get his own show has arisen.
Some enthusiastically support it, some vehemently oppose it, and some are just in the middle. Methos should get his own show. Even Methos knows that. When Peter Wingfield, the actor who portrays Methos, was asked in Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide what Methos would do if it came down to he and MacLeod, he responded with: "He would kill him. What are you, nuts? When it comes down to it, Methos wants his own show. We all know that. I am aware of it. I'm not sure I want to do the show, but Methos does. I am aware of how strong his desire for his own show is," (Russel 112).
I am aware of all that the opposition would say to prevent a Methos show. They may say that Highlander: The Raven, a spin-off focusing on Amanda, another recurring Highlander immortal, failed, another spin-off would likely do the same. I say the Raven didn't fail because it was a spin-off; it failed because it was on obscure late night time slots, and other reasons. None of which are that it is a spin-off.
One fan, "Mischief," said:
Don't get me wrong, I love the Methos character and I adore PW but it just wouldn't work.
Not from the stand point of production or cost or anything like that in RL. Methos is NOT
A hero. He's a survivor. And some of the things he has done to survive would repulse most
of us. he best part of Methos was the way he played off MacLeod ..."So lure him outside
and take his head. Problem solved." What we liked best about Methos was the stark relief
we saw in him as compared to MacLeod. Honor vs. Pragmatism. Moral vs. Amoral.
Methos can and will walk away from any situation that forces a moral dilemma. What kind
of drama is that? How long will such a man, standing alone, hold an audience? Methos, as
much as I love him, is best taken in small doses and as devil's advocate to someone else,
preferably MacLeod because Methos loved to shock him. I don't think we'd like Methos as
much if we saw him as he really is. JMHO. Author's note: JMHO= Just my humble
opinion. ("Mischief," "Re: Why Methos" 1)
A number of fans had a comeback for that one, but I think Peter himself expressed it best when he said
… that is Methos' strength as a character. He is full of possibilities. He is not nailed
down. The good guy is trapped by what we accept as good behavior. That is all that he
can do, and if he does anything else it has to be because he has had a bad Quickening, he's
on a bad trip, he's sick, he's not normal. (Russel 109)
The next argument is that a series of his own would eliminate the mystery surrounding Methos that makes him great.
The character of Methos is one of television's most memorable, says "Harmony." He gave
a depth to Highlander that was unparalleled. But the very reason he did so is because the
character was so ambiguous, so very mysterious…you were never completely sure of him
or his motives. If you created an entire show around him, you would have to somewhat
debunk the mystery surrounding him and that would destroy the very essence of what
makes Methos, Methos. ("Harmony" 1).
To this, I tell you to look only to one of Marvel Comics top books, "Wolverine." Virtually nothing is known about Wolverine. Every once-in-a-while, hints are dropped, but never anything big. Yet this series is one of Marvel's top sellers! Methos doesn't need to lose his mystery. With 5,000 years of history to peruse, the writers can choose to reveal as much, or as little as they want, and there will still be many unknown factors.
The final reason Methos should not have his own show is the difficulty in writing it. "…in the hands of anyone less than David Abramowitz, such a show could easily become a nightmare," "Mischief" says. "Methos requires delicate handling. Heroes are easy to write. Survivors are not," ("Mischief," Re: Maverick 1). This is true, it would be hard, but I still protest with a resounding "IT CAN BE DONE!" Abramowitz enjoyed writing Methos, "He's great fun to write," he comments (Russel 9). Abramowitz was the creative consultant for Highlander: The Series. If he wasn't American, his title would be head writer, but it's a French-Canadian production, so… In any case, I agree that Abramowitz did an excellent job writing for Methos; Let him be creative consultant again. I'd like to point out, however, that many Methos episodes weren't written by just Mr. Abramowitz. Don't insult David Tynan, Gillian Horvath, Donna Lettow, and the others (Executive script consultant, and Associate Creative Consultants, respectively).
The fans that are in the middle will accept a Methos and Joe show. Methos needs a strong character to play off of, they say. I agree. I would love to see Jim Byrnes involved. "He…needs another character with strong morals to really make sparks. The best thing about HL was the was the whole case worked together. It's been said here before; put Joe in there with Methos. Joe can draw him out and get the stories going," ("Arddunol" 1). Just because it's called "The Methos Chronicles" doesn't mean that Methos is the only character in it. After all, the Highlander himself is Duncan MacLeod, but, Joe, Richie, Methos, Amanda, et. al. played big parts in the show.
Is this show possible, though? All speculations are moot if there is no chance of it ever coming to fruition. I think it is. According to "Godiva," who went on the latest Highlander Clan Cruise said that producer Bill Panzer "said that another TV series will depend on if the movie can generate any interest among the money people." Godiva continues with her own comments.
My impression was that a Methos show was not our of the question. (After all, Bill
noticed the following both Methos and Peter have at Anaheim. Methos is in the movies…)
It would be a matter of if financial backing can be found for doing such a series and if
Peter is available and interested.
Peter once again stated his reluctance to do episodic television, but at the same time said
that the character of Methos fascinates him as he's different every week. And he said he
though a Methos and Joe show was possible as it could involve others and not just be
about them every week, ("Godiva" 2).
In closing, a new series focusing on the character of Methos, and starring Peter Wingfield and Jim Byrnes should be created. Some fans want it, some don't, but all would watch just to see if their predictions came true. I think it would be a success, but, you never know. It could only last a week before being cancelled. "Who wants to live forever, anyway?" (Queen.)
"Arddunol." "He still needs…" Online Posting. 10 Nov. 1999. The Highlander Forum. 10
"Godiva." "Cruise Nuise." Online Posting. 8 November 1999. The Highlander Forum. 9 Nov.
"Harmony." "This is going to make me SOOO unpopular around here….." Online Posting. 10
Nov. 1999. The Highlander Forum. 11 Nov. 1999.
Highlander: The Series. Pro. Bill Panzer, Peter Davis. David Abramowitz. With Adrian Paul,
Peter Wingfield. USA, NY. 199X.
"Mischief." "Re: Maverick." Online Posting. 10 Nov. 1999. The Highlander Forum. 11 Nov.
1999. < http://www.rysher.com/highlander/clanmacleod/forum.html>.
"Mischief." "Re: Why Methos SHOULDN"T get his own series." Online Posting. 10 Nov.
1999. The Highlander Forum. 10 Nov. 1999.
Russell, Maureen. Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide. New York: Warner Books,
Queen. "Who Wants To Live Forever?" Queen and David Richards, 1986.