Five years after it ceased production, HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES remains like its Immortal characters something that will not die. Davis-Panzer Productions released full seasons of the six-year run Highlander in videotape years before this was the norm, through their direct-marketing official Highlander Store. In 2001, DPP's store brought forth an eight-disc boxed set of HIGHLANDER Season One on DVD, with extras including a brief interview with producer Bill Panzer for each episode, and featuring breathtakingly beautiful video transfers. Then Anchor Bay got involved and, for the first time, boxed sets of HIGHLANDER episodes became available in retail outlets.
DPP partner Peter Davis explains how that DPP/Anchor Bay association originally came about when Anchor Bay brought out a deluxe edition of the original 1986 HIGHLANDER feature film. "They came to us [DPP] and wanted to include us in the process relating to supplemental materials." DPP was happy with the results, which led to discussions in spring of 2002 about Anchor Bay releasing boxed seasons of HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES, bringing it into the retail market for the first time. With Anchor Bay behind it, Davis notes, "[HIGHLANDER] will be, if not the big gorilla in the cage, at least a gorilla in the cage." DPP will continue to offer its own boxed sets through direct marketing via the HIGHLANDER Store, with different packaging and bonus items like T-shirts.
Anchor Bay's Season [IMG3R]One is a nine-disc edition that features a blooper reel and interviews with Panzer, but with Season Two's eight-disc set, the supplemental material is substantially expanded, including introductions for each episode by producer Panzer and/or showrunner David Abramowitz and collections of alternate and unused takes (with uncredited commentary by HIGHLANDER staffer Gillian Horvath). Adrian Paul, who starred as the Immortal Duncan MacLeod, provides audio commentary on two episodes; viewers also have the option of watching Paul recording the commentary intercut with episode footage.
Paul, who is participating extensively in the supplemental materials for Seasons Two-Six, half-jokingly says he got involved because, "They made me an offer I couldn't refuse." He was given a choice in how to participate: "Don Paonessa [HIGHLANDER's post-production supervisor, who directed the supplemental interviews] said, 'You want to just pick a couple of episodes you want to talk about, or do you want us to give you questions?' I said, 'Give me questions, because questions are always fun,' because what ends up happening is, it refreshes my memory on something else that happened, and it goes into an entirely different direction. I like to just be free about it."
"We're very happy at this point for Adrian's participation," Davis says. Paul isn't the only participant in upcoming seasons, the producer adds: "We are spending the next three weeks shooting in Vancouver and shooting down here, doing a whole array of talent, both in front of and behind the screen."
Where does Paul think
There's another aspect of the HIGHLANDER Season Two Anchor Bay DVD release that one purchaser will find extremely fulfilling, Davis adds: "They have a chance to win a '64 fabulous T-Bird. There were two T-Birds that were used on the show. This is the second one, but this one has had $40,000 of money spent to bring it to its current condition, and it looks fabulous. And it drives fabulous."
The sweepstakes [IMG4R]are set to run through the end of December. However, those who don't win a car with their DVDs will still get their money's worth, Davis feels. "I don't think there's any product worldwide in the marketplace that can hold a candle to our packaging. We certainly believe in full supplementals, and as we go into Seasons Three, Four, Five, etcetera, they get better as we're going along."
Paul believes this is true of the actual episodes as well: "What intrigued me the most was the fact that I think the series got better as time went on. It's usually the other way around. Most of the time, by the time you get to Season Three on a series, stuff becomes repetitive and it becomes mundane for people to do, and I've worked on other shows where I've seen that. It happened with the actors, especially 'Okay, it's another paycheck.' Not on HIGHLANDER. At all. It was always creative and trying to do something interesting. I'd say at least seven times out of ten, I was really excited about trying something different on an episode. I don't think there's ever been another show that I've done or that's out there that you can really say that about."