Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Fugitive genre of Television
The fugitive – man-on-the-run – lone wanderer genre of television has always fascinated me. The man with the dark, shattered past, the man wrongfully accused, and the man on a quest…the idea of having the freedom to escape the drudgery of one place and see the country, or the man-in-hiding are all familiar tropes I look out for when picking my favorite shows.
The man-on-the-run/man-in-hiding is willing to sacrifice materialism and creature comforts if he must. Or he's a billionaire with the funds to do absolutely anything. He has a gentle streak and heart of gold, even if it's not readily apparent or he holds back every emotion. He has the courage to battle evil because he will inevitably run into tons of lost souls that need his help.
Person of Interest – Men in hiding, both with shattered pasts – Finch is a Technology wizard and reclusive Billionaire, John Reese is a former CIA agent in hiding and presumed dead. They conquer all of New York City evils, often with excessive force and violence, thanks to an omnipotent Computer that Finch created, which eventually takes on a life of its own.
The fugitive is usually one of two types, world weary, embittered and chock-full of wisdom, or guileless and sweet-hearted with little concept and acknowledgement of race, ethnicity, status barriers and the over-all evils that men do…or so we think. The fugitive usually turns out to be very discerning, the one who understands human nature better than anyone.
Some of may favorite Fugitive type shows:
The Fugitive – Doctor-Pediatrician Richard Kimball on the run for his wife's murder and chasing after the real culprit – The one-armed man.
Vanishing Son – Musician-Karate master Jian Wa Chang tries to find the leader of a Vietnamese Mafia gang and eludes the agents accusing him of murdering two Feds and his own conflicted gang leader brother.
The man-on-the-run/man-in-hiding also possesses a credible background – He's a doctor, scientist, student, technology wizard, soldier, former monk, ex-lawman…and he has vital survival skills – He is a hunter, sharpshooter, fighter, swordsman, Martial Arts master…or maybe he can create an incendiary explosive out of a paperclip…these abilities keep him and the people he helps alive.
The Incredible Hulk – Doctor David Banner on the run from a nosy reporter and trying to find a cure for the radioactive rage inside.)
At times there may be something enchanting about him. While this quirk proves to be a burden or a curse for the man, we know it's the very thing that aids him on his journey and helps him to ultimately protect the innocent. He may have a problem with rage and anxiety and turns into a Hulking green creature. He might have supernatural ability – He's an alien, warlock, werewolf, vampire… I personally enjoy my men-on-the-run human (like Dr. Richard Kimble) but it certainly doesn't hurt if they have awesome kick-butt skills and some cool whimsy, like Vincent…
Beauty and the Beast – The hopelessly romantic Man-cat-in-hiding with a mysterious past and his one true love, Katherine. Technically, he's not on the run because he has a whole underground village of people that he helps govern.
Lucan – A young man raised by wolves and is forced into modern society. Based on the "Feral child" stories. Lucan is on a quest to find his parents and learn the truth about his identity. Along the way he helps people with his kindness and wisdom of nature. He has all the metabolic signs of a wolf, the strength and agility and senses, his eyes even turn red when he's angered or hunted. Awesome. Check out my Lucan The TV Series Fansite.
How about time travelers? They also fit the genre?
Quantum Leap – Genius Physicist Sam Beckett and his friend Al Callavicci are from the future of 1999. Sam, in a Time Machine he invented, leaps from life to life, taking the place of hapless ordinary people throughout his lifetime, and making right what once went wrong for them. Sam is a force for good, and spiritual elements may be at play when we meet the Evil leapers.
The Time Traveler might not be on the run, but he's all over the space-time continuum, he's more often out to right the world's injustices and put things in proper temporal order.
Voyagers! – Pirate Phineas Bogg and his young history Whiz partner, Jeffrey Jones, are constantly on missions from Voyagers Headquarters to give history a shove where it's needed. They use an elegant brass time-machine that resembles a pocket watch. This blog is based on this series! Check out Voyagers Guidebook!
Time Trax – Detective Darien Lambert and his hologram partner Selma (Often inside his "credit card") are stuck in the year 1993 and rounding up the bad fugitives who've escaped from the year 2193 thanks to wicked inventor Mordecai Sambi. You can read my Time Trax post here!
Below are 4 Fugitive shows a friend suggested that are worthy of a look. You may be able to find full series uploads on Youtube or streaming websites. Descriptions from IMDB and/or Wikipedia:
"Nowhere Man"- Bruce Greenwood stars as documentary photographer Thomas Veil who, in the course of one evening, seemingly has his whole existence erased, in the compelling one-hour drama Nowhere Man. It appears as if some mysterious and powerful entity has coerced Veil's family and friends into cooperating in a clandestine plan to annul every trace of him. Veil is all alone with no option but to begin a desperate, dangerous quest to find out how and why this has happened and most importantly, who is behind this torturous scheme.
"Then Came Bronson" - The series featured Michael Parks as the protagonist Jim Bronson, a newspaperman who becomes disillusioned after the suicide of his best friend Nick (Martin Sheen) and, after a heated argument with his editor, "working for the man."
In order to renew his soul, Bronson becomes a vagabond searching for the meaning of life and seeking the experiences life has to offer (as revealed in the series pilot). During his travels, he shares his values with the people he meets along the way and lends a helping hand when he can. Bronson rides a Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle and, as such, was viewed by some as a modern version of the solitary cowboy wandering the American west. The motorcycle had previously been sold by Bronson to his friend. After it is left at the suicide scene by his friend, Bronson buys it back from the widow.
Curiously, though the opening promises a journey of self-discovery, the premise of each episode is that Bronson enters someone else's life at a crucial point and acts as a catalyst for change. When Bronson encounters an Amish community, for example, a local boy becomes enraptured by the outside world and steals Bronson's motorcycle to run off to Reno, Nevada. In another episode, located in Reno, Nevada, Bronson meets his cousin Eve on her wedding day and lends her money for the wedding service, but she runs off to the casinos and blows it. Bronson is committed to pacifism and often redirects an antagonist's anger into self-examination. Always, like a true catalyst, he rolls out of every episode unchanged.
"The Immortal" (1970) - Test driver Ben Richards discovers his blood contains every immunity known to man--in effect making him immortal. When an elderly billionaire named Maitland learns of Richards' condition, he hires mercenary Fletcher to track Richards all over the country, capture him, and bring him back to Maitland's estate for periodic transfusions. The series details Richards' adventures with people he meets along the way, all the while fleeing from Fletcher and his goons.
"The Invaders" - David Vincent, an architect returning home after a hard, hard, day parks his car in an old ghost town in order to rest for a while before continuing on home. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, something wakes him: a strange object, nonhuman, that is landing in front of his eyes. From this moment he will be trying to persuade a skeptical world that the invasion of our planet is going on, that the nightmare has begun...A QM production which made 'The Fugitive.' The shows are very similar in ways! 'The Invaders' is now on DVD!
There are many other Fugitive series out there today, Streaming Media outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are creating new shows like crazy and adding classics. Check them out!