Highlander: The Lesson
by Trevor Baxendale
rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'll confess - I've never been a huge Highlander
fan. I've seen the original movie (which I usually describe as "the best bad movie ever made"), and caught an episode or two of the TV series when it was first on. But that's it. So I'm probably not quite in the target audience for these audios, which, like all things from Big Finish, are very much by fans and for fans.
Still, I was curious. With their recent Stargate, Highlander, and Robin Hood audios, Big Finish are moving a bit out of their core comfort zone of cult 60s and 70s science fiction shows, and into somewhat more contemporary territory. And I figured that Highlander
was the easiest of these for a non-fan to approach: An immortal Scotsman wanders the earth fighting other immortals who want to cut his head off. How much continuity or backstory could you need to appreciate that?
And indeed, the basic story of "The Lesson" is easy to grasp: Duncan MacLeod encounters another immortal named Pieter Gatlan. They fight, and Pieter wins, but doesn't kill Duncan. They continue to meet and battle every 10 years until they finally come to their final contest.
There's a fair amount of Highlander universe continuity that is referred to: stuff about Watchers, The Quickening, The Gathering, and other nouns spoken in the portentous tones that herald initial capitalization. Some of it perplexed me, but none of it went on for very long or really got in the way of the story. (It did give me an interesting perspective on how incomprehensible fans of, say, Doctor Who
must be to outsiders when we're in the midst of a good neep about the show.)
Adrian Paul is a competent but not brilliant audio narrator - he delivers his dialogue well, but occasionally seems to stumble a bit over the ordinary narration. And his accent seems to vary a bit, which may be intentional, or may be just part of the apparent Highlander tradition of never hiring a Scotsman to play a Scotsman.
I won't say that this converted me to being a Highlander fan, but I'll probably dip into the range again when I'm next in the mood for this kind of story. I think real Highlander fans are in for a treat, though. View all my reviews.