Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Conan the Adventurer


Right before I moved, almost three years ago now, Cliff had loaned me the DVD set of the TV series Conan the Adventurer. Conan was a hastily produced series, designed to capitalize on the popularity of Hercules and Xena. It barely made it for one year or 22 episodes. Anyway, I watched about half the episodes and then packed the boxed set away with my other DVDs when I moved and didn't find it again until several months later. I felt bad about keeping it for so long (not that Cliff minded) so I returned the set without having watched all the episodes, and I always figured that I'd pick up my own set, since as we know, I must have all things Conan related.
Sunday I traded in a couple of recent DVD releases at Movie Stop which allowed me to buy the Conan the Adventurer set for eleven bucks. About 50 cents an episode. Seemed like a deal to me. So I watched a couple of episodes and I remembered two things. One, that the series was truly awful. Bad special effects, worse acting, shaky sets, and writing that makes Herc and Xena look like Masterpiece theater. Two, that I really like the series. It's just so cheesy and goofy that I can't help but enjoy it on a 'so bad it's good' level. Everyone seems so earnest, as they try to stumble through the awful dialogue and the hackneyed plots.
In many ways, I think that Ralf Moeller, the guy who plays Conan is actually better in the role that Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know that's not saying much since Conan the Barbarian was one of Arnie's first films, but he was so amazingly stiff in that one and Moeller has much more personality. He even allows Conan to have a sense of humor.
Now much like the Conan movie, this series has very little to do with the actual Robert E. Howard Conan character. (Though the two part first episode did attempt a half hearted adaptation of Howard's 'The Tower of the Elephant'.) REH Purists should run the other way fast. But for an hour's entertainment, something to watch while you eat dinner, Conan isn't bad. The heroes always win and the women are pretty and there's nothing likely to upset or depress you. And it has some of the strangest guest casting I've ever seen. Mariette Hartley is in one show and Mickey Rooney shows up in the first episode. Yes, Andy Hardy meets Conan.

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