Monday, May 25, 2015

Forgotten TV: The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage (1991)

The late author-producer Stephen J. Cannell got his start at Universal, helping develop The Rockford Files and Black Sheep Squadron (aka Baa Baa Black Sheep), among others, before launching his own studio in the 80's.

So what brought Cannell together with Disney? Your guess is as good as mine, but then-Disney honcho Michael Eisner thought he could work outside the box and team with Cannell to create a supernatural-driven action adventure series that had the usual Cannell hallmarks, including explosions and high tech gadgetry. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions, the two studios' lone venture, The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage, was a bomb, lasting just 2 months in the spring of 1991 for NBC.

The concept? A con man (Daniel Hugh-Kelly, ex-Hardcastle & McCormick) flees to the Caribbean to escape justice. There, he encounters the ghost of the pirate, Black Jack Savage (Stoney Jackson, "Streets of Fire"). The two join forces to take down a corrupt governor (Bert Rosario), and it goes from there. Disney tried to recapture the magic of the adventure shows they had back in the 50's & 60's (i.e. Zorro), with help from Cannell, but it didn't work. Keep an eye open for Roma Downey, a few years before Touched by an Angel made her a star, in the pilot.

Just one week later, there was a cast change. Jackson was gone, replaced by Steven Williams (21 Jump Street) with no explanation. Methinks that subtle, cosmetic change might have made all the difference in the world.

No rating.

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