The ABCs of Bruce (x): C is for County
C stands County, as in Brisco County Jr., the role Bruce played in the 1994 series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., a seminal steampunk sci-fi western serial that aired on Fox.
Brisco, a Harvard-trained former lawyer and current bounty hunter, is drawn back to his home state of California when his father is murdered by the sinister John Bly and his gang of twelve. Vowing to track down each man and make him pay, Brisco travels far and wide in his pursuit of justice. He’s accompanied by Lord Bowler, his rival in bounty hunting and eventual partner, lovelorn milquetoast Socrates Poole, inventor and ladies’ man Professor Albert Wickwire, Dixie Cousins, Brisco’s on again/off again girlfriend, a chanteuse with revolutionary leanings, and Comet, Brisco’s intellectual and shiftless horse, who thinks he’s human and with whom Brisco holds many a two-sided conversation. Also involved in Brisco’s quest is The Orb, a spherical objects with metaphysical powers that may be involved in Bly’s quest to destroy Brisco…and all of humanity.
While mainly driven by the pursuit of fairness, Brisco is also fascinated with the “coming thing”, and the show gives us many a tongue in cheek ringside seat to the invention of lots of modern conveniences, including the drive-through window, the airplane, and the motorcycle.
While Brisco earned itself a cult following, its numbers weren’t strong enough against ABC’s TGIF lineup. In the end, Fox only had enough money to save one of its two freshman series: The X-Files or Brisco. They pricked the X-Files, which had slightly higher ratings, and the rest is history.
Brisco went on to a second life on TNT, where it aired for years on weekend mornings, and is considered a popular cult show to this day. As stated above, it was a seminal influence on the steampunk community.
Bruce has always characterised his experience working on Brisco as one of the toughest, and yet one of the best, working experiences he’s ever had, and often states that Brisco is among his top five favorite roles of all time.
Fun Fact: Carter Cruse, the show’s co-creator, stated during the writer’s roundtable available on the Complete Brisco County Jr. DVD set that if the show had gotten another season, Brisco and Dixie would have married and settled down in a small town, where Brisco would become a sheriff and to which the rest of the series regulars would move.