ORBzine - 1999.05 TV Review - "American Gothic"

ORBzine - American Gothic - May 1999

American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 1] Pilot
shown 18th April 1999 [Sunday]

We get to see Sheriff Lucas Buck again in this 1995-6 show . This show brings back memories, and it is great to see Nighthawk Gary Cole back in action. This reviewer cannot wait to see Babylon 5: Crusade , when it is eventually released in the UK. No doubt this will be delayed by the confusion caused by the series' early cancellation, however.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 2] A Tree Grows In Trinity
Shown 25th April 1999 [Sunday]

Caleb discovers Arnold Vosloo [ The Mummy ], tortured and imprisoned in a remote cabin.


American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 3] Eye Of The Beholder
Shown 2nd May 1999 [Sunday]

Lucas tries to get custody of Caleb at the court hearing.


American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 4] Damned If You Don't
Shown 16th May 1999 [Sunday]



American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 5] Dead To The World




American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 6] Potato Boy

The flashback continues in Trinity, South Carolina in 1996.

Lucas Buck is a complete bastard, as ever, and Selena Kyle's mental state deteriorates still further. The town's new priest, the replacement for Pat Hingle after Lucas killed him last week [hey, these eps were reviewed out of order], has a few problems of his own. Not only is he a heroin addict, he is the estranged father of Ms Kyle!


American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 7] Meet The Beetles
Shown 23rd May 1999 [Sunday]
Shown 3rd May 2001 [Thursday]

Trinity had a visit from Bruce Campbell. Yes, as a long-time Raimi stooge [they made their first film Evil Dead together] it was only a matter of time before he turned up. Ted Raimi also gets a cameo around Episode 18 - before he got cult stardom as Joxer.

Campbell is a State Police Lieutenant called in to investigate a mysterious death. Sheriff Lucas Buck is a suspect, along with Selena Coons ...

Merlyn decides to leave Caleb.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 8] Strong Arm Of The Law
Shown 30th May 1999 [Sunday]

Lucas Buck finds competition from some out-of-town extortionists just passing through. A gang of extortionists come to town and stay at the same Guest House as Caleb. As she promised in the previous episode, Merlyn doesn't come to his rescue - but he has powers of his own.

The real [anti-] hero of the episode is Lucas Buck. Yes, he IS the Law in Trinity. It is wonderful to see how he outsmarts the villains. They never have a chance.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 9] To Hell And Back
Shown 4th July 1999 [Sunday]

The title sequence is slow and brooding, but doesn't link the actors to their characters.

The main plot concerns Dr Nick. His contract is up for renewal, and since he is a recovering alcoholic and he still has issues about his wife's death, he might lose his job. Dr Nick's past comes out. In an attempt to drive the good Doctor out of town, Lucas Buck plagues him with visions of his deceased family. Lucas allows Nick the chance to go back and save his wife ...

The b-story subplot is basically identical to last week's; Caleb and his little pre-teen friends are suspicious of their neighbour. Wrongly, of course. The guest-star is W. Morgan Shepherd [ SeaQuest DSV ], a creepy old man who lives next door to Caleb. The kid and his friends think the old man is a serial killer, but Merlyn reappears and tells her brother not to judge by appearances.

The show's creator, Shaun Cassidy, is now listed as co-creator of Ice T's thriller show, Players.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 10] The Beast Within
Shown 11th July 1999 [Sunday]

This week Deputy Ben's brother comes to town - and unfortunately for the regular cast members he's a crazy Marine with a belly full of explosives and rigged to blow!

Sheriff Buck decides to let Ben be the hero for a change. As a result, things deteriorate rapidly ...

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 11] Rebirth
Shown 18th July 1999 [Sunday]
Shown 31st May 2001 [Thursday]

This features the new opening credits, with Gary Cole's voice-over. In this reviewer's opinion it is a vast improvement on the previous, slow-burning intro.

Merlyn discovers a way of returning to life. It's a nice change to see her as a human girl, rather than a 2-dimensional Angel. She gets a boyfriend, a helpful biker kid [Danny Masterson] who is harrassed by Lucas Buck.

We get flashes of Caleb's conception ... Lucas Buck explores Gail Emery's past.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 12] Ring Of Fire

Gail Emory discovers what happened to her parents. She always blamed Lucas Buck ...



American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 13] Resurrector

Sheriff Lucas Buck finds himself the victim of a clumsy blackmail attempt by the town's radio DJ.



American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 14] Inhumanitas
Shown 20th June 1999 [Sunday]

Caleb's undead sister Merlyn shows off her talents - and for a ghost she sure is sexy! Her task this week is to save the soul of the town Pastor [guest-star Pat Hingle, a familiar face to fans of Westerns everywhere], who sold confessional secrets to Lucas Buck in exchange for the safety of his church.

Guest-starring Pat Hingle as the town priest, Father Tilden.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 15] The Plague Sower
Shown 25th July 1999 [Sunday]

A mysterious plague strikes the town of Trinity, starting with Doctor Matt. Things look even better for Sheriff Buck when he gets to bed Gail Emery.

But things are not as they seem. The evil Sheriff is not the cause of the plague, the goody-goody ghost Merlyn Temple has decided to punish the wicked - and everyone else! Buck goes to Merlyn and asks her to set his people free ...

With Dr Matt in isolation ward, a new Doc gets called in from the CDC. Like Matt the new medic has an instant hatred for Buck, but is tough enough to stand up to the lawman. Also, Selena has taken a liking to the new guy!

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 16] Doctor Death Takes A Holiday
Shown 8th August 1999 [Sunday]

A stranger comes to town, gunning for Lucas Buck. Veronica Cartright [veteran of Alien, The Body Snatchers and Witches of Eastwick ] claims to be his mother, and says he is pure evil. On the other hand, she is dying of a brain tumour and nobody will believe her.

Meanwhile, as Dr Matt struggles to save Lucas' life, the sheriff plots to have his savior committed to an insane asylum.

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 17] Learning To Crawl
Shown 15th August 1999 [Sunday]

This starts with Caleb getting accidentally electrocuted, and he chooses to live rather than stay with Merly in the afterlife. As a special treat, Sheriff Buck decides to take his illegitimate son on a fishing trip.

Unfortunately for them, their cabin has been taken over by a gang of kidnappers, with their tobacco-baron hostage. The gang includes - wait for it - Ted Raimi [ Seaquest, Xena: Warrior Princess ! Yes, we all knew he would pop up sooner or later, as he does in EVERYTHING his brother Sam produces - this reviewer is only surprised it took so long!

Buck takes the opportunity to mentor Caleb, and the little sod ends up taking a step towards the Dark Side.

The writer? David Kemper, who went on to work on Farscape ! z

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 18] Echo Of Your Last Goodbye
Shown 5th September 1999 [Sunday]

This starts with Merlyn playing mind-games with Deputy Ben, to get him to investigate a house her mother had once owned. Helping him is Gail, straight out of bed with Lucas - and she looks goddamn great in her skimpies!

Meanwhile, Caleb is having trouble with the school bully. Because Merlyn is off messing with Ben's head the kid turns to Lucas Buck for advice instead. Yes, we get to see Caleb act evil!

American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 19] Triangle

Gail discovers she is pregnant!



American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 20] Strangler

Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, comes to town. Or rather, his ghost does - summoned by Lucas Buck to kill the other meddlesome ghost, Merlyn! Why Buck didn't just do this in the first episode is never explained. He's had worse provocations, after all.

Buck is out of town, on a Sheriffs' Conference. So when DeSalva goes on a rampage, including attacking Gail Emory [still pregnant by Buck!] only Deppity Ben can save the day!


American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 21] The Buck Stops Here




American Gothic American Gothic [Season 1, Episode 22] Requiem





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