Outlaws (TV Series 1986–1987) Poster

(1986–1987)

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Quirky Fun
Sargebri5 November 2003
This was one of those great shows that burned like a shooting star. I really enjoyed it especially for the fact that it combined three different genres; westerns, detective shows and science fiction. All the characters really stood out especially Charles Napier as the eccentric Wolf. Too bad this show didn't stay on long enough to catch on. This was a really good show.
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Only in The 1980s !
elshikh422 February 2009
OK, call me a freak, a devoted lover, a guy who lives the nostalgia powerfully, or call me all of that together. Simply, I have a theory that says something about the TV at an era named the 1980s. I'll cut to the chase, presenting my point of view with enough proofs that that era was childishly funny, innocently entertaining, and boldly imaginative more than any other era I know. Whether these works worked or not, just speculate on their ideas well and honestly:

An ex-cop battles the forces of evil with the help of supercar (Knight Rider - 1982). A 1930's Pacific islands bush pilot plunges into adventures (Tales of the Gold Monkey - 1982). A married couple co-run their own private-detective agency, the wife's superpowers are a tremendous asset in solving cases (Tucker's Witch - 1982). A man, who can change himself into any animal, fights crime (Manimal - 1983). Probationary angel sent back to Earth to help people (Highway to Heaven - 1984). A secret agent uses no guns, armed with only scouts' resourcefulness (MacGyver - 1985). Scientist finds himself trapped in time leaping into the body of a different person in a different time period each week (Quantum Leap - 1989). OH MY GOD, have you ever seen anything like that before?!

At such a time, you find real matchless experiences with no precedent at all, for instance (The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd - 1987) the first sitcom that, from its original conception, did not have an audience, and did not have a laugh track. Or (Cop Rock - 1990) the only cop series in history to have been based on a Broadway musical format. So why not to have a show that mixes: the western, time travel, and the detective stories in one form under the name of (Outlaws). Again that was made in 1986, and let's say 1986 only, because I didn't run into such crazy ideas much around any era except that adorable decade.

I believe the production companies' bosses were much adventurous back then, being a bit creative persons themselves, convinced in the methods of entertaining the viewer yet stylishly. So that what made their work a classic fun and fresh chimera hitherto, and without any comparing to nowadays' TV which the most of it stands aside and falls flat apart!

Surely the fancy premise is super. I'm already in love with the time travel theme, so how about a magnificent 6, from Texas 1899, who find themselves living in our modern life, solving crimes in their own unique ways. We saw detective agencies that was run by a private investigator young man (Spenser: For Hire - 1985), ex-marine and ex-lawyer brothers (Simon & Simon - 1981), ex-model and insane detective (Moonlighting - 1985), or 3 police academy graduate girls (Charlie's Angels - 1976), but never with a 6 stiff REAL cowboys from the 19th century before!

Yes, Rod Taylor, William Lucking, Patrick Houser, Charles Napier, Richard Roundtree, Christina Belford weren't my dream cast, but they harmonized well. True that it suffered from main vice whereas there were no explanations or whatsoever for lots of ironies concerning the time travel and other issues, but I surrendered to its different tone, having the biggest kick out of the idea itself; which's - despite some weakness - a dazzling one.

(Outlaws) is the kind of shows that you watch while the sky is gray-clouded, you're under your quilt, and the hot chocolate is right beside you. Ahh.. It's the 1980s ladies and gentlemen, where the ideas were too original, and the enjoyment was wild.
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Them varmints is plumb loco.
F Gwynplaine MacIntyre11 February 2005
The TV movie 'Outlaws' and its ensuing TV series are an interesting example of how a good idea for a one-off story can't always be sustained as an ongoing series.

The TV movie kicked off in the Old West, in 1886 ... actually rather late for the Old West, since most of the legendary desperadoes had died or retired by this point. Lawman John Grail is trying to arrest four tough hombres, not worried about the fact that he's outnumbered. Suddenly a weirdly glowing blue ring drops out of the sky and envelops the five men and their horses. Next thing they know, they've travelled into the future precisely one hundred years. (Which ought to tip off the audience that the time-hole is somebody's invention, not a fluke of nature.) None of these men have criminal records in the year 1986, so Grail -- with surprising ease -- convinces them to become crime-fighters.

As I say, an interesting idea for a one-off. Over the course of a weekly series, this idea became difficult to sustain. None of these men have Social Security numbers or other I.D. in the year 1986. How are they going to earn a living, much less find a place to stable their horses? What happens when they run out of bullets for their 19th-century firearms? It would be more plausible if all of them -- including honest Grail -- became criminals in the modern era, as they've got to eat, and they have no way to earn a living honestly.

In its brief run, 'Outlaws' managed to get considerable mileage out of the 'fish out of water' theme. Richard Roundtree was authoritative and plausible as 'Ice', the most cold-blooded of the bandits. Rod Taylor, alas, was more plausible when he was fighting Morlocks and Tippi Hedren. There was some extremely annoying dialogue, not least the steady anachronisms in the speechifying of these 19th-century varmints who sounded like they'd been raised in the late 20th century. There was also a *really* annoying mantra which the bandits implausibly recited, exactly the same way every time, whenever they began a new adventure.

I must disagree with a previous IMDb poster who said that the Outlaws never attempted to return to their own time. In one episode, an outlaw snatched a lightning-rod and rode his horse back and forth in a thunderstorm, goading the lightning to strike him ... and either kill him or return him to his own time. That was the single most believable scene in 'Outlaws'.

Annoyingly, we never do get any explanation for the time-hole, nor who sent it, nor why. It was clearly just a dramatic device to put these hombres into our modern age.
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7/10
Nobody else seen this?
Gislef12 August 1998
An enjoyable little romp, using the now well-established "flashback" mode (Highlander, Forever Knight) to explore the characters' pasts. The time travel element is never really explained or rationalized, and the group never really bothers to try getting back to their own time. Most of the plots milk the cowboys' unfamiliarity with the 1990's for all its worth, or contrasts their behavior with our own. Although it's more a matter of contrasting their "movie cowboy" attitudes with our own. Added realism was injected by the characters were always getting wounded and injured in their A-Team shootout-type antics.
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Yes, definitely a guilty pleasure
shelaghc27 September 2003
The plots weren't really all that great when you get right down to it.

What I really watched it for, for the few weeks it lasted, was the character interaction and the excellent actors who worked on the series.

I've always enjoyed Christine Belford since her days on "Banacek"; Rod Taylor, of course, has always been a joy (where is he lately?); William Lucking I liked from the time I saw him playing Babe Ruth in an episode of "Voyagers!" in the 80s; Charles Napier is one of those faces most recognize without knowing who he is (anyone remember him playing Adam in the episode The Way to Eden on Star Trek?); Richard Roundtree has remained one of my favorite actors over the years; and Patrick Houser managed to hold his own among all those illustrious performers.

Every so often I pull out my tapes and revisit this silly guilty pleasure just for fun.
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Love the series
dacetwin213 August 2001
I loved the series, however, short lived. I to this day can't figure out why people didn't watch it. I guess at the time people wasn't interested in westerns. I loved Patrick Houser. I wonder what he's doing now, haven't seen him in anything.
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"Outlaws" had a great soundtrack score
arthaupt11 April 2011
"Outlaws" was a very charming show while it lasted. It was the "A-Team" with Western attire and time-travel mixed in. Maybe the upcoming Summer 2011 movie "Cowboys & Aliens" will have the same Western-plus-SF charm.

Things I remember:

Rod Taylor talking ruefully about how everyone he ever knew (a century ago) was now dead and buried.

Also, the time the team rented horses at an urban-park riding stable so they could chase the fleeing bad guys: "Now don't run the horses," the stable manager admonished. "Yeah, right," our heroes replied before galloping off at top speed. (Because horses are for running. Every horse person knows that.)

But the thing I liked best in "Outlaws" was the music score by Joseph Conlan. It was an exceptional Western score, with many facets--rousing action, wistfulness, Americana. I always try to champion this score, and hope someday one of the soundtrack CD companies specializing in old scores will give it a chance.
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Every series I like gets canceled.
MarMitch17 June 2001
I lived in Houston, Texas and since this show was based in Houston, I decided to watch it. I enjoyed it therefore I knew it would be canceled. I though the writing and acting were excellent. I was sad when it wasn't renewed for a second season. Sadly since they only made 13 episodes it probably won't be rerun, unless there is a Western Cable Channel that I don't know about. If you do see it in your local listings, watch it. It's a hoot.
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A lot of fun and wrongly canceled
servofan15 July 1999
Yeah, I saw it. I remember it as being quirky and unusual. It's a slick joke including Rod Taylor in the cast of time travelers, and the Lieutenant was one tough hombre herself. I even recall one memorable scene when the cowboys just take their time and shoot down these guys with Uzis. The commentary suggested that you had to aim first before shooting. Very enjoyable.
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Great Show
LOUIZELLA13 April 2003
I loved this show and was very upset when they canceled it. Just the idea of bank robbers going into the future and becoming detectives was a challenge in itself. I thought the show was very original and it should have not been canceled. I did not have a VCR at the time, if anyone has taped these shows I would like copies if possible
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outlaws
mizpahjp2 August 2007
It started in 1899 when they came too 1986,not 1886.

"The TV movie 'Outlaws' and its ensuing TV series are an interesting example of how a good idea for a one-off story can't always be sustained as an ongoing series.

The TV movie kicked off in the Old West, in 1886 ... actually rather late for the Old West, since most of the legendary desperadoes had died or retired by this point. Lawman John Grail is trying to arrest four tough hombres, not worried about the fact that he's outnumbered. Suddenly a weirdly glowing blue ring drops out of the sky and envelops the five men and their horses. Next thing they know, they've travelled into the future precisely one hundred years. (Which ought to tip off the audience that the time-hole is somebody's invention, not a fluke of nature.) None of these men have criminal records in the year 1986, so Grail -- with surprising ease -- convinces them to become crime-fighters."
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Great fun
StellaK25 October 1998
This show was a guilty pleasure of mine. It was really stupid on the surface, but it was so campy it was hilarious. My only regret is I didn't tape all the episodes.
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