It’s 12:51 pm
grey and snowy
One of the most interesting places for me to hunt for TV series is Disc Replay. While I don’t venture there very much,when I do,I always seem to find something obscure that I have never heard of. I don’t mean that I have heard of it and never watched an single episode but as in I have never heard of it nor read about it. When I stumble across something like that,it always makes me curious about the show and if the price is right,I will blind buy it.
This is how I came across “Bordertown” which was a Canadian Western series that aired for 3 seasons from 1988-1990.
The series is about a town which happens to be split in half,half the town is in Canada and half in the United States. This raises the question of who will police the town and the powers that be came up with a novel idea,an NWMP Mountie will handle the Canadian side and a US Marshal will handle the American side. The two will share a common building and jail and will support the other in case of serious trouble.
On the Canada side of Bordertown,the law will be upheld by Cpl Clive Bennett (John H. Brennan) who is a educated idealist and sees things with a much wider and progressive viewpoint. The American side is protected by US Marshal Jack Craddock (Richard Comar),a veteran of the Civil War and a former Texas Ranger. Jack is older then Clive and sees things in a much more black and white point of view. At the start of the series,the two men butt heads quite often and they even spilt the office they share right down the middle. Jack is more impulsive while Clive is the more logical of the two.
Both men were pretty good shots but Jack was the faster of the two while Bennett was a better hand to hand fighter.
While many episodes had them butting heads over jurisdiction,they always united for the bigger picture long enough to save the day before going their own ways again,many times arguing over the same issue they sharted the episode off with.
The one thing both Clive and Jack have in common is they are attracted to Marie Dumont (Sophie Barjac),a French widow who not only owns the town’s general store but is also the town’s doctor as well.
Each season had 26 episodes and ran for 30 minutes apiece and was aimed for family viewing. The first season featured a lot of the Bordertown residents in various episodes but after the first season,seeing the town’s other citizen’s became less of a element in the show and in my opinion,hurt it as well. The first two seasons were more gentle yet had its fair share of violence as various villains came through town on a weekly basis. The sparring between Cpl Bennett and Marshal Craddock was a constant in the first season but their relationship slowly evolved into mutual respect and while I wouldn’t say they were friends at the series’s end,they did like each other.
The arc between the Clive/Jack/Marie triangle ran through out the series but was never really resolved. The writers took care in writing the strengths of both men into triangle. Clive was younger and more educated while Jack was more seasoned and despite his stubborn nature,shows a willingness to change when needed. In fact the one other arc in “Bordertown” was showing Jack learning to read and write which was a nice touch.
The action was pretty good for a mere 30 minute show as Bennett and Craddock fought off ambushes,would be presidental assassins,various con men and would be bank robbers. My two favorite episodes featured Craddock and Bennett meeting the legandary lawman Bat Masterson in a pair of wild adventures. Teddy Roosevelt as a young man also paid a visit to Bordertown and portrayed him very accurately which was a nice touch.
I will say that the producers went darker in the third season as the show went heavy on the gunplay and violence,Clive lost a wife and we learn that Craddock was once married but his family was murdered in Texas when he runs into the man who was behind this tragic event. I can sort of understand the change,I am sure the producers did it for ratings. It wasn’t the first Western themed show to make a change as the family themed “Paradise” became “Guns Of Paradise” in order to draw in a bigger male audience. While the action is more brisk,it comes at the cost of character development because you can’t do both in a 30 minute show. Its also a shame the show ended before we saw who Marie picked IF she even did between Clive and Jack. Personally I saw Marie picking Clive but we’ll never know…..
The cast was Canadian so there weren’t big name stars who guest-starred in “Bordertown” but that was perfectly fine to me,it was more fun to see a true Canada only series. In fact this was my first time watching a show that was 100% Canada produced and I really liked it. Even though Canada is so close,its very rare to find any of their TV shows being released here in the United States even 30 years later after “Bordertown” was on the air. As I write this,I only have one season of a Canada made show yet I have tons of UK/BBC series,I wish there was a way we could change that but with the shrinking home release market,its highly doubtful we’ll see it here anytime soon.
“Bordertown” ran for three season for a total of 78 episodes. This series boxset contains no special features. You can find this series on the secondary market sites like Amazon and Ebay.
The cheetah and I both enjoyed this underrated and unsung series and give it a thumbs/paw straight up.
Have you ever watched “Bordertown”? Drop a comment below!!!