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The Highwayman (1988)

Episode Guide


"Highwayman" ....... Sam J. Jones
Jetto ..................... "Jacko" (Mark Jackson)
Tania Winthrop ...... Jane Badler
D.C. Montana ........ Tim Russ

AFAIK Tim was not in the pilot from 1987, but in the eps from 1988:

  1. Road Lord: 03/04/88: Highwayman's friend and colleague Steve gets killed. But is he really dead?
  2. The Hitchhiker: 03/11/88: Highwayman has to transport the body of an alien found near a UFO crash site
  3. 'Til Death Duel Us Part:03/18/88: Highwayman tries to prove Cody's innocence - by helping him escape from prison
  4. Summer Of 45: 04/01/88: Ms. Winthrop explores a temporal phenomenon - Highway to the rescue!
  5. Send In The Clones: 04/08/88: Highwayman gives "Mac" a ride - and attracts the attention of the military
  6. The Billionaire Body Club: 04/15/88: What do you do if you need organs but have no organ donors? Highwayman finds out the truth and saves a girl's life
  7. Frightmare: 04/22/88: Highwayman is taking care of an important witness against Mafia boss Manetti
  8. Warzone: 04/29/88: Jetto is tortured by memories - and seeks revenge
  9. Haunted Highway: 05/06/88: An engineer gets killed - supposedly by Indian tribes people, but Highwayman doesn't believe in the ritual killing
Tim Russ as D.C. Montana, opening credits of The Highwayman Tim Russ as D.C. Montana, opening credits of The Highwayman
More pictures from the "Highwayman"-series are here, here and here. You may also want to see what the truck that was used on the series looks like now. You can check it out at artworks-unlimited.com's web page

My review

Since the German cable TV station PRO7 repeated the series "The Highwayman" some time ago I was finally able to watch it from start to finish, albeit in German. Since I have never seen it in the original English I can't comment on the translation, which - knowing what German dubbing has done to other shows - may be for the better. Unfortunately though, the voice of the German actor speaking Jetto is quite grating which made it hard for me at first to care for the character. I don't think that's how it is supposed to be (but maybe they were trying to make him sound somewhat different to compensate for the untranslatable Australian accent).

Back to the series. After a pilot episode ("Terror On The Blacktop") which aired on 09/20/87,"The Highwayman" ran from 03/04/88 to 05/06/88 with a total of 9 regular episodes. It was an interesting concept, a combination of cop/agent/spy-show with SF-elements and some romance thrown into the mix as well. The protagonist (played by Sam J. Jones) is a US Marshall with special status. He doesn't wear his rank insignia and therefore isn't easily identifiable as who or what he is. The character's name is never revealed, everybody just calls him "Highway". This nickname is very aptly chosen, considering that he is spending most of his life on the highways in his specialized truck, hunting down criminals. That truck is really something: incredibly long with lots of built-in surprises like a detachable helicopter unit, a computer and some sort of video-telephone that allows him to contact his base and talk to the people there while seeing them on a little screen in his cockpit. I read somewhere that the original concept for the truck also had it equipped with a feature that could turn it invisible, but this was obviously abandoned.

Highway's friend and colleague Jetto (the actor is only credited as "Jacko", his full name is Mark Jackson, though) is Australian and can handle a boomerang just as well as his own high-tech truck (the two usually operate separately from two similar, but not identical trucks). Both guys are obviously "real men" - strong, brave, inventive, in one word: heroes. Highway is also the handsome one, who is obviously attracted to their boss Tania Winthrop (played by Jane Badler). That attraction seems to be mutual, especially since Highway - unlike Jetto, who is more the child of nature type of a person - is also able to wear a dinner jacket or a tux with class and doesn't look out of place in high society gatherings.

While the idea of a female boss is interesting, Tania Winthrop's character is not really served well. She usually hands out the jobs, furnishes some information (or withholds it) and sees to it that the trucks get repaired, refueled etc. on time. She hardly ever does something that would show her as a strong woman and in one instance ("Summer of 45") she even plays the part of the damsel in distress that the two guys have to rescue.

Number 4 of that team is computer specialist and technical wizard D.C. Montana (Tim). He seems to work at headquarters, not on the roads like the other two guys, but he is the one they turn to when they need something analyzed or when they could use some data on a specific problem. D.C., as they call him, is not only the brain of the team, he is also a very classy, elegant guy who definitely knows how to dress. While Tim?s part is rather small in the first few episodes it seemed to increase towards the end of the series, his strongest showing being "Warzone", the next to last episode. I am sure that he would have become more important, had the series continued and would eventually have had his own episode. But even so, he is prominent enough to be featured in the opening credits.

The truck with its many surprises may well be the real star of the show but it is not the only SF-element of the series. The mysteries Highway & Co. have to solve are all of a very unusual nature: a highly radioactive corps found after the explosion of an alien spacecraft, cloning, dead humans brought back to life as perfect android replica, a road that leads into the past - to quote just a few.

In theory this series should have been a success. It had a bit of everything: adventure, SF, mysteries, romance, heroes, beauty, powerful engines, intelligence, etc. But maybe this was also its major flaw: it tried to appeal to too many people. An SF-fan might have hated the contemporary setting, a person interested in life on the roads might not have liked the futuristic aspect, and the ladies might have felt there was not enough romance in it to keep them interested. So maybe by incorporating too many different elements the show could not find a target group and make a niche for itself on the market. This is sort of sad, because in my opinion there was a lot of potential that begged being explored.