"Bonanza in the Middle Ages"
June 6, 2014 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Before Game of Thrones (before Xena even), D&D geeks who wanted to see prime time TV shows with castles and swords and such were mostly out of luck. However, if one looks deep into the ranks of one-season-wonders, one will find the curious artifact from 1992 called Covington Cross.

Premiering on ABC on August 25th, 1992, Covington Cross told the story of widower Sir Thomas Grey, who does his best to care for his three sons and daughter. Of course, this is the Middle Ages, so he also has to deal with assassinations, suspected witches and the plague. For fans of this genre, the show had a big advantage in featuring both King Arthur and Guinevere in the starring roles. It also didn't hurt with the young demographic to have Lloyd Dobler's sweetheart on as the rebellious daughter. Alas, the show was cancelled after six episodes with another seven filmed but not aired.

01 - Pilot (Parts one, two, three and four)
02 - Armus Returns (Parts one, two and three)
03 - Outlaws (Parts one, two and three)
04 - Cedric Hits the Road (Parts one, two and three)
05 - The Hero (Parts one, two and three)
06 - Blinded Passions (Parts one, two and three)
07 - The Persecution (Parts one, two and three)
08 - Eviction (Parts one, two and three)
09 - The Trial (Parts one, two, and three)
10 - The Plague (Parts one, two and three)
11 - Revenge (Parts one, two and three)
12 - Celebration (Parts one, two and three)
13 - Brothers (Parts one, two and three)

Bonus: Period interviews with Glenn Quinn and Ione Skye.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (30 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
posted by leotrotsky at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I remember this show! It got my attention in the first ep when Sir Thomas (on exiting the room) said "I'll be in the solar," and the show didn't explain where that was.
posted by Mogur at 11:19 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm sort of surprised, given the current success of Game of Thrones and the book-based fantasy boom of the 70s and 80s that there wasn't more of this sort of TV made between then and now.

Will the movie version of Katherine Kurtz's Deryni books ever be filmed?
posted by larrybob at 11:19 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Huh, when I see any "Grey" names associated with Medieval(ish) England, I think Jane Grey and her family.

Has anybody seen the trailer for "Galavant"? It looks absolutely ridiculous and I think I might love it already.
posted by kmz at 11:23 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Things I wish I had heard of at the time! Sometimes I have a hard time with medieval shows, though. I started to watch the first episode of the recent BBC Robin Hood, and as much as I know the myth changes with every generation, the way the show went fairly explicitly into modern political concepts in the first 30 minutes really chapped my hide.

(I'm honestly not that much of a stickler for historicity for most period television and movies. I loved the Tudors for all that it was frequently wrong, even when half the fun was poking holes in the history. Same for Reign until it got to be about the Madness of King Henri.)
posted by immlass at 11:28 AM on June 6, 2014

Jonathan Firth! The blink-and-you'll-miss-him Lesser Firth! Me & my coven of friends were ALL about the Lesser Firth for about six months and then we moved on.
posted by kariebookish at 11:30 AM on June 6, 2014

I was kind of excited about this show and tried to watch it but I bailed. I don't quite remember why though. I think it's because the show was boring.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:32 AM on June 6, 2014

Oh, man, I was like 13 and I LOVED this show and it irritated my mother in just about every possible way. My first experience with UNDESERVED CANCELLATION. (Well, okay, it was probably deserved. I don't remember if it was good. I just remember people wore awesome medieval clothes and spoke "old timey.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:33 AM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Needed more Brian Blessed.
posted by Nelson at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

You have got to be kidding me! Back in the day (well, 1992) I loved this show and I have spent hours trying to dig up info or old copies. I finally found an only somewhat dodgy source and bought the whole thing on DVD. It's formatted incorrectly (which I fixed) and the ingest is not awesome, but, yeah, the memories. Turns out the Suck Fairy didn't get to this show.

Side note, this show made me hate Ross Perot. No Canadian channels carried this show so I was at the mercy of the cable company. Since it didn't do too well, it was an inexpensive slot for Mr. Perot to buy up for his infomercial campaign ads. The show was bumped around worst than Firefly. As a high school student, I took this as a personal slight from Ross Perot.
posted by flyingfox at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't forget the 1983 classic one-season wonder Wizards and Warriors!
posted by FatherDagon at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2014 [7 favorites]

Oh yeah! Another costume drama to put in my quiver. The GF thanks you in advance.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2014

Needed more Brian Blessed.

posted by srboisvert at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2014 [11 favorites]

Let us not forget Shaun Cassidy's Roar, starring Baby Heath Ledger! And Vera Farmiga!
posted by Iridic at 12:00 PM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another cool series is Crossbow (adventures of William Tell)
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2014

Oh, I had SUCH a love/hate relationship with this show! I'm a huge Nigel Terry fan, and I was excited to see anything about that period on TV, but they just, got, everything, so. terribly. wrong.

It wasn't enough that all their attitudes were anachronistic, but they would never admit that they were the weirdos. Sure, there may have been people in the 1200's who embraced all the touchy-feely live-your-dreams-and-be-who-you-are values of the 1990's, but I'm sure they didn't act like it wasn't unusual and anybody who questioned them was some kind of freak.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:27 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I guess nothing was ever going to live up to Robin of Sherwood, though.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:28 PM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Of all the post Hercules/Xena really mediocre fantasy shows, the one that I found the most bewildering was Dark Knight—which was an attempt to make Ivanhoe into swords-and-sorcery.
posted by themadthinker at 12:31 PM on June 6, 2014

Of all the post Hercules/Xena really mediocre fantasy shows

I read that at first glance as Xena being mediocre...and, well, there would have been words.
posted by maxwelton at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm also looking forward to Galavant, but then I've actually seen all the episodes of Cop Rock, so you can guess what kind of anti-bellwether for TV success my tastes are.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2014

I'm also looking forward to Galavant, but then I've actually seen all the episodes of Cop Rock, so you can guess what kind of anti-bellwether for TV success my tastes are.

I hadn't actually heard of that yet. After watching the trailer... wow. I'm not saying it won't work, but... wow.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:10 PM on June 6, 2014

[checks poster]

I was *wondering* how zarq posted twice in a day....
posted by Chrysostom at 2:02 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll just leave this here... When Things Were Rotten
posted by evilDoug at 2:36 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I tuned into this show when it aired because it had two of the leads from Excalibur—what a cast in that movie—but remember lasting about 15 minutes. Possibly because the show wasn't directed by John Boorman.
posted by stargell at 6:09 PM on June 6, 2014

i was sad when i heard they cancelled this show, then didn't think about it for another 20 years... i did a bit of research that suggested i had watched the whole series... but, it seems i have some catching up to do.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 7:16 PM on June 6, 2014

No, no, no. Legend of the Seeker FTW.


(sorry, my ipad is acting very, very strangely and disappears the whole comment whenever I try to create a link)
posted by Naberius at 7:36 PM on June 6, 2014


it's sososososoSO bad.

crop tops and spandex!

starring The Oak Chest in every scene!

a fantastic medieval feast of turkey, corn on the cob and potatoes!

Blargh! ICK! blech!
posted by miss patrish at 9:55 PM on June 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

The thing I remember about this show was the way they courageously took a social issue that was, for the most part, resolved in the 60's or early 70's, shoehorned it into the middle ages (whether it fit or not), and then proudly threw out their chest and came to the same conclusion that society did 10-20 years earlier.

The icing on the cake, for me, was that my nearest art museum had an exquisit ladies hunting crossbow from the high middle ages.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:03 PM on June 6, 2014

I loved this show so much! SO MUCH! I don't know if I would like it now, but I loved it then.

Gallavant ticks almost every box I have. Swordfights! Singing! Fantasy medievalism! Timothy Omundson! Timothy Omundson singing! The only thing it's missing is spaceships, and I'm holding out hope for that. (And for Lana Parilla to make a guest appearance.) It's like all of the things I'd hoped Once Upon a Time would be.

Also, man, Legend of the Seeker was fantastic. That show could cram an entire season's worth of plot into one episode. I didn't start watching until after it had been canceled, more fool me.
posted by rednikki at 12:05 PM on June 8, 2014

« Older Rooby-Rooby-Roo!   |   Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments