When I get interested in something I tend to get a little, hmm, obsessive about that thing. Whether it’s a band or a cause or a TV show, or whatever, if I get attracted to that thing I will go all in—for a while. It’s been part of who I am for as long as I can remember.
In the mid-90s one of those things was the TV show Highlander. For those who don’t know what that is, it was a TV series based on the Highlander movies premise, with the cousin of Connor MacLeod, one Duncan MacLeod, also an Immortal, and Duncan’s adventures. I discovered the series halfway through the first season and was quite taken with it. It lasted six seasons and then went off the air. For a time I was really into it, as I get with things, and followed early blogs and joined the Peter Wingfield fan club before I moved on to other things. However, when I joined Facebook I added Highlander and the now online fan clubs to my Facebook “likes.”
Several months ago I started to see notices for a Highlander convention to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the premiere of the series. (25 years, seriously???). I decided to go. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d been out of fandom in general for a while but I had really enjoyed the series back in the day and it was in Los Angeles and well…why not?
The experience was more than I could have imagined. This was no Comic Con convention, it was relatively intimate and all the fans were there for one purpose—to celebrate Highlander. It was also a bit of a farewell. As you can well imagine, 25 years is a long time and the actors have gone on to other things. My personal favorite, the above-mentioned Peter Wingfield, has gone on to become a doctor. Others are acting teachers, writers, many things. But that weekend we were all there for the purpose of celebrating the series that had been Highlander.
I learned many things that weekend. I learned that the cast and crew alike saw Highlander as one of the pinnacle moments of their careers. As fans we were fortunate in that almost all of the original members on both sides of the camera, with a very few exceptions, came, so it was truly a celebration of the show in all ways possible. Many of the fans, including the people who pulled the convention together, had been there from the beginning and were as much a part of the experience as the others.
I learned something else too. These people, all of whom had known each other for decades, were not only good at what they did, but also interesting people too. All of them had families and loved ones which in many cases had stood the test of time. I saw marriages that had been stable for decades celebrated there and it reaffirmed my sometimes waning belief in the strength of long-term love that I, as a romance writer, always have to remember. One of the cast, Stan Kirsch, who at the time of the show was a young man, revealed onstage that he was going in for surgery the following Monday and the outpouring of support drove him (and many others) to tears.
I had gone to the convention unsure of why I was going. I came out of the convention with a renewed faith in the power of love, and the staying power of friendship. And, of course, the magic six years that was Highlander: The Series. Joe Dawson says at the close of the opening credits “there can be only one. May it be Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander.” In that weekend, we were all one.