Every once in a while, a show comes along that resonates with a core group of people. In this crazy world of TV ratings, demographics and core viewing groups, some shows although excellent, fall through the cracks because they don’t post the big ratings that the networks would like. Unfortunately for us, Brimstone was one of those shows.
The basic premise of Brimstone is this….Ezekiel Stone was a highly decorated New York police officer. His wife was raped and when the case went to trial, the rapist was let go due to a technicality. Several weeks later, Detective Stone tracked down his wife’s rapist and killed him in cold blood. Months later while on a routine drug bust, Detective Stone was shot and killed in the line of duty. Since he killed someone in cold blood, he was sent to Hell. The show starred Peter Horton as Ezekiel Stone and the brilliant John Glover as the Devil.
Fast forward 15 years and we find out that 113 souls have escaped from Hell and have gone back to Earth. Since Stone was a cop, the Devil makes a deal with him. Send back all 113 souls to Hell and you will get a second chance at life on Earth. I thought this was an excellent concept. The show was created by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, who now have the show Eleventh Hour on CBS. Like I said before, great concept, but it doesn’t mean the show will work with the general public. The show was to debut on a Tuesday night for FOX. Then president of the network had high hopes for the show and began promoting the show in the 9pm time slot. 2 weeks before the show was to air, he stepped down as President of FOX network to take another job and a replacement took over. This person did not like the dark nature of the show and wanted more programming that was upbeat and light, but decided to give the show a chance anyway. Brimstone was moved to the death time slot of 8pm on Friday nights, paired with another great show Millennium. Without any big promotion or support from FOX, the show aired its first thirteen episodes with decent numbers. FOX had ordered 6 more scripts of the show, but during post production on episode 14, FOX cancelled Brimstone. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper!
The final episode of Brimstone entitled Mourning After, aired on February 12, 1999. There was no announcement publicly that the show was cancelled, it just stopped airing. After a couple of months, I decided to go on the internet and find any information that I could about the fate of the show. Nothing was on the FOX website, although the Brimstone link was still there. While digging for information, I came across a save Brimstone website. There I found out that the show had indeed been cancelled and that I was not the only fan of the show. After weeks of talking with other people on the site, we decided to start the usual steps to try and save the show. Start writing to FOX, Warner Bros and other stations to see if we could save Brimstone. After 4 months with little head way, we gathered money from people who could contribute and placed and ad in Variety magazine, yes, Variety! It garnered our little campaign some national attention…so much so that the head of the SciFi channel wrote to the head of our campaign to state that they were interested in Brimstone. Almost a year later, the SciFi channel picked up the rights to air the original 13 episodes, which was great. We were actually seeing results due to our hard work. We later found out that Warner Bros. would not give the SciFi channel the rights to produce new episodes. So after 6 months of showing the original episodes, Brimstone was taken of the schedule. The campaign was obviously disappointed that the show stopped airing on SciFi, but was happy that we were able to get the show back on the air. I was proud to be part of that campaign.
In February of 2009, will be the 10 year anniversary of Brimstone being cancelled. Over the years I have tried to find copies of the 13 episodes with varying success. Most of the complete sets I found were on VHS and not in great quality. Recently I came across a great site that actually put a DVD set together of the show and I got my copy a couple of days ago. It is by far the best fan made set of the show and the picture quality is a solid A. I watched the episodes from the beginning and it made me remember why I was so into this show. You may be thinking to yourselves, why is this guy so wrapped up in a TV show. Hasn’t there been anything that you were passionate about? That you wanted to make sure that people knew about? Well, one of my passions is the show Brimstone. Excellent acting, writing and top-notch storytelling that just pulls you into the world of Ezekiel Stone from moment one. It gave you a mixture of humor, drama and fantasy all rolled into one. It made you ask questions about faith, religion and what is truly good and evil. If you haven’t seen the show, find it and watch it. If you have seen the show, watch it again.
Remember, nobody beats the Devil….or so I hear.