Sword and Sorcery Television in 1983?  Wizards and Warriors

Sword and Sorcery Television in 1983? Wizards and Warriors

Before Xena and Hercules filled filled mid-90s television with humorous Sword and Sorcery, their was a TV show called “Wizards and Warriors”. Are you asking yourself, “Why have I never heard of this show?” Well that’s because it had a very short life. It premiered and was canceled in 1983 and although it developed a fanbase, it was never large enough to save the show.

The show was created by Dan Reo of “Blossom” fame for Warner Bros. and it had its full 8 1-hour episode run on CBS. Most of the 8 episodes were directed by Bill Bixby who, as always, did a great job.

Now I bet your next question is who was cast as the lead of this show? Your thinking a bodybuilder? Perhaps a Schwarzenegger or maybe even Marc Singer type ass-kicker? Not even close. Try Jeff Conaway of “Grease”, “Taxi” and “Celebrity Rehab” fame. He was joined by Walter Olkewicz, Duncan Regehr, Clive Revill, and the surprisingly well cast Julia Duffy. It’s hard to explain the show if you have never seen it, but I will give it a shot.

Conaway plays Erik Greystone who is engaged to princess Ariel. She is the daughter of the King Baaldorf and Queen Lattinia who rule the virtuous land of Southern Aperand. Erik and his pal, Marko, who is the strongest man in the kingdom are constantly foiling the plans of the neighboring kingdom’s Prince Dirk Blackpool and his wizard adviser Vector. Also from time to time Erik’s brother fun-loving/cowardly brother Justin shows up to screw things up.

When you ask people who have seen this show what they thought of it, you will get mixed reactions. The show IS silly. Sometimes people seem to slip out of character and the lack of a consistent accent in this fantasy work is distracting.

That being said. The show has moments of sophistication and quiet jokes that you really need to watch to appreciate. For example in the first episode, there is a great bottomless pit joke. It involves a tough castle guardian being thrown down said bottomless pit and we only hear the audio as he continues to plummet for what sounds like more than a minute. A few moments later we hear the guardian’s grunts. How did he live?

The special FX are passable for an 80s show. Laughably, they use stock footage from the film Excalibur for battle scenes and the sword work is a step or two up from basic stage fighting. The show was raw, but it showed potential. It really is a shame they didn’t give it a chance, “Wizards and Warriors” really could have been an earlier version of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”.

Cast List

  • Jeff Conaway – Prince Erik Greystone
  • Walter Olkewicz – Marko
  • Duncan Regehr – Prince Dirk Blackpool
  • Julia Duffy – Princess Ariel
  • Clive Revill – Wizard Vector
  • Thomas Hill – King Baaldorf
  • Ian Wolfe – Wizard Tranquil
  • Tim Dunigan – Geoffrey Blackpool
  • Jay Kerr – Justin Greystone
  • Julie Payne – Queen Lattinia
  • Randi Brooks – Witch Bethel

I really need to talk about my two favorite people on the show. New Jersey (yeah NJ!) born Walter Olkewicz is great as strongman Marko. He has an affable “good buddy” quality that is difficult to find on television. You might recognize him from his work on dozens of shows including Seinfeld, Twin Peaks and Night Court. His work on Seinfeld, where he played “The Cable Guy” is one the great moments of that show:

Great character actor – he is double-plus good. Another stand out on the show is Julia Duffy who plays the spoiled princess Ariel with remarkable aplomb. She brings a charisma to what could have been an unlikable character. Upon re-watching I found myself looking forward to her scenes. I can see why she was asked to revise a similar role on Newhart.

So you are interested and want to see the show for yourself? Well as far as I know the show is not in syndication. I had to order my full copy of the series off eBay, but I will keep my eyes open and will post if the show is ever released on DVD.

Enough of me babbling. Here is the show’s intro along with Opening Credits:

Need more? How about a gallery of “Wizards and Warrior” screenshots?

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Hobo1964

    Wizards, warriors… and ancient English knights?

  2. Stella Reinhard

    Did you get a copy from the studio, or someone’s videotape of the shows? How good is your copy and/or is it available from anyone?

    Thank you,

  3. The Retroist

    Not available commercially. My copy is from home VHS.

  4. DanaSuz

    OMG I remember this show, but couldn’t think of the name or specifics about it! THANK YOU for the info!!! It has been driving me crazy trying to remember enough about it to find it again! I loved it as a kid! I was just watching that new show “Merlin” and remembered this from forever ago! Before its time, I guess 🙂

  5. The Retroist

    Ahhh..I forgot Merlin was on. Must see if they are showing it online. I agree the show was before its time, but it may have had an influence on shows like Xena and Hercules over a decade later.

  6. The Sexy Armpit

    lol, I must’ve missed this when you posted it. Excellent post! I remember watching this when I was very young. Where the hell did the swords and sorcery genre go in this era? And naturally, I love the NJ mention.

  7. The Retroist

    Glad you like it. I always liked this post and a lot of people seemed to have missed back when I posted it 🙂

  8. Aman Chaudhary

    I thought I was the only one that remembered this! One scene that’s always stayed with me was Dirk and Vector had some kind of bet. And Dirk wanted Vector’s cap if he won. And Vector says: “I don’t wear a cap.” Hilarious!

  9. Dean Hilbert

    is this the same show where they did the, “Badgers?, we don’t need no stinking Badgers!” gag? it was on this kind of show back in the 80’s.

  10. Flytrap

    Actually, the badgers bit was from Blazing Saddles,.

    I too remember this show fondly. It wasn’t great, but it was very different from every other show on the air at the time.

    RIP, Prince Greystone

  11. criolle johnny

    WHAT?! Not on youtube?

  12. Keith Holm

    Oh man, I loved that show. My cousin and I would never miss it.
    I was so sad when they cancelled it. Thank you for bringing back such
    fond memories.

  13. Mike

    Actually “Blazing Saddles” was “Badges”
    “UHF” was “Badgers”

  14. Vile

    Oh, yeah, I remember this well – arrived on my TV shortly after I discovered Dungeons & Dragons!

  15. Joanna

    Does anyone know where I can buy Wizzards and Warriors from? I loved that show! I know my mom has a few on VHS but I would love to get the whole series!

  16. The entire series has been available on DVD for a couple of years now. I think I got mine on Amazon

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