Richard Dean Anderson as Ernest Pratt and Nicodemus Legend
John de Lancie as Janos Christoff Bartok
Mark Adair Rios as Huitzilopochtli Ramos
Jarrad Paul as Skeeter
Created by: Michael Piller and Bill Dial
Executive Producers: Bill Dial, Michael Piller
Executive Producers: Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Greenburg
Music by: Ken Harrison
A Gekko Film Corp production in association with
Bill & Mike Productions for Paramount
Broadcast on UPN Television
First telecast: April 18, 1995
Last telecast: August 22, 1995
Richard Dean Anderson takes on the role of executive producer, as well as starring in a dual role of sorts as a dime novel writer and the fictional character he has created. This is Richard's first post-MacGyver project from his own production company, Gekko Film Corp. It was shot on location in Mescal and Tucson, Arizona, from January to June, 1995.
Excerpt from the Legend press kit:
Richard Dean Anderson returns to series television in this lighthearted action-packed western adventure series set in the closing decades of the 19th century. Produced by T.L. Productions and Gekko Film Corp, and distributed by Paramount Network Television for UPN, Legend is the first series from executive producer Michael Piller since he co-created UPN's new hit series, Star Trek: Voyager.
Anderson stars as Ernest Pratt, a gambling, womanizing, hard-drinking writer who has created a dashing literary hero, Nicodemus Legend, the main character in a wildly imaginative series of dime novels set in the dangerous, untamed West. Pratt has created Legend in his own image, and all the novels are written in the first person. Because of this, many readers believe that Ernest Pratt is Nicodemus Legend. The irony is that while Pratt himself is something of a lost soul, he has created in Nicodemus Legend a romantic hero who embodies all the optimism and creative spirit of America in the 1870s.
In the premiere episode, Pratt learns that someone has been impersonating his literary creation, Nicodemus Legend. A warrant has been issued in Sheridan, Colorado for Legend's arrest on charges of malicious mischief, theft of water rights, and disturbing livestock. Noting that, "I am not, nor will I ever be, a man who disturbs livestock," Pratt travels to Sheridan to clear the name of his hero. In Sheridan, he meets the eccentric European scientist and inventor, Janos Bartok. Bartok is a great admirer of Pratt's clever Western tales, and has taken the liberty of "borrowing" the Legend persona in order to help the townspeople of Sheridan.
Pratt is cornered by the awkward situation and by Bartok's persistent efforts to convince him that he must take on Legend's identity. Bartok tells Pratt, "Your celebrity has the power to give our enemies pause. My science can increase that reputation. And together, we will create the real Legend." Pratt reluctantly agrees to assume the persona of his literary creation, Nicodemus Legend, and to live out the image he has created of an adventurous man dedicated to justice and science.
John de Lancie co-stars as the Hungarian scientist and creative genius, Janos Bartok. Also co-starring is newcomer Mark Adair Rios as Huitzilopochtli Ramos, Bartok's brilliant young associate scientist who is descended from Aztec kings. Bob Balaban portrays Harry Parver, the representative of Pratt's Eastern publishing company.
Later episodes of Legend feature many of the outlandish inventions which Bartok creates in his laboratory. Most of these inventions spring from Bartok's own visionary mind, a few are inspired by Pratt's novels, but they are all fascinating and many are well ahead of their time. The audience is treated to such creations as the first All-Terrain Vehicle, which Bartok has named the "Bartok Steam-Powered Town and Country Quadrovelocipede" (and which Pratt calls simply a "Land Rover"). Electro-fulminators (lightning bolt-transmitters) and a fully functioning pair of wings which enable Legend to reach normally inaccessible places are just a few of the wonderful and useful inventions of Bartok.
Michael Piller, Bill Dial, Richard Dean Anderson, and Michael Greenburg, the executive producers of Legend have combined experience in virtually all the television formats: half-hour comedies, one-hour detective stories, science fiction, and dramatic television movies. All this producing experience is invaluable on Legend, a show which combines action sequences with special effects, stunts, historic characters and setting, and high-tech optical effects, not to mention Richard Dean Anderson's previously untapped comedic talent.
Legend Episode Guide