ⓘ The Hitchhiker (TV series)

                                     

ⓘ The Hitchhiker (TV series)

The Hitchhiker is a mystery/horror anthology series that aired from 1983 to 1987 on HBO and First Choice in Canada. The series later moved to the USA Network from 1989 to 1991.

The series is known as Deadly Nightmares in the UK and as Le Voyageur in France.

                                     

1. Synopsis

Each episode is introduced and concluded by a mysterious wanderer known only as "The Hitchhiker," and explores the foibles of humanity and its dark spirit. The title character was played by Nicholas Campbell from 1983-1984 3 episodes, and Page Fletcher from 1984-1991 82 episodes. There were a total of 85 episodes over six seasons 39 first runs on HBO & 46 first runs on USA.

                                     

2. Production notes

The series was a United States/Canada/France co-production. It was filmed in Vancouver and Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Paris, France. The show was produced by Corazon Productions Season 1 for a total of three episodes, Quintina Productions Seasons 2-4 for a total of thirty-six episodes, and La Cinq, Atlantique & Quintina Productions Seasons 5-6 for a total of forty-seven episodes.

The Hitchhiker was created by Lewis Chesler and Riff Markowitz, later joined by Richard Rothstein. The pilot episode consisted of three stories. Richard Rothstein wrote two and Jeph Loeb and Matt Weissman wrote the third.

Michel Rubini created the theme music for the show.

                                     

3.1. Episodes Season 5: 1989

  • "Pawns" 1989-12-16
  • "The Verdict" 1989-11-04
  • "Renaissance" 1989-07-14
  • "Power Play" 1989-12-09
  • "Square Deal" 1989-08-11
  • "Code Liz" 1989-07-21
  • "My Enemy" 1989-11-25
  • "Hootch" 1989-09-16
  • "Shadow Puppets" 1989-07-08
  • "The Dying Generation" 1989-11-24
  • "Fashion Exchange" 1989-08-18
  • "Garter Belt" 1989-07-7
  • "Coach" 1989-09-30
  • "Striptease" 1989-11-17
  • "Her Finest Hour" 1989-07-22
  • "In Living Color" 1989-04-29
  • "Hit and Run" 1989-11-10
  • "Together Forever" 1989-07-28
  • "The Martyr" 1989-04-22
  • "Phantom Zone" 1989-08-04
  • "The Cruelest Cut" 1989-11-18
  • "Dark Wishes" 1989-07-01
  • "Studio 3X" 1989-11-11
  • "Spinning Wheel" 1989-08-05
  • "Part of Me" 1989-08-12
  • "The Miracle of Alice Ames" 1989-07-15


                                     

3.2. Episodes Season 6: 1990–91

  • "Made in Paris" 1991-01-25
  • "Tourist Trap" 1990-12-14
  • "White Slaves" 1990-12-07
  • "A Whole New You" 1991-02-01
  • "Tough Guys Dont Whine" 1990-09-28
  • "Secrets" 1991-02-15
  • "New Dawn" 1990-11-02
  • "Fading Away" 1990-09-21
  • "Riding the Nightmare" 1990-10-05
  • "Windows" 1990-11-23
  • "Toxic Shock" 1990-10-26
  • "Living a Lie" 1991-01-18
  • "New Blood" 1991-02-22
  • "Offspring" 1991-02-08
  • "Hard Rhyme" 1990-10-19
  • "Trust Me" 1990-11-16
  • "Strate Shooter" 1990-10-12
  • "A Function of Control" 1990-11-09
  • "Homecoming" 1991-01-11
  • "Working Girl" 1990-11-30
                                     

4. Cast

Like the much earlier Twilight Zone series, with which it had a lot of other commonalities, The Hitchhiker served as starting point for many actors, some of whom would go on to gain greater recognition elsewhere. Notable cast members in alphabetical order:

  • Rachel Blanchard: Karen ONeill in "Riding the Nightmare" 1990
  • Virginia Madsen: Christina in "Perfect Order" 1987
  • Michael Madsen: John Hampton in "The Man at the Window" 1985
  • Lorenzo Lamas: Tom Astor in "Trust Me" 1990
  • Tom Skerritt: Detective in "True Believer" 1985
  • Susan Blakely: Melody in "Remembering Melody" 1984
  • Carrie-Anne Moss: Lookalike in "My Enemy" 1989
  • Judy Landers: Frances Packard in "Split Decision" 1983
  • Zach Galligan: Dick Raskin in "Toxic Shock" 1990
  • Franco Nero: Dr. Peter Milne in "Murderous Feelings" 1985
  • Gene Simmons: Mr. Big in "O.D. Feelin" 1986
  • Joe Pantoliano: Brother Charles in "The Miracle of Alice Ames" 1988
  • Margot Kidder: Janie in "Nightshift" 1986
  • Alberta Watson: Jill Friedlander in "Remembering Melody" 1984
  • John Glover: Miles Duchet in "Striptease" 1989
  • Kirstie Alley: Angelica in "Out of the Night" 1985, Jane L. in "The Legendary Billy B." 1987
  • August Schellenberg: Bob Ames in "When Morning Comes" 1983
  • Gary Busey: Reverend Nolan Powers in "W.G.O.D." 1985
  • Belinda Montgomery: Carla Magnuson in "The Man at the Window" 1985
  • Shannon Tweed: Barbara in "Videodate" 1984, Dr. Rita de Roy in "Doctors Orders" 1987
  • Darren McGavin: Old Man in "Nightshift" 1986
  • Michael Des Barres: The Wise Man in "O.D. Feelin;" 1986
  • Claude Jade: Monique in "Windows" 1990
  • Bruce Greenwood: Jeff Boder in "Shattered Vows" 1983
  • Karen Black: Kay in "Hired Help" 1985
  • Fred Ward: Luther Redman in "Dead Heat" 1987
  • Bill Paxton: Trout in "Made for Each Other" 1987
  • Peter Coyote: Alex in "Last Scene" 1985
  • Christopher Collet: Jimmy in "Homebodies" 1987
  • Ornella Muti: Sister Teresa in "True Believer" 1987
  • Melissa Brennan: Denise in "Homebodies" 1987
  • Louise Fletcher: Mother Birch in "Offspring" 1991
  • Lauren Hutton: Tess ONeill in "Riding the Nightmare" 1987
  • Antony Hamilton: Jim Buckley in "Man of Her Dreams" 1986
  • Brad Dourif: Billy B. in "The Legendary Billy B." 1987
  • Timothy Bottoms: Peter in "Joker" 1987
  • Vincent Grass: Police Officer in "White Slaves", "Part of Me" and "The Miracle of Alice Ames" 1989
  • C. Thomas Howell: Gerald Brumner in "White Slaves" 1990
  • Audrey Landers: Priscilla Packard in "Split Decision" 1983
  • Olivier Rabourdin: Denis LeBreaux in "A Whole New You" 1991
  • Robert Vaughn: Dr. Christopher Hamilton in "Face to Face" 1984
  • Sandra Bernhard: Rat in "O.D. Feelin" 1986
  • Willem Dafoe: Jeffrey Hunt in "Ghostwriter" 1985
  • James Remar: Ron in "Homebodies" 1987
  • Michael Schoeffling: Lance in "Dead Mans Curve" 1986
  • Robert Carradine: Frank in "Garter Belt" 1989
  • Alan Thicke: Mickey Black in "Tough Guys Dont Whine" 1990
  • Kelly Lynch: Theresa/Melissa in "Joker" 1987
  • Geraldine Page: Lynette in "W.G.O.D." 1985
  • Bruce Weitz: Ray in "Hit and Run" 1989
  • Jerry Orbach: Cameron in "Cabin Fever" 1987
  • Alexandra Stewart: Jackie Winslow in "Shattered Vows" 1983
  • Erin Gray: Leslie in "Together Forever" 1989
  • Joe Dallesandro: Julien in "Fashion Exchange" 1988
  • Klaus Kinski: Kurt Hoffmann in "Love Sounds" 1985
  • Helen Hunt: Donette in "Why are You Here?" 1987
  • Elliott Gould: Augie Benson in "A Whole New You" 1990
  • Jill Hennessy: Marla Cross in "Striptease" 1989, Elisabeth in "Pawns" 1989
                                     

5. Syndication

In 1995, The Hitchhiker entered syndication and was re-edited to remove the violence and/or nudity/sexuality that were featured on the HBO runs. The first three episodes had some footage edited and/or re-shot to replace Nicholas Campbell with Page Fletcher, in order to preserve continuity during the syndication runs. The Hitchhiker was syndicated by Rysher Entertainment since absorbed by CBS Television Distribution up until 2000.



                                     

6. Home media

HBO Home Video released a 3 volume set on DVD between 2004–2006, featuring various episodes from the series. The 2-disc sets contain a selection of episodes, most from the HBO-produced episodes but also including some that were made for the USA Network.

In Canada, Koch Entertainment now known as Entertainment One released Canadian seasons 1 and 3 which correspond to US Seasons 1-3 and 5, respectively on DVD in 2004. Canadian Season 2 US Season 4 was not released due to an ownership/rights situation.

Alliance Home Entertainment released The Hitchhiker: The Complete Collection on DVD in Canada for the very first time on October 11, 2011. The release does not contain all episodes of the series as the title indicates, it only features 30 episodes from various seasons.