Swords, sorcery, and silliness—now that’s television! For a young (or not so young) Dungeons & Dragons fan, TV didn’t get much better than Wizards and Warriors. You had warring kingdoms, evil wizards, dangerous dungeons, plenty of swordplay, comic relief, an invisible dragon, and no lack of buxom women. Of course it was too good to last…
Wizards and Warriors debuted at the height of fantasy role playing’s fad period, the time when worried parents were convinced that by casting those multi-sided dice, little Johnny was well on his way to becoming a devil worshipper. Wizards and Warriors sidestepped that kind of controversy by never taking itself too seriously. Sure, there were dangers and damsels aplenty, but there were also several topical jokes and lots of general goofiness.
The dueling stars of the show were Prince Erik Greystone and Prince Dirk Blackpool, each the up-and-coming heir in a rival kingdom. Erik was betrothed to the fetching Princess Ariel, daughter of King Baaldorf and Queen Lattinia of the fair land of Camarand. In fact, the land was so fair that Prince Blackpool wanted a piece of it (the big, all-encompassing piece, to be exact). Since good Prince Greystone would have none of that, the non-stop battling began.
At Erik’s side was his trusty (and beefy) manservant Marko, but Dirk brought the double-trouble threats of dark Wizard Vector—who, despite the loss (to Dirk) of his trusty monocle, was still a force to be reckoned with—and the saucy witch Bethel. Erik had a bit of magic help as well, courtesy of aging Wizard Traquill, but his broadsword, his princely smarts, and his blonde good looks took care of most scrapes. And to further balance out the two sides, each prince was saddled with a worthless brother—Erik’s playboy bro Justin and Dirk’s dumb frére Geoffrey.
The adventures ran the gamut from all-out war to the challenges of a booby-trapped cavern to a battle with the aforementioned invisible dragon (his flaming breath was visible, by the way), but it wasn’t enough to save the show from its fate. High production costs (you try getting an invisible dragon to perform on cue) and less-than-stellar ratings led to the show’s demise after only eight episodes, but those eight episodes have become a treasure trove of adventure and comedy for devoted fans. Wizards and Warriors still commands a mighty following today, proof that spells and spoofery are still worth their weight in gold pieces.
USA / CBS / 8×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 26 February – 14 May 1983
Jeff Conaway as Erik Greystone
Walter Olkewicz as Marko
Duncan Regehr as Dirk Blackpool
Randi Brooks as Bethel
Thomas Hill as King Edwin Baaldorf
Julia Duffy as Princess Ariel Baaldorf
Julie Payne as Queen Lattinia Baaldorf
Clive Revill as Vector
Ian Wolfe as Traquill
Jay Kerr as Justin Greystone
Tim Dunigan as Geoffrey Blackpool