24 October 1998 | crothman
Great series that died much too soon.
"Once A Hero" was a clever show about super-heroes and the line between fiction and reality. Captain Justice, an old-fashioned super-hero, comes into the real world, where things aren't as neat as in the comic strip universe he came from.
The show's sensibility is best summed by the fourth (unaired) episode, in which an actor who played Captain Justice on TV is upset because he is so identified with the role he can't move on to anything else. The character was to be played by Adam West.
The show was filled with clever touches like that. For instance, Captain Justice has to come up with a name for the real world, so he uses the last name "Kent." When the reporter shows skepticism, Gumshoe says "Lois Lane, you're not." When someone reports that Justice's arch enemy is going to blow up the dam, Justice is delighted -- he just bet the others that it would be the plan. And the third episode was one of the few times on TV when the hero gave up and told the villain he had won. The person who sends people to the real world is called "The Great and Powerful" and, when gets a bit too bombastic, is told, "Save it for the munchkins."
The show was extremely good and well written, but, most likely due to poor advance press, it was not picked up by all affilates, and the concept sounded unpromising (it certainly is hard to explain). After three weeks at the very bottom of the ratings, ABC pulled the plug. Ironically, the four hours broadcast made a nice mini-series.
But the show deserved much more.