Follow TV Tropes


Series / TekWar

Go To

TekWar began as an idea of William Shatner’s. He turned to Ron Goulart, who took this idea and ghost-wrote nine TekWar novels. While those books were being published, TekWar was developed for television by Stephen Roloff and four made-for-TV films were created as part of Universal's syndicated Action Pack. The first three films, TekWar, TekLords and TekLab were adaptations of the first three novels, while the fourth film, TekJustice, was an original story.

After those four films were made, the story continued as one eighteen episode television season on the USA Network. Sometimes the four films are regarded as Season 1, and the eighteen episodes are seen as Season 2. Other works related to TekWar include TekWorld, a comic book series, and William Shatner’s TekWar, a video game made by Capstone and released on the Build Engine.

The plot to the series is as follows: Police officer Jake Cardigan is framed for murder, and dealing in “Tek,” a highly addictive computer chip that alters the user’s perception of the world. Cardigan is sentenced to serve fifteen years in cryo-imprisonment. Four years into his sentence he is released by Walter Bascom (Shatner), head of Cosmos, a private security firm. He gives Cardigan the choice of either working for him, or going back to the freezer. Reluctantly, Cardigan agrees and begins his looking for one of Bascom’s missing scientists. One who was working on something that seems to have attracted the attention of the drug lords who make Tek.

Receives a FPS video game adaptation in 1995, titled William Shatner's TekWar (featuring cutscenes narrated by Shatner himself!).

The TekWar movies and TV series contain examples of the following tropes:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The year of 2045 features androids that look just like people, cyberspace, and "Tek," a narcotic in the form of a computer chip that interfaces with the user’s brain.
  • Aborted Arc: Cardigan is a Tek addict who struggles with relapse in both the first movie and couple of books. This is dropped later and never mentioned again.
  • Action Girl: Electra is a Super-Soldier in "Unknown Soldier" and tears up everyone she encounters.
  • Action Bomb: On two separate occasions, androids are used as suicide bombers to get close to their target and then explode.
  • Alternate History:
    • The House of Stewart wasn't overthrown in this universe and stayed in power until 2009. The head of that family, Prince Albert, is attempting to become elected so that he will lead England. His political rivals were a party called the Roundheads, who in Real Life fought against the English Monarchy in the 1600s.
    • Camelot and the Knights of King Arthur are apparently historically real, or at least, there is a sword that is believed to be Excalibur, discovered by a member of the House of Stewart who was an Adventurer Archaeologist.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Bascom is Cardigan's ally but he is a Manipulative Bastard who has a lot of shady connections. Ultimately, this is actually what allows him to be the Big Good of the setting.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Cassandra del Amo in "Deep Cover" has an intense relationship with Sam's cover identity, no interest in carrying on the family line, and even strokes Sam's hair lovingly at one point.
  • Archenemy: Sonny Hokori is this to Cardigan in the made-for-tv movies. Cardigan also has an antagonistic relationship with Lieutenant Winger.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: TekLab centers around a crooked prince of England who is allied with the TekLords. Prince Richard murders his father and attempts to run for Prime Minister. Which is not actually illegal because the monarchy has been dissolved.
  • Becoming the Mask: "Skin Deep" has a "Identity Double" hired by clients to impersonate them for various reasons. This character will use Surgical Impersonation to look like them, including their fingerprints and retinal patterns, and even has the client's memories put into her brain.
  • Big Good: Bascom is probably the only Honest Corporate Executive in the history of cyberpunk. Even then, the "honest" part is questionable.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In TekJustice, Cardigan is put on trial for murder, his lawyer, Eugene Leopold, is slightly too young to drive.
  • Courtroom Episode: TekJustice is about Cardigan being framed for murder, again. He thinks he's covering for his son but it was actually Sonny again.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: It's revealed in TekJustice that frozen criminals are brainwashed to have aversions to their previous crimes.
  • Broken Pedestal: Danny loves his adopted father until he finds out that he's working with Sonny Hokori.
  • Cargo Cult: In TekLab, the children of various Tek addicts have formed an underground society, where they pretend to be members of the Knights of the Round Table.
  • The Cartel: The TekLords are a Cosmopolitan Council of international criminals that control their part of the world's tech trade. They work together in a We ARE Struggling Together sort of way.
  • Cryo-Prison: Criminals are placed in cryo-prisons for their crimes. Cardigan was sentenced to 15 year in one of these, though thanks to the intervention of Walter Bascom, he only served four years.
  • Cyberspace: "Computer Jocks" jack into cyberspace to locate information, but risk being caught by the authorities and having their brains fried.
  • Cyberpunk: With the caveat that the protagonists are working for the megacorps rather than against them.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Jake Cardigan is framed as a Tek dealer and Cop Killer. He was neither. He did use Tek, however.
    • Detective Winger is a Mech cop and was reprogrammed by the Tech Lords. Even when he's fixed, he's still an asshole.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Tek and the fight against it is meant to stand in for the War on Drugs.
    • "Sellout" has Bascom do a "Just Say No" promotion called, "Take Tek and Die."
    • "Deadline" has undocumented androids as a major political issue. Populist politicians prey on racism to get them banned.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Tek is bad and it justifies Cosmos' efforts to shut it down, no matter what questionable tactics are used.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sonny Hokori has a sister he very much loves. Subverted, as he set her up to be murdered and turned into an AI that would guarantee him world domination.
  • Fantastic Drug: Tek is a computer chip connected to the user's brain that allows them to experience amazingly realistic fantasies drawn from their subconscious. It can also burn out your synapses.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Deadline" introduces a huge amount of racism against androids as well as attempts to get them banned.
  • Functional Addict: According to the books, Tek addiction never goes away, so Cardigan is functioning without it through sheer willpower. He almost relapses several times in the books, but it is a Aborted Arc in the show.
  • Hologram: TekLord Sonny Hokori uses a hologram to speak with Cardigan. During the conversation the hologram keeps disappearing and reappearing all over the area to taunt Cardigan. Cardigan then chases the hologram up a series of staircases and a ladder.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: How Tek functions. It's a microchip that induces hallucinations of your deepest darkest fantasies. It also makes your brain addicted to the high.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: When a doctor’s life is in jeopardy she undergoes a process to totally change her appearance. She mentions getting completely new skin and worries that sunlight might damage it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Janus is apparently Sonny Hokori's boss despite the latter being portrayed as the most powerful of all TekLords.
  • Megacorp: Cosmos is capable of freeing a Cop Killer from prison and putting him back. It also has no end of scientists, resources, and political allies.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The TekLords are completely useless when they have to work together. Sonny is the only one who ever seems to get anything done and even he ends up suffering defeat after defeat. Played with as they're still vastly wealthy and influential drug kingpins. So they must be doing something right.
  • Police Brutality: "Tek Posse" is an episode about a government task force that uses torture and violates civil rights to fight crime, only to become worse than what they oppose or at least a threat to public safety.
  • Police Are Useless: Cosmos is pretty much the only organization with any effectiveness against the TekLords due to the police being a combination of corrupt and incompetent. Even after Cardigan is acquitted, they're more interested in busting him than doing their job.
  • Private Military Contractors: Cosmos is a security company that has billion dollar contracts.
  • Race Lift: Sid Gomez is Latin American in the books, but African American in the movies and series.
  • Rebel Leader: Warbride leads a guerrilla faction dedicated to stoping the industrialization of nature. She also has a history with Cardigan.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Janus is introduced as an all-powerful TekLord that even Sonny answered to.
  • Revolving Door Casting: Most of the main characters from the four movies were carried over to the TV series, but then, almost all of them were either written out of the show or simply stopped appearing before the TV season was half-way finished. Beth Kittridge was Put on a Bus and Sid Gomez was Killed Off for Real. Walter Bascom was also absent for much of the series, only appearing in the first handful of episodes, then not appearing onscreen again until the the final two episodes. Danny Cardigan appeared in a handful of episodes, but was played by a different actor than the one who portrayed him in the movies. The only characters from the four movies to appear regularly through the series were central character Jake Cardigan and supporting cast member Lieutenant Winger.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Androids that look and act just like humans are commonplace in this setting. They are often referred to as "Mechs," though they don’t like that term.
  • Robot Athlete: A robot hockey player is used to try and kill Cardigan at one point.
  • Robot Me: During his investigation, Cardigan meets a Beth Kittridge who is an android duplicate of the original, with all her memories.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Beth Kittridge's android duplicate prevents Jake from being killed by an android suicide bomber made to look like his son by using herself as a human shield. This despite the fact she could have just told him it was a trap.
  • The Series: The series lasted a single season after four made-for-TV movies.
  • Shapeshifting: "Morph Masks" exist, which look like executioner's hoods until they are activated and allow the wearer to look like anyone they wish. Notably, this only covers the person's head.
  • Take Over the World: Sonny Hokori, not content to being a drug billionaire, has ambitions to do this in TekLords by essentially taking control of the internet with the help of a Virtual Ghost, and again in TekJustice where he attempted to take control of computer technology that would allow him to shut down entire cities to hold them for ransom. Subverted in the latter where it's made clear that the technology he was after didn't actually work, and was used as bait for a trap.
  • Third-Person Person: Jonas, a dealer who likes to develop illicit technology, does not use any pronouns like "I" or "you," either when speaking to other people, or making statements about himself.
  • Villain Decay: In TekJustice Sonny Hokori becomes obsessed with Jake Cardigan. Because of an earlier encounter, Sonny was badly burned and needs specialized skin grafts. In revenge he concocts a plan that turns out to have been a hustle on him the entire time.
  • Virtual Ghost: One of these attacks various people through the matrix in TekLords. It's revealed that she is in fact Sonny Hokori's sister.
  • Weaponized Camera: Episode 17 "Redemption", has a former mayor and tek-addict running for office. When he finally wins, one assassin moves into position with a camera modified with a rapid-fire energy weapon.
  • Weather-Control Machine: In this universe, humans have developed a mastery of the weather, but one episode focuses on terrorists hijacking the weather control system and holding the government for ransom, threatening to generate a massive storm if their demands aren't met.

Alternative Title(s): Tek War