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Series / The Magnificent Seven (1998)

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The Magnificent Seven was a short-lived Western action-adventure series that ran on CBS from 1998-2000. Like its film namesake (and origin in Seven Samurai), it was a story about seven unlikely men (and ultimately heroes) who band together to save a unprotected town (in this case, a isolated village made up of freed slaves and displaced American Indians) who end up sticking around to protect the local town. Unlike the movie, all seven of the main characters survive the pilot episode and are joined by various townspeople for further adventures.


This series provides examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: In "The New Law" the Seven are relieved of duty and go their separate ways, only to come rushing back when all hell breaks loose.
  • Abandoned Mine: In the pilot, the main reason Ezra agrees to go to the Indian village is because of the nearby gold mine. It turns out to be abandoned and caved in.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: In the episode "The Trial", Ezra's mother fends off the advances of a love-sick man who won't stop spouting poetry and frames her for theft in order to force her to marry him.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills:
    • After Ezra shoots a man from a mirror's reflection.
      Vin: Nice shot, pard.
      Ezra: Dreadful. I was aiming to kill him but the mirror was cracked.
    • And later:
      Vin: You shoot a cannon pretty well, pard.
      Ezra: Dreadful. I was trying to hit Anderson.
  • The Alcoholic: All of the Seven are drinkers, but Chris tends to go overboard and kick up a ruckus when he's thinking about his murdered family.
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  • Action Mom: Occasionally Mary Travis
  • Alwayson Duty: The Seven are the only law in the town and surrounding countryside.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Maude Standish makes up outlandish stories about Ezra to embarrass him in front of his friends.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: The pilot gives each character an introductory scene that allows them show off their primary character traits and combat skills.
  • Badass Longcoat: Chris Larabee Winked at in the Pilot where our first scene of Larabee frames him coming out of the swinging bat-wing doors in afternoon sunlight, wind kicking up his black duster. Oh, and he's also smoking. Almost qualifies as a small Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Badass Preacher: Josiah Sanchez, big-time. Up the badass ante by having him played by Ron Perlman.
  • Bandof Brothers
  • Bar Slide
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pretty much every episode, whether the move ends out working out for them or not.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands
  • Bloodless Carnage: Blood is usually only seen when Nathan is attempting to patch someone up.
  • Bounty Hunter: Vin Tanner used to be one of these.
  • Boxed Crook: How Ezra gets roped into staying.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ezra to his mother Maude pretty much every time they meet.
  • Card Sharp: It is frequently implied that Ezra is a cheater and a thief, but we never actually see him cheat at cards. We do, however, see him cheat at a shooting match in his introductory scene.
  • The Charmer: Ezra can talk his way into and out of most situations, a fact which the Seven use to their advantage.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Buck Wilmington.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Ezra does this in the pilot.
  • Circuit Judge: Orin Travis.
  • City with No Name: The Seven's town is never named onscreen, though the fandom has universally adopted "Four Corners".
  • Clear My Name: Vin is wanted in Texas for a murder he didn't commit, a problem which comes up periodically but is never actually resolved.
  • *Click* Hello
  • Coat Full of Contraband: Ezra, in "Serpents". Becomes a Pocket Protector in the final shootout.
  • Combat Medic: Nathan Jackson.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Ezra in the pilot.
  • Cool Old Lady: Nettie Wells of "The Collector".
  • Crusading Widower: Chris.
  • Cycle of Revenge: "Vendetta" There's a whole family of crazies from Kansas City complete with suitable black costuming and scary Mom, who have come to kill Chris' father-in-law after he killed the man suspected of killing his daughter.
  • The Dandy: Ezra is fond of ruffled shirts, brocade waistcoats, and brightly colored jackets.
  • Dangerously Close Shave: Chris gives Buck one of these after he learns that Buck has gossiped about his past.
  • Disguised in Drag: In "Working Girls", Ezra winds up as this.
  • Driven to Suicide: Nathan's mother. In order to prevent the slave master from selling 7-year old Nathan away from his family, she allowed the man to repeatedly rape her. When she discovered that she might be pregnant with his baby, she went insane and drowned herself.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In "The Ghosts of the Confederacy", the leader of the soldiers is positively unhinged.
  • Exposition Diagram: Chris and the Indian chief draw one to plan their defense of the village in the pilot.
  • Friendly Sniper: Vin is a skilled sharpshooter, and is probably the only one of the Seven besides JD who gets along with everyone else.
  • Friend to All Children: Surprisingly, Ezra.
  • Gold Tooth: Ezra has one.
  • Got Volunteered: Ezra, frequently. The judge orders him to join the others in guarding the town, he frequently foots the bill for his friend's altruism, and ends up Disguised in Drag at one point.
  • Guns Akimbo: Let's face it, with the exception of possibly Nathan, everyone of the seven is armed to the teeth with not just a signature character gun, but a backup one too. JD is notable for having matching pistols which he frequently fires simultaneously. (Sometimes while flying through the air ala "Hot Fuzz").
  • Gunpoint Banter
  • The Gunfighter Wannabe: JD.
  • The Gunslinger: Chris, though all of the seven qualify at some point.
  • Gun Twirling: Frequent throughout the series- as it is a Western:
    • JD displays some fancy gun work in the pilot to show he's good enough to join the seven. Totally backfires when he falls off his horse as a result.
      JD: Whoa. I hear you fellas are headed for a fight. My name is JD Dunne, and I can ride. Whoa. And I can shoot.
    • This later turns into a wink at Juggling Loaded Guns when JD takes the position of Sheriff:
      JD: I'll be fine, Buck. Look what I found. Navy colt .44! [spins the chamber dramatically]
      Buck: Don't do that, okay? It can come loose and then it could come out. Put the gun down. You're going to be sheriff?
      [Buck ends up being right when the gun falls to pieces just when JD needs it]
  • Heartbroken Badass: Chris, due to the deaths of his wife and son.
  • Hustling the Mark: In his introductory scene, Ezra pretends to be drunk and challenges a man to a shooting contest.
  • I Am What I Am: In "Serpents" Ezra plans to abscond with the money entrusted to him, but after managing to save Mary Travis and stop her would-be assassin he acknowledges that the Seven should, in the future, not burden him with such temptation.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ezra gives Li Pong enough money to go back to her family in San Fransisco, even though he wants her to stay with him.
  • Internalized Categorism: Ezra knows all too well that he's a conman and a thief. In "Witness" he tells his mother that the townsfolk trust him to protect them from people like her, and himself. Later, he faces a crisis of conscience in "Serpents" when everyone expects him to steal a bag of money, and ultimately is unable to stand up to himself or his friends.
  • In the Back: Chris to JD, "You don't shoot nobody in the back."
  • Involuntary Group Split: In "The New Law".
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Vin, in "The New Law" gets the drop on a thief and takes the bullets out of his gun before "arresting" him.
  • Just a Kid: JD, until he proves himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ezra, especially in the episode "Chinatown".
  • Knife Nut: Nathan.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai
  • Mangst: So, so much.
  • Meddling Parents: Every time Maude shows up she essentially pulls Ezra around by his ear scolding him for wasting his talents and the skills she taught him by becoming a common lawman. She interferes with his plans to run the saloon by purchasing the local hotel and running him out of business, in an attempt to teach him a vague lesson about staying on his toes.
  • Must State If You're a Cop: The Seven frequently have to admit that they are not official lawmen.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Oh, JD.
  • Never Learned to Read: Vin; he's learning later on however.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Explosions don't kill anyone who isn't standing directly on top of a pile of dynamite, and even then it's not a sure thing.
  • The Notable Numeral: Seven, of course.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Ezra Standish.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Ezra has to defend himself to Nathan after he is caught in a compromising position with Li Pong.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: No one ever lets Ezra forget that he's a conman and a thief.
  • Only in It for the Money: Initially, this is Ezra's only reason for going along to protect the Indian village.
  • Outside Ride: JD has to climb on top of a stagecoach after the driver is killed.
  • Parental Abandonment: Maude always dumped Ezra at any relative's house when he was a child, only coming back to get him when she needed his help in a con.
  • Pocket Protector: Ezra gets shot, but it turns out the large sums of money he was thinking of making off with stopped the bullet. Played for laughs when he decides it's best his friends don't trust him with holding the finances in the future - despite its life-saving capabilities. It happens again in "Obsession", when a diamond brooch he won at poker deflects a bullet.
  • Professional Gambler: Ezra and Maude Standish
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The entire premise of the pilot rests on said misfits becoming the The Magnificent Seven Samurai. Hence the name of the show.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: What a group of evil ranchers and their minions plan to do to the town in "The New Law".
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Chris offers Ezra a spot after seeing him run a scam.
    Nathan: Why would we want to use a cheater?
    Chris: Might need one.
  • Remake Cameo: Robert Vaughn, who played Lee in the film, has a small role as Judge Orrin Travis.
  • The Remnant: The antagonists for "Ghosts of the Confederacy" are, as the title indicates, still fighting for the Confederacy.
  • Romancing the Widow: Buck and Ezra make a bet on which one of them can get close to a widowed woman on a wagon train, by making nice with the woman's bratty son. Josiah ends up winning.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ezra, twice. In the pilot he briefly leaves after discovering there's no gold in the village, and in "Serpents" he plans to run away after learning that none of his companions really trust him.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Ezra.
    Ezra: Well, sir, now that we are rid of that loathsome curmudgeon, you may effect my emancipation.
    JD: Huh?
    Ezra: Let me out.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Casey Wells (JD's crush) with a little help from some of the guys. Due to her Tomboy nature, JD has thought of her more in terms of competition until she shows up in a dress. Backfires when she loses the skirt while tripping in public.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker
  • Shoot the Rope: Vin does this to save Nathan from a lynching in the pilot.
  • Son of a Whore: Buck.
  • Southern Belle: Maude Standish, or at least she does a good impression.
  • Southern Gentleman: Ezra Standish.
  • South of the Border: Purgatorio.
  • Staged Shooting: Chris and Buck plan one so Chris can simultaneously rescue Buck and get into the bad guy's good graces.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Col. Emmett Anderson in the pilot episode "Ghosts of the Confederacy" leads a group of ex-Confederate soldiers who roam the west preying on isolated towns. All of them are still dressed in the now tattered remains of their Confederate uniforms.
  • Take Up My Sword
  • Tar and Feathers:
    • Ezra narrowly escapes this in "The New Law" after gambling with an entire clan. Possibly lampshaded earlier in the episode by Vin:
      Ezra: As for myself, I'm a few well-played poker games away from owning this saloon. And with no guns in town, there should be fewer ways for disgruntled losers to seek reprisal.
      Vin: There's always tar and feathers.
    • And then later that week:
      Nathan: Is that tar on your face?
      Ezra: Look, we really need to leave this municipality now.
      Vin: Make some new friends Back there, Ezra?
      Ezra: Uh, I neglected to abide by a fundamental tenet in my line of work. Never gamble with an entire clan. Hyah!
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In "Serpents", nearly everyone expects Ezra to steal the money they're guarding, and tells him so. After Josiah forces him to take possession of the money Ezra decides he might as well live down to their expectations.
  • Tsundere: Casey Wells, JD's sort-of crush. When he actually notices she's female, at least.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Happens to pretty much all of the Seven at least once.
  • We Need a Distraction: In "The Collector", Ezra and Buck try and fail to light a stick of dynamite in order to cause a distraction. A drunken Josiah eventually creates enough of an uproar that the plan works out anyway.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's never specified what state the Seven's town is in, aside from it not being Texas (as that's where Vin is wanted for murder).
  • Yandere: Ella Gaines: Chris's ex-girlfriend, who offs his pregnant wife, Sarah and young son Adam and burns down his ranch because they were impeding her future happiness with him.
  • Young Gun: JD Dunne.

Alternative Title(s): The Magnificent Seven


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