Follow TV Tropes


Series / Zorro (1990)

Go To

Zorro (also known as The New Zorro and New World Zorro, after producer New World Television) is a 4-season swashbuckler series starring Duncan Regehr as the eponymous character. It aired on The Family Channel (an early version of what eventually became ABC Family, later rebranded as Freeform) from 1990 to 1993 for a total of 88 episodes, which was ten more than the 1950s Guy Williams Zorro series.

In early 19th-century Spanish California, when the commandant of Los Angeles Alcalde Luis Ramone terrorizes the people of the pueblo and oppresses them, Don Alejandro de la Vega summons home from Spain his son Diego to fight the alcalde and his men. When Diego arrives, he finds his town in a sorry state, and while pretending to have little interest in anything but books and his experiments, he creates the Secret Identity of Zorro. With his mute servant, the teenage Felipe, Diego starts battling the alcalde's tyranny.

Reruns began airing on RTV in 2011 as The New Zorro. Sony Pictures Television is the current rightsholder (as New World sold many of their shows to Sony in the early 90s).

The series has a character sheet.

Zorro provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Adam West (the 1960s Batman) makes an appearance as "Dr. Henry Wayne", who is astounded at the idea of riding out from a cave under the mansion to fight crime!
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: In "Dead Men Tell no Tales", Victoria finds one of her guests murdered. she screams and picks up the bloody knife, and is holding it when Sgt. Mendoza arrives.
  • Carrying the Antidote: In one episode, Zorro is poisoned. Knowing that he doesn't have time to figure out what the antidote is, but figuring that the poisoner must have one cached somewhere close by in case of accidents, he tricks the man into thinking that he had been given the same poison, and then followed him to it.
  • Casting Gag: Henry Darrow played Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro twice before, in the 1981 animated series The New Adventures of Zorro (through voice acting) and in the short-lived series Zorro and Son in 1983. Here he got to play Don Alejandro de la Vega (Diego's father) starting with season 2.
  • Catfishing: Played with. In one episode, a woman Alejandro has fallen in love with through correspondence shows up and turns out to be a pretty girl in her twenties. Rather than being pleased, Alejandro is put off by this, especially since a cameo portrait that came with one of her letters depicts someone closer to his age. The girl explains that she sent him a picture of her grandmother because she wanted to be sure he loved her for her mind and not her looks, which Alejandro concedes is a reasonable precaution. Then it turns out he really was writing to the old lady in the cameo and the girl is a Con Artist who (with the help of her boyfriend) murdered the lady and took her place to get at Alejandro's wealth. Alejandro is heartbroken, especially when the con artist confesses that his real pen pal had grown to love him in return.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Alcalde Ramone is initially pleased to see Colonel Palomarez and his goal of capturing Zorro, but is stunned and horrified to find that Palomarez plans to locate Zorro by having an innocent inhabitant of the pueblo hanged each morning until Zorro is found. While he may flog criminals and try to make himself rich by taxing the people, and on at least one occasion tried to hang an innocent man he honestly believed was guilty, he would never kill those who he knows haven't committed a crime.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Oh boy, yes. The song neatly summarizes the corruption and injustice in Los Angeles and Zorro's motives for taking up a masked identity to fight back against it.
  • Fingerprinting Air: One episode had Zorro basically invent fingerprinting. He investigates the Alcalde's (Mayor's) office in an episode where the Alcalde is acting strangely: rescinding unpopular decrees one moment, then punishing people for violating the decree they were just told was rescinded the next. He finds two sets of fingerprints in the Alcalde's private office (which he presumably doesn't let other people into), leading him to realize that there are two Alcaldes, eventually leading to a Spot the Imposter moment in a public duel against both Alcaldes. Subversion in that the fingerprints were only used to confirm that there was an imposter, but not to identify the imposter. That was done by Zorro pointing out that the real Alcalde had a scar on the back of his wrist from a previous fight with him and cutting the sleeves of both Alcaldes to see which one had the scar.
  • Instant Sedation: In the episode “Pride of the Pueblo”, Don Diego shows Felipe the impressive knockout power of the newly discovered ether, asking him to smell a cloth with ether on it and Felipe immediately passes out after sniffing it. The ether is used later in the episode to make sure a boxing match doesn’t end with unnecessary bloodshed, by applying it on the boxing gloves of one of the fighters, hoping they sniff them when they bring their guard up to block.
  • Laxative Prank: In "Dead Men Tell No Tales", Don Diego is visiting Victoria who has been imprisoned by the Alcade. Knowing that Mendoza will sample all the food he is bringing to her, he doctors the custard to send Mendoza running for the privy so he and Victoria can speak in private.
  • Licking the Blade: In one episode, Zorro fights a duel during a dinner party, makes his trademark Z in a cake, licks the frosting off his sword and compliments the chef.
  • Love Interest: Victoria Escalante to Diego.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Unfortunately, Diego's foppish public persona means that he can only flirt with her as Zorro.
  • Master Swordsman: Zorro is the finest blade in Los Angeles, as is typical for the franchise. To keep up the dramatic tension, some episodes introduce swordmasters from out of town for him to face so that he doesn't always fight the same foes that the audience knows from experience aren't in his league.
  • Revealing Injury: In an episode, Zorro himself uses this as a Spot the Imposter trick. Facing both the Alcalde and his impersonator at the same time, he conclusively proves which one is the real Alcalde to all present by pointing out that he had wounded the true Alcalde on the wrist some time previous, then slashing the sleeves of his opponents to see which one had a scar there.
  • Science Hero: This version of Zorro stands out from other incarnations of the chracter by relying heavily on current (for the setting) scientific principles and technology in his work, not unlike a more modern superhero who was inspired by Zorro. Since the setting is the early 1800s, however, he's limited in how much he can accomplish with science alone and has to supplement it with investigative work and swordplay.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: Played very straight — to surprisingly good effect — in an episode. While they're driving into town together, Don Diego's mentor is shot by government officials convinced he's a traitor. The only way for Diego to get him treatment is to duck into the nearby pueblo church and claim sanctuary... then try to figure out how he's going to either A) putting his Zorro clothes on without giving the secret away or B) get out of this as his meek alter ego.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Diego/Zorro's mute servant Felipe, for the 1950s series' Bernardo.
    • The obese and bumbling Sergeant Mendoza, for the 1950s series' Sergeant Garcia.
  • Technical Pacifist: For all his swordfighting, Zorro never kills. In fact, he injures his opponents so rarely that in one episode where the Alcalde has hired an impersonator to ruin Zorro's reputation with the townsfolk, Sergeant Garcia realizes something is odd when after a fight with the impostor, he notes that for all the times that Zorro had sliced up his uniform, this was the first time that he had ever actually wounded him.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: In one episode, a tenant farmer drives away a criminal who just murdered his landlord with his musket. Then the Alcalde shows up, sees a dead man and a man holding a recently fired gun, and concludes that the man with the gun did it. Cue the entire town trying to buy time for the only witness to regain consciousness and testify as to what really happened before the Alcalde can hang his prisoner.
  • Win Your Freedom: In the episode of “Pride of the Pueblo”, an unjustly jailed freedman is given the chance to regain his freedom and leave town by defeating the strongest local guard in a boxing match. The alcalde later goes back on his word, keeping the freedman in jail.
  • Zorro Mark: Often left by Zorro on his opponents' clothes or the scenery.