What does it say about prime-time race relations that one of the few series to feature an African-American in a lead role centers on a character named Black Jack Savage? Well, for one thing, we can say that The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage was created by producer-writer Stephen J. Cannell, the man who gave the world The A-Team‘s Mr. T, so we know we’re not dealing with sophisticated role models. Savage stars Steven Williams (21 Jump Street) as the ghost of a 17th-century pirate doomed to haunt a castle until he does penance for his sins by saving 100 lives.
His costar, Daniel Hugh Kelly, is the veteran of a mid-’80s Cannell series, Hardcastle & McCormick. In Savage, Kelly plays a corporate raider on the lam from charges of extortion and securities fraud (see what I mean about poor role models?). Together, Williams and Kelly roam the Caribbean island of San Pietro solving crimes, although the work load is rather disproportionate. Williams has to walk through walls, break into improvised rap-music songs, and deliver lines like ”Ain’t no need to start pullin’ no attitude on me!” Kelly is required to do little more than stare, slack-jawed, at all of these activities. You, on the other hand, are not required to watch them at all. D