A Look at Eagleheart, Chris Elliott’s Return to Form

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Next week, Adult Swim is debuting Eagleheart, a new live action series starring Chris Elliott and produced by Conan O’Brien through his company, Conaco Productions. The show has been picked up for a 12 episode run, with each installment lasting 15 minutes. Eagleheart is an over-the-top action-comedy series in which Chris Elliott plays US marshal Chris Monsanto. The series was inspired by the corny dialogue and action of Chuck Norris’s Walker, Texas Ranger. In fact, Eagleheart co-creator Michael Koman mentioned in a recent interview that he had a hand in creating the popular “Walker, Texas Ranger lever” segments when he was a writer for Late Night, so it’s no surprise he’s now mining comedy from similar territory.

Adult Swim’s recent slate of live action shows, which included Delocated and Children’s Hospital, inspires confidence, as does Chris Elliott’s track record. Though mainly known to younger fans for his roles in There’s Something About Mary, Groundhog Day, and Everybody Loves Raymond, Elliott was a pioneer of the kind of groundbreaking, oddball humor that Conan and dozens of other comedians have made popular today. Elliott created outstanding work on Letterman in the ‘80s and Get a Life in the ‘90s, but the past decade saw him straying away from weird fare like this. Eagleheart seems like a return to form for the actor, allowing him to burst back onto the alternative comedy scene with the unique style of humor that his fans have always known and loved. For a detailed look at some of Elliott’s past work, check out Splitsider’s writeup on his hilarious ‘80s Cinemax specials: Action Family and FDR: A One-Man Show.

Eagleheart’s supporting cast is also full of talented performers. Joining Elliott are Maria Thayer (Stranger with Candy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Brett Gelman (Funny Or Die Presents, The Other Guys), and Michael Gladis (Mad Men). Thayer and Gelman play sidekicks Susie and Brett, while Gladis plays Chief, their Orson Welles-esque boss. As a Mad Men fan, I’m excited to see Gladis step into a comedic role, and I’ve always enjoyed Thayer’s work; but the supporting cast member I’m most excited about is Brett Gelman. A regular on the Comedy Death Ray podcast and Funny or Die, Gelman is a promising up-and-coming comic actor, and I can’t wait to see him inch ever-so-slightly closer to the mainstream in Eagleheart.

Behind the camera, Eagleheart was created by former Conan writers Andrew Weinberg and Michael Koman. Jason Woliner — the fourth (non-acting) member of Human Giant — is pulling triple duty as a writer, director, and executive producer. Wolliner has recently directed episodes of Parks and Rec and he did most of the directing for Human Giant. Woliner’s buddy and writing partner (although not for this project) Aziz Ansari has already seen the show and offered this glowing endorsement to Ain’t It Cool News last year: “Dude — Eagleheart is FUCKING HYSTERICAL.”

If all of that doesn’t get you excited about the show, I don’t know what will. Eagleheart debuts Thursday, February 3rd at 11:59PM on Adult Swim. Check out these two teaser trailers for a taste of what to expect:

Bradford Evans is a writer living on the edge.