The Hitchhiker (TV series)

The Hitchhiker

The Hitchhiker title screen
Genre Anthology
Starring Page Fletcher
Nicholas Campbell
Composer(s) Shuki Levy
Michel Rubini
Haim Saban
Country of origin U.S.A.
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 85
Executive producer(s) Lewis Chesler (1986-1987)
Riff Markowitz (1986-1987)
Richard Rothstein
Jeremy Lipp
Jacques Methe
David Perlmutter
Running time 30 mins. (approx)
Original network HBO (1983-1987)
First Choice (1983-1987)
USA Network (1989-1991)
La Cinq (1989-1991)
Original release 1983 – 1991

The Hitchhiker is a mystery anthology series that aired from 1983 to 1987 on HBO and First Choice in Canada. The series later moved to the USA Network from 1989 to 1991.

The series is known as Deadly Nightmares in the UK and as Le Voyageur in France.[1]


Each episode is introduced and concluded by a mysterious wanderer known only as "The Hitchhiker," and explores the foibles of humanity and its dark spirit. The title character was played by Nicholas Campbell from 1983-1984 (3 episodes), and Page Fletcher from 1984-1991 (82 episodes). There were a total of 85 episodes over six seasons (39 first runs on HBO & 46 first runs on USA).

Production notes

The series was a United States/Canada/France co-production. It was filmed in Vancouver and Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Paris, France. The show was produced by Corazon Productions (Season 1 for a total of three episodes), Quintina Productions (Seasons 2-4 for a total of thirty-six episodes), and La Cinq, Atlantique & Quintina Productions (Seasons 5-6 for a total of forty-seven episodes).

The Hitchhiker was created by Lewis Chesler and Riff Markowitz, later joined by Richard Rothstein. The pilot episode consisted of three stories. Richard Rothstein wrote two and Jeph Loeb and Matt Weissman wrote the third.

Michel Rubini created the theme music for the show.[2]


Like the much earlier Twilight Zone series, with which it had a lot of other commonalities, The Hitchhiker served as starting point for many actors, some of whom would go on to gain greater recognition elsewhere. Notable cast members (in alphabetical order):

Syndication and DVD releases

In 1996, The Hitchhiker entered syndication and was re-edited (to remove the violence and/or nudity/sexuality that were featured on the HBO runs). The first three episodes had some footage edited and/or re-shot to replace Nicholas Campbell with Page Fletcher, in order to preserve continuity during the syndication runs. The Hitchhiker was syndicated by Rysher Entertainment (since absorbed by CBS Television Distribution) up until 2000.

HBO Home Video released a 3 volume set on DVD between 2004–2006, featuring various episodes from the series. The 2-disc sets contain a selection of episodes, most from the HBO-produced episodes but also including some that were made for the USA Network.[3][4][5] These releases were discontinued and are now out of print, but can still be found at some retailers as discounted/liquidated stock.

In Canada, Koch Entertainment (now known as Entertainment One) released Canadian seasons 1 and 3 (which correspond to US Seasons 1-3 and 5, respectively) on DVD in 2004.[6][7] These releases were discontinued and are now out of print. Canadian Season 2 (US Season 4) was not released due to an ownership/rights situation.

Alliance Home Entertainment released The Hitchhiker: The Complete Collection on DVD in Canada for the very first time on October 11, 2011.[8] The release does not contain all episodes of the series as the title indicates, it only features 30 episodes from various seasons.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1987 CableACE Awards Nominated Actress in a Dramatic Series Jenny Seagrove (For episode "Killer")
Actress in a Dramatic Series Kirstie Alley (For episode "Out of the Night")
Actor in a Dramatic Series Michael O'Keefe (For episode "Man's Best Friend")
Won Actor in a Dramatic Series Gary Busey (For episode "WGOD")
1999 Gemini Award Nominated Best Sound in a Dramatic Program or Series Tim Archer, W. Michael Beard, Rick Ellis, Thomas Hidderley, and Anthony Lancett


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