The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire was a NBC TV movie that was also a pilot for a proposed sword and sorcery TV series. When it first aired in 1981, practically everyone at the high school I went to was talking about it the next day. Nearly everyone thought that it was a great TV movie and were eagerly looking forward to there being a TV show derived from this production.

However, it was not to be. Despite receiving high ratings, NBC decided to forgo breaking ground by having what would have been the first ever network sword and sorcery TV series. On top of that, it also decided against any sequels as well. That was pretty interesting since 1980's network TV was notable for having whole series of well made for TV movies such as the "Desperado" westerns starring Alex McArthur. This decision by the network was all the more surprising since this TV movie received generally positive reviews including a rare rave review from Baird Searles in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Although The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire never resulted in a TV series, it did have an interesting career in Europe. There, it was released as a theatrical movie. In some countries, it was released under the name of "The Archer and the Sorceress." Despite scoring box office success, it did not prove enough to launch either a new TV series or a new movie series.

Although a made for TV movie, The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire had far higher production values than most made for TV movies of the time. The makeup was especially good, particularly the masks and the look of the snake people. The movie's music by Ian Underwood was especially strong.

The plot of The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire was basically a variation of the fantasy quest theme. A young man, Toran of Malveel (Lane Caudell) gains possession of the Heartbow, a weapon that chooses its new owner whenever its owner dies. The Heartbow enables an archer to shoot arrows that explode like grenades. The hero is a member of a nomadic tribe that is under heavy attack by the forces of the Draikian Empire. The hero goes out in search of the legendary sorcerer Lazar-Sa with the help of a thief and a warrior princess. They are pursued by the evil Gar and his henchmen.

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire was released on VHS back in 1987 when not many people had Video Cassette Recorders. It has never been released on DVD in the United States. For some odd reason, its only DVD release thus far has been in Europe and only in the German language.