The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, on NBC
IMDb; Mill Creek Entertainment; Sonar Entertainment; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon
This is something I discovered while browsing titles on Sonar's website. (I have no idea when that was, except that it was many years after it first aired in 1999.) It's possible that I was aware of it when it first aired, but I have absolutely no recollection of it. Anyway... it's got a decent cast and kind of seemed like something I might find interesting. So, when later I discovered... I guess sometime in 2018... that it was included with Amazon Video, I decided to watch it there. Which I did on March 15-17, 2019. (It originally aired in two parts, but on Amazon it's in three parts.)
An American named Jack Woods (Randy Quaid) goes to Ireland, partly as a vacation, and partly on business. (He works for a land development company.) He moves into a little cottage in the country, which he later discovers is also inhabited by three leprechauns: Seamus Muldoon (Colm Meaney), his wife, Mary (Zoe Wanamaker), and their son, Mickey. At first, Jack is totally freaked out by this, but he eventually begins to get used to it. Meanwhile, one day he's out exploring the land near his cottage, and accidentally sees a young woman (whose name he later learns is Kathleen Fitzpatrick) swimming naked in a stream hidden in the woods. It takes Jack a little longer than I thought it should for him to decide to leave instead of sticking around to peep. But when he does try to leave, his foot gets stuck in a tree root, and Kathleen notices him, and thinks he was peeping. And when he tries to explain himself... she doesn't want to hear it. Another day, he's once again wandering around, this time taking Polaroids of the countryside and some buildings, which I guess he's doing for his job. But he happens across the Fitzpatrick farm, where Kathleen lives with her four brothers. He accidentally takes a picture of Kathleen, which once again alerts her to his unwanted presence, and she and her brothers start chasing him. He finally loses them when he enters a church. And after Father Daley has finished his mass, Jack befriends him.
Meanwhile, Mickey Muldoon spends a lot of time with his friends, three other leprechauns named Sean Devine (Tony Curran), Jericho O'Grady (Kevin McKidd), and Jericho's younger brother, Barney (Kieran Culkin). They enjoy getting into mischief, as well as fighting with "trooping fairies," who live in a castle in the sky. One night they steal some costumes from fairies who were on their way to a ball, and sneak into the castle. There, Mickey meets and quickly falls in love with the fairy princess, Jessica. By the time she learns that he's actually a leprechaun, she's gotten to know him well enough to realize all (or most) of the things she's been told about leprechauns aren't true, so she agrees to meet him again later. Oh, and I have to mention that there has been a war between trooping fairies and "solitary fairies" (which includes leprechauns). However, the Grand Banshee (Whoopi Goldberg) has forbidden them to battle each other any more.
At the end of part one (at least on Amazon), Kathleen wants to drive a horse and buggy in a beach race, but she's not allowed because she's a woman. (Like, holy crap, people, this is almost the damn 21st century!) So, she asks if anyone will drive her buggy for her, but her brothers make sure none of the locals volunteer. However, Jack decides to do it, even though he's never driven a buggy before.
It begins with the race. And the "buggies" look very much cobbled together like old-fashioned soapbox cars. Somehow, Jack manages to win the race, and after that he and Kathleen become friendly. And soon they fall in love. Meanwhile, Jessica's cousin, Count Grogan, captures Barney in an attempt to goad Mickey into fighting him. Mickey refuses, but Sean decides to fight Grogan, who kills Sean. Normally, fairy-folk should be immortal, but the Grand Banshee has somehow made it so that they can be killed. In retaliation for Sean's death, Mickey kills Grogan. This leads Jessica's parents, King Boric (Roger Daltrey) and Queen Morag, to decide to go to war with the leprechauns. The king and queen send Jessica away to their undersea palace, with her governess, Lady Margaret. But Mickey eventually finds Jessica and takes her away to a neutral territory controlled by "butter spirits," led by an old friend of Seamus's named Sir Aloysius Jentee, who offers them sanctuary. Meanwhile, with the fairies and leprechauns all ignoring their obligations to nature, the weather gets increasingly chaotic.
Eventually, Jack gets a message from his company that he must return to New York. He tries to convince Kathleen to come with him, but she doesn't want to go, and tries to convince him to stay. In the end, he does stay. However, she learns that the reason he'd come to Ireland was to buy up local properties so his company could build vacation homes for Americans, and despite his telling her he'd decided to advise his company against that, she doesn't believe him. And the episode ends with trooping fairies trying to bribe Jentee to give them Jessica and Mickey. Meanwhile, the young lovers go on the run.
Seamus agrees to try to help convince Kathleen to take Jack back, in exchange for Jack training the leprechaun troops. But soon, Kathleen's brothers show up, wanting to know what Jack did to upset their sister. He ends up convincing them to help train the leprechauns. Meanwhile, the trooping fairies decide to kidnap Seamus as a bargaining chip, believing the leprechauns had bewitched Jessica. However, they accidentally kidnap Mary, instead. And she soon bonds with Morag over their common disdain for their husbands. Mickey and Jessica decide to go to the Grand Banshee for help, and Jack and Kathleen join them. She says there's nothing she can do, but informs them that Nature itself is in grave danger, unless the fighting stops. And so they try a couple of tactics, the more important one being obtaining a potion from Jentee to make them appear dead (rather like Romeo & Juliet), to convince their respective families to stop the war.
Well, I feel like I've given away too much, but I've also left out lots of details. Of course there's ultimately a happy ending for everyone. Anyway, it's all a rather fun story, with some decent characters, lots of humor, a fair amount of drama, and romance, and lots of magical creatures (mostly leprechauns and fairies, but also some others, some of which are CGI). And I guess I don't know what else to say. But I'm definitely glad to have seen it.