Harsh Realm

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Friday 8:00 PM Oct 08, 1999 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
29 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

After seeing the horrors of war in Sarajevo, Lt. Thomas F. Hobbes is ready to settle down with his fiancé, Sophie. However the military has on last assignment for him, to test out Harsh Realm, a virtual reality created by the military for combat training.

However once inside Harsh Realm, Hobbes soon finds himself fighting for his life, struggling to understand what is real and what is not. He forms an alliance with another soldier, Mike Pinocchio, who is uninterested in helping this new recruit. But a mysterious woman named Florence believes that Hobbes is to be Harsh Realm's savior and will deliver the virtual characters from the oppressive reins of Omar Santiago, the military dictator who rules over Harsh Realm.

Hobbes realises that the only way to escape Harsh Realm is to beat the highest scoring player, Santiago, who is unwilling to give up his kingdom. Hobbes's mission now is to escape Harsh Realm by any means necessary, and to return home to his fiancé.moreless

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  • The ultimate mind game begins.

    So here it is the first of only nine episodes and the pilot was pretty good. A man named Hobbs is asked by the army to try a qucik go at a vertual reality game, which is supposed to be a simple final exersie to complete. Then they say that Hobbs can leave the military and start a family with his wife, but when Hobbs is being briefed the video cip suddonly ends and Hobbs realises that he is no long in our reality he is now in Harsh Realm. So immidatly Hobbs is put in danger but managed to esacpe with his life just barely and he meets a few people. Thye reveal to him that there is on way out of Harsh Realm and the objective of the game is impossible to complete. They also tell Hobbs that if you die in the game you die in real life no one knows a way out and thousands of soldiers have entered the game. This is a very intresting pilot episode. Very daring and exciting i know that this could have been a great series but Fox never made enough episodes.moreless
  • Enter Harsh Realm

    The first episode of Harsh Realm wasn’t exactly magnificent, it should have been better. The episode had it’s quality but turns out to be mostly just very slow and it seems like it takes on forever.

    The teaser was fantastic though, in a war Hobbs saves his best friend. Later he’s send into some computer game, there he meets two people, a guy who stole his ring and some weird chick that cured him when he was shot (who did she do that? she’s definitely weird and doesn’t seem to be able to talk).

    The thing that most bugged me was the Sofie character, Hobb’s future wife features the game, only she isn’t real. Why did he show all the affection for her.

    The friend who he saved is also in the game only he is working for the enemy. When Hobb tries to escape with Sofie she gets shot and disappears. Hobbs is now more destined to kill them more than ever.

    The episode wasn’t that impressive but definitely had it’s big highlight moments. The characters are likeable enough, the dog is the most interesting one though.

    The episode did fail as a pilot episode, it didn’t show the show’s quality and pivotalness enough.

    It ended with a great cliff-hanger though featuring a big room with all the people who were sent into Harsh Realm.

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson

Video Narrator

Guest Star

Lance Henriksen

Lance Henriksen

Military Officer

Guest Star

Michael David Simms

Michael David Simms

Lt. Colonel Gilovitch

Guest Star



Dexter the Dog

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • "Harsh Realm" was loosely based on a comic book by James D. Hudnall and Andrew Paquette under the same title. When the creators noticed the credits read "Created by Chris Carter", they sued Fox to get properly credited.


    • In this episode Hobbes carries a Heckler & Koch P7 pistol. Later in the series the gun was changed to the SIG Sauer P226 pistol and finally onto the Walther P99 which was used till the end of the season.

    • Inga Fossa is Latin for "in the trench."

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (8)

    • Music:

      * Prodigy - "Climbatize" (tune used three times in the episode: during the attack on the barrack, during the attack on the harbour and during the hotel escape)
      * White Zombie "Electric Head Part 2" (in the bar)
      * Organik - "Piece of Meat"

    • Hobbes' dog, Dexter, is named after the protagonist from the Harsh Realm comic book series upon which the show is loosely based.

    • The name of D.B. Sweeney's character, Michael Pinocchio, is a reference to a childhood friend of Chris Carter. Carter and Pinocchio used to play baseball together.

    • The name of the character Tom Hobbes is a reference to the 17th century philosopher by the name of Thomas Hobbes.

    • The scene were the character of Lance Henriksen explains to Hobbes his mission (ie to kill Santiago), is a reference to Apocalyps Now. In this 1979 classic Capt. Benjamin L. Willard gets his mission to take out Col. Walter E. Kurtz in pretty much the same manner (ie while the officers are eating).

    • The name of the character Florence is a wink to Florence Nightingale.

    • The chair Hobbes sits in to enter Harsh Realm has "siege" and "perilous" on its armrests. This is a reference to the legend of King Arthur, and a similar chair that would turn anybody but the bravest person in England into ash if they sat in it.

    • Gillian Anderson, who plays Scully in Chris Carter's The X-Files, and Lance Henriksen, who played Frank Black in Chris Carter's Millennium, make uncredited guest appearances in this episode. In fact, Gillian Anderson didn't appear in person but she was a video narrator to the footage presented to Lt. Hobbes.