The Wild Wild West

1965-1969, Michael Garrison Productions

If ever there was an expression of nostalgia in television show form, this was it for me. The appeal is the utter absurdity of it all, and how it gently skewers Bond. Then there's the friendship between the leads: there's definitely a James T. Kirk and McCoy vibe going on with James T. West and Gordon, aside from the name coincidence. Evidently the show's cancellation after only four seasons was due to its violence as opposed to bad ratings: each show had at least one gun battle and two to three fistfights. Robert Conrad suffered a fractured skull and Ross Martin a broken leg due to the stunts they performed. You might also note a change in the opening title animation: when West is approached by a woman, he kisses her and then decks her with a right to the jaw; a season or two later, he kisses her and then simply walks off.

Straddling the transition from black-and-white to color, the show holds up fairly well today, so long as one views it through the prism of wacky 60s television; it's otherwise rather embarrassing to watch. My favorite episodes are those featuring Dr. Miguelito Loveless (Michael Dunn)—in particular, "Night of the Surreal McCoy." The show would seem to have quite a following, as evidenced by the copious trivia found on its Wikipedia page.

DKS 5/29/22


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