Saturday, March 8, 2008
Well, the results of the latest poll were quite interesting with the winner being “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines”! At first, it looked as if the “Great Race” would be a runaway winner, since after the first few days, the vote was about 5 to 1 in favor of it, but the “Magnificent Men” staged a steady comeback, adding a vote a day, and when it was all said and done, it won the polling, 6 to 5! A thank you to all who participated!
CBS had an instant hit on their hands when The Wild Wild West made its network debut on September 17, 1965. While many of the popular TV Westerns were running out of steam, series creator Michael Garrison ripped a page from the Ian Fleming/Sean Connery playbook and conceived The Wild Wild West as a “James Bond Western,” energizing the genre by combining a traditional Western setting (primarily the San Francisco region in the 1870s) with the accoutrements of the spy genre. It was a foolproof formula, further refined by producer Fred Frieberger (who later produced the third and final season of Star Trek), and TWWW held its popular time-slot (7:30-8:30 on Friday nights) for its entire four-season run. Smart casting proved to be another source of audience appeal: While Robert Conrad fit nicely into his role (and tight-fitting costume) as macho Secret Service agent James West, doing his own challenging stunts and charming each episode’s obligatory beautiful female guest star, Ross Martin proved an equally excellent choice to play West’s skillful sidekick Artemus Gordon, a debonair dandy whose mastery of disguises and dialects would prove essential as they tackled dangerous crime-fighting assignments from President Ulysses S. Grant.
The Adventures of Briscoe County Junior
A science fiction-Western and comedy-drama with echoes of The Wild Wild West and Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.: The Complete Series is uniquely entertaining. Anchored by the comically heroic style of likable B-movie actor Bruce Campbell, Adventures lasted one television season in 1993-94. But it left behind a full 27 episodes (including two two-part stories) full of classic TV Western production values and a running storyline that resembles The X-Files after awhile.
The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne
In the genre of science fiction television that is known for lack of well-developed characters, “The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne” is delightful exception to the rule. The four regular characters, Phileas and Rebecca Fogg, Jules Verne, and Passepartout, wander the world of the 1860’s in Phileas’ fantastic dirigible the Aurora. Phileas, played by Michael Praed, is an ex-British Secret Service agent, an adventurer and a gambler, out to enjoy his pleasures but forever being diverted to aid his friends. His distant cousin Rebecca, played by Francesca Hunt, is a nineteenth-century Mrs. Peel, an agent extraordinaire who mixes strength and daring with warmth and vulnerability. Chris Demetral’s Jules Verne is a young visionary, a blend of innocence and insight that forges a link with these people who recognize his extraordinary gifts.