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Maverick: The Complete First Season
James Garner shows how the West was won -- in a card game! -- in the comic adventures of Maverick. Wisecracking ladies' man Bret Maverick (Garner) and his more serious brother Bart (Jack Kelly) -- two handsome bachelors on the loose in the Wild West -- have more success at the game of poker than the game of love. Yet they keep trying their luck in one frontier outpost after another. And though cardsharps Bret and Bart would just as soon slip out of town quietly as face a gunman, when it's time for a showdown, don't bet against a Maverick.]]>
One of the most consistently entertaining shows from Television's Golden Age, this witty meta-Western has lost little of its oomph over the years, thanks to the easy, slightly amoral charm of James Garner, as a hero whose speed on the draw isn't half as important as what's going on underneath his hat. Created by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive), the series follows the adventures of Bret Maverick (Garner), a professional gambler who travels across the plains and prairies looking for the next big game. As the show's popularity increased, the saga expanded with the introduction of Bret's brother Bart (Jack Kelly), a slightly more conservative figure who nonetheless shares his sibling's knack for capitalizing on a double-deal. Admittedly, this introductory season does take a while to distinguish itself from the run-of-the-mill oater, with the first half-dozen episodes functioning as more-or-less traditional genre fare. (The combination of Garner and legendary director Budd Boetticher, however, makes viewing far from a chore.) Once it finds its groove, though, look out, as the show settles into an amiable blend of comedy and action that has rarely been equaled. Throughout these 27 episodes, the wandering nature of the premise allows Maverick to amble into an impressive variety of situations, including ghost stories, adventures at sea (the Bret and Bart combo episode "The Wrecker," based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson), tense saloon standoffs ("The Quick and the Dead," featuring Gerald Mohr as a spooky Doc Holliday), and courtroom dramas (the superb "Rope of Cards," which also introduces Bret's highly addictive variation on solitaire). Entertaining as the plots could be, however, Maverick proves to be at its best when it kicks back and allows its title characters to ply their trade at the tables, especially when the competition includes one of the show's unusually strong female characters, particularly the recurring foil (and fellow cardsharp) Samantha Crawford, played by the delightful Diane Brewster. (Garner, as in the later Huggins-created The Rockford Files, displays particular energy when paired with a costar who gives as good as she gets.) While this compilation features little in the way of extras, Western fans should find it pleasure enough to watch a series whose softly ironic charms have been often imitated, but never quite duplicated. When it's cooking, living on jacks and queens seems like the ideal way to go. --Andrew Wright
I watched the full shows many years ago on tv ,but they are better the second time around.loved all the mavericks. w lesterPublished 28 days ago by Mr. William Lester
I like the old television series and I'm not much for westerns, but I like this one.Published 1 month ago by Aubrey D Maxie
love this show-- a young James Garner and great stories, each episode is fun---Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Okay, but the theme often includes gambling and drinking at the center of the story line. Gets tiresome after awhile.Published 2 months ago by Sue's Reviews
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Maverick was produced in 1957, years before color broadcasting was the norm.
Amazon states: "Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC."
And that's a good thing! Much prefer B&W to color. Imagine Ansel Adams in color--never would have made it as a photographer.
Jul 11, 2012 by odious_m | See all 4 posts
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