The Wild Wild West
Runtime:50 minutes
Country:United States

The Wild Wild West is a TV series that ran from 1965-1969, starring Robert Conrad as James West and Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon. Both men are Secret Service agents during the 1870s and they have their hands full saving the presidents of both the U.S. and Mexico from repeated assassination attempts and keeping this or that megalomaniac from taking over first New Mexico, then the world.

The concept was James Bond on horseback and there are plenty of beautiful women who can't seem to make up their minds whether they want to kiss Jim West or shoot him. A good number do both. What made the series stand out at the time (as well as now) was its proto-steampunk technology, evident in many of the episodes. Not only must they combat wily counterfeiters and vengeful veterans of the Civil War, but West and Gordon are also belabored by brilliant singing dwarves, Frankenstein-type creatures, as well as a melange of mad scientists.

They encounter living brains in jars, accelerated humans, green girls from outer space, and more than a couple of doppelgangers. Definitely not your typical TV western. Much of the technology portrayed on the series did not exist during the 1870s, but that did not stop the writers from featuring gramophones, electric lighting, modern typeface, fake eyelashes on the women, and really tight pants on the hero.

Can you say, "anachronism"? And yes, the show was subject to the three or four common plots that plagued all of the spy/hero shows of its day, viz. our heroes get amnesia, confront their exact look-alikes, and have no chance for true love. They get clobbered, gassed, and shot far more often than is humanly tolerable. Along the way, they get shrunken to the size of a G.I. Joe doll, transported into a two-dimensional realm, jump back through time, and get accelerated to such a degree that they're invisible.

While much of the science is bogus, and the plots are so thin as to be almost totally transparent, the most important science, really, is the on-air chemistry between Conrad and Martin, which adds tremendously to the charm of the show.<p>

No matter what, be assured that by the end of each episode, Jim West will have kissed at least one beautiful girl and fought his way through half a dozen guys, while Gordon in disguise will have learned what's beneath all the weirdness going on and come up with a smokebomb-like device that does the trick every time.</p>

Thirty years after the original series left the air, the property was made into a feature film, Wild Wild West, which failed to please most fans of the original series, along with the majority of mainstream moviegoers. This reviewer shan't sully this page further by even mentioning anything else about the movie. For more on the original series go here: Wild Wild West

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