Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Wild Wild West

When I was a kid I hated this show or more exactly I remember hating this show when I was a kid because in fact I otherwise have no memories of it. Watching the first disc of Season One the opening credit sequence is familiar but pretty much nothing else so who knows how many episodes I actually watched (& certainly not the Will Smith movie). I rented this disc partly because some recent reviews hooked me on the Western aspect and even more the proto-steampunk angle, even if the show does seem to have been too mindless to really matter much in that regard. The first four episodes are mildly amusing though without much of the sf or parody that supposedly characterized the show once it got going. These are straight James Bond-inspired stories with a bit of tongue in cheek (the producers manage to get Robert Conrad shirtless in all four stories) though the fourth episode ("Night of Sudden Death") is so bad you wanna go all MST3K on it. Nothing to make me want to rent any more, especially when there's so much other TV on DVD to go through not to mention actual movies....

Two oddities worth mentioning. Each episode runs almost exactly 50 minutes. Was there really only 10 minutes of commercials per hour in 1965? And during one episode there's supposed to be an explosion behind a man coming down off a gangplank. Thought I noticed something about it so went back and did a freeze-frame. Sure enough, for about three frames they had scratched out the image around the man's figure, apparently to give the impression of a white explosion behind him. It looked more Brakhage-esque but if nothing else was certainly a cheap special effect.