DVD Review: Maverick: The Complete First Season (Warner Bros.)

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Maverick First Season DVD

Although one could presume that virtually every classic TV show season is available on disc by this point, here’s an iconic show that, up to now, has not been available. The release of season one (from 1957!) of the classic western comedy series Maverick is a cause for celebration among the show’s many fans.

Maverick featured the originator of snark, James Garner at the titular character, Bret Maverick, a wiseguy gambler who roamed from town to town, getting in and out of scrapes and romantic entanglements. Maverick was noteworthy (and still is, really) for being the atypical western hero—instead of engaging in shoot-outs or bar brawls, he tried to stay out of fights, even though he usually ended up doing the right, brave thing—reluctantly.

While Garner is commonly associated with the character, there were other Mavericks. In this season, the producers introduced Jack Kelly as Bret’s brother Bart, mainly so they could stay on top of their shooting schedule by making solo episodes with the different “brothers” simultaneously.

Kelly was OK in his role, but it’s all about Garner here. Fully embodying the dry-wit persona he’d perfect in 1970s detective series The Rockford Files, he remains a compelling presence in these episodes, always entertaining and not at all dated for modern sensibilities.

This welcome, well-produced set presents all 27 episodes comprising the first season, in crisply transferred black-and-white. Keep in mind that as with other old shows, this is a Full-Screen 1:33 presentation—there weren’t none of that there widescreen TV in those days, pilgrim. But these are really fun, breezy shows, full of wit and whimsy, and a welcome addition to any lover of classic TV, particularly the many excellent westerns produced in the 1950s and 1960s.

It’s hard to believe it took this long. After all, Maverick was made into a successful film with Mel Gibson in 1994—that should’ve prompted the release of these shows much sooner. But better late than never.

Buy Maverick: The Complete First Season at Amazon
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