Maverick is unique in the annals of TV Westerns. Eschewing the usual soap-opera-esque formulae of lawmen, ranchers, et al, Maverick features the brothers Maverick, who were raised by their old "Pappy" to be footloose and fancy-free card players – until they were 38 years old, at which point, we are told, they were supposed to settle down and raise a family. Not only that, the poker-playing brothers tend to win a variety of interesting pots, ranging from Mexican cantinas to Arabian camels. Thus, the writers were free to set their stories wherever their fancy took them within the historical constraints of the period, specifically, the 1870's, i.e., post-Civil-War America. Given this broad stage, the writers provide the audience with a wide range of settings, ranging from elite San Francisco drawing rooms to cattle drives, and from ocean voyages to gold-mining towns (desperately in need of cats…). Historical situations and characters, such as the Comstock mine and Doc Holliday, are often featured in the show's story lines. In addition to the variety of settings, we are treated to a range of colorful characters, including charming grifters of both sexes, fugitive French aristocracy, and salty sea captains. The usual assortment of sheriffs (crooked and scrupulous), gunslingers (honorable and otherwise) and dance-hall beauties of all stripes are also in evidence. New viewers will appreciate guest spots by such notable (later) stars as Clint Eastwood, Martin Landau, and Buddy Ebsen. Especially memorable is a very young Joel Gray playing Billy the Kid. And although the Maverick brothers are resolute bachelors for the duration, they are invariably gentlemen towards the various beautiful, ambitious, and intelligent women they encounter in each episode. On the other hand, Indians are often portrayed as randomly homicidal, albeit with a few thoughtful exceptions. Also, African American characters are eerily absent from the series, even from episodes set in New Orleans, presumably a sign of the times (the "times" in question being the late 1950's). With those caveats, this reviewer heartily recommends Maverick to all viewers who enjoy intelligent dialog, historical enlightenment, and engaging, thought-provoking plotlines.
I was 11 when the series began. So prime time in making an impression on me. I liked westerns plenty. Maverick was a cut above the rest but I didn't appreciate how much better until American Life (Free-To-Air on C-Band) replayed the series on Thursdays some years ago. Now that they're on Encore Westerns weekdays, in morning singles and evening pairs, I get a quicker overview. I can barely watch the other Warner Brothers series because they seem staid, self-important. Maverick had an ironic perspective that remains fresh.
Unlike many other fans I have equal respect for all the seasons. For me the scripts kept to a high standard. I share the view of some that Jack Kelly was an under-appreciated talent. He steered the storylines admirably and with personality. It's a kick to see Roger Moore in his pre-Bond days. His Maverick was like his Bond, a diluted version of the archetype but comfortably watchable.
The slew of recurring characters (Dandy Jim, Gentleman Jack, etc.) offered a cohesion that extended the family. WB also lavished care on the series by bringing in new talent to fill bit parts. Many of these starters had durable careers subsequently. One of the kicks is spotting them and tracking their growths.
As its current TV.com editor wrote me: "People will relate to this show when cars fly." No doubt.
Thanks to Encore's Western Chanel, Maverick rides again! And yes, the episodes appear to be both uncut and commercial free - running in order according to TV.Com's episode guide. As of Tuesday, Aug. 19th : the AM showing is episode #13 from Season 1, and the PM showing is episode 32 from Season 2.
Maverick was ahead of its time in that the brothers used wit and intelligence to handle the strange situations that they found themselves in week after week. They could ride and shoot and there was often plenty of action, but their pappy didn't raise no foolish children, these boys used their big muscle. They were gamblers and con men, and yet honest and trustworthy - both heroes and anti-heroes, well-before that was considered the cool, 'in' thing.
Standards were kept high for the writers, the stars and the first rate guest stars that appeared week after week. Unfortunately, as Mad_Buck pointed out in his review, things went downhill a bit once James Garner left the show to concentrate on movies, but it was great fun while it lasted - especially when brothers Bret and Bart were both in the same wild episode.
This is great stuff, whether you're from the 1950's or not. Although I'm not a fan of b&w or mono sound, this show (with all three brothers : James Garner, Jack Kelly and Roger Moore) is a well-written, high quality classic. Enjoy, Pardner
James Garner was perfect as Bret Maverick.
Maverick was and is one of the best westerns to ever appear on television. Even beyond that, it is one of the better shows on television period. The writing was so good that it still holds up to today's standards. The regular cast was outstanding. The guest starts were absolutely fantastic. In this time period of television many famous actors would make appearances on great television shows such as this. Then there were the up and coming actors that would go on to become huge stars and used this as a springboard of sorts. All in all a great show that can still be watched today without missing a beat.
I would have to say that Maverick was one of the best westerns on TV. I know that most would disagree with me and defer to Gunsmoke. But I think that for me it was about the humor that Bret had. His devil take care attitude. He always was fun to watch. Even the remake of the 1980's was fun to watch. I alway kinda had a crush on James Garner after that show. I know that most of my watching was in reruns. I only gave it 9.8 because I believe that nothing is perfect. And one of the bad things about this show was the changing of characters at the end of the series. Don't get me wrong I had no problem with Bret and Bart. It was when they started to bring in all the others.
Maverick was a classic Western series that did things a little differently than most. It incorporated humor and parody into its storylines. This humor took what was a fairly routine show and turned it into a classic. James Garner starred as Bart Maverick, a card shark who would rather run than fight. Jack Kelly lent excellent support as brother Bart who was built along the same lines. Storylines parodied such shows as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Dragnet. Maverick was unique for its time and hasn't been successfully duplicated since.
Sadly, the show didn't last as long as it should have. Star James Garner wanted out of the series to make feature films. He walked off the Warner Brothers lot after the show's third season and sued to get out of his contract. Garner never appeared in the series again and was replaced by Roger Moore whose efforts were a bit more pedestrian. Moore left after one season and Kelly carried on the best he could for the Maverick's fifth and final year on the air but things weren't the same. Maverick breathed its last in the spring of 1962 going to that great poker game in the sky.
Please read the following before uploading
Do not upload anything which you do not own or are fully licensed to upload. The images should not contain any sexually explicit content, race hatred material or other offensive symbols or images. Remember: Abuse of the TV.com image system may result in you being banned from uploading images or from the entire site – so, play nice and respect the rules!