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.