"The Wild Wild West" is 100% proof that casting is the key to any show's success. The pairing of Robert Conrad and Ross Martin was inspired, and their real-life camaraderie made the rapport and friendship between Jim and Artie all the more believable. Not only are they clearly having fun working together, but their different styles compliment one another extremely well. Nobody is going to hail Robert Conrad for his "acting," but as a steely-eyed action hero with two fists, wit and an eye for the ladies, he's perfect. On the other hand, Ross Martin isn't an action hero, but his subtle humor, theatrical style and flair are the perfect balance to Jim West. Today, as so many TV characters are cookie-cutter, it's nice to see a show where the leads were actually unique and distinctive.
The stories have been well-done, elaborate capers that hold up remarkably well. There is tongue-in-cheek humor, like some of the best James Bond movies, but it never is overrun by silliness or camp. It's childhood fantasies and play brought to life - cowboys, spies, mad scientists, damsels in distress. Only "Brisco County Jr." matched "Wild Wild West" in capturing this spirit on a weekly TV show.
It's great watching West and Gordon tangle with some of these megalomaniacs (including J.D. Cannon, Robbert Loggia, Leslie Nielsen, Martin Landau, Burgess Meredith, John Dehner and the great Michael Dunn as Dr. Loveless!) with great stories and a musical score that has some of the best themes and incidental music from a TV show of that era, in my opinion. I'm very glad that Paramount is going to release the complete run. This is a show that has been a treat to discover on DVD!