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Maverick: The Complete First Season

 Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 33.74
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One of the most consistently entertaining shows from Television's Golden Age, this witty meta-Western has lost little of its oomph over the years, thanks to the easy, slightly amoral charm of James Garner, as a hero whose speed on the draw isn't half as important as what's going on underneath his hat. Created by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive), the series follows the adventures of Bret Maverick (Garner), a professional gambler who travels across the plains and prairies looking for the next big game. As the show's popularity increased, the saga expanded with the introduction of Bret's brother Bart (Jack Kelly), a slightly more conservative figure who nonetheless shares his sibling's knack for capitalizing on a double-deal. Admittedly, this introductory season does take a while to distinguish itself from the run-of-the-mill oater, with the first half-dozen episodes functioning as more-or-less traditional genre fare. (The combination of Garner and legendary director Budd Boetticher, however, makes viewing far from a chore.) Once it finds its groove, though, look out, as the show settles into an amiable blend of comedy and action that has rarely been equaled. Throughout these 27 episodes, the wandering nature of the premise allows Maverick to amble into an impressive variety of situations, including ghost stories, adventures at sea (the Bret and Bart combo episode "The Wrecker," based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson), tense saloon standoffs ("The Quick and the Dead," featuring Gerald Mohr as a spooky Doc Holliday), and courtroom dramas (the superb "Rope of Cards," which also introduces Bret's highly addictive variation on solitaire). Entertaining as the plots could be, however, Maverick proves to be at its best when it kicks back and allows its title characters to ply their trade at the tables, especially when the competition includes one of the show's unusually strong female characters, particularly the recurring foil (and fellow cardsharp) Samantha Crawford, played by the delightful Diane Brewster. (Garner, as in the later Huggins-created The Rockford Files, displays particular energy when paired with a costar who gives as good as she gets.) While this compilation features little in the way of extras, Western fans should find it pleasure enough to watch a series whose softly ironic charms have been often imitated, but never quite duplicated. When it's cooking, living on jacks and queens seems like the ideal way to go. --Andrew Wright


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Papi Always Said... Dec 30 2012
By Taser Me TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Prior to purchasing this set, I had only seen bits of this show many years ago. However, I am a big James Garner fan, so there wasn't much hesitation to order it. I am very glad I did. The first season is extremely entertaining, an excellent blend of drama and comedy. I admit that I didn't enjoy the early episodes with Jack Kelly as much , but that is not a knock on Kelly as much as it is my appreciation for Garner. Believe me, Kelly's Bart Maverick will endear himself to you long before you reach the end of the the first season.

I normally purchase the complete series of a show rather than individual seasons, but when Season 2 of Maverick is released, I will order it promptly. I just had so much fun watching it the first time over the summer. I started rewatching the series last week, and it is just as much fun the second time.

Money spent on this series is money well spent.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Bought as gift. Jan. 8 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Hasn't been opened yet, but it received great excitement by my father-in-law. He used to love watching this TV show. Bought him both season 1 and season 2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maverick Finally July 3 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a must for Western fans. I can hardly wait for season two! James Garner is at his best, he is Rockford in the 1800's.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Legend is true July 16 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent TV. The best of the wholeera.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  184 reviews
84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...and Maverick is the name... May 31 2012
By McGillicutty - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
After all these years, the celebrated first full season of the classic Western series "Maverick" finally makes it to DVD. This was the series that made James Garner famous and shaped much of his image that audiences enjoyed in his second TV hit "The Rockford Files" as well as films such as "The Great Escape" and "Support Your Local Sheriff".

When "Maverick" first appeared in 1957, it immediately set itself apart from most Western series thanks to its somewhat lighter approach and the magnetic character that Garner had created. While the first episodes of the season are generally more serious in tone than what "Maverick" became famous for, the sheer entertainment value and strong story telling is apparent right from the get-go with the pilot episode "War of the Silver Kings" which demonstrated the ability of Bret Maverick to quickly think on his feet.

The first seven episodes feature only James Garner, but it was taking too long to shoot each episode to fulfill the contract so they brought in Jack Kelly as Bret's brother Bart Maverick and they began splitting episodes. Kelly brought a much needed addition to the series with his unique personality and style which worked well with Garner. The series then began taking on the somewhat lighter tone that made "Maverick" famous.

This 27 episode collection on 7 DVDs is moderately priced and well packaged, though there are no extras whatsoever which is a little sad considering the long wait for this series to come to DVD. There is a small insert which gives a basic description of each episode and highlights the noteworthy guest stars. Otherwise, this collection is fairly bare bones though it does have some highly entertaining episodes such as the aforementioned "War of the Silver Kings".

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this release is the fair to good quality of the episode prints themselves. There are scenes in some episodes such as "Ghost Rider" that are grainy and of poor quality. Perhaps the master prints are not in very good shape and either no effort or attempt was made to restore them. Plus, some episodes such as "According to Hoyle" and "The Long Hunt" actually used old stock footage from previous Warner Brother's western films such as "Dodge City".

For the generally poorer quality of the episode prints and the lack of any extras, I am docking this DVD collection one star. However, this should not reflect poorly on the highly entertaining nature of the episodes themselves which certainly deserve a 5 star rating.

For those who want to see James Garner establish the character that he became famous for, this is still a fine collection for those who want to see one of the most entertaining Western TV series ever made.
111 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maverick Sept. 4 2007
By Harry Brewer - Published on Amazon.com
This was one of the best westerns that was ever on tv. James Garner is the highlight in the series. Maverick was serious & irreverent at the same time. This is one series that Warner Bros. ought to release on dvd. There were many classic episodes from this series, way too many to mention here. C'mon Warner, just do it! There are way too many out here waiting to gobble this one up!

We have 124 episodes in the original Maverick & it was actually aired for five seasons, the last one only producing 13 episodes. James Garner was only in the first three seasons, Jack Kelly (though not casted originally) appeared in all five seasons, Roger Moore did one season (the fourth), while Robert Colbert appeared in two episodes the fourth season. James Garner was the real star & Maverick launched his career. Surprisingly, Roger Moore (James Bond) did well in his one season as cousin Beau.

If Warner Bros. ever decides to release this on dvd we will be in for a treat. I, for one, would buy this even if it is a single set. C'mon everybody... let's flood the airwaves at WB asking for this!

For those interested: About 50 episodes are available for viewing at [...] but downloading is not available. Their delivery system is not particularly good though, video will stop multiple times for several seconds. It's better than nothing.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maverick Makes History March 18 2008
By Tim R. Niles - Published on Amazon.com
I bought every available episode of "Maverick" as offered by Columbia House ($25 for 2 episodes) - I think about 50 total - and it was wonderful. After a while the plots seem to be recycled, but to watch James Garner take the TV western where it had never gone before was amazing to review as an adult, 50 years later. Physically, Garner did not look 29 at the start of the series nor his acting seem that of someone relatively new to acting for film/TV but he was extraordinary from the start.

I stumbled into looking for the DVDs and was amazed that they have not been released.
56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars maverick Aug. 18 2007
By steve white - Published on Amazon.com
maverick is one of the best westerns.the best first episode of any of the westerns. i don`t understand why WB has not released all five seasons it would sell and be a big hit for them again.we need to get back to good tv again.they WB needs to bring back all of the old westerns please WB.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maverick was the best humorous western of all time. June 21 2009
By Ted E. Limpert - Published on Amazon.com
It's true that James Garner was the main star of Maverick. He created a unique western hero whose first instinct was to avoid confrontation and conflict whenever possible. This instinct produced situations full of real humor which was never successfully duplicated on other television shows. In fact, it was only successfully recreated in James Garner's two classic western comedies, "Support Your Local Sheriff" and "Support Your Local Gunfighter," both of which had the Maverick humor without Maverick. Glenn Ford's "The Sheepman" also had that rare kind of real humor. Unlike some of the other viewers, I always enjoyed Jack Kelly's episodes, too. His scripts seemed to be first-rate reproductions of old B-movie mysteries, and Jack Kelly's Maverick always solved the mystery and got the girl at the end. Warner Brothers should release the entire series on DVD.
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