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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

209 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2005 :  12:39:53  Show Profile
Hey all,
Our dear readers probably noticed that after reading in the archived pages that I never reviewed any of the 1st season episodes and missed a few of the 2nd season episodes. So being the completist that I am, here are mini-reviews for the 1st season.

My Criteria
1 star= awful
2 stars= rushed
3 stars= Some plot holes
4 stars= One Problem
5 stars= Excellent

TNOT Inferno: 3 out of 5 stars
Without this episode we wouldn't have our favorite series. It is a very tame west by our standards, the team dynamic is not down yet. Artie isn't even the inventor we would better recognize him as. James Gregory, Vitor Buono, Suzanne Pleshette, and Nehemiah Persoff are all wonderful. But, basically this episode introduces us to Jim West, the dandiest dude from the East with his own Train and a deadly assortment of weaponry. We meet his witty partner, the master of Disguise Artemus Gordon, his makeups here are pretty tame and sadly Gordon falls under bumbling sidekick here, but hey its just the beinning

TNOT Double-Edged Knife: 3 out of 5 stars
Also known as the 2nd pilot, This is what our show is a bout great guest stars that help a ho hum script: Leslie Nielson, John Drew Barrymore, Katherine Ross, and Elisha Cook. The team Dynamic is better here in that Artie is now believable as the Master of Disguise 4 here = 2 Indians, Old Man RailRoad Worker and Shy Thug. However Jim gets both girls in the end Yuck!

TNOT Casual Killer: 4 out of 5 stars
Very Western plot, but it has a Mission Impossible feel to it. John Maxwell Avery (The awesomely wicked John Dehner)is not going to be taken back to Washington no matter what! Ruta Lee's Laurie Morgan is a disappointing bubble head (She'll more than make up for it in the next season as Zoe the Gypsy Quenn in TNOT Gypsy Peril.) Team Dynamic is out of whack. Jim is in Disguise as a magician, while Artie plays himself a Shakespearian trained actor. However, Jim does get pretty roughed up to prove that he is not a Gov't man.

TNOT Fatal Trap: 2 out of 5 stars
Not very wild at all and much too Western. One wonders why our boys talents should even be wasted here. Jim again in disguise as Frank Slade with mustache. Great scene between RC and Joanna Moore as Linda Medford. (very funny and prooves that RC can be funny). RM is wonderful as Mojave Mike. Tennyson gets in on the plot too. Vasquez is not very threatening. In fact, I would say he is quite charming except for his jealousy. Not alot of gadgets= ho-hum.

TNOT Deadly Bed: 3 out of 5 stars
Here's where our show gets somewhat recognizable. Beautiful women, gadgets, action, and madmen bent on destroying the world. Barbara Luna's Gatilla is nothing short of gorgeous, however she has one of the most cringeworthy lines in all WWW's History calling our hero Jimmy! Yuck! J.D. Cannon's Florey, like any true madman wants to be Napolean with his deadly rocket train. The team dynamic is still outta whack. Artie is now the quatermaster providing Jim with gadgets in the 1st act and not showing up till the last act to help Jim. Jim starts a trend that will be killed to death as our series progresses. He puts on a mere gaucho and is instantly in workman disguise.

TNT Wizard Shook the Earth: 5 out of 5 stars
This is the one folks. The introduction of West's most indescribable Villians, Dr. Miguelito Loveless. One of the most complex charcters this series ever developed. Many kudos must go to Michael Dunn and John Kneubuhl for bringing such a dynamic character with so many inconsistances to life. The good Doctor kills a contemporary so that his secret explosive does not fall into the US hands and will use it to regain California. killing millions. On the other side of the coin our Dear Doctor loves all that is Beautiful and will not even kill a fly that has landed in his tea. However, being born a dwarf Loveless holds a large grudge against the world and no longer feel the pain of not being "normal" making him a truly dangerous advisary indeed. Gordon is here just ot provide some warnings and Jims gadget ridden stage coach, but the star of this show is the Doctor Himself.

TNOT Sudden Death: 4 out of 5 stars
A wonderful eppisode that actually uses our boys for one of their true jobs, tracking down counterfeiters. There are non-stop traps instore for our heroes as they enter Trevor's (Robert Loggia) circus of death: A Man who can crush you with his thighs, alligators, the skin trap, as well as "The Most Deadly Game" between West and Trevor in the final act. Hey, and Artie even gets the girl at the end.

TNO A Thousand Eyes: 4 out of 5 stars
Jeff Corey is Coffin a blind man who wants to take over the shipping lanes along the Mississippi. He is a very deadly threat in that he slaughters the entire crew aboard a tresspassing steamship. Coffin is a modern day pirate. The team dynamic is excellent here. Artie even gets out of fisticuffs with two thugs at a bathhouse, to thus prove that you don't need to use force to overcome opponents. However, their is one unforgivable turn of events West and Gordon succumb to the affections of the villianess Jennifer Wingate (Diane McBain) who let her go after kissing her. Yuck!

TNOT Glowing Corpse: 3 out of 5 stars
Kipp Hamilton plays Cluny Ormont, the series first lead female heavy. She uses her cunning to get West in one of the series most deadly traps, the orchid fumigator. Artie provides the Gadgets and a wonderful Irish deliveryman, but the plot fails because we know who the villian is too soon.

TNOT Dancing Death: 2 out of 5 stars
The first low ranking Frieberger produced episode. This one was truly rushed plot with Mark Richman's Prince Gio being the villian. The audience can tell in the very first few minutes that he is the heavy. Also, alot of padding with the assassination cult the Camorra. Arte is brilliant as the Grand Elector of Saxony. Jim is up to his high fighting status, and we are more than glad that he sends Gio crushing to his death.

TNT Terror Stalked the Town: 4 out of 5 stars
The return of the wicked Dr. Loveless in this basic evil double episode. Antoinette and Voltaire both return with the dare Doctor, and they are just as superb here as they were in their last appearance, this time around they are given more to do like help Loveless with making the perfect west Double. this Episode marks the 1st time that Artie goes up against the Doctor with the introduction of Artie's musical theme and his dear Aunt Maud routine. The Episode loses a star because every tv show always uses the double cliche.

TNOT Red-Eyed Madman: 3 out of 5 stars
It's a truly chilling episode with references to militia groups of today. Martin Landau's Grimm is not your usual mad military man either. He excepts the equality of the "Fair sex" and he is not screaming and shouting. In fact, he has glossed over eyes that asks you if general Grimm is all there mentally. however, the low marks are due to West's easy infiltration of the Milita, the sudden way the militia disbands once Grimm is dead, and the cringeworthy tag that has Musk taking forever to become a true woman. Yuck!

TNOT Human Trigger: 3 out of 5 stars
The plot is a little over the top. A Professor can make earthquakes at his finger tips, plus the shaking camera bit once an earthquake hits gets real old real fast. However, Burgess Meredith's Cadwallader is wonderful. I've had Professors like him at college, very absent minded and ready to pounce if you do not see things his way. I don't believe for a second that any of those thugs are his sons, it would have been more believable if they were his students trying to pass his class. Jim and Artie are wonderful, but Artie wasts too much time trying to save the ungrateful "Mr. Zucker from Green Acres" let him fry! lol!

TNOT Torture Chamber: 2 out of 5 Stars
The last of the Frieberger produced episodes ends with a whimper rather than a bang. Don't worry folks, Frieberger will also help ruin the last season of the original Star Trek tv show. Another rushed plot that never has the titular chamber the audience was craving. Oh please, a wine press is not torturess at all. The team dynamic is dead on. Love Arte's French Art Critic telling Bolt he has nothing but forgeries. Another evil double plot (ho-hum). Plus, the contradictory Miss Piecemeal. Last we saw her she worked for Loveless and helped to capture West. This time she works for Bolt, but fails him. Yet our boys still don't arrest her. Yuck!

TNOT Howling Light: 5 out of 5 stars
Exquisite episode that truly proved the team dynamic. Jim's concern about a dead "Artie" is truly touching. Artie's tift with Ahkeema is nothing short of priceless. Plus, Artie's search for Jim is also as chilling as his search for Jim in TNO A thousand Eyes. It is truly shocking how close Arcularis came to brainwashing Jim. Deepending on how you look at it, Arcularis succeeded Jim does shot what truly caused him pain Ahkeema's shinny medalion. I love how Jim has to knock out the hypnotized Artie without hurting him. Indeed it is far too easy for Jim to get through to the hypnotized ones, but I can overlook it because we only have an hour to work with.

TNOT Steel Assassin: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Boy does this one come close to being perfect. John Dehner is back as Torres who has a legitimate grudge against President Grant, who was blown up while the future president put him on guard duty. every inch of his body was replaced with steel making him one of the most impervious villians to date. The most chilling scene in the entire series is when West shoots Torres in the head and the bullet flies off to leave a steel streak. (boy they don't make shows like this anymore) Artie and Jim are in top form. Artie while not hypnotized, takes a needle all the way to the bone. (That is dedication!) This is the first time that Artie disguises himself as President Grant, which he will do once in each of the following series of our favorite show. Speaking of Grant, this is the first appearence of cast regular Roy Engel as Grant. "Assassin" fails due to the obnoxious Nina Gilbert (Sue Anne Langdon) She is rude and superflous to the plot, and when she is hypnotized she is not believable at all. She causes our boys to say some cringeworthy and sexist things. Thanks Nina for Ruining this one!

TNT Dragon Screamed: 4 out of 5 Stars
I do indeed like this one because of a very intriguing plot that isn't very easy to follow. (It feels like one of those oldtime spy thrillers with Bogart) It has one of my favorite teasers with Jim saving Artie from the deadly gatling gun, It's full of traps, West is kissed the most this season by Princess Ching Ling (France Nunen?), Artie's Asian makeup is superb and not mocking, and it employs a beevy of Asian actors that you can point out from dozens of popular tv shows. However, my gripe is that the writers do not go the un PC route and give us racist sterotypes, but it does employee a very decadent scene. The Scene consists of Jim West fighting off no less that 10 karate killers. He easily beats them and for some reason this rubs me the wrong way. I find it disrespectful in that an occidental can defeat these men who are trained in this fine martial art. I wish instead that they did something witty like in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Where Jim like Indy shoots something that will dispose of the oncoming forces. I just don't think RC's Karate is that good to stop these forces.

TNOT Flamming Ghost: 3 out of 5 stars
I never got the connection between the Martyred John Brown who gave his life for the absolution of slavery and the criminal Ghost of the John Brown here probably due to a rushed plot. I felt that maybe this John Brown could have given his life to save Native American relations, but why besmerch the real John Brown's name with crime. The plot asks us to believe alot. The fire cannon is laughable because all it does it set a dead tree on fire. (We better give in to the Ghosts demands! lol) The protective suits are ridiculous and if they are so effective how does John Brown burn to death? Plus, they let Carma Vasquez go. Why? She trapped Jim among deadly Rattlesnakes and she gave Artie's disguise away. Yeah she deserves to go free. NOT! Ah, this was rushed and I'm being generous!

TNOT Grand Emir: 3 out of 5 stars
Another rushed stinker that asks us to believe alot. I do like how we feel that the lead Heavy is killed off in the 1st act. If the assassination squad was so intent on having the Emir join them why try to kill him several times with a very poor assassin ala Ecstasy La Joie. Which, brings up a great question. Why allow Ecstasy join the squad if she never killed anybody, but maybe that is the point. Maybe they sent her to kill the Emir so that she wouldn't kill the Emir. LOL! Or maybe T. Wiggett Jones went to all this trouble in order to see if Jim would join the assassins. I don't know, and I'm starting to get a headache trying to figure it out. Low marks also for the Emir giving Artie away. Plus, the biggest abomination of all Wiggett Jones kicks the tar out of Jim West with lame karate. (Thank God Jim would lose the karate and just use fisticuffs) Yeah right, We've seen Jim outnumbered and overpower 10 karate killers, but the writers expect us to believe that this twit stands a chance against West! Keep dreamin'.

TNOT Whirring Death: 3 out of 5 stars
The Christmas Episode without being the Christmas Episode. Dr. Loveless is still trying to take over California (Give it up already!) Voltaire speaks! (We really wish he didn't!) I still can't believe that Richard Kiel left because he wanted Voltaire to speak. I just wish Voltaire had stayed so that we would not have to deal with the thuggish Axel Morgan or the awful Deuce in later seasons. There are very dangerous explosions that kill nobody. (So why bother!) You can't blame Kneubuhl he didn't write this, plus we should just be thankful that we still have Antoinette and Voltaire one last time. Opps, almost forgot to mention Pamela Austin's Priscilla, every scene she is in melts me. Another of the very beautiful Actresses in this season.

TNOT Puppeteer: 5 out of 5 stars
This is the reason why the show was effective in black and white folks. Indeed the set is nothing more than a black backdrop, but boy it still holds up to this day. This is what defines the Wild Wild West for me. Sci-fi perfectly blended into an action pact plot. Yes it is the fugitive wants revenge for going to jail plot, but it is done with such class. There are more twists here than on the Matahorn at Disney. West thinks he's dealing with the villianess Skull, but in reality Skull is nothing more than a puppet being manipulted by the spidery disfigured Skull from the large tangled web above. And time and a gain we are alluded to this disfigured wretch. He hides underneath Triton's Pub. Triton was the disfigured see god of mythology. The grace of the puppet guards is breathtakingly chilling. Oh this one is a treat!

TNOT Bars of Hell: 3 out of 5 stars
We get the impressive Richard Donner's first West outting. It isn't bad. Everyone always fears that a prison holds the bad guys in, but it also keeps us out. And the perfect plot would be to use a prison as a cover to criminals still committing crimes. There are traps galore and it is truly action packed, but historicaly the electric chair was not invented yet. And I feel that the last act has forced twists where Warden Reagan beats our boys, then they outwit Reagan, who outwits them again. But don't worry Richard Donner has some humdingers up his sleeve.

TNOT Two-Legged Buffalo: 4 out of 5 stars
This episode demands more than one viewing to understand that all this episode is truly about is subterfuge. Nothing is as it seems period. It's a very refreshing plot that gets us away from mad Scientists and Presidential Assassins, but for your average one time viewer the plot seems superflous. My only problem with the episode is that we will never know what the true Prince was really like. Barbarian, Civilized, or a bit of both?

TNOT Druid's Blood: 3 out of 5 stars
This episode is a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong though, people who all of a sudden catch fire is truly chilling, but the title is a misnomer. It should be TNOT Stolen Brains, but why would we watch that? Thank goodness Asmodeus is not the Lead heavy, he is nothing more than a poor man's Count Manzeppi. The Dr. Tristam twist is rather ho-hum and Jim's talking the brains into revolt is nothing short of laughable. Creeping in graveyards and crypts had promise that feel flat with the basic take over Washington plot. Opps, I almost forgot the introduction of the Bucket jump.

TNOT Free Booters: 2 out of 5 stars
It's another rehash of TNOT Red-Eyed Madman with West in disguise easily penetrating a secret militia. Keenan Wynn and William Campbell are wonderfull actors, but they are your basic cowboy/militia men who were kicked out of the army for being too strict. Ho-hum! The Juggernaut is neat, but we will see it again in the 4th season. I also think Artie is in one of the worst disguises of the series as the old lady of the secret service. Thankfully RM only dressed in drag twice throughout the entire series.

TNOT Burning Diamond: 4 out of 5 stars
This is a very good entry for the series especially so late in the season. Makes me wish Gene Coon stayed here to help our favorite show come the end of season 2, but he went onto Star Trek, making it the cult phenomina that it is today. Burning Diamond is excellent. Drinking Diamond juice gives you invisibilty. Our Boys are in top form. My only gripe is how the Serbians and Baines treat our boys and automatically arrest them at the Diamond Exhibition. Plus, I've always wondered how our boys could explain themselves. After all, Midas died without so much as a trace, so how could are boys prove that he committed the diamond robberies especially with no moree diamond elixer left. The world may never know?

TNOT Murderous Spring: 5 out of 5 Stars
Thank goodness Kneubuhl is back. The Producers should have made this the last episode of the series, but it was not to pass. What a dozy! Jim shoots and kills Artie under the Spell of the vengeful Dr. Loveless. If Loveless did not need to boast to our boys about this scheme, He would have easily taken over the world by having peopel destroy one another. Plus, could there ever be a character the audience could be sympathetic too like Loveless. Yes! Kitty Twitty, what a touching character. All she wants is to be thin and win over the admoration of her true love Dr. Loveless. It really takes dedication to stop the one you love by foiling his plan. but thankfully Kitty realizes how dangerous Loveless is and that he only cares about himself and not the world at large. A truly moving and gripping epiosde.

TNOT Sudden Plague: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars
This is a ship in the bottle episode and a very dull ending to this wonderful season. The Ship a paralyzing bacteria. That has promise if it was used to topple a govenment or enter fort knox, but no! The bacteria is used to rob towns and territories of one of the most obnoxious governors in the entire series. (Ho-hum!) Jim and Artie should have let him rot! Hold on though, there's gotta be twists! One of the biggest twists is that the bad guys chase down Jim, but capture Artie. (Ho-Hum!) What about the villian, he's gotta be promising? The main twist is that the villain is made bald due to his experiments. (Ho-Hum!) What about traps they must be death defying? The big trap is that Artie is going to get his face eaten by giant rats (ferrets). (Ho-Hum!) Whats the Big shocker? The thugs overpower the mad scientist to use the bacterium for themselves. (Ho-Hum!) Do our boys finally get the pretty girl in the end? Nope, she's engaged to be married (Ho-Hum!) The writers seemed to have cared less and so do we. Let's get on with the 2nd season.

SS 1st assignment - desk job

139 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2005 :  13:45:19  Show Profile
Wonderful job! Your reviews were concise and expertly written. Perhaps we should do something like this for all the seasons. I must admit that I am a little disappointed that more people did not respond to my Guilty Pleasures thread. I thought it would be fun but I must have been in the minority. Again, great job Herr!
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SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2005 :  20:00:15  Show Profile
In another thread,each episode is rated on how they did in the reviews. Three episode, The Night of the Burning Diamond, Puppeteer and Murderous Spring earned a perfect score. Dragon Screemed did well too. It had a perfect average but only 3 1/2 noses. Bars of Hell also was a perfect average but not in noses only getting 3.

Which of these episodes or any of the episodes of season one would you rate as the best of season one and why?

You would have knocked out Bars of Hell from the competetion with your rating.

Why do you call TNOT Double-Edged Knife a second pilot?

Excellent reviews
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SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2005 :  20:15:58  Show Profile
I am a little disappointed that more people did not respond to my Guilty Pleasures thread
Give it some time note Herr Ostropolyer using guilty preasure in his review. I think you have added it to our thought process.
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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

209 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2005 :  08:28:04  Show Profile
Hey couldron,
I couldn't have sworn that it was in the Kessler Bible that TNOT Double Edged Knife is considered to be the 2nd pilot because of the use of many elements that makes us recognize the series for what it is. I even recollect ccb calling it such. External train shots: My reason for believing this is the great use of The Wonderer itself. The more "wild" plot: serial killings until gold has been delivered. It is a Western episode, but it has many twists. Star Power: Two A list Actors Leslie Nielson and John Drew Barrymore are here. The team dynamic: with Artie in two great disguises. However, I may be confused in that this episode may have been the runner up for the pilot.
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SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2005 :  15:38:11  Show Profile

I know that the pilot was made twice but it was the same story with a little added and had a different theme. Hope someone can enlighten us.
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SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2005 :  17:11:39  Show Profile
In the matter of West's second pilot, "The Double-Edged Knife" may not have been so designated, but it certainly "reads" that way to me:

1. The all-star cast.
2. The comparatrively high production values: all those exteriors with the train.
3. The fairly obvious introduction of all the principal characters.
4. The fact that it was the first of the regular season episodes to be produced, after the true pilot, "The Inferno."

In a word, a lot of money was spent on this episode to establish much of the series' framework: an elaborate western; Conrad's action; Martin's disguises; the anachonistic spy gadgetry.

I'm puzzled, however by couldron's comment:

I know that the pilot was made twice but it was the same story with a little added and had a different theme.

Honestly, I didn't know that the pilot was made twice. Mary, can you help me out here?
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