|Ross Martin and Robert Conrad|
James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemis Gordon (Ross Martin) are back for a second [now in color] season of the post-Civil War spy series, The Wild, Wild West. Amidst a plethora of mediocre and plain silly episodes are some more notable stories, such as the exciting "Night of the Raven" with Dr. Loveless (Michael Dunn) and Phyllis Newman [better than you might imagine] as an Indian princess. "Big Blast" guest-stars Ida Lupino as Dr. Faustino, who uses human bomb duplicates of Artie and Jim to try to blow up Congress! "Ready-Made Corpse" features Carroll O'Connor as a man who provides new faces for wanted criminals. "Man-Eating House" is a weird -- too weird -- but entertaining episode guest-starring Hurd Hatfield as an escaped jailbird in a creepy old haunted house. Dr. Loveless reappears in "Bogus Bandits" -- also guest-starring the inimitable Patsy Kelley -- staging bank robberies yet throwing away the money! The two most memorable episodes feature female antagonists: Delphi Lawrence makes an excellent Lucrece Posey, trying to form a criminal group of hit men in "Poisonous Posey"; and no less than Agnes Moorehead plays a murderous marriage broker in "Vicious Valentine," which probably has the most suspenseful climax of any season two episode. Another notable episode is "Tottering Tontine," in which members of a survivor-takes-all financial concern are wiped out one by one in a sinister old mansion by the sea. The Wild, Wild West was an imperfect series, but almost always entertaining in spite of it. The boys report to a portly colonel in many of the episodes, and President Grant himself appears in at least one story. Artie and Jim are always impeccably dressed in beautiful old-style suits with matching vests, and Conrad continues to wear the tightest pants on television -- for a 19th century secret service man no less! Other interesting guest-stars include Boris Karloff, Sammy Davis, Jr., Leslie Parrish, William Talman, Tom Drake, and Victor Buono. Click here to read about season one of the show.
Verdict: Still fun. ***.