'The Wild Wild West - The Fourth Season'
(Charles Aidman, Ross Martin, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / (1965) 2008 / Paramount)
Overview: James West and Artemus Gordon are two agents of President Grant who take their splendidly appointed private train through the west to fight evil. Half science fiction and half western the Artemus designs a series of interesting gadgets for James that would make Inspector Gadget proud. A light hearted adventure series.
DVD Verdict: Witness if you will the fourth (1968-1969) and final season of "The Wild Wild West", still produced by Bruce Lansbury and that continues his updated and rugged treatment of the series with the paranoid political tales: "The Night of the Doomsday Formula" (guest starring Kevin McCarthy as the fanatical General Kroll) and "The Night of the Pistoleros" showing a future nations' conflict triggered by Mexican look-alikes of American military officers.
You will meet James West's new partners because Artemus Gordon is sent to Washington: secret agent/master of disguises Jeremy Pike (played by Charles Aidman) in four episodes ("The Night of the Camera", "The Night of Miguelito's Revenge" that is the last Dr. Loveless' offering, "The Night of the Pelican", "The Night of the Janus" that is Charles Aidman's best performance as Baron Klaus Esterhauser and in which we catch a glimpse of James West's training academy), secret agent/master of disguises Frank Harper (played by William Schallert) in the two parter "The Night of the Winged Terror", and chemist/agent Ned Brown (played by Alan Hale Jr) in the gloomy "The Night of the Sabatini Death".
Moreover, we will again foray into the off-centered and the macabre fantasies as the Hammer Productions-like "The Night of the Sedgewick Curse" dealing with the theme of the fountain of youth, the tribute to the classic "The Phantom of the Opera" in "The Night of the Diva" (Robert Conrad even sings "Buffalo Gals" with his friends Richard Cangey and Red West) and a veiled reference to Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in "The Night of the Bleak Island", and two Jules Verne-oriented ones in "The Night of the Kraken" (which highlights a Captain Nemo type of character) and "The Night of the Winged Terror, Part I & II" (describing a secret organization of subversive mad scientists ruled by a hypercephalic mastermind).
One episode, directed in late season 3, depicts Robert Conrad's tragic fall while performing his stunt: "The Night of the Fugitives" (guest starring Simon Oakland).
This show is near and dear to a lot of us who grew up in the mid to late 60's, and it is a joy to watch these episodes and remember that while the world was not a simple, carefree place, our living rooms could be while watching shows like "The Wild, Wild West." This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs but does not come with any Special Features.