I'm a child of the 60's and 70's and at times I find myself re-visiting those decades through TV. Of course in the last decade we've all been given the opportunity to own or rent whole seasons of our favorite shows from many seasons past.
If you're like me, you look for a deal, and I've noticed in the last few years that sometimes you can find them at Wal-Mart. I picked up one recently, the Star Trek Animated series for fifteen bucks! Since they originally had it for $45, I was elated to spend $30 less to watch / own something I enjoyed in my teens. All of the original actors voice their characters in this animated set, which makes it more interesting for a fan of the series. Roddenberry wanted to keep the animated series as close to the original as possible. He kept many of the original writers to pen some of these episodes including D.C. Fontana, and David Gerrold. Fontana was also a story consultant on this series. All of which added much credibility and made it more than just a "cartoon." My son of twelve just mentioned to me that "little kids would definitely not get this." 'Nuff said.
What makes a Trekkie? I like the show. I own all the episodes (cheaply of course) of the first and second series. But that's pretty much where I keep it -- just watching the show. No costumes... but wait.. I did pick up a model of the Enterprise with sounds and lights. Something to adorn the Overlook office with. I thought I would put it next to the guy who removes his head and laughs when you enter the Overlook office. But I think that's all I have. If that makes me a Trekkie, then so be it.
I also picked up the box set of Wild Wild West starring Robert Conrad. (Did I ever tell you he kicked me out of a party once when I was 16? Tell ya later... ) and Ross Martin. This was such an inventive show, something like a cross between James Bond movies and the much later MacGyver shows set during President Grant of the later 1800's. Again during my teens I was watching Star Trek and Wild Wild West. What I found interesting was how intriguing and sometimes similar both could be. In Star Trek science fiction mixed with involved story plots and incredible adventures. Wild Wild West also offered advanced story lines with a mix of science fiction and inventions that I had never seen in a western before. Years later as an adult I learned that some of my favorite episodes in both series were written by the same writer: Gene Coon. After telling people for years I thought these two series were a mix of both, this knowledge brought it all home.
The Wild Wild West box set of all four seasons and the two TV movies, make this a must for any fan of this series. I've been watching the first season, which I don't remember seeing, which is in black and white. So I've had some fun watching these for the first time. Since color was the popular favorite for re-runs, I'm sure the networks considered black & white passe' and didn't run them for that reason. What's ironic about that is we owned a b&w TV for years when I was a kid.. so wouldn't have known! Also, the most popular villain of the series, Dr. Loveless, appears first in the third episode. This was to be the first of ten episodes he would appear in four seasons. The villain I always wanted to see more of. And of course there are always the lovely ladies for James T. West (James T. Kirk? A coincidence?) to be romantically involved with. The movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline that came decades later, although wonderfully filmed, good acting, and great effects, the story just wasn't there. B&W or color, it's always going to be the story. I'm watching these with my 12 yr-old and he's watching black & white! In this day and age of immediate gratification with video and video games, for him to watch this in b&W is an amazing feat. And he's twelve ;-).
I've just started watching this box set, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. So if you're a child of the 60's and 70's like me, or just want to see some good storytelling TV, pick up WWW it's still a lot of fun. -- Dave Hinchberger