"If its season opener is any indication of what's to come, ABC's Maverick will tighten the ratings noose around the collective necks of Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen and all the big name armies both can muster throughout the coming season. It is with a high degree of technical proficiency and dramatic punch that this series has launched its new season. A zinging self-confidence seems to emerge from the results of last season, when it forged well into the lead of the Sunday night rating race. This is not a Western, per se; it is a highly mature dramatic presentation that combines the best elements of mystery and action with a professionally subtle sense of humor. Its appeal is not limited by age or sex barriers. If the quality is sustained, there seems to be no foreseeable reason why its audience acceptance will diminish." - Daily Variety
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 480I/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 21 Hr. 18 Min.
Package Includes: DVDDVD Flip Case
Disc Type: DVD-9 (dual layer)
Release Date: 04/23/2013
"If its season opener is any indication of what's to come, ABC's Maverick will tighten the ratings noose around the collective necks of Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen and all the big name armies both can muster throughout the coming season. It is with a high degree of technical proficiency and dramatic punch that this series has launched its new season. A zinging self-confidence seems to emerge from the results of last season, when it forged well into the lead of the Sunday night rating race. This is not a Western, per se; it is a highly mature dramatic presentation that combines the best elements of mystery and action with a professionally subtle sense of humor. Its appeal is not limited by age or sex barriers. If the quality is sustained, there seems to be no foreseeable reason why its audience acceptance will diminish." - Daily VarietyThe Daily Variety review was prescient. The ratings for Maverick increased by nearly 30% during its second season, averaging an astounding audience share of 45%. It was the most successful season of the show's five-season run, and this DVD set includes some of the most beloved episodes of Maverick. James Garner (Bret Maverick) and Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick) returns as the amiable, poker-playing brothers who would rather win an argument with a witty retort than with gunplay, and who would rather run a con than use violence to recover stolen property. As was the case with Season One, most of the episodes feature either Bret or Bart, but occasionally both appear in the same episode. To audiences Bret was always the more popular brother, owing to Garner's charisma and effective, understated acting. Nevertheless, Jack Kelly held his own and always turned in fine performances.These are some of the more memorable shows in Season Two:"The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick" is the season opener which inspired the Daily Variety review that is referenced above. An outlaw breaks into Bret's hotel room and plants evidence which frames Bret for a murder-robbery. Bret is convicted and is sentenced to hang. Whitney Blake, Ray Teal and Jay Novello are guest stars."Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" features both Bret and Bart, although in decidedly different roles. Bret deposits his poker winnings in the local bank, but when he tries to withdraw the money the next day the banker (John Dehner) denies that the deposit ever took place. Bret hatches an elaborate con to get his money back, and then spends the rest of the episode sitting on a porch doing wood carving while Bart carries out the scam. Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Diane Brewster, Richard Long and Leo Gordon are among the guest stars."The Jail at Junction Flats" is one of the more unusual episodes in the series, and it proved to be off-putting to many fans of Maverick. The problem was the ending. The audience had become accustomed to happy endings, so quite a few viewers were disturbed by this episode's not-so-happy ending. Series creator Roy Huggins received many irate letters and the show's Nielsen rating temporarily dropped the next week. This episode also features Efrem Zimbalist Jr."Gun-Shy" may be the best-remembered episode in the entire run of Maverick. It is a parody of Gunsmoke which was written by Marion Hargrove (the author of “See Here, Private Hargrove"). Bret and a grifter named Freddie Hawkins (Reginald Owen) arrive in Elwood, Kansas in search of $500,000 in buried Confederate gold. While in Elwood they run afoul of the local Marshal, Mort Dooley (Ben Gage). The episode includes some references to other popular television Westerns of the era, as when Mort asks the local doctor if he remembers a gunfighter who passed out business cards.The list of guest stars that appear during Season Two is long and impressive. In addition to those mentioned above, the list includes Martin Landau, Gerald Mohr, Bethel Leslie, John Litel, Edgar Buchanan, Roger Moore, Neil Hamilton, Abby Dalton, Clint Eastwood, Robert Conrad, Louise Fletcher, Julie Adams, Connie Stevens, Adam West, Lyle Talbot, Ruta Lee, William Schallert, and Dan Blocker.Season Two is comprised of the following episodes.1. The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick2. The Lonesome Reunion3. Alias Bart Maverick4. The Belcastle Brand5. High Card Hangs6. Escape to Tampico7. The Judas Mask8. The Jail at Junction Flats9. The Thirty-Ninth Star10. Shady Deal at Sunny Acres11. Island in the Swamp12. Prey of the Cat13. The Spanish Dancer14. Holiday at Hollow Rock15. Game of Chance16. Gun-Shy17. Two Beggars on Horseback18. The Rivals19. Duel at Sundown20. Yellow River21. The Sage of Waco Williams22. Brasada Spur23. Passage to Fort Doom24. Two Tickets to Ten Strike25. Betrayal26. The Strange Journey of Jenny HillEach episode has a running time of approximately 49 minutes, which indicates that these episodes are complete and uncut.
The Production Rating: 5/5
The video of these 1.33:1 black and white episodes is on a par which Season One, which is to see that they look very good. I have not been able to watch all 26 episodes, but I have at least sampled each and they demonstrate good sharpness, excellent contrast and fine shadow detail. I see no evidence of excessive compression or digital anomalies. There are minor specks here and there, but nothing which is distracing. The prints from which these transfers were made seem to be in excellent condition, particularly considering their age.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The Dolby Digital mono audio is satisfactory, and certainly as good as could be hoped for from a 55-year old television series. The dialogue is clear and understandable, and the audio is free of distortion. There are English SDH and French subtitles.
Audio Rating: 3/5
The only extra is a four-page episode guide.The 26 episodes are spread over 6 dual-layer discs (Season One, which had 27 episodes, was released on 7 discs). Season Two comes in a flipper DVD case.
Special Features Rating: 1/5
Fans of Maverick will be delighted that Warner has decided to continue the series with high-quality pressed discs. Season Two contains some of the show's finest episodes, so this is a must-buy which hopefully will sell sufficient units to encourage Warner to release the entire run of Maverick.Equipment used for this review:Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray playerPanasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specification by Gregg LoewenYamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround ReceiverBIC Acoustech speakersInterconnects: Monster Cable
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher
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