DVD review: 'Maverick,' the first season

When “Maverick” debuted in 1957, it immediately made James Garner a star. Garner and Jack Kelly costarred as Western gamblers Bret and Bart Maverick (respectively), with only a few episodes having both together. (Roger Moore joined in as cousin Beau during the last two seasons.) For most of its five-year run, it was a perfect balance of comedy and Western action; and you can see the roots of Jim Rockford in Garner's terrifically winning performances.

While all kinds of inferior shows were showing up on DVD over the last decade, Warner has, until now, issued only a single Maverick disc, containing three episodes.

The new “Maverick: The Complete First Season” has 27 50-minute-long episodes. Novices might not want to start at the beginning, since it took a little while for the comic tone to establish itself. The first half-dozen shows — three directed by no less than Western master Budd Boetticher — are a little shorter on humor than what the series eventually would offer.

Garner overshadowed Jack Kelly — no one ever thought of it as Kelly's show — but the latter is much better than I remembered. The black-and-white prints look only pretty good; there are no extras; and the sound levels of menus and shows are badly matched. But, at the price, it's hard to imagine any fan being disappointed. With luck, Warner will issue the subsequent seasons.

"Maverick: The Complete First Season" (Warner Home Video, DVD, 7 discs, $39.98) 

ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3)

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