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Wild Wild West (TV Series)


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The Wild Wild West TV series is being repeated on the CBS Action channel in the UK. Now I never saw this at all growing up (3 TV channels until the start of the 1980s then a fourth and fifth followed by the satellite ones), so I had no reference at all for it until the Will Smith and Kevin Kline disaster of a film.

 

The TV series on the other hand is really quite a joy and perfect for Pulp. Granted there are no aircraft but you have virtually everything else and it strikes me as a goldmine for taking ideas. Dr Loveless is a great recurring villain and his escapes fit the mood.

One of the episodes just aired had a prototype tank, forty years before they were first employed.

There are also a variety of death traps for the heroes to evade which are just as relevant to the 1870s steampunk as they can be to the 20s and 30s.

The writers also made certain that a seeming disability such as blindness did not deter people from being effective villains.

 

So I would encourage people to look it up and pillage it for ideas.

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I have the box set of "Wild Wild West' (the T V series) and it is fun. As far as I am concerned the movie version was an absolute travesty, done by people with no taste or appreciation of the source material that they were bastardising !

 

Watch the YouTube video of Kevin Smith talking about his Superman Script. He talks about WildWildWest and how Producers and Studio Execs sometimes turn something good into crap.

 

 

 

Language is NSFW

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The Show was a genre mashup of the very popular Super Spy which was ruling TV at the time and of course Westerns which had always been popular. It was a very well done show with great characters and good writing. It would have stayed on the air longer, but IIRC Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon) had a heart attack and couldn't continue.

It's great RPG fodder esp if the players are into the Wild West and are looking for something different than the regular Western Storylines. As an RPG it could be fun doing a mashup between this show and Mission Impossible(Tv Show over the Movies). Where the players are "Secret Service" agents who unravel plots put there by enemies of the US Government. Give it all a slight Steampunk veneer with some fantastic critters tossed in to keep it interesting. You have the Gun Fighter, the Disguise expert, Demolitions expert, Faceperson, Technician. etc. Keep the character types spy feeling, but give it a western spin/flavoring

 

 

 

edited to Fix spelling on Artie's name.

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I loved that show, growing up.  

 

I remember stating up James West and Artemus Gordon for Champions...2e, was it? Or maybe 3e. Anyway, back in the 80s.

 

I don't have those character sheets any more, but I do remember that Artemus Gordon ended up costing more CP than Jim West did, and being surprised by that at the time.

 

Anyway, it is a good show, particularly the B&W episodes.

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The Show was a genre mashup of the very popular Super Spy which was ruling TV at the time and of course Westerns which had always been popular. It was a very well done show with great characters and good writing. It would have stayed on the air longer, but IIRC Ross Martin (Artemis Gordon) had a heart attack and couldn't continue.

 

It's great RPG fodder esp if the players are into the Wild West and are looking for something different than the regular Western Storylines. As an RPG it could be fun doing a mashup between this show and Mission Impossible(Tv Show over the Movies). Where the players are "Secret Service" agents who unravel plots put there by enemies of the US Government. Give it all a slight Steampunk veneer with some fantastic critters tossed in to keep it interesting. You have the Gun Fighter, the Disguise expert, Demolitions expert, Faceperson, Technician. etc. Keep the character types spy feeling, but give it a western spin/flavoring

Ross Martin did have a heart attack and missed some episodes in the 4th season, but the cancellation was due to the violence. If anyone wants the basic overview, Wikipedia seems to have it covered with nothing glaringly wrong at a glance; no need to search and try tp piece everything together yourself unless you really want to.

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I loved that show, growing up.  

 

I remember stating up James West and Artemis Gordon for Champions...2e, was it? Or maybe 3e. Anyway, back in the 80s.

 

I don't have those character sheets any more, but I do remember that Artemis Gordon ended up costing more CP than Jim West did, and being surprised by that at the time.

 

Anyway, it is a good show, particularly the B&W episodes.

 

Without standing up and going to look, I am pretty sure that both characters were Stated out in Western Hero. Probably renamed to prevent lawsuits.

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Some watchdog group went and compiled a list of all the violent acts in each series. It turned out that WWW had a lot. The acts weren't that violent, mostly punches the show had a lot of fist fights, but they were high in number.

 

But let's be honest, it was an action series. You can't have an action series without action.

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that

 

Some watchdog group went and compiled a list of all the violent acts in each series. It turned out that WWW had a lot. The acts weren't that violent, mostly punches the show had a lot of fist fights, but they were high in number.

 

But let's be honest, it was an action series. You can't have an action series without action.

that you can't

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I have thought of running a game of steampunk feeling by allowing the characters to use technology above their time as long as it was considered fragile to point of blowing up risk.  The players know they can't have it since if they have it, the bad guys can have a lot more of them.  Use it as an invention that can't be recreated or maintained since the knowledge is lost.  i.e. inventor killed, major part destroyed or fuel  lost.  

 

If you run it right, WWW is great source material.  I just hated when Will Smith went on Oprah and said nothing like this was ever done before.  The movie was pure steampunk and all the ideas were copies of stuff I had seen before.  I am an old dude, and remember the series on TV and steampunk origins.  (It was the Differential Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, not a fashion movement). 

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Difference Engine (1990) was an important book in the popularisation of the genre, but not the start of it by any stretch of the imagination.

 

GDW published Space:1889 in 1988, and that did a lot to popularise the retro-SF genre among the geek community, or at the very least to get us to look up our old copies of Verne and Wells. That's probably my own tipping point. When I read Difference Engine my main thought was "Huh. Gibson's jumping on this bandwagon, now, eh?"

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Ross Martin did have a heart attack and missed some episodes in the 4th season, but the cancellation was due to the violence. If anyone wants the basic overview, Wikipedia seems to have it covered with nothing glaringly wrong at a glance; no need to search and try tp piece everything together yourself unless you really want to.

Robert Conrad himself said that it was just as well that the show got cancelled because someone was likely to end up dead eventually.

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