Friday, June 19, 2009

TV's Greatest Westerns

Ivan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear points the way to a list by the Western Writers of America of the all-time greatest Western TV series and miniseries/TV-movies.

I was delighted to see that my all-time favorite TV show, MAVERICK, came in No. 2 on the list, after GUNSMOKE, which is a worthy No. 1.

I am such a MAVERICK fan that I've even got many of the show's scripts, which I was able to collect in the early '80s.

I was also pleased to see that CENTENNIAL came in as the second-best miniseries, after LONESOME DOVE, another worthy No. 1 choice. I've always thought Robert Conrad gave one of TV's great performances in CENTENNIAL -- it's a shame he was shut out by the Emmy voters. I picked up the CENTENNIAL DVD set last summer but confess I have not yet watched it -- so many DVDs, so little time...

Some of the series listed further down are also fun. I was quite pleased (and, like Ivan, a bit surprised) to see THE HIGH CHAPPARAL as high as No. 8, given that it doesn't seem to be as well remembered as many TV Westerns. The show has a great fan website. I would love to see this show released on DVD.

I was also very fond of the No. 10 show, THE VIRGINIAN. I've had my eye on a pricey history of the show's nine-year run for some time now.

And I can't believe THE YELLOW ROSE made the list at No. 30! It's wonderful to know it's remembered at all since it was on the air such a short time. I'm still hanging on to Beta tapes of a few episodes of that season-long show, hoping against hope that someday someone will see the value in putting that Sam Elliott-Cybill Shepherd modern-day ranch Western on DVD.

Some of Elliott's great TV-movies ranked very high on the TV-movies/miniseries list, including THE SACKETTS and CONAGHER.

Tom Selleck, who was also in THE SACKETTS, was in other TV Westerns which also receive recognition on the list.

The lists can be found by clicking the title of this post. I'd love to know if any readers find their favorites listed.


Blogger Jacqueline T Lynch said...

"Rifleman", "Cheyenne", and "Branded" are favorites. Must have a thing about very tall, quiet men. Some of those series listed I've not seen in years, and some I've never seen but would like to, "Have Gun, Will Travel" being one of them. You know what I really miss? The theme songs. Western theme songs were fun and especially evocative of the setting.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You're sure right about the theme songs...the shows I mentioned in my post had some of my favorites.

I saw a little of HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL in reruns when I was growing up, but not enough to really remember well.

Best wishes,

8:56 AM  

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