Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Wild Wild West

Go To

  • Awesome Music: Besides the show's theme music, there's Dave Grusin's score for "The Night of the Puppeteer" (in particular Vivid's dance music — which, tellingly, was never tracked into any other episodes) and Richard Shores's cue for the fight between Jim and Titan in "The Night of the Eccentrics" (used in assorted season two episodes and a trailer for the series itself). Shores also composed a propulsive score for "The Night of the Firebrand" (with a variation of Artie's Leitmotif so beloved by the music editors that it was tracked into "The Night of the Bubbling Death", which actually aired before the episode it was written for). The finale of "The Night of Jack O'Diamonds" sees off El Sordo and the episode with an exuberant flourish. Some fans have seen it as composer Richard Markowitz "riding off into the sunset" (he launched the series musically, and this was last score for the series).
  • Complete Monster: James West and Artemus Gordon have faced many killers, supervillains and criminal masterminds in their career in the secret service, these are the very worst:
    • Doctor Arcularis, from season 1's "The Night of the Howling Light", is a soft-spoken, deranged psychologist. Fascinated by the discovery of conditional reflexes in animals, Doctor Arcularis began experimenting to discover whether the process would also work upon people. Through a combination of sensory torture and clear instructions, he develops what he believes to be a perfect process for brainwashing people. For one such victim, Arcularis imprisoned him in a cage and deprived him of water for several days, having conditioned him to, at the sound of a whistle, throw away any he was given. Having already performed his cruel process upon five innocent people, Arcularis turns them into his mindless slaves, before being contacted by Ahkeema who, fearing the proposed alliance between the government and the confederacy of tribes to be a sham, wants Arcularis to brainwash Jim to kill the great chief Ho-Tami and wreck the negotiations. Caring nothing for the politics or the brutal war this will cause, Arcularis is thrilled to have an opportunity to further his experiments. Kidnapping Jim, he subjects him to the full process, torturing for hours on end over a week in an attempt to break him. When Jim manages to signal for help, to take back control Arcularis breaks the arm of one of his victims and frames it that it was him who was signaling, thus satisfying the investigators. Capturing Artemus as well, Arcularis also brainwashes Artemus to murder Jim. Quick-witted and haughty, driven by a combination of scientific curiosity and sadism, Doctor Arcularis was easily one of the worst men Jim and Artie ever met.
    • Advertisement:
    • Doctor Tristam and his associate Astarte, from season 1's "The Night of the Druids Blood", are a pair of ruthless wolves in sheep's clothing. With the help of the Great Asmodeus, they are responsible for the suspicious deaths of several of the nation's greatest scientists and scholars. Astarte seduces the men, until they were wrapped around their finger, enjoying using and killing them, while Tristam is the hidden mastermind. Together they cause Jim's former teacher and friend, Professor Robey, to burn to death right before Jim's very eyes. Astarte also seduces and marries political genius Senator Waterford to exploit his connections. When it becomes apparent that Jim won't stop his investigations, they organize an elaborate con to make it appear Jim has gone mad. Originally suspecting that the scientist's deaths were being faked and they were being held prisoner, Jim and Artie stumble upon the true horror of Tristam's plans. Doctor Tristam has discovered a way to keep the brain alive without a body, leaving them able to see, think and hear, but not move; all constantly conscious with no end in sight. Linking all nine of his victims through a giant web, he has granted himself the combined intelligence of the nation's greatest minds at his fingertips. If any prove unwilling to answer his demands, he simply electrocutes them until they comply.They also try to burn Senator Waterford alive, not to add him to the web but simply because Astarte has grown bored with him. Following Jim foiling the plan, Astarte's last act is to try and trick the senator into killing Jim.
    • Advertisement:
    • Mr. Braine, from season 2's "The Night of the Brain", may present himself as having good intentions, but beneath a polite, cheerful, and good-humored veneer lies a megalomaniac with a god complex. Unhappy with how "disordered" the world is, Braine plans to kill the five major heads of state presently in Washington and replace them with his disguised followers, then plunge the entire world into chaos— having the Spanish loot Africa, the Americas attack South America, the Russians invade India, etc., until the whole world is at war—so that Braine can take control of whatever manages to survive. Fearing the existence of a security measures that would upset his plan, Braine implemented a complex—and as Jim pointed out, unnecessary—plot to lure James West to him, first by sending Jim and Artemus tomorrow's newspapers predicting their friends' deaths, then having the predictions come true, blowing up beloved entertainer Almeric and arranging for Jim's former commander Colonel Leeto to accidentally shoot himself; in both cases ensuring Jim would helplessly witness his friend's demise. Braine then has the printer who made the newspapers stabbed to death as he no longer needs him. Having finally captured Jim, Braine pauses briefly to execute one of his loyal followers for having a button missing from his uniform. Engaging in another unnecessary exercise to test Jim, Braine tries to force him to decide whether he will die or if Braine's entirely loyal assistant Voulee will die. In the end, Braine decides to drop all pretenses and just hurt Jim until he tells him what he wants to know.
    • Doctor Articulus, from season 3's "The Night of the Undead", is a callous, self-serving chemist and slaver who eighteen years previously tested a special mold sample upon several people, causing them all to die. When Doctor Armbruster and Doctor Eddington alerted the authorities, Articulus faked his death, causing him to miss his wedding. His bride went on to marry Doctor Armbruster. Retreating to the Bayou, Articulus carried on his experiments and discovered that by refining the mold he could create a mind-control potion. Using it, Articulus turned numerous people into zombie slaves, forcing them to work refining the mold, having two of his goons constantly whipping them to work faster, right up until they dropped from exhaustion; with the implication that all his victims were fully aware the entire time. To ensure that no one disturbed him, Articulus began holding mock voodoo ceremonies. One such ceremony led to the death of one of his victims, John Little. Articulus kidnapped Doctor Armbruster and infected him with the drug. When one of his slaves collapsed and drowned right before his eyes, Articulus's only response is "many more will take his place." He also had Eddington's teenage daughter Mariah drugged, planning to force her to marry him to right what he perceived as "the wrong which was done to me", and then send her back to murder her father. Angered by their interference he attempts to murder Jim and Artie with ammonia gas. Finally defeated, his last act was to try and strangle Jim.
  • Escapist Character: Jim and Artie both qualify.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans prefer to ignore the existence, canonically at least, of the made-for-TV reunion movies. And then there's the film...
  • Genius Bonus: Near the beginning of "The Night of the Diva" Artie is shown reading William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Those familiar with the play will find some interesting parallels between it and the episode's subplot involving Rosa Montebello.
  • Narm:
    • "The Night of the Dancing Death". Especially for anyone who knows anything about the real Camorra.
    • The way Jim's amnesia is cured in "The Night of the Amnesiac" also falls into this category for some fans.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Try and not feel creeped out about your house after a viewing of "The Night of the Man-eating House".
  • Older Than They Think: The similarities between the plots of "The Night of the Pelican" and The Rock are amazing.
  • Padding: "The Night of the Running Death" seems to have two tag scenes instead of one.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Jeremy Pike, for some fans.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • "The Night of the Wolf" has several shots of a more-than-obviously-stuffed canine.
    • The tank in "The Night of the Juggernaut" was called out by some press sources at the time of the episode's original airing for being rather poorly done; the tank is indeed embarrassing, both in its design (late 1960s racing stripes?) and in it being so slow Ironside could have outrun it. Without his wheelchair. (The tank in "The Night of the Freebooters," on the other hand, is far more convincing. And that was in season one, while the Juggernaut was for season four.)
    • In the robbery scene of "The Night of the Burning Diamond", some of the people "frozen" in time are more frozen than others, to put it politely.
    • The freeze-frames for "The Night of the Flaming Ghost" are uncharacteristically sloppy — the one for Act II (where an enemy knocks Jim out and sends him falling off a ledge) has a lag of a couple of seconds rather than have the section being filled in appearing immediately upon freezing, and the final pullback to show the complete collage is repeated (for the only time in the series) behind the end credits.
    • In "The Night of the Raven", Jim stabs Loveless' cat in the front paw closest to the camera, making said feline lick it in pain before leaping out of the tiny arena Jim's trapped in; the cat runs to another part of the room and resumes licking the injured paw, which as mentioned is the one closest to the camera... except now the cat's facing in another direction.
    • More of a lack of effects, but Victor Buono's character in "The Night of the Inferno" is supposed to be Mexican (or rather, Chinese passing for Mexican). Some brown contact lenses for Buono's light blue eyes might've helped with the spoiler-blocked situation.
  • Tear Jerker: Artie's anguished reaction to apparently killing Jim in "The Night of the Death Masks."
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Some fans think the Switch to Color was detrimental. Also, there are some who consider the nine Martin-less episodes in season four to be hardly worth watching. The decision to have the end credits for the final season's shows run over a standard collage rather than an episode-specific one (see the illustrations on the recap pages) also doesn't appeal to some viewers.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • More than once, a villainness is given much a lighter punishment than her male counterparts such as Morn in "The Night of the Flying Pie Plate", who gets a lighter sentence than her other conspirators — including her two sisters, who significantly didn't have Girl of the Week status, or even allowed to walk away scot-free, apparently simply because she is a beautiful woman. This is compounded at the end of "The Night of the Red-Eyed Madmen", when Sgt. Musk gives a rather insightful, moving speech about how she'd only wanted to be seen as more than "just a woman." This small step forward is promptly ignored in favor of having her and another woman fawn over a new dress and begin discussing how to look their best when the train pulls into Carson City.
    • The entire last scene of "The Night of the Firebrand" just drips with misogyny, as West and Gordon decide that Vixen O'Shaughnessy's punishment (for helping mastermind an attempted massacre at a military fort and a coup against Canada) is to be "forced to return to the feminine fold" so that she will "leave the fighting to us," by which they mean they're just going to make her return to the ladies' finishing school she escaped from. When she objects and goes into a Character Filibuster about all the wrongs that still need fighting against in the world, West basically gives her a Vulcan nerve pinch (a Running Gag in this episode) and reflects that he'd better tell the school's headmistress how to do it.
    • "The Night of the Tycoons" romps home with the gold in Misogynistic Episode Writing; other episodes have female villains, but there's an unpleasant tone throughout the episode suggesting women have no business being in charge of huge corporations, capped off by its tag scene with Lionel's fiancée Kyra booted off to the kitchen and Jim telling him he's got to keep these women in their place.
    • All that said, there are exceptions: Lady Beatrice in "The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo", Posey in "The Night of the Poisonous Posey" (although captured offscreen), Laurette in "The Night of the Winged Terror, Part 2" and most notably Astarte in "The Night of the Druid's Blood" — Jim makes it very clear to Astarte that she'll hang for her crimes (including helping to murder a beloved professor of his) and he won't mourn her.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: