Ann Parker here, every-other-Friday child at The LadyKillers. I grew up loving the old TV westerns (good guys, bad guys, and justice = crime shows). Let's face it, most of these series focused on men and manly ways, although Gunsmoke had Miss Kitty, who was good for occasional "gumption," as this YouTube clip demonstrates. (Please ignore the fact that "Chivalry" is misspelled.... I had nothing to do with it!):
I grew older, and my television viewing habits morphed to include spy shows (still good guys, bad guys, and justice). What better combination of spy + western than the series The Wild Wild West? I'll admit that, in conducting research for this post, I spent a whole lot more time than I should have zipping about YouTube and viewing bits and pieces of the original TV show. The series featured Robert Conrad as James West and Ross Martin as Artemus Gordon as they dashed around the country in a private train, stopping evil-doers from taking over the world (or from assassinating President Grant). Below is a short vintage clip from the B&W era of the Wild Wild West. I had nothing to do with the Dave Clark Five song overlaid onto the action scenes—sorry about that—however the visuals are pure WWW, with James being strong under torture, Artemus besting a knife-wielding badman with a frying pan (hmm... maybe that's the subconscious genesis of the frying pan scene in Silver Lies) AND an evil scientist in a white labcoat, out to steal diamonds (and defeat the laws of physics in the time-space continuum)!
I loved the Wild Wild West... The only complaint I had about the series back then applied to most "crime fiction TV" of the early to mid '60s: The boys were having all the fun, while the women just more or less posed, or screamed and fainted, or ... Well, you get the picture.
And then, the God(dess) answered my early adolescent prayers for a "strong woman" crime-fightin' protagonist: Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg!) of The Avengers. She could shoot. She knew martial arts (well, sort of). She was cool, self-possessed, and she WORE PANTS. I suspect that many girls my age back then secretly worshipped Mrs. Peel and her high "coolness factor."
Fast-forward, and I mean really fast-forward (in the time-honored tradition of white-lab-jacketed evil scientists who seek to control time and space) to the present. You see, once I hit college, work, family, etc., there wasn't a whole lot of time for TV, and that's pretty much how it is to this very day. In fact, we don't even have a cable connection at our home. BUT thanks to the magic of NetFlix, I am addicted to NCIS (good guys&gals, bad guys&gals, and justice = crime show) . My daughter and I are thoroughly hooked on the series and are racing through the NetFlix DVDs (now into Season 2) before the school year starts and her DVD viewing is much curtailed (and I buckle down to finish Silver Rush book #4... not that I'm not working on it NOW, but once fall arrives, time will be of the essence). NCIS has a female protagonist who also possesses, I believe, a high "coolness factor" -- Abby Scuito, the forensic-genius goth-girl. It's not terribly realistic that she's a genius in just about every forensic area that pops up on the show (from guns to computers), but hey. The guys have Matt Dillon, James West, Detective Columbo, etc., so why can't the gals have Abby?
After 40+ years, I think it's time.