We take a closer look at the two series that are in reruns on NBC

By Ken Tucker
Updated July 13, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

EW reviews ”Bret Maverick” and ”Yellow Rose”

If summer must be dominated by reruns, NBC is at least being imaginative about it. Rather than pummel us with re-airings of mediocrities from its current lineup, the network is offering episodes from Bret Maverick, which debuted in 1981, and The Yellow Rose, from 1983. Granted, neither show lasted more than one season. Bret Maverick, you may remember, was James Garner’s short-lived attempt to revive his classic Maverick Western series (1957-62) after a run in the even more classic Rockford Files (1974-80).

But early on in Bret’s run, it became clear to both Garner and TV viewers that the show suffered from trite dialogue and dull plots; the gleam left Garner’s eyes very quickly, and viewers tuned away. In the dog days of 1990, however, even a shambling, morose James Garner is better than no Garner in prime-time at all.

As for The Yellow Rose, it’s pretty much of a hoot. This modern Western was an attempt to cash in on Dallas, which at the time was TV’s foremost pop-culture event. The Yellow Rose was the name of the 200,000-acre Texas ranch where the rich, powerful, and always-squabbling Champion family resided.

The real yellow rose in this show, though, was Cybill Shepherd in her pre-Moonlighting mode: eager to please and free of irony. As Colleen Champion, a widow with a 12-year-old daughter, Shepherd shared the screen with David Soul as her no-good stepson and Sam Elliott as Chance McKenzie, a raw-boned ranch hand. TV vets such as Noah Beery Jr., Chuck Connors (The Rifleman), Ken Curtis (Gunsmoke), and, for a few episodes, Jane Russell all popped up in small recurring roles.

Scheduled opposite ABC’s hugely popular Fantasy Island, The Yellow Rose wilted quickly, but it was an amusing potboiler. It’s well worth taking a second squint at. Bret Maverick C
The Yellow Rose: B+