DVD Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Complete First Season

I pride myself in my knowledge and experience watching classic TV, and even with all that I have watched, I had never seen a complete episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. I’m not sure if the show just wasn’t syndicated where I grew up — the concept was surely interesting — but I never got that chance.

That makes the DVD release of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete First Season – hitting stores August 4 – that much more exciting, as I get to discover something “new,” in a way. The series is, of course, inspiring a big-screen movie with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer that will be out this month; making it a perfect time for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to release — or rather, re-release it.

The “re-release” aspect might also explain the only problems I have with this set. But first, the good stuff. What’s the show about? Here’s how Warner Bros. Home Entertainment describes it:

In this hit spoof of the spy genre, actors Robert Vaughn and David McCallum play the roles of top agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin who use their charm, wit, and a never-ending assortment of gadgets to defend the world from evil, chaos and bad taste. The successful series also stars Leo G. Carroll as Alexander Waverly and features guest stars such as William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, of Star Trek, Kurt Russell, Ricardo Montalban and longtime comedy favorite Ken Murray. From trying to save the world from fear gas to trying to save themselves from a pack of bloodthirsty cheetahs, these serious spies bring the suspense and fun to life. You may even forget it’s in black and white!

I actually had not known the first season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was in black and white; I had also heard the show eventually got pretty campy — I wasn’t expecting Get Smart level camp (though I do love me some Get Smart), but I was pleased to see that the stories from this set that I’ve been able to watch so far were actually quite seriously done – well acted AND well written. Maybe the “camp” association kept people from these gems. Even with that said, I really liked what I’ve seen of Season 1 and would love to see the subsequent seasons.


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