I Spy #2
DVD | Box Set
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Robert Culp and Bill Cosby star as undercover intelligence agents. Culp takes the guise of a tennis pro and leads a fast life compared to his more intellectual "trainer" and colleague in espionage (Cosby). The first television show to cast a black man as the lead and show a friendship oblivious to race-and this during the tumultuous '60s. Features "Bridge of Spies," "Sophia," "Vendetta," "Blackout," "Little Boy Lost," "The Medarra Block," and "Philotimo." 7 DVDs, with a total run time of nearly 24 hours.
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I loved Bill Cosby from his comedy show quite a few years ago and wondered what this show could be like and I was not dissapointed and neither will you. You know what a great job the sixties made of Spy and Adventure shows and this is another sixties classic.
Both Bill Cosby and Robert Culp are excellent in this slightly more realistic spy show with great fellow actors and some great comedy too.
It is so refreshing to see Bill Cosby not cast in a stereotyped black role infact maybe even the leader of the two agents.
Great acting, great stories and great locations and all in full color which suprised me as I thought by the box cover that it was in black and white.
There is much to entertain in this great box set and I for one was so impressed that I will get the rest of the other box sets God willing.
We have to remember than when this came out in 1965, it was a HUGE DEAL to have black and white co-stars together in a show. And while it was obvious that the show was cautious about Bill Cosby's role in the beginning, it was obvious even in the very first episodes that he would more than hold his own with Robert Culp. Their byplay, born from genuine, offscreen friendship, is still the gold standard for two-person partners and teams in television and films. Their interaction was natural, spontaneous, and genuine, and no duo has come anywhere close in matching it. If Spenser For Hire had lasted longer, perhaps Robert Urich and Avery Brooks may have come the closest, but no one has managed, not Miami Vice, Lethal Weapon, or any other attempt.
The simple concept of having two globe-trotting spies working together in the guise of a world-class tennis player and his trainer seems so basic, but adding the team of Culp and Cosby, exotic locales, and good directing and editing makes all the difference. A complete first season collection would be better, but this is still a treasured momento from a bygone era.
To find out how the makers of this series did it, how they accomplished the near impossible, read "I Spy: A History and Episode Guide to the Groundbreaking Series" ... then watch these episodes in a whole new light. They are more historic than you may yet know.
For the three box sets from Image, the DVD transfers are very good; the Robert Culp commentaries are well worth hearing; and you can use the above mentioned book as a guide to the proper order that the episodes were intended to be viewed - which will enhance the viewing experience.
This series should be remembered and cherished. TV was never the same again after it, and, in some ways, either were we.