The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series
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The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series (Repackage/DVD)
Robert Vaughn and David McCallum star as a team of secret agents battling the global crime organization THRUSH. Under the aegis of the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement-- U.N.C.L.E.--the dapper, suave Napoleon Solo (Vaughn) and the equally dashing Illya Kuryakin (McCallum) jet to exotic locations, defending the world from evil, chaos and bad taste in this hit spoof on the espionage genre.]]>
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The changing theme music for each of the four seasons reflects the tone of how the show changed. This is not surprising since the title music is meant to convey what to expect from the show to anyone tuning in for the first time. In the first season, the theme music was scored by Jerry Goldsmith, who went on to become famous for scoring Star Trek movies and many other famous movies The theme music for season one is orchestral and serious. The show was filmed in black and white and was essentially a straight spy, action show with a sprinkling of humor throughout. It was pitched mostly for a younger audience. But could be enjoyed by the whole family. The story plots were often suspenseful. Notably, the visuals of the title sequence changed several times in the first season, along with the hairstyle of Robert Vaughn changing often. But by the middle of season one, the show found its stride. Each week the incidental music was scored for that episode by different people. But it reflected the main theme of the show's tone. Robert Vaughn was the star of season, the man from UNCLE, and David McCallum was his sidekick. The show had some success. By season two, Lalo Schifrin was asked to write a new version of the theme music, using less musician to reduce costs. He later wrote the Mission Impossible theme and music for movies such as Dirty Harry and Enter the Dragon.This UNCLE version was more jazzy and cool, emphasizing the slick and smooth nature of the show's heroes. It was now really the Men from UNCLE, with David McCallum's character being given equal standing with that of Robert Vaughn's, due to popular demand from young, female fans. The plots were mostly as good as those from season one, sometimes a little more far-fetched. The banter between the two main heroes and with their boss became more amusing, and increased the appeal of the show. Season two was the first season to be filmed in color. The producers gave us elegant cars, exotic locations and colorful set design. The personal communicators switched from cigarette cases to the famous pens. "Open channel D." Pre-dating the communicators of Star Trek, said to have inspired cell phones! The show aired at a more popular timeslot and was the most successful of the four seasons, with up to 50% of TV sets in the USA tuning in to the Man from UNCLE. However, for season three, new produces gave a new flavor to the show. The theme music became overly jazzed up, straying away from the main theme itsel. This reflects where the show went wrong. The plots became quite silly, with threats to world peace from things like hypnotized school girls and gas that caused hiccups! The show still looked good, but began to lose its fan base. The disastrous spoof The girl from UNCLE was also now aired. Thankfully it is not included in this boxed set. But by association and due to its own misdirection, season three of the man from UNCLE disappointed fans of the show. The theme music for season four is somewhere between the style of season one and season two, reflecting a return to more serious themes. But declining audiences from season three meant the show was now aired at a less popular time. So despite worthy efforts from everyone involved, the show was canceled about half way through . A pity, since it was getting back on track.
I find the show is fun and relaxing entertainment before bedtime. Nothing too intense that's going to keep me awake. But I'm not going to fall asleep during it, except maybe a few episodes from season three. The music from each episode of season two adds a lot to the show, whereas in season 3 is so goofy, it can detract from what's happening. It was from season two music that Hugo Montenegro wrote his highly successful album of man from uncle inspired music.
At about $50 for the four seasons and five discs of fascinating special features, this is a fantastic deal. There were several Man from UNCLE movies. These can be bought separately. However they are all slightly expanded versions of two part shows from the weekly TV show. So in my opinion, it is not worth it since you already have them here. This is a show I expect to watch again and again, though I will probably skip season three.
I wanted to see if it aged well--because the Russians-as-Evil-Empire is not the same anymore, no matter what Putin is doing these days. Lo, it's just as captivating today as it was back in the Sixties, although I think I'm watching (binge-watching) these episodes with more than a bit of nostalgia.
The show aired from 1964 to 1968.Two secret agents, Robert Vaughn playing Napoleon Solo (what a Sixties moniker) and David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin, who was quite the heartthrob, believe me. In the true Sixties secret agent tradition the organizations have acronyms: U.N.C.L.E. United Network Command for Law and Enforcement versus "T.H.R.U.S.H.".
In this box series, there are 41 DVDs with 105 episodes:
SEASON 1 (1964-65) 10 DVDs-- 29 episodes
SEASON 2 (1965-66) 10 DVDS-- 30 episodes
SEASON 3 (1966-67) 10 DVDs-- 30 episodes
SEASON 4 (1967-68) 6 DVDs-- 16 episodes
I think it was a good value, if you enjoy vintage TV.
This set comes in a cardboard box with 5 (4 series + 1 bonus) plastic DVDs cases. Each DVD case includes the discs for each season along with a folded insert with each episode title and a little tidbit of information about the shows.
This could have been a 5 star product if Warner had re-mastered the episodes and included stereo sound. I guess for about $60.00 this is a good deal to have the complete series with some extra bonus material including one of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. movies, i.e. One Spy Too Many.
Overall, I am happy to have this set in my DVD collection.
BUT - you can purchase the identical 41 discs new on Amazon for about the half the price of this package. All that is new here IS the packaging - it is a slim format. If that is important enough for you to spend an additional $80, then buy it. But search Man From UNCLE in Amazon and you will see the "brief case" packaging available as new for HALF the price of this item. Same discs - they have not been remastered.
Whichever packaging you choose, the content is what is important, and this is a terrific series!