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Ghost Canyon

'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Complete Second Season'
(Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll, et al / 10-Disc DVD / NR / 2016 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: In this hit spoof on the spy genre, 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!

DVD Verdict: 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' premiered in 1964 based on the popularity of the James Bond movies. I never was a big fan of the Bond flicks, but I loved 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' The combination of tongue-in-cheek humor and outlandish gadgets was not only entertaining, but great fun! And Robert Vaughn and David McCallum did a terrific job in their roles, skirting just on the edge of silliness, but still with a certain gleam in their eye that let you know the whole business was just too outlandish to possibly be real. Secret headquarters, outlandish villains, super spy gadgets, MFU had it all. And it was all great fun.

Leo G. Carroll played the unflappable Mr. Waverly, who always seemed to be one step ahead of his agents. This soon-t-be released Season 1 was undoubtedly the best, although 2 had its moments also. Season 3 was not entirely a disaster, but the producers tried too hard to make it all silly comedy, ala 'Batman', which was a campy hit, and lost the flavor of the show. Although there are some outstanding moments, as when Solo is busy kissing the girl in the warm comfort of a car, while Kuryakin is fighting the bad guys in the pouring rain. As he stands there, drenched, Illya looks at his warm, dry partner and remarks, "We make such good partners." But by the time season 4 rolled around the damage had been done, although they tried going back to the original concept. All the actors had lost interest and it was canceled.

Here in Season 2, which features all the 30 episodes on 10 DVDs, we kick off with the wonderful two-parter "Alexander the Greater Affair" (co-starring Rip Torn) and taking in a few titles of some of my personal favorites, also have fun along the way with "The Foxes and Hounds Affair," "The Discotheque Affair," "The Tigers Are Coming Affair," "The Children's Day Affair," "The Yukon Affair," "The Foxes and Hounds Affair" (co-starring Thrush agent Vincent Price), "The Very Important Zombie Affair," and both "The Dippy Blonde Affair" and the two-parter "The Bridge of Lions Affair," before it rounds out on the tenth disc with Thrushman L.C. Carson having kidnapped Chief Highcloud of the Cardiac tribe of Indians in Oklahoma in "The Indian Affairs Affair."

As I say, the show ended in 1968. The spy craze had run its course. Whereas 'Mission: Impossible' was able to reinvent itself as a crime show, MFU simply could not follow suit. One could not imagine Napoleon and Illya hot on the trail of The Syndicate. It's equally impossible to imagine it being set in any era other than the '60's. The concept of an American agent working alongside a Russian was a novelty at the time. I don't think it would impress anyone today. Well, save for the recent Hollywood movie of the same name, of course!

And so, until the third season is brought forth by Warner Bros. let's all continue to enjoy the original, especially now we have this incredible 10-disc DVD box-set in our hands to enjoy. This is a Standard Version Presentation (Aspect Ratio 4:3) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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