The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series
- Rated NR
- Genre: TV Action & Adventure
- Release Date: 11/4/2014
All four seasons (105 episodes) on 41 discs - Rarely seen color pilot episode, "Solo" - U.N.C.L.E. theatrical feature One Spy Too Many - Actors: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll / For a lot of years, from the 1980's until around 2007, the TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968) had a frustrating history on home video. The program, which kicked off a wave of breezily-paced spy series (I Spy etc.), was available on a limited basis on VHS tape in the 1980's, and - restricted to a narrow sliver of mostly poorly chosen episodes - on laserdiscs in the 1990's. It was originally supposed to appear on DVD in 2005, but then a dispute broke out between the owners of the series, Warner Home Video, and a production company claiming that it had the DVD rights to the series. By that time, series star Robert Vaughn had even done some work for the alleged rights holder, in terms of interviews, and the whole mess ended up in court, where it was sorted out in 2007. And now we have this set - originally available only through Time Warner - 41 DVDs containing the complete run of the series, appended with a pair of contemporary feature film adaptations of the show, plus a ton of bonus features. It's enough to keep even those with lots of time on their hands busy for months. The film-to-video transfers are generally first-rate, although surprisingly, the oldest programs - the black-and-white first season episodes - are far more consistent and satisfying than the three seasons (well, two-and-a-half seasons) of color episodes that follow. It's difficult to say for certain, without having been at the transfer sessions, but the clarity of the full-screen (1.33-to-1) transfers seems to show up some of less satisfying elements of the color photography on the later episodes (except where color scheme was an essential component of a shot or scene). In one second season episode, the second unit footage of Swiss and Italian locales looks superb here, whereas the actual scene photography seems flat and dullish by comparison. In fairness, one must concede that color television shooting was relatively new in the years 1965-66, and even beyond - it was also horrendously expensive by the standards of the time, which often resulted in corners (or attention to detail) being cut in some instances, even on hit series. And it should also be said, in regard to the photographers involved, that no one in 1965 could ever have conceived of the notion that anyone would be examining their work on this series on this level, in digital video, in 2009; at the time, they probably figured that if the stuff was rerun for as few as a half-dozen times, that would be pushing their useful shelf life.
|Run Time:||300 minutes|