DVD Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – The Complete Series

Warner Home Video
Release date: October 21, 2008
MSRP: $199.92

Stars: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll

I’m going to start this review with some numbers.
41. There are 41 discs in this set.
105 episodes.
5620 minutes of viewing. (4 years worth)

This is a big DVD set. As it should be, Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a big show. The first episode aired in 1954 (Actually 1964, as was pointed out by Jim Barker) and the show can boast creative input from none other than Ian Fleming. Robert Towne and Harlan Ellison also wrote for the show.

UNCLE stands for United Network Command for Law Enforcement which is a covert world wide espionage group. Their main foe was THRUSH, a group out to rule the world.

The main character was originally going to be Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, but as soon as David Macallum made his first appearance as Illya Kuryakin it became a duo starring in the show. The fought for the good of mankind using gadgets, charm and martial arts. They go the girls and cracked wise. It was pure fun, and still is.

Each episode was titled with the word affair. The Vulcan Affair, The Neptune Affair, and one of my favorites, The Sort of Do It Yourself Affair.

Season one was in black and white but after that they were all in color. It was also after season one that the show began to embrace the idea of parody of the espionage craze and doing things to the extreme. This was in part due to the popularity of Get Smart and Batman. While not always hitting the mark the show was a huge success and spawned spin off shows
and a large number of products including novelizations (23 published by ACE books) and many toys.

This is in some ways typical of older shows on DVD, a big part of the fun is the nostalgia factor, and Man From U.N.C.L.E. has this in spades. But rewatching these shows as an adult I find that a lot of them really hold up, especially the first and fourth season when the camp factor was
a bit lower.

The extra features include almost ten hours of extras, including new interviews, behind the scenes footage, home movies and the never aired pilot episode. This is a wonder set and one I am going to treasure.

Order The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – The Complete Series from Amazon.

For more reviews from Jon, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.