|Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin -- in color|
Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) came back for a second season of the generally light-hearted spy show, this time in color and "armed" with special pen communicators. There was more humor this season, with some rather stupid episodes, but quite a few were memorable. The two-part "Alexander the Greater Affair" features Rip Torn as a megalomaniac out to rule the world. "The Foxes and Hounds Affair" presents an amusing -- and explosive -- rivalry between two Thrush agents played by Patricia Medina and a wonderful Vincent Price. "The Dippy Blonde Affair" has a Thrush executive falling for the girlfriend (Joyce Jameson) of a colleague he murdered after she's enlisted by UNCLE to play along and find out what she can. Thrush develops a strain of deadly and nearly invisible bees in "The Birds and the Bees Affair," in which Illya and a lovely companion are subjected to torture by sonics. "The Bridge of Lions Affair" features Maurice Evans, Bernard Fox and Vera Miles in a tale of artificial rejuvenation and the power plays surrounding it. The season's best episode, "The Waverly Ring Affair," is a suspenseful business in which the agents must figure out which co-worker, Larry Blyden or Elizabeth Allen, is a traitor working for Thrush. Other good episodes include "The Ultimate Computer;" "Discotheque Affair;" "Re-Collectors;" "Arabian Affair;" "Adriatic Express;" "Project Deephole;" "Minus X Affair" with Eve Arden; and "The Children's Day Affair," in which Jeanne Cooper plays Mother Fear, who runs a boy's school and is training the little fellows to wipe out agents at a special conference. The worst episode is probably "The Deadly Toys Affair," which guest-stars an overbearing Angela Lansbury in one of her least memorable performances; way too much camp. Vaughn and McCallum are perfect and Leo G. Carroll nearly steals the show as their boss, Alexander Waverly. The souped-up theme music is pretty neat. NOTE: The big-screen adaptation of the show due in 2014 will not star Tom Cruise but rather Henry Cavell of The Man of Steel.
Verdict: Cool show if too often on the edges of camp. ***.