Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Season 3

Reta Shaw as a sinister THRUSH agent
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. Season Three.  1966.

Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kurakin (David McCallum), as well as Mr. Waverly (Leo G. Carroll), are back for a third season of Uncle. Fans of the show generally consider this the worst of the four seasons, as there were times the program began to resemble an out and out comedy a la Get Smart. In spite of this, some of the more absurd episodes were fun. The first two episodes concerned homicidal females: "Her Master's Voice" had the mesmerized staff at a girls' school taking after the agents; and the memorably batty "The Sort of Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair" featured killer robots modeled on beautiful women. The entertaining two-part "Concrete Overcoat Affair" was turned into the theatrical feature The Spy with the Green Hat. A silly but zesty episode had the wonderful Reta Shaw [Sanctuary] as a THRUSH operative trying to find a scientist (Victor Borge) with a dangerous formula in his head in "The Suburbia Affair." A ray that could put people into instant suspended animation figured in "Deadly Smorgasbord." "Off-Broadway Affair" starred Shari Lewis in a tale of THRUSH using a theater to gain access to computer info. At least two of the season's episodes were not campy. "Galatea Affair" starred Joan Collins [Tales that Witness Madness] as a woman trained to take the place of a lookalike, a baroness working for you-know-who. "The Candidate's Wife" also featured a double substituted for the wife (Diana Hyland of Jigsaw) of a presidential nominee. Understandably, these were two of the season's best episodes.

Fans generally consider the worst episode to be "The Super Colossal Affair" in which the mob drops a bomb on Los Angeles which turns out to be -- unfortunately for poor Illya -- a ten ton stink bomb! Okay, this is a far cry from what the fans were hoping for, but I have to say this episode is absolutely hilarious, which was generally not true for many of its campy, would-be comical episodes -- yes, "Super Colossal" was not the worst episode of season three. J. Carrol Naish is very funny in this story as well.

Verdict: A comedown from seasons one and two, but still entertaining. **1/2.

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