I Spy takes a second hit at espionage
Breyel | MALAYSIA | 02/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alright, Season Two of "I Spy"! Agents Scott (Bill Cosby) and Robinson (Robert Culp) are at it again as undercover agents for the US government while hitting the international tennis circuit.
As with the first season, the show was filmed in a variety of international locations. Season two was filmed almost exclusively in Burma, Spain, Italy and US, often relying on NBC News bureaus to get much of the show's footage.
However, it did not depend merely on exotic locations. It also looked at the personal side of espionage. Unlike so many shows of this genre in the 1960s, "I Spy" dealt with agents dying cruel deaths, burning out on the spy game, and even doubting the nature of orders from superiors.
The series was nominated for several awards by the American Cinema Editors, USA (Eddie Award), the National Academy of Arts & Sciences (Emmy Awards), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Golden Globes). In fact, Bill Cosby would win at least three consecutive Emmys as the Best Male Actor in a dramatic television series.
The 28 episodes in Season Two include:
1. So Coldly Sweet -- Kelly and Scotty are ordered to determine the authenticity of a lovely Soviet agent who claims she wants to defect. (Filmed in Palm Springs, USA). Stars "Hills Street Blues" Sgt, the late Michael Conrad.
2. Lori -- In order to safeguard an expert on underground nuclear explosions, Scotty must investigate an old friend (Nancy Wilson), and recruits the man's sister to help him. (Filmed in Las Vegas, USA) Stars "It Takes A Thief" actor, Malachi Throne.
3. Sofia -- Kelly and Scotty go to Rome to meet the latter's foster daughter, and try to recover a valuable ring stolen by her ne'er-do-well fiance. (Next 3 consecutive episodes filmed in Italy).
4. Vendetta -- A vengeful Italian don blames Kelly Robinson for the death of one of his sons, and has the agent kidnapped
5. A Gift from Alexander -- Kelly reluctantly seduces a beautiful Soviet major in order to acquire a valuable manuscript sought by a trio of Russian exiles. Stars Anna Karina and Michael Constantine.
6. Trail by Treehouse -- Scotty thinks Kelly is dead, and becomes emotionally involved with the woman and boy posing as his wife (Cicely Tyson) and son on a mission. (Filmed in the US for next three episodes).
7. Sparrow hawk -- Kelly and Scotty are assigned as bodyguards to a spoiled young Arab king (Walter Koenig aka Mr. Chekov) who wants to experience the highlife in Las Vegas. Also recurring actor Michael Constantine.
8. Will the Real Good Guys Please Stand Up -- Moscow sends two agents to Palm Springs to pose as Kelly and Scotty, who are supposed to be guarding a foreign scientist and his beautiful daughter.
9. Bridge of Spies -- A watch belonging to Kelly's father figures into a scheme by a Soviet assassin to kill American agents in Venice. (Back to Italy for four episodes).
10. One of Our Bombs is Missing -- Kelly and Scotty are ordered to locate a USAF plane carrying a hydrogen bomb that went down somewhere in Italy.
11. To Florence with Love - Part 1 -- Kelly and Scotty are assigned to accompany an American Sunday school teacher (Joey Heatherton) who is delivering a priceless DaVinci painting to a museum in Florence.
12. To Florence with Love - Part 2 -- Kelly and Scotty must break into a Florence museum to replace a forgery of a DaVinci painting with the real thing -- or is it the other way around?
13. Lisa -- A Greek girl (Linda Marsh) coming to America as a mail-order bride is used by the Soviets to expose an infiltrator in their organization. (Filmed in US).
14. Little Boy Lost -- A scientist's son steals a key component of an internal guidance system and Kelly and Scotty must find the boy (Ronny Howard aka Richie Cunningham, Opie) before the enemy does.
15. Father Abraham -- A scheme to let a young scientist fall into enemy hands so that he can spill false information is interfered with by the man's father, an Army general. (Next four episodes filmed in Italy).
16. Rome Take Away Three -- When an Italian bureau chief commits suicide because he's being blackmailed, Kelly and Scotty are assigned the task of destroying the blackmailer.
17. Tonia -- Scotty and an American girl (Leslie Uggams) who is part of an anti-American faction in Rome are encouraged to cultivate a relationship by their respective sides.
18. Child Out of Time -- Former Nazis who presided over a death camp during the war and who faked their deaths fear retribution from a child who survived the camp and knows their true identities.
19. The Trouble with Temple -- Scotty is captured and interrogated by an American expatriate actor (Jack Cassidy) who's selling NATO maneuver secrets to the Soviets, while Kelly becomes involved with the actor's girlfriend (Carol Wayne). (Filmed in Spain).
20. The War Lord -- Kelly and Scotty deliver the ransom demanded by a Chinese warlord who has kidnapped a female British photojournalist. (Filmed in Burma).
21. A Room with a Rack -- Kelly seems to have lost his courage after being tortured by the enemy, and while on vacation in Spain he meets his tormentor again. (Next eight episodes filmed in Spain).
22. Mainly on the Plains -- Kelly and Scotty compete with the Soviets to recruit an eccentric Spanish professor (Boris Karloff) who has developed a theory crucial to missile defense.
23. Get Thee to a Nunnery -- Kelly and Scotty compete with a sly British agent (Peter Lawford) in their search for a man (Vincent Gardenia) who knows the whereabouts of $14 million in hidden Nazi art treasures.
24. Blackout -- When Kelly wakes up with a dead Russian ballerina in his bed, he and Scotty must reconstruct the past few hours to find out who killed her, and why.
25. Magic Mirror -- Kelly Robinson falls in love with a beautiful agent, only to discover that she has become the mistress of a ruthless dictator (Ricardo Montalban) who is scheming with the enemy to place ballistic missiles in his country. This one was written by Robert Culp.
26. Night Train to Madrid -- Kelly and Scotty must protect an obnoxious American comic (Don Rickles) on a tour of Europe and who is the target of a Soviet agent.
27. Casanova from Canarsie -- Kelly and Scotty intervene when a beautiful enemy agent tries to seduce a lowly government file clerk (Wally Cox).
28. Cops and Robbers -- Scotty's mother (Beah Richards) and sister are held hostage by an old friend (Jim Brown) who offers to exchange their lives for valuable microfilm. (Filmed in US).
Great show. Good laughs. Super scripts, some of which Culp wrote and directed, which was a rarity back then. Love the `pop art' style introduction. Infectious music. Highly recommended. Tennis, anyone?"
3 Excellent Episodes!
ianhse | Redondo Beach, CA USA | 05/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This edition features 2 of the best Mexico episodes, and a superlative Japan episode. "Bet Me A Dollar" starts as a lightheared bet between a bored Kelly and Scott, which becomes a race against time as Scotty must find his friend who has been dosed with anthtrax and has only hours to live. The little boy who guest stars in this one is especially good, and delivers a very strong performance. "Carmelita" is another great one from the Mexico arc as the boys become unwitting babysitters for infant Carmelita as "the opposition" chase after them. (Watch for a cool moment in the teaser as Cosby says a line too early and Culp has to cut him off.) "Tatia" is a very dramatic episode which sees Kelly fall for a beautiful photographer whom Scotty suspects is an opposition agent. A great moment occurs when Scott tells Kelly there's no way he's going out let him out to meet her, and calls down to the lobby to let them know they may hear some loud noises like a fight, but not to worry, it's only a sound effects record. The only drawback to this edition is the video quality of "Tatia" which is a little off, probably due to the source material. But the content more than makes up for it. As usual the other episodes are strikingly clear and beautiful. Remarkable for a series over 35 years old! This is a must have for the I Spy fan, featuring 3 of the best of the series."
Only-A-Child | 03/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 82 hour-long episodes (all in color) of the spy adventure series "I Spy" ran from 1965-1968 on NBC. All 28 episodes from season two are on this DVD, there was no significant changes to the style or background from season one. The same can be said for the 26 episodes of Season Three-probably a miscalculation as things had gotten a bit repetitive by that time and the series could have benefited from a bit of a shake-up.
It was a top-notch spy series with a fair amount of same "tongue-in-cheek" self-parody found in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and the popular James Bond movie franchise. But don't expect the same level of gadgetry and gimmicks; "I Spy" is much more about the witty banter between its pair of spies, Kelly Robertson (Robert Culp) and Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby). Their cover as they travel the world on assorted missions is tennis, Kelly is a tennis pro and Scotty is his trainer. They work for an unnamed U.S. espionage agency.
The intelligent and witty tone of the show obviously appealed to its fans as reflected by its three year broadcast run and subsequent syndication. Much of the credit for this goes to Sheldon Leonard who incorporated the more subtle comedy elements he had experimented with when producing "Make Room for Daddy", "The Andy Griffith Show", and "The Dick Van Dyke Show".
Cosby was hardly an unknown at the time of the series premiere. He was a wildly popular stand-up comic who had appeared many times on television variety shows and sold millions of record albums featuring his semi-autobiographical comedy routines. But his Alexander Scott character is generally a pretty serious guy (he does occasionally sneak in some of his comedy routines) and Cosby's portrayal is quite believable. Prior to this no comedian (and certainly no black comedian) had stared in an action show.
Culp is not so much the dashing James Bond style hero as a contemporary version of the less macho Bret Maverick type. He is not above pleading ignorance or confusion in a crisis. Fortunately the chemistry was excellent between the two stars.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
All That Is I SPY!!
Tatia Loring | 06/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"GREAT NEWS ... I SPY is back again on DVD!! If you didn't pick-up the original set or have always wanted to see this great show from the 60s - now's your chance - and at a great price! I SPY was definitely the coolest and most realistic of the "spy genre" shows on 60s TV. The banter between Culp and Cosby is unsurpassed; the mixture of action/adventure/intrigue and comedy/romance/exotic locations is a joy to watch; plus the amazing music of Earle Hagen, add up to a viewing experience you won't want to miss.
For more on I SPY, be sure to check on THE "definitive" book on the series - "I Spy: A History and Episode Guide to the Groundbreaking Television Series" by Marc Cushman and Linda J. LaRosa (with a foreword by Robert Culp)
... Besides providing a complete and in-depth background and "the Story Behind the Stories," it also includes the real order in which to watch the episodes, not just the way they were broadcast. Everyone connected with I SPY who could be interviewed - was - including writers and production staff, and even censors' reports are included. A really great book for anyone interested in I SPY who wants to know the complete story. [...]"