A Winner--Even With Rickles
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, so Rickles has a limited appeal (at best)--so what! While it's pretty ponderous (I wish I wouldn't spit when I say that), "Night Train To Madrid" is interesting, if for no other reason than to see Don Rickles play a character, rather than himself. Rickles started out as an actor, and while he's no slouch, the episode does drag. It appears evident that Culp and Cosby weren't too thrilled about the script; they lack their customary energy, and the whole thing seems like a collective shrug of the shoulder.Now then, onto the good stuff. "Little Boy Lost" is a swell episode, even though the bad guys are wearing suits in a Santa Monica amusement park (!), and you can spot 'em a mile away. Welllll, it's 1966 entertainment, folks, so deal with it and look beyond the small stuff. In this episode, Kelly is less a womanizer than he is an idealist (he argues the virtues of "The Federalist" over "Das Kapital," thereby blowing his carnal chances with a shapely blonde spy), but loses none of his appeal as a charmer in the face of danger ("Hi there! How're things on your side??"). All in all it's not bad, and the Chayefsky-esque ending is a scream."Casanova From Canarsie" is fluff, pure and simple, but it's pretty funny, and allows Culp to stretch out his comedic talents. Cosby maintains an air of mock dignity a la Oliver Hardy throughout, perfectly consistent with the character of Alexander Scott. On the whole, a nice offering.Ah, but "Cops and Robbers"--the best is saved for last. This episode marks one of Bill Cosby's finest performances, and with an intelligient subtlety explores the depth of his friendship with Kelly. Clearly, by the end of 1966, Cosby had perfected the character of a man who is both cool and complex. True, Jim Brown and his henchman are casted as the stereotypical badman and his psychotic assistant, but I will presume that this was done to illustrate the stark contrasts between the villains and the controlled intelligience of Robinson and Scott. After all, there's alot of ground to cover 51 minutes, and the "I Spy" team pulls it off quite well. I'd give this disc 4 1/2 stars. Oh, by the way, the video image is superb throughout this disc, although I did notice that the soundtrack seemed muted, particularly on "Cops and Robbers." Still, this is a superb disc, and well worth the pittance it costs to experience a fine television series at the peak of its powers."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not so much a review as to tell which episodes are on this DVD. Little Boy Lost (of course) with Ron Howard as a misunderstood boy who steals a piece of equiptment to get noticed by his too-busy Dad.Casanova From Canarsie with Wally Cox as a government file clerk who becomes the target of a spy because of what he knows about the U.S. nuclear program.Night Train to Madrid with Don Rickles as an obnoxious entertainer in a USO show.Cops and Robbers (a boyhood friend of Scott's tries to use the relationship to get top-secret data)."