Time-Life has released the The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Complete Series in a special silver attaché case. This contains 41 DVDs covering all 105 episodes, and nearly ten hours of bonus material. The case measures 11½ x 8 x 4 inches and neatly holds all four season boxes and the two "Debriefing" bonus materials. For you die-hard fans this is way cool. Sorry though that it is not metal but only cardboard, but sitting on the shelf it looks great and gets a lot of interest from those who see it.
You can read more of the history from my preview from a couple of months ago, but The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was an American television series that ran on NBC from September 22, 1964, to January 15, 1968, generating 105 episodes. This release contains all those episodes plus much, much more.
Each season is housed in a spine-bound DVD case. Each comes with an episode guide that contains the episode number, episode title, and original air date. The booklets also contain information on the season and tidbits on the making of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Season one is all filmed in black and white while the remaining seasons switched to color. The quality of both the audio and video is very clear and they definitely took their time with the reproduction. I have seen some of the earlier VHS reproductions and this is the clearest version of the show to date.
With some DVD sets, you get very little in the way of bonus material, or when you do, it is all of these people around the set and not the stars. Here you get plenty of both Robert Vaughan and David McCallum; Leo G. Carroll died in 1972. Remarkably Carroll was 78 years old when the series started.
The other thing that is so great about this series is all of the guest appearances that were made by both established, rising, and future stars. Some of them include Robert Culp, Lee Meriwether, Yvonne Craig, Leonard Nimoy, Caesar Romero, Sharon Tate, Ricardo Montalban, William Shatner, James Doohan, June Lockhart, Barbara Feldon, and Elsa Landchester; and these are just from the first season.
One of the bonus features is on the last disk from each season is a rundown of all of the guest stars. It includes information about how they were to work with as well as how well the worked with the show. Since there were so many stars and some of them were disguised, this feature helps. It took me quite a while to recognize Carroll O'Connor.
The two bonus disks contain "Six Original Featurettes with New Interviews and Exclusive Footage," "Promos and Trailers," "Official Debriefings: Interviews with U.N.C.L.E. Actors and Production Staff," "TV Appearances and Spots," and "Photo and Image Galleries." There is also a complete breakdown of each season's episodes. The list price for this package is $249.00 USD and it can be ordered through Time-Life.
I found the series to be refreshingly bright with a bit of humor and adventure. By all appearances the show could have gone on forever, but unfortunately Sam Rolfe left the show and eventually the show finished with only four seasons. All in all, The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Complete Series is a classic show that should not be overlooked.
The packaging and materials are as advertised and of a high quality. This is a nice-looking set and I don't think I could have asked for anything else; well, a metal case would have been nicer. If you are looking for the perfect The Man From U.N.C.L.E. package then look no further than The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Complete Series.
Summary of Bonus Material
Four eight-page booklets with liner notes written by Jon Burlingame (journalist, producer of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. music CDs), Craig Henderson (journalist, U.N.C.L.E. fanzine publisher); Cindy Walker (author of Work/Text: Investigating the Man From U.N.C.L.E.) and David Bianculli (television critic, New York Daily News).
- Interview: Double Agents “The David McCallum & Robert Vaughn Reunion"
- Solo, the original color U.N.C.L.E. pilot.
- One Spy Too Many, the feature film based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- The Cloak and Swagger Affair: The Untold History of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
- The Spy-Fi Tour: Archives, Art & Artifacts
- Cold War, Hot Spies: U.N.C.L.E. and the Cold War
- MGM's Secret Operations
- Guns, Gizmos, Gadgets and Garb
- Behind the Wheel: U.N.C.L.E.'s Piranha
- The Music from U.N.C.L.E.
- The Girls of U.N.C.L.E.
Seventeen on-camera interviews with David McCallum, Robert Vaughn, director Richard Donner, writer Peter Allan Fields, writer Dean Hargrove, director of photography Fred Koenekamp, assistant producer George Lehr, director Joseph Sargent, and others.
U.N.C.L.E V.I.P.s – A Celebration of U.N.C.L.E. Guest Stars: clip collections, featuring Eddie Albert, Joan Collins, Joan Crawford, Janet Leigh, Leonard Nimoy, Carol O'Connor, Jack Palance, Slim Pickens, Vincent Price, Kurt Russell, William Shatner, Sonny and Cher, and many more!
The Secret Tapes of Illya Kuryakin: Home Movies from the Set of U.N.C.L.E.
Clips from Robert Vaughn and David McCallum's appearances at the 1965 Emmy and Golden Globe broadcasts, plus a clip from McCallum's appearance on The Andy Williams Show.
Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R."
U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia, Ian Fleming's personal notes, NBC Broadcast and Standards memos, research files, set designs, and blueprints.
Promos, trailers and television commercials.
Hidden Camera: An U.N.C.L.E. Photo Gallery