As Warner Brothers prepares for the impending The Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature film starring Henry Cavill and Arnie Hammer, the first season of the black & white television show arrives on DVD. Robert Vaughn and David McCallum star in the roles that Cavill and Hammer will take up soon, in a show that ran on NBC from 1964 to 1968.
With the flair of shows like The Saint hashed out with elements of James Bond, Mission Impossible, and odd couple sparring, the show has significant cultural entertainment for those who love spies or the ways that these things ripple out into significant other areas of entertainment.
While some generations may know Vaughn best as the face of “The Law Offices of Marks and Harrison,” he’s well-versed in playing bigger roles, from The A-Team to The Magnificent Seven and even Brit card sharking in Hustle. But even more amusing is the fact that Illya Kuryakin is played by “Ducky” of NCIS! But these two play hardline officers/spies/detectives who go after whatever is in front of them and track down the truth to the very end of the mission. And all twenty-nine episodes of the first season are included here in ten discs, complete with creepily-played scores in the background!
As agents of United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, the two operatives go up against Thrush, which might as well be SPECTRE for you Bond fans. But each episode has different aspects to take away from it, and the way that it’s shot makes it seem more personal than some of the long shot television series that seemed to treat their characters more like an eternal video game winner than a real-life individual who might get battered or bruised.
Still, the overarching takeaway I found from watching episodes from the first season was the unwavering focus of Napoleon Soto (Vaughn). No matter what anyone else says or does, he is unflappable, and absolutely focused. He knows what his mission is and he’s unafraid of bruising muscles or egos to accomplish what he’s supposed to in the name of protecting freedom.
I wonder sometimes if I’m that focused. Can I get caught up in busy work, or mindless entertainment, to the detriment of what I’m supposed to do or who I’m supposed to be? Do I remember that I’m a child of God, called to minister to the sick and hurting, and called to share the good news of God’s love?
I may never battle rooms full of enemy agents, but I could learn a lot from Soto’s focus.