Series Created by Ralph Smart
Starring Patrick McGoohan
- McGoohan biography/filmography
- Complete full-length original U.S. opening featuring “Secret Agent Man” sung by Johnny Rivers
- Photo gallery
Released by: A&E Home Video
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Fans should own
Watch out international villainsâ€¦here comes John Drake, a top operative with the British M9 Intelligence Agency. He’s as smart and strong as James Bond, but unlike 007, he never gets mixed up with the girl…the poor guy doesn’t get a single kiss. Whether on the banks of the French Riviera, in a Roman villa, or in an army camp in Africa, Drake can handle himself in any situation. Originally released in England as Danger Man and later in America as Secret Agent, this series was the start of a very successful television and film career for Patrick McGoohan.
[ad#longpost]Although the series is considered by some to be a cult classic, I wasn’t too jazzed about it. Although Drake has a few re-appearing comrades, he is the only real constant in the series, and I found his character to be a little dry for my tastes. Other than a suggestion that he really enjoys gambling, he doesn’t seem to have any flaws or quirks to make him any more than a stereotypical secret agent (albeit a more realistic one than perhaps we’re used to seeing), and there just wasn’t any character development between the first episode and the last. Why this might be a comforting constant when watching from week to week, when taking them as a whole, you just want some differentiation to happen. Somewhere.
The plots themselves are also pretty flat. There’s barely any suspense, and the build up happens so slowly that by the time it seems like things are starting to happen, the credits roll. It’s fun listening to the melodramatic music and seeing the pretty costumes, but overall, I was pretty unimpressed. Perhaps if I had seen this when it originally aired I would think it rocked, but it doesn’t hold up well enough for me, I fear.
The major pull for this set is that it has all forty-seven episodes of the series. The images have been digitally re-mastered, but the sound obviously hasn’tâ€¦.it’s pretty bad in places. The features are pretty sparse: you can read up on Patrick McGoohan, see the opening credits as they appeared on the U.S. release of the show, and see some still shots. That’s it.
It’s a shame that they couldn’t get McGoohan to stop by for a commentary track. Granted, there are probably a number of reasons–and fans are just happy to have the discs, no doubt–but still, around here we always want more. I think an even more useuful featurette might have been one to provide some context in the spy/agent genre that would give a needed framework to folks like me who just don’t get this series. Sure, the DVD cases do interesting facts about the series, such as how McGoohan would personally approve the choreography for every fight sequence and never had a stunt double fight for him. But sadly, that was one of the best parts of the set as a whole.
To sum up, if you’re one of the people who loved the series in the 60s, or if you want to see what came before The Prisoner, by all means get this set. Otherwise, look around for something else.