March 29, 2015

CRANK UP THE NETFLIX:

The Spy (Novelist) Who Loved Me: Olen Steinhauer's Top 4 Fictional Spies (Seira Wilson, March 24, 2015, Amazon Book Review)

Neil Burnside: As the Director of Special Operations for MI-6, this icy kingmaker took viewers through the complex and fraught world of British espionage in The Sandbaggers, which lasted three impeccable seasons from 1978 to 1980. Not quite as bleak as Callan, The Sandbaggers still pulls no punches and, even on a shoestring British-seventies budget, puts most contemporary spy shows to shame. Sadly unknown on this side of the Atlantic, The Sandbaggers should be required viewing for fans of the genre. I return to it regularly.

John Drake: Before starring in the cult classic The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan became the highest-paid TV actor in part because of Danger Man. In two series (1960-1962 and 1964-1968), he played John Drake, an "Irish-American" NATO intelligence operative whose jobs take him all over the world. Smart scripts and a solidly moral character made this a stunning show that holds up remarkably well fifty years later. McGoohan, a staunch Catholic, made ground rules for his character: He never bedded a woman, and he would not kill people. Only occasionally would he produce a gun. What that meant was that, unlike a lot of TV spies, Drake had to use his brains to get himself out of trouble. What it meant for audiences was that they quickly grew to trust their leading man, week after week.

Most of us of a certain age saw at least some episodes of Danger Man and all of The Prisoner on various outlets, but if you've never seen it you owe it to youself to track down The Sandbaggers.

Posted by at March 29, 2015 7:12 AM
  

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