Courtesy; Shout! Factory/Timeless Media Group
Timeless Media and Shout! Factory have established themselves in recent years as two of the leading companies in the realm of home entertainment. Releases ranging from the Power Rangers to The Gene Autry Show to Nickelodeon’s classic 90s Nicktoons and classic Red Skelton collections have put both companies at the forefront of home entertainment. They will continue to maintain that mantle with next Tuesday’s release of Secret Agent: The Complete Series. Secret Agent: The Complete Series is another hit for Timeless Media and Shout Factory in part for its writing. Unlike every one of today’s action based series (E.g. The Blacklist) this U.K. series shows even today that a show doesn’t need loads of explosions, overt sexuality and violence in general to be entertaining. All it needs is good writing. Another reason that this latest box set is such a hit for both companies is its collective packaging and its look. A little more than five decades have passed since Secret Agent first came to U.K. audiences. Even with that span of time passing, the footage looks just as impressive as in its original broadcasts. And while the series has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in their own collections, Timeless Media’s upcoming release of Secret Agent: The Complete Series marks the first time that the entire original U.K. Danger Man series has been released in one complete set. Its half-hour and full-hour episodes have been released in separate sets over the years. But this set marks the first time that the entire series has been released in one box. And there is plenty to note in regards to that, too. It still isn’t all that makes this box set so welcome for any fan of classic TV and real action series. One more factor worth noting is the bonus interview with star Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine McGoohan. It is a truly enlightening interview that reveals not just Steve McGoohan the celebrity, but the loving family man, too. There are even some tidbits about his acting career late in his life that she reveals that might surprise a lot of people. That’s not to discount the bonus commentary on select episodes, either. The commentary adds its own touch to the presentation in whole, too. All things considered, Secret Agent: The Complete Series is yet more proof of why Timeless Media and Shout! Factory remain today at the forefront of home entertainment.
Secret Agent (a.k.a. Danger Man) is a wonderful piece of television history. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series, it proves to be a welcome escape from all of the overly violent and overtly sexualized action/drama series on television today. One of the most important ways in which it proves this is through its writing. From stopping an international drug ring in “Position of Trust” to uncovering who is blackmailing officials with the British Embassy in “The Black Book” to going toe-to-toe with an East German spymaster in “Fair Exchange,” and more, every episode is original and fun in its own right. The series’ writers never required Drake to use a gun. He always used his intelligence over any weapon. He also used his suave demeanor to achieve his goals whether when dealing with men or women. And at no point is there any overt sexuality or even unnecesary levels of violence thrown in, either. Sure, it’s a product of its time. But it’s too bad that such writing doesn’t exist in today’s action and drama series. It’s just one part of what makes Secret Agent: The Complete Series another welcome addition to the collection of any classic TV lover or lover of truly great action series.
The writing that went into Secret Agent: The Complete Series is an important piece of the whole that makes this box set so welcome in the collection of any lover of classic television. Just as important to the whole is the set’s overall packaging and the quality of the footage. Timeless Media’s upcoming release marks the first time ever that this series has been released in one complete box set. It has seen its half hour and hour-long episodes released in separate box sets over the years. But none of them have ever been compiled into one box until now. Timeless Media has done an outstanding job packaging the set into one box. All seventeen discs that make up the series are packaged into three separate cases. And within each case, the discs are placed on their own spindles and “leaves” inside the case, protecting the discs from one another. This is a standard that was set by Timeless Media and Shout! Factory years ago. it is a model that thankfully other companies adopted not too long after, either. Making the packaging even better for audiences is a little history lesson on the show contained on the back of each of the three volumes. Each volume also presents a full episode list on the back of its case. That combination of elements proves yet again that the packaging for Secret Agent: The Complete Series is just as important as the writing behind the episodes themselves in the success of this box set. The positives still don’t end here, either.
The writing behind Secret Agent’s episodes and the packaging of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are both integral parts of the whole in their own way. As important as they are to the whole, they would be moot points if the footage itself was not quality. Luckily, that isn’t the case. The footage contained throughout the set’s seventeen total discs looks just as good as it did in its original broadcasts in the 1960s. Those that watch the series via a Blu-ray player will especially agree with that statement when they see the quality in its up-conversion. Given, the series has been released previously by other companies. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality footage in their cases. In the case of Timeless Media’s full series release, it is guaranteed from the series’ first episode to its last. The same applies even for audiences watching the series through a DVD player. Such quality restoration is one more reason that this latest full-series release from Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory proves to be such a success.
The packaging and look of Secret Agent: The Complete Series are two of the most important factors in the set’s overall success. They are just as important as the writing behind the show’s episodes. As if that isn’t enough for audiences, there is a bonus interview with Patrick McGoohan’s daughter Catherine that sheds quite a light on McGoohan the actor and the family man. Audiences will be surprised to learn through her interview that McGoohan did his own stunts throughout Danger Man’s original run. Just as intriguing is her note that her father was the antithesis of the typical TV star. He was more focused on his family than his career. She speaks so lovingly and warmly of him when she discusses her one-on-one talks with her father when she was young and his desire to maintain a strong bond with his whole family, thus the comment about him being married to her mother for almost sixty years before his passing. She goes on to note near the interview’s end to also note very surprisingly that her father was (believe it or not) the first choice to play Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise and Professor Dumbledore in the hugely popular Harry Potter franchise. Apparently, the reason he turned down both roles was his dedication to his family. It’s really a deep statement. It’s a refreshing statement that shows not every star is all about fame and fortune. She discusses so much more throughout the course of her roughly half-hour interview. But that is for audiences to see and hear for themselves when they purchase this box set. Together with the set’s packaging, the quality of the footage, and the episodes’ writing, it all comes together to make Secret Agent: The Complete Series a big hit for any lover of classic television and action/drama series.
The bonus first-person interview with Catherine McGoohan is itself a true bonus for audiences in this set regardless of their familiarity with Danger Man or Secret Agent. In the same vein, the commentary included with select episodes adds its own value to the set, too. While not every episode boasts commentary, those that do include commentary are made all the more interesting thanks to said commentary. It is commentary that at times even links to other episodes. Taking that into account, it is the final touch to a series that in the end proves to be just as valuable for lovers of classic television as previous releases from Timeless Media and Shout! Factory.
Secret Agent: The Complete Series will be available Tuesday, December 9th on DVD in stores and online. Audiences can order it online direct from Timeless Media’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/tv-action-adventure/secret-agent-aka-danger-man-the-complete-series for a reduced priec of $63.97 versus the MSRP of $79.97. More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.