Open Channel ‘D’

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After a few weeks of patient waiting, and relying on the kindness of Tony over at Xploited Cinema, I took delivery of my most eagerly anticipated DVD set. I first saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E one Saturday afternoon on television when I was rather young and became immediately hooked by its cool characters, wacky storylines and neat gadgets. I never managed to see the series in full, only owning the British VHS releases of the show and the UK DVD release of several U.N.C.L.E movies that were edited together versions of two-part episodes. DVD releases of the show were announced by the US label Anchor Bay but were unfortunately cancelled due to an issue with ownership rights. Then American company TimeLife announced that they would be releasing the complete series in a limited collector’s box with numerous additional features. The only drawback being that it would only be available to purchase in the US through TimeLife. Luckily I was able to find a way around this.

Upon opening the package I found the box to be a little more flimsy than

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I thought it would be; it certainly looks much better in pictures than it does in real life. It is something that could break quite easily through wear. The DVD packaging is also disappointing with excess glue used to keep the disc separators together. Again, overuse could result in damage. The content of the DVDs is what we are mainly interested in here though and the episodes look good. They are not as clean as some of the other remastered shows I have seen on DVD, featuring a few pops and scratches, but this does not detract from the overall viewing experience. All four seasons are included along with the unaired pilot Solo and the U.N.C.L.E movie One Spy too Many (1966). Unfortunately none of the other U.N.C.L.E movies have been included or the reunion movie The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E (1983). The extra features are numerous, not only are some contained on each individual season set but there are also two bonus discs. So far I have only watched an interview with star David MacCallum and enjoyed watching him enthusiastically recount his experience of being involved with the show.

Even though this is quite pricey, and possibly the most money I have spent on a DVD release so far, it is a nice collector’s piece that demands countless reviewing and well worth every penny. Each season will be released separately in US from late next year onwards possibly by Warner. This set, however, will not be around for long so if you are an U.N.C.L.E fan you might want to try and get one before they disappear for good.

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