This spin-off from the earlier "Department S" continued the adventures of hedonistic, womanizing dandy Jason King. After leaving Department S, Jason settled down to a full-time career of ... See full summary »
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1972   1971  

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An elite department within Interpol, Department S inherited those cases which the other member groups had failed to solve. The brains of the group was Jason King, a hedonistic maverick who ... See full summary »

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The Champions (1968–1969)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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Stories of an antique dealer who is really an undercover agent.

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The Protectors (1972–1973)
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The Protectors were Harry Rule, the Contessa di Contini and Paul Buchet, three freelance troubleshooters who ran an international crime fighting agency. Based in London, Harry was the ... See full summary »

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The Saint (1962–1969)
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Simon Templar, a wealthy adventurer known as The Saint, travels around the world in his white Volvo P1800S.

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My Partner the Ghost (1969–1971)
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Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk are private detectives who specialize in divorce cases. Their long-running partnership seems to come to an abrupt end when Marty is killed by a hit-and-run, ... See full summary »

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The Avengers (1961–1969)
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A quirky spy show of the adventures of an eccentrically suave British agent and his predominately female partners.

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The Persuaders! (1971–1972)
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Two worlds will collide when the titled Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair, and the Bronx-raised, self-made American Danny Wilde will reluctantly join forces to right wrongs and to protect the innocent.

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Blake's 7 (1978–1981)
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A group of convicts and outcasts fight a guerrilla war against the totalitarian Terran Federation from a highly advanced alien spaceship.

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Man in a Suitcase (1967–1968)
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McGill (known as "Mac") was a former U.S. intelligence agent based in London. After being thrown out of the agency for something he did not do, he finds his "false" reputation has preceded ... See full summary »

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UFO (1970–1973)
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Stars: Ed Bishop, Dolores Mantez, Michael Billington
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 Jason King (26 episodes, 1971-1972)
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This spin-off from the earlier "Department S" continued the adventures of hedonistic, womanizing dandy Jason King. After leaving Department S, Jason settled down to a full-time career of writing (trashy) Mark Caine novels. He philandered his way around the world, doing research for his stories and tripping over a variety of odd--often verging on surreal--cases, usually involving beautiful women. He was occasionally blackmailed into working for British Intelligence under the threat of being arrested for unpaid back taxes. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

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15 September 1971 (UK)  »

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(26 episodes)

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1.33 : 1
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Not nearly as fancy...
2 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I enjoyed Department S when I discovered it on DVD, so decided to give its spin-off series a try, even knowing going in that it was not as well-regarded. I very quickly found out why!

What made Jason King (the character) work in Department S was that he had two relatively normal sidekicks - who appear here only in the briefest of stock footage flashbacks in one single episode - to bounce off, making him seem like an eccentric in a more or less everyday world. Given his own series and shorn of anyone to keep him in check, however, Jason becomes absolutely ludicrous, a camp comic-book creation with barely even one toe in reality. That he's at all bearable to watch is entirely down to Peter Wyngarde's charm, as the scripts frequently make him casually sexist and even racist in a cringeworthy 1970s way. (One episode actually has him say "Ah so, dlagon rady" to a Chinese woman... a Chinese woman played by a British actress in yellowface and false eyelids. Horrible!)

The stories are also bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. Since he's no longer part of a law enforcement agency, every contrivance imaginable is needed to force Jason into the plots. He unwittingly uses a codeword meant to identify an arms dealer. He's hypnotised. He's mistaken for a hit-man because he's carrying a rose. He picks up a hitch-hiker involved in a crime. He's impersonated (twice). He's blackmailed by MI6 (several times). He's kidnapped (repeatedly). In the laziest example, he just so happens to know *three* different people - from different countries - who are trying to obtain a stolen statue, none of whom have any connection to each other.

The scripts are not the only thing that were cheap. To pay for location shooting in Europe (Jason visits Paris, Hamburg, Vienna, Venice and other cities - mostly wandering around in front of famous landmarks just to prove that yes, they really sent their leading actor there for the day) the show was shot on 16mm film rather than ITC's usual 35mm, and it looks terrible. 16mm can be decent quality - look at the restored DVDs of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who - but here everything is muddy and astonishingly grainy. The same sets appear over and over (every rich character seems to share a room with a blue domed ceiling), as do even cars. There's a silver Vauxhall Viva that follows Jason to almost every country he visits!

Amazingly, a halfway-decent story does occasionally manage to force its way through the dross; 'As Easy As ABC' sees two criminals using the plot of one of Jason's own novels to carry out a robbery and frame him for it, 'To Russia With Panache' plays like a lost Department S script as Jason investigates a bizarre murder in the Kremlin, and 'Wanna Buy A Television Series?' amusingly bites the hand that feeds it by ridiculing the same US TV networks that ITC depended upon to fund its shows. But most of the episodes are empty, silly and, worst of all, *boring* nonsense that not even Wyngarde's charisma can save.


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