UNCLE, seeking to infiltrate a meeting of terrorists, reluctantly recruits former agent Albert Sully, a supposed expert on one of the attending terrorists. In reality, he knows no more than...
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UNCLE, seeking to infiltrate a meeting of terrorists, reluctantly recruits former agent Albert Sully, a supposed expert on one of the attending terrorists. In reality, he knows no more than UNCLE does and, in turns, seeks the help of a woman from his past. Written by
S1: Takes a while to settle, but does get the fun and entertainment factors right
My memory of this show is limited to it being screened at Friday tea-time on BBC2 many decades ago, but my memory was of enjoying it. Deciding to watch it again all these years later, I was surprised to find the first season in black & white, since I remembered only color. This was not the only thing that struck me about starting this first season, as it was slower and less fun than I remembered. This is the case with the start of the season for sure; although it gets better quickly.
At first Solo is very much the focus, and the plots tend to be overblown and a bit silly. Well, maybe this is not true so much as the tone of the episodes are not quite fun enough to make us go with the plots. They are delivered quite 'straight', and as such things like the Shark Affair (an attempt at a Noah's Ark) is silly in a bad way, not in a good way. This continues with plots involving reanimating Hitler, and other such things. As it goes on though, the sense of spark and fun starts to come into it more, and as a result the more flamboyant setups work better. Thrush is used well as a plot device, and I liked that their threat is real enough to be a good narrative driver, but not so real that it dampens down the fun. This is particularly important when one considers that almost every plot involves dragging innocents into the line of fire – either on purpose or by accident. This aspect not being troublesome is down to the lighthearted core of the majority of the season.
With this progression comes more involvement of Kuryakin, which in turn makes Solo's character work better for having a counterpart. I don't think the balance between them works perfectly here; the choice of when to give them episodes to themselves is inconsistent, with the near absence of Solo in the season finale being odd. The cast do work well though. Vaughn and McCallum both play their parts well once they settle in. Carroll is a sturdy figure, while the various supporting guests of the week mostly acquit themselves well. It is nice to watch the show and see the odd familiar face too – such as a very young Russell, and a typically charismatic Montalban.
A strong first season then, even if it takes a chunk of episodes to settle itself and find its feet.
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