See my review for I Spy, Season One here. I Spy is an action-adventure TV series from the 196os that focuses on Alexander “Scotty” Scott (played by Bill Cosby) and Kelly Robinson (played by Robert Culp), who pose as a tennis player and his trainer, but are actually secret agents for the U.S. government.
What I love about season two of the show is that the characters are already established, as well as their friendship, so we dive right into new stories with the two. I felt there was a more diverse range of locations this season, from Italy to California to Spain. Kelly’s still picking up women left and right, but he’s also smoking a lot more, and Scotty’s about as straight-laced as ever, though he gets to loosen up some this season. I also found the season to be overall more political, espousing American ideals and speaking out against Communism quite a bit. There is a blend of serious episodes with more fun, romp-like episodes, and while I have a lot of appreciation for the serious ones (minus the ones that the late Robert Culp wrote, because with all due respect to him, they weren’t that great), I generally preferred the fun ones (unless they were trying to be fun and then weren’t, particularly an episode involving an Italian boy named Gino…).
The first episode I enjoyed a lot was “One of Our Bombs Is Missing,” in which Kelly and Scotty have to recover an A-bomb from an American military aircraft that crashed in Italy. There was a colorful cast of side characters that made this one enjoyable, including a man trying to hook Kelly up with his daughter (who he insists is a very good cook) and a priest.
One episode where I found the premise intriguing and would like to see done in a more modern way was “Father Abraham.” A very young rocket scientist has volunteered to be tortured and give false information to some bad guys (probably Russian Communists, but I don’t remember for certain) all to win the approval of his father. Part of me found it far-fetched, and yet, it really was intriguing because the character himself was an enigma to me, and I don’t know how to explain why. I suppose because he seemed so young, early to mid-twenties, and was a fairly attractive guy who could probably find a lady to settle down with and live a normal life, but he chose this whole other, dangerous path. I think it could be a great movie or book, and that it could expound so much more than this episode could.
“Child Out of Time” was interesting in that is focuses on an extremely bright girl who ends up an orphan. With this episode, I found her character more interesting than the actual story. She kept these secrets that her mother had memorized, valuable information that many people wanted, but once that’s given away, there’s nothing left for her except to go live with some nuns. She was the sort of character that I wanted to know more about (like the guy from the aforementioned episode), and it would be interesting to find out how she was doing ten years later. She formed a sweet friendship with Scotty, and I really hope he kept in touch with her.
The last one I really enjoyed was “Night Train to Madrid,” a story that feels like an Agatha Christie novel, yet is almost light-hearted in some ways. It was definitely a good murder mystery story, and it almost entirely takes place on a night train ride.
Groundbreaking For Its Time
As I mentioned in my season one review, this series was groundbreaking for the time, with some really great on-location shots, political commentary, and a black man and a white man working together as equals on screen (and that black man, Bill Cosby, won 3 Emmy awards for his 3 years on the show). I have to say that this show and Star Trek both did a lot for 1960s television.
But Not Perfect…
Unfortunately, women were a bit objectified at times in the series, especially in the two episodes Culp wrote for the season. Most of the girls were air-headed and willing to abandon everything for a man, or pig-headed but still willing to abandon everything for a man who completely disagrees with their philosophy. Thankfully, they weren’t all that way and some were actually very capable and not annoying.
Also, sometimes I am amazed by how incompetent Kelly and Scotty can be, getting captured, people figure out who they really are, or them not being armed when really, they should be at all times. But there are also times they are completely competent and get the job done!
And Speaking of Star Trek (as I was, uh, a paragraph ago)…
There are several Star Trek actors that made an appearance in this season of I Spy, from Walter Koenig (you may know him as Chekov) to Ricardo Montalban (who you may as the original KHAN!!!!) to Salmone Jens (who was an awesome character in I Spy, but less so as the Female Changeling in Deep Space Nine). There are others (mostly people who played much smaller roles in Star Trek), and it was always fun to discover someone from Star Trek on I Spy. Oh, and Opie Taylor made an appearance too (not from Star Trek, but whateves)!
Overall, it was good, and though there were a few clunkers, it was a stronger season than the first. My husband and I hope to be able to get a hold of season three sometime, but unfortunately for some reason it’s a bit pricier than the other two. I’d give I Spy season two 3.5 stars.
Anyone else a fan of I Spy?