Tags: Hollywood | Classic TV | genre | spy

Classic Spy Television: 4 TV Shows That Shaped the Genre

By    |   Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 09:14 PM

The spy genre became big in the 1960s with James Bond movies and others that centered on the fantasy and glamour of being a spy. The Cold War also took place in the 1960s, and classic TV became a place to capitalize on the popularity of all things spy-related and provide a commentary of the political issues of the day.

Here are some of the best classic spy TV shows from the era.

1. "The Avengers"
"The Avengers" follows John Steed of the British Intelligence and his female partner, Emma Peel. While many of the issues faced by the lead flirt with the line of science fiction, it captures the imagination and could act as a commentary to politics of the day by disguising the bad guy. The show also has the privilege of being the longest running spy show, running from 1961-69, and also pre-dating the James Bond films that really started the spy show trend by a year, according to HubPages.

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The show was also one of the earliest "spy-fi" shows. It also mixed conservative values with Steed acting a gentleman and Peel as the modern-day woman.

2. "Get Smart"
"Get Smart" was more of a parody of the spy show genre that had become so popular. Its five-year run began in 1965. While it was a spy show, it also mocked the genre, HugPages said. Don Adams was Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) and Barbara Feldon was (Agent 99). While the spy gadgets were similar to what was used in the Bond movies, the hijinks of Agent 86 not only trying to win the heart of Agent 99, but showing that he is a capable spy and can foil KAOS, made it relatable to the average person.

3. "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
Acronyms were very much part of the spy series in the 1960s, and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." on NBC from 1964-68 wasn't an exception. It was also another self-deprecating spy show. Agents Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kurakin worked for U.N.C.L.E. to take down the evil T.H.R.U.S.H., IMDb explained. It featured ordinary people being caught up in the extraordinary situations that spy often found themselves in. It was also an extensively marketed show, featuring dolls and other items in retail stores.

4. "I Spy"
"I Spy" was another revolutionary spy show from the 1960s, and starred Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. Cosby's role in the television show made it one of the first to feature an African-American in a starring role, Listverse said. The show also shot on location and focused more on the gritty, tough side of the spy world, rather than glamorize it.

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The spy genre became big in the 1960s with James Bond movies and others that centered on the fantasy and glamour of being a spy. The Cold War also took place in the 1960s, and classic TV became a place to capitalize on the popularity of all things spy-related.
Classic TV, genre, spy
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2015-14-04
Wednesday, 04 Nov 2015 09:14 PM
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