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I Spy: Season 1 (1965-2007)

Cast: Robert Culp, Robert Culp, Bill Cosby, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image
Genre: Action, Classics, Television, Vintage TV, Classic Action/Adventure, Adventure, Espionage, Spy TV, Spy TV
Languages: English

Synopsis
American secret agents Kelly Robinson (Robert Culp) and Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby) tackle an exhausting variety of international counterespionage missions while respectively posing as a champion tennis player and his athletic trainer as I Spy embarks upon its first season. Unlike other spy shows of the period, which were filmed exclusively on Hollywood backlots, I Spy relies extensively upon location shooting in a variety of far-flung lands. This season, Kelly and Scotty's permutations take them to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Mexico (and, occasionally, the Desilu studios in L.A. for close-ups and exposition scenes). Although the series was originally conceived as a starring vehicle for Robert Culp, from the outset Culp's co-star Bill Cosby is given equal footing, and even dominates the proceedings in several episodes -- a rarity for an African-American performer in the mid-'60s. It can be argued that Cosby's presence on the series permitted producer Sheldon Leonard to provide a number of major black actors with bravura guest-star turns that might have been denied them on other programs. In the very first episode, "So Long, Patrick Henry," Ivan Dixon is seen as an embittered athlete who has defected to the "enemy," with Cicely Tyson as Dixon's sweetheart, an African princess. Later on, comedian Godfrey Cambridge plays it straight as a cold-blooded crime kingpin (described by Cambridge as a "Black Goldfinger") in "Court of the Lion." And best of all, Eartha Kitt delivers an Emmy-winning performances as an expatriate nightclub singer hopelessly addicted to drugs in "The Loser." Other noteworthy first-season guest-star turns are provided by Martin Landau as the title character in the ironically yclept episode "Danny Was a Million Laughs"; Carroll O'Connor as a wickedly pragmatic Russian brainwashing expert in "It's All Done With Mirrors"; and France Nuyen (soon to be the wife of series star Robert Culp) in "The Tiger." Although the overall tone of I Spy is somber and serious, with the two protagonists plunged in a hellish world of betrayal and backstabbing in which friends and enemies are virtually interchangeable, most of the episodes are leavened by the hilarious verbal byplay between Culp and Cosby. Reportedly, much of this banter was improvised on the set, and it went over so well with viewers that the actors were encouraged to ad-lib to their heart's content in subsequent seasons -- so much so that in some cases, one yearned for "dramatic relief" from all the comedy! In addition to the aforementioned award bestowed upon guest star Eartha Kitt, I Spy's inaugural season also yielded an Emmy statuette for leading man Bill Cosby. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Ratings

I Spy: Season 1 (Disc 1 of 5) (2007)
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7.50 (2 votes)
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I Spy: Season 1 (Disc 2 of 5) (1965)
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0.00 (0 votes)
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I Spy: Season 1 (Disc 3 of 5) (1965)
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0.00 (0 votes)
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I Spy: Season 1 (Disc 4 of 5) (1965)
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0.00 (0 votes)
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I Spy: Season 1 (Disc 5 of 5) (1965)
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0.00 (0 votes)
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© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.