4 December 2010 | Gatorman9
Great show, thank goodness it's now in DVD!
I am a bit perplexed by a lot of the negative comments I have read about this show on this website. Granted, I have only seen three episodes as an adult, but still . . .
I first saw this program during the sixties when I was only 9 or 10 years old. There was enough action (the fist-fights and most of the Judo moves still look great now) and gadgets (only in more recent years do you see readily commercially available some of the things they purported to have then) to make it entertaining to kids at that age and both my younger sister and I enjoyed watching it. In the past few years, however, when I became interested in revisiting the shows I had watched growing up when they became available for the first time on video, I made no particular effort to see it when I learned that it was canceled after only a single year on the air. I naturally assumed that must have not been very good, something only a ten-year-old looking for action and gadgets would think was worthwhile. Maybe I would find it would turn out to be as bad as *Lost In Space* (which ran for three seasons) did, for example.
Just recently I had a chance to see the three episodes alluded to previously ("The Owl and the Eye", "A Neat Little Package", and "The Abominable Snowman") and based on that I'm just plain amazed this show was canceled so soon. The writing overall was excellent, the score very reminiscent of a lot of what you heard on *I Spy* or even *Peter Gunn*, and the rest of the production values were every bit as good as anything else that you would see on TV in the mid-sixties. It was much more plausible in every respect than the comparatively cheesy *It takes a Thief* with Robert Wagner, which lasted three seasons, and the terrific dialog and character development and relationships light-years better than the famed *Hawaii Five-O*, which ran for a total of 11 in prime time. I can't disagree enough with the reviewer who said that the only reason to see this show was to appreciate the blonde bombshell appeal of Anne Francis. He really ought to go back and look at it again as an adult over 40 or 50.
From that perspective, too, the relationship between Sam & Honey is readily understandable. Sam is a classic protective male who out of uneasiness or even acute anxiety finds him constantly yelling at Honey that she needs to do or not do something on a case because, at a minimum, it makes him worry about her, but she totally fails to appreciate this. Instead, after promising to heed his concerns, without a second thought she then promptly goes off does exactly the opposite of what he advised, just as she always intended, leaving Sam looking rather hapless and helpless. The results are mixed but often include Sam having to physically come to the rescue in the end. The writers caught this kind of real-life battle-of-the-sexes dynamic perfectly and if you don't appreciate it when you see it it probable that you have never experienced it yourself. While it is much more prosaic than the intriguingly ambiguous relationship between Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed of *Avengers* notability, it is also that much more likely and realistic.
Add to this some cleverly conceived supporting characters (not the least Bruce the Ocelot, played by Himself) and the most perfect choice of a car for Honey, a 1965 AC Cobra (that car could be worth as much as 1.5 million dollars today, depending on which version it was) and you have about as stylish and entertaining a detective show as was ever on American TV.
If this program had any weaknesses that I could see, it was in the acting or direction. I felt that the lead actors performed outstandingly well in some scenes yet appeared to lack the range to do as well with some of the other scenes that had been written for them. While actors in this situation tend to get blamed for this kind of thing, it could easily have been the fault of directors who asked them for the wrong kind of performances in the wrong scenes.
Anyway, the user rating of 7.8 that is on here at the time I'm posting this is well-deserved, and I think it is most definitely a must-see for anyone who likes vintage crime/private-eye TV. Moreover, I am delighted to be able to add that it has been released on DVD!