28 August 2018 | andy-20656-62037
The Mask of Janus - 1965
I remember watching this series in 1965. As a spy series, it was lot different from among such great series as: "Danger Man", "The Avengers", and "The Man from Uncle". The series dealt with the more topical accounts of the Spy Game.
There were no tough, good looking secret agents, wining and dining beautiful female allies, and going about their daily business of saving the World. Nor were there any nasty, megalomaniacs, mercilessly and inexorably set on World denomination - and there was no hand to hand combat fighting or exciting car chases. Nor were there any big shoot outs at the end of each episode.
Instead, the storylines relied on clandestine conversations, blackmailing defectors, and putting the other side into a stalemate. If there were any female allies, they were usually plain, timid little women who wanted their families released from some Gulag or other.
The arch villains were very rarely seen. The series usually only dealt with the pawns in what was shown to be a very nasty little business, which can only be compared to a dangerous version of the work carried out by any group of sedentary civil servants.
In 1965, when the series was shown, I was only fourteen, and as with most teenagers, I liked fast paced, all action movies. However, if I watched such a series now, I would probably have found the series more interesting. It would be appealing to know what really goes on in the dark, dismal World of espionage.
Dinsdale Landen was very good as an embassy official, whose job was more than just general administration and advising senior attaches - jobs he would have officially been designated for. The character he played was more of a vulnerable "everyman", who was constantly being beaten up, locked up and was generally being chased around by his enemies and - ironically - his own side.
I think the small Mediterranean Island of Malta played the part of the fictional European country of Amalia.
All in all, it was a well scripted and had a well put together storyline, but I think it only lasted one season, due to the lack of action and the absence of more "James Bond-like" characters. Its spin off: "The Spies" I do not remember being on, probably because it "clashed" with "The Avengers" on ITV; or because it was on too late at night, as with a lot of classic television shows of the 1950s and 1960s.
I do believe that this a "lost" series, but the scripts must be still available. Therefore, a remake might be popular with viewers who enjoy good spy films. Also, a vulnerable character like the one played by Dinsdale Landen, could be someone that viewers would identify with.