Would you believe the entire series, each year’s episodes in a colorful 1960s mod-style slip-case, loaded with extras and an intro commentary for each episode by Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) with liner notes for each season – all tucked into a heavy slipcase with a triple door opening that mimics the classic title sequence? I started laughing as soon as I opened the box.

Uncut, re-mastered in glorious color – all but the pilot episode which was in black and white – and loaded with extras, it’s an hysterically amusing romp down TV’s memory lane. “Get Smart” was always more than just a send-up of the whole James Bondish-007-techno-spy-cold-war-standoff genre. It sent up everything – there was no element of popular culture left unscathed by the writers and performers: everything from war movies to the “Wild One”, hippies and rock music, every movie with a fiendish mastermind and out of-the way lairs, robot henchmen, incredible gadgets, beautiful and conniving female henchpersons, and ever so much more. Mention the show to people of a certain age and without fail they will recall the shoe phone and/or the cone of silence. What they might have forgotten is how many later-famous guest stars there were, and even some legends; Bob Hope showed up in a bit part as a room-service waiter; talk about stunt casting!

“Get Smart” stands up very well, all things considered and especially considering the current television comedy on broadcast channels. I had forgotten how many catch-phrases seeped into popular culture from the ineffable, bumbling yet ultimately successful Agent 86: “Sorry about that, Chief!”, “Missed it by that much”, “I told you not to tell me that!” and “Would you believe…..?” Max fought for goodness and niceness, buoyed up by a serene and never shaken confidence in his own abilities. And the fact that it was sheer dumb good luck, or the timely intervention of Agent 99, or Fang, the canine agent – or something or someone else miraculously removing his chestnuts from proximity to an intense heat source – that never dismayed Maxwell Smart for a second.

All the series episodes are here, neatly organized with each season in a separate folder, four discs of episodes and a fifth bonus-feature disc – plus a neat little four-page index, loaded with stills and additional information. The producers in some cases have really gone the extra length in rooting out contemporary promos, appearances by stars on other shows, a birthday roast of Don Adams at the Friars’ Club, contemporary NBC broadcast standards memos, blooper reels, Emmy Awards appearances, and more. This collection is truly a labor of love for everyone involved in putting it together.

“Get Smart” – complete 5 seasons is available through Amazon.com, but fans might get a better deal in purchasing it directly from Time-Life.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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