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The Baron: The Complete Series - television series DVD / drama DVD / mystery and suspense DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Steve Forrest, Sue Lloyd, Paul Ferris, Colin Gordon
Directors: Cyril Frankel, Robert Asher   Distributor: Koch Vision
DVD release: 10 March 2009   Runtime: 1600 minutes (8 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Audio (Dolby Digital Mono - English), Select commentary tracks and audio introductions (w/ Sue Lloyd, production supervisor Johhny Goodman)

So many reviewers are in either the wrong age group or wrong headspace to truly appreciate the evolution and remarkable creativity of the genre and the writing talents of The Baron and others of its ilk. Admittedly, the story starts out slowly, but as the series builds in before-the-screen and behind-the-scene talents, a noteworthy cohesiveness occurs, bringing together the sharpness of the spy genus and the campy brand that became a trademark of the '60s television revolution.

Think of these great UK and US shows that were popular in the 1960s: The Avengers, 1961-67 UK, 1966-69 UK/US; Callan, UK only 1967-1973; Get Smart, 1965-1969; Honey West and other female spy permutations (Girl from U.N.C.L.E.); I Spy, an astounding interracial spy show on from 1965-1968; It Takes a Thief, 1968-1970; Man from U.N.C.L.E., 1964-1968; Mission: Impossible, 1966-1973; The Saint, with Roger Moore, 1967-1969; Secret Agent AKA Danger Man, 1965-66; and of course the inimitable The Wild Wild West from 1965-1970. The casts, writers, directors and producers changed names with Úlan, appearing or writing for many of the shows, often all in the same season. Certainly, The Baron could not be promoted as the best of the Spy Shows, but as the writing and acting improved, it became a definite contender, and well worth adding to your personal library for weekend escapism. If you liked any of the spy series mentioned, you will laugh at and enjoy the intrigues of The Baron.

What can a reviewer say about the series itself? Steve Forrest is a "type": firm-jawed, sharply dressed, with a keen eye for the ladies and for antiques. The first Brit drama to be filmed in color, the color filming adds an element of film noir to the process in its infancy, not detracting or adding a lot to the visibility or picturesque-ness of the filming. Retrieving treasures and antiquities for British Intelligence, Steve Forrest portrays "The Baron" with great charm and debonair flair, and with his trusty female sidekick (a la Mrs. Peel or Agent 99) risks his life to recover priceless works of art from international scenes.

Watching in retrospect, remembering the political climate of the time - the Cold War, the decoder-ring mentality, and the dashing ne'er-do-wells who populated the popular watering holes of the day - The Baron does sometimes make the viewer cringe, but mostly the camp acting and tongue in cheek humor create a durable series that is fun to watch. Let yourself go and enjoy.
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reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
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