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Show the modern rubbish how it's done, Simon!
on 27 July 2006
Anybody who cares to read my other reviews will notice that I'm a BIG fan of "old" television. It isn't "nostalgia" (These programmes were repeats when even I saw them the first time) and it's not a case of "rose-tinted spectacles" (I have the shows right here to watch now) - I just love how much more interest there was in telling a good story and how the main objective was for the audience to have fun. I can think of nothing on television now that delivers in the way the 'classics' did - Literally nothing. Sad, isn't it?
Here we have my favourite ITC series - Roger Moore's mere presence in something automatically elevates that film or show to "watchable" status, in my opinion. His charisma, warmth and wit shine through any role he adopts and the SAINT is no exception. His interpretation of SIMON TEMPLER is different to the character of the novels, but for me he will always be the definitve SAINT. Stories range from intruiging to insane (The infamous HOUSE ON DRAGON'S ROCK does perhaps go too far in concept but is still, ultimately, fun!) but even the most outlandish instalments have you glued to the adventures of a genuine hero fighting for what's right. Add to that some of the most beautiful female guests to tangle with the SAINT (Kate O'Mara, Veronica Carlson, Anette Andre and Pauline Monroe are my favourtie "Saint girls") and this series becomes a delight!
To be honest, I do prefer the black and white stories - The monochrome adds to the atmosphere and that period was also more reliant on the actual stories of Leslie Charteris. Still, it was perfectly logical for NETWORK to release the colour episodes first as most casual buyers consider black & white productions worthless (How silly!). Initially, this set seems expensive, but don't forget that you're getting 47 episodes as well as two feature film compilations (And if you do think this is too expensive, wait until the black & white box set comes out, especially to those of us who bought the CARLTON set!) - Also, these episodes have a high "rewatchability" factor so you'll probably find yourself dipping into this set quite often.
The extras are as impressive as we've come to expect from NETWORK - There are commentaries for several episodes from members of the crew, with Roger Moore chipping in now and then (Although his words appear to have been recorded seperately), original trailers for every single episode (A great idea) and a witty 45 minute documentary looking at various aspects of the show (including less than favourable comments from Leslie Charteris himself) - This documentary could actually have been longer and that's the only complaint I can bring against this set. The packaging is beautiful, the presentation a delight (Even the Network logo adopts a "halo" when the DVD starts up) and it's clear that the staff at NETWORK love the subject as much as I do. With my CHAMPIONS boxset in the post (Can't wait!) this really is a golden age for collectors of classic television and I really recommend this set.