When it comes to occupations that we dreamed about becoming as kids, there was no such thing as “reality”. We didn’t really realize that not everyone would become a spy — it was far more fun to imagine the glamorous life of a secret agent — and double points if you dreamed about being a double secret agent. Having to play two sides while traveling around the world under a wide variety of identities could be pretty tricky.
Of course, when you had great spy TV shows, it was easy to really think about this on a completely different level as well. You see, you could think about all of this while watching the TV show — it wasn’t just about the actors, it was actually about being transported to a different world that really made everything feel like it could actually happen.
OK, we admit that some spy shows were really cheesy, but hey — when you were a kid, did you really care about whether or not something was cheesy or not?
If you’re looking for the best spy TV shows that really will awaken your inner child, we actually have five of them for you — check out the list below.
1) Get Smart
No, we’re not talking about the movie with Steve Carrell — we’re talking about the retro TV show that featured a spy that we could all relate to. Maxwell Smart wasn’t always smooth — that would be a type of perfection that we already knew we couldn’t achieve. It’s something that really needs to be praised — when you were a kid, you had to appreciate Maxwell Smart because he not only got the job done, but he made you feel like you could be an Agent Smart too, if you really wanted to be.
Can you still be a spy if everyone knows who you are? Shaft is a classic spy-meets-detective-meets-ultimate-badass type of deal, and we can’t say that we’re complaining in the least. It’s a jazzy, sassy deal that really makes you realize just how interesting retro TV shows were compared to their modern day counterparts.
And of course, it’s Shaft. He’s a bad mutha — shut your mouth! Yeah, we had to bring that bad.
3) The Equalizer
Yes, we’re hooked on retro. This show ran from 1985-1989, fading away into TV obscurity. However, who could forget Edward Woodward’s performance as Robert McCall? The ex-CIA agent that had a real heart — saving the weak and innocent without even asking for money. Of course, it’s said that CIA agents definitely get paid good money for their work, so it’s not as if McCall was hurting for money, really — no one really hurts for money in TV land except when they’re written that way, right?
Finishing off our mini-theme of “retro” before we slip into a modern TV show made us have to include Wiseguy. It got canceled in 1990, but it ran for 3 years. It was one of the first TV shows that actually did a central theme that ran across multiple episodes of the show — something that we definitely take for granted now. It focused on a secret agent for the FBI that pretended to be a thug. However, it didn’t just cover breaking skulls and organized crime — there were a lot of moral lessons and reflections. It’s almost reminiscent of The Shield in many ways — but there were enough differences between the two to make you appreciate both shows (and the genre/sub-genre between them) equally.
Yes, 24 has really come to an end — it ended in 2010 to be exact (reboot of this show started few weeks ago – don´t miss it), and the ending had a few people feeling pretty raw. It’s a series that had plenty of fans and plenty of detractors, but one thing it really had was a unique theme — the whole gist of 24 is that it’s happening “hour by hour”, which leads up to 24 hours — a single day in the life of Jack Bauer, counter-terrorism man extraordinaire. It was a crazy life for a man — his wife is murdered, and his daughter hasn’t spoken with him in years.
This was a neat spy-themed show because Jack Bauer didn’t sugarcoat anything — if it came down to strategy and manipulation, he definitely handled his own. Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer really made the difference — the younger Sutherland really stayed in shape for the role, and it showed — much to the pleasure of 24′s female fans, of course.
As always, what do you think? Did we leave off a spy show that really made you happy as a kid? Do you still watch any spy TV shows? There are plenty of them — they’re a branch of the overall crime genre, so it makes sense that some shows are still being produced along these themes. If you really could bring out your inner James Bond and really be a top secret agent, what would you really do?