Warner Bros. // 1984 // 1087 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 20th, 2011
If this is what our national security is based on, we are so boned.
I admit I had better things to do with my time than watch Scarecrow and Mrs. King when it was airing in the mid-80s. Like playing with Transformers and wrapping my little brother in bubble wrap. But now I get to see what all the fuss is about with Warner Bros. release of the second season. (Quick question: Is there any fuss about this show?)
Here's the gimmick, and even for an '80s action show it's pretty stupid: super-spy Lee Stetson (Bruce Boxleitner, Tron), code-name "Scarecrow," one day happens to run into a suburban divorcee and housewife, Amanda King (Kate Jackson, Charlie's Angels). One thing leads to another, and she ends up getting a job at Scarecrow's agency, also known as The Agency. The two then go on highly-sensitive missions that directly affect national security and -- shockingly -- don't screw things up so badly that NATO has to be called in to clean up the mess and burn the corpses.
Five discs, 23 episodes of odd action/humor shenanigans. Scarecrow and Mrs. King pretty much plays it straight, with storylines involving Soviet espionage, chemical terrorism and even white slavery (!), although the premise is so ridiculous. Scarecrow seems like a competent enough spy, able to use his fists and fun effectively enough to disarm all manner of opponent, but for the life of me I can't see what role Mrs. King is supposed to play in all of this.
She's a housewife, a mom, and sort of a bumbling idiot. Maybe "idiot" is too strong of a word, but in an normal world where geopolitics and spycraft matters in the least to global stability, it makes zero sense for her to be in the thick of the action. Again, if this was a screwball comedy, no problem, but the show plays it totally straight! You're telling me there aren't other, better-trained female spies within The Agency?!
Whatever. I'm certainly burning through too much mental energy attempting to unravel the complex rules by which Scarecrow and Mrs. King is governed. It's an interesting relic, a cultural oddity that exists primarily as a way to revisit the good old days of network TV that featured Soviets as bad guys and gaze in wonderment at Kate Jackson's hairstyle, which changes from episode to episode, but is no less horrifying.
A lean DVD set: aged full frame, 2.0 stereo, no extras.
Eh, we'll let you off with a warning. You confound the honorable bench.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 1087 Minutes
Release Year: 1984
MPAA Rating: Not Rated