1. 'The Encyclopedia Of TV Spies'

    By Devin Zydel on 2009-05-13

    James Bond and Jason Bourne may rule the silver screen when it comes to popular espionage entertainment, but the spy genre has also been thriving through numerous television programs for more than 50 years running.

    From classic series like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Six Million Dollar Man to modern adventures such as Alias, Chuck and Burn Notice, there have always been a wide-ranging selection of both dramas and comedies to please the TV spy fans.

    Now, a newly released book from Dr. Wesley Britton will surely make it onto the ‘must buy’ lists for these fans. Entitled The Encyclopedia of TV Spies, this one-stop reference guide provides readers with anything and everything they could possibly want to know about television espionage.

    'The Encyclopedia of TV Spies'

    The Encyclopedia of TV Spies

    Before Bond, before Maxwell Smart and Mrs. Emma Peel, we’ve enjoyed a wide variety of TV Spies. From 1951’s Dangerous Assignment to today’s Burn Notice, we’ve watched cloak-and-dagger adventures from popular successes like Alias and Mission: Impossible to thoughtful mini-series like The Sandbaggers to cartoons and even live animals in shows like Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

    Our TV secret agents have worn masks and capes (Adventures of Zorro), fought in the historical past (Hogan’s Heroes, Jack of All Trades), been as stylish as Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., or have been as frumpy as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

    No one knows more about the wide vista of these undercover operatives than Dr. Wesley Britton, author of the highly-acclaimed 2004 history of the genre, Spy Television. Now, Britton has compiled the first indispensable reference book on television espionage unveiling the secrets behind our beloved favorites, the nuggets we might have missed, and the programs that disappeared without a trace after their short original runs.

    Britton provides the behind-the-scenes creative process for TV spies drawn from both extensive research and his interviews with many participants. He uncovers the reasons why some dramas were either unforgettable hits or regrettable misses. But The Encyclopedia of TV Spies is more than a historical overview—Britton offers analysis of the elements that made key shows innovative and trend-setting and why some of the best productions ever made never jelled with the networks or audiences. And, like a “Special Edition” DVD, The Encyclopedia of TV Spies also includes extra features including articles on tie-in novels and how to collect TV spy music.

    In short, no entertainment library is complete without The Encyclopedia of TV Spies, and no fan of television should be without it. Every reader should expect to discover surprises and suggestions for their own viewing, and will find themselves seeking out the best dramas and comedies available on DVD or online.

    What others had to say about The Encyclopedia of TV Spies:

    ‘This is an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in the history of television, and that of spies on the small screen . . . They’re all here: contemporary spies, Western spies, war time spies, cold war spies, serious ones, funny ones, mysterious ones. . . You get the background on over 200 shows, the creators, the stars, the characters, with behind the scenes intrigue as well as that which was put on the screen. A triumph in research. A must read. More so, a must own.’

    Marc Cushman, author of I Spy: A History and Episode Guide to the Groundbreaking Television Series

    ‘. . . this exhaustive directory covers television programs from 1951 to 2008, and it is a delightful stroll down memory lane . . . The Encyclopedia is rich with photographs, and each entry contains a concise but thorough synopsis, marvelously describing the show and tipping the hat to directors, producers, and actors. Dr. Britton clearly demonstrates his extensive knowledge of television espionage, packaging it in a way that is informative and, at the same time, very fun to read.’

    Bill Raetz, author of the World Espionage Bureau novels

    ‘. . . Britton’s book is a long overdue and desperately needed reference work that should be a part of any serious TV library. It covers every conceivable aspect of the TV espionage genre and will satisfy both the curiosity of fans and the scholarly needs of researchers.’

    Lee Goldberg, executive producer of Diagnosis: Murder

    ‘Covering the past six decades, with entries set out in alphabetical order, followers of all these secret missions and undercover operations will be surprised to find just how many television spies they did not know about . . . The contents are well set out, there are appendices and lists with all the dates and descriptions provided . . . this book is an entertaining and easy read.’

    Roger Langley, author of Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man or Prisoner?

    ‘Finally an authoritative reference source for information on the spy stories that have graced and disgraced the small screen since the earliest days of television . . . Highly recommended for spy-fiction fans everywhere.’

    T.H.E. Hill, author of Voices Under Berlin

    ‘. . . I learnt something new about many shows I’ve spent years watching, and learnt of plenty of new shows I should spend many years watching. This is truly a stunning collection of research covering every aspect of spies on television.’

    Ian Dickerson, Honorary Secretary, The Saint Club

    The Encyclopedia of TV Spies is published by Bear Manor Media. The 520-page paperback retails for $29.95 and can currently be ordered online:

    The Encyclopedia of TV Spies is the fourth book by Dr. Wesley Britton. His previous books include Spy Television, Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film, and Onscreen and Undercover: The Ultimate Book of Movie Espionage.

    For further information, head to the author’s official website at

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