The Sequels
The Nude Bomb Get Smart Again Get Smart 1995

There have been three different sequels/reunions of Get Smart, all with varying degrees of success. Before I get into the details of each, I think it's important to remember one thing about sequels - they rarely work. Here's why. When we think of a show that we like, we remember things how they used to be. However, since a sequel is usually many years after a series, everything, by necessity, has changed. So the original dynamic that we loved no longer exists and everything is off slightly. That's why we'll never like a sequel as much as the original - everything has changed, and though it may have changed for the better, it's no longer the same. Remember, you can't go home again!


The Nude Bomb

 

The Nude Bomb was a 1980 Universal movie starring Don Adams as Get Smart. Originally planned as a TV movie, when Universal discovered how popular Get Smart was, they moved it to a theatrical release.

The plot concerned KAOS' discovery of The Nude Bomb, a bomb that can destroy all clothing. They demand ten billion dollars a month from the United Nations or they will detonate the bomb, making everyone nude.

Max, now working for PITS -Provisional Intelligence Tactical Service, teams up with several new agents to foil the plot- weapons specialist Carruthers (Norman Lloyd), teen geniuses Pam and Jerry Krubney, and Agents 22,34, and 36. Larabee also helps Max, especially with his plan for people to wear food instead of cloth, thereby defeating the purpose of the Nude Bomb.

Unevenly funny, the movie sorely missed the steadying influence of Ed Platt and Barbara Feldon. Platt had passed away and Feldon did not want to appear in a reunion movie. Don Adams and Robert Karvelas were excellent, but the movie lacked the normal bite of the television series. In terms of reunion movies, it was pretty good though. It was funny at times, but it just wasn't Get Smart.

In a point made quite convincingly by Jodi Goldfinger, a major flaw in this movie is that Max is not the innocent, naive Max of the series. He uses a little language and a great deal of sexual innuendo, which ruined the movie for many. One of the keys of the series was the relationship between Max and 99 and the chemistry between Adams and Feldon and this movie has absolutely none of that. In fact, it completely ignores the series for the most part. You see a character named Max using Max's catchphrases, but the character was not Max. For more details on how this movie came about, check out my Leonard Stern interview. Mark Moore correctly pointed out that some television stations air this movie as "The Return of Maxwell Smart", in a ploy to increase ratings.

The Nude Bomb was released on DVD on June 17, 2008 and can be ordered on Amazon.com by following this link.Though transfer to DVD is of decent quality, but there are no extras at all on this release.


Get Smart Again

Get Smart Again Cast
Photo Courtesy BS Images

A 1989 TV movie, Get Smart Again was written by Leonard Stern and directed by Gary Nelson. This reunion saw Max currently working as a US government representative at funerals. When Siegfried returns with a new plot, the government reactivates CONTROL.

Max reassembles his old team, finding Hymie working as a crash test dummy, and even gets Presidential permission for 99 to join him in the case. Together, they manage to outwit a very sentimental Siegfried and Shtarker.

While featuring the right cast, the script re-used too many of the old jokes. Max and Siegfried's new meeting in the park is a virtual replay of their first meeting. Instead of being fresh, it became predictable, though still funny. Nelson's direction was uneven and I believe they would have been better off allowing Don Adams to direct, as Adams directed some of the series' best episodes. There were several highlights, including Max's reunion with Hymie and a fantastic "Would You Believe" with Harold Gould. All in all, it was a good movie and definitely should be seen by all Smartians, who would probably be better off by forgetting about The Nude Bomb.

An incredibly poor copy appeared on DVD in 2003 and can be found at Amazon.com. However, there are no extras and the video quality is actually worse than the 1998 VHS version. A PAL version of Get Smart Again is available in Australia.


Get Smart on Fox

Fox continued its tradition of poor comedies by resurrecting Get Smart in 1995. Mercifully, only seven episodes made it onto the air. Don Adams reprised his role as Max, only he was now Chief of CONTROL. The still beautiful Barbara Feldon was now a Congresswoman, and one of the Smart twins, Zach, was now a Control Agent.

Zach, portrayed by Andy Dick, was even more of a bumbler than Max, and was teamed with the gung-ho Agent 66(Elaine Hendrix), who was forced to save Zach from himself.

The series had two main failings, one being Andy Dick, who was unable to handle a leading role. Far more damaging was the lack of a straight man. With both Max and Zach incompetent, there was no one for them to play off. The series would have been much better if Zach was a great agent and he and Agent 66 tried to help Max, just as the Chief and 99 used to in the old series.

Robert Karvelas had passed away, so there was no Larabee, and no mention of Hymie was made. However, Bernie Kopell returned as Siegfried. This episode provided the biggest laugh for me when Zach is telling Siegfried’s daughter how tough it is to grow up with a spy for a father. She agrees, complaining that her father had lied to her for years, claiming to be a doctor on a cruise ship.

 Get Smart 1995 was released by Sony on DVD on June 3rd. It is a normal retail release issued by Sony and also is available from Amazon.com. In a sleazy attempt to pretend it was the original series, Sony virtually ignores Andy Dick and calls this release "Get Smart: The Complete Series."

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For more details on this series, please check out Sergio's excellent page.

The episodes that aired were:
January 8, 1995 - Pilot
    Zach moves up from research and becomes an agent. He's teamed with the violent and aggressive Agent 66. They must get the formula for Dutracalon
    back from KAOS.
        Writers: Michael J. DiGaetano & Lawrence Gay
         Director: Nick Marck
January 15, 1995 - Casino Evil
    KAOS is using a casino to bankrupt CEOs and take their companies. Zach and 66 go undercover to thwart the plot and get to listen to
    Robert Goulet sing "Max the Knife."
        Writers: Michael Carrington and Gary Apple
        Director: Nick Marck
January 22, 1995 - Goodbye Ms. Chip
January 29, 1995 - Shooting Up the Charts
February 5, 1995 - Passenger 99
February 12, 1995 - Wurst Enemies
February 19, 1995 - Liver Let Die

 


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