The American entertainment media was once known for realistic dramatic presentations. Real men and women faced and overcame extraordinary circumstances; and always kept higher values and purposes in focus. This format changed in the mid-to-late 1960s when producers and screenwriters began drifting into the realm of escapist fantasies with amoral heroes, who invariably worked for some nebulous 'good' organization against an ill-defined 'evil' one.
Spy and espionage programs somehow naturally fit the new dramatic paradigm. We saw a new generation of spies, a la James Bond. Men who could sleep with a love interest one day and put a bullet in her head the next. Men who worked for organizations whose purpose was never specified except that they paid well, against groups who were evil for the sake of being evil. And naturally these agents could do anything. That was escapist fantasy, and Hollywood has followed that model ever since.
1966, however, saw two WW2 espionage series that took the Television's Golden Age out with an exclamation point. One was Jericho (which we reviewed on June 24th) and the other was this weekend's viewing recommendation, Blue Light.
Blue Light ran during the first half of 1966 on ABC and was everything a typical late 60s espionage was not supposed to be. It was the story of David March, an American counter-intelligence agent who posed as a traitor to infiltrate the Nazi Government. Unlike contemporary productions, Blue Light did not glamorize or whitewash the realities of espionage and warfare.
It has been said of men in certain dangerous professions that they have tough, though necessary, jobs. March is character profile that brings that out in bold relief. He is faced daily with the horrors of the Nazi Regime (which the producers make no attempt to disguise) and the human suffering and consequences of that regime's policies (which the writers also pointedly address). In other words, March is a man who clearly comprehends the Nature of Evil, which he must oppose both as part of his mission and internally---to keep from becoming that which he is fighting. Throughout the series, March is forced into some of the most grueling moral dilemmas imaginable and walks a delicate tightrope between his own spiritual values and succumbing to the temptation of falling to the moral level of the Nazis.
This is especially important for men to see today, when both Male Feminists and the Manospherians (and the culture in general) are teaching men that conformity to the status quo and brushing aside traditional values to achieve one's goals is the correct policy. It doesn't work that way in reality if one truly believes in Good and Evil. In fact, some of the Cultural Marxists employed as film critics actually argue that the Nazi characters in Blue Light were portrayed as too evil---on the contrary, they were fairly accurate depictions of the psychopaths, fanatics, and criminals who ran the Third Reich. Postmodernists do not like to be confronted with the reality of what human evil is actually capable of doing. They prefer a hazy moral grey area where one side is really no better or worse than other.
That is one feature that truly makes Blue Light a lost gem. This is probably one of the most anti-moral relativist series ever made. It's not improbable that, in the 1960s Counterculture, that the producers deliberately wished to stress that point. Nor did they take any evasions to hide the fact that standing on principle carries a price. In one early episode, March learns that his lover in England committed suicide, believing him to be a traitor. In another, he confronts his brother---now a prisoner in a German POW camp.
Blue Light is not a series for the escapist. However, those men working in 'dangerous professions' and families who know or respect them, will find a sympathetic character in David March.
Blue Light was also a serialized drama---with one episode usually premised on earlier ones. As of this writing, the first four episodes are available only on Dailymotion. The DVD set is the best option for viewing it, although it may take some internet to find it. Still, well worth the investment for its fast-paced action and its profound themes.