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The 26 episodes in this three-disc set are less than half an hour long each, but The Rat Patrol packs a lot into every one of them. There's action and adventure galore as our Yank heroes and their German foes chase each other across the parched dunes of the North African desert. There are Nazi bad guys biting the, er, sand, lots of stuff getting blown up, daring rescues and other dangerous missions, moral dilemmas, torture, beautiful women of various persuasions, perfect hair… even a guest appearance by Jack Jones, who croons to his Nazi captors (in "The Do-Re-Mi Raid"). At the heart of it all are the four members of the Rat Patrol, led by intrepid Sgt. Sam Troy (Christopher George). These boys will do anything, from transporting weapons and munitions to stealing diamonds and secret Nazi documents, from saving innocent Arabs to delivering babies; and somehow, no matter how many times they're pursued, ambushed, shot at (and occasionally wounded), and captured, they always emerge relatively unscathed. At times, the Rats seem to be carrying on a private turf war with their principal nemesis, Hauptmann Hans Dietrich (Hans Gudegast, who, as Eric Braeden, would later find stardom on The Young and the Restless); in several episodes, Troy and Dietrich, a character refreshingly free of the usual Nazi stereotyping, even declare a temporary truce when it suits their mutual needs. It's all consistently entertaining, not to mention fat-free--given the time constraints, there's precious little room for sub-plots or sideshows. The writing's good, the acting's good enough, the production values are first-rate (every installment is in color, which was unusual in the mid-'60s, when these episodes were produced), and the vibe is reasonably authentic. Bottom line: though it lasted for just two seasons, The Rat Patrol ranks as one the better World War II TV dramas, and even without bonus features, this set is a treat.

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MG107745 Rat Patrol Complete Second Season DVD (1966/Christopher George) $19.98