Kirven Blount
March 14, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

A spin-off of Billy Wilder’s gritty Stalag 17, Hogan’s Heroes was an accidentally audacious piece of work. While Wilder knew that dicey subject matter calls for black comedy whose irreverence at least includes a nod to the trespasses being sent up, the Hogan brain trust either didn’t know or didn’t care. They needed a concept that kept these clearly defined good guys together for an extended period of time. What better than a German-run WWII POW camp? (Forget the social angle, boys, let’s get to the jokes.) Fortunately, the cast is fully invested: The late Bob Crane’s Colonel Hogan is plenty winning and John Banner’s Sergeant Schultz a guilty pleasure. And once you block out the unpleasantness of war, forgetting about Crane’s tabloid-documented sexual proclivities is a snap.

EXTRAS Just the nostalgia.

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