This week, Guy Ritchie's big-screen version of the '60s T.V. show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." looks to start another espionage franchise, so we're spying our way through those that came before, from best to not-so-best.

This week, Guy Ritchie's big-screen version of the '60s T.V. show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." looks to start another espionage franchise, so we're spying our way through those that came before, from best to not-so-best.

The Bond movies

Ian Fleming's fictional British Secret Service agent has somehow survived the decades in a world long removed from his Cold War background. The 24th Bond movie ("Spectre") is due out later this year. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but the Daniel Craig incarnation has shown the series can adapt and evolve.

The Bourne movies

One of the main reasons Bond had to evolve? The arrival of author Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne on the big screen. The grittier and more grown-up Bourne films - starting with 2002's "The Bourne Identity" - were the catalyst that broke Bond out of his cinematic rut. And there are more on the way.

The "Mission: Impossible" movies

Another TV adaptation, the Tom Cruise-led "M:I" series seems to get even better as it ages. It's gone all-in on some of the wildest stunts ever (in a genre that's known for wild stunts), while also crafting some wild and entertaining plots. And this was the first series that director J.J. Abrams revived before turning his sights on "Star Trek" and now "Star Wars."

The John le Carre movies

Le Carre's novels feature a complexity and moral ambiguity you don't often see in the good guy/bad guy world of spy stories - perhaps because he was a former British intelligence officer himself. I'm using "franchise" loosely, since we don't have recurrent characters, but there are some dense, grown-up movies spanning four decades based on these books.

The Austin Powers trilogy

Forget about how over-quoted Mike Myers' signature character became (though it's hard to hear someone do the "Oh, behave" and not cringe). These are really funny movies when you think about how one-note the swinging British spy setup is. And if the third movie was unnecessary, at least they added Beyonce.

The Jack Ryan movies

The late Tom Clancy wrote page-turner spy novels that were the favorites of dads everywhere. His signature character has been played - to varying degrees of success - by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford (twice) and Ben Affleck. I actually thought the attempted reboot of the series, an origin story called "Shadow Recruit" that starred Chris Pine, was pretty good, but overall we're OK with no more Jack Ryan.

The "Spy Kids" movies

Writer-director Robert Rodriguez conceived a nice twist on the spy movie that made kids the heroes, and the first one was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, three sequels and more scatological humor derailed the series. And it's kinda creepy that Rodriguez had his grown-up child star Alexa Vega return in a sexy role in "Machete Kills."

The "Taken" movies

Few predicted what an unexpected hit the original "Taken" would become - or what an unexpected badass Liam Neeson could be - but a couple of cash-in sequels later, things got absurd. Fool me once, shame on me …