Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The New Avengers '76|
Actors: Patrick Macnee, Gareth Hunt, Joanna Lumley, Maurice Marsac, Pierre Vernier
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sometimes dismissed as a pale descendant of a great original, The New Avengers deserves a second look and is perhaps best considered as a largely successful attempt to re-imagine its predecessor for 1970s audiences. Patric... more »
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Back with a vengeance!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the blurb on the box says: You can't keep a good man down!After debonair British agent John Steed was blasted into orbit with his companion Tara King at the end of "Bizarre" in 1969, the classic British TV show The Avengers finally came to an end after eight years of international success. There were certainly no plans to revive the series when Patrick MacNee (Steed) and Linda Thorson (King) got together to make a champagne commercial in 1975, but almost as soon as that short reunion was in the can, the wheels spun, and producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell, with French and Canadian backing, soon had The Avengers back in production. Well, almost.For most hardcore fans of the classic Avengers series, The New Avengers is little more than a poor relation, certainly unwelcome in the show's family history. Maybe because it was my first exposure to the Avengers format, I'm not one of them. I love The New Avengers as much as I do the original 60's series. That's not to say it doesn't have faults - it does; and it certainly is more of a cousin than a sister to the original, but for me it's just as worthy of a place in Avengers folklore as anything else.The programme had undergone many metamorphisms before. The original series starring Ian Hendry (who incidentally appears here as a guest in "To catch a rat") as David Keel, with Steed as his shadowy sidekick, bore little similarity to the subsequent seasons featuring Mrs. Catherine Gale (Honor Blackman). In turn, those episodes are only vaguely similar to the famous Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) and Tara King (Linda Thorson) seasons that followed. But it makes perfect sense. It would have been impossible, not to mention laughable to simply pick up where those episodes left off, and it's appropriate that the 70's revival was another stage in the programmes development.Patrick MacNee agreed to return and revive the character of Steed, without whom it must be said, there could be no incarnation of The Avengers. Now past retirement age, and sadly looking it, he really takes the role of the absent Mother, and acts more as a guiding influence than the man at the center of the action. Two younger characters were created in order to maintain the high action content of the show and keep the traditional sexual chemistry between the leads alive. Gareth Hunt was cast as the (supposedly) rugged and handsome Mike Gambit and Joanna Lumley took the role of Purdey. For me, Purdey is second only to Mrs. Peel as the best of the Avengers girls. Wonderfully elegant, beautiful, cool, witty and with bags of sex appeal she instantly became a hit with the British public, spawning a whole generation of women copying her then highly trendy (but now faintly ridiculous looking) hairstyle. Her balletic fighting style was also a real innovation. Her character became as recognizable and popular as Mrs. Peel, whereas sadly the show as a whole did not. Only 26 episodes were made and broadcast in two batches over 1976 and 1977 and then the Avengers really were over for good. Except for the terrible movie of course, but that's a whole other can of worms.A&E now bring the first 13 episodes together on four DVD's all in one box set. They've been digitally remastered and certainly look as good as the originals, although there are imperfections in some of the prints. Oddly, the first 7 episodes released have the American titles plus some minor, yet irritating cuts. For example, a reference to Tara King has been excised from "House of cards" for some inexplicable reason. The latter 6 stories seem to be intact, and carry the original animated British title sequence. Another oddity is that the stories are arranged sequentially in production order, whereas all previous Avengers releases run in British TV transmission order. Yet again A&E have provided no extras at all, but the on screen menus are done well, and the packaging is striking. Check out the icon on the box of the three lead characters. For some reason, their heads have been morphed onto their bodies in a completely inaccurate scale, resulting in a very funny, but oddly disconcerting appearance of our three hero's. I'd probably sue if I were them.I can't help but like these stories; even all these years later. They don't have the surreal camp value of the latter 60's Avengers, and indeed are far more gritty and "real" in many respects. Stylistically it's different too. The wonderful faux location settings achieved in the film studio are replaced by extensive location filming and the use of diabolical masterminds has been superceded by the more plausible threats from international spy and crime rings. There's a great deal of emphasis too on the, (for 1976), bang-up-to-date vehicles of the three leads, a real overplaying of product placement. Sadly, like Ms. King before her, Purdey suffers from some truly dreadful costuming; veering from scene to scene from wonderfully seductive and alluring to hideously frumpy, and don't even ask about Gambit's leisure wear. The involvement, or rather lack of it, of Steed himself is often cited as one of the biggest failings of the show, but the interplay between the two junior cast members more than make up for it. Purdey's acid humor is worth the entrance price alone. Continuity was also something of an issue, and some of the storylines certainly need to be glossed over rather quickly.Whatever your views on the authenticity of this incarnation of the Avengers, I can't see how you'd fail to enjoy it. Sadly, the second batch of 13 didn't quite match up to this promising start and led to the show's terminal demise, but that's another release for another time."
Purdey, Gambit and Steed rock! great fun!
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 11/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a very impressionable child when Honour Blackman first don the Avengers leather. She created a self-assured woman, a role model. Diana Rigg refined it more with Mrs. Peel. I loved Linda Thorson as Tara King, but the series was showing wear by then. Not Thorson's fault, just rather limp scripts. So when they announced they were coming back and this time with Steed not having one partner but two and one a man, I was slightly resistant to the notion.However, the New Avengers was just that, NEW...the series was very fresh, updated and the three leads, Patrick Macnee, Joanna Lumley (AB FAB) and Gareth Hunt (Upstairs Downstairs) work well together. The chemistry between Steed and Purdey, and Purdey and Gambit sparkles. The stores are less the 'fantasy' type of the old Avengers. This is more high energy spy vs spy. THe set is the first year - 13 episodes and are some of the best. I did miss having EMILY in this packet - one of the lighter and funniest they did - but well, next group!!THREE HANDED GAME is a wonderful race to stop a spy with a 'brain drain' from robbing three curiers of the secrets they carry - watch that shuffle-buck-wing!! GNAWS is great romp with their take off of JAWS in the sewers! TARGET! is a great race as someone at the target range has devised a way to knock off Britain's super spies, and it's Steed to the rescue to save Purdey's life. EAGLES NEST finds the trio off to Scotland to foil neo-Nazi group. My Favourite is The LAST OF THE CYBERNAUTS?...a tribute to the old Cybernaut episodes of the original series. Just great fun and a delight to finally have them on DVD. Now if they will just put Return of the Saint on DVD...."
Forgotten Avengers treasure unearthed by A & E!
Ron Wise | Cleveland, MS USA | 09/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this box set because I love the Avengers and because I want everything that's out there pertaining to the Avengers on DVD.
And I bought the first season of "The New Avengers" thinking that I would suffer through all 13 episodes. WRONG!!!
These are simply wonderful! In fact, I watched all 13 episodes almost non-stop. The New Avengers, as far as I'm concerned, is a proud addition to the Avengers canon.
Now, A & E, when are you going to release the final season of the New Avengers, and the first half of Honor Blackman's first season? And be sure to throw in as an "extra" the one or two surviving episodes of Steed with his male partner.
Long live the Avengers!"
They Don't make Stuff This Good Anymore...
H. A Huffman | Mt. Prospect, IL USA | 11/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow, I just got this DVD from a friend, I have been waiting for years for this incredibly fun series to come on TV. The New Avengers managed to capture the off-beat spirit of the first series without making a mess of things.
Patrick Macnee is back as Steed, I always liked this witty, proper British gentleman spy, portraying the supervisor of two younger spies. Junior spy No. 1, Purdy, is played by skinny Joanna Lumley (nowhere near as good as Diana Rigg's Emma Peel). No. 2 is Gambit, a rougher, more Americanized version of Steed, is played by Gareth Hunt.
Even though Purdy and Gambit cannot hold a candle to Steed and Emma, the whole thing seems to work, due to the show's more down-to-Earth and darker storylines. But don't worry, this version of the Avengers does have its wild moments: super-powered enemy agents who can catch bullets, giant rats...
You won't see anything like this on TV today; well worth buying."