New partner for Steed
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These DVD's from A&E represent the best known and certainly the most popular era of the long running British TV fantasy-adventure series "The Avengers." Made between 1965 and 1966, all 26 episodes of the fourth season of the show are available here on eight discs in four sets, or two at a time.When Honor Blackman (Mrs. Cathy Gale) left the series after season 3 to take up the lead role in the Bond movie "Goldfinger," the producers had already made the decision to start filming the series, moving it out of the TV studio and giving it a much glossier and dynamic feel. John Steed (Patrick MacNee), the debonair British government agent stayed on and his new partner was devised by the production team to be another tough, all-action girl with "Man Appeal." M-Appeal (geddit?) Elizabeth Shepherd was cast as Mrs. Emma Peel and two episodes were filmed before it was mutually agreed that she didn't meet the expectations of the production team. A quick replacement was sought and in stepped Diana Rigg. A TV legend was born.The relationship between Steed and Mrs. Gale had always been haughty to say the least. With the introduction of the widowed (or seemingly) Mrs. Peel, the relationship between the two leads became much closer with a great deal of sexual tension. Mrs. Peel was as intelligent, quick thinking and emasculated as her predecessor, and initially at least shared her penchant for leather outfits, but she was also certainly softer and more readily prepared to act as Steed's partner in their adventures.The stories were certainly becoming much more fantasy bound, and the use of diabolical masterminds and organizations with bizarre acronyms became the norm for the stories from this series on. The fantasy and sci-fi elements of the show were highlighted more than before and the fashions and design of the show took on a much more stylish and indeed 'stylized' look. The success of these elements was immediate, and huge ratings in the UK followed, plus overseas transmissions of the show followed for the first time. Such was their success indeed that another 26 episodes were soon commissioned, this time to be made in color.The stories have supposedly been digitally re-mastered for these DVD releases, and indeed the picture quality is pretty impressive, but there is still sparkle and dirt on the prints that may detract from the quality for some viewers. The 26 episodes are presented in the same order of their original UK transmission. Unfortunately, as with all the A&E Avengers releases, there are no extras at all. Not even production notes. However, there are menus included, which are nicely done.This for me is the very best season of the show, with great style and wit accompanying the excellent scripts, direction and production values. I'd certainly recommend this release to anyone."
Classic season, and it now looks fantastic!!!!!
mddj | United Kingdom | 07/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This season of episodes has recently been shown on TV here in the United Kingdom, and the quality of those that I recorded onto VHS from the TV, look very poor in comparison to this DVD (they even looked muddy when they were on TV). The '65 season was perhaps the finest of the entire Avengers series, and the stunning job that has been done on the remastering has given the series the new lease of life that it deserves. If you enjoy telefantasy, the you'll love this!!"
Avengers gold in black & white!
Paul | Michigan,USA | 02/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Avengers '65 sets feature perhaps the best thirteen episodes of the Avengers series available on DVD. The digitally remastered B&W films are the best that I have ever seen for these shows. It takes me back to the "fabulous 1960's." The playback by my Sony player is virtually faultless. I just hope Ted Turner doesn't buy the digital masters and "colorize" them. Some good things are best left as they are!"
Not just Nostalgia!
J | Liverpool, UK | 01/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up watching these black and white Emma Peel Avenger episodes in the UK. But when I came to search for them on Amazon.co.uk I could only find entire collections that were both expensive and rare. I was really surprised when I found exactly what I was looking for here on the American version. Obviously it's the American market where the Avengers is popular enough to get the all-star treatment in these relatively cheap and good quality dvd sets spanning the entire Avengers archive. This, off course, was my 1st purchase- the introduction of (cross her at your peril!) Mrs. Emma Peel.
While these 6 Avenger missions can veer into the ridiculous and times have obviously changed since 1965, amazingly these stories are still completely valid, yet surreal investigations into the under-belly of criminal Britain. You couldn't reproduce the magic of the show for a modern audience, as the Avengers movie certainly proved, but thankfully you can still watch the original episodes as if no time had passed and be thoroughly immersed in the strangeness that is the Avengers' world.
My impression of this 1965 set (beginning the Steed-Peel partnership) is that these are not the best of their collaborations (obviously the best is yet to come and I'll definitely be acquiring those very soon). But this isn't because Diana Rigg takes time to adjust to the part (far from it- right from the outset she makes her role as Steed's equal partner in crime-solving her own)- it's more that my personal episode favourites come later on in her tenure. Although that's not to say that these episodes aren't inventive, thrilling and involving, because they are- VERY much so and I would definitely advise you to begin your Avengers DVD collection with this little gem that has weathered the past 40 years incredibly well indeed.
Episode (1) 'The Town of No Return'
A great Cold war-influenced story with a horror-movie feel- 8/10
Episode (2) 'The Gravediggers'
Peppered with quintessentially English set peices, it's funny and inventive!- 8/10
Episode (3) 'The Cybernauts'
A mad inventor, an unstoppable fighter and high-kicking action from Emma!- 9/10
Episode (4) 'Death at Bargain Prices'
A department store conspiracy, but light on originality and tension- 6/10
Episode (5) 'Castle De'Ath'
Atmospheric and intriguing (if somewhat plodding)- the under-cover routine is still proving a winner (plus, the ending is pure Avengers class!)- 7/10
Episode (6) 'The Master Minds'
Emma in a nurse's costume along with hypnosis and anarchy in the aristocracy- interesting/confusing/amusing, but a bit slow- 6/10"