The long-running Avengers series added some extra gloss to its look and feel by filming in color starting in 1967, making the inimitable, eccentric atmosphere of the show complete. That production change coincided with so... more »me of the best writing the program ever enjoyed. So it makes sense that those late-1960s episodes of The Avengers have been packaged to help us forget the botched 1998 feature film version of the show. Set 1 includes a mystery about killer phobias, "The Fear Merchants"; the time-travel story "Escape in Time"; the feathery spy tale "The Bird Who Knew Too Much"; the invisible-villain yarn "The See-Through Man"; and the comic-book spoof "The Winged Avenger"; and "From Venus with Love." --Tom Keogh« less
"Following the huge success of the first filmed series of The Avengers, starring Patrick MacNee as debonair British agent John Steed and his cool, sophisticated partner Mrs. Emma Peel, the producers opted to make the next batch of 26 episodes in color, to be broadcast in 1967. In order to accomplish this, foreign backing was necessary, and the American networks were approached. The US had broadcast the black and white season four as a mid-season replacement, and were interested in moving forward with a color season in prime time, however they only provided enough backing for 16 episodes initially. Another challenge was that Diana Rigg was not particularly keen to film another season of the show, and demanded a huge salary increase in order to secure her participation. She got the money, but it was made clear it would be her second and last season with the show.Apart from the use of color film, there were other subtle changes to the show for this fifth season. Both Steed and Emma were given new apartments and Mrs. Peel a much more stylized wardrobe. The device of ending each story with the two leads driving off in a variety of vehicles was abandoned and instead a tag scene was used to introduce each story, where Steed informed his partner that they were needed in a variety of humorous ways. Each story title was also given a two-line subtitle. After completion of the first batch of 16, the American backers did provide finance for a further 16 but asked for both the subtitles and tag scenes to be dropped, and also requested that Mrs. Peel's wardrobe became more recognizably en vogue. After only 8 episodes were completed, producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell left the show after a disagreement and the new producers opted not to continue with Mrs. Peel and began their own interpretation of the show. It wasn't long before Clemens and Fennell were back in charge, but the 67 series ended with "Mission highly improbable," although Rigg was brought back in 1968 for the one-off "The forget me knot," to introduce her replacement Tara King. This episode is included in this release as a bonus episode.In terms of storylines, acting and the wonderful interplay between the two leads, there is little difference between this color season and the preceding black and white stories and the show had really reached its zenith by this point. Certainly in terms of popularity and ratings, it was never as successful again. Interestingly, several of these stories are in fact remakes of earlier episodes from the Mrs. Gale era. "The joker," "The correct way to kill," and "The $50,000 breakfast," are all remakes, whereas "The return of the Cybernauts," is a sequel to an earlier Steed/Mrs. Peel adventure.Fans of The Avengers will of course be delighted to have these discs, and I'd highly recommend them to any other fans of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, and indeed fans of the 60's spy format. If you've ever seen the dreadful movie featuring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, don't let that put you off. These stories are the real McCoy!"
1st set of 1967 - sheer perfection
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 10/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First set of 1967. This saw the Avengers to go colour and more episodes. These are some of the best Avengers, where the pairing of Mackee and Rigg well settled into their roles, with great scripts, really playful story lines.
1) "The See-Through Man" - "Steed Makes a Bomb - and Emma is put to sleep" has Emma and John fighting an enemy agent, ala invisible man, but our pair knows seeing is not always believing 2) "The Bird Who Knew Too Much" - "Steed Fancies Pigeons - And Emma gets the bird" has a villain using carrier pigeons to further his evil plans and the object isn't birdseed! 3) "The Winged Avenger" - "Steed goes bird watching - and Emma does a comic strip". This episode one of my favs, has a comic strip avenger come to life to seek vengeance. Jack MacGowan makes a guest role that is great fun. 4) "From Venus With Love" "Steed is shot full of hole - and Emma sees Stars" The British Venusian Society is brewing a conspiracy that Steed and Emma must foil 5) "The Fear Merchants" - "Steed puts out a light - Emma takes a fright" Businessmen go on a retreat to relax, instead come back to die, actually being frightened to death by their phobias. It's up to Steed and Emma to find out who is behind this deadline plot 6) "Escape in Time" - "Steed Visits a barber - and Emma has a close shave" One of the best episodes has criminals escaping the law by going back in time. The costumer has Emma meeting Matthew Tyson who puts Emma into stocks.
Classic episodes with the stories, acting and tongue-through-cheek antics at their best. Directing turns done by Roy Baker, Gordon Flemying and Robert Asher. "
In the Middle Somewhere...
Deborah MacGillivray | 12/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a super set! The Avengers, Patrick Macnee as John Steed and Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, are at their best. Some of the best 67 episodes are on this one. The Fear Merchants is a very enjoyable one. It is about this organization who finds out people's fears and makes them mad. You'll have to watch the episode to find out why they are doing it. From Venus With Love is a classic and well remembered episode. The worst (in my opinion) is probably The See-Through Man. Escape in Time is one of the best episodes ever made. English agents are being killed off by (what you watch when you first see it) people from the past. The Bird Who Knew Too Much is probably the second worst on the tape, but it is still very good. The Winged Avenger is also a classic about this comic book character (someone dressed up in a costume) killing people. This set over all is one of the best '67 sets."
Superb Editing and Screenwriting
firstname.lastname@example.org | 03/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every director and film editor should learn from this series. How such elaborate stories are tautly scripted into 50-minutes TV installments with amazing results is one of the major reasons of the Avengers' success. One-liners are so skillfully cued to the next scenes that they deliver the desired effect, be it humorous, suspenseful, or any other. Combining mystery, suspense, humor, irony, sci-fi elements, spoofs on spies and villains, playful seduction, the series delivers the perfect, unique mix that not only entertains but stimulates and nourishes the mind. Mrs. Peel, Steed and the other known and unknown guest stars, all deliver their lines and performances with detailed perfection. Seeing Mrs. Peel and Steed interact with each other is a delicious experience. They both remind us that delicate and demured sexuality are eternally most satisfying and stimulating. I estimate that after buying one set of the Avengers you will end up buying them all. On this re-mastered DVD's format, the Avengers seems so fresh as if filmed today."
High quality transfers but little extras.
email@example.com | 09/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have enjoyed The Avengers since the 1970s. The quality of the transfers have surpassed my best expectations for both video and audio quality. The color episodes positively jump off the screen, and the audio is the best I've ever heard. I think only a High Definition transfer could surpass these disks. Unfortunately, there is little additional material for which the DVD format is becoming known. It would be great to have production notes, scripts, UK (on ITV) and USA (on ABC-TV) airing dates, and maybe some history of how the show came about and how the British ABC (as in Associated British Corporation) Productions folded. I was also pleased to see that the original production company logos had been maintained. In the TV syndicated shows, the ABC logos were chopped off, much to the detriment to the authenticity of the show. In this day when Screen Gems, Desilu/Paramount, and Columbia logos are lost to history, it was good to see the shows maintained as they were originally produced."