This final set of episodes from the 1967-1968 season of The Avengers follows the delightful, pop-surreal series through the concluding chapter of Diana Rigg's involvement as agent Emma Peel. On tap is "The £50,000 Breakfa... more »st," in which a ventriloquist is discovered to be carrying a stash of diamonds in his stomach, leading Mrs. Peel and John Steed (Patrick Macnee) into an investigation that involves murder, dummies, and borzoi dogs. "Dead Man's Treasure" finds a mortally wounded fellow agent hiding important documents in the home of a racing enthusiast--whose driving "simulator" nearly kills poor Mrs. Peel with a lethal dose of electricity. This set also includes the terrific "You Have Just Been Murdered," in which a gaggle of blackmailers and assassins accosts prospective victims with toy weapons to prove they can easily be killed. Steed and Mrs. Peel enter the fray, just as they do in "The Positive-Negative Man," a tense but amusing plot about an electrically charged killer dispatching members of a scientific research team (and very nearly our heroes) with one touch of his high-voltage finger. Also contained in the set is the dark and scary "Murdersville," in which Mrs. Peel is kidnapped in a town full of killers-for-hire. Following that is the cheeky "Mission Highly Improbable," featuring Steed and Emma as shrunken versions of themselves after being subjected to a miniaturization device. The series ends--rather sadly for worshippers of Mrs. Peel--with "The Forget-Me-Knot," introducing Steed's next partner, Tara King (Linda Thorson), in a story about a traitor within the intelligence community. A coda in which Steed and Emma say goodbye is indeed unforgettable. Fortunately, the good times and quirky humor and whimsical sexuality between this perfect pair live on forever in this set. --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!"
Farewell Mrs. Peel
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 10/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fourth series for 1967, and sadly, the last of Emma Peel. You could almost sense Diana Rigg's restlessness in the series. The sparkle that had shown so brightly now had a brittle cast to it, signaling clearly, she felt she'd outgrown the series. And like Honor Blackman before her, was off to become a Bond girl. Strange, this series has lived so long in the hearts of her fans, while the arguably worst Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), was famous only because Bond married Rigg's character in the film and for being "that film with Lazenby". Her fans might feel her time would have been better spent staying with the Avengers!
1) The £ 50,000 breakfast" - "Steed dabbles in tycoonery - and Emma in Chicanery" sees stolen diamonds - all £50,000 worth found in a dead man's stomach, the trail leads to a Pet Cemetery and a sinister plot 2) "Deans Man's Treasure" - "Steed rallies around - and Emma drives for her life. One of the most fun episodes where Steed and Emma join a cross-country car rally. Emma finds shocking results when she unravels the clues 3) "You Have Just Been Murders" - "Steed chase a million - Emma runs off it with it" has an ingenious blackmailer using the threat of "fake murders" to demonstrate just how he can kill his victims to get them to pay 4) "The Positive-Negative Man" - "Steed makes the sparks fly - and Emma gets switched on" Anyone involved in the mysterious "Project 90" is suddenly being turned to toast 5) "Murdersville" "Emma marries Steed - and Steed becomes a father" When Emma visits a friend in the tiny village of Little Storping, she finds strange doings. When she fails to turn up, Steed rushes to figure out what has happened to her, and soon finds a town where for a price you can kill anyone you want 6) "Mission Highly Improbable" - "Steed falls into enemy hands - and Emma is cut down to size." This episode really see Rigg's boredom starting to show through. A scientist has develops a machine that can shrink anything down to miniature size. 7) "The Forget-Me-Knot" is the episode where the world big farewell to Emma Peel and hello to Tara King(Linda Thorson). Emma is hit with an amnesia inducing dart and held prison in an old glass factory. Steed is paired with the gorgeous Tara to track down Emma. This episode is the first to introduce Mother. At the end, when Emma learns Peter Peel has been found alive, so she is no longer a widow - look closely at hubby dearest! "
Poor quality control
Deborah MacGillivray | 07/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This otherwise excellent set is marred by an audio problem on "The $50,000 breakfast". The original show mix is combined with the music and effects mixouts causing the music and effects to be too loud and phasey.
After A&E did this on one of the early Prisoner releases, I had hoped they had tightened up on their quality control.
Thanks A&E. This episode is pretty much unwatchable."
The most pleasant of surprises!
Steve Ayres | London, England | 07/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen quite a few old 60's TV series lately and they have failed to charm me the way they did when I was a child. The Avengers was however a very surprising find! I am very impressed with the way these episodes hold up after over 30 years. The scripts are well written, the relationship between Steed and Mrs Peel is perfect, and the fruity enchange of banter between them a delight. The sound is very good and the picture quite extraordinary.Yes, it is a shame that there weren't some juicy extras on the disc, but don't let that put you off buying them. My own personal thrill was seeing the Saracen FV603 (an English military vehicle) in Mission Highly Improbable, as I am about to buy one!"
A pretty good Set, but a couple problems
Steve Ayres | 12/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee as Emma Peel and John Steed are fabulous. These two are the best from the avengers. This set isn't the best (in my opinion), but a classic. The 50,000 pound breakfast is just a silly plot about stealing a dog for money. Another problem, even though it (Tara King episode)is free, I don't like Tara King. The bonus episode is well known with Mrs. Peel and Tara King in The Forget-Me-Knot. The others are all great! Set includes: Dead Man's Treasure, Positive-Negative man, You Have Just Been Murdered, Mission Highly Improbable, and Murdersville. The other two episodes have been mentioned further up."