This 216-minute bonus disc is part of the 2006 Complete Emma Peel Megaset, but is also available separately for those who already have the 2001 Megaset. Completists will appreciate the "lost" episodes from the first seaso... more »n. Of the very first episode, "Hot Snow," however, only the first 15 minutes were recovered. "Girl on the Trapeze" features a vanilla-esque Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel investigating the death of a circus performer, while "The Frighteners" perks things up considerably with the addition of Patrick Macnee's John Steed, who displays a bit of the comedic twinkle that would be the cornerstone of the series through its entire run. All in all, the episodes aren't nearly as watchable as the peak years of the series. Of greater interest to fans is "Avenging the Avengers," a 1992 documentary recapping the series through clips and interviews with Macnee, crew members, and actresses Honor Blackman (Cathy Gale, 1962-64) and Linda Thorson (Tara King, 1968-69). Diana Rigg appears briefly in older interview footage. The documentary lasts 25 minutes, and an additional nine minutes of interviews are added to the end. There's also a three-minute promotional film that Macnee and Rigg made to promote the series' switch from black and white to color, an alternate opening sequence, and a 1977 episode in which Mrs. Peel makes a cameo appearance. --David Horiuchi« less
"A&E Home Video get closer to the completion of The Avengers on DVD with the release of this very special disc, available as part of the Emma Peel Mega-Set or as a stand alone disc. It may only appeal to real Avengers fanatics, but in itself it also provides a very key example of early television drama - a far cry from the stuff modern TV is made of indeed.
I am not entirely sure why this disc is part of the Emma Peel box set or indeed why the adorable Dame Diana Rigg appears on the disc sleeve. This disc is really a tribute to the earliest era of The Avengers, when the series mainstay, John Steed played so admirably by Patrick MacNee, was in fact the secondary character to that of Dr. David Keel, played by Ian Hendry. Only two and a third of the twenty-six episodes from the first season of the long running show have survived and they are all included here. Considering the age of the material and the less than perfect conditions in which they've been maintained, the quality of these prints are surprisingly good. Indeed, in many cases, this restoration and remastering is certainly superior to the discs of the later stories featuring Mrs. Cathy Gale, which were released a few years back. These episodes really have very little relation to those later episodes, but they are still engrossing enough and you can begin to see the formula for the more widely known later format emerging. Steed himself doesn't even appear in two of these stories - or at least he doesn't appear in what remains of one - and thus Dr. Keel is given his chance to shine in the lead role, abetted only by his `nurse' played by Ingrid Hafner. A far cry from the later Avengers ladies.
Even though I consider myself a huge Avengers fan, this is the first time I've seen these stories and I am not at all disappointed. But if you are a fan of the Emma Peel and Tara King episodes, then I suspect these stories may not be of much interest to you other than from a historical point of view.
Mrs. Peel does get to appear on this release with two gems from the archives. The black and white "Chess Board" introduction that was used to open her first season on US TV is included, as is the very short color mini-episode filmed as an introduction to the characters of Steed and Mrs. Peel for American viewers. There's also an episode from The New Avengers, made in 1977 that features a cameo by Mrs. Peel, albeit using rehashed film footage from a decade earlier. As this is already available in The New Avengers 77 box set, its inclusion here is a little redundant. But there's a gem to be had in a documentary made for British TV in 1991 - Avenging the Avengers - which features interviews with MacNee, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson and many of the production team, along with some footage of Dame Diana Rigg from earlier interviews. Plus there's bonus footage not seen in the original broadcast.
It's all terrific stuff and a very worthwhile bonus disc. Thanks to A&E indeed for gathering up this `stray' material. It's much appreciated."
Dr. Keel, I Presume!
Eric Paddon | Morristown, NJ | 12/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The contents of this bonus disc have now been released. At long last, "Avengers" fans here in the US will get to see on DVD the two surviving episodes from the show's first season with Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel, and also the first twenty minutes of the very first episode "Hot Snow" which is all that survives. The tone of this first season is radically different from the "Avengers" we know and love best with Diana Rigg, but "Avengers" fans will need to get this to see how it all began.
The "New Avengers" episode that featured an unimaginative cameo of Mrs. Peel through recycled film footage will also be included in the set, but it's the Ian Hendry episodes that make this essential. And thank you A+E for not screwing those of us who have already assembled the series in previous releases by making this available separately."
Well A&E didn't stick it to us
joseph Corey | Raleigh, NC United States | 12/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At first I was quite ticked off that A&E was going to reissue the complete Emma Peel Avengers collection with thinner boxes and a bonus disc since I bought this set several years ago. But I'm happy they aren't sticking it to me by making this bonus disc available as a solo purchase.
This is still one of my favorite shows and hopefully A&E will have it filled with various interviews and details about the show. It deserves more than the palty "bonus" features that were on the original boxsets."
Glimpses of the beginning
Mr. T. S. Andersson | Auckland, New Zealand | 08/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is worth getting for the 2 1/3 episodes that remain of Season One. This is the season that introduces Dr David Keel who decides to join forces with shadowy agent John Steed to bring down the drug dealings of the gang that killed Dr Keel's girlfriend. Only the first Act from the very first episode 'Hot Snow' survives but this offers a tantalisingly bried introduction to the series.
Following on from this, 'Girl on the Trapeze' showcases the characters Dr Keel and his 'Avengers' girl, secretary Carol Wilson in a fantastic episode that is full of tense situations and twists and turns and is an amazing episode that leaves the viewer wanting to see more of these early Avengers regulars.
The final Season One episode still in existence is 'The Frighteners' in which Dr Keel,Steed and Carol join forces to bring down an illegal activity involving three men who physically beat and threaten people for financial gains, however there is more to the story than just that....
The Emma Peel related stuff, although not my most favourite era of the show, is interesting. The black and white American introduction is 30 seconds of fun. The 3 minute advertisement for the 1967 colour series is interesting and great for completist. The addtion of a New Avengers episode seems quite odd though and a waste of time as it is the first part of a two part story and brief cameo appearances by Emma total about 10-15 seconds only.
The documentary is excellent, only a shame it wasn't in depth a bit more but great to hear the main regulars talking about their time on the show.
Get this to watch all that remains of Season One starring Ian Hendry, also starring Patrick Macnee and Ingrid Hafner. Fingers crossed more episodes will be discovered in the future!"
A must for the Avenger collector
Michael T. Willoughby | Poplar Bluff, Mo. | 03/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this DVD very intriguing because it allows the viewer to see the evolution of the show.
My favorite duo is John Steed and Emma Peel and was a little disappointed that there was just a small interview segment with Lady Rigg back to what seems to be the eighties. I would love to see her in a current lengthy interview explaining the show and maybe taking questions from an audience panel. However, this show has not been part of her life for many years and she is more engaged in the theater.
Anyway, I love this DVD because it covers the whole spectrum of the show from the early episodes to the very last series with Ms. Lumley. It definitely is a must for the collector."