A great overview of a classic series
Ron Wise | Cleveland, MS USA | 01/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This very reasonably-priced box set (six hours of entertainment for the usual price of one movie) is a bargain at any price. A&E did its usual first class job of putting together this package.I won't dwell too much on the content of each episode since the other reviewers cover them in depth, except to say the Patrick Macnee did an excellent job of selecting two episodes each featuring each of his three female leads; Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and Linda Thorson. And, for a man his age, Patrick is still holding up quite well in the newly-videotaped segments.The extras in the package are a strong point, too. Patrick's overall introduction is worth the time to watch before watching any of the episodes. Also, he gives a short introduction to each episode. Some of his remarks seem candid such as his displeasure about the introduction of the "Mother" character in the last season in which he states that this took away some of the mystery and charm of the Avengers team by bringing out into the open the governmental spy organization in which they worked. Before, the Avengers seemed to be more like free agents loosely working within a hidden framework. "We would just show up," he said, "at the scene of a crime" and no one would question from where. Another extra, Linda Thorson's 15 minute promo film the box set called "Town Girl" (even though no title is shown on the film) does it's best to show Linda as a happy-go-lucky star on the rise. It appears to have been filmed after the Avengers series ended around 1969 or the early Seventies. The color is crisp and sharp and shows her running around the English countryside in tight blue jeans with dirt on the seat of her pants. Then there's a scene of her jumping into a swimming pool and trying to keep her head above water. It's all good clean fun.All in all, this is a great package from Honor Blackman's film noir episode "Don't Look Behind You" to Diana Rigg's quirky department store-turned-atomic bomb episode "Death At Bargain Prices" to Linda Thornson's wonderful "All Done With Mirrors."This set is a great place to start for anyone who is interested in the evolution of the Avengers or a person who has never heard of the Avengers or for even the die-hard Avengers fan."
An excellent compilation
jhitesman | Massachusetts | 01/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The point of this DVD is to show Steed's partners at different time in the show. The Amazon reviewer seems to be a bit Mrs Peel favorable, when the truth is that The Avengers is STEED's show. He was the only continuing character throughout the entire series and into the spin off. This DVD set shows Steed at different points in his agent career and how his various partners act. Starting out with "Mr. Teddy Bear", it introduces Cathy Gale, who was a good series but suffered from the technically inferiror resources which can now only look very dated. Nonetheless, the storylines are good here and in "Don't Look Behind You", the original "The Joker" and scarier in black and white. The set moves on to Emma Peel with the witty "Death at Bargain Prices", a perfect example of Steed and Emma's relationship amidst any peril known. Further complexities are revealed with "Too Many Christmas Trees" as it achieves a perfect balance of humor and seriousness, a series trademark and featuring some of the best repartee between the leads. Then comes Tara King with the love it or hate it "....Two Fellers". It does represent all that was loved about the show *humor, strange situations, relaxed leads, great guest stars, etc* but is almost too broad to be Avengers ish if you take it seriously. Take it as a spoof and you might enjoy it more. Finally, the final episode on the set is the fabulous "All Done With Mirrors" where Linda Thorson and Tara King come into their own. She goes on a Steedless mission to the Devon coast amidst beautiful location filming. It is also an excellent storyline, filled with wit and great situations. The music score is easily Howard Blake's best out of his series of contributions in the final season. "Mirrors" is also uniquely filmed by Ray Austin. Just check out some of the camera angles and you'll see! Overall, this set represents all that is great about this fabulous show and would be a great addition to anyone's collection."
A King and 3 Wild Cards Takes the Hand
hille2000 | USA | 03/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Poker faced John Steed certainly must have felt that he lived in a house of cards with the likes of the regal Kathy Gale, Mrs. Emma Peel and Tara King. `The Avengers" was a popular 1960's British fantasy-adventure series that focused on the exploits of a male-female duo in the service of the British government. The series underwent several changes of its female lead but its one constant male lead was John Steed always portrayed by the debonair Patrick Macnee (Originally the John Steed had two male partners but that format eventually changed). Kathy Gale portrayed by Honor Blackman became Steed's first female partner. However, when Honor Blackman departed the series and Diana Rigg entered as Mrs. Emma Peel, the show became an international sensation. Rigg brought sophistication, wit, charm and beauty, which hid her lethal and highly visual judo and karate abilities. Macnee and Rigg complemented each other beautifully with their carefree witty and charming exchange of dialogue. The show distinguished itself with bizarre and futuristic villains and fantastic plots. Popular at the height of the James Bond craze, the show was able to distinguish itself with its simply over-the-top visual style. Laurie Johnson's catchy and sophisticated main title theme matched the visuals of the show and still conjures up an image of the series when listened to today. When Diana Rigg left the series, Linda Thorson entered as John Steed's new partner Tara King. The series soon went off the air in the United States. It was a shame because the episodes with Tara King were quite good. The King episodes seemed to be a little more down to earth and contained some very good writing and intricate plotting. In any event the series definitely left its mark amongst the finest. These DVD copies are gorgeous and they sound great in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono."
Steed Bows to the Ladies - The Ladies Curtsey Back
Bruce Rux | Aurora, CO | 05/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The majority of the series' best episodes were during the Emma Peel years, 1965-67. You have to give credit to this tape, then, for giving equal time to all of John Steed's delightful female co-fighters of crime, by picking episodes from the Cathy Gale and Tara King years that no one will deny are among the best The Avengers had to offer.For starters, "Look - Stop Me If You've Heard This One..." is simply the best episode ever made in the series' long run. It has been argued that this brilliantly balanced crime melodrama/vaudeville act was an Emma Peel story filmed after its time, but if it was, then Linda Thorson's Tara King was well up to the task of pulling it off. The script is low comedy as high camp, yet succeeds in achieving some genuinely horrific moments. The performances all round are excellent, especially from guest stars Jimmy Jewel and Julian Chagrin as a killer clown and a murderous mime.The Cathy Gale episodes chosen are those that put Honor Blackman's talent to the fore. "Mr. Teddy Bear" was the first genuinely bizarre story in the series, with Cathy going undercover to hire perhaps the world's best hit-man - with Steed as the target. The master assassin's name derives from his birth name, "Edward Bruin," and his eccentric trademark of doing business through a remote-control robot teddy bear. "Don't Look Behind You" is a superior piece of film noir, in which Cathy is lured into a sadistic death-trap by an escaped psychopath she helped put behind bars years before. Later re-filmed with Diana Rigg as "The Joker," Blackman's version is actually much better, both for its excellent use of black-and-white light and shadow and for Blackman's genuinely terrified performance.The Emma Peel episodes are both from Diana Rigg's first year, "Death At Bargain Prices" and "Too Many Christmas Trees," the latter a well-known Avengers classic and one of its most sparkling scripts, and the former one of its cleverer and wittier suspense pieces.Anyone might quibble over whether these are truly the best of the series, but no one will contest that they are excellent episodes all, and well worth watching."