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New Avengers 76/77 S1

Patrick Macnee , Gareth Hunt    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 197.27
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Sometimes dismissed as a pale descendant of a great original, The New Avengers deserves a second look and is perhaps best considered as a largely successful attempt to re-imagine its predecessor for 1970s audiences. Patrick Macnee was never the most convincing of action heroes, and the decision to make his John Steed the supervisor and mentor of two younger agents was a sensible one--Steed's virtues are style, wisdom, and fortitude rather than physical prowess. Gareth Hunt's Gambit has an unattractively smug side, but also has charm. Joanna Lumley's Purdey is one of the most attractive heroines of genre television, astonishingly leggy and beautiful. Those who only know her later incarnation as Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous will now understand why such a fuss is made over her. The script team overlaps heavily with that of the original series; the new show has the same quirkiness, only occasionally varying it with a rather darker Le Carré-esque complexity or sudden outbreaks of Hammer Horror. If it lacks some of the sheer style of the original, that is a reflection of its period--the 1970s were less visually imaginative than the '60s. Tightly plotted and imaginatively cast with interesting guest stars, it is only with The Avengers that The New Avengers suffers by comparison. --Roz Kaveney

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A genuine class act Jan. 26 2004
I have to agree with the other posters who rate this revival more highly than its revered 1960s predecessor -- which (even with the inestimable Diana Rigg in the cast) has not dated very well, too often coming across as rather arch and quaint, and often cringingly twee.
THE NEW AVENGERS, on the other hand, manages to maintain the sense of playfulness and fun that made the earlier series such a hit, while incorporating the hard-hitting action and genuine sense of menace that Seventies movies and television honed to perfection.
Patrick MacNee's iconic John Steed has here been graduated to a kind of elder statesman role, which suits him better; Gareth Hunt's rougher-edged Mike Gambit is a roguishly charming replacement; and there are simply no words for Joanna Lumley's Purdey. The actress's indelible portrayal of Patsy Stone in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS may be the role cited someday in her obituary, but Purdey is every bit as memorable -- coy, smart, seductive, kittenish, deadly; an irresistible paradox.
Buy it, buy it, buy it, buy it!
And yes, definitely -- bring on Season Two.
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Some fans don't like the New Avengers as much as the original series. These may not be quite up to the Emma Peel stories, but then the Tara King and Honor Blackman episodes aren't up to that standard either.
Joanna Lumley ranks up there with Diana Rigg as one of the best Avengers girls, certainly better than King and arguably better than Blackman. The stories are enjoyable and the chemistry between the 3 stars is very good. An enjoyable romp - highly reccomended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Jan. 7 2004
By A Customer
This is an amazing museum piece from the 70's. Steed is classy, Purdey is both sexy and funny, and Gambit is...well, he'd not terribly. Actually, speaking of Purdey, she does what few televised heroines can do: be very apealing without getting coarse or lose her sense of humor. Highly recomended and I can't wait for Season 2!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Completely Different Nov. 26 2003
By it
The advertisements for this program in 1976 said that the program had been "completely updated." This is an understatement. The only common factor between this program and the previous series is one word in the show title and the name of one of the characters. This show was a flop when it was broadcast. Did you notice the large number of used sets at deep discounts here on Amazon?
Everything that made the old show wonderful has been removed. The new show has large amounts of graphical violence, loud rapid tempo music, chase scenes, and significant amounts of culturally lower class behavior on the part of the characters. There is a grieving widow wearing a high neck black dress with a cutout to show her cleavage.
Steed has been turned into a vulgarian (a culturally lower class person with wealth.) He makes poor decisions when confronted with options. For instance, he is set up for blackmail and does not go to the security officer to get help in burning the blackmailer. Gone is the subtle satire and references to classical literature. Do you remember the bus with "Orpheus Tours" written on it in the old show?
The script writing is poor. It violates the standard maxim that you do not tell them, you show them. The plots are presented seriously and are unrealistic. For example, The three look at a map of the whole country with regional markings in letters a half inch thick and are able to locate a place on the ground to an error of inches. Another example is a physician who cannot tell the difference between a 20 year old surgery scar and a few hour old incision on a corpse.
After saying all of this, I suggest that you buy it only to encourage the copyright holders to get around to issuing the rest of the Blackman series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful to have this out on DVD Nov. 26 2003
By A Customer
Excellent video of 70's classic, first season, I couldn't be more pleased, and hope they'll release second season in U.S.
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