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Original Avengers Best of the

Patrick Macnee , Diana Rigg    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 84.14
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Only those with a Diana Rigg bias would complain that of the six episodes included in this collection, only two feature the ravishing Mrs. Emma Peel, the second and most popularly known partner of gentleman spy John Steed (Patrick Macnee). But they do rank among her finest hours. In "Death at Bargain Prices," Emma goes undercover at a department store, prompting Steed's classic line, "I asked where to find you and was told, 'Our Mrs. Peel is in ladies' underwear.' I rattled up the stairs three at a time." In "Too Many Christmas Trees," Emma, the girl of our dreams, comforts a distressed Steed, whose nightmares are coming true. The Cathy Gale (Honor "Pussy Galore" Blackman) and Tara King (the unfortunate Linda Thorson) episodes pale by comparison, but, as Macnee offers in a newly filmed introduction, they represent what is best about this cult classic British series: "Tradition; humanity; character; sexuality; bizarre comic strip action; witty tongue-in-cheek humor." "Mr. Teddy Bear," which launched the series' second season, also marks Cathy's debut as Steed's partner. "Don't Look Behind You," a psychological thriller, was later remade with Emma Peel as "The Joker." Winning the award for most outrageous episode title is "Look (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers." This love-it-or-hate-it Tara King episode, in which music hall clowns really slay their audience, features a memorable appearance by a pre-Monty Python John Cleese. Thorson's own finest hour may be "All Done with Mirrors," in which she, saddled with a bumbling sidekick, must clear Steed of charges of treason. While more Mrs. Peel is needed, this set will thrill old fans and new collectors looking to enhance or start an Avengers library. --Donald Liebenson

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great overview of a classic series Jan. 3 2003
Format:DVD
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A King and 3 Wild Cards Takes the Hand March 22 2001
Format:DVD
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.
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