I have been waiting on this release,of Honor Blackman's first season as Cathy Gale or Doctor Catherine Gale,to gave her proper title in "The Avengers" for a while now,so thanks A&E for releasing the first fourteen episodes of this second season of this classic show.
Sadly,of the first season pairing,of Patrick Macnee and Ian Hendry as John Steed and Dr.David Keel only two complete episodes survive(one of which is the recently rediscovered "Girl On The Trapeze" which doesn't feature Steed)and the first reel of the first episode "Hot Snow" out of the 26 episodes made.
Honor Blackman replaced Ian Hendry after he decided to move on to movies and Honor is excellent as the cool,highly intelligent Cathy Gale who really liberated women on television by showing herself to be as equally intelligent and capable as Steed and the fact,Cathy could protect herself by throwing a man over her shoulder and fight back,sent the ratings threw the roof and without Honor's great success,there would have been no Emma Peel,Tara King,Purdey and several other strong woman characters in the Bond films,Honor of course going on to be Pussygalore in "Goldfinger".
Honor Blackman's first filmed episode was "Death Dispatch"
and she was told after it,not to smile as much and be cooler and indeed,in "Death Dispatch",Steed and Cathy are more like Emma Peel and Steed would later be,Cathy doesn't do any fighting in that story but it comes in right after that.
What I like about Cathy Gale is,that unlike the "Avengers"ladies that follow,she really can give Steed a telling off when he deserves it and Steed is a lot more darker and manipulates people a lot more(especially poor Venus Smith,) than he would do with Emma Peel etc.
Cathy really cares about people,in her first screened story "Mr.Teddy Bear" when a young man is killed,she gets very angry at Steed as she feels the young man was used as bait to get at the villian of the piece,at the cost of his life.
I remember being very annoyed at a TV channel in the 90s,it did a feature on "The Avengers"and although it showed a clip of Cathy Gale in the trailer,all the other clips were of Emma Peel and Tara King,Cathy Gale is terrific and athough the pairing of Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee is the best remembered of "The Avengers",the pairing of Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee was heaven sent too!
Steed has two other co-Avengers in the 2nd season,Dr.Martin King,Jon Rollason who features in just three episodes,made before Honor Blackman started work and it was just a stop gap between Ian Hendry and Honor Blackman.
The Rollason stories are actually very good although Rollason is very quietly spoken and several rewinds on the DVD are required to pick up his dialogue,the best one of his stories is "Mission To Montreal"where he develops a crush on an actress Carla Berotti,a great performance by Patricia English,who is near to hysterics the whole episode.
There's not a great rapport between King and Steed but in fairness to Jon Rollason,the writers were using scripts leftover from the first season and the fact Jon Rollason isn't in the opening credits of his stories,shows his time was meant to be brief on the show.
Venus Smith played by Julie Stevens is the third co-Avenger in this second season and her character was created before Ian Hendry was leaving the show and had he stayed on,he would have alternated with Venus Smith.
I really like Julie Stevens potrayal,Venus is very likeable but so naive,and not as sophisticated as Cathy and is in the mould of the helpless female but she does hit one of the villians' in a painful spot in "The Removal Men".
Venus'singing is really good and brings a touch of glamour to the show,in a defferent way to Cathy Gale,she only features in two episodes of this disc and did another four in this season and then that was it,as Julie Stevens left the show to have a baby,it would have been nice to see Venus appear in a later story but it didn't happen.
Partick Macnee really made "The Avengers" as we all know,he brings great style,he can be menacing when required in these early stories and yet,always has a twinkle in his eye at the right time too!
Bring on the other 12 episodes of season 2 very soon,please!