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The New Avengers '76
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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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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.
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.
However, the New Avengers was just that, NEW...the series was very fresh, updated and the three leads, Patrick Macnee, Joanna Lumley (AB FAB) and Gareth Hunt (Upstairs Downstairs) work well together. The chemistry between Steed and Purdey, and Purdey and Gambit sparkles. The stores are less the 'fantasy' type of the old Avengers. This is more high energy spy vs spy. THe set is the first year - 13 episodes and are some of the best. I did miss having EMILY in this packet - one of the lighter and funniest they did - but well, next group!!
THREE HANDED GAME is a wonderful race to stop a spy with a 'brain drain' from robbing three curiers of the secrets they carry - watch that shuffle-buck-wing!! GNAWS is great romp with their take off of JAWS in the sewers! TARGET! is a great race as someone at the target range has devised a way to knock off Britain's super spies, and it's Steed to the rescue to save Purdey's life. EAGLES NEST finds the trio off to Scotland to foil neo-Nazi group. My Favourite is The LAST OF THE CYBERNAUTS?...a tribute to the old Cybernaut episodes of the original series.
Just great fun and a delight to finally have them on DVD. Now if they will just put Return of the Saint on DVD....
I once never thought that anything could top the original Avengers. But to me, The New Avengers are actually superior to the original series. Don't get me wrong. I love Steed and Mrs. Peel. I even love Steed and Tara King. However, the New Avengers have something additional that the original Avengers never had: Gareth Hunt as Mike Gambit. (This is one slick, tough dude who is seriouly underrated!)
Placing the charater of Mike Gambit in the middle of the standard Avengers duet was a stroke of pure genius. Gambit brings a cool, silent-but-deadly ingredient to the mix that makes the series pack a bigger punch as a whole . . . especially in the action department.
The great thing about Gareth Hunt is that he doesn't compete with Patrick Macnee. Rather, he compliments Macnee's sophistication and charm with cool youthful bravado.
Finally, The New Avengers have Joanna Lumley, one actress who is PURE DYNAMITE as the chic, sexy and deadly Purdey. You cannot take your eyes off this lady and together: Steed, Purdey and Gambit make this series the best series in television history!
RUN . . . DO NOT WALK . . . TO PURCHASE THIS VIDEO! HIGHLY, HIGHLY , HIGHLY RECOMMENEDED!!!
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2004 by S. Naimpally
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. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2004
Excellent video of 70's classic, first season, I couldn't be more pleased, and hope they'll release second season in U.S.Published on Nov. 25 2003
I bought this box set because I love the Avengers and because I want everything that's out there pertaining to the Avengers on DVD. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2003 by Ron Wise
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