- Actors: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson, Ian Hendry
- Writers: Sydney Newman
- Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: A&E Home Video
- Release Date: Oct. 30 2001
- Run Time: 312 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00005O7NC
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,511 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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The Avengers '68: Set 2
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From the Back Cover
Comprised secrets, strange disappearances and a parade of dead doctors are among the mysteries secret agent extraordinaire John Steed (Patrick Macnee) must solve in the final season of The Avengers. Providing able assistance is his new partner, the young and beautiful Tara King (Linda Thorson), fresh from her top-secret training with the Ministry. To add a little spice to the proceedings, she promptly falls madly in love with her debonair mentor. The sexy style, fantastic action and droll wit that made The Avengers an international phenomenon sparkle in this collection of six digitally restored and remastered episodes that originally aired in 1968-69.The six episodes include:
All Done with Mirrors
Legacy of Death
Look (stop me if you've heard this one)... but There Were These Two Fellers
Have Guns... Will Haggle
They Keep Killing Steed
Top customer reviews
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Our family would watch this over and over again and one more precious collection in our file. I recommend this classic show to all my friends.
There are many of course who do not rate these last adventures featuring the debonair John Steed as Britain's top government agent as highly as what had gone before, and it's easy to see why. Steed's pairing originally with Mrs Gale (Honor Blackman) and later Mrs Peel (Diana Rigg) had been an excellent match for his skills. With Mrs Peel leaving the show, the producers, Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell followed suit and John Bryce was brought back to the programme, following his stint producing the early Mrs Gale episodes.
The first thing Bryce did was to cast his girlfriend, twenty one year old Canadian Linda Thorson as Steed's new assistant, Miss Tara King. In order to complete the delivery of episodes to the US market, production was fairly rushed, and what came out of it was deemed substandard. Bryce was sacked and Fennell and Clemens brought back to rescue the production. Clemens was particularly unhappy about Linda Thorson's role, but it was too late in the day to do anything about it. They set about filming the initial block of 8 episodes (extended to 9), rehashing two of the abandoned Bryce episodes, and bringing back Mrs Peel for the one-off story "The forget me knot" to introduce the new character of Tara (although this "debut" was actually filmed third). Once these episodes were ready, they set about producing the final batch of 24.
There is a very significant shift in the character of Tara King between these two production blocks as Thorson began to gain confidence in the part. Also added as a regular into the later stories is Steed & Tara's boss, "Mother," played by Patrick Newell. Thorson's inexperience and the naivety of the character are often cited as the reason the show was cancelled after these episodes were transmitted. Personally, I think the inclusion of the very annoying "Mother" to be a far more valid reason. But it's all a matter of taste.
The stories are included on the discs in the order they were first transmitted in the UK. I would strongly recommend viewing them in PRODUCTION ORDER (easy to track on any Avengers website). There are several reasons for this. It's easier to warm to Miss King as you follow her character development. It also makes more sense to understand her constant hair changes and costume. She started as a blonde, moved to a be-wigged brunette, and only in the latter 24 episodes did we see Thorson's own hair. We can also see how the actress started in "slimmed down mode" (on the orders of the TV station) but regained her lost weight as the series moved along. The character also started out as a complete "spy" trainee, but by the second production block, had become one of the most experienced agents in Mother's department. I also enjoyed seeing the rehashed sets from episode to episode too. All these nuances are lost by following the stories strictly in disc order, and indeed the characterisation of the leads is actually confusing if you simply watch the shows in disc order.
As for the discs themselves, sadly A&E have once again neglected to include any extras at all. All there is are a few still photos, although it has to be said that the menus are at least very well done. The picture quality is certainly very sharp, but there are definitely flaws due to sparkle and dirt. Sadly, "You'll catch your death" has been transferred incorrectly, and the picture strobes and jumps throughout. Clearly no-one at A&E was paying much attention to the remastering process.
Clemens believes this batch of episodes to be the best of the entire run of The Avengers. He has stated that everything came together right in terms of production and scripts. I can't say I agree entirely. They are certainly as enjoyable as anything else, but the total fantasy nature of the stories and the weakness of Tara and Mother characters combine to take the edge away when compared to the earlier Peel episodes. Regardless, it's all camp and wacky fun and I still highly recommend this collection to any fan of the series as there is plenty here to enjoy.
When Honor Blackman (Mrs. Cathy Gale) left the series after season 3 to take up the lead role in the Bond movie "Goldfinger," the producers had already made the decision to start filming the series, moving it out of the TV studio and giving it a much glossier and dynamic feel. John Steed (Patrick MacNee), the debonair British government agent stayed on and his new partner was devised by the production team to be another tough, all-action girl with "Man Appeal." M-Appeal (geddit?) Elizabeth Shepherd was cast as Mrs. Emma Peel and two episodes were filmed before it was mutually agreed that she didn't meet the expectations of the production team. A quick replacement was sought and in stepped Diana Rigg. A TV legend was born.
The relationship between Steed and Mrs. Gale had always been haughty to say the least. With the introduction of the widowed (or seemingly) Mrs. Peel, the relationship between the two leads became much closer with a great deal of sexual tension. Mrs. Peel was as intelligent, quick thinking and emasculated as her predecessor, and initially at least shared her penchant for leather outfits, but she was also certainly softer and more readily prepared to act as Steed's partner in their adventures.
The stories were certainly becoming much more fantasy bound, and the use of diabolical masterminds and organizations with bizarre acronyms became the norm for the stories from this series on. The fantasy and sci-fi elements of the show were highlighted more than before and the fashions and design of the show took on a much more stylish and indeed 'stylized' look. The success of these elements was immediate, and huge ratings in the UK followed, plus overseas transmissions of the show followed for the first time. Such was their success indeed that another 26 episodes were soon commissioned, this time to be made in color.
The stories have supposedly been digitally re-mastered for these DVD releases, and indeed the picture quality is pretty impressive, but there is still sparkle and dirt on the prints that may detract from the quality for some viewers. The 26 episodes are presented in the same order of their original UK transmission. Unfortunately, as with all the A&E Avengers releases, there are no extras at all. Not even production notes. However, there are menus included, which are nicely done.
This for me is the very best season of the show, with great style and wit accompanying the excellent scripts, direction and production values. I'd certainly recommend this release to anyone.
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