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Avengers '65 - Set 1, Vols. 1 & 2

63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A toast to A&E for releasing this two-volume set of vintage episodes from the fourth season of The Avengers. The Avengers debuted in Great Britain in 1961 (predating the James Bond films), but it was not until the late 1960s that it found a welcome home in the United States. Unlike other baby-boomer-era series, The Avengers was not widely syndicated or officially released on home video. This may be one reason why these rarely seen episodes seem as cool as when they first aired. Another reason, of course, is Diana Rigg in her signature role as the ravishing Emma Peel, partner to Patrick Macnee's urbane, umbrella-toting spy John Steed who is every bit his equal in dispatching villains or engaging in provocative banter. What makes this collection of particular interest is that these episodes introduced Mrs. Peel. Steed and Mrs. Peel were the Mulder and Scully of their time; they investigated extraordinary goings-on in the most ordinary locales, such as a seaside town populated by sinister imposters, in "The Town of No Return" or a department store that has been rigged with a nuclear bomb, in "Death at Bargain Prices." Also included is "The Cybernauts," which was the first Avengers episode to be broadcast in America. It is representative of the series' best, with its automated assassins and a colorful madman who plots to install an electronic dictatorship. Other episodes are the haunting "Castle De'ath," "The Gravediggers," and "The Master Minds." All are in glorious black and white and highly recommended. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Vol. 1 Episodes: The Town of No Return, The Gravediggers, The Cybernauts
  • Vol. 2 Episodes: Death at Bargain Prices, Castle De'ath, The Master Minds
  • BONUS: Gallery of Production Stills Included

Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson, Ian Hendry
  • Writers: Sydney Newman
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 1999
  • Run Time: 340 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JMQJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,786 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Avengers '65 - Set 1, Vols. 1 & 2" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2003
Format: DVD
These DVD's from A&E represent the best known and certainly the most popular era of the long running British TV fantasy-adventure series "The Avengers." Made between 1965 and 1966, all 26 episodes of the fourth season of the show are available here on eight discs in four sets, or two at a time.
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.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2003
Format: DVD
Following the huge success of the first filmed series of The Avengers, starring Patrick MacNee as debonair British agent John Steed and his cool, sophisticated partner Mrs. Emma Peel, the producers opted to make the next batch of 26 episodes in color, to be broadcast in 1967. In order to accomplish this, foreign backing was necessary, and the American networks were approached. The US had broadcast the black and white season four as a mid-season replacement, and were interested in moving forward with a color season in prime time, however they only provided enough backing for 16 episodes initially. Another challenge was that Diana Rigg was not particularly keen to film another season of the show, and demanded a huge salary increase in order to secure her participation. She got the money, but it was made clear it would be her second and last season with the show.
Apart from the use of color film, there were other subtle changes to the show for this fifth season. Both Steed and Emma were given new apartments and Mrs. Peel a much more stylized wardrobe. The device of ending each story with the two leads driving off in a variety of vehicles was abandoned and instead a tag scene was used to introduce each story, where Steed informed his partner that they were needed in a variety of humorous ways. Each story title was also given a two-line subtitle. After completion of the first batch of 16, the American backers did provide finance for a further 16 but asked for both the subtitles and tag scenes to be dropped, and also requested that Mrs. Peel's wardrobe became more recognizably en vogue.
After only 8 episodes were completed, producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell left the show after a disagreement and the new producers opted not to continue with Mrs.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Deborah MacGillivray HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 11, 2004
Format: DVD
First set of 1967. This saw the Avengers to go colour and more episodes. These are some of the best Avengers, where the pairing of Mackee and Rigg well settled into their roles, with great scripts, really playful story lines.

1) "The See-Through Man" - "Steed Makes a Bomb - and Emma is put to sleep" has Emma and John fighting an enemy agent, ala invisible man, but our pair knows seeing is not always believing

2) "The Bird Who Knew Too Much" - "Steed Fancies Pigeons - And Emma gets the bird" has a villain using carrier pigeons to further his evil plans and the object isn't birdseed!

3) "The Winged Avenger" - "Steed goes bird watching - and Emma does a comic strip". This episode one of my favs, has a comic strip avenger come to life to seek vengeance. Jack MacGowan makes a guest role that is great fun.

4) "From Venus With Love" "Steed is shot full of hole - and Emma sees Stars" The British Venusian Society is brewing a conspiracy that Steed and Emma must foil

5) "The Fear Merchants" - "Steed puts out a light - Emma takes a fright" Businessmen go on a retreat to relax, instead come back to die, actually being frightened to death by their phobias. It's up to Steed and Emma to find out who is behind this deadline plot

6) "Escape in Time" - "Steed Visits a barber - and Emma has a close shave" One of the best episodes has criminals escaping the law by going back in time. The costumer has Emma meeting Matthew Tyson who puts Emma into stocks.

Classic episodes with the stories, acting and tongue-through-cheek antics at their best. Directing turns done by Roy Baker, Gordon Flemying and Robert Asher.
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