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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Avengers
The Complete Series 5


Starring: Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg
Optimum Home Entertainment
RRP: £59.99
Certificate: PG
Available 25 October 2010

The Avengers: The Complete Series 5, from Optimum, is the new box set consisting of seven discs which contain not only the episodes, but also a rather generous number of extras, given the age of the show. One of the first things that you will notice about the show is just how great this looks, better than many modern shows. The picture is pin sharp which helps the bright psychedelic colour palette to really shine through, whoever did the digital restoration deserve praise for restoring the 35 mm prints.

By the time that The Avengers reached its fifth season its central characters of John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) had become the epitome of sixties cool, its visual flair and style made it stand apart from its nearest rival. The season saw the usual espionage themes continue to be subverted and mixed effectively with other genres, including science fiction.

Season five was where The Avengers started to film in colour bringing its vibrant take on the world into every living room. This was an excellent season and shows the show at the height of its popularity and power, this is reflected in the calibre of guest stars which they were able to command, from well known television stars, to stars of cinema, including Jon Pertwee, Roy Kinnear, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, but honestly there are too many to list here.

There are a number of full length commentaries including script writer / producer Brian Clemens on Murdersville, guest star Peter Wyngarde on Epic, script writer Richard Harris on The Winged Avenger and Diana Rigg’s stunt double Cyd Child on Return of The Cybernauts.

Disc one holds the film trims for ‘Escape in Time’ (2 min, 55 sec) and ‘The Fear Merchants’ (58 sec) as well as the Filmed episode intro by Brian Clemens to The Bird Who Knew Too Much (2 min, 19 sec) and a German TV interview with Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg (9 min, 09 sec). Part two of the extras has the 1960’s German Titles (4 min, 19 sec) Granada + Points which have an intro from Macnee and information about some of the guest actors and production requirements, like how much Champagne the show went through. Disc one finishes with an image gallery and DVD Rom PDF files, which consists of material from the TV Times as well as the dialogue scripts for the shows on disc one. The last three extras appear on all of the seven discs for each of the episodes.

Disc two carries on with another intro, by Clemens, to The Living Dead (2 min, 07 sec), trims from from From Venus with Love (1 min, 55 sec), and The See through Man (2 min, 17 sec). Disc three has a Clemens intro for The Correct Way to Kill (2 min, 09 sec) and Epic (2 min, 41 sec). Disc four see Clemen’s introducing The Superlative Seven (2 min, 04 sec), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Station (3 min, 48 sec) and The Joker (3 min, 12 sec).

The cornucopia of extras continue on disc five with ATV newsreel footage, wherein Diana Rigg receives a TV award (B&W. 2 min, 37 sec), there is an episode reconstruction for One for The Mortuary (7 min, 51 sec) and Death on the Slipway (6 min, 59 sec), both of which are lost season one stories. Apart for the usual stuff the disc finishes with a trailer for the show (45 sec). The penultimate extras kick off with a couple of episode reconstructions for Tunnel of Fear (6 min, 44 sec) and Dragonsfield (9 min, 29 sec). The ultimate disc holds the last of the Clemens intro’s for Murderville (2 min), as well as a documentary The Avengers - A retrospective (1 hr, 05 sec), which is, for the most part sequences from the show, with some narration.

Fans of the show are going to feel well blessed with this comprehensive package, for once a collector’s edition really feels like the real deal.


Charles Packer

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