1967 was a good year for the Avengers: The Definitive Dossier, Files 5 and 6
contains six classic episodes in which Patrick McNee and Diana Rigg get to flirt with stylish decadence as John Steed and Mrs Emma Peel.
As they are at pains to point out at the end of one episode, their adventures often start with the mysterious death of an agent, and their involvement usually means at least one more death along the way--one of them gets tied up and the other has to engage in some perfunctory martial arts to save them. Yet none of this is important--it is the charm that matters, and the fact that the show was so aware of its own clichés is part of that charm. Another factor was the parade of British character actors in minor roles. Here Peter Cushing is a silkily vengeful villain, John Laurie a railway enthusiast and, in a body-switching episode, Freddie Jones and Patricia Haines are Steed and Emma themselves.
The plots involve killer robots, engineered premonition in nightmares and hypnotic regression to childhood; the touches of surreal are part of The Avengers style blended with 60s fashions and loopy plots to create something effectively original and hugely influential.
On the DVD: the DVDs are presented in a standard 4:3 television visual aspect with good mono sound for their date. As with other releases in this series, the special features consist of short biographies, a picture gallery and a "Follow the Hat" feature (modelled on the "White Rabbit" from The Matrix) in which Patrick McNee introduces each episode and interesting facts about cast and designers are flashed onto the screen.--Roz Kaveney
Opening six episodes from the 1967 season (the first to be made in colour) of the cult action series. In 'From Venus with Love', Steed (Patrick MacNee) and Emm Peel (Diana Rigg) investigate the British Venusian Society, whose members are being zapped with a ray gun. 'The Fear Merchants' sees the duo called in when rival industrialists attempt to get rid of the opposition by exposing them to their greatest fears. In 'Escape in Time', Steed and Emma examine a time machine which is apparently transporting known criminals into the past. 'The See-Through Man' sees the Avengers attempting to expose an invisible enemy agent, while in 'The Bird Who Knew Too Much', a parrot is used to smuggle top secret information about a secret missile. Finally, 'The Winged Avenger' sees a deranged cartoonist embarking on a killing spree when he adopts the identity of his own comic strip hero.