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on 4 November 2007
Well as Brian Clemens pointed out in the commentary - Leyland cars didn't know how to capitalise on the series potential. And sadly to say, Studio Canal has done much the same with this DVD release. Anyone who previously brought The Contender box set, then don't bother shelling out again for this! It contains the same old speckly ropey prints. Or worse still, the video tape transfers which look like you're viewing the show through a fuzzy plate glass window!
Come on - in this HD age, such a classic series should've been digitally remastered with pristine prints and dolby stereo long ago by now. And that includes the previous Avengers series too. Even colourising the first b/w Diana Rigg series I say...
So if Studio Canal's not up to the job, then why not just sell the rights to the likes of Network video instead? A 'with it' Company who really know how to treat the fans of such classic shows! Otherwise Studio Canal might very well just go the way of Leyland cars and the dodo. Simply because they also failed to recognise the full promotional and commercial potential of The Avengers canon. So 5 stars for the great series, but only 1 Star I'm afraid for yet another shoddy release - with only the included commentary to commend it as being anything new and worthwhile!
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Is it just me or has modern television gone down the toilet? Because I can see no modern programme possessing an ounce of the entertainment quality like programs like The New Avengers did. I'll give all the reasons for my believing this notion to the full:

Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s the shows were made with panache. There was brilliant acting abounding, and the brilliantly diverting New Avengers is no exception. Its so brilliant and charming and humorous but also boasts moments of totally raw seriousness and depth of character.

Like most everyone else with regards to this series I have to say Patrick Macnee and Gareth Hunt are superb in their roles, Patrick effortlessly slides back into his best role as John Steed, and Gareth has to be applauded for his great energy and frequent wit. But Joanna Lumley is absolutely fabulous (no pun intended) as Purdey. I always have loved any kind of film or programme which displays women who can look after themselves. She's the scene stealer from the word go. I remember always thinking she was a lovely, talented girl, and re=watching the programme now after so many years I'm not changed in any respect to her. Just watch her in "The Last of The Cybernauts...?" and "Sleeper" and "Angels of Death" and you'll see what I mean. But she displays her brilliant depth of feeling in "Obsession", and I have to admit I almost cried myself on viewing those tears in that ladies eyes...She was so first class!!!

In terms of Story, the afore mentioned four are excellent examples of the series, and "The Midas Touch" would have to be up there too. There's so much action, so much verve, so much quality that like I said is missing badly from modern television. And some of the car chases displayed in this series made even most Bond Films look tame by comparison. There are even some touches on sci fi along the way, what with brain drains and massive rampaging sewer rats. And unlike the film The Birds the "Cat Among The Pigeons" episode gets going and stays going.

Also love the lack of bad language, which lowers many a programme's tone considerably. I may be in a minority but decent English is so good to hear without a bucket of crudity thrown in.

This series is quality entertainment. I haven't actually seen all that much of the Avengers, but if this is not as good like any people say then The Avengers must be tremendously good, because the New Avengers to me is one of my favourite programmes ever. I lament the decline of TV since the early nineties...I really do. But at least we have brilliant shows like this to watch and put on a DVD player as oft as one would wish...thank the Lord for good things!
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on 21 October 2014
I had such hopes for this. I used to love it as a kid when it was repeated in the 80s and was sure I'd still love it after seeing one episode on TV recently. But it seems that particular episode was one of the few half-decent episodes made.

The problem can be broken down into 5 categores: plot, writing, acting, dialogue, and production values. They all let the episodes down in different ways. Firstly, many of the episodes are simply boring. I find myself willing some episodes to come to an end. The writing is absolutely dire, with no subtlety at all. Characters are completely unable to read emotions, cue endless scenes until something gets cleared up. And there are more plotholes than you can shake a stick at. Then there's the sexism. Seen through today's eyes it's unbelievable. Any excuse for Lumley to disrobe or show off her legs. And obviously, it being the Avengers you have to suspend belief (quite a lot), but one episode features Lumley defeating the baddie through... ballet. While he tries to tap dance his escape! Some of the dialogue that Purdey and Gambit have to spout is cringeworthy to say the least, but it seems people in 1976 were willing to look past it. The acting - perhaps because of the dialogue - is wooden from all concerned. Nobody has any reason to be proud when it comes to this show.

But really it's the production values that really scupper this show. Each episode apparently cost £120,000, which in those days I suppose was an awful lot ofmoney, but looking at it now, I really have to wonder where it went. Sets so obviously look like sets - everything from the walls, the furniture, the set decoration and the props, they all scream fake (even the graffiti is obviously fake). When not on a set, too many of the episodes are set in abandoned or derelict buildings. In one episode, an MP actually lives in an abandoned fairground. They run around endless forests, car chases take place on the same streets over and over again, and then there are the filters on the cameras to deceive us until thinking that something shot during the day it meant to be night. They don't deceive us, it's very obvious it was shot during the day.

Someone mentioned the sound and picture quality as being excellent. That's far from the truth. The picture quality is terrible. All of the episodes are grainy, and many of the episodes have bars running up the left hand side of the screen - sometimes orange, sometimes blue (see attached pictures 2 & 3). On a little laptop screen it could be forgivable, but on a proper sized TV it's very distracting. The image quality of the opening scene of the episode Hostage (series 2, episode 1) is so horrible I actually thought I was watching one of the extras (there are none) of long lost footage restored for our enjoyment. No such luck. And then there's the stock footage. In the episode called Obsession, they use footage of the RAF, however, it's obviously taken from an RAF promotional film as you can still see the title card on it (picture 1). If you're someone who easily spots continuity errors you'll have a field day with this show. The audio isn't great either. There's one episode (Three Handed Game) where the beginning 10 or 20 minutes is full of the audio running at varying speeds. I initially thought it was part of the plot, but it turned out just to be poor quality.

In the first few episodes of the second series, Lumley is hardly used at all. It's like she really was just there to look pretty for the lads. Meanwhile, Gambit often comes across as a sleaze. And as for Steed, there's one episode where someone is trying to kill him because, at school, Steed had been the best at absolutely everything. Literally everything.

I couldn't wait for this to arrive and stick it in my DVD player, but the whole thing has turned out to be one big disappointment. The only saving grace is all the cameos from actors who are recognisable today ("Oh, it's him off Bergerac!", "Is that The Professionals?!")

So, if you do intend to buy this, be warned, it won't be as good as you think.
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on 23 April 2013
This is very bad...very bad indeed, it is badly written and poorly acted.

Steeds Hair is suspiciously black for a man of his age, Gambit is a fat middle aged man, Purdy is a prancing numpty. Not a believeable bunch of criminal catchers by any stretch of the imagination.

The yellow TR7 used by Purdy has a green tartan interior.....horrible, just like the series.

It gets worse when the last few episodes are filmed in Canada and the show takes on a Benny Hill type comedy slant.

As I had paid for this i forced myself to watch it, but gave up before the last episode, I couldnt take anymore.

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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 November 2008
During the shooting of the last season of The New Avengers, Patrick McNee ran into Peter O'Toole, who asked him what he was doing. "I'm doing The New Avengers" "Patrick, you're always doing The Avengers." Each episode beginning with a pre-title cliffhanger and a strident martial variation of his original theme music by uncredited co-producer Laurie Johnson, the show itself is nowhere near as bad as its reputation - the trouble is, it's nowhere near as good as the original series, even in its Tara King days. What's missing most of all is not just the straight-faced whimsy and the innocent kinkiness but the playful banter between Steed and his female partner, be it Cathy Gale, Tara King or Emma Peel. Indeed, rather than a double act, he cuts a more paternal (or should that be Maternal?) figure with two young pretenders handling the fighting and the banter in the form of Joanna Lumley's Purdey and Gareth Hunt's Gambit, (probably British television's first working class Jewish action hero).

The plots are generally a little more grounded in the first season, which translates as more ordinary, with the unnamed foreign power now openly Russia this time round and the violence somewhat more serious - fewer blasé reactions to exotically murdered corpses this time round - even if the fight choreography was a lot less impressive. Steed even found himself picking up a gun in a couple of episodes in the second season despite McNee's well-known intense aversion to them. Nor is the series especially nostalgic: it may have launched with a plot to revive Hitler from cryogenic suspended animation in a Scottish castle run by monks, but many of the plots revolve around schemes hatched at the height of the Cold War that the classic episodes treated so frivolously finally coming home to roost or around characters from the past obsessing over old grievances presumably incurred around the time of the show's glory days coming back to haunt the main characters. Rather than fending off the threat of reality or consequences with witty banter, Steed occasionally cuts a more serious, sombre figure, not quite taking everything cheerfully in his stride and not necessarily meaning it when he does. Despite the distinctive dress sense and the steel bowler, there's the distinct feeling that the producers have decided it was high time he had finally grown up, even if only a little.

As if to underline the more serious approach, the show's original leading man Ian Hendry turns up in as a guest star in one episode in a quite different role, and a rather unfortunately autobiographical one at that as a down-and-out alcoholic former spy trying to get back into the game and failing miserably. Sadly, with all but one of the first season's episodes lost, this now stands as 50% of Hendry's surviving legacy in the series his one-time sidekick inherited and made his own.

Taken as an Avengers series, the first season isn't flattered by the comparison, though as a 70s action thriller series it's more than passable fare. Things went wrong with the visibly underfunded second season. By then the show seemed to be reverting to its roots in the worst way, becoming a rather tired, run of the mill spy series at times. With producers Albert Fennell and Brian Clemens busily developing what would become The Professionals, the series almost turns into a blueprint for that, with Steed assuming the Gordon Jackson role and Purdey and Gambit the Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins roles (indeed, Collins and Shaw actually co-star in one episode, Obsession). Gambit had given up his attempts to get Purdey into bed and resigned himself to being more comic relief than action man. The writing is often lazy, relying on huge suspension of disbelief to overlook gaping plot holes like security men not bothering to check bell towers when looking for an assassin or McNee and co taking a car with a vital palm print by the most roundabout route to a police station to give the bad guys ample opportunities to destroy it.

It's also the one where the co-producers started demanding their pound of flesh, with three episodes being shot in France (though the French co-producers only came up with the money for two) and the last four being shot on the cheap in Canada under the title The New Avengers in Canada. The most reviled of the series, these at least did show a return to the odd moment of surrealism, with Complex offering a fully-automated building that doubles as an assassin (an idea it sadly makes little of and which Philip Kerr lifted for his novel Gridiron) and Forward Base delighting in a corner of Lake Ontario that dries up and floods in the blink of an eye.

Still, even that season had its moments - Dead Men Are Dangerous sees Steed targeted by Clive Revill's terminally ill old school friend who always came second to you-know-who in every sporting and spying endeavour, and it deserves points for cheek for using a bit of stock footage from The Winged Avenger and A Touch of Venus to add Emma Peel to the beginning of another episode, K is For Kill.

As per most Avengers DVDs, this Optimum reissue of both series is almost extras-free - just an audio commentary with Brian Clemens and Gareth Hunt on two episodes. While not quite as bad as some reports, the transfers aren't particularly good: it's obvious that the old video release masters have been used with no effort at restoration, with wildly varying results that veer from acceptable (as long as your TV screen isn't too big) to not that good. Probably one for the completists.
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on 20 June 2010
The trouble that The New Avengers has is that it is sometimes compared rather poorly to its' predecessor. I'm a huge fan of both series, and what you have to get your mind around is that this is different. This is the seventies, there's a whole new style and edge to the world, and the show reflects this while still trying to keep some of the whimsy that made the Avengers such a success. Bottom line, this has Patrick Macnee as John Steed, so this must be the Avengers.

The remastered quality of both DVDs are excellent, and we get to see just what a major series this must have been at the time, it cetainly holds up a lot better than a lot of the old ITC shows. It takes Patrick a little time to find his feet in this as, due to the advent of Gareth Hunt as Mike Gambit, he has a little less leg work to do in the first series, but the charm and grace of an older Steed is there to see, and particularly in the second series, we get to see him just a little world weary at times. One he's there, Patrick still makes him the cunning old fox that he always was.

It's nice to hear the voice of the late Gareth Hunt speaking about his role and time on the show in the extras (of which I wish there were more) as he has often been downplayed. Mike Gambit was the typical seventies man of action, and the in the earlier episodes was often dressed to come over as a sort of rougher edged working class Steed. The main action of the first series was really his, although it has to be said that with Steed's increased role, his character suffers a lot in later episodes.

Joanna Lumley looks and performs beautifully. She actually manages to give the character more than is written for (really the script is more Tara Kind, whereas she is definitely Emma Peel in attitude). At times she is clearly loving what she is doing, and the chemistry between her and the two male leads means that show has a definite twinkle.

As for the episodes, frankly the series has two or three total duffers; Gnaws, Emily and The Gladiators, but a lot of the scripts are corkers; Eagle's Nest, Tale of The Big Why, Obsession, Angels of Death, Three Handed Game, To Cath A Rat, Cat Amongst The Pigeons and Forward Base all spring to mind. The rest are all visiaully striking at the very least (Target! and Sleeper being prime examples) and in one we have a definite contender for a top ten episode in the whole Avengers pantheon in Dead Men Are Dangerous.

Definitely worth a trip!
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on 2 July 2016
I grew up with The Avengers of Steed/Emma Peel/Tara King and recall how excited I was when it was announced that The New Avengers were coming to our TV screens. I remember that overall I was underwhelmed with what eventually was screened but not to the extent that I wasn't content to watch subsequent repeat showings. You can imagine my disappointment then when I say that I struggled to watch all of this collection. Nothing has been done to clean up the picture quality but that would have amounted to polishing a turd anyway in my opinion. If anything a pin sharp picture would only have made watching paradoxically more difficult bearing in mind how poor the vast majority of these programmes are. At least one can wallow in authentic ropey 70's picture quality. As for extras, there is a commentary on a couple of episodes but we can surely consider ourselves fortunate that nothing remotely watchable could be held in the archives. More likely any outtakes or undercooked nonsense will have been buried six feet deep with a stake driven through them. I can't believe anyone could harbour a desire to see unreleased junk from this whole sorry production. Series 1 has some fairly good episodes with faint echoes of the wit, humour and surreality of its venerable predecessor. It is certain that all the episodes I can remember from the time of the original broadcasts are from Series 1. Series 2 is very poor indeed. I'm not talking "so bad it's good" either - It's just awful, wretched and may well have you retching. I can only imagine I managed to erase this series from my TV memory because the sheer poverty of what is served up here took me entirely by surprise. Other reviewers have mentioned the budget problems that are clearly responsible for the dreadful mess that made it to screen. Truly there are episodes in Series 2 that had my finger hovering over the stop button throughout, only a masochistic fascination with the desperate proceedings unfolding before me somehow enabled me to watch to the (very) bitter end. Sadly there are some very fine actors lending their considerable talents to no good end in Series 2. I suspect that their pain was greater than mine but at least they got paid for their efforts so they're one up on the unfortunate viewer. In conclusion: If you are an Avengers completist then buy for the passable episodes of Series 1 while ignoring the fact that the spirit and verve of the original series is almost entirely absent. You enter the chamber of horrors that is Series 2 at your own risk. Do not on any account pay full whack - you will regret it.
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on 29 September 2017
You could say I have a certain emotional attachment to this series, as it marked an important chapter in my life when it debuted on ITV back in '76... I'd recently left school, was getting down to some serious weekend binge drinking, but sobered up enough in the week to catch this. Actually, this series was ultra-cool back in the day. Anyone expecting some hard-hitting, gritty cop/espionage show, forget it. This is played out with it's tongue stuck firmly in it's cheek - a generous dollop of cheesy 70s entertainment - let's not get too serious now!

Representing some sort of stepping stone between the earlier quirky storylines and characters of the original series and the later "The Professionals" the series doesn't really manage to be either, though not all that bad for all that. The ageing, rotund Steed was obviously getting a little too long in the tooth to be playing the dashing, all-action hero, so let's bolster the crimefighting team with the introduction of the young(er) character Mike Gambit - not the rippling 6-pack formidable superhero of more modern times, but it was a different world back then of course.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the cool, high-kicking Purdey.... The one thing we had with the Tara King character 8 years earlier was a measure of plausibility - watching Linda Thorson's powerful amazonian prowess while dispatching some burly bloke had some credibility, but the sight of svelte Joanna Lumley doing likewise was stretching it a wee bit! Not up to the original series, but still plenty of fun to be had... The great Peter Cushing putting in a guest appearance in the opening episode... The ghastly modern decor in Gambit's apartment... A fleeting peek at Purdey's stocking tops. Some good episodes: "Faces"...implausible but still fun. "Dead Men are Dangerous"..."Last of the Cybernauts"... "Sleeper"... "Target"..five of the best. At the other end of the scale, there's the silly "Trap" (Fu Manchu swings his chopper).
The Canadian episodes are largely forgettable, though I do quite like "Complex" with Purdey fighting for survival in a large 'killer' building. Picture and sound quality are not great but acceptable I suppose, so still waiting for a good quality release.
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on 23 March 2011
As a kid I always looked forward to my fix of The New Avengers on a Friday evening. I loved the cars, Purdy's Mg and the two Jags used by Steed and Gambit. It just seemed so stylish. I loved the speeded up running sequences, watching Gareth Hunts body double despatching the bad guys with aplomb. There is much to enjoy in this box set. Face spotting all the british actors past and present the lush countryside locations and some utterly preposterous acting and accents from the guest stars. Watching this box set was a great trip down memory lane for me, some episodes I recalled better than others. In one we see Joana Lumley tackling an army assault course, I think out of the three stars she was the only one who could actually run. I was a bit disappointed at the absence of extras in the set. However thats a very minor quible. In terms of value for money this an excellent buy.
Avengers purists may not like these episodes as much as the originals but I for one loved them. So if you take your nostalgia seriously then you cant miss out on this box set. A great reminder of what fun TV used to be.
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on 23 March 2016
After The Avenger-Complete Collection, this set restored my confidence in vintage commercial TV. Unlike the original, it is well directed and acted, and great fun. The young Joanna Lumley is simply divine as Perdey. Gareth Hunt plays Gambit without outshining his co-stars. Patrick Macnee is....well.....he IS John Steed. The last few episodes filmed in Canada let the series down but are not bad enough to spoil the overall enjoyment.
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