The Avengers ’65, vol. 1

Secret Agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and his sidekick Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) investigate random events affecting national security, and banter wittily as they investigate and kick ass. I’m not sure who the enemy is supposed to be, but they are doing a good job at keeping them at bay. I’ve seen and enjoyed episodes here and there, and finally remembered to add it to my Netflix queue. There are two seasons before this one; this is the first season with Diana Rigg as Emma Peel.

  1. The Town of No Return
  2. Steed and Mrs. Peel are sent to investigate a town where four agents have vanished; they are not particularly welcome; the inn is not ready for customers; their fellow train passenger (the blacksmith’s brother) ends up dead; there are not as many people around as there should be. Strings are pulled to get Mrs. Peel assigned to teach at the local school; however, the school is randomly on holiday, and there are no signs of children anywhere. At one point, Steed beats people up with his bowler. Mrs. Peel is attacked while speaking to someone she thought was trustworthy and ends up tied to a saddle (she was holding her own until more armed men showed up).

  3. The Gravediggers
  4. The early warning system’s radar is blacking out in a particular region; using random leaps of logic, Steed determines that the town where the radar expert is buried is the place to start investigating (more specifically, the railway hospital — he sends Mrs. Peel to be a nurse trainee there). Mrs. Peel shows some knowledge of electronics; Steed looks confusedly at the components they find, while she identifies them. She pulls a gun on the matron, ties her up, and replaces her in the operating room (apparently competently) to see what is going on, but is discovered (the matron gets loose; she is armed; also present are the security guard, the doctor, and a couple of other people) and tied to the railroad tracks (with appropriate music). I did wonder why the bad guys didn’t shoot anyone at the end, but they were trying to avoid notice (why they tied Mrs. Peel to the train tracks so that the crazy train-guy would be blamed instead of killing her somehow in the hospital).

  5. The Cybernauts
  6. This episode had karate-fighting robots; it doesn’t need anything else. It is 60s science fiction: A Japanese firm has invented a replacement for the transistor that will allow smaller circuits and electronic devices; representatives of firms showing interest end up dead via karate blows. There is eventually, a man who believes that computers will rule the world (why do these people never realize that if man is fallible, computers programmed by man will also be fallible?). Lots of buttons and blinking lights and 60s robots, and some interesting Japanese pronunciation at the karate dojo. Once again, Mrs. Peel has some knowledge of a random field (karate/judo), and did not get kidnapped and tied up this time.

This is entertaining fluff, but does require turning the brain off. I’m trying not to analyze the plot too much; on the other hand, nitpicking can be fun (I should not try to write it up while watching it; I now have a list of plotholes from the last episode). I like the overall 60s style and the banter and the competent, kick-ass woman (even if she does need rescuing often) and the general secret agent genre. According to wikipedia, the show did not have much of a budget in the early seasons, and it occasionally shows (some of the effects are cheesy, though being in black and white helps; some of the fight scenes are not convincing at all). My only real complaint is the lack of subtitles or closed-captioning, but I didn’t expect them.

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