The New Avengers

ITV (ended 1977)





The New Avengers Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
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  • Most people remember the original Avengers from the 60s as one of the most unique, and arguably best, TV shows ever made. Well, almost 10 years later people were still longing for the Avengers so the producers bought it back, but many wish they hadn't.

    The New Avengers attempted to resurrect some of the old spark that made the original Avengers so great, but the changes they made ultimately killed any chance the New Avengers had to succeed.

    On the positive side, Brian Clemens returned and wrote some solid, if flawed, episodes to start off the series. In fact, the pilot is arguably the best of the series. The off beat stories, such as reviving a Hitler in suspended animation, were reminiscent of the original Avengers, and of course Steed was back. The episodes also featured some of the old Avengers' humor.

    On the downside were many. For one thing, Steed's character was deemed too old to be fraternizing with young women, and they wanted "romance" so they added a new male character who was essentially a Giglo. He lacked the charm of Steed and seemed to have a distinctly American feel despite being English. This was the biggest problem with the show. It was far too influenced by American shows from the 70s and too little influenced by its source roots. For example, car chases (rare in the old series) were plentiful in the New Avengers except that the directors were not very good at it. It was literally like watching 5 minutes of cars turning corners and knocking over a fruit cart every now and again. Another example was the influence of the studios which wanted the New Avengers to film on location in Paris and Toronto. All of the sudden the Avengers were world travellers helping out foreign countries! Another problem was Steed's sudden attraction to guns. In the original series Emma and Steed almost never carried guns. In the New Avengers guns are common place and Steed even shoots several people! Sadly, the biggest drawback was the rapid decline of quality scripts. The early episodes were not bad despite the aforementioned problems, but many of the last episodes were downright boring. Even when they had a good idea, it backfired. A prime example of that being "K for Kill." The story was great, but by stretching it into a two hour episode, the second part was plodded and padded to the point of boredom. It might have worked great at one hour, but at two it just didn't work.

    In short, fans of the original Avengers may want to try this, but it may leave a bad aftertaste. It is still better than many shows out there, but compared to the original it a pale imitation. Give it a try, but don't expect too much.
  • A brave attempt to recapture the stylish wit and campy stories of the original.

    This was a show that simply could not live up to the standards set by it's predecessor. John Steed (Patrick McNee) is paired not with a beautiful partner, but instead a couple of junior agents. He apparently has been promoted to a supervisorial type of role. If you like the spy genre, this show is not bad. It carries the heavy baggage though, and so missed out on the success. It is not rerun much, if at all, and would be worth a look. It is hard to see Steed without the flair and panache he enjoyed previously, but having said that the storylines were good, the locales were great and the two agents were cute and watchable.
  • A good attempt to revive an old favorite

    This series makes a good effort to bring the 60s concept into the mid-70s. The love interest sensibly moves towards two younger agents, as by this time Steed would be seen to be a dirty old man if he tried to hit on his female agent. The repartee between the three agents works and is in line with the efforts of the earlier series.
    Where the series falls down is the plots are predictable and the pacing is often questionable.
    Case in point: the episode aping "The Birds".
    The banter at the start("I may not be Steed", "You may not be Gambit") seems to be padding, as does the lead up to the 12 noon explosion which is completely predictable. Credit where credit is due though: the Psycho type score when Steed is attacked by the falcon in his Range Rover is clever, as are some of the visuals (the windscreen wipers reminiscent of the knife movements in Psycho).
  • It's not your father's Avengers....

    ...for this show, the character of Mike Gambit doesn't have Steed's charm, so he lets his fists do the talking. He was obviously created to take on the rough 'n tumble stuff Steed was too old for.
    As for Purdey, she's not a patch on Emma Peel, but she's tougher than most spy chicks of the 70s. She tends to get knocked out and tied up a lot, but she keeps a cool head and doesn't get hysterical.
    This show is OK, but it's sadly not as good as it's swinging 60s predecessor; even with an episode featuring Steed's old remote controlled robot nemeses.
    So, save your money for the DVD's featuring one of Steed's prior female partners: Catherine Gale, Emma Peel, or Tara King.