Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bookmonkey's Top Five Episodes of The Avengers

So a few months back my friend Ron lent me the DVD boxed set, The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Mega-set, which contained 54 episodes of the classic '60s series, including three lost episodes of the Ian Keel years (season one) and an Emma Peel cameo episode of The New Avengers (I'm pretty sure they just used archival footage and another actress to do the voice). Anyway, after finishing this thoughouly fun show (and I recommend the entire series to anyone who is interested, I thought I would give my top five personal favourite episodes.

For a brief taste of what to expect from The Avengers, I recommend you head to YouTube and check out The Case of the Missing Corpse Basically this three minute short was created to advertise the fact that the show would now be in colour, and in those three minutes it explains the plot of pretty much any episode of the series.

5. The Man Eater of Surrey Green - Ages before Mulder and Scully took years to stop an alien invasion plot in The X-Files, Steed and Peel faced down a mind controlling plant from outer space with plans of world domination in one episode. This episode features monsters from outer space, a terrifying conspiracy and a race against the extinction of mankind.

4. The Gravediggers - This episode has everything I’ve grown to love about The Avengers, eccentric millionaires, the promise of an invading army and one of the best climaxes I’ve ever seen. To save Mrs. Peel, who has been tied to a train track, Steed must fight off three brutes and stop the train, which, by the way is one of those mini trains for little kids you find at amusement parks.

3. Too Many Christmas Trees - Possibly the creepiest Christmas themed episode of anything I’ve ever seen, it has a happy shout out to Steed’s previous partner, Cathy Gale, a very Dickensian Christmas party and the creepiest Santa I’ve seen since The Nightmare Before Christmas.

2. The House that Jack Built - An Emma Peel-focused episode, this one involves her inheriting a house from an aunt and finding out that the house is a lot deadlier than she thinks. This episode finally gave some back story to the character and had a really interesting concept.

1. The Girl From Auntie - My hands-down, favourite episode of the series, this John Steed-focused episode has an Emma Peel impostor, and rather than simply arresting her or what have you, Steed simply partners up with this girl and gets her help to find the real Mrs. Peel. The entire episode was hilarious, involving Russian agents, a knitting circle and an auction house that can get you anything you desire.

I'm really glad I got the opportunity to check out this series as I was vaguely familiar with it before hand, but can now say I've seen a lot of really great '60s television, as well as an introduction to a sub-genre of Science Fiction I had never heard of before; Spy-Fi, wherein espionage stories are told which involve science-fiction technology or concepts.

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