Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Avengers

The Avengers, the British spy series, is kind of a weird one. The avenging started with Sydney Newman before Doctor Who, and like early Doctor Who most of the shows have been lost. The actual avenger was Ian Hendry as David Keel, and John Steed was the slightly sinister government agent who recruited him. After Hendry left, Honor Blackman came in as Cathy Gale and the show started to gain its familiar outline, although it was a pretty dark version of it. Future Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel, and then a jump to colour, and we got the era future versions like the comics and the movie would hark back to - bowler and umbrella, catsuit and kicks. She’s the hitter and he’s the charmer, not something we see often even today. They acquire a specific boss, a man called Mother, and fight the robotic Cybernauts. A final run with Linda Thorson as Tara King, more of a “companion” who asks questions and gets in trouble. The series started with murderous drug smugglers and ended with an accidental trip to the Moon.

Then there was a pause of a few years before The New Avengers, with Steed as spymaster to a new action man (Gareth Hunt) and woman (Joanna Lumley), an episode of which is the first TV show I remember the plot of from my childhood. It’s the one with Peter Cushing being forced to revive a cryogenically-frozen Hitler in Eilean Donan Castle. You can see why I might remember something like that.

The first few years could inspire a classic noirish spy game (Gale resents the job) while the more famous Peel and onwards style has already inspired games like The Agency.

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