The Avengers/Danger Man opinions wanted

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Sam Favate, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    If one were to begin collecting The Avengers, where would you recommend starting? The Emma Peel years are obviously a fan favorite, so which volumes make up those seasons? Which of those are color and which are B&W?

    And what do you think of the Danger Man Season 1 box set released last year? Worthy of sitting alongside The Prisoner on a shelf?

    Many thanks in advance for your opinions. Be seeing you.
     
  2. mark-edk

    mark-edk Stunt Coordinator

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    I would start with Avengers '65, the Emma Peel B&W episodes, generally regarded as the best of the series. Then go on to the color Peels, which are still a lot of fun. I also like the Thorson episodes, though they are more controversial; they are sometimes a bit outrageous but that's part of their appeel. The New Avengers isn't really the same show--more realistic, less stylized; I enjoy it but not nearly as much as the originals. They haven't, to my knowledge, put out the pre-Rigg episodes; these were mostly done live and preserved on film. They don't look very good, and despite Macnee's presence they never seemed like anything very special to me.
     
  3. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    One full season of Honor Blackman Avengers episodes has been released on DVD. It's the first season in which Macnee's partner was Ian Hendry that has been lost to the ages.

    I have bought all of the Diana Rigg episodes (though I am annoyed that the B/W episodes lack the "chessboard" intro that was used for the American audiences) as well as the compilation "Best Of The Original Avengers" which can give the more discriminating viewer two Blackman and two Thorson episodes to sample before deciding whether to proceed with buying the rest. At the moment, with seven episodes costing the same as season sets for other series, I'm no longer inclined to pick up the rest right now.
     
  4. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    I have the "Mega Emma Peel" set of Avengers DVDs and they are quite nice. It was certainly cheaper than buying the individual DVDs. Major complaint: no English subtitles on the discs; I miss those. Nitpick complaint: slimline packaging would have reduced the size of this box considerably. (I realize the box set is simply a repackaging of the individual DVDs).

    I am not too big a fan of the Tara King episodes so I haven't picked up any of those. I've also read that some Avengers fans aren't too happy with those DVDs due to the prints being less than stellar. However I have not personally reviewed them.

    Supposedly A&E is considering releasing the few Ian Hendry shows/partial shows that exist as part of a future set.

    There's a really good Avengers fan site that can be found
    here if you're so inclined. It's an international site, you'll see references to DVDs from Europe mentioned often.

    Steve
     
  5. ScottDombrowski

    ScottDombrowski Second Unit

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    I LOVE Danger Man! I'm a big fan of The Prisoner and I rented a few discs of Secret Agent to see what it was like, and then decided to buy the first season of Danger Man when it was released. I was really surprised to learn that this series pre-dates the first James Bond film! Anyway, the episodes are very fast paced and filmed beautifully. McGoohan's character is pretty much no-nonsense, intense, he rarely uses a gun, and never gets involved with women. It's interesting that some people claim his character in Danger Man/Secret Agent is the same character from The Prisoner. I don't think that was ever intended, but it does seem plausible when you think about it. There's 39 episodes on 5 discs, and I've found the picture quality to be excellent.I was kind of wondering how good it would be with 8 episodes per disc and don't know what kind of discs they are, but the episodes look good to me. I haven't gotten to the last disc but there's supposed to be a McGoohan biography/filmography and a photo gallery. That's it for any extra features, but I thought it was a good price for so many episodes. I just love this show and will one day buy the Secret Agent mega set. Oh, Danger Man has an awesome jazzy soundtrack too!
     
  6. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Is it still possible to buy the Emma Peel set box-by-box?

    I'm under the impression (from the last time I slogged thru Amazon's klutzy listing) that many of the 6 ep packs were no longer on sale.

    Whereas the Mega set is still on offer. Tho I share Steve's concern about how much shelf space it would occupy.
     
  7. Rick P

    Rick P Supporting Actor

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    I'm in the (SLOW) process of making thinpak cover converions that will put 2 discs in a thinpak double (4 single cases > space of 1 single case). Give me a few more weeks.
     
  8. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    yeah, thats a big downside to buying the Emma box.
    in my dvd rack it takes up one shelf all by itself.
    i may have to investigate converting these to thin packs- although that beautiful box would then just get stuck in the closet.
    but boy am i strapped for shelf space now.

    frankly, i'm a little disappointed in the video quality of these A&E series. both in the prints used and in the encoding.
    the end product is a very middle of the road effort as far as i'm concerned- few of the eps even looked up to the quality of MGMs Outer Limits S1 eps i've seen (although the same could be said for the Image Twilight Zones i've seen- i'm hoping the rumoured new season sets will show an improvment in this area).

    however the material is gold.
    about the only thing missing in the series is any kind of continuity- although given its sensibilites that would probably have been hard to pull off anyway.
    it was a spendy purchase, and it took me a long, long time to even start to delve into, but once i did i was glad i bought it.
     
  9. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    The classic Avengers episodes are the Emma Peel colour season. The monochrome Emma Peels are very good, but I think the Linda Thorson episodes are hugely underrated. That last season of the original Avengers includes some of the best of the series. The New Avengers are similarly underrated, but may be an acquired taste. The Honor Blackman series are quite a far cry from the rest of the series IMHO. Personally I've stuck with the filmed series.
     
  10. Steven Wesley

    Steven Wesley Second Unit

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    Grab the Mega Set. It's worth the cash and is a great intro to the show. If you want to be more tenative, pick pue the 2 disc "The Best of the Avengers"... good overview of series with different eras, and some nice pre-episode introductions.
     
  11. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    Hey, I had to resurrect this old thread and thank you follks for the recommendations. I've since picked up Danger Man (season 1) and am nearly through it -- it is outstanding. Amazing that so much could be packed into those 25 minute episodes. Really makes you see how TV today doesn't compare.

    Also, based on your recommendations, I've picked up The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Collection, and it is also great. Another show that makes today's programming seem so lame. (I mean, I'm a fan of Alias - both on TV and on DVD - but give me Emma Peel any day!)

    I've found the picture quality to be pretty good on both; can't say I'm disappointed. The sound quality is even better. I have to turn the stereo down often because it is so loud. The Danger Man season 1 box is nicely done; obviously since it was released in 2003, it is more streamlined. The Avengers box set needs to be shrunk down. (RickP... have you finished working on these?) A&E could stand to learn a thing or two from the likes of the Futurama box sets.

    Anyway, thanks again folks for the good calls on these. I've been enjoying them a lot, and I would not have bought them without your okay, so I have you to thank!

    So.... who gives a thumbs-up to the rest of the Secret Agent DVDs? : )
     
  12. ImreM

    ImreM Auditioning

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    I just recently finished watching the whole Danger Man set (courtesy of Netflix) and I thought it was amazingly well done. I thought the dialogue in particular was incredibly well written, and nearly all of the storylines were interesting.

    Sound was fine, but the video quality wasn't the greatest however. They obviously didn't do much of a restoration effort, if any. It was kind of cool to see the final two episodes in color.

    I won't get into the "Is John Drake the Prisoner" debate, but I can see why some people say he was.

    I read somewhere the Patrick M. was offered the Bond role before Connery, it would have been intersting to see his version of it.....

    Cheers!
     
  13. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I've read this too, in a few books on The Prisoner and on a few Prisoner/Danger Man web sites. McGoohan apparently didn't care for Bond's womanizing and drinking, elements that he toned down on the television show. I've read that he was the Bond producers' first choice -- although Ian Fleming had said that he saw David Niven in the role.

    I still have not seen the hour-long Danger Man/Secret Agent shows. How do they compare with the 30-min 1st season shows?
     
  14. CherylWI

    CherylWI Stunt Coordinator

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    If you like Danger Man season one, then you'll love the hour long versions. The quality remains consistant through out. Its one of the best series I've ever seen. Buy it.
     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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    McGoohan was offered the Bond part twice...once before Connery, once after.
     
  16. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    I remembered fondly watching THE AVENGERS all those years ago on ABC in the US. I started watching just as the black and white season was wrapping up and I think I watched every episode of the color season.

    Once I saw that these had been released on DVD, I snapped them up. I have all of the Emma Peel episodes, with not much desire for the rest. I watched the Tara King episodes when they were on, but was unimpressed.

    The black and white Emma Peel episodes are among the best, and I've really enjoyed every one I've watched.

    Now on to Mr. McGoohan...

    Back in the '60s, I remember seeing SECRET AGENT a few times, but somehow it never clicked with me. But I DID love the Johnny Rivers theme that they added for the US showings.

    When THE PRISONER came on, I was blown away, and to this day count myself among the legions of fans attracted to that now cult TV series. I've got a set of VHS episodes taped from the local PBS outlet; I've got a set of VHS tapes that were released in the late '80s; I started buying LaserDiscs, but their price kept me from getting any more than one disc with two episodes (also the quality of that first episode was awful); and now I've gotten the full set on DVD,

    About eight months ago, my curiosity got me to buy a random set of the SECRET AGENT/DANGER MAN series on DVD. I picked up set 5, was impressed with the quality, watched an episode or so, and then promptly put it on the shelf as other new DVDs took precedence.

    Revisiting that set the other day got me to wanting more, so this past weekend I splurged on the remaining sets I needed, getting most at a local Borders with a buy-three-get-one-free deal, and ordering the missing one from Deep Discount DVD.

    Each day as I watch another episode, I'm amazed at the quality of the stories, the acting, the quality of the production and the pace. And it's a hoot seeing the many guest stars that appeared on the series, some ending up in prominent roles in THE PRISONER.

    Now, naturally I'm curious about the 30-minute episodes. I've never seen any of those and wonder how they compare to the hour episodes - stories, acting, pace, etc. I'm also intrigued to learn that the very first episode of the half-hour shows was filmed in Portmeirion, the location where THE PRISONER's "Village" was.

    If anyone has a gut feeling on whether I'd like the half hour shows, let me know.

    Harry
     
  17. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    Those same things impressed me about the 30 minute episodes, so I'd say you'd like them.
     
  18. Harry-N

    Harry-N Cinematographer

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    Great news - I'm sold, and will put that set on my list of must haves.

    I found a website that lists all of the episodes, has brief story descriptions, and lists guest stars for both Danger Man and Secret Agent:

    http://www.marciniak.com/dangerman/danger.html

    and

    http://www.marciniak.com/dangerman/secret.html

    Today I was amazed that the very next episode following "No Marks For Servility", features exactly the same actor (Howard Marion Crawford) in another villainous role - and it was called "Yesterday's Enemies"!

    I noticed too that Dawn Addams showed up in two different prominent roles in two of the first four episodes.

    I guess when the producers liked you as an actor, they continued using you over and over again, not unlike some of the Quinn Martin productions in the US.

    Harry
     
  19. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    For some reason, Deepdiscount has the first season of Danger Man way cheaper than anyone else (and i think it was an exlcusive there for the first few weeks (months?) of release. But anyway, its like half price there, just FWIW.

    Also, the New York Times' Sunday (7/4) Arts & Leisure section has a nice article on The Avengers, The Saint and the Prisoner, all of which are coming to BBC America.
     
  20. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    After becoming hooked by BBC America last summer, I've decided to start making my British spy TV collection complete...so now that I've seen portions of all the shows I'm looking for recommendations on which ones to buy first.

    Avengers - Emma Peel mega set or Honor Blackman individual boxes
    Prisoner complete set
    Danger Man
    Secret Agent
    The Saint
     

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