Monday, 6 June 2016

The Avengers Series 1: Crescent Moon

I am back after a small natural pause: with a fortnight's annual leave and nothing much except for watching cult TV planned, I will certainly be able to get back into the swing of blogging! Since the last post was decidedly frivolous, I am making a complete change by returning to a randomly-chosen episode in the first series of The Avengers, Crescent Moon. And I'm afraid I must start by confessing that I am finding it rather unsatisfying, not simply because there is virtually nothing that remains of it.
Once again we require a little rethinking of our assumptions to get into how these shows would have been understood at the time they were broadcast. The very fact that this show opens on a Caribbean isandn would have spelt an incredible aura of luxury for the majority of UK viewers in the early 1960s. I suppose strangely it can best be compared to the aura of luxurious sophistication emitted by the James Bond books, their subsequent film adaptations, and indeed of their author, Ian Fleming, himself.
That said, it is possible to overdo the luxurious Hispanic references, and I find the names of the characters particularly unsatisfying. I suppose they would have fulfilled their function of spelling out foreign insurrection at the time.
I think my dissactisfaction more stems from the fact that this is basically not The Avengers as we know it. Of course I shouldn't be surprised at that idea, since we all know that series 1 and even series 2 were to some extent feeling their way to an identity for the show, but I personally feel the plot of this Avengers could really belong to any of the ITC shows of the sixties. 
Of course I immediately feel guilty for writing that and am reflexively thinking that on the other hand this episode doesn't do nothing to show us the origins and development of The Avengers. The characteristic position of Steed as the employee of a vaguely-defined government agency is very clear, as his usual ability at turning up in all sorts of strange parts of the the world on information received. SImilarly, the subordinate position of Dr Keel is maintained in this. At the risk of coming across as a conspiracy theorist, it is very plain to me that Dr Keel, having once been of use to the government, will continue to be used and has, as it were, signed up for life. The rather emotional and unstable roots of his commitment to 'avenging' would seem to make him a rather surprising choice, but then I'm not running a secret governmental agency.
My conclusion on this rather wispy Avengers episode is that it has fuelled my frustration at the lack of information about first-series episodes. I think I would personally prefer there to be absolutely nothing in this case than merely the synopsis which begs for so many holes to be filled from the fertile imaginations of Avengersistas. This is therefore an episode which gives me conflicting emotions, but which since I will never get to see it, these emotions will have to remain unresolved. My fear of course is that this episode would just turn out to be a sui generis 1960s espionage story, so it is perhaps as well that fear will never be fulfilled.

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