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Showing posts from July, 2021

If You Like The Avengers You'll Like These Films

This is a post I've been thinking about for ages, because we all wish there was more of The Avengers (particularly in its later incarnations) but there couldn't really be any more. The New Avengers doesn't quite catch the feel of the later series of the original show - perhaps you had to be stoned out of your head to write them. With this in mind, here are three films from the sixties which I think also capture the ethos of the original Avengers. Just to be totally clear, I mean the Peel/King series with high levels of unreality, lots of magical omniscience, and set in a very swinging London. This was of course a London where you didn't have to have an income of £300,000 a week to live there. The world of parties, lots of experimentation, and a time which will never be repeated. It was a world in which the entire resources of the world weren't aggregated in the hands of half a dozen corporations. First up we have The Sorcerers  (1967) in which Boris Karloff plays an

Manhunt: Fare Forward Voyagers

I had better start off by clarifying two things. The first is that this post is about the series broadcast in 1970. The second is that I am very much out of my comfort zone because as a rule I don't like period films or TV, by which I mean ones set in a previous time to the time it is made. Don't get me wrong, I love old TV but there is in my opinion a lack of authenticity in period shows - they can't really get into the mindset. I have touched on that here before when talking about Peaky Blinders - while undoubtedly a good show it is too squeaky clean to represent the authentic Second City of the past. Another example which I haven't written about here before is Mad Men - what put me off that as an ex-smoker myself was (I do realise how potty this will sound) that the smoking seemed a bit self-conscious. Those of us who remember the seventies remember that everyone smoked and it was no big deal. it is difficult for an actor to portray something which is no longer routi

Dr Who: The God Complex

High time we had some more Who and this one is a cracker. It will give you some idea of how highly I rate it if I tell you that this Who is comparable to an original Sapphire and Steel, and uses many of the writing techniques used by The Avengers. There are also some Harry Potter resonances. The magical omniscience of The Avengers mean that the doctor and his companions just arrive in the hotel with no explanation. The closed world of a hotel where something distinctly peculiar is going on, is exactly the sort of set up that Sapphire and Steel use - in fact this feels very much like the adventure in the railway station. My absolutely favourite thing about this is the beginning and especially the bit where the doctor decides a character's pathological urge to be conquered means he must be from Tivolia, a planet whose inhabitants have been willingly conquered so often that their anthem includes a blank for the name of the current invading force! The adventure also includes a number o

The Avengers: Invasion of the Earthmen

Oh dear, this Avengers doesn't half get a hammering on the internet. For example  Grant Goggins  says, 'This story is a complete turkey.' Simon Wood  says, ' It’s an interesting episode to watch and quite absorbing just as a curiosity, if you watch it with suitable detachment. But it doesn’t fit, production values are very low, and it’s certainly not a return to ‘realism’.' And for the most damning,  David K Smith  says, ' Doubtless one of the worst classic  Avengers  episodes of all time.' Given the total train wreck everyone else considers this adventure, it will surely come as no surprise that it is one of my favourites. Don't get me wrong, it has incredible shortcomings so let's get them out of the way first. The temporary change of director means that there are elements more reminiscent of other shows here. Star Trek for example. I do see that. There are also elements of incredibly bad sci-fi movies. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if parody