Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Mrs. Peel, we're needed.
If you're feeling uninspired by your Netflix queue and are looking for something new to sink your DVD-viewing teeth into, it may be time for you to try The Avengers. One of the most popular British TV series ever made, The Avengers holds up more than 40 years after it first debuted, mostly because of a very funny, very ridiculous, self-aware approach to storytelling that predated Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Williamson by years.
The Avengers ran for nearly a decade and existed in many forms, starting off as a straight crime drama, starring Ian Hendry as a doctor avenging his wife's murder (hence, that "avengers" thing) and Patrick Macnee as shadowy government agent John Steed. Macnee would be the only constant cast member over the years. (He also was the only cast member to send me a very cool Avengers paperback when I was nine.) The Avengers then morphed into a slightly loopier spy show with leather-clad Honor Blackman (Goldfinger's Pussy Galore) replacing Hendry. Arguably, the series' golden age began with the arrival of Diana Rigg as Macnee's crime-solving partner, Mrs. Emma Peel. To me, every season that came before it can be summed up with a hearty "meh." But those two Rigg seasons? Fan-frickin'-tastic.
If the girl nerd world had a hierarchy of fictional characters, Emma Peel would be the queen bee: she was never without a witty comeback, was using science to solve crime years before that Scully chick came on the scene, could drive a race car and battle robots and man-eating plants with equal ease, and was all about the no-muss, no-fuss hairstyle, which you've gotta love.
The Avengers is all campy, weird goodness. Treat yourself to a bit of the bizarre, and give it a try.