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The New Avengers - Episode guide and review



Episode list for both seasons, with a few subjective comments of my own.

Please note: May contain spoilers!

Season One (1976):

  • Episode 1 - The Eagle's Nest - On a remote Scottish island, a group of secretive monks are plotting a nefarious scheme ... to resurrect one of the worlds most infamous dictators! Steed and company are sent to investigate.

    A brilliant opening to the series, featuring the classic Avengers themes of secrecy, criminal masterminds, action and bizarre fantasy. Definitely a classic.

  • Episode 2 - The Midas Touch - A former government scientist who worked on Biological Warfare, has developed a way of transmitting every lethal disease known to man via a single touch. He plans to sell this deadly weapon to the highest bidder ... Steed, Purdey and Gambit race to stop him before it is too late.

    Another excellent episode with the archetypal vaguely "science-fiction" themes mixed with action, espionage and intrigue. Features the first of the series' excellent car chase scenes, this time with Mike in his red Jaguar XJ-S.

  • Episode 3 - House of Cards - When a former Russian spy fails an important mission due to Steed's invention, he fakes his own death rather than face the disgrace. As an act of revenge, he then activates a series of "sleeper agents" with orders to kill Steed, Purdey and Gambit

    And yet another classic TNA episode featuring the usual ingredients of mystery, suspense, action and intrigue. Also gives Mike his first chance to show off his Kung Fu skills in a fight to the death in firm's dojo.

  • Episode 4 - The last of the Cybernauts...? - When enemy agent Kane crashes his car whilst pursued by the team, Steed assumes he has been killed. He has, however survived, and kidnaps the scientist responsible for developing the Cybernauts 10 years earlier. His plan is to rebuild the killer robots and use them to get revenge on Steed, Gambit and Purdey.

    A classic Avengers foe returns in the form of the terrifying Cybernauts. An excellent episode all-round, with sound plotting and some good performances from the cast.

  • Episode 5 - To catch a rat - A top enemy agent known as The White Rat narrowly escapes capture by British agent Gunner in 1960. The White Rat then tries to have Gunner killed. Gunner survives, but suffers amnesia from the fall. 17 years later, Gunner's memory returns, and he immediately sets about trying to track down his old nemesis. Using an out-of-date code Gunner contacts HQ, but this alerts the White Rat to his presence, who sets out to eliminate Gunner once and for all.

    A good old-fashioned spy-story that works OK, if rather ploddingly slowly. Look out for Ian Hendry, who played Steed's partner in the very beginning of The Avengers.

  • Episode 6 - Cat amongst the pigeons - Bird-lover Zacardi has developed a means of communicating and controlling birds. Alarmed by the plans of a group of ecologists to cull the bird population for conservation reasons, he sets about utilising his feathered friends to carry out murder...

    A good, solid Avengers-style story, but suffers from a rather plodding pace and feels a little laboured at times.

  • Episode 7 - Target - An apparently routine training exercise on the outdoor target-shooting range turns deadly when a number of agents are found dead after participating. The cause - the ink pellets which the target mannequins fire back has been laced with a deadly poison by a rogue former agent. Can Steed, Purdey and Gambit survive the lethal shooting range and stop this deadly game?

    An excellent, fun episode with typically quirky Avengers plotting and storyline. Purdey gets to show she can use a gun as well as anyone, and Mike gets to show off his skills once again. Look out for the memorable scene of Purdey shimmying up a drainpipe!

  • Episode 8 - Faces - A couple of down-and-out tramps hit upon an ingenious criminal plan - to use advanced plastic surgery on homeless people who bear a striking resemblence to important government figures to replace them in office. When Steed's best friend passes him by without even recognising him, Steed's suspicions are aroused, and Gambit goes undercover to investigate.

    Another good Avengers-style episode, with a streak of humour throughout. Gambit does an excellent job of a (bad) Irish accent, and Purdey makes a silly cockney gangster's moll. A good story, and one worthy of The Avengers.

  • Episode 9 - Tale of the Big Why - A former prison convict named Brandon claims to have some startling evidence that could bring down the government. Ministers are sceptical about this, but send Steed, Gambit and Purdey to investigate. A pair of enemy agents are also after this mysterious evidence, and when they kill Brandon, but fail to find the evidence, they assume Steed already has it, and hold Purdey to ransom.

    A truly dull episode, and one which has very little feel of The Avengers (new or otherwise). Very boring and flat, the only standout moment is the ludicrous "dissection" of Brandon's car by the two enemy agents, as they search it for the evidence.

  • Episode 10 - Three Handed Game - A top Secret military document has been split between three individuals with photographic memories - and each only has a third of the information. Steed thinks this is an infallible method of transmitting data between the US and Britain ... until a mercenary agent called Juventor steals a "brain drain" machine from an eccentric professor, with the intention of "sucking out" the information from each of the three individuals, and then selling it to the highest bidder.

    Another fun and very archetypal Avengers story with excellent pacing and strong plot. Could very easily have come out of the 1960s series. Look out for Steed spectacularly racing his overly bodykitted green Jaguar on the racetrack.

  • Episode 11 - Sleeper - A government scientist develops a highly efficient "knock-out gas" that can be used to stun large crowds in enclosed spaces. The New Avengers are treated to a demonstration, having first been innoculated against the effect. However, a group of terrorists steal the gas, and use it to put the entire population of inner London to sleep, whilst they freely rob the large banks. As the only people unaffected, Steed, Gambit and Purdey must try and stop them.

    An excellent episode, if unusually gritty and with a dark tone more suited to The Professionals (CI5) television show instead. Still, very well paced, tense and dramatic, and the empty streets of London lend the episode a very eerie feel.

  • Episode 12 - Gnaws - Something big and deadly is lurking in the sewers below a chemical research laboratory. After a series of gruesome deaths, The New Avengers go and investigate.

    Oh dear ... an infamously bad episode, and a very poor rip-off of Jaws. Cheap special effects, poor script and some rather wooden acting bring down what might have been an otherwise mildly intriguing episode. Not good.

  • Episode 13 - Dirtier by the dozen - A top-ranking British general is kidnapped whilst on a routine inspection to a special military unit. At the same time, Gambit and Purdey are investigating some smuggled film footage of mercenaries in Africa. Steed is sure there is a connection ... but what?

    An absolutely stonking episode to finish season 1 off, this is one of the best in the series and one of my favourites. Set largely on a military base (giving it a very New Avengers feel), this episode features tight pacing, superb action and some excellent performances. Gambit gets another chance to show off his deadly combat skills (using Purdey's bra as a slingshot ??!!) and Purdey gets to play seductress. Special mention should go to John Castle as Colonel "Mad" Jack - the crazed leader of the elite military unit, who turns in a first-class performance. Truly top stuff.



Season Two (1977):

  • Episode 1 - Hostage - When "the other side" kidnaps Purdey and demands Steed hand over some top-secret military plans, Steed has to play a deadly game of subterfuge to get her back. However, Steed's superior knows nothing of the kidnap and suspects Steed has turned traitor, and sends Gambit out bring him in...

    A bit of a clichéd story, but a reasonable episode. Having Gambit "face off" against Steed feels a little strained, but overall remains quite watchable.

  • Episode 2 - Trap - After Steed and the team foil an Oriental drugs transaction, the Chinese mobster swears revenge, and engineers an elaborate scheme to capture and execute the trio in front of his gangland cronies to regain lost face.

    A hilariously bad episode, but one which has a certain "pantomime" charm. Some utterly ridiculous set-pieces (Gambit fighting with home-made bow-and-arrows and a bola made from his tie and shoes!) and some cringe-inducing gags combine with the ridiculous casting of caucasian actor Terry Wood (poorly made-up to resemble an "oriental") to make a very memorable and very funny episode, despite it being embarrassingly awful.

  • Episode 3 - Dead men are dangerous - 10 years ago, when Steed is forced to shoot a friend in self-defence, he thinks the man is dead. However, he survived, though the bullet lodged in his heart is slowly killing him. Present day, and someone is methodically destroying everything that Steed hold's dear. Steed cannot fathom who this may be, though a clue lies within Steed's sporting victories at school...

    A good episode, if a bit of a slow-burner. An excellent performance from Clive Revill as an embittered, determined man with nothing to lose. The subtle twist in the end is well done.

  • Episode 4 - Medium Rare - The paymaster of the organisation discovers one of his staff (a man named Wallace) is fraudulently impersonating informants to gain payment - when challenged, Wallace murders the paymaster to protect his little secret. Steed investigates and Wallace realises he must now eliminate Steed also ... and comes up with an ingenious ploy...

    A reasonable episode, which is marred a little by the presence of the "medium" who claims to have clairvoyance of Steed's doom, and offers her assistance to Gambit and Purdey. The mystique is written-off rather clumsily towards the end.

  • Episode 5 - Angels of Death - When certain top government and security figures start suddenly dying from apparently natural causes, Steed, Purdey and Gambit investigate. there seems to be no link between the deaths, except that each victim recently spent time at an exclusive health farm.

    A good episode, but not one of the best in my opinion. Very cleverly written, but it just feels a shade too similar to the 1960s series, and lacks the more modern urban feel of the new show. All the same, a very intriguing plot - using a form of psychological torture to drive apparently healthy men to death from "stress", it just feels like an Emma Peel episode forced onto the 1970s series. Gambit and Purdey seemingly have nothing to do in this episode.

  • Episode 6 - Obsession - Larry Doomer, Purdey's former fiancee, is back in town seeking revenge against an Arab nation for the death of his father. With the Arab leader due to make an appearance in England, Purdey must try and stop Doomer from assassinating the world-leader

    A classic, if rather old-fashioned episode. Purdey gets to show some humanity and Martin Shaw turns in a fine performance as a driven man. Fans will doubtless be aware that this marked the first pairing of Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins (as Doomer's accomplice Kilner) together, before the subsequent creation of The Professionals television series the following year. Immortalised as fan-service when Kilner tells his partner at the end "Maybe we should work together again sometime? A good team."

  • Episode 7 - The Lion and the Unicorn - Whilst the team are holding an enemy agent in custody in Paris, an attempt to kill Steed sees the enemy spy killed instead. Realising the spy's cohorts will blame Steed for this, the Avengers must try and trick the other side into thinking the spy is still alive - at least until they make their escape. But then a French Prince is kidnapped and held to ransom for the life of the spy...

    The first of the French-set episodes (demanded by dwindling UK funding and the insistence of the French affiliate), this is not so bad, and has a reasonable pace (including an exhilarating car-chase scene). But it suffers from a lack of Avengers feel and style.

  • Episode 8 - K is for Kill - Part 1: The Tiger awakes - At the close of the Second World War, the Russians "planted" several "sleeper units" in isolated parts of France. A malfunction with the transmitter designed to awaken these sleepers now sees hundreds of Russian soldiers mobilising to attack specific French military targets. Steed, Gambit and Purdey rush to investigate.

    A very good episode and the only two-parter, it sadly feels a bit too drawn out. Also, a heavy French emphasis spoils it a little (it would have worked much better in a sleepy English village). Fan service comes in the form of a flashback scene of Steed talking to Emma Peel in 1965 (using some archive footage).

  • Episode 9 - K is for Kill - Part 2: Tiger by the tail - In part 2, Steed learns of two special sleeper agents, who were programmed for very high-profile targets. With the majority of the other Russian soldiers now contained Steed, Gambit, Purdey and the French liaison race against time to prevent a catastrophe.

    The second part, like the first is a good, solid story (if a little drawn out) which again suffers a bit by being rather France-oriented. The ending is a bit of an anti-climax.

  • Episode 10 - Complex - A visiting Canadian agent offers to help Steed capture an agent called "Scapina" who has evaded Steed for many years. Heading off to Canada, Steed's only lead is a blurred photograph of a man leaving a high-tech building...

    Fringe sci-fi returns in the first of the Canadian episodes (again, forced by lack of funding in Britain, with a Canadian company financing the end of the series, in exchange for the series relocating to Canada). The team must play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a super-intelligent computer which controls a high-security building with Purdey trapped inside! A good episode, and very 1970s (as per the "ultra-modern" craze of high-tech buildings of the day). But as you'd expect, it lacks the Avengers feel with the team clearly being in another country.

  • Episode 11 - The Gladiators - A Russian agent named Sminsky is training a group of mercenaries to possess extraordinary hand-to-hand fighting power. His intent is to rob a high-security Canadian facility using these "supermen". The team must use all their skill to stop him and his killers.

    A very good story - very much in the Avengers mould, which is marred by the setting and some truly dismal acting by the Canadian cast. The end fight scenes are rather feeble and poorly choreographed. Still, it remains watchable.

  • Episode 12 - Forward Base - 8 years earlier, a freak typhoon hits Lake Ontario. After it dies down, the locals find a new piece of land has mysteriously appeared there ... which then has a bizarre habit of disappearing temporarily! When a Russian agent drops a secret device into the lake, Purdey goes to retrieve it, but finds more of a mystery than she or the team bargained for...

    An odd episode, some people like it, some hate it. Personally, I found it rather mediocre. Another interesting premise ruined by feeling too "Canadian" and cheap.

  • Episode 13 - Emily - A top enemy agent known only as "The Fox" is reported to be in Canada, and the only clue to his real identity is a handprint which he left on the roof of a car during a fight with Steed. Now The New Avengers must safeguard this piece of evidence as it is their only clue to tracking down the elusive Fox...

    Oh dear ... what a tragically poor way to end the series. A truly risible episode, universally loathed by TNA fans. An appalling script, terrible acting, and a very ill-advised attempt at slapstick humour. This episode is just cringe-inducingly bad.

    The final episode of the entire series, and what a sad way to end a series that started so well, so full of energy and promise.



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