10 January 2012

Steed & Co.

Chances are, that back when I first saw any of the episodes of The Avengers, I saw some each of Mrs Peel and of Tara King.

Nowadays, I've re-settled into the show, first, via The Emma Peel Mega-Set. Over quite a gradual period, I much enjoyed digesting all those episodes. And I am only now re-visiting Tara King in the show . . . not very scientifically, either. I've hopped in at the middle of the sixth series. It wouldn't be fair to judge an entire series based on one episode – so this is not a sweeping judgment, just an initial response to the first two episodes of this revisitation.

The tone of the show has changed quite a bit. First I watched "Wish You Were Here," something of a camp homage to The Prisoner. Basil is rather a doofus; hard to imagine him at all in any episode with Mrs Peel. And – he nearly manages to escape! That he should come at all that close to escape (and so casually) is of course a stretch from the 'source' . . . but he is caught by the daftest of ruses (not, indeed, that any character in The Avengers has anything like the steely purpose of 6). Quite a bit of the action, actually, strikes me as uncomfortably Keystone-Cops-ish.

Still not sure quite what I think about Mother (who cuts a very different figure as I watch him now, compared to when I was a teenager).

"Wish You Were Here" may well have been meant as a light-hearted caprice, to be sure. "Stay Tuned" is altogether darker-hued; here I probably meet Father for the very first time in my own viewing history of the show. At the end, it is not at all clear how Steed solved his puzzle (nor indeed how he could have solved it). So in these episodes, at least, willing suspension is stretched a bit more.

With Tara King, there are camera shots which exaggeratedly exult in what we shall call her profile; costuming, too – half-open jackets which extend the outline of her prow. I bestow upon this editorial decision neither my blessing nor my curse; I only observe that there's been a change.

Observation will continue, to be sure.

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