Monday, 22 June 2015

The second-greatest series of the greatest TV show ever made is out on Blu-ray today

Hopefully by now you took my advice and have bought and watched the greatest series of the greatest TV show ever made on Blu-ray; if not I will feel like I wasted my time banging on about it, almost as if nobody listens to a word I say. If you did, though, then good news! The diabolical (but very sexiful) masterminds at Studiocanal have just released the only-slightly-less-amazing follow-up to The Avengers Series 4: the sensibly-titled The Avengers Series 5 is now available in 1080 lines of gorgeous 1960s televisual magic.

Originally broadcast in two chunks between January-May and September-November 1967, Series 5 of The Avengers brought us the adventures of John Steed and Emma Peel in full colour - which is undeniably well-used throughout, but brings the series a step closer to reality, where it doesn't really belong. To compensate, the stories got a little weirder (mind-swapping, time travel, miniaturisation and UFOs all get a look in), and the result is some of the most imaginative television of the 20th century.

As with Series 4, a cheeky tease was shot to promote the new adventures of our immaculately-attired heroes, and it's another perfect example of what to expect:

Highlights of Series 5 include, but are not limited to:
  • Guest appearances from the likes of Peter Bowles, Jon Pertwee, Roy Kinnear, Patrick Cargill, Julian Glover, Ronnie Barker, Peter Wyngarde, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee; one episode - The Superlative Seven - boasts Brian Blessed, Donald Sutherland and an unfathomably beautiful Charlotte Rampling IN THE SAME STORY
  • Death's Door, an episode which rivals Hitchcock's Spellbound for surreally atmospheric psychoanalysis and giant props
  • Murdersville, perhaps the quintessential episode of The Avengers, which is set in a village - Little Storping In The Swuff - where every single resident is involved in the business of hired killing
  • More of Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee being unbearably delightful in incredible costumes
  • And more tremendous music by Laurie Johnson, including this perky theme from Dead Man's Treasure
Also, obviously, there are buckets of extras that make this an essential purchase for completists and noobs alike. It all looks utterly stunning in HD and while the hit rate of episodes is less successful than Series 4, it is never not fun watching Steed and Mrs Peel bimbling about the countryside foiling insane plots and drinking gallons of champagne. You owe it to your eyes to see this.

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