The Original Avengers

When I used to watch The Avengers reruns on TV as a child, I would get the feeling that I was witnessing a joke whose punchline I didn’t quite get.  As a show, it was quirky and weird and felt like a story being told by someone who wasn’t entirely stable, while the other spy shows in terminal reruns in those days had a uniform sense of lock-jawed seriousness they borrowed, I think mistakenly, from Bond.

Except for two: The Prisoner, which made no fucking sense at all but which I love to this day, and The Avengers which I could never quite figure out.  Was it a comedy?  Was it a parody?  Was it a straight up spy story?  Or was it just stupid?

Like I say, I never felt fully in on the joke but I suspect it was a combination of the first three things above.  It definitely wasn’t stupid.  It may have come off as strange and offbeat but I think that was the point.

And it was never dull.

Diana Rigg (along with Yvonne Craig) became one of my first television heart throbs and Patrick Macnee’s John Steed would form the basis for my idea of a man who was cultured and self-contained.  An image that many actors would attempt to reproduce over the years though few would have Macnee’s success.

Most of the papers say he died yesterday at the unfathomable age of 93, but I prefer to think he quit the field like a gentleman.

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