1.02 - Gnaws

Rate every episode of The New Avengers.

Rate 'Gnaws'

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Post by Lhbizness »

I watched this one again in the hopes that it wasn't as dire as it was on first viewing. I was disappointed.

The plot itself isn't so bad, and references a number of similar "giant animals" films made around the same period (The Attack of the Killer Shrews, Night of the Lepus, and of course Jaws). So as such, it had a chance to be satirical and tongue-in-cheek. But it's very plodding. The viewer knows what's happening almost from the first ten minutes, dissipating any suspense in terms of the mystery itself. Then we have some endless sequences of first Gambit, then Gambit and Purdey, and then everyone running around the sewers looking for something that we've already guessed at.

I'd imagine this is also one of the episodes Macnee could have pointed to as an example of his being "put out to pasture." He's relegated to hanging out at home until about the last fifteen minutes or so, and even when he gets moving he doesn't do much for the plot. Which could have worked fine (The Avengers often prized one character over another for an episode), if there was any actual tension in the story itself. Mostly it's just Gambit and Purdey running around some very darkly lit sewers making a bad pun every once in awhile. Even Purdey has a number of scenes of just rooting through files, which does not make for fascinating television.

I imagine this idea could have made for an interesting and diverting episode in Season 5 or 6, and would have been well-served by the bright "comic book" nature of both of those seasons to provide some parody. But in TNA, which is more realistic as a rule, it just seems kind of stupid. It's not even good B-horror.

(I don't know if this was the way the episode was shot or if I'm just watching a poor print, but it's a very murky and dark episode too. I couldn't see what was going on half the time.)
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Post by darren »

Lhbizness wrote: (I don't know if this was the way the episode was shot or if I'm just watching a poor print, but it's a very murky and dark episode too. I couldn't see what was going on half the time.)
Although it is a dark episode, a decent restoration would sort out the murky issues and bring up the details.
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Post by Bradstreet »

It's one of the episodes that I remember particularly from my childhood. Almost simultaneously with this episode, DOCTOR WHO had done an episode where the lovely Leela had been menaced by an elephant sized rat (also in the London sewers!) and I recall thinking that TNA had done the whole thing more convincingly. Not the best of the show, but not the worst either. A good. mid-range episode. It has roots in the film era of the original show, but it's done with at least a toe-hold in reality. The villains are not diabolical masterminds, they're just greedy and careless. The decided lack of Macnee in this episode is rather annoying, but quite interesting. Rather like DIRTIER BY THE DOZEN you have to wonder whether this was written before everyone realised that Steed would have a larger share of the action...
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Post by johnnybear »

Yes it certainly didn't help that Doctor Who also made a story concerning a giant rat in the sewers! although their version was set back in Victorian times!
I remember I thought it was going to be a big Spider at first after we saw the dead one glowing on the set! Later on they spoke about something being shiny and wet and I dreaded to think of a shark or an enlarged fish but it turned out to be a rat of the Ratus Ratus variety!
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