The Top Five Episodes
of Series 4 & 5 (1967-8)

of

The Avengers

Series 4

Rank Episode Score
A Touch of Brimstone
Fantastically wicked John Cartney (Peter Wyngarde) delivers a debauched performance, culminating in Mrs Peel being forcibly garbed as the Queen of Sin. Cracking plot delivered at a whip-snap pace, with great sets and music. It doesn't get better than this..
10 stars
The House That Jack Built
A tour de force from Diana Rigg, most of this episode focused on her, with no other characters on screen. Admirably supporting performances from Patrick Macnee, Michael Goodliffe and Griffith Davies, but Rigg and the superb sets are the stars, the plot an elegantly crafted posthumous revenge. Eerie, menacing and troubling, this episode raises the bar for television drama.
9 stars
The Cybernauts
The episode that created an enduring legend. The robots might be cruder here than in the sequels, but the performances of the villainous doctor and his sidekick Benson (Michael Gough and Frederick Jaeger) are fantastic. Red herrings strewn across the Avengers' path and a furious culmination to the episode make this a true classic.
8½ stars
A Sense of History
Not one usually singled out by critics, but this episode has it all for me. The villainous, lantern-jawed Patrick Mower in probably one of his best performances, a funny and witty script woven around a plausible and engrossing plot, with fantastically underplayed performances form the principals. Add to that a fine bit of fancy dress and a dash of innuendo and you're hard pressed to do better.
8½ stars
Too Many Christmas Trees
An implausible plot and set of villains, perhaps, but the psycho-drama of Steed's nightmares is genuinely enthralling, even to an unabashed sceptic like myself. Jeanette Sterke and Alex Scott are excellent villains, their brooding good looks confirmation of their evil. A slow, dream-like build up delivers a nightmarish finish while along the way we have dancing music and great costumes.
8 stars
The Town of No Return, The Hour That Never Was, The Girl from Auntie, Quick-Quick Slow Death, Honey for the Prince

Series 5

Rank Episode Score
The Hidden Tiger
Elegant, ludicrous, eccentric and just plain joyous. Great clothes, inspired guest performances and an attention to detail make this the episode par excellence. "Pussies Galore!" indeed.
9½ stars
Murdersville
The counterpoint between the implicit threat of men and the modern, independent woman out of her element in a rustic backwater makes some of the best viewing of the season.
9 stars
The Winged Avenger
A blend of pure genius, obtuse wit and homage to the TV show that may have most influenced the colour series of Mrs Peel... Oodles of wit and style combined with great direction and props make this a real viewing pleasure. Make sure you see it!
9 stars
Epic
The use of the same set for Emma's street and Schnerk's set of it flat is inspired, and the symmetry doesn't stop there. Great acting, great clothes (well, mostly...), a fantastic score and wickedly funny lines. What more could you want?
9 stars
The Joker
The Avengers do film noir. A moody, difficult psychological thriller - a remake of a Cathy Gale script - some of the most atmospheric and disturbing camera work of the series.
8½ stars
Escape in Time, The Bird Who Knew Too Much, Never, Never Say Die, The Superlative Seven, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Station, Who's Who???, Return of the Cybernauts, Death's Door, Dead Man's Treasure, You Have Just Been Murdered, Mission: Highly Improbable

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