The Avengers International Fan Forum Forum Index The Avengers International Fan Forum

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Lost Episodes - series discussion
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Avengers International Fan Forum Forum Index -> The Avengers Spun-Off: Big Finish
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 579
Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:31 am    Post subject: The Lost Episodes - series discussion Reply with quote

So far, three volumes of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes have been released; they include the stories:

Hot Snow
Brought to Book
Square Root of Evil
One for the Mortuary
Ashes of Roses
Please Don't Feed the Animals
The Radioactive Man
Dance with Death
The Springers
The Yellow Needle
Double Danger
Toy Trap
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
peabody
Little Wonder


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 226
Location: MACS0647-JD

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That seems to be absolutely correct.

Now, how about some discussion? Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 579
Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things that most stands out for me is the recreation of the original series in terms of sound design; the music and effects are right of course, but the way the scenes are directed is in homage to the original ABC years. They even put the stings in for the advert breaks! I find myself imagining the shots in black and white, and that's always a good sign to me of a loving recreation. The type of special sounds used are reminiscent of radio effects rather than the normally more complex soundscapes that BF usually lavish on their productions.

What do you enjoy about them, peabody?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, one of the interesting bits about the Lost Episodes audios is that they really prove how unpalatable some of the underlying racism/xenophobia of the 1960s is when you produce it now.

The Yellow Needle is one of those scripts with moments that you can somewhat forgive if it were actually being done in the 1960s, but really should have been developed or entirely excised in 2015.
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2930
Location: The Edge of Avengerland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been tweaked a little to remove the more patronising depictions in the original script, particularly the character Asiedu who speaks in pidgin English and says things like "Massah wait here small time. Shebro massah come quick, quick."

Not The Avengers' finest hour, for sure, but I have to be honest and say that it's one of the episodes that works particularly well on audio.
_________________
Alan
--
The Avengers Declassified

Hidden Tiger Books - now available: Avengerworld
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
It's been tweaked a little to remove the more patronising depictions in the original script, particularly the character Asiedu who speaks in pidgin English and says things like "Massah wait here small time. Shebro massah come quick, quick."

Not The Avengers' finest hour, for sure, but I have to be honest and say that it's one of the episodes that works particularly well on audio.


It still came off as pretty patronizing, as far as I could see (Shebro does say "Massah" once nearing the end). I think this is one of the stumbling blocks of any series that tries to depict things in a certain time period - it's kind of hard to not grapple with language or attitudes that were acceptable at the time, but are now considered offensive. One of the earlier eps (Hot Snow maybe?) also has a character speaking in a very lurid and offensive "Chinese" accent. They really ought to know better.

I liked The Yellow Needle on paper; I did not like on it audio. I'm not sure if I've ever hated Steed as much as I hated him here. (Ashes of Roses was better, IMO).
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2930
Location: The Edge of Avengerland

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
It still came off as pretty patronizing, as far as I could see (Shebro does say "Massah" once nearing the end).


What I meant was, it would have been worse if presented as originally scripted.

Quote:
I think this is one of the stumbling blocks of any series that tries to depict things in a certain time period - it's kind of hard to not grapple with language or attitudes that were acceptable at the time, but are now considered offensive. One of the earlier eps (Hot Snow maybe?) also has a character speaking in a very lurid and offensive "Chinese" accent. They really ought to know better.


That was Brought to Book. I thought it was in very poor taste, and the part was played by an actress of Chinese descent in 1961 (whereas it was played by an English actress in 2013). I am confident that the original production would not have had the 'cod Chinese' heard in the Big Finish play. I wrote to them after hearing this, stating my concerns for episodes like Kill the King which would be terrible if not populated with performers from the appropriate ethnic background. Fortunately, they were ahead of me on this. It staggers me though that the Brought to Book performance wasn't toned down by the director.
_________________
Alan
--
The Avengers Declassified

Hidden Tiger Books - now available: Avengerworld
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
That was Brought to Book. I thought it was in very poor taste, and the part was played by an actress of Chinese descent in 1961 (whereas it was played by an English actress in 2013). I am confident that the original production would not have had the 'cod Chinese' heard in the Big Finish play. I wrote to them after hearing this, stating my concerns for episodes like Kill the King which would be terrible if not populated with performers from the appropriate ethnic background. Fortunately, they were ahead of me on this. It staggers me though that the Brought to Book performance wasn't toned down by the director.


Yeah, I was honestly shocked by that. I can sort of bypass it during the period, but to have something like that now, with no apparent purpose or commentary, was really offensive. I can't imagine why they did it.

I had many problems with The Yellow Needle: lack of chemistry between Keel and Jaquetta, long passages of ambient noise with no purpose, Steed being utterly uninteresting when he wasn't being utterly nasty...but I simply found the African characters to be exceptionally caricatured. It's a shame, as we actually have Steed working with (and being saved by) an African woman, but the script as played made nothing out of that. Based on the published telesnaps, there was a lot of intensity in those scenes that was lost.
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2930
Location: The Edge of Avengerland

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
Yeah, I was honestly shocked by that. I can sort of bypass it during the period, but to have something like that now, with no apparent purpose or commentary, was really offensive. I can't imagine why they did it.


It (in essence) would have been down to budget. As they record four plays together, they would have needed a part for a Chinese or other Asian actress in the other three - and of course no such parts existed in those episodes. Therefore, they brought an English actress in who could play parts in those other three... but that explains the casting and not the choice of delivery.

As you say, completely and utterly indefensible in the modern era.
_________________
Alan
--
The Avengers Declassified

Hidden Tiger Books - now available: Avengerworld
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
It (in essence) would have been down to budget. As they record four plays together, they would have needed a part for a Chinese or other Asian actress in the other three - and of course no such parts existed in those episodes. Therefore, they brought an English actress in who could play parts in those other three... but that explains the casting and not the choice of delivery.

As you say, completely and utterly indefensible in the modern era.


Sorry, but doesn't that kind of assume that an actress of Chinese descent would be incapable of playing another part? This is radio after all - actors change their voices. An actress being able to approximate a proper Chinese accent in English need not "sound Chinese" otherwise. If an Anglo actress can do a bad and offensive Chinese accent, a Chinese-Anglo actress should be able to do a credible one and play a "white" part.
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Frankymole
A Touch of Brimstone


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 4010
Location: Carmadoc research establishment

PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Offensive to whom?
_________________
Last watched: The Undertakers.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Darren
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 1699
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think of this as an equal opportunities point rather than a racial one.

If there's a German character or a French character on the audios, no one would say anything about an English actor playing the part and adopting an accent but because it's Chinese that's offensive.

I've not heard these audios but being that they are audio, you need to be clued in to a character identity (short of saying "I'm Chinese"), so an identifiable accent is important but how well the chosen actor does the voice is another matter. Even a Chinese actor would have to put in some emphasis. Look at the actor Gemma Chan, born in England to Chinese parents - for the Sherlock episode 'The Blind Banker' she had to adopt a cod-Chinese accent.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think the Siamese Cats in "Lady and the Tramp" and you're pretty close to the caricaturing being done here. So, yeah, it is in pretty bad taste. I won't have the argument about race issues right now, but it's out of place in an audio series that purports to be at least semi-realistic. You can make a Chinese accent recognizable and still realistic, same as you can have a French or a German accent. Regardless, I see no reason why they chose to go that route.
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 579
Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listened to the latest volume of stories a couple of weeks ago, set number five, and enjoyed them all very much. There were a couple of episodes that were virtually original to the audios, with almost no record of the episodes as broadcast in either documentation or photos, but they fitted the feel and structure of the rest of the series well enough. The new audio performance of Girl on a Trapeze was good fun, and did not have me visualising Ian Hendry performing the same scenes which is a good indication of the effectiveness of Anthony Howell's new interpretation of the character. My favourite of the set though was Diamond Cut Diamond however, as adventures using transport and airlines etc for the setting always score high with me! Julian Wadham putting on an Irish accent for Steed's cover was not as distracting as I expected and it was a thoroughly absorbing mystery. Standards generally maintained here, another highly recommended release!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Avengerholic
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 999

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In complete contrast to the comic strip adaptations these are simply amazing. I've very much enjoyed all of the first three box sets immensely, the only exception being The Springers which I found slightly dull not to mention rather poorly acted by the supporting cast.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been considering why these eps bother me so much (beyond my issues with characterization and acting, etc.) I think it comes down the sense that they're built to replace the original episodes in some way. Unlike your usual reboot, where you still have the original productions to go back to if you don't like the new one, this is pretty much the only source for a performance of those missing episodes. So when I hear Wadham recreating a Steed that I really, really don't like, it's as though he's effectively replaced Patrick Macnee, overwriting everything that Patrick did in the development of Steed (and he did a lot).
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2930
Location: The Edge of Avengerland

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see where you're coming from on this, but the way I see it is that it's a shame that the Big Finish releases didn't happen 15 years ago (they started producing Doctor Who audios in 1999, after all) as there would have been a chance that they could have secured Patrick to perform in them.

That would have been ideal, but IMHO this is really the next best thing (though of course I'm sure you would have preferred a different actor as Steed).

I like that Julian Wadham's Steed is not a clone of Macnee's, and that he has gone his own way with the character, but even though I like him in the role I've never thought of him having replaced Macnee or supplanted him and more than I did previously with Donald Monat (who as you know I rate very highly).

These are recreations, textually faithful but which allow the actors their heads in their performances. I don't think they've hit every note correctly, but for the most part I'm very happy with what's been produced in this particular range.

The Steed and Mrs Peel audios, by comparison, seem a mis-step - with my main gripe being the infantile source material which lacks the sophistication of the film era episodes it purports to reflect. I also think Olivia Poulet is seriously miscast as Emma Peel, and consequently I can empathise entirely with your dislike of Wadham, as I'm feeling the same disquiet with Poulet's interpretation.
_________________
Alan
--
The Avengers Declassified

Hidden Tiger Books - now available: Avengerworld
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lhbizness
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 975

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the operative word there is "recreation." And the problem is that, unlike with Monat's Steed, we don't have the originals to make the comparison. This is the only "original." If they were properly recreating the lost episodes, wouldn't the goal be to cleave as closely as possible to the series as possible? And so the changes of characterization, of "going a different way" with established characters, is inappropriate.

The problem might come down to Macnee creating Steed. He took a very sketchy character and fleshed him out, gave him meaning and depth. And he did that over the course of many seasons. But Wadham doesn't appear to have even worked backwards from those seasons to create a reasonable facsimile of where Steed MIGHT have been in Season 1. Maybe it's an impossible task, but from what I have read/heard, the Big Finish writers/directors/actors didn't really think that deeply about the character. They made assumptions: that the scripts said all we needed to know. But The Avengers is more about character than it is about plot (the plots, even early on, are pretty thin and at times ridiculous).

The Comic Strip episodes are ludicrous, I agree.
_________________
"It's a conflict of science and humanity! Equations, isotherms...I have a dynamic too."

Avengers Episode Reviews: The Undertakers
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alan
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2930
Location: The Edge of Avengerland

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Finish have stressed right from the start that they are recreations based on original scripts, rather than original episodes. We can only guess at what the finished television productions were like, and BF have used photographic evidence including tele-snaps to make those guesses, where they available, but I've never seen the audios as replacements for those missing episodes - and I suspect, neither have Big Finish. They are new adaptations which dramatise the scripts for episodes that we can't access through normal means.

I have no qualms about actors making their own decisions and playing to their own strengths as performers. In fact, I would have more trepidation about audio adaptations which had actors second guessing what the television actors did originally and tried to mimic their style and delivery. Macnee, in particular, was a unique performer with a very identifiable delivery - to have someone trying to channel his performance in their own would be disastrous, in my opinion. Far better, I think, to have someone saying that they are familiar with the essence of the Steed character and Macnee's performance, but wish to interpret the character on the page in their own way.

This is, after all, how every actor who plays Sherlock Holmes and other literary characters approach presenting their fresh interpretation. If you take the script as the literary source, which is what Big Finish have done, I don't see why Steed has to be entirely like Macnee's, or those lines delivered as Macnee would have done.

Obviously Girl on the Trapeze (though a script does exist) and The Frighteners (no script survives) have probably been produced just to defeat my argument. Wink
_________________
Alan
--
The Avengers Declassified

Hidden Tiger Books - now available: Avengerworld
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 579
Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viewing the script as a literary of source, with the original cast's performance as the first interpretation, is how I view film and television too; not just the Avengers, but generally.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Avengers International Fan Forum Forum Index -> The Avengers Spun-Off: Big Finish All times are GMT - 9 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group. Hosted by phpBB.BizHat.com

Free Web Hosting | File Hosting | Photo Gallery | Matrimonial


Powered by PhpBB.BizHat.com, setup your forum now!
For Support, visit Forums.BizHat.com