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The Comic Strip Adaptations - series discussion
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Alan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dissolute wrote:
You would think they could afford a bowler that actually fits Julian's head.


It clearly does fit him, as the previous shot is from the same session. He just seems to have jammed it on for the second shot. Bizarre.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan wrote:
mrs_emma_peel wrote:
The Return To Castle Death episode is far too manic - almost hysterical at times - what happened is the compelling thriller tone? Have the writers really studied the spirit series 4?


I'm assuming that since these comics hail from a period that coincides with Series 5, it's that season that the tone is based on.

However the source material being designed for children rather than an adult/family audience has hamstrung the productions in my opinion, and the tone and level of sophistication is way below The Avengers usual. I don't think that's a problem with the scripting, rather it is with the source material which is pretty infantile at times.

The Diana comic strips' good reputation is, IMO, almost entirely down to the quality of the artwork, which is definitely the best from the time of the series transmission. The stories, though, are exactly what you'd expect from a children's comic.


That's the thing. The stories are very light and quick in the comics - they need to be fleshed out and the tone shifted to something a bit more adult...but at least the first volume is just all over the place in terms of quality. Return to Castle De'ath is incredibly difficult to follow when it's not downright ridiculous, but there's no reason why a good set of writers couldn't have turned the bare bones story into something fun. The whole volume misses the tone of the series - even at its most ridiculous, The Avengers was never quite so incoherent as this.
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Alan
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must admit I've only listened to the first two so far. I keep putting off listening to the third and fourth CDs. It's just not very well done.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have now listened to the first audio collection starring Julian Wadham and Olivia Poulet and absolutely loved every minute! The style of production, in terms of the direction and sound or music mixing, appeals to me; the atmosphere of different locations is evocative without the ‘soundscape’ overwhelming the actors, who I believe should be the main component of audio drama. Julian Wadham plays Steed pretty much exactly as he does in his episodes alongside Anthony Howell, and that brings a consistent quality that might lead me to actually mix the Emma episodes in amongst the Dr Keel ones next time around; the idea that Steed divides his time simultaneously between Keel and Emma is one that cannot work on television but could do here, thanks to the even style between the respective Big Finish recordings. Olivia Poulet is magnificent as Mrs Peel, and not what I was expecting after reading some negative reviews. She plays the role with a lighter, fruitier (in both relevant uses of the word) and more coquettish tone than Diana Rigg, but also has a husky quality and a gentle lisp in her delivery that’s effective and easy to listen to. Diana Rigg, while a great actress and obviously the ‘definitive’ Mrs Peel, has never really been my own cuppa; Olivia Poulet’s interpretation on the other hand is exactly the kind of heroine I could listen to all day, and do when I listen to actresses like India Fisher or Emilia Fox read audiobooks, and so this audio Mrs Peel is heading at the moment towards being my personal favourite Emma and one of my favourite Avengers characters from the wider canon.

Return to Castle De’ath is likewise, on first listening, now one of my favourite Avengers episodes! Stories in that setting, remote Scottish castles (or islands) and especially with a tourism aspect, work for me generally and this sounded great. Not overdone, just evocative of the country. The guest cast were all suitably just a little larger than life, but I enjoyed all of the performances and especially Simon Greenall as Colonel Augustus-Smyth (played in a Warren Clarke sound-a-like voice that I loved) and Ruby Thomas as the playful but plucky Countess Beatrice of Burgundy! The Miser was a good follow up, early elements reminding me of a Basil Rathbone film called Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror but the middle and final parts of the story having a very traditional Avengers narrative structure. The fake Dick North was another larger than life cad that I could imagine just as easily in a colour era Emma or Tara episode.

The Golden Dresses and The Norse Code are possibly the most traditional Avengers style episodes on the set, with charming but utterly eccentric plots and characters. The humour is there all the way through, a hallmark of the television series, rather than being dispensed with for the climax of the adventure and is especially sparky and fun between these two leads. Julian Wadham and Olivia Poulet continue to impress me, and November suddenly feels a long wait! Jacqueline Pearce was worthy of special note as main protagonist in the third episode, fashion designer of the titular golden dresses, and seems to have hit a late second peak in her career on the evidence of her recent audio work. The way that science fiction fantasies are woven into conventional espionage and crime stories, but at face value and without getting tangled up in trying to explain or justify the technologies, is another accurately recreated hallmark of the classic series.

The episode set in the Norfolk Broads with the historical Viking aspect was my favourite of the two episodes here; I’m watching a factual travelogue series called Hidden Villages at the moment, and the way the historical society is presented in the story feels exactly right and not demeaning as it could have been. The geology is dubious, but that’s probably a fault of the source material and essential to the story. Minor quibble though, because I loved listening to all of these episodes so much! Overall I have been impressed with the production values and style of the set so far, raising the Avengers even further as my favourite of all the Big Finish ranges.
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mrs_emma_peel
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very enjoyable, enthusiastic review SD Smile

Perhaps I was being over critical of Return to Castle De'ath - the expansive sound-scape of the Scottish snow-scape was well done - I was really wanting to like the episodes. It's all about getting the balance and pace right. Humour is fine so long as it's measured and derives from the dramatic situation itself and not over-done, manic or forced. In a Bondian analogy - perhaps its too Roger Moore rather than Connery, Lazenby, Dalton or Craig.

Your review has made me want to return to, and re-evaluate the episodes.
I'll try The Miser next, which, from the comic strip art-work and story-line looked interesting, and could be a cross between a Peel and Gale episode.

Julian Wadham has a very smooth delivery and Olivia Poulet is pretty good and may improve - in Diana Rigg, she has an almost impossible act to follow. There are other actresses I'd have preferred in the role - and yet, I'm ready to be persuaded Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, no one can equal Diana Rigg. Or Patrick Macnee. In my opinion, of course, but I don't get how one can beat the original Avengers with these audios. However, I don't think these are canon - a quibble perhaps, but an important one.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrs_emma_peel wrote:
Very enjoyable, enthusiastic review SD Smile


Thanks James Smile

Quote:
Your review has made me want to return to, and re-evaluate the episodes.


Do let us know how you get on, second impressions and all that...

The measured pace and the familiar tone of the humour in these was a big plus point for me; there's a modern trend in drama to make humour more slapstick or 'incident' based, but I liked how the writers here shared the same traditional dialogue based humour as the television show with the emphasis on witty quips and one liners. Having said that, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan are my favourite Bond actors because that's my preferred brand of humour so for me there's no such thing as 'too Roger Moore' Laughing

Julian and Olivia make a good combination imo; both sound very different to their predecessors, though that stands in their favour in my book rather than trying to be Macnee or Rigg sound-a-likes, but I feel they bounce off each other as a duo extremely well. They make me smile, and I was sad when each episode finished.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lhbizness wrote:
Sorry, no one can equal Diana Rigg. Or Patrick Macnee. In my opinion, of course, but I don't get how one can beat the original Avengers with these audios. However, I don't think these are canon - a quibble perhaps, but an important one.

Maybe the differing fandom backgrounds of each individual defines perceptions of the extent to which this is an issue? I do understand and appreciate your acceptance of only 'the one' actor for an iconic role. However, it's really not something that worries me or affects my enjoyment of new productions. My main lifelong fandom is Doctor Who, another show that started in the early sixties and has been in production in different mediums continuously for all that time; it's been produced on screen as films and television by the BBC, Fox, Amicus, Bill Baggs, Reeltime and others, in at least six separate book series (with literally hundreds of novels) by the BBC, Virgin, Candy Jar and others, and in dozens of spin-off and AU audio series again by multiple studios. All of these versions exist in their own continuities with 'take it or leave it' crossovers with the television shows and each other with no rules on what each viewer or reader or listener should accept or ignore, sometimes with the original cast but often with old characters recast or a mixture of both, and sometimes totally contradict each other while being mutually dependent in the same episode. (I can see all the DW fans on here nodding their heads or sobbing into their tea as I write this). But they all exist in their own versions of the show and are all regarded as equally valid in their own right, and the performances therein likewise. The Avengers is perfectly neat and tidy by comparison, and a single audio continuity based on some old comics and missing episodes with it's own regular cast is the least of the things I have needed to accept over the years to enjoy certain aspects of my fandoms...
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's not make assumptions about why people individually like or dislike these audios. Yes, I don't think that any audio adaptation will be "superior" to the original series (I like Diana Rigg and see no reason not to call her the quintessential Emma Peel). But these audios, in my opinion, are so far from the charm and even the quality of the original that a comparison seems almost moot. They're parodies, comic strips, and the actors evince little understanding of their characters beyond verbal tics and the attempt to be pithy with dialogue that clunks like a steam engine. If there was any merit here, I'd be more than happy to indulge in it. To me, it's listening to amateurs. And I'm not sure where you're hearing the lack of slapstick - there's no arch humor here. It's more akin to the Benny Hill Show than the Avengers, and I'd rather not hear Emma Peel (or John Steed) treated like a stereotype, given that the show went out of its way to create a more equitable treatment and view of male and female action heroes.

Poulet's Emma Peel is very non-intellectual, more a Girl Friday to Wadham's surprisingly incompetent Steed than a friend, assistant, or (most important) partner. In some ways, this adaptation seems more regressive than the original 1960s show - and while the original show was not always progressive, these seem, in places (and especially in terms of the interaction between the main characters) surprisingly sexist. It's taken the sheen but not even made an attempt on the substance. I think I'd be more willing to accept these if they bore greater resemblance to the characters they're supposedly based on.

But if you love it, more power to you. I don't get it.
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dissolute
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lauren, they are perhaps a bit comic strip as they are based on comic strips.

It surprises me you have so much to say about a product you have disliked from the start; I will say I enjoyed the series 1 remakes more than I expected, as I was perhaps biased against them by your condemnation.

Have you heard a full story of the comic strip adaptations yet? I can't make up my mind from the promo.

And please, a reminder to be less negative about someone else's opinion as per the rules of the forum; they may think the same about yours but be polite enough to bite their tongue. Stiff upper lip and all that.
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Last edited by dissolute on Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I have heard the entirety of the first release, all four episodes. My opinion is based on the actual productions. I realize that they are based on comic strips, as has been mentioned several times before; they are not, in my opinion, particularly coherent audio productions, nor do they bear much resemblance to the original characters. In some ways, they are quite offensive.

I am not attempting to belittle anyone's opinion.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attempted to listen to one of these again today, good lord they are simply awful ! Possibly one of the worst things BF have ever produced.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avengerholic wrote:
Attempted to listen to one of these again today, good lord they are simply awful ! Possibly one of the worst things BF have ever produced.

I loved all four! Amongst my favourite Big Finish audios ever Very Happy

Not awful, simply appealing to differing tastes.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

I loved all four! Amongst my favourite Big Finish audios ever Very Happy

Not awful, simply appealing to differing tastes.


Each to their own naturally and I'm please someone enjoys them, but to me the're absolutely awful !
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Discussion concerning the use of The Avengers name by Marvel Comics split off into it's own topic in The Avengers on Television:

http://avengersfanforum.s2.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=3361
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BF has now posted the cover of their graphic novel reprint of the Diana comic strips. They have not stated "not final art" so am assuming it will be the actual cover.
https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-graphic-novel-1220
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Box set 2 is out now.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listened to 'Playtime is Over' while walking the dawg this morning. Absolutely dreadful nonsense, I had a glimmer of hope that set two would be an improvement over the initial release, but sadly not, if this first story is anything to go by it's worse. Poulet is astonishingly bad and the entire production seems so amateurish ! If BF were going for a puerile tone with these releases then they've certainly achieved it !
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't received my pre-order for box-set 2 or the beautifully drawn Diana comic-strip book yet - got confirmation today of the orders going out.
I was hoping for better things with box-set 2. I haven't listened to all 4 of one yet - but will give it another chance.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrs_emma_peel wrote:
I haven't received my pre-order for box-set 2 or the beautifully drawn Diana comic-strip book yet - got confirmation today of the orders going out.
I was hoping for better things with box-set 2. I haven't listened to all 4 of one yet - but will give it another chance.


Well I hope you enjoy them when they arrive. I've always enjoyed anything and everything Avengers, from the TV series to the movie, the SA radio serials to the comics and books, BUT these things are beyond dreadful, I can hardly manage to get through to the end of the discs ! I know its only my opinion, but how BF have managed to churn out such utter tripe, from the artwork right through to the disc content, is beyond me. The Avengers is about style and sophistication, they had all that beautiful original artwork with which to design the box covers and yet this is what they come up with, the image on set one is almost a farce !



The artwork on the second box set is a slight improvement on the first, but it leaves you with a complete set that doesn't match ! Poulet was a huge error of judgement, she's just completely miscast, and yes they are based on comics but that doesn't mean the adaptations had to be more suited to children than adults. I hope this set sees the end of this wasted opportunity.
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