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The countryside episodes

 
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Allard
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 1713
Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:42 pm    Post subject: The countryside episodes Reply with quote

Many if not most of the Avengers episodes are quite urban in their setting.

But there are a number of episodes that have a more rural atmosphere with many outdoor scenes., especially the monochrome Emma Peel series has a few of these:

A SURFEIT OF H2O
MAN-EATER OF SURREY GREEN
SILENT DUST

The deceptive tranquillity of the countryside is contrasted with the diabolical goings-on Steed and his companion are fighting. For me these are the most pure Avengers episodes, something dark in a stylish beautiful world. The comedic element is mostly more subtle. There are also a few in this genre in the Tara King era:

TAKE-OVER
THE ROTTERS
ALL DONE WITH MIRRORS

Although outside shot scenes are rare in the Gale era, we do have a few of these episodes:

BUILD A BETTER MOUSETRAP
MANDRAKE
DRESSED TO KILL

They seem to be absent from the Peel colour era, I wonder whether this is because the black-and-white image enhances this atmosphere.
There certainly are more outdoorsy, rural episodes, but they are more comedic and lack that eerie element:

ESCAPE IN TIME
THE HIDDEN TIGER
YOU HAVE JUST BEEN MURDERED
THINGUMAJIG
THE THIRTEENTH HOLE
DEAD MAN'S TREASURE

I love seeing one of these with Easter when spring weather is upon us and the countryside is becoming so lovely again.

Wondering about your opinions on this or whether you have another "type" of episode you like.
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Darren
The Bird Who Wrote Too Much


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 1842
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a practicality point of view, it was easier to film down a countryside lane a few miles from the studios than go into built up areas where they face more disruption from passers-by. Keeping in line with Clemens' vision of a world devoid of extras; that was easier to achieve in the countryside.

The Thirteenth Hole has the countryside feel. I tend to look on the episodes that are isolated and set in remote places as countryside (stretching the definition). Episodes like Castle De'ath, The Hour That Never Was and at a push The Gravediggers has an airy feel.
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cyberrich
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 1135
Location: Midlands, U.K.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 4 did have a unique feel, and I know what Allard means in that this season was able to produce moments that were genuinely eerie. The scene where Emma discovers Eli has drowned was quite unsettling, and yet these scenes had an artistic almost film noir quality. The monochrome itself actually enhanced the eeriness. Season 5 was visually like an artist's easel with every colour on the screen and episodes like Escape in time were stunning to look at, but moments like Eli's final scene were not evident. The nearest to genuine moments of suspense were in The Joker, and I've always found the playground scene in The see-through man extremely creepy! Rich. Smile
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mrs_emma_peel
Have Fingers... Will Type!


Joined: 08 Feb 2010
Posts: 299
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree.
Three of my countryside favourites in Series 4 are A Surfeit of H20, The Thirteenth Hole and Castle De'ath.
In the colour era: You Have Just Been Murdered and the olde world medieval themes in Murdersville and the Tudor time-travelling of Escape in Time.
The black and white crispness, feature film look and more serious feel of Series 4 has always been my favourite.
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Allard
The Ministry


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 1713
Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 5 (the Peel colour episodes) are indeed vibrant in colour, but is also more formulaic, very groomed (maybe for the US?). Season four is more divers and daring as are the Tara King episodes.

Interesting to compare it to the noir genre. In the strong visual style I see a connection. Noir tends to be male centred and very urban and often in working class and in the milieu of the poor. That's closer to the Gale era and very unlike the later Avengers. Maybe the Peel monochromes are like the golden middle, where the styles blend just very well.
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mrspeel01
Thingumajig


Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with your analysis of film noir and about the visual style of season 4. That is what most are referring to in the comparison with film noir and season 4. It is about how season 4 is shot. The use of lighting in film noir is very distinctive eg.heavy shadows, hiding in the dark or half-light, and the dark moodiness of it all. The stories themselves have a dark tone. Season 4 in many eps. uses lighting & shadows to good effect and has a darker tone to it than subsequent seasons. it has a film noir style to it. Season 5 embraces colour and uses it well but the noir lighting, moodiness etc is completely gone (save for The Joker, for example) which is a bit of a shame.
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