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Magazine Cult Times: Best and Worst Avengers/TNA episodes

 
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denis rigg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:56 am    Post subject: Magazine Cult Times: Best and Worst Avengers/TNA episodes Reply with quote

t's interesting to look at Best and Worst episodes according British magazine Cult Times (from 1998). Smile

Top 10 and Bottom 5!

Surprises awaits you, dear Avengers fans.












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cyberrich
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have this magazine. The top 10 aren't bad choices. Not the best 10 episodes admittedly, but I think they were trying to represent all the different eras. The hour that never was is an unforgivable oversight Exclamation
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cyberrich wrote:
I have this magazine. The top 10 aren't bad choices. Not the best 10 episodes admittedly, but I think they were trying to represent all the different eras. The hour that never was is an unforgivable oversight Exclamation


As I recall from the aims of the piece ...

The object of the exercise wasn't actually to list the ten "best" ... but more to pick ten shows which would "sell" the series to people who hadn't seen it before and in an "accessible" way (hence the inclusion of only one videotaped episode as I've a feeling that this was concurrent with the sporadic repeats of the filmed episodes on Channel 4 at the time). The magazine was a series of "Top 10s", and so the editorial aim was that somebody buying the title to read about their favourite shows would be enticed into reading about others. Certainly - stylistically - I'd personally have rated "The Hour That Never Was" over and above several episodes that *were* in there, but it didn't fit the rules; for example, I think at the outset it was agreed that we *had* to have a Cybernauts episode in there and that it make it accessible it *had* to be the first one ...

The one bit I remember hating was that there had to be the "worst 5" as well ... And that's what I always hate about these full rankings; that something has to come bottom, which I find rather unfair.

Although the "Top 10"/"Top 20"/"Top 100" thing isn't a format that I like much at all as a reader these days for various reasons, I think what it can still be very good at is showing a wider array of subject matter to a reader for them to seek out (should it be available). The downside is that it usually ends up being the usual suspects ... which can get sort of stale. But, then again, as my editor John Freeman used to tell me: "Every issue is the first issue for somebody new somewhere ..."

All the best

Andrew
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MikeR
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If someone has never seen The Avengers/The New Avengers, then these are the episodes to recommend to them to watch first to get them into the series. I would agree that this top ten are very good examples, but there's always going to be something like The Hour That Never Was that has to be omitted, due to lack of space.
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denis rigg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find that the episodes in Ten are chosen well too, If look at it from the perspective of not the Top 10, but simply as a succesful components of series. Wink
The structure of choice is nice, though this would was more fair, if Cathy Gale era contained two episode too as well as Emma Peel b/w episodes:

Cathy Gale
Dressed to Kill

Emma Peel b/w era
The Cybernauts
A Touch of Brimstone
The House that Jack Built

Emma Peel color era
From Venus with Love
The Winged Avenger

Tara King
Look (stop me if...
Fog

TNA
The Eagle's Nest
Target

I was thinking about The Hour That Never Was on moment posting Very Happy and... well Rolling Eyes , I would agreed to remove The Cybernautes to the side to insert it in Ten.
Frankly, I always believed that the Cybernautes are rather a huge favorite for the American public, even though on first run there was a bad reaction to the episode. Indeed, if to read American comics about the series, then sometimes you get the impression that cybernautes is one of the main Avengers components.
In Russia, for example, the same approach to the episode The Joker, and if there were official products about the series, possibly there could was to guess what it would be for start. Smile
In any country are own preferences, and although definitely The Cybernautes is a good episode, for that things look more fair from my point of view, I'm not afraid to say it again: I would be willing to replace it with The Hour That Never Was, or Too Many Christmas Trees (classic succesful episodes for many viewers in different counties).

Other good but controversial episode, in my opinion, there is Fog.
Although personally Fog is of my favorites, I know many people who did not like episode or they could not even watch it to the end.

As for the rest in Ten - all episodes are acceptable for enjoy to many. Although personally I do not like The Winged Avenger.

Oh, situation with the worst episodes are, that it always more difficult to assess than the best. I noticed, many do not get so upset when an episode that they think is bad turns to be in favourites for many, than when their favorite episode turns to be one of their worst. Very Happy Well, I'm not very tended to frustrations because of my optimistic and eccentric nature, but this fun to see that two personal love episodes turns in Bottom 5. Laughing

I agree, it is very difficult to make an approach to the evaluation of episodes of any series, so that the requests are satisfied as many people as possible. Result, the magazine as a whole presents a very qualitative approach to the topic, and it is well felt that there has been done effort. Cheers. Smile
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cyberrich
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to read your reply Andrew. I hadn't realised you were involved. I've still got the magazine which I bought at the time. As I say, I can see the point of the exercise was to give an overview representing all seasons, rather than the best 10. I actually don't think the choices are bad at all. I would probably swap Dressed to kill with Wringer and Brimstone with Hour that never was, and leave the rest. I think your bottom 5 was pretty spot on, though Breakfast has grown on me over the years. I'd promote that one and add Earthmen to the bottom 5 these days. Rich.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally found a moment to reply; sorry, I'm on the fora less and less these days because of time pressures ...

denis rigg wrote:
I find that the episodes in Ten are chosen well too, If look at it from the perspective of not the Top 10, but simply as a succesful components of series. Wink
The structure of choice is nice, though this would was more fair, if Cathy Gale era contained two episode too as well as Emma Peel b/w episodes:

Cathy Gale
Dressed to Kill

Emma Peel b/w era
The Cybernauts
A Touch of Brimstone
The House that Jack Built

Emma Peel color era
From Venus with Love
The Winged Avenger

Tara King
Look (stop me if...
Fog

TNA
The Eagle's Nest
Target

I was thinking about The Hour That Never Was on moment posting Very Happy and... well Rolling Eyes , I would agreed to remove The Cybernautes to the side to insert it in Ten.
Frankly, I always believed that the Cybernautes are rather a huge favorite for the American public, even though on first run there was a bad reaction to the episode. Indeed, if to read American comics about the series, then sometimes you get the impression that cybernautes is one of the main Avengers components.
In Russia, for example, the same approach to the episode The Joker, and if there were official products about the series, possibly there could was to guess what it would be for start. Smile
In any country are own preferences, and although definitely The Cybernautes is a good episode, for that things look more fair from my point of view, I'm not afraid to say it again: I would be willing to replace it with The Hour That Never Was, or Too Many Christmas Trees (classic succesful episodes for many viewers in different counties).

Other good but controversial episode, in my opinion, there is Fog.
Although personally Fog is of my favorites, I know many people who did not like episode or they could not even watch it to the end.

As for the rest in Ten - all episodes are acceptable for enjoy to many. Although personally I do not like The Winged Avenger.

Oh, situation with the worst episodes are, that it always more difficult to assess than the best. I noticed, many do not get so upset when an episode that they think is bad turns to be in favourites for many, than when their favorite episode turns to be one of their worst. Very Happy Well, I'm not very tended to frustrations because of my optimistic and eccentric nature, but this fun to see that two personal love episodes turns in Bottom 5. Laughing

I agree, it is very difficult to make an approach to the evaluation of episodes of any series, so that the requests are satisfied as many people as possible. Result, the magazine as a whole presents a very qualitative approach to the topic, and it is well felt that there has been done effort. Cheers. Smile


Found your comments very interesting! And it's odd thinking back almost twenty years to what the thinking was behind the choices. Added to the fact that my own feelings about good and not-so-good episodes for almost any series changes from week to week ...

I think that personally I wouldn't include "A Touch of Brimstone" for example; it's a nicely done episode and very stylish, but for me it's not "The Avengers" at its best. However, I think we included it because it's got an infamous status and people expected it to be there. To a certain extent, it's the same reasoning behind "The Cybernauts" ...

"The Joker" is another favourite of mine and was in the running as I recall ... but we only wanted one woman-in-isolated-house episode and so "The House That Jack Built" won out over this and "Don't Look Behind You" (also a superior entry).

I seem to recall that we selected "Fog" and "Look (Stop me ..." to show the diversity of the Tara King episodes. I remember a discussion in the early 1980s with Mike Richardson where we felt that the Tara King scripts were some of the best because they were so diverse. Deep down, my own favourites are the colour Diana Rigg episodes ... but many of them are very similar and formulaic and we were hoping to show more diversity in approach. Hence "Fog" and "Look (Stop me ..." ...

"The Winged Avenger" ended up in there because of the "Batman" tag and the Frank Bellamy artwork which might have attracted new viewers (also I see the specific "Batman" reference was removed). Similarly, mentioning the appearance of Jon Pertwee in "From Venus with Love" was felt to be a good tactic move to attract "Doctor Who" fans.

Certainly I'd probably add at least one (if not two) examples of the videotape era to the list now at the expense of one/two film entries. But that's how time and tastes change.

The other thing which these lists always remind me of is how many of the "best" episodes of a series are those which aren't immediately accessible to a new viewer. For example, with "Moonlighting", I adore episodes like "Atomic Shakespeare", "A Womb with a View" and "It's a Wonderful Job" ... but all of these require prior knowledge of the programme to derive the full enjoyment, and would probably be rather bewildering for a newcomer.

But fascinating comments Denis ... and I find myself in agreement with you on nearly all of them! Smile

All the best

Andrew
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cyberrich wrote:
Nice to read your reply Andrew. I hadn't realised you were involved. I've still got the magazine which I bought at the time. As I say, I can see the point of the exercise was to give an overview representing all seasons, rather than the best 10. I actually don't think the choices are bad at all. I would probably swap Dressed to kill with Wringer and Brimstone with Hour that never was, and leave the rest.


Swapping "Brimstone" with "Hour" is *precisely* what I'd have done personally ... except for the fact that we needed "Brimstone" in there because of its infamous status.

"Dressed to Kill" I remember winning out purely because I viewed that with a friend of mine at an event, and she'd never seen any of the videotaped episodes before and was rather skeptical about them. But at the end of the episode she remarked: "Gosh! That was good!" And I said, "Oh, glad you enjoyed it." And she said, "I don't mean 'That was good considering it was 1963', I mean 'That was good!'" And I always remembered that as being so enjoyable and accessible to somebody coming to the series "cold".

Quote:
I think your bottom 5 was pretty spot on, though Breakfast has grown on me over the years. I'd promote that one and add Earthmen to the bottom 5 these days. Rich.


I'm actually increasingly fond of "The 50,000 Breakfast" as well these days ... mainly because it varies the tone of the colour Emma Peel run. Smile

All the best

Andrew
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denis rigg
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew, many thanks for your excellent thorough look at the topic, it's always enjoy to read your comments, as we both are sort of people which very love the details. Smile So great to know why many of these episodes were selected for magazine and this leads me to some questions that I wanted to ask you. Wink

1. Although it can be foreseen why were selected the episodes From Venus with Love, The Eagle's Nest and Trap for magazine, it's interesting to hear your opinion for it, Andrew. Wink

2. Youe opinion, why the countdown of episodes in best Ten of British magazine began exactly since the episode The Cybernauts (which is rather an American favorite, while choice of true Britain usually goes for another sort of favorite episodes like The House That Jack Built, Too Many Christmas Trees, The Hour That Never Was and some others).

3. Perhaps the most interesting question.
For a long time there was, I think, a tradition that the worst episodes in the Tara era are Homicide and old Lace, and Invasion of the Earthmen. Why do you think was chosen other approach for it in magazine?

4. It's interesting to hear a story about your Feature in this magazine. Who suggested for it? Have you had any other variants for this Feature, when worked with it?

5. Was there something the magazine planned to post in this section, but it was rejected on some point? Wink

I wish you all the best, Andrew.
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Andrew Pixley
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In extreme haste ...

denis rigg wrote:
Andrew, many thanks for your excellent thorough look at the topic, it's always enjoy to read your comments, as we both are sort of people which very love the details. Smile


Happy to help when I get chance ...

Quote:
So great to know why many of these episodes were selected for magazine and this leads me to some questions that I wanted to ask you. Wink

1. Although it can be foreseen why were selected the episodes From Venus with Love, The Eagle's Nest and Trap for magazine, it's interesting to hear your opinion for it, Andrew. Wink


"From Venus with Love": a good, solid example of colour Emma Peel era featuring a recognisable guest star for the "Doctor Who" readership

"The Eagle's Next": just a fine example of "The New Avengers". "Target!" was another contender. But a nice example of the show at its best.

"Trap": at the time, a general whipping boy of an episode and an easy target because the first half didn't feel very Avengerish and the rather iffy casting of the villain
Quote:

2. Youe opinion, why the countdown of episodes in best Ten of British magazine began exactly since the episode The Cybernauts (which is rather an American favorite, while choice of true Britain usually goes for another sort of favorite episodes like The House That Jack Built, Too Many Christmas Trees, The Hour That Never Was and some others).


"The Cybernauts" would be No 1 as a strong accessible episode ... generally on grounds of descending accessibility/fun - hence low placing of the one VT episode ...

Quote:
3. Perhaps the most interesting question.
For a long time there was, I think, a tradition that the worst episodes in the Tara era are Homicide and old Lace, and Invasion of the Earthmen. Why do you think was chosen other approach for it in magazine?


Frankly it's a toss-up between any of the John Bryce 1968 episodes; all three was over-doing it a bit and mis-representing the era, so we just chose the two that were most obviously cut-and-shunt jobs.

Quote:
4. It's interesting to hear a story about your Feature in this magazine. Who suggested for it? Have you had any other variants for this Feature, when worked with it?


Notion would have come from the editor, the rather brilliant Richard Atkinson, and would have been squarely to tie in with the movie. Don't recall any other variations.

The issue also covered - I recall - "The X Files", "Babylon 5", "Star Trek" and "Doctor Who" but I wasn't involved with those. I seem to recall Peter Ware did "Doctor Who".

Quote:
5. Was there something the magazine planned to post in this section, but it was rejected on some point? Wink


Not that I recall.

Sorry that's all so brief ... very little time to respond these days ... Sad

All the best

Andrew
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