The (New) Avengers on film: Avengerland Regained and Avengerland Revisited

The Avengers on film cover

After Rodney Marshall penned his trio of Avengers books -- Subversive Champagne (examining the Emma Peel era), Adventure and Comic Strip (an analysis of Tara King’s season six), and Making it New? (a much-overdue volume dedicated to the The New Avengers, and reviewed by this site) -- each covering a selection of episodes, he turned his mind to an even more ambitious project. Marshall, the son of Avengers scriptwriter Roger Marshall (The Hour That Never Was, Death of a Batman, and The Danger Makers are just a few of his many credits), put forward the idea of a series of books dedicated to analyzing each episode of every season of The Avengers recorded on film. The chapters would be written by an array of Avengers fans and experts. Marshall himself would take on editing duties and co-ordinate the project, as well as contribute chapters to the text. The finished product would provide the first comprehensive, in-depth, episode-by-episode critical analysis of the filmed episodes in print, and seek to explain what made the series “tick”. The various volumes in the multi-book series would be tied together under the banner The Avengers on film (by definition omitting season one, starring Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel, and seasons two and three, starring Honor Blackman as Dr. Cathy Gale, all of which were recorded on videotape in vastly different production circumstances than the filmed episodes of season four onward).

The idea met with an enthusiastic response, and writing got underway in 2014 on the first volume, Bright Horizons, covering season four, the monochrome Emma Peel season. Following close on its heels were Mrs. Peel, We’re Needed, covering Emma Peel’s colour season five adventures; Anti-Clockwise, focussing on Tara King’s season six; and Avengerland Regained, a volume devoted to The New Avengers. While the initial plan was for the project to consist of four volumes, Marshall saw the potential for a book examining the various elements that were key to the series’ identity and success, and served as connective tissue between all of the show’s various and disparate incarnations throughout its five filmed seasons. The result was Avengerland Revisited, which tied together those overarching elements in a series of thematic chapters, and served as a fitting cap to Marshall’s ambitious endeavour.

Of the five volumes, the final two, Avengerland Regained and Avengerland Revisited, are the most relevant to this site and New Avengers fans. However, Anew also highly recommends the first three volumes in the series for those fans interested in a new perspective on The New Avengers’ illustrious forebear, and is proud to have been given the opportunity to be involved in all five volumes of The Avengers on film project.

Avengerland Regained

Released in 2015, Avengerland Regained: Reassessing The New Avengers, the fourth volume of The Avengers on film, offers essays dedicated to analyzing each of the 26 episodes of the series’ two seasons. Written by an array of fans and experts, the book offers a variety of viewpoints on the series’ often underappreciated merits, while not shying away from its flaws and the complications resulting from its financing issues and small writing pool. Often skimmed over or omitted altogether in books about the Avengers phenomenon, the book expands upon the precedent set by Marshall’s Making it New? by giving The New Avengers a long-overdue in-depth examination. The volume also includes a preface, introduction, afterword, quotations glossary, and an episode production order for reference.

Avengerland Revisited

Also released in 2015, Avengerland Revisited: The Definitive Guide provides an overview of the essential elements and common themes shared by all film eras of the series. Chapters examine a topic as it relates to the Emma Peel and Tara King (and sometimes New Avengers) eras. Where necessary, reference is also made to the earlier videotaped seasons to paint a more complete picture, but the focus remains firmly on the filmed era. Chapter topics include: a Preface; Television, The Avengers & Cultural Revolution; The Avengers and the Cold War; Subversive Champagne & The Art of Murder; Graveyards; the Country House Trap; Main Title Sequences; Teasers; Tag Scenes; Set Design and Locations; Music; Cars; Fashions; Script-writers; Direction; John Steed; Emma Peel; Tara King; Mother; Mike Gambit; Purdey; Eccentrics; Martial Arts; The Avengers in France; pieces from Avengers writer Roger Marshall and stunt arranger/director Ray Austin; a tribute to Patrick Macnee; an Afterword; The Avengers and the Cold War; Brian Clemens post-Avengers; and an episode list.

(Back to Non-Fiction)