Variety, January 17, 1968
(Mission: Highly Improbable)
With Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, others
Producers: Albert Fennell, Brian Clemens
Director: Bob Day
Writer: Philip Levene
60 mins., Weds., 7:30 p.m.
"The Avengers" returned to ABC-TV and a new time slot in fine fettle with a show that was superior by dint of the usual craftsmanship associated with the series plus some well conceived and well executed special effects. The title for this segment, "Mission: Highly Improbable", had more than a little significance since "Avengers" appears to be getting addicted to the sort of artful gimmickry that has become the trademark of CBS's "Mission Impossible".
The move from 10p.m. on Friday nights to 7.30p.m. on Wednesday presents some demographic hurdles that the series will have to overcome. The Friday night slot was ideal for the series, making available an audience of both young and old. This new earlier slot is kid time at the set, and this rather sophisticated show may well have tough going against the fare on the other two webs.
The opener had about it the sort of production and thespic gloss that has marked the series from the beginning, and was considerably abetted by a tightly-knit script. The premise was not exactly new, having to do with a device that miniaturizes people and things that gets into evil hands.
Patrick Macnee continues as excellent in his roguish portrayal of the urbane and elegant John Steed, spicing the role nicely with a light dose of camp. Diana Rigg, who exits the series later in the season, is a delightful foil. The show is also enhanced by peerless performances by a batch of British character actors in supporting roles.
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