Saturday, March 21, 2009

Avengers dates in March

We've had a couple of 40th anniversary themes. March of every year brings important dates for me regarding the tv series "The Avengers". March 28 of this year will be the 43rd anniversary of the show's opening on American tv. Last night, March 20th, was the 41st anniversary of Diana Rigg's leaving the show, ie her last episode airing on American tv.

The show and especially her had a great effect on me. Patrick Macnee as John Steed and now Dame Diana as Emma Peel have to me always represented the ultimate in pop culture masculine/feminine archetypes. I still am amazed at how few people, even those who later produced more tv episodes and a movie in 1998, realize what made the show tick. Both the man and woman must be total equals. Independent, yet interdependent. Then the alchemical mix can succeed and something unique can be created. The show itself was broadly a spy show. However, at its best it was never limited to that. There was an incredible science fiction/fantasy element it it that allowed writers to literally go crazy with offbeat quirky yet very entertaining vehicles for Steed and Mrs. Peel. Time travel, comic book superheroes, psychic and psychological murders, invaders from outer space, a giant alien plant which was going to take over the world, ghosts, are all topics that surfaced on the show. I myself wrote a piece"Mrs Peel You're Needed" that took place in the field of infinite possibilities where time and space are no limitations. They also liked to do tribute episodes to films, such as "The Magnificent Seven", "And then there were none", "Bad Day in Blackrock". "The Winged Avenger" was a veery entertaining take off on a Batman like character who goes way too far. So you never knew who or what to expect as you tuned in from week to week.

Diana Rigg's departure was what motivated me to do martial arts. Having done martial arts for 40 years, I can see that a lot of what she did on the screen was choreographed. But she also has something that as an instructor you cannot teach. Presence. Energy. Power. Even though she is a Cancer sun, that sun is in her first house, which means she has a powerful identity and sense of self. And her sun is conjuncted by both Mars(energy, assertion, aggression, vital for an athlete or martial artist) and also by the planet Pluto(power). Andrea Mallis told me she fits the archetype of the powerful woman. An an actress she has played such roles as Lady Macbeth and Medea. She has also appeared nude onstage. So she goes her own way with style.

In aikido terms Steed represents the form energy(masculine, an old world traditional gentleman) and Mrs Peel the flow(feminine, powerful, explosive). In the case of Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee these energies had a balance so they could mix and produce something that is still unique. Due to cultural perceptions in the '60's, the Mrs Peel character seems much more radical, but I think we must all give Patrick Macnee credit for portraying a very advanced male, equal to the feminine yet able to step aside and let the feminine fully express not only its beauty but also its power and intelligence. I still find the John Steed/Emma Peel relationship the ultimate model for any relationship I might be in.

So this is Avengers anniversary week. Even after over 40 years it is an important part of my life.

I am including a youtube short that was produced to let American viewers know that the Avengers was soon to be back on American tv. And in color....


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