Time flies whether you're having fun or not.
I once said I was done. And I meant it.
Well, that was nearly a decade ago. That was then, and this is now. And "now" is a very strange place indeed, far removed from whatever expectations I might have had. My life has not exactly been a bowler full of cherries; indeed, it's been one catastrophe after another. As I write this, I'm sitting in a 12 by 12 foot cabin in the middle of the woods, with no electricity (I'm on my fifth generator) and no running water (I have a porta-potty). I can hear you splutter, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
I'm not about to go into the details here, because I've already gone into the details elsewhere. In a nutshell, I'm well and truly f*cked—legally, financially, physically and emotionally. Consequently, as I've been suffering from chronic acute depression, I've desperately needed a distraction, and when I'm not attempting to sort out my life, a site-wide TAF refresh seemed like a good idea.
Yes, I've opened and edited all 1,240 pages—a herculean task, especially when it came to the episode pages, which were loaded with outdated information, useless links and other issues. (I quite literally wore out a mouse in the process.) At first I was going to do a complete top-to-bottom redesign, but when I pulled the files from the archives and began poking around, I realized that, for the most part, it still held up pretty well. Why fix what ain't broke?
Basically I just trimmed away some fat (down to just over 1,000 pages) and gave the whole site a gentle facelift, mostly by just doing away with the background image. I also added links to every episode page that directly tie to other websites for further reading—in particular, Alan Hayes' Avengers Declassified and Piers Johnson's Mrs. Peel... We're Needed. Truth be told, these two sites far surpass my own efforts. And that is perfectly fine! TAF enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame, and now it's time for others to take the lead.
At one time I wanted TAF to contain everything knowable about The Avengers. Indeed, I'd even thought of creating biographies of every actor that appeared in the series—a formidable task given there's over a thousand of them, many of whom have left few or no traces behind. In the end, I realized that: a) enough of this information is already available on other websites and the Internet as a whole; b) this was beyond my capability within the limited time I have remaining on this planet; and c) it probably wasn't worth the effort given how (relatively) few humans care about the series.
To be sure, as I dug ever deeper into the dusty files, I realized that I'd poured my heart and soul into the project at exactly the right time: I was "high" on the series, and wanted nothing more than to express my appreciation in every way I could. The result is something ephemeral, something that can't be re-captured—much like the series. Consider it a book, one that many TAF fans have begged me to write: a personal homage to The Avengers, frozen in time for as long as the Internet (or my web host) survives.
So I settled on leaving things more or less as they are, with just a few touch-ups to keep key information current (including a marvelous new book). And as I embarked on the mission, I realized—a few months too late—that TAF had already hit a yuuuge milestone: 20 years! That's an eternity on the Internet. And to think I once felt that eight years was a really long time. And so, even though I popped the cork on the bubbly a little behind schedule, and even though I haven't been at the helm for nearly a decade, I'm really chuffed that TAF is still online, and still on the first page of a search (and since it was launched in September 1996, technically I'm within the 20-year window).
Anyway, the site refresh did the trick: it successfully distracted me from some of the darkest times I've ever had to endure in my six and a half decades on this earth. The task reminded me how The Avengers hasn't lost its appeal; indeed, I once went on at length how the fire never really dies. It's as true now as it ever was.
And that's my humble opinion.
David K. Smith, 9 May 2017
And thank you, Marcus Hearn. You're one of the reasons I did the refresh.
30 August 2008: Parting with such sweet sorrow.
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