I'd closed the book on TAF.
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. I'm not about to go into the details here; suffice it to say I desperately needed a distraction, and 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and edited all 1,240 pages—a herculean task, especially when it came to the episode pages, which were loaded with outdated information, useless links and other issues.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, the site 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. Consequently I've received some complaints about my page design, in particular the width limitation. But I must point out a few little technical issues. First, going wider would mean having to make columns—have you ever tried to read text that runs across a full 2560 pixel screen?—and that was way more work than I cared to do. Second, not everyone has wide screens. And third, try looking at the site in a smaller window! (I have one of the widest screens made, and that's what I do. Very easy on the eyes.)
At one time I wanted TAF to contain everything knowable about The Avengers. 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. In a few cases I actually pared back on information, since it's often a moving target, and I wasn't keen on the upkeep.
To that end, I 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. And to those who might have nits to pick with the choices I have made, I recommend hosting your own site; I'm not here to do anyone's bidding but my own. (Sorry to be such a snot about this, but some people feel entirely too entitled.)
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.
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 (revised 18 July)
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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