The Young Avenger
Direction: Three out of five. Leslie Norman, a co-producer of such films as The Cruel Sea, makes his debut here with another Terry Nation sci-fi story. The first ten minutes of church sequences seem just like the old Hammer House of Horror films, but after this Norman seems to go, like the plot, a little ropey. There is nothing wrong with the direction in the non-church scenes, it is just that it lacks sparkle that would have been provided for it, if it been directed by someone like Robert Fuest, for example.
Plot: Two out of five. Terry Nation has written too many Doctor Who stories. This is obvious with this sort of plot, which is really not like the series at all. Steed has no really good lines, Tara is sidelined, and the archaeologists all seem to be there through coincidence. It is wrong to say that nothing happens, but it all seems a bit repetitive. It would have made a fine Jon Pertwee episode of Doctor Who.
Wittiness: Nil points. There are no witty lines at all. Rather like a Doctor Who script, in fact. What was Nation thinking of?
Action: Three out of five. This is actually an action packed episode, with two really good fights between Steed and Kruger. Both times, Kruger seems like a crazed, formidable opponent, and he slaughters Steed in their first fight. It is only when they both get gloves, boots and goggles that the fight really becomes great, and Kruger wins again. It is lucky for Steed that he wakes up in time to see the box heading for him!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. Excuse me, but why is the church all stripped out? I doubt that ancient catacombs would have such a temporary entrance, Robert Jones could at least have given it a door. Steed's Rolls-Royce makes an appearance, and quite rightly it is left behind whilst he and Inge investigate the quarry. It is rather good for something filmed in January, with Tyke's Water Lake in Elstree putting in its last appearance, I believe, apart from the titles. The sets are actually rather good, as all post-"Fog" ones are. However, most of it still happens indoors, so I justify my score here totally.
Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. The tag is so inexplicable in "The Positive Negative Man" style, and therefore very good, as we know for virtually the entire episode what our heroes do not. The expression of terror on Inge's face as she hears the box killing one of the archaeologists is well worth watching the episode for.
Overall Impression: Terry Nation really should not have bothered with this one, if The Avengers Dossier is anything to go by. My affinity for "Invasion of the Earthmen" also helps here, as the two have quite a few similarities. But, there are still many problems. The first is Jeremy Lloyd, who looks about twenty-five, and he is supposed to be a contemporary of Macnee. Then, Tara is sidelined for the whole thing, which is actually a bad thing. I do like Professor Truman, though, even though he has no witty lines at all.
Rating: Five out of ten.
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