The GLG Reports
Page 64 of 67

By Grant L. Goggans

"It's suddenly gone all quiet." For what it does, "Sleeper" works damn well, and it's very entertaining. Shot almost entirely on location, and with Laurie Johnson's music used sparingly for an often eerie feel, the episode moves at a good pace, the direction is effective and the occasional touches of comedy (Purdey's pants falling down, Steed and Gambit enjoying beer straight from the bottle, the Kojak-loving cops) are never labored. The funniest moment comes when Gambit offers one of the gunmen a light, although, being a Purdey fan, I do adore the great moment when, after kicking Prentis Hancock across the street (I know the feeling; he's an awful actor), her pajama bottoms slip down again and she doesn't bat an eye. It's also a great episode to demonstrate the disparity in production between old and new Avengers. Previously, when the show went on location in London, it was just in the pretty residential areas, as seen in "False Witness" to great effect. The New Avengers is truly a product of the 70s though, using instead Docklands, warehouses, gutted buildings and the like. While the old series was set in Swinging or Mod London, this is set in the same city as Target or The Sweeney, and, against this "realism," the comedic moments seem delightfully out of place. However, the hour does fall on one major point: the premise itself. The villains steal this military gas and use it on an entire city... to rob banks? Particularly as the villains look and dress so much like real world terrorists of the decade (I was disturbingly reminded of the Munich Olympics, actually), and are armed accordingly, this seems quite mundane. Brian Clemens missed an incredible opportunity to turn this into a two-parter about the criminals using the gas to take over the government... and that could have been an unmissable adventure. The "comedic" ending is unfunny in a Roger Moore James Bond-sort of way.

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