Visitor Reviews
Page 103 of 164

The Positive Negative Man
by David Crichton, Birmingham, UK

This story recalls both Positive and Negative memories (sorry about the pun), as it has both very worthy points and not so worthy ones. The story continues the fifth season tradition of science fiction-like devices that can be used to gain power for those who possess them, ones that our heroes must discover and abort. "The Positive Negative Man" is well-directed, and the plot is essentially thorough and explanatory, but their are still some questions I often have about the story. As in many Avengers episodes, we have the diabolical mastermind (who is not actually very diabolical) set on taking over the world using "supermen" that are charged to kill. This, we presume, is why they are willing to murder, steal and sabotage anybody and anything that stands in their way. The problem with this, however, is that, while the electrically-charged army would indeed be formidable, such an army would be just as effective given ordinary guns, as there is nothing to suggest that these men cannot be shot like any other: their insulation may not conduct electricity, but it is also not bullet proof.

The story is well-engineered, with Steed and Emma on top form, and the music, direction and script all create a successfully fearful episode. But "The Positive Negative Man" is lacking something; partly this is wit, although Cynthia Wentworth-Howe adds comic relief, and the tag scene is particularly memorable. The script is rather predictable, and while their are some great moments, the episode seems to take itself too seriously given the relatively unimpressive storyline. Also disappointing is the use throughout of rubber-soled shoes. We already know Steed is wearing such shoes, as he is saved when touching the car door, and so we are not too surprised when he is again wearing them (albeit a different pair) when rescuing Emma.

Altogether though a good episode, it is certainly not boring, and maintains an edge of anticipation throughout. Laurie Johnson provides us with a powerful theme; there are some great action scenes, and Steed driving into a river is also light relief, especially upon telling Emma, "Do you know anybody who wants to buy a vintage Bentley in the new two-toned colour of green and slightly singed?" "The Positive Negative Man" remains quite favourable with me; as it was one of the first episodes I saw, it must have had that something that got me addicted to the show.

The Positive Negative Man
by Amanda Kinsel

"The Positive Negative Man" has been one of my favorites ever since I first saw the Avengers, three years ago. Sure, the script isn't one of the best, but there's some indescribable charm about it. Especially the interaction between Steed and Mrs. Peel. "What was all that about? You didn't trip, we don't have a dinner engagement, and to plumb the depths of utter banality with 'I don't usually fall for strangers'." That has to be one of Steed's best lines. In fact, I fell so in love with this episode, I made my drama group perform it.

This episode will always be one of my favorites.

The Positive Negative Man
by Andrew Holland

I think this episode is an underrated gem! For a start, there's the excellent plot - I love the concept of "broadcast power" and the idea that it can be harnessed to such a degree that a human being can act as its conductor (the ultimate human weapon, perhaps?).

Then there are the performances. The two leads are, as usual, never less than excellent, especially when handed such a witty script as this - the scene where Mrs Peel uses an (apparently) clumsy technique to unmask the villain is priceless, as is her subsequent dialogue with Steed.

The performances of the guest cast are also top-class. After being a deceptively nervous character to begin with, Dr Cresswell, in the skilful hands of Ray McAnally, develops into one of the best Avengers masterminds (the phrase "bitter and twisted" comes to mind) and perhaps acts as a prototype for McAnally's performance as Arcos in "They Keep Killing Steed." Michael Latimer's portrayal of Peter Haworth, the self-proclaimed "walking dynamo" is equally good, particularly as, in other hands, this character could have been very bland & monosyllabic.

As for the remaining guest cast, Peter Blythe is a suitably stuffy, and even stuck-up, James Mankin (the sort of style that he later perfected as Ballard in Rumpole of the Bailey) and Caroline Blakiston is always good value in whatever role she portrays - as has already been mentioned by David & other contributors, her method of... er... storing all her various keys is quite unique!

All in all, an episode that positively crackles with energy (excuse the pun) - I would award it 10 bowlers plus!

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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