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Is Venus about to attack Earth? Several members of the British Venusian Society think so, while other BVS devotees are being killed in a rather unearthly manner: hit by some kind of bright light that leaves them shock-white from head to toe. John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Mrs. Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) investigate and find, naturally, a larger conspiracy than meets the eye. The enticing mystery (written by Philip Levene) is aided by a nifty sound effect (a high-pitched whine that grows stronger just before the burst of light), and Steed's infiltration of the eccentric BVS group is highly entertaining. The second episode on the DVD is another Levene script, "The Fear Merchants," in which businessmen are being reduced to babbling psychiatric patients after being subjected to their worst fears: spiders, birds, fast cars, etc. Steed has to do some fancy footwork to avoid being buried by a bulldozer, and Mrs. Peel--who apparently has no phobias--is nearly subjected to nasty surgical tortures. The satirical element, in which captains of industry are made demented by anxieties, is great fun. The final episode on this volume, "Escape in Time," finds the intrepid Steed and Mrs. Peel hot on the trail of villains who are offering criminals the perfect escape from modern law: a one-way trip to the past, where they can lose themselves in history. Levene's smart script and Avengers designer Wilfred Shingleton make the time-transport scenes convincing in a very economical way--travelers go to sleep in a room at an opulent, old country house and awaken in that same room furnished in the style of the Georgian or Elizabethan ages, etc. When Mrs. Peel takes a trip back to what she believes is going to be 1790, and is confronted by a masked executioner from an older era, it's yikes time. --Tom Keogh
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