to give or to keep: ‘The Avengers: A Celebration: 50 Years of a Television Classic’

Until I run out of cool giftable stuff to tell you about or until we run out of days till Christmas, I’ll be sharing some neat-o things that your geeky pals might enjoy, or that you might want to give to yourself, if you’ve been especially good this year.

This huge — 10.5 inches by 11.5 inches — beautiful coffeetable volume, from Titan Books, is a gorgeous valentine to the beloved tongue-in-cheek spy show at its half-century mark. It’s hard to believe this enormously entertaining series is 50 years old: it remains a hoot and hardly feels dated at all, in many aspects, from its timeless cool to its romantic sexiness that was only just hinting at the Swinging Sixties yet to explode when the show debuted… yet today that ethos still feels smart and sophisticated today.

Fans of the show and of groundbreaking television in general will love this book. It doesn’t offer only a history of The Avengers, it puts the show in context to demonstrate how it broke from TV’s roots in film as well as what TV had been doing prior to this, particularly in how it developed its own style and how it put female characters in the foreground as protagonists in their own right.

And boy are there photos! Publicity shots, behind-the-scenes making-ofs, and more. Endlessly fun to browse, this is a fantastic look at a show that is as important as it is fun itself.

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