Whether you will think this set an astoundingly good value for money and time spent depends on no small degree to how much of a fan you are of the whole Indiana Jones concept, how much you liked the original broadcast incarnation, and how much you are into The History Channel documentary features. There are a number of aspects to consider, in purchasing this set and the subsequent two volumes – first, that no expense was spared in production, and it all shows. The series was shot on location around the world, and if nothing else redeems ones faith in the ability of an American television series to “do” another era than the present with absolute fidelity to detail. This set presents the series events in chronological order – unlike the original series as broadcast, which hopped from adventure to adventure, from one year to a decade later with no particular logic. I rather prefer the straight chronological sequence but your mileage may vary.

What will probably dismay fans of the series is that the framing device and poignant character of “Old Indy” is entirely absent, and that each episode in this set is actually a pair of episodes roughly cobbled together. Sometimes there is a bit of a theme or location in common, and sometimes not; which results in jarring shifts of place and story at about the mid-point of each, as the schoolboy-aged Indiana Jones travels with his renowned professor father around the world at the very dawn of the 20th century. Of course, he meets up with fascinating and important people, every step of the way with a frequency which defies logic – but this is a television show! It is supposed to be entertaining, imagining the circumstances under in which a bright eight-year old boy can manage to meet everyone from Sigmund Freud to Norman Rockwell and take away some interesting lesson or insight.

The extras, which take up nearly half the 12 disc set are more extensive than practically any other TV series set which I have reviewed and consist mostly of short documentaries about the events and people encountered in the various episodes. If one is a History Channel addict, this is almost like getting two sets in one. A straight-up fan of the series may consider the documentaries, the interactive time line and game a little more gilding of the lily than is strictly necessary. But this series will be a godsend to parents attempting to painlessly interest children in historical events and interesting people – and anyway, Indiana Jones is a little more appealing to kids and a lot easier going than something like “Lanny Budd”.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones – Volume One is available here at Amazon.com and other retail outlets. Volume two will be available in December.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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