(aka "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones" or "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles")

 

Executive Producer George Lucas
USA 1992

 

Indiana Jones was clearly a character that had captured the public’s imagination after three theatrical movies with blockbuster grosses, so executive producer George Lucas decided to move Indy to the small screen with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The series began as a string of hour-long shows, though surprisingly anemic ratings persuaded Lucasfilm to shift to making periodic movie specials instead. The show began with Indiana Jones as a child before catching up with the archaeologist as a late teen/young adult. Although the movies focused on Indiana’s spectacular encounters with fantastical elements, the TV show threw our hero into the middle of historical events, with Junior interacting with luminaries such as Pancho Villa and British suffragettes.

The show now arrives on DVD as The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, and some of the hour-long shows have been edited together to form 90-minute features. Volume 1 contains “My First Adventure”, “Passion for Life”, “The Perils of Cupid”, “Travels With Father”, “Journey of Radiance”, “Spring Break Adventure”, and “Love’s Sweet Song”. You don’t get the title sequence that played in front of each episode. Instead, each “movie” has a new title card that bills the joined episodes as a chapter that belongs in the same chronology as the theatrical releases.

How does Young Indiana Jones stack up against the Spielberg-Lucas-Harrison Ford incarnations? Well, as I wrote in the first paragraph, the TV show focuses on real history instead of supernatural powers, so how much you get out of it depends on what you bring to the table in terms of personal hobbies. Also, for adults, these “movies” may seem a tad didactic and obvious. For example, in “The Perils of Cupid”, within a matter of minutes, the term “powder keg” is repeated at least six times. For history buffs, this might be laughable, but for young viewers who don’t know anything about pre-WWI geopolitical struggles, Young Indiana Jones does a great job of teaching by repetition. I’m not damning with faint praise; if I had kids, then I’d watch these shows with them in the hopes of getting them interested in history as early as possible.

This set almost (almost) makes me forget how bad all six Star Wars movies are.

Yunda Eddie Feng

 

Poster

Theatrical Release: 4 March 1992 (US TV broadcast)

Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 649 min
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.11 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio DD 2.0 stereo English
Subtitles Optional English
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• historical featurettes
• Historical Lecture: The Promise of Progress
• Interactive Timeline
• Revolution Interactive Game

DVD Release Date: 23 October 2007
custom cardboard fold-out DigiPak in cardboard slipbox

Chapters 60

 

 

Comments:

Video:
The show is presented in its original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1. The video is very slightly pillarboxed on the left and right sides. The title and subtitle captures are from the first “movie”, and the remaining captures are from “Love’s Sweet Song” (the seventh and final “movie” of Volume 1). The bitrate graph is for “Love’s Sweet Song”.

As you can see from the captures, the quality varies wildly depending on what’s being used--stock footage, badly-mastered videotapes, or original production footage that compares favorably to today’s new theatrical releases. The show has been given at least a clean-up (if not a full restoration), so you won’t see any print damage. However, there’s a bit of noise in some of the darker scenes.

Audio:
Your sole audio option is DD 2.0 stereo English. These are basic tracks designed with TV viewing in mind. Dialogue is the main priority, with music and sound effects getting minimal channel separation. The audio is pleasant and not plagued by problems, but don’t expect the thundering extravaganzas accorded the theatrical movies on DVD.

Optional English subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Some “movies” are accompanied by extras on the same disc, and some “movies” are presented on their own discs with their extras appearing on the next disc in the set. The extras pertaining to each movie are historical featurettes that inform viewers about the events and real people whom Indiana Jones meets during his travels. As easy as it is to bash George Lucas for being a bad moviemaker, I have to give props to Lucas and his team for releasing such an informational DVD set. This box can be used by elementary and middle school teachers as a painless way to ease students into historical subjects.

The twelfth disc has extras that cover all of Volume 1. “Historical Lecture: The Promise of Progress” is a video lecture with narration by H.W. Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Brands talks about the momentous changes taking place at the beginning of the 20th Century as independence movements, new political ideologies, new art movements, and global conflicts arose.

You’ll need DVD-ROM access for the other two bonuses. The “Interactive Timeline” is a special interface that requires you to install InterActual Player. You can browse through Indy’s journals (complete with biographies and photos) or search a map to follow Indy’s itinerary. “Revolution Interactive Game” is a game that installs on your computer.

--Miscellaneous--
The twelve discs are housed in a custom cardboard fold-out DigiPak (similar to the long snake used for The Alien Quadrilogy). The fold-out, in turn, fits inside a cardboard slip box.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Paramount

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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