The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles - The Early Years review by The Grim Ringler


I remember being a kid and seeing the INDIANA JONES movies and for me, this was what it was all about. I never wanted to be Han Solo, I wanted to be Indy. I wanted to do all that awesome stuff like finding lost treasures and fighting those lousy Nazis. Sure, I loved STAR WARS as much as I loved watching the world of Dr. Jones, but it was Jones that fueled my imagination. I also remember when the Young Indy Chronicles first came on television and how boring it all looked. Heck, I didn’t care about Indy as a kid, and I sure didn’t wanna learn anything. Ah, but it was a great many years ago that this show was on TV and it’s time I gave it a second chance and see whether I was right in my assumptions of boredom.

THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES shows Henry Jones Jr. as a young man, growing up in the middle of history as he accompanies his mother and father around the world. His father is a famed lecturer and historian and thus is always on the road. While many young boys would find this sort of life, being away from friends and pet dog, but Henry Jr. finds adventure at every turn, getting himself into the sort of trouble that will pave the path to his adulthood. From DH Lawrence to Theodore Roosevelt and a dozen others in between, it becomes clear that young Henry is destined to be a part of history, or, if nothing else, will have a deep appreciation and devotion to it.

YOUNG INDY is a strange set indeed. The episodes are cut together so that they run two at a time, giving the first part of the series, when Indy is a boy, a false feeling of flow. While this isn’t natural, it does work though and doesn’t hurt the series. The trouble for me was that the show changed so drastically and, at least in this set, without any rhyme or reason. The series begins with Indy as a young man, living in the shadow of his father but loving every moment of adventure. The show works best here because we see Indy as a precocious young man longing for his father’s approval while he tries to find his own way. Indy is charming and, while not your average cute kid, he’s hard to dislike. The adventures also feel more fun and interesting with him at this age. There is a shift though, later in the series, when Indy is suddenly a young man on the verge of manhood. Worse than that was how his mother was just written out of the show. I can’t imagine the logic of ignoring the tragic death of his mother when it was one of the events that would truly shape he and the relationship he has with his father. I can only guess as to the reasons and won’t offer those baseless ideas but it doesn’t work, I can tell you that. As a young man Indy isn’t half as charming and to see him chasing after a girl and then suddenly dropping everything to head off for an adventure that leads him away from his father, his friends, and school, just seems silly.

All told, this is a fun series and is much better than I recalled. Things get a bit far fetched with how many people Indy meets along his path to adulthood but I guess that’s what the show was about. All in all everything works well and each episode serves as a wonderful tool to teach young people about history. If nothing else, it’s a shame that the series didn’t last longer for that fact alone.

Which brings me to the extras.
Great crap!

It won’t be often that you’ll find a DVD, collection or single edition, with this much work put into the extras. I can honestly say that if you have any interest in history this is a purchase you won’t regret. Each episode gets several documentaries about that story’s era, history, and the people that made that era so memorable. The docs are far from exhaustive but they serve as very good history primers.

The price on this series is pretty steep, I can’t deny it, but I will say that you get your money’s worth. I am not sure how well I’ll like a show about the older Indy (though I have seen later episodes on the History channel and they aren’t bad. I suppose you can have more dangerous stories with an older Young Indy) but this is a pretty good series. If you like the movies, you should like the show, though I’d suggest bargain hunting if you’re able.


8 out of 10 Jackasses
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