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Old 04-10-2011, 08:50 AM   #1
Rocket Surgeon
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The Worst Young Indiana Jones Episode

Doing some prep for the next Indy Cast and came across some critical reviews of the shows by someone who clearly enjoyed them, but was not affraid to pick them apart.

Montana consumed them all in as fast as he could, however I've been approaching them from a different angle.

My preconceptions initially kept me from watching, and it's probably good that they did. It might have fueled my distaste for the material.

I've owned them for a while but out of some nostalgia for the wait we had to endure for the films, I've only seen about a quarter of the episodes.

There were many hands in the production, writers, directors, so it's no surprise they're uneven...(not to mention various "tones," the span of years and the "home video cut and paste work). Factor in personal taste, when and how you saw the films, (in the theater/on TV), or if you saw Young Indy first and things become more curious.

Anyway, the question for those who really like/love the shows is as simple as the title: which episode of Young Indy (broadcast or home video) is the worst?

That's the simple part...I'm sure if you liked/love the show you have more to post than just a simple title.

So far I haven't seen one I didn't like, though interesting I'd have to say Oganga was plodding or as the reviewer called Journey of Radiance: "leaden."
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #2
dr.jones1986
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In my opinion Espionage Escapades was the weakest episode of the bunch. The first half in Barcelona had some enjoyable moments but the second part in Prague was weak. I didn't love the second part of Masks of Evil set in Transylvania.

I liked Oganga and thought that was a good episode. I learned a lot about Albert Schweitzer and his philosophy, which I found very interesting. I also liked Journey of Radiance, probably because I am fascinated by Asia (I liked that it was set in China and India).
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.jones1986
In my opinion Espionage Escapades was the weakest episode of the bunch. The first half in Barcelona had some enjoyable moments but the second part in Prague was weak. I didn't love the second part of Masks of Evil set in Transylvania.

Prague was an odd one, because it was so caught up with Kafka and the labyrinth of bureacracy. It had it's funny moments, but it was so obviously absurd. I'd put that down to one of Old Indy's tall stories - a parable about the nightmare of bureacracy!

Transylvania was another odd one of course. A welcome dose of bloody horror, but another tall story I suspect.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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I wish I had a given episode to offer, but I mostly got a bit tired of a Carrier episodes, particularly the "Indy sneaks off" motif required to get most of them going. British East Africa, despite being well-loved and despite featuring both Teddy Roosevelt and Paul Freeman's Selous, is one I never quite got into, possibly because the scenery being covered wasn't enough to compensate.

I'm not into the first half of Oganga as much as I am the latter; despite some good action, I really feel like I'm just waiting around for Schweitzer to show up. (The moment where Indy uses his superior officer's words against him, with the mutiny, was one that never worked for me. A little too hackneyed.)
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Old 04-10-2011, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
Prague was an odd one, because it was so caught up with Kafka and the labyrinth of bureacracy. It had it's funny moments, but it was so obviously absurd. I'd put that down to one of Old Indy's tall stories - a parable about the nightmare of bureacracy!

Transylvania was another odd one of course. A welcome dose of bloody horror, but another tall story I suspect.

The Transylvania segment of Masks of Evil is the only part of the series that has any supernatural element. I don't think the supernatural aspect is too out of line with the things he sees later on in life.

As for the Old Indy segments, I don't consider them canon anymore (they are kinda like the Han shot first clips from Star Wars). They conflict with KotCS which is probably why Lucas ditched them (not to mention they were kinda cheesy).
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:27 PM   #6
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The Puccini segment in Perils of Cupid did not help the series of Anna character. A review:
Quote:
The series is bathed in a sense that big-deal filmmaker Lucas looked upon that era of television with little more than condescension. I could see him stumbling across “Murder She Wrote” and “Knots Landing” and thinking, “How could I not make something better than this?”
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:14 PM   #7
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Going by the "Adventures of" modern formulation of the series, I have to say that the two chapters that didn't hold my interest were "Tales of Innocence" and "Masks of Evil". Nearly all of the other chapters had at least half that kept me entranced, even if they were held together only by spit and baling wire.

That said, I think I was sleep deprived while watching them, so I may need to give them another chance. But in nearly every other chapter I can point to some special moment that makes the episode mean something to me and makes me want to share it, even if it is perhaps embedded in an overall poor story or presented with strained acting.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:42 PM   #8
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Espanage Escapades- just for that terribly annoying second half. I found it incredibly uncomfortable and hard to watch mostly because I've had that kind of experience with bureauocracy! I do have a good laugh at the first half though.

I'm not a fan of the China/India episode either. In fact, I'd say that one overall.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.jones1986
The Transylvania segment of Masks of Evil is the only part of the series that has any supernatural element. I don't think the supernatural aspect is too out of line with the things he sees later on in life.

As for the Old Indy segments, I don't consider them canon anymore (they are kinda like the Han shot first clips from Star Wars). They conflict with KotCS which is probably why Lucas ditched them (not to mention they were kinda cheesy).

Transylvania is out of place, when compared to all the other episodes of the TV series, and also considering that each episode was intended as an educational exercise.

Knowing that Old Indy was telling trick or treaters a ghost story on Halloween changes the impact, and explains its inclusion. The kids knocking on his door know Old Indy's fondness for telling "stories".

Quote:
Kid #2: Well, come on, let's just try.
Kid #3: Ok, but if he starts to tell one of his stories, make a break for it.

Since Lucas removed Old Indy, and I didn't watch the series in the original format, this episode jumped out of the blue. Nevertheless, it was a welcome inclusion.
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:13 AM   #10
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For me, it's hard to choose from the "Adventures of..." format because the weakest episodes are sometimes coupled with ones that I like. Plus, I prefer looking at the show in it's original incarnation.

That said, I'll have to semi-agree with Violet.

Worst Corey episode: "Peking, March 1910".
There's basically zero action and Indy is sick in bed half the time. Quite simply put, it's a boring snooze-fest. The only reason I used to watch this in full was when doing Young Indy marathons back in the '90s. (In the case of "Journey of Radiance", I enjoy the Benares section because of my interest in India and that tale makes a nice pre-cursor for "Temple of Doom".)

Worst Sean episode: "Prague, August 1917".
While it has a fair number of good moments and interesting characters, this one is much too zany & silly when compared to the rest. The filing cabinet traveling down the stairs is too over-the-top and might as well have "Jackety Sax" playing as the soundtrack. (The Barcelona portion of "Espionage Escapades" is also zany & silly but in a different, better way.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
The Puccini segment in Perils of Cupid did not help the series of Anna character. A review:
Anna's near infidelity is the one thing that makes the "Florence, May 1908" episode interesting!

@dr.jones1986, Montana Smith & Inexorable Tash: "Transylvania, January 1918" ROCKS!
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
@dr.jones1986, Montana Smith & Inexorable Tash: "Transylvania, January 1918" ROCKS!

Definitely.

The series could have done with a few more such episodes so it wouldn't have looked out of place. That would also have tied the series into the movies more completely.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:04 PM   #12
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I'll still take the campy zaniness of Prague and the boring horror of Transylvania over the completely droll drugery of Hollywood Follies. I can barely make it through that one. Such a weak ending to a great series. (If we're just talking Adventures timeline).
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:21 PM   #13
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Transylvania has to be in my top three...at times it's my favorite.

It seems to me most like Raiders.

Indy's on a mission for the government. He travels to a bar where he picks up his sidekick(s) the most important being the woman he ends up walking away with, (she has the last word right?)

It's all taken very seriously though they might have used a travel montage instead of drawing some of it out as they did.

The Supernatural elements are left to the end, though bits like the tarot are great hints of whats to come. Like Sallah's "not of this earth."
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Old 04-11-2011, 05:09 PM   #14
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As much as I really do enjoy Scandal of 1920, I found the ending left me wanting more. I like the tinpan alley stuff and Joel McNeely for the most part made a fantastic score, but at times it can feel totally self-indulgent and you're left wondering "what the heck does this have to do with Indiana Jones???" It's more like they wanted to do something with a broadway feel and kind of inserted Young Indiana Jones into it as an afterthought. Think about it this way - if the main character wasn't Indy, how would this stand up as a successful movie/musical/story?
That said, I really do like this episode, but it's definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. Seems almost superfluous and fluffy after two great episodes like Winds of Change and Mystery of the Blues...
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
For me, it's hard to choose from the "Adventures of..." format because the weakest episodes are sometimes coupled with ones that I like. Plus, I prefer looking at the show in it's original incarnation.

That said, I'll have to semi-agree with Violet.

Worst Corey episode: "Peking, March 1910".
There's basically zero action and Indy is sick in bed half the time. Quite simply put, it's a boring snooze-fest. The only reason I used to watch this in full was when doing Young Indy marathons back in the '90s. (In the case of "Journey of Radiance", I enjoy the Benares section because of my interest in India and that tale makes a nice pre-cursor for "Temple of Doom".)

Worst Sean episode: "Prague, August 1917".
While it has a fair number of good moments and interesting characters, this one is much too zany & silly when compared to the rest. The filing cabinet traveling down the stairs is too over-the-top and might as well have "Jackety Sax" playing as the soundtrack. (The Barcelona portion of "Espionage Escapades" is also zany & silly but in a different, better way.)
Anna's near infidelity is the one thing that makes the "Florence, May 1908" episode interesting!

@dr.jones1986, Montana Smith & Inexorable Tash: "Transylvania, January 1918" ROCKS!

Yeah, actually you summed up what I was thinking (I just didn't have the time to post in detail).

I don't mind the India segment- it's the China one that really bugs me, because of the many possibilities that China could have offered as an episode. Sure, it makes an interesting point about Chinese medicine and Western feelings towards it, especially at that time, but that's all. It didn't have to last a whole episode or half a film (depending on how you look at the series).

Like I said, really don't like Prague segment for said reasons. And the fact, that the guy who played Fedora in LC directed it doesn't help it either.

I'm surprised that people don't like Transylvania. I love that segment. I personally think it's a great precursor to the movies, especially in a way, to Temple of Doom with Vlad drugging Indy and Indy seeing the death of one of his companions in such a vile death. It's the only supernatural segment out of the series, but I don't think that's a good enough reason to state it as the worst. I would have loved more episodes with that kind of adventure in the series.
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Old 04-11-2011, 08:58 PM   #16
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Peacock's Eye was unfortunately bundled with the trilogy in 1999. The adventure ends with Indy trapped in an endless dialogue-free National Geographic reel in New Guinea. It's appropriate since Malinowski established the principle of participant observation, but it's like watching Indy survey rather than excavate, or excavate rather than plunder. Someone at Paramount Home Video was misled by the intriguing title and revealed the series to be a bigger bait-and-switch than it admittedly is. Mystery of the Blues would have led buyers to believe Ford did all the bookends, sneaky yet effective.
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moedred
Peacock's Eye was unfortunately bundled with the trilogy in 1999. The adventure ends with Indy trapped in an endless dialogue-free National Geographic reel in New Guinea. It's appropriate since Malinowski established the principle of participant observation, but it's like watching Indy survey rather than excavate, or excavate rather than plunder. Someone at Paramount Home Video was misled by the intriguing title and revealed the series to be a bigger bait-and-switch than it admittedly is. Mystery of the Blues would have led buyers to believe Ford did all the bookends, sneaky yet effective.

That's not entirely true of all countries. In Australia, we got Oganga bundled with the VHS trilogy boxset in '99. What also came with it, was the Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones poster, which was a map that needed stickers in order to be completed. There was one sticker per video- it was for a limited number of copies, and even as avid a fan as myself couldn't complete the map. Money was the other issue (esp. at the age of 11-12 at the time!). Even so, that was the sneaky trick they played here. Also when the Young Indy vids were released, one store had an exclusive competition where you had to write 25 wods or less about your favourite episode and 5 winners would get a Young Indy satchel- needless to say, I didn't win.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:57 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Violet
I'm surprised that people don't like Transylvania. I love that segment. I personally think it's a great precursor to the movies, especially in a way, to Temple of Doom with Vlad drugging Indy and Indy seeing the death of one of his companions in such a vile death. It's the only supernatural segment out of the series, but I don't think that's a good enough reason to state it as the worst. I would have loved more episodes with that kind of adventure in the series.

I like it for the same reasons. People are probably uneasy about this one because it jumps out of the blue. Kafka's Prague also does the same, but it looks forward to future movie absurdities, such as that refrigerator gag.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:42 PM   #19
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As I've stated someplace before, sometime before, I really enjoy the Prague episode.. I know I'm one of the few who does, something about its zaniness reminds me of parts of my own life, high drama and the ridiculous. That said, I can't stand Clouseau, but I think its definitely one of Seans best performances.
"I'M INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE"

But as to the topic of this thread.. most of what was produced later on.. the 'linking segment episodes', what was filmed at the same time as the linking segments, are all fairly weak, the Edith Wharton one is just odd, the latter half of travels with father darts back and forth between the sublime (anything filmed to bookend travels with father, such as parts of the two Henry's falling out, Indy arriving home and leaving again) and the horrendous (That romance is so so so forced its faintly ridiculous. "I'll write every day" yeah sure you will Indy) Also, while as a whole its good, the two Henry's series of arguments seems forced to me, and slightly illogical. Sean's delivery of the line "I'm not 9 years old anymore Father" consistently makes me wince. But, I guess I can't include the episode here cos its so hit and miss.

What I can include, in the same category, is the new second half of 'My first adventure' I guess, Tangiers 1908 (though its obviously supposed to be set later) Its just so cheap looking, watch that very very rarely.

Others... hmmm. Paris 1917, the Mata Hari episode suffers from terrible direction, all those weird flash forwards, and in my opinion Mata herself is horrendously miscast, what does Indy see in her? Also she looks nothing at all like Mata Hari. But Seans performance is fantastic.

Someone above mentioned how Indy seemed shoehorned into Scandal of 1920s, because someone wanted to film an ode to 1920s Broadway, and while I don't agree, as I love that episode, the same logic seems to me to apply more forcefully to Hollywood follies, which is quite weak, also, as a character Indy seems to have regressed to a naive idiot, every time Von Stroheim boasts about his connections to Austrian nobility I want Indy to call his bluff, "Yeah, well Emperor Sixtus happens to be a good friend of mine buddy" But, alas, Indy seems to have forgotten.

Masks of Evil I find fun, Florence is brilliantly made (as, I think are most of the Corey Carrier episodes, in a word, Charming) China is fairly boring, and I love the end of Treasure of the Peacocks eye for its National Geographic documentary quality.. how refreshingly daring to show us their customs and leave us confused for a good old while.
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