George Lucas The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume Two, The War Years continues the extraordinary narrative, historical, and production achievements found in Volume One. As with the first series, each feature-length programme (re-editing material from the original, one-hour broadcasts to smooth out the chronology of Jones experiences as a child and young man) resembles a theatrical experience more than episodic television. Each drama is remarkably rich in layered detail, shedding light on major events, figures, and ideas from a pivotal era in world history. Where Volume One largely focused on the early childhood of Indiana Jones as he travelled the world in the company of his parents, meeting the likes of Picasso, Tolstoy, Freud, and T.E. Lawrence, Volume Two is exclusively concerned with Jones experiences during World War I. This time, Jones (Sean Patrick Flanery, introduced in the final episodes of Volume One) is serving in the infantry of the Belgian army under an assumed name, eventually rising in rank from corporal to captain and becoming a spy after paying extensive, nightmarish dues on the wars front line in Europe. The series captures some of the horror of World War Is most infamous battles, directly inserting Jones into the thick of the action at Verdun, the Somme, the Middle East, and elsewhere. In time, Jones is repeatedly recruited to become a secret agent, going undercover in Austria to help forge a separate peace between the last Habsburg emperor and the allies, and playing a crucial part in the survival of British and Australian forces crossing a merciless desert. Along the way, Indy befriends Bolsheviks preparing for the Russian Revolution, has a romance with Mata Hari, attempts a prison break with Charles de Gaulle, and has a wonderful encounter with Albert Schweitzer. As with Volume One, this follow-up box set includes an astonishing number of excellent special features, primarily dynamic documentaries about many of the real-life people and incidents introduced in the stories. These extras provide much depth and analysis without being at all dry; a creative history teacher would do well to incorporate them (and, for that matter, the shows themselves) in a class about the 20th century. --Tom Keogh
A nine-volume set charting the early adventures of one of cinema's greatest icons - Indiana Jones. In this series, the young adventurer's experiences in the trenches of Belgium during WWI form the main backdrop to the storylines, as he meets such luminaries as Sigfried Sassoon, Charles De Gaulle, Albert Schweitzer and the Red Baron.