Let's admit it. If you're looking for the Indy of "Raiders", you might get sorely disappointed. This one's intended for the whole family and a lot more kid-friendly than Harrison Ford's outings. If you cringed at seeing the young Anakin Skywalker, chance is you might not like the 9-year old Indy.
However, there's plenty of thrills, chills and action in this show, though on a subtler scale than with previous versions of Indiana Jones. This Indy engages in adventures with an emphasis on and appreciation of history, culture and the arts. It's clear that these episodes are meant to be educational, but this is not a bad thing, on the contrary. Following Indy as he travels the world with his parents, and then later - on his own, gives young Indy an exciting and cross-cultural backdrop.
Each installment comes with a truckload of excellent documentaries about the people and places Indy encounters in the adventure you've just seen. These aren't dumbed down for kids docus, but more along the lines of what you'd see on National Geographic or Discovery, and they're all very engaging and informative. I tend to watch the documentaries for each episode first, to get a full appreciation of the ensuing adventure. And I have to say - I've learned a lot.
The production values and attention to detail is a sight to behold, and sometimes you wonder how they did it all on a mere tv budget. The acting is decent, and Lloyd Owen does a pretty spot-on incarnation of a younger Henry Jones Sr. (Indy's father). Every time he says "Junior", I'm sure I'm hearing Sean Connery.
Most of the episodes in this volume revolves around Indy aged 9 or thereabouts. In the last three shows, Flanery takes over the reins and portrays a 20-year old Indy. From here on, the action, pace and tenseness picks up and becomes more adult.
For those who saw the original broadcast versions of the show, you'll probably notice that all the scenes with old Indy (George Hall) has been cut. Initially I was saddened to see these go, but as these dvd's present Indy's adventures in a chronological order, it makes sense the way they've done it. As a result of the new edit however, some episodes, notably the first "My first Adventure", ends somewhat abruptly and unresolved. Hopefully the conclusion to this adventure is presented in volume 2 or 3, as the original version had Flanery completing this storyline.
Although this is quite an expensive set, at least at the moment, I have to say it is still the best value for money I have ever spent on a dvd. The packaging itself is very nice and made to look like Indy's own diary, as featured in the series. Though there doesn't seem to be any extras chronicling the production of the actual show or commentaries, the hours of great documentaries coupled with Indiana Jones' adventures, albeit a young Indiana Jones, fills me with glee everytime I put it on, even as an adult.
If you don't like the idea of Indy as a kid, skip this one and wait for Indy IV.