Sunday, January 02, 2005

Better than I remembered!

Thanks to the great success of the home DVD player it's possible to not only watch extended versions of movies, but entire seasons of our favorite TV shows. And not just recent TV series, but more and more shows from 30 to 40 years ago are getting the DVD collection treatment.
More often than not, unfortunately, our memory of these shows tend to "gloss-over" just how bad a lot of them were. I'm here, with proof, that this isn't always the case.

One of my gifts I got for Christmas this year was Season One of KUNG-FU. This set includes the original 90 minute pilot, as well as the entire 15 episode run.

I probably haven't watched any of these since they were first broadcast in 1971-72 so I've had only the memory of an 11 year old kid to go by and that's not always too reliable, but so far I've watched the first four episodes, and all I can say is.... WOW!

It's MUCH better than I remembered. Here's a bare bones synopsis of the show, David Carradine portrays the half breed (American/Chinese) Shalon monk who wanders the west of the late 1800's. He's wanted for a murder he committed in China and is searching for his half brother.

To say that KUNG-FU was unique would be an understatement. The stories, characters, pacing, even the direction was unlike most of the dramatic TV of it's time. Perhaps what I found really amazing is just how unique it is compared to dramatic TV of today!

There aren't many extras on this set, a few "How it was made" features, no commetaries unfortunately, but the quality of the picture and sound for a 30+ year old show more than makes up for that.

If you've never seen this show and know only about it through parodies or catch-phrases ("grasshopper", "snatch the pebble from my hand") then I reccomend that you give it a shot. It's a dramatic show that's not really a western, not really a martial arts show, who's prtagonist is a quiet talking pacifist and guest stars early performances of Jodie Foster and Harrison Ford - to name but a few.

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