Hey gang, Valkor here. 2012 is fast coming to a close, but there's still so much I need to share. So let's get things groovin as we check out the latest from the folks at Warner Home, who've inducted into the Warner Archive Collection a superhero classic series that you older kids might enjoy. Check it out, it's Shazam! The Complete Live Action Series DVD!
Shazam! The Complete Live Action series compiles all 28 episodes that appeared in the series run from 1975 – 1977. The show ran for 30 minutes but was part of the Shazam/Isis Hour, which featured a female superhero character who made guest appearances on the show (and vice versa). The series centers on Billy Batson (Michael Gray), a young teen given powers by the Greek Elders – Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. And when he shouts out the name "Shazam!" he's transformed into the mighty Captain Marvel (Jackson Bostwick and later John Davey) – purveyor of truth and justice. Through the use of a special device, Billy can communicate with the Elders, who also give him clues concerning his next mission. Also along for the ride is Mentor (Les Tremayne), who helps Billy interpret what the Elders say, imparts his own advice, and also fights by his side when needed. The duo ride around in an RV in California, aiding young individuals who get themselves into some pretty sticky situations. Finally in each episode Billy learns a different moral lesson, given to him as clues from the Elders, but it plays out when they meet the person who needs help. There are no super villains or anything fantastical or supernatural just positive affirmations.
The Shazam! Series features all 28 episodes on three disc, with one extra where you can play each episode with Billy's moral lesson at the end; it's kind of like those "And now you know, and knowing is half the battle" bits from G.I. Joe. Video is in its original 4X3 1:37:1 ratio with Dolby Digital mono audio and highlights include:
The Joy Riders – a couple of kids decide to steal a car for a little joyriding. However there's one kid who's not too eager to take part in the shenanigans.
The Doom Buggy – Don is a high school dropout who feels he doesn't need education to be a great mechanic. But after a run in with Billy, Mentor, and a trip through the desert, he'll soon learn that a solid education is much more important than he realized.
The Contest - Nothing like that Seinfeld episode of teh same name. Shop worker Glen has his sights on a brand new motorcycle. But in order to get it he'll have to win it in a contest. One of the workers gives Glen an offer he can't refuse. And Glen may soon regret hooking up with such a fiendish fellow.
The Boy Who Said "No" – Mentor is robbed of his wallet in the RV and a young boy is the only eyewitness to the crime. However fear of repercussions from the offender causes the boy to turn a blind's eye.
I caught the series in repeats in the 80's and never really focused much on it back then; and hey, I'll admit, it wasn't until the late 80s into the 90s that I even became a fan of the superhero. So it was interesting checking out this live-action series, which plays out much like an Afterschool Special. And FYI – this series is pure nostalgia.
Shazam! is an entertaining and fun series that only the older set that grew up with the show or younger kids who can appreciate the messages it delivers, can truly enjoy. The episodes aren't overly cheesy, save for the flying bits and some of the acting, however the stories are the series strong suits and at its core, it's all about the moral lessons each episode imparts. This is a wonderful series that the younger kids ages 5 - 10 may enjoy, especially since Shazam currently plays a huge role in the new Young Justice series, so if they're checking out that show, then they're more than familiar with the character. But this is truly one for the adults, who will really get a kick out of the wonderful, classic series. Overall, the show wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
Shazam! the Complete Live Action Series DVD is available now and for those who knew of the show and can truly appreciate it not just for the lessons, but also the fun should definitely consider picking this one up. So out of TOV 5 stars, I give Shazam a 4 and it's been Valkor Viewed, TOV Approved!