Paramount Home Entertainment
Indy (Sean Patrick Flanery) and General Targo (Bob Peck) in an episode of "Young Indiana."

The Indiana Jones movies are beloved but inconsistent. The first film, 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a classic. The 1984 sequel "Temple of Doom" may be fondly remembered but is pretty lousy.

Likewise, the subsequent television spinoff "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" varies greatly in quality.

That's even more apparent when watching "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume Three: The Years of Change" (Paramount, 2008, $129.99). The 10-disc set collects episodes from the '90s-era program's second and third seasons.

Starring actor Sean Patrick Flanery as the title character, "Years of Change" features the younger Indy's early adventures as a soldier and spy in World War I. These episodes include his meetings with authors Ernest Hemingway and Edith Wharton, musicians Sidney Bechet and George Gershwin, and T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia).

And in one, he crosses paths with someone claiming to be a descendant of Vlad Tepes (a real-life Romanian ruler who was the source for the Dracula character).

That latter episode, "Transylvania, January 1918," is one of the series highlights, though it is also one of the more violent ones as well.

Also, Harrison Ford briefly reprises his role as in wraparound sequences for the "The Mystery of the Blues," an extra-long episode that was supposed to serve as a "relaunch" for the series, which was struggling in the ratings at the time.

(George Hall appears throughout most of the series as an even-older version of Indy.)

By comparison, Flanery was merely adequate. He never really seemed that charismatic or likable as the title character. (Especially when you compare him to River Phoenix, who did a similar stint in 1989's "The Last Crusade.")

Bonus features: Companion historical documentaries ("Unhealed Wounds: The Life of Ernest Hemingway," "Dracula: Fact and Fiction," "The Rise of the Moguls: The Men Who Built Hollywood" and others), 10th disc with interactive games and historical time line.

E-mail: [email protected]