J.D.: The Fast Lane is a nice, worthy set to showcase his TV Years. It may not have all of his works on it (some were lost and are not available in the archives for footage), but we get 10 full-length TV studio episodes on this set. I will say that some of the earlier episodes (such as Hill Number One) have this sort of blurry factor to it that make it slightly feel like you're watching it through a screen, and not every episode available is in restored, pristine condition - there are a couple that have small jumps and white flicker/lines on the screen. Overall though, the presentation quality of the episodes are decent to good (for the time they were made, it's okay to give slack for them not being of a high-quality transfer).
***The episodes available on this set, in order on both discs, are as follows:
- Hill Number One
- 10,000 Horses Singing
- Abraham Lincoln
- The Evil Within
- Something for an Empty Briefcase
- Sentence of Death
- A Long Time Till Dawn
- The Bells of Cockaigne
- I'm a Fool
***Included extras are:
- Pepsi commercial
- Highway Safety PSA
- The James Dean Story
- Trailers to his 3 feature films, as well as Fixed Bayonets, Sailor Beware, Has Anybody Seen My Gal, and Trouble Along the Way (all of which he had bit parts/cameos in)
> Of particular note is the inclusion of episode, 10k Horses Singing, in which I personally feel was not needed to have included the whole episode (and just include his one minute scene instead). He only has 2 words as Bellhop in this, which are, "Yes" and "To 1030" which in-turn makes me feel that they could've put The Unlighted Road in-place of this one (which is available from archives), especially since it's one of my faves of his TV work (sadly, Unlighted Road and a couple available others are not on this set for unknown reasons).
> It is of important note that The James Dean Story (the Robert Altman documentary) is a truncated, hops-to-the-next-scene-abruptly version, and is missing about 40 minutes from its overall runtime for unknown reasons (my guess is it was trimmed for time allotted on the disc). Luckily, I've seen the full version before, and note there are some interviews left out on this edited version (such as from past college roommates, etc.) - overall runtime on this disc's version of it is 50 mins.
+++ I did notice a few slight mishaps (which are barely noticeable) on the 2-Disc set, which are:
- On the Highway safety PSA synopsis, it has one tiny spelling error when it mentions J.D.'s Porsche - it has "in his Porcshe Spyder 550" in the description.
- On the Main Menu screen of Disc 2, the display icon to Cockaigne accidentally has the footage from Harvest shown in it.
- On the Menu for Trailers, it shows all titles available, but Rebel is slightly cutoff at the "Without" point, showing only "With" instead because the Menu screen is stretched and therefore doesn't show the full title selection to it.
- On the Menu for Trailers, it shows all the listed available trailers, with the first being "Fixed Bayonet" when the correct title is "Fixed Bayonets" instead.
- This is an episode flub, but somewhat noteworthy nonetheless...
On the episode, Harvest, during the beginning scenes, it shows an on-air live camera pan mix-up in the footage, showing Dean and gal being directed by a guy infront, of their scene under the willow tree, a few seconds right before their first scene is to actually air with dialogue, etc.
<> Overall, I'd give this Infinity set a 7.5/10 for a good effort, but still not quite up to my expectations on what a Complete TV Collection is for James Dean. And well, this beats having to watch these episodes on YouTube when you feel the urge to. ;-)