As I grow older, I become more nostalgic for the things of my youth. That is my excuse for liking this two-disk set, regardless of its faults. "Lancelot Lot Link - Secret Chimp," was simultaneously campy and clever, and the most expensive Saturday morning television show of its time, costing more than one million dollars for the 14 episode season.
"Lancelot Link" was a campy send up of various spy shows of the 1960, particularly "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," but also "Get Smart," "I Spy," and even the James Bond movies. Lancelot had a beautiful associate, Mata Hairi, a boss who was a lot like M, Commander Darwin, and a host of baddies working for evil agency C.H.U.M.P. What more could you ask for in Saturday morning television?
Each week, Lancelot and Mata Hairi would thwart the evil schemes of C.H.U.M.P., using Mata's cleverness, Lancelot's cluelessness, and miscellaneous gadgets that appeared a lot like ordinary devices. The jokes were frequently corny, the chase scenes were laughable, and the script lines frequently elicited groans, and yet, it was all fascinating. Matching the voices to the movements of the chimpanzee's mouths was excellent. The chimps moved well and their training was phenomenal. Even now, I am amazed at the attention to detail and how well the chimpanzees appeared to perform everyday tasks.
Also included in this collection are a bunch of songs from Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution. The music is essentially late 60's pop, mimicking groups like The Archies and Josie and the Pussycats, only with fur; mostly forgettable, but still clever. Both disks permit you to select the music videos independent of the episodes.
I do like this collection, but only because the collection is the only one available. This collection, unfortunately, has flaws.
The biggest flaws are that these episodes are neither all the episodes nor are they the whole show. "Lancelot Link" was shown for an hour in its first season, with cartoons between the live-action portions, and for a half hour in the second season. All that is included on these DVD's are live action portions and a goodly number of songs from Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.
I could probably forgive deleting the cartoon portions of the show if we got all the live action episodes, but out of the 33 episodes produced (counting "There's no Business like Snow Business" as one episode, even though it was two parts), this two DVD set only has 22 episodes. 11 episodes are missing. Why make the collection at all if you are not going to provide all the episodes?
The other problem I have is that the video has had zero clean up. The images are grainy and dirty. It looks like they put the film into a projector and copied the result. Okay, I understand that the audience is limited for shows like "Lancelot Link," but why charge a price for this collection that is comparable to the prices for collections that are in much better condition?
How can I recommend this collection? Missing episodes and grainy video are difficult to recommend. On the other hand, this collection is the most complete available, to my knowledge. If you have been waiting more than three decades to get your hands on Lancelot Link episodes, then maybe you should get these. If you would really like to have Lancelot Link but you want all the episodes, perhaps you should wait a little longer. However, a truly complete collection may never exist, and I am not getting any younger. As Mata Hairi frequently says, "Oh, Lancie!"