on November 11, 2010
I'm 57 yrs old and have been a Zorro fan/atic since age 4, and a Zorro video collector for years. In my opinion, this series is absolutely the BEST incarnation of Zorro ever made, and I have them ALL (with a couple of hard-to-find old movie exceptions. Do NOT try to "compare" it to the Disney series. They're totally different styles. Both are great. The Disney series is pure WALT Disney style family fun. This series has more "meat" to it, much better character development, less comedy, but still quite a few comedic moments. Very family friendly but also excellent for adults.
Zorro is one of the more underrated heroes out there -- a sort of Hispanic cross between Robin Hood and Batman.
Admittedly, I've never really been a huge fan of Zorro (I'm more of a Robin Hood girl), but one of the better representations of him is the well-beloved, family-friendly "Zorro: The Complete Series." It has some downsides, but it's a pleasantly upbeat series filled with romance, swordplay, sneering villains and a guy running around in a mask.
Don Diego de la Vega (Duncan Regehr) is called back from his studies in Spain to his family estate in California. It turns out that Los Angeles (a tiny pueblo instead of the megacity it is now) is now ruled by the tyrannical Alcalde Luis Ramone (Michael Tylo). His father Don Alejandro (played first by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and then by Henry Darrow) and local tavern-keeper Victoria Escalante (Patrice Camhi Martinez) are opposing the Alcalde, which is putting them in danger.
Everybody thinks of Diego as a mild-mannered nerd, and don't realize that he's actually a master swordsman, scientist and acrobat (just how long was he away?!). So with the help of his mute sidekick Felipe (Juan Diego Botto), a secret passage and a wild horse, Diego becomes El Zorro, who rides out and battles Alcalde Ramone and his successor Ignacio De Soto (John Hertzler), as well as various bandits, thieves and killers of all kinds.
"Zorro: The Complete Series" is a sunny, entertaining little show. It's crammed with unabashed swashbuckling, romance, touching moments,swordplay and comedic buttkicking. The dialogue has plenty of snappy (sometimes slightly cheesy) witticisms, especially when Diego is charging around in full Zorro garb.
Some of the episodes are on the darker side (including one where Zorro battles a sadistic soldier), but overall the tone is sort of like an Errol Flynn movie stretched over four seasons. And while it sounds like the premise would be limited, the writers actually did an excellent job keeping things fresh with varied plots -- we've got pirate attacks, Japanese fishermen, jeweled swords, democratic elections, strange diseases, hypnosis and stolen gold, plus countless other stories.
Downsides? The American Indians are pretty stereotypical, and the Christmas episodes are... schmaltzy. Seriously, Santa Claus visits the pueblo? Are you high? Whose idea was THAT?
Regehr looks like he's having fun as Don Diego -- he gets to sweep around with a black cloak, slashing sword and big gleeful grin. But he also does a powerful job in the more emotional moments, such as when Zorro inadvertently puts his loved ones in danger.
Darrow is great as the strong, hot-blooded Don Alejandro, and is somewhat better suited to the role than the frail-looking Zimbalist; Camhi-Martinez is pretty solid as Victoria (even though she's in peril almost every episode); Tylo and Hertzler are entertainingly villainous, and James Victor provides hearty comic relief as Sergeant Mendoza (who constantly complains about Zorro wrecking his uniforms).
"Zorro: The Complete Series" has some cheesy moments (did I mention SANTA CLAUS?!), but overall it's an entertainingly sunny, action-filled series.
on October 8, 2010
I loved this series. I never missed an episode. Duncan plays the duel roles of this character like no other. And I really enjoyed the episodes that show the emotion and the struggle that Diego must overcome when in dealing with his Father (Alejandro) and his love for Victoria. That really plays out very well in this series. My favorite episode is Broken Heart, Broken Mask. Bishop, a gambler, played excellently by Roddy Piper, gets into a verbal altercation with Don Carlos over being called a cheat. Only after Zorro gets involved does Bishop slither away, or so it seems. Zorro prepares to leave, when Victoria spots Bishop aiming a pistol at him. With no concern for her own safety, she takes the bullet meant for Zorro. While recovering, unconscience of course, Diego sits by her bedside holding her hand. "If you die Victoria, Zorro will die with you." -Diego She does survive and Zorro delivers justice to Bishop. At the end, they share their first kiss, leaving Victoria flushed. Zorro leaves her his mask. There were alot of these moments in the series and I love them all. And James Victor played Mendoza to a T. I'm excited that this series is finally coming out on DVD. And I shall enjoy it as much this time around as I did twenty years ago. I hope you do too.
on July 24, 2011
I was really overjoyed when I heard that the New World Zorro, one of my favorite shows, was going to be on dvd. I remember watching The New World Zorro back in the 90's. It appeared on the now defunct Family Channel.The episodes were only thirty minutes long, but they tried to make them very entertaining, and exciting. My only regret is that they didn't make the episodes an hour long so they could have explored the backgrounds of all the characters on the show, and added more plots and action scenes. As far as love scenes, they were limited to that since it was a "family show" and young people were watching. ;-) But otherwise it was a wonderful show. I'm also happy that Amazon reduced the price of the dvds and made them more affordable. ;-) I especially appreciated the way they packaged the dvds and put them in those very nice cases to keep them from getting scratched or damaged. Packaging is everything. :-) That would have been nice also if the people who put out the dvds would have added some "behind the scenes" special features where the cast and crew talked about their experiences doing the episodes and even added some bloopers. That would have been funny too. But I guess those people weren't available for commentary or they just didn't have time. So instead they gave us these old Zorro episodes and a pilot of the NW Zorro with another actor being Don Diego/Zorro and different Alcalde too. Not to mention Patrice Martinez being a totally different character. Also they added some photos from the NW Zorro show. The episodes are well formatted and look as if they were just made yesterday. Thanks to modern technology, they look sharper, and clearer. I also noticed that without commercials the episodes are about 22 minutes long. That was interesting considering they were 30 on tv. But that was with commercials. lol Another thing that would have been good to have would have been some commentary on the the episodes. Like how they did the stunts, etc. But just having the episodes alone is wonderful. I've had second-hand tapes which I bought from someone who copied the show for me, and it's refreshing to have them on DVD. I'm glad they were able to make our dreams come true for all of us NW Zorro fans. You definitely won't be wasting any money on these episodes. And you can show them to your children without any worry of bad language or smutty sex scenes. These are definitely family oriented episodes. They will entertain you for years to come. :-) The acting is great. Duncan Regehr gives a superb performance as Don Diego/Zorro. The young man who played Felipe, Juan Diego Botto, does a good job too of being Diego's young companion who is mute and pretends to be deaf as well. He is a wonderful actor and not only adds to the plots, but appeals to the younger generation as well. The other actors, Patrice Martinez/Camhi, veteran actors Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Henry Darrow are excellent as Zorro's tavern owner girlfriend Victoria Escalante, and Diego's father Alejandro De La Vega. The two actors who played the Alcalde, Michael Tylo, and John Hertzler are supperb as the ever scheming evil Alcaldes. Last but not least, James Victor is a comic relief and wonderful actor as well, as the bumbling, inept,Sergeant Garcia. Together, these fine actors make a wonderful show. Well, that's my review. I hope this was helpful. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts on this really good show. :-)
on May 28, 2012
This series of "Zorro" features Duncan Reghar as Zorro and Henry Darrow (coming into Season Two) as Don Alejandro. I believe it to be the best of the series put out including the numerous movies of "Zorro".
It is geared for family viewing with a great cast, good humor and drama, strong dialogue and an overall message that you would find reading Aesop's Fables. It was a great find at Amazon.com at a reduced cost of $35.00 for the complete series (DVD boxed set) that spanned four years.
Duncan Regher was perfect in this role with a background in fencing, horsemanship, and general physical stamina.
He is a skilled actor paired with one of the best of his time, Henry Darrow, who plays his father.
I found it thoroughly enjoyable and as good as I remembered. It has something which is sadly lacking in today's general television fare...strength of character and a commitment to nonviolence in conflict resolution which is so opposite of today's obsession with revenge, violence and self-centeredness.
on June 17, 2013
I have seen many Zorro stories and movies and generally I like Zorro, but this was my absolute favorite of all. Duncan Regehr is an under appreciated actor and I really enjoyed his performance in this Zorro series. He was also fantastic in Star Trek and other things he's been in. This particular Zorro series I can remember watching as a kid in my mother's bedroom on her fuzzy old style TV she had on her dresser. I have not been able to watch this series since then and have never seen it in high quality. I loved the characters and the development of the story. I remember checking online a few years ago to see if it was available on DVD and was surprised that it was not. Then recently about a week ago I checked again just at random and found out its been available for almost 2 years now. I was delighted to order this DVD set and look forward to watching it with my children. I'm sure as with most forms of entertainment from my childhood, there will be things I will roll my eyes at and regard as low quality as far as the acting or sets or something like that - but this series holds tremendous nostalgic value for me. I think this series has a lot of similarities to Batman the Animated series. Its a story of characters with high morals and they are genuine "good guys" (zorro and his assistant and father). Its kind of like a precursor to batman in Spanish/American history.
on November 23, 2011
I watched this 20 years ago. Some may say that the Disney version (especially Baby Boomers) was better - but not in MY opinion! I watched it when it was on Family Channel 20 years ago and was thrilled to see the whole series set at a reasonable price. I noticed Amazon has the 1st Season of the Disney version (39 episodes) at about $150.
I've only had it for a week, but I tend to snarf up videos when I first get them. Some episodes I've already seen 3 times! I disagree with the reviewer that said the Christmas episodes were 'schmaltzy' or something like that. I was extremely touched by the "It's a Wonderful Zorro" the first time I saw it. Haven't we ALL wondered if we ever make a difference?
I've always like Duncan Regehr, and I believe his Zorro/Diego is the best casting I've seen. At 6'5", he's heads above the rest, (except Andre the Giant in his 2nd to last role of his life). He fences with the grace of his former sport, Canadian figure skating. A Renaissance man of the 20th Century playing a Renaissance man of the 19th Century is indeed perfect casting. Regehr has paintings hanging in the Western States Smithsonian Institute. His characterization was fun, sensitive, and very believable. You could tell he was having the time of his life. I'm actually glad he played Diego more 'studious' and 'weak-willed' than foppish. There is a difference. Others may point out other parts he's played as better, but not in my book. He's at his best Here!
Even though I like Efrem Zimbalist Jr., who played Don Alejandro in the first season, I loved Henry Darrow taking over the part. The "Like Father, Like Son" episode where Alejandro thinks HE is Zorro, is absolutely hysterical. And yet, when confronting Diego's 'weak-willed' seeming unwillingness to confront or help, Darrow's tough stand as Alejandro, a disappointed and disgusted father made me cringe.
So much I could say about this show that I like, and what I'm gleaning from it. Suffice it to say that here are my favorite episodes: The Legend Begins, Master and Pupil, the last four (Arrival, Death & Taxes, Conenedrum, & The Discovery) gave me my adventure fix of the year!
on January 29, 2011
I absolutely LOVE this 1990's version of Zorro, that was originally aired on the Family Channel. Like most fans, I've worn out my beloved VHS tapes over the last 18 years, dreaming of the day when this innocent, wonderfully fun, family-approved Zorro series would come out as a complete DVD set. The quality is excellent! The colors are vibrant, deep, and rich. You can see the lace trim on Victoria's beautiful blouses, the wall texture of the buildings, and even the evil Alcalde's (Michael Tylo's) bright blue eyes. Wow! Cool! The voices are also very well done. They are clear, aren't over-powered by the background music, and the voices sound very full in range. I gave the DVD set 4 stars (instead of the 5 stars I wanted to give it) because there are no closed captions for the hearing impaired and the bonus DVD was disappointing. One of the fan websites (that was involved in getting the show into DVD format - thank you!) asked the fans what they wanted on a DVD set. I was not the only person who wanted the DVD set to include closed captions, interviews (past and/or current), video footage showing the making of the show, gag reels, and of course, a better ending for the final episode, that made all the fans scream, "What the...?!" The bonus DVD did NOT include ANY of those requests, not even an addition of words on the screen at the end of the final episode to say that, "The Alcalde decided to behave himself, Don Diego told everybody he was Zorro, married Victoria, who had 2.5 kids, etc., etc." There were 2 nice bonuses on the DVD that I did enjoy: the original (never aired) pilot episode and the 1920 silent film, "The Mark of Zorro." The photo gallery is also good, but I thought it was strange that there are additional photos online that weren't on the DVD. I'm SO thankful that the original pilot episode was never aired and that the entire show was reworked to become what we all know and love as the New World Zorro! Enjoy this wonderful DVD set, folks - Zorro Lives!
on November 8, 2010
So begins the adventures of Zorro for a whole new generation. I watched this series when it came on (I was four when it premiered on TV) and wore out the VHS tapes on which my uncle had recorded the episodes; actually, my crappy VCR ruined the tapes as I was trying to watch them a few years ago. I'm thrilled that this family-friendly series will at last be on DVD. Very much like the classic 1957 Disney series starring Guy Williams, this series shows Diego's softer side and the romance plays an integral part of the show. There's nothing offensive, just good old-fashioned swordplay and gun fights (though some might find the Season 3 episode "Siege" a little intense), clean humor, chaste romance and usually a moral during each episode. I highly recommend this series. You'll be carving Z's everywhere once you finish watching the episodes. I think Colonel Palomarez, Thackeray & Risendo are some of the show's finest villains. Of course, Zorro always wins. The acting is top-notch. Duncan Regehr is excellent as Don Diego/Zorro, bringing real empathy and weight to the role. He was perfectly cast, as were the other actors (though I prefer Efrem Zimbalist Jr as Don Alejandro, though Henry Darrow was also very good). Watch for a connection to "Batman," another classic series. I think the show was unfairly cancelled, ending on a cliff-hanger, but to quote Diego in an episode from Season 1, we "Still have the memory." This show is Not Rated.
on October 2, 2013
Back in the '90s (when I was eleven or so) I used to watch Zorro with my family on the Family Chanel. We would sit around the TV, all of us, and tune in every night with dinner. The show was light-hearted, fun and family friendly.
I'm 33 now and I was a little worried that my nostalgia glasses might've been too thick, and that when I got the series, I would be rolling my eyes.
My concerns vanished the moment I started to watch the first DVD. Zorro held up over the ages, I am happy to say.
I have one small nit-pick but that's only that the shows weren't digitally remastered. Its not a deal-breaker, it just would have been nice.
Go out and get this box set and watch it with your family; you'll be happy that you did.