"12 O'Clock High" is an excellent series and every episode has been posted to YouTube. And, now that I finished watching it, I am doing an overall review for the series.
Season one of the show was the best for two main reasons. I liked Robert Lansing as the General, but apparently the network or sponsors didn't...and he was replaced by Paul Burke in the second and third seasons. Burke was very good...but Lansing was at least as good and tossing him off the show did NOT make me happy. The second reason I prefer the earlier episodes is that after a while, the show ran low on story ideas. After all, how many different plots can you make about men bombing Nazi-occupied Europe? As a result, many decent plots were reused to the point of absurdity. Both General Savage AND Colonel Gallagher were shot down innumerable times and managed to escape the Germans again and again...which is ridiculous. It was particularly overused in seasons two and three. Additionally, some plots (especially in season three) were utterly ridiculous...and I assume they used these scripts because they simply had used their better stuff earlier. Now this is NOT to say the later episodes were all bad...they weren't.
So what did I like about the show? Well, the plot certainly isn't typical...especially for a Quinn Martin production. There really has never been another show like it. Also, the acting is really good and the long list of great guest stars is VERY impressive.
What didn't I like...aside from the plots of some later episodes? Well, the use of bad and irrelevant stock footage is tough for folks like me. I used to be a history teacher and LOVE WWII airplanes...and know them very well. So, when they show German Bf-109 fighters attacking and suddenly you see American P-47 guns blazing from these aircraft or see Spitfire footage attacking the bombers (the Spitfire was an Allied plane), it takes me out of the experience. It was a much more severe problem starting in season two and I am almost surprised they didn't stick WWI or Vietnam War fighters into the show! Sloppy....period.
Overall, despite a lousy attention to details and some poor plots, the good ones way outweighed the bad and the show was and is amazing to watch.
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