The order is by air-date!
Trouble is that the air-dates don't follow the production order or the story order — the last three episodes were initially broadcast AFTER the story ends and here they are still there after the story ends.
A variation of the production order, with changes based on the story line that flows through the season, might have made more sense. One of the last three stories is set entirely in China (the charming "The Thief of Chendo") and so could be shown anytime, even after the story ends. But the other two on the last side of the last disc have to take place before the four episodes that end the story. Why not correct the mistake made in the first broadcast, for whatever reason it was made then?
Checking out episodes, I am glad to be able to report that these episodes are as they were originally filmed. There is no cropping of the top and bottom to arbitrarily turn a square picture into fake "widescreen". You get these episodes with all the details in the original picture. And the picture is gorgeous. The episodes call out to me but now I have to decide if I should watch them in the order on the discs or stick with the story/production order or a variation or just look through the discs picking out episodes I haven't seen in years and may have last seen in a cut version.
This season has the only episodes which take place entirely in flashbacks in China. The best episodes of this seaon are amoung the best of the series and they call to me!
Others may not care about subtitles, but I need them in order to do my guides. As with most DVDs, you have to turn them on to see them so they will not bother those of you who don't want them. From what I have seen so far, the subtitles are clear. In addition to English, subtitles are also available for French and Spanish.
After all this time, there really isn't much they can do for extras. There are two episodes done with commentary by David Carradine ("Blood of the Dragon, part 2", which has its interests, and "Full Circle", which is the last episode in the storyline and the last one shot).
And then there is the documentary they made of what they bill as a trip to the Shaolin Temple. Although interesting, this should actually be called a travelogue by Carradine on a trip to China. We get more on each of the main tourist destinations (Beijing, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall) than we do of the temple. Mostly we learn that in winter, just before Chinese New Year's, it is very cold in China. We might also learn a bit about Carradine and those who accompanied him on the trip. But we don't learn much about the Shaolin, although we get to see the temple and we get a few demonstrations. Anything about the Shaolin Temple is interesting! And, okay, China is also interesting. Carradine had been to China and the Shaolin Temple before, but to me this is mostly new although there have been other documentaries on the modern Shaolin temple.
But it is the episodes that keep pulling at me from the new DVD set. Full length, uncut and stunning!
So, what order should I watch them in?
Stay tuned and I will let you know.