F Troop: Season Two (DVD)

I don’t have a lot of experience with the series “F Troop” except knowing that it’s a classic, and I recall catching it a few times when I was a kid. This was before cable, when network television kept classic shows in syndication, and not recent ones. They were better times.

“F Troop” is very much in the vein of Mel Brooks, and if you’re a fan of the man, this series may be right up your alley. “F Troop,” for the uninitiated, sets down on a Civil War camp out in the woods of Fort Courage, and a group of hapless soldiers who get into wacky misadventures with visitors, and assorted guest stars.

Along the way, they also run into the Hekawi’s, a band of equally zany Native Americans, who hide out in the woods, and secretly team with a few of the soldiers in the camp.

Much like “Hogan’s Heroes,” the group manage to get away with a lot of gags under their superior’s noses, and use the Hekawi’s as instruments in their plans. In the first episode, much of the soldiers are being relocated, and in an attempt to thwart the plans, enlist the Hekawi’s to threaten war on them if the soldiers go, with hilarious results.

There’s also the appearances of Paul Lynde as a singing mounty who keeps the camp under tight watch for a French fur trader, who is being hidden by the Hekawi’s, and Harvey Korman who plays a domineering German balloonist who interrupts the affairs in the fort.

“F Troop” has a lively energy, and some truly sharp one-liners that will keep you in hysterics for most of the time. The origin of the Hekawi’s, and their name, is especially funny, but “F Troop” season two marks the debut of the color format for the series, which sadly only ran two seasons, and experienced new life in syndication, much like “Star Trek” and “The Honeymooners.”

All the episodes are present, politically incorrect Native American gags and all, and it’s a quality release that’s sadly very slim on extras. There’s only a brief retrospective on the entire series. But beyond that, fans of the genuine Mel Brooks comedies would be well advised to seek this out at their nearest convenience. It’s a treat.