I remember this in early 1973 before we left for HK, and it didn't show there. Seen a few episodes on you tube, it still looks decent, even if the fighting is in slow motion. I don't think I'm alone wishing Bruce Lee HAD shot the series as originally planned instead of David "you'll find me in the wardrobe" Carradine.
I watched it back in those days too and found it fascinating then. I don't think I would bother now. It was a very influential cultural reference point in the early 1970s, constantly spoofed in comedies for instance.
The first series took me a couple of years to digest and work out, it can be a bit samey but if you drip feed the episodes it's excellent and really sticks to it's concept of delivering Buddhist/Tao teachings, which make it come across as somewhat moralistic at times.
It's a shame they were only aloud to put so many minutes of actual kung fu in each episode (coz let's face it, that's what we really want to see - Kane kicking a$$), because I think the censors or TV station had to limit the amount of fighting but the stuff that's in there is very good (if you take into account Carradine's limited skill).
I personally think this series was just as influential, iconic and innovative as the original Star Trek was for sowing the 'seeds of imagination' into young viewers.. As kids we (my friends and I) were driven by martial arts because of this and other stuff. Which made me into the man I am today - by man I mean martial arts obsessed idiot!
I'd almost forgot the series until Pulp Fiction came out. Jools had been involved in something mystical (a gunman unloaded and missed every shot) and he decided to change, and was "going to have adventures and walk the earth like Caine in Kung Fu". That line, like others in the film was brilliant.
I think my brother has season 1 too and he was impressed with the pilot episode when we watched it at some point on BBC2 in the '80s.
"What was I thinking of, hitting him? Nothing. No, I know. I hate him! I hate his guts, I hate everything he stands for with his PACE and his plus and his statements of purpose and his smiling at the punters and his have a nice day! I mean when was the last time he ever nicked anybody, eh? A real villain! When was the last time he ever put himself on the line?"
My 6 disc edition came a few weeks ago and I watched 2 random episodes last night, including one with Jodie Foster. They are very dated, the fight scenes are shabby. I will take my time with the other episodes.