Ah, yes seems time and the memory of the last two seasons helped redeem season 3 somewhat for me. I do remember feeling the magic of the fantastic first two seasons being swapped for as you say an action movie ripoff style. Perhaps I was also more forgiving for the simple matter as I was happy to just be continuing the adventure as well.
The way in which they wrote out John Rhys-Davies effectively took away my favorite part of the show and left me watching every new episode clinging to the hope that the show couldn't take another poor turn, I was disappointed greatly. One piece of solace I have is in S2E08 when the two Professors fight at the end before the slide leaving one left behind in the aftermath it alludes to the original Arturo being the one left behind and is still out there somewhere as the show continues, however that could be my hopeful interpretation.
I was not aware of Peckinpah's "slide" as it were into addiction and is sad his personal battle spilled over into the show. Thank you for taking the time to pen out such a well written response and personal perspective! I'll relish the new insight into a show that meant so much for me when I was younger and still find myself caring about all these years later.
I have my sights on a full set I can fingers crossed get for a reasonable cost. I wont need the extra S3 if the bidding pans out but you are too kind to offer and I might still take you up on it pending said deal also if still on offer of course!