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Should I buy Little House on the Prairie?


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#1 of 12 Guest__*

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Posted February 01 2010 - 12:06 PM

I am usually a purist and very demanding when it comes to uncut television episodes. However, I understand all of the problems with these releases. I'm still very interested in getting them. However, I have read that the European versions put out by Universal are basically uncut. So I don't know if I should splurge on the "complete" boxed set or wait for something better. I'm getting to the point where I feel that life is too short and I should just be happy with what is available...but it is a lot of money.

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted February 01 2010 - 08:12 PM

I would seek out those European releases and put up with the PAL speed-up issues, if you really are a purist and want the episodes uncut. Lions' Gate made it fairly clear in an interview that they have no current interest in redoing or remastering the existing U.S. dvds. My advice is to wait until the complete boxed set has been around awhile longer and goes down to a steep discount. Or, if you really want to wait, sit around for a few years until Lions Gate loses the rights to distribute it, the show gets a much-needed remastering, and they put it out again. That's what I would probably do; it just seems to me that somebody's going to take an interest in that show someday, release that a lot of the prints are not very good, and transfer it to hi-def. My guess: about 5 years from now.

 

 


#3 of 12 OFFLINE   LeoA

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Posted February 02 2010 - 08:16 AM

If the European releases are uncut, I'd go that route. The ones we have over here are very poor. The first three or so seasons only have the show introduction on the first episode of each disc (I love the opening so I'm still annoyed at that strange decision). And many episodes are in extremely poor condition. The episodes are often poor quality transfers from syndicated copies, looking about as good as a VHS television recording made at home. And because of the source material, it means you can expect several minutes of cut footage from most episodes. 

And often that makes things not make much sense. For example, I recently watched the season 6 (I think) episode where Laura gets her teaching license and goes away to be a substitute teacher and then realizes that Almanzo is starting to get similar feelings towards her that she always held for him.

You see Laura in the buggy with Almanzo heading home looking down towards her shoes later in the episode, and the viewer has no clue what the significance of those shoes are. I presume she gets the shoes to give her a more mature appearance (Almanzo comments earlier in the episode to Laura that her dress doesn't make her look grown up at all when she's talking to him trying to get him to notice her appearance). But that scene doesn't exist on the DVD's and causes this sequence to not make any sense, leaving the viewer wondering why we get a close up of Laura's footwear on the buggy ride home. And these trimmed scenes aren't done neatly at all. It's a very harse transition that will immediately end. They don't even try to disguise it in the syndicated copies used for the DVD transfers to fit the feel of the show.

That's an example of what you can expect with the Imavision/Lionsgate transfers. I was fairly pleased with season 1, besides the missing opening sequence after the initial episode on each disc. So I made the mistake a few years ago to order a bundle deal from Imavision's site for seasons 1-9 (Was cheaper rebuying season 1 again to do this deal than to buy each individually) to get the rest of the season releases (I was late to DVD so Little House was already completely out on DVD besides the movie release), and it's been a decision that has left me with mixed feelings. I'm happy to be able to watch it when I want to rather than on network tv, but I've been very displeased with the quality of work that Imavision, NBC, and then Lionsgate (Who didn't do much of anything but rerelease stuff I think) did for this series.

It deserves better.

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Mr. Ed

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Posted February 02 2010 - 09:08 AM

How Ironic.  Yes indeed, I too was collared by the scene of Laura looking at her shoes.  But it made no sense.  I know of other scenes throughout the series  that again were omitted and definitely should have been filtered into the show.  There are always scenes that were cut and not really missed.  Sometimes dialogue is added  to fill the air minutes during production.  But with Little House, they just cut with their eyes closed.  (so it appears).  in the last farewell 3 movies there are two discs of extras.  Note the mssig scenes as they are shown.
    
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#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted February 08 2010 - 06:15 PM



Originally Posted by Ethan Riley 

I would seek out those European releases and put up with the PAL speed-up issues, if you really are a purist and want the episodes uncut. Lions' Gate made it fairly clear in an interview that they have no current interest in redoing or remastering the existing U.S. dvds. My advice is to wait until the complete boxed set has been around awhile longer and goes down to a steep discount. Or, if you really want to wait, sit around for a few years until Lions Gate loses the rights to distribute it, the show gets a much-needed remastering, and they put it out again. That's what I would probably do; it just seems to me that somebody's going to take an interest in that show someday, release that a lot of the prints are not very good, and transfer it to hi-def. My guess: about 5 years from now.
 
Well, I don't think we should take Lionsgate to task on this one.  It's actually NBC Universal--Lionsgate just holds the license from ImaVision, and in turn from NBC Universal.  A disclaimer on the liner notes says that every effort was made to include what was available to be seen on the DVDs.

As former webmaster for a "Little House" website, I can tell you that if you have a real good eye, you'll be able to detect where there actually are uncut episodes, and they are mostly in the Season One DVDs.  For example, the first few episodes (including "A Harvest Of Friends" and "Country Girls") have scenes you won't find in current syndication prints.  I know, 'cause I used to VHS tape every episode from TBS during the network's run there.
Some episode prints have a lot to be desired, and they are in badly  need of remastering.  In fact, a majority of all the episodes on DVD are derived from the WorldVision syndication prints (in fact, their logos can also be seen at the end of most of these episodes).  But the NBC Universal Television Distribution  logo (or, in some cases, the NBC Enterprises logo) is attached to the very end of some eps.Some Season 8 and "New Beginning" eps are derived from PAL transfers converted to our NTSC (hence the 3% time compression).

So who should really call upon?  NBC Universal, or CBS Television Distribution (the current television syndicator)?  I leave it up to all of you.



#6 of 12 OFFLINE   LeoA

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Posted February 09 2010 - 10:37 AM

Can't say as I agree. 

Regardless of where these substandard releases originated from, Lionsgate paid to license, manufacture, and distribute these sets. That they choose to either not redo these sets from original masters or didn't have that option and yet still willingly licensed this show to distribute these substandard sets, either way they're just as guilty and deserve as much blame as NBC and Imavision. 

I'm just glad I didn't buy their complete set and waited to see impressions from those that had. I really hoped they'd set things right when they picked this show up and start from square 1, rather than just peddle more of the same.
 
Hopefully this program gets a second chance and someone else with higher standards than Imavision/Lionsgate will be able to go back to the original prints (Or videotape as the case might be) and give this show the home video treatment it deserves and also create a new set of quality syndication prints for a new generation to discover this show on television.

#7 of 12 Guest__*

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Posted February 09 2010 - 11:50 AM

Just heard from Lionsgate...there are no plans to re-release Little House on the Prairie at this time. :(

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Posted February 11 2010 - 10:33 AM

don't bother

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   JanuaryMan

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Posted February 12 2010 - 04:09 AM

No.


#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Regulus

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Posted February 12 2010 - 04:20 AM

Being an owner of the Complete series I am totally satisfied with this set. I really do not care if it is "The Syndicated Version". The fact that I can watch this series without those annoying interruptions (That's Commercials and "Pop-Ups" for those of you in Rio Linda!)

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Posted February 12 2010 - 06:05 AM

If it is not going to be re-released any time soon, I guess I will go ahead and get it. Life is short, and I don't want to deprive myself of a great show. I have decided to go ahead and get it. If, at some point, it is restored then I will give the current set to a family member. Thanks for all of your opinions.

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Cheetah

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Posted February 13 2010 - 12:39 AM


Quote:
The first three or so seasons only have the show introduction on the first episode of each disc (I love the opening so I'm still annoyed at that strange decision).
I was on the fence to by this series to begin with but when I found out about this it became a no sale for me.  It was a very moronic decision.  If there are people who don't want to see the opening each and every time when watching the shows in a marathon session (I only ever watch one episode per week for any given series) then they could have just fast forwarded through it, not butcher the episode.     





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