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The Virginian: The Complete Seventh Season DVD Review

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#1 of 9 Richard Gallagher

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Posted February 14 2013 - 05:48 PM

For the uninitiated, The Virginian was the first 90-minute (including commercials) television western. The show debuted in 1962 and ran for nine seasons on NBC. Over the years there were a number of changes in the cast, but the one constant was the presence of The Virginian (James Drury) and Trampas (Doug McClure), who work at the Shiloh Ranch near Medicine Bow in Wyoming Territory. In Season Seven the ranch is still owned by Clay Grainger (John McIntire). Also returning for Season Seven are Holly Grainger (Jeanette Nolan) and Elizabeth Grainger (Sara Lane). New to the cast is David Sutton (David Hartman), a drifter from the east who decides to settle down in Medicine Bow.






The Virginian: The Complete Seventh Season

Studio: Timeless Media Group
Year: 1968-1969
Rated: Not Rated
Program Length: 1950 minutes (approximately)                 Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Languages: English Mono Dolby Digital
Subtitles: None

The Program

For the uninitiated, The Virginian was the first 90-minute (including commercials) television western. The show debuted in 1962 and ran for nine seasons on NBC. Over the years there were a number of changes in the cast, but the one constant was the presence of The Virginian (James Drury) and Trampas (Doug McClure), who work at the Shiloh Ranch near Medicine Bow in Wyoming Territory. In Season Seven the ranch is still owned by Clay Grainger (John McIntire). Also returning for Season Seven are Holly Grainger (Jeanette Nolan) and Elizabeth Grainger (Sara Lane). New to the cast is David Sutton (David Hartman), a drifter from the east who decides to settle down in Medicine Bow.

Season Seven includes 26 episodes spread over nine DVDs:

The Saddle Warmer
Silver Image
The Orchard
Vision of Blindness
The Wind of Outrage
Image of an Outlaw
The Heritage
Ride to Misadventure
The Storm Gate
The Dark Corridor
The Mustangers
Nora
Big Tiny
Stopover
Death Wait
Last Grave at Socorro Creek
Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs
The Price of Love
The Ordeal
The Land Dreamer
Eileen
Incident at Diablo Crossing
Storm Over Shiloh
The Girl in the Shadows
Fox, Hound and the Widow McCloud
The Stranger  
This season also includes an impressive lineup of guest stars. Among them are Ralph Bellamy, Tom Skerritt, Burgess Meredith, Tyne Daly, John Saxon, Ben Johnson, Ricardo Montalbon, Jim Davis, Harry Dean Stanton, Paul Winchell, John Agar, Anne Baxter, Ellen Burstyn, James Brolin, James Gregory, Cloris Leachman, Jack Albertson, Troy Donahue, and Yvonne De Carlo. One of the hallmarks of The Virginian is that viewers could expect to see a well-known guest star nearly every week.

Each episode has a running time of approximately 75 minutes. They appear to be complete and uncut.

The Video

The video of these color episodes is excellent, with solid colors and strong contrast. Each episode of The Virginian is correctly displayed at 1.33:1. The exteriors were shot a various locations in California, including Iverson Ranch and Lone Pine. I was unable to go through each episode but a spot check suggests that all are in excellent condition. It appears that the DVD set was mastered from the original elements, which are owned by NBC Universal.

The Audio

The Dolby Digital mono audio is satisfactory, and certainly as good as could be hoped for from a 45-year old television series. The dialogue is clear and understandable, and the audio is free of distortion. There are no subtitles.

The Supplements

There are no extras included with this set.

The Packaging

As noted the 26 episodes are spread over 9 discs. Season Seven comes in a flipper DVD case, which in turn is enclosed in an embossed collectible tin.

The Final Analysis

Timeless Media Group continues to delight fans of vintage television shows. In recent months Timeless has brought us long sought-after shows such as Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, and Yancy Derringer, and on the horizon is the complete series of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. It appears that Timeless has every intention of releasing the final seasons of The Virginian, so fans of the show who have been pleased with the prior releases can purchase this set with confidence.

Equipment used for this review:

Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player
Panasonic Viera TC-P46G15 Plasma display, calibrated to THX specification by Gregg Loewen
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable

Release Date: February 5, 2013


Rich Gallagher

#2 of 9 Randy Korstick

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:27 AM

Have they finally started Time encoding The Virginian? I have Season 1-5 and none of them have time encoding which is definately a bigger deal with a 75 minute show. Its hard to believe this late in the DVD game that fairly major releases can still come out without this simple and basic feature.
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#3 of 9 benbess

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Posted February 15 2013 - 03:27 AM

Good review. But can you tell us a little more about how you liked the season as a whole? Did you have any favorite episodes?

#4 of 9 Richard Gallagher

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Posted February 15 2013 - 04:06 AM

Originally Posted by Randy Korstick 

Have they finally started Time encoding The Virginian? I have Season 1-5 and none of them have time encoding which is definately a bigger deal with a 75 minute show. Its hard to believe this late in the DVD game that fairly major releases can still come out without this simple and basic feature.


No time encoding, no chapter selection. However, you can skip through to the closing credits of each episode.


I understand the frustration about certain features being missing, but let's face it - NBC Universal was never going to put this series out on DVD. I have no idea how much money Timeless Media saves by omitting time encoding, subtitles, etc., but I'm happy with the fact that the show looks and sounds fine.


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#5 of 9 Richard Gallagher

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Posted February 15 2013 - 04:14 AM

Originally Posted by benbess 

Good review. But can you tell us a little more about how you liked the season as a whole? Did you have any favorite episodes?


I only received the screener a few days ago, so in order to get the review up in a timely fashion I only have been able to watch a couple of episodes all the way through (I did spot checks on the rest and reviewed the credits for each episode). I do like the addition of David Hartman to the cast, although I was sorry to see Clu Gulager leave the show.


Now that we are getting screeners from Timeless I will try to get Season Eight a few weeks before the release date (although it has not been announced yet).


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#6 of 9 benbess

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Posted February 15 2013 - 05:48 AM

I only received the screener a few days ago, so in order to get the review up in a timely fashion I only have been able to watch a couple of episodes all the way through (I did spot checks on the rest and reviewed the credits for each episode). I do like the addition of David Hartman to the cast, although I was sorry to see Clu Gulager leave the show. Now that we are getting screeners from Timeless I will try to get Season Eight a few weeks before the release date (although it has not been announced yet).

As you watch the show, I hope you'll post some mini reviews or lists of favorite episodes. Have you reviewed the earlier seasons? I've watched the first three seasons, and overall I'm quite impressed by this show. Imho it seems like the best TV Western ever made. They were really trying to make a good little B Western movie for each episode, and for the first three years it often worked out pretty well.

#7 of 9 Richard Gallagher

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Posted February 15 2013 - 06:12 AM

Originally Posted by benbess 


As you watch the show, I hope you'll post some mini reviews or lists of favorite episodes.

Have you reviewed the earlier seasons?

I've watched the first three seasons, and overall I'm quite impressed by this show. Imho it seems like the best TV Western ever made. They were really trying to make a good little B Western movie for each episode, and for the first three years it often worked out pretty well.


I don't believe that we did formal reviews of any of the previous seasons, although I have all of them. I agree with what you say, and the quality of the show held up well at least through the first seven seasons. The show had outstanding guest stars pretty much all the way through.


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#8 of 9 Hollywoodaholic

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Posted February 15 2013 - 08:49 AM

I'm wrapping up Season 4 and moving on to 5, but while the Lee J. Cobb seasons (first three) were probably the best (because in addition to James Drury and Doug McClure, they had Lee J. Cobb!), the show was consistently high quality. And it's great to see the parade of 60's guest stars (from the galaxy of guest stars on 60's shows) be given such a great showcase. Doug McClure as Trampas was a childhood hero, and having partied with him one night in Hollywood many years later (and I believe his 5th wife), I can report he was Trampas X 10, always up for a good time. He is missed.
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#9 of 9 ChrisALM

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Posted February 15 2013 - 08:54 AM

Thanks for the review, Richard. I am pleased to hear that the excellent quality continues with this latest Season 7 release of The Virginian. I appreciate Timeless for getting this far along with the series, and with only one season left, I am hopeful we will get a quality Season 8 before too long.







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