DVD Review The Virginian: The Complete Seventh Season DVD Review

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Richard Gallagher, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    XenForo Template 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
     
  2. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    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.
     
  3. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    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. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    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.
     
  5. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    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).
     
  6. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    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. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    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.
     
  8. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    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. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Supporting Actor

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    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.
     
  10. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    This is impossible to find, even on E-Bay.

    Does anyone know if this series is going to be reissued through to Shout Factory?
     
  11. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Agent

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    I was afraid this would happen before I finished getting through this series. I love the show, but it takes more time to watch because of the length. I hate having DVD's on the shelf for years, but I'm buying the remainder of what I can find now so I don't pay $80 a season two years from now.
     
  12. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I have seasons 1-3, 6, and 8(I bought them whenever I saw them at Sam's Club years ago).
    Season 4 is still easy to find, 5 a bit harder, but season seven is crazy. I don't know if it had a low production run, but I don't see copies anywhere. I haven't checked for "The Men From Shiloh" yet.

    I'm really glad I finished "Wagon Train" another series that is becoming rare.
     
  13. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    I have to admit that while I like "The Virginian" its the kind of show that I could never watch in sequence. Its a lot easier for it and a "Wagon Train", "Bonanza" etc. to just get when its out and then just sample the episodes I want to see first based on guest star etc. and then probably later on, the urge will come to see something else within. Usually it is better to stockpile for the future with a show like that.
     
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  14. hypnohighball

    hypnohighball Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you're right about lower quantities being pressed for the later seasons - imho they weren't as good. It's hard to imagine the weaker later seasons got snapped up before the superior early ones. I watched the entire series run on Encore Westerns Channel and then went and bought seasons 1 through 6. Decided watching seasons 7 and 8 once was enough. I sure wouldn't pay collector's prices for these, that's for sure.
     
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  15. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I sure don't want to. I have a feeling the minute I do Timeless/Shout Factory will re-release them at $15 per season.
     
  16. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    It isn't the easiest show to watch because of the length of each episode. And if it is a clunker of an ep. (and there were many) that is a lot of time wasted, I don't feel as confident firing up the next episode.
     
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  17. jperez

    jperez Second Unit

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    There's a video interview on YouTube with Stirling Silliphant, creator both of Naked City and Route 66, in which he remembers he was contacted to save The Virginian in its early stages -maybe during the first season- when it seemed in danger of being cancelled. He goes on to say that he believed the series was awful, but was able to fix it -alongside others- and it then became a big hit. I do like The Virginian and loved most of all the slow pace with which it developed its stories, but I mention this because it seems to go against the accepted notion that the first seasons were the best.
     
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  18. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I find that story suspect. The first two seasons definitely were the strongest. Maybe he consulted, but I don't see how he played that significant a role in the shaping of how the series went since it was subject to the whims of cast changes, such as Lee J. Cobb leaving, as well as the actress playing Betsy. I mean, what could he have suggested? The stories in the first two seasons were adaptations of existing western stories, if my memory is correct - I have that companion book. And Silliphant, to me, was the king of dialogue, not structure. I just don't see his influence there. And this from someone who considers Route 66 the top of the TV pantheon for great writing and characters.
     
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  19. jperez

    jperez Second Unit

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    I'm sorry, but I spoofed... The interview I was referring to was with Roy Huggins (Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Fugitive, Rockford Files, etc.), which is also divided into various segments in YouTube. He's the one who talked about being asked to help The Virginian early on, and he became the producer. I'll try to get a link for the exact segment where he talks in detail about this.and about how much he disliked the series originally, specially because of its length.
     
  20. jperez

    jperez Second Unit

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