Gunsmoke: The Sixth Season, Volume One (1960 – 1961/CBS DVD Set)/Hatfields & McCoys (2012 TV Mini-Series/Sony Blu-ray Set)
C+/B Sound: C+/B Extras: D/C+ Episodes: B-/C+
some TV Westerns over a half-century apart that were both bog ratings
have Gunsmoke: The Sixth Season, Volume
One (1960 – 1961) which continues the early black and white era of the
long-running hit series with James Arness as Matt Dillon. The show held steady with Dennis Weaver,
Amanda Blake and Milburn Stone facing daily dramas in Dodge City, but I do not think the show took
off into any new directions. I am not
the biggest fan of the show or most Westerns anyhow, but there is some very
good work here over the 19 episodes here across 3 DVDs.
you did not know it was a big hit show in its time, it is not that
distinguishable from the many black and white TV Westerns (and there were so
many at the time) being made. It just
found a big audience and that audience stuck with it for a very long time. There is also some chemistry with the regular
cast and though even the shows do not stay with me, they never feel like a
waste of time either. It will be
interesting as I watch to see if the show actually got better in later seasons.
film director Kevin Reynolds reunites once again with Kevin Costner for a new
TV mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys
(2012) about the most popular family feud in American history and possibly of
all time. Costner is “Devil” Anse
Hatfield and slowly but surely, he and his family start killing each other many
years as the feud snowballs. This
happens with the McCoys led by Randall (Bill Paxton in one of his most
effectively understated performances).
This is in three parts and runs 290 minutes!
it takes its time and has some interesting moments, but it can be more long and
drawn out than I expected, has some clichéd moments and in the beginning is a
bit confusing and not because the main characters both served in the Confederacy. Though the teleplay is not too complex, it is
not always as clear as it could be, so you have to pay very strict attention
throughout. There is some humor and some
parts do not seem as period (i.e., the performances) as others, but Reynolds just
manages to juggle this and those really interested and patient will want to
check it out. Matt Barr, Tom Berenger,
Powers Booth, Jenna Malone and Mare Winningham are among the supporting cast.
include a Music Video and a Making Of
X 1 black and white image across the Gunsmoke
episodes look about as good as they are going to for a show of its age, plus
they look really good as compared to the many bad VHS and lame DVD copies of
the same shows that have been circulating for years, so if you like the show,
this is the edition to own. The 1080p 1.78
X 1 digital High Definition image on Hatfield
may have some styling to make it look like it is from the past (slight
darkness, maybe some light sepia) but this remarkably does not interfere with
the playback quality and solid performance is the result throughout (even over
HD broadcasts I have seen), so the picture quality is stabler (not much motion
blur) and more consistent than expected.
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Gunsmoke
episodes can show their age with background noise and some compression
depending on the episode, but distortion is not as bad as it could be and goes
just fine with the picture quality. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Hatfield is rich, warm and consistent with a defined soundfield
throughout down to the music and ambient sounds. Add its fine picture quality and it is one of
the best TV mini-series performers on Blu-ray to date and fans will want to see
it like this.
- Nicholas Sheffo