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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Drama > Melodrama > Great Depression > Soap Opera > Teens > Children > Detective > Mystery > Seria > The Dakotas: The Complete Series (1962 - 1963/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Little House On The Prairie: Season Five (1978 - 1979/NBC/Lionsgate Blu-rays)/The Mentalist: The Seventh & Final Season (2014 - 20

The Dakotas: The Complete Series (1962 - 1963/Warner Archive DVD Set)/Little House On The Prairie: Season Five (1978 - 1979/NBC/Lionsgate Blu-rays)/The Mentalist: The Seventh & Final Season (2014 - 2015/Warner DVD Set)

Picture: C+/B-/C+ Sound: C/C+/C+ Extras: D/C-/C Episodes: C+/C-/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Dakotas DVD set is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

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The Dakotas: The Complete Series (1962 - 1963) is one of the more serious dramatic Westerns Warner TV tried back in the day before they found their niche with Maverick by adding some comedy to the drama and action. Not able to compete with Gunsmoke and Bonanza, the show only lasted a season, but it is an ambitious show with Chad Everette, Larry Ward, Mike Greene and one of THE actors known for the genre, Jack Elam. Issued by Warner Archive as an exclusive DVD set, the show has never looked better outside of film prints.

With only 16 hours made, we get some decent writing, but indistinct situations, though Telly Savalas, DeForest Kelley, Richard Jaeckel, Werner Klemperer, Natalie Trundy, Russell Johnson, Lee Van Cleef, Jeanne Cooper, Norman Alden, Dennis Hopper, Mercedes McCambridge, Warren Stevens, Elisha Cook Jr., Dick Foran, Karl Swenson, Arch Johnson, Herb Vigran, Lew Gallo, Ed Prentiss, George Savalas, Whit Bissell, Royal Dano, Bert Freed and Claude Akins are among the great guest cast. A well-produced show, anyone who is curious needs to check it out.

There are sadly no extras.

I wanted to look at Little House On The Prairie: Season Five (1978 - 1979) not because I was a fan of the show, but to see if the look of the show improved from the Season Two set I covered a while ago (elsewhere on this site) and while the show has become as bad or worse in its writing, the look of the show has stayed the same, rustic, a little soft and down-styled. You would think they stocked up on the same film stocks to keep things boring. The 5-Blu-ray set has all 24 hours of the season and the transfers are a little better, actually confirming what I thought about the look of the show. Alternate thoughts on the show are from other writers covering other seasons.

Extras include Part Five of an ongoing Phenomenon featurette on the show and Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices.

The Mentalist: The Seventh & Final Season (2014 - 2015) is the final season of a show that looked like it could have been cancelled, but Warner (and CBS) kept the faith with fans who did and the show got to complete its story arcs. It is Simon Baker's appeal and star power that is the reason the show got and deserved to continue, even if non-fans like myself were not as impressed. Baker has more hits in him, big or small screen, though the serial killer thing is pretty played out. We've covered most of the seasons, so we will not get into details on this season, as that equals spoilers, which also means you should start at the beginning of you are going to take the show on. For me, they just about quit while they were ahead.

Extras include a paper episode guide inside the DVD case, plus the discs add Unaired Scenes and featurette Patrick Jane: An Uncommon Man.

The 1.33 X 1 black & white image on Dakotas is can show the age of materials used, but these look like newer transfers and there are plenty of surprisingly sharp, clear shots throughout each show. That will make fans of the show and genre happy. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on House can also show the age of the materials used, but never have as many nice, sharp shots despite being in a superior video format. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Mentalist can be soft, more noticeable now since we covered episodes on Blu-ray looking pretty good. It ties Dakotas, but House is the visual winner by default and by a narrow margin.

The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Dakotas is the oldest audio here, but the shows are a little compressed and even a tad brittle at times. It is passable, but they could sound a bit better. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on House is a little weaker this time out than the older seasons we covered for some reason, maybe due to sloppiness, not spending money on new equipment or the episodes being not stored as well. Hope no one messed up on the transfers, but the overall volume is a bit low overall.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Mentalist DVDs can have some active moments, but the lossy codec holds back its dynamic range, reminding me again how good the Blu-ray versions of the show were. Still, this cannot totally clear the troubled House Blu-ray sound as the sonic champ, but obviously would if it were the Blu-ray version of the show.

To order The Dakotas Warner Archive DVD set, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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