Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > TV > The Big Valley - Season One

The Big Valley – Season One


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Episodes: C+



The Western hit such a peak by the mid-1960s on TV that a decline was inevitable, but not before some interesting shows were launched.  Gunsmoke was the biggest show of them all, but no series did a better job of capturing the kind of show and success (for four seasons) doing the kind of drama/melodrama that kept the big rival hot for about a quarter century than The Big Valley.  Barbara Stanwyck is the head of The Barkleys, the widow matriarch of their ranch and a family that has to face all kinds of troubles each episode.


The series introduced Lee Majors and Linda Evans to a wider audience and the first season alone had stars (and future stars) like Malachi Throne, Jeannie Cooper, R.G. Armstrong, Warren Oates, Ron Howard, Anthony Zerbe, Claude Akins, J. Pat O’Malley, Ken Lynch, Yvonne Craig, John Dehner, Diane Baker, Army Archerd, Robert Cornwaite, William Shatner, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy, Jill St. John, Royal Dano, Robert Yuro, L.Q. Jones, Harry Dean Stanton, Karl Swenson and Richard Anderson.  Fox has issued the first season on a 5-DVD set, which includes all 30 hour-long shows.


The show is not bad, but it also had more formula TV convention to it than I remembered.  The stars sold the show and it was a good quality production that was fine in its time, but at least these first season shows have not held up as well as was hoped.  Barbary Red with Jill St. John and George Kennedy is the best of the shows in this season, in its writing, acting and directing.  Western fans will be thrilled with this competent set.


The 1.33 X 1 image is not the sharpest all the time, with some slight digititis, but the colors still come through for the most part and are usually decent prints.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple monophonic sound, though there is background noise here and there, plus some of the audio is distorted at times.  The latter will come as a surprise in parts, but this is still decent for a show its age.  There are no extras, but with Majors and Evans still alive, they’ll have a few more seasons of DVDs to show up on.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com