The Good

A well made show that doesn't mind taking a long road to get where it is going.

The Bad

No Special Features of any sort.

Running from 1965 to 1969, The Big Valley: Season 2, Vol. 1 is one of those Boomer TV shows that really tells a good tale. While in many ways looking and even feeling like Bonanza, this show chronicled the Barkley family and the life they lived in the San Joaquin Valley in the 1870s. This show gave us Jarrod (Richard Long), Nick (Peter Breck), Heath (Lee Majors), Audra (Linda Evans) and Victoria (Barbara Stanwyck) as the mother of this clan of independent willed people.

Made up of 15 episodes in this three disc set, we see the Barkley clan deal with outlaws, corrupt officials, and other matters that touch almost any family (it just happens in different situations). Some of the more interesting episodes are "Day of Blood," in which Victoria and Audra are held captive with a Bible study class by a band of outlaws, "The Man From Nowhere" which sees Jarrod get amnesia whilst trying to settle a land dispute, and "The Martyr" which references many issues today when Jarrod takes up the cause of a Basque sheepherder who has been accused of killing someone.

While not the most original of shows The Big Valley: Season 2, Vol. 1 separates itself by telling very interesting stories.

Features

No Extras came with this release.

Video

Full Frame - 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio. This show's look is what really stands out to me. Sure the episodes are interesting, but I really love the look of these early western shows. There is something about how they were shot on film that really gives them a rich look, and adds a lot of weightiness to the subject matter of the episodes. Also, it seems like Fox has really cleaned up these discs. From sweeping shots of the hills, to up close shots on the characters, I didn't notice any hits in the picture or any hairs that had made their way into the transfer.

Audio

Dolby Digital. English and Spanish Mono. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. The audio on these discs was above average. I didn't have to turn the sound on my set up any louder than normal, and I really loved the music that was created for this show. Both the sound and the images worked well together to bring the viewer deep into the story, while at the same time these production values also bolster the way the show is presented.

Package

The cast of The Big Valley

is presented on this front cover in a nicely airbrushed picture, that really captures the look and feel of the time presented in this show. They have even made the packaging behind the picture look like a leather binding of some sort. The back lists out what this show is about and it offers up system specs. All three discs are neatly housed inside three cases, all of which feature different cast members from the front cover broken up over the inside case covers. The back also lists out the episodes, airdates and descriptions. I like this packaging if for no other reason than one doesn't leave fingermarks on it when they touch it.

Final Word

My biggest problem with The Big Valley: Season 2, Vol. 1 lies in the very title of this set. While I can see why studios might want to make some extra money by breaking up how these sets are released, I think they ultimately do the fans a disservice. It's not that fans won't buy these things, it's that when a season for a show like this gets broken up, it becomes extremely hard to keep track of the releases. One might not purchase a set for fear that they are repeating themselves. Also, I just think it's wrong to charge $40 and not give consumers the full season.

All in all, The Big Valley: Season 2, Vol. 1 is a well put together release. It seems that some time was spent to make the packaging in this collection work very well with the themes this show. This set feels like it is certainly a product of it's environment, and fans of the show and Westerns in general should appreciate that these episodes have made their way to DVD.

The Big Valley was released .