The Good

A great show finally gets its proper DVD release.

The Bad

Shows were a tad too overly compressed in parts.Bonanza: Season One - Volume One features Ben Cartwright and his boys Adam, Hoss and Little Joe as they battle claim jumpers, lynch mobs, and other nefarious sorts as they defend the area of land they own called the Ponderosa. This show always features rich acting performances, solid storylines that resonate today and production values that make each episode appear to be its own mini-western movie. Thank goodness that Paramount has finally decided to release these shows in their proper form and not altered in any way.


Archival Interviews

Featured here are interviews with Bonanza creator-producer David Dortort. They are archival (so it isn't like they are all that new) but it is interesting getting to hear Dortort talk about making this show. He discusses why he wanted to make Bonanza, what he hoped to accomplish, what the characters represented to him and why he wanted to bring these specific western tales to the small screen.

Bonanza Promos and Photos

Original Credit Drawings

Are you familiar with the iconic drawing of the Ponderosa that catches fire as the theme song kicks in for the show opener? Well, if you are or if you are not you can highly enjoy getting a look at artist Joseph Messerli's early concepts for it. As someone who is very familiar with the opening of this show, I really enjoyed checking this out.


Aspect Ratio - 4:3. These 4 discs looked really good here in spots. The colors are rich with the old style of colorization that makes all television from that time look like paintings. Overall, I didn't notice any dirt or hairs on the DVDs. I did notice certain corners of the screen, at times, getting a bit pixilated and noisy. Aside from that everything looked rich and well compressed.


Audio: English Mono. The audio on this show was solid overall. These assets are 51 years old so it would make sense if things didn't sound as amazing as they could. Well, one can stop having those fears because even though things are in mono they sound quite good. I wouldn't say the audio is used to get in any of the character's heads, but it does work well to create a sense of foreboding, comedy, seriousness, etc. that is palpable when necessary.


The front of this amray DVD case features Lorne Green, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker as the iconic characters that make up the Cartwright family. Below them is an image of our heroes as they ride on horseback. The back serves up 4 images from this show, a small description, a special features listing, and technical specs. All four discs are stored very economically inside this packaging which contains more artwork as well as episode listings and descriptions.

Final Word

Bonanza: Season One - Volume One is a solid release. As a fan of the show I wish that they had bulked up the extras a bit, but all in all one cannot complain since it's great to have these episodes on DVD. Here's hoping Paramount releases all 14 seasons of this extremely well made and important show.

Fireside Theatre was released .