The Good

A very well crafted show that does the Western genre proud.

The Bad

No special features. Sometimes I think they should have gotten rid of the triumphant music.

Michael Biehn and Ron Perlman lead the cast in this TV version of The Magnificent Seven – The Complete First Season. Not a TV movie but a TV show, and not as good as the original movie by John Sturges, this show did seem to have a lot more going for it than it’s two season run would suggest. I guess when something is out of fashion it’s out of fashion, but it seems like if a Western is done right an audience will turn out. Notice for instance, Kevin Costner’s recent Western offering, Open Range.

This show follows a band of seven men who live by a strict code of ethics. Each episode they set about saving common citizens from the outlaws of the old West. While I think this show was ultimately limited by the medium that abandoned it, everyone here (from the actors, to the writers, to the production designers, etc….) have all done very credible work.

While this wasn’t a show that I watched when I it aired from 1998 to 2000, I am pretty excited to add it to my DVD collection and tell people about it now.

Features

No extras came with this DVD.

Video

Full Screen – 1.33:1. This TV show doesn’t feel like a TV show and that is probably the best compliment you can pay it. What I mean is that it doesn’t feel small. As this is a TV show it can’t afford to linger. This show really needs to move as fast as it can because that’s the way TV works. There can’t be many moments where our heroes look at the sweeping vistas and contemplate their lives. However, even without all the trademark things that Westerns seem to rely on, this show is very well done and elevates itself because of how much work has gone into it.

Audio

English – Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English and French. Close Captioned. My only real bone of contention is with the triumphant music that, as I recall, hailed from the original movie. I might be wrong about that, however. Whatever the case, I think they should have taken the Deadwood approach as I think this would have added a layer of depth to all the characters. If there would have been some stinging guitar work to underscore more of the scenes, I think we would have gotten a better read on our main characters situations. As such, this show plays very upbeat and not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just think Western’s really work better on a much darker, fatalistic level. Then again, how do you sell that to TV?

Package

They have somewhat reimagined the original artwork for The Magnificent Seven – The Complete First Season. All seven of the men are featured in a group shot on top and then below the title is another shot of the men on horses. They have even added some gold tinting to give this cover an older feel. I think this works because just one look at the front cover of this set and you know what the idea of this show is. The back features another shot of the cast, a description of the show, a listing of the episodes on each disc and some technical specs. Two slim, plastic covers house the two DVDs and there are shots of cast members gracing the fronts of both of them. On the back of the covers the episodes are listed out and there are descriptions as well. You can never go wrong with the slim digipack design and they don’t here.

Final Word

Why would a show like this get cancelled? It seems to have something for everybody, and it was actually quite well done. Each of the nine episodes that make up this two-disc set seem like miniature movies. As I mentioned above, this show is not as good as the original movie that it is based on, but TV and the movies are two entirely different mediums. Something tells me that the cost of producing this show outweighed the fact that it was something very good. I am also willing to wager that audiences were slow to respond, critics who wanted the original movie didn’t make allowances for this being on TV, and as such all of this ultimately spelled demise for The Magnificent Seven.

Well, with The Magnificent Seven – The Complete First Season now available on DVD, people can have the chance to go back and relive what they missed the first time.

The Magnificent Seven was released .