'Little House on the Prairie: Season 7 (Deluxe)'
(Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Alison Arngrim, Dean Butler, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / 2015 / LGF)
Overview: This release contains every episode from the seventh season of the successful television series 'Little House on the Prairie', based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's wedding bells and a baby on the way for Laura and Alamzo. Adam's sight returns, and he and Mary open a law practice. Laura begins teaching in Walnut Grove; Nellie's pregnancy ignites a family disagreement; and Albert's love for Sylvia stirs rumors. Fully restored and remastered, all 22 uncut episodes shine with quality picture and sound, bringing new excitement to many memorable moments contained within this wonderful seventh season (1980–1981).
DVD Verdict: As we all know by now, this delightful television series is based on the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), who wrote the story of her family's life on the prairie. I read these books growing up and then loved the TV series as well. Michael Landon, that I had seen on "Bonanza", was the icing on the cake: one of my favorite actors helping to tell one of my favorite stories.
As a young kid, I was aware that some of the issues on the program were very serious, but I still considered it, like many of you, to be a 'family' program; sweet, sappy, and moralistic. As the years have worn on, I've watched the program in reruns. Lately, for the past 2-3 months, I've been watching back-to-back reruns nearly everyday, and have been extremely surprised at the darker layers to 'Little House' that I guess most people never picked up.
Indeed, here's some of the darker subjects tackled on 'Little House' - murder, corruption, child rape/abuse/endangerment, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, accusations of adultery, etc. From this list you'd think you I was talking about a show you couldn't watch with your family. 'Little House' also dealt with death, destruction of one's home, the evils of gossip, alcoholism, divorce, kidnapping, racism/xenophobia/religious persecution, personal crisis, loss of faith, etc.
Sure, some episodes tried to have a resolution at the end of 60 minutes, but most did not. The characters were not perfect by a long shot; not even the main character Laura or even the Reverend Alden. I highly recommend 'Little House' to adults wanting to try something different out, but these days I might well be preaching to the choir of the already-converted, of course.
Some memorable moments here in this DVD Deluxe Remastered Edition 5-Disc collection (as we've been informed that Lionsgate have pulled the plug on Blu-Ray and Digital HD editions for the final three seasons worth of releases, sadly) are such things as when a former college football star Pete Ellerbee comes to Walnut Grove to coach the town's football team and to encourage his son in being a footballer; and when a young, talented painter named Annie Crane (Madeleine Stowe) is the talk of the town for her talent, despite having lost her sight in early childhood; and when a female campaigner for the equal rights of married women comes to Walnut Grove, looking for signatures on a petition to be submitted to the state legislature; and when an official from the Board of Education visits to assess the Walnut Grove school for state funding and he suggests that the curriculum should be extended. They may not all sound "exciting," but in the context of the series, they played out just perfectly within.
The DVD of season seven is in standard definition 480p with compressed audio while the previous season Blu-rays show more detail and are in high definition 1080p with uncompressed, lossless audio. Based on the above, the best version of Season Seven Deluxe Remastered Edition that you can get on disc suffers from numerous audio compression issues and numerous video compression and artifact issues when compared to the Deluxe Remastered Edition Blu-rays of the previous six seasons. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TV.
Check out this BRAND NEW INTERVIEW with Almanzo Wilder himself, Dean Butler, as he talks about his arrival on set for season six, about the ending of the show five years later, and about the recent 'Little House' reunion!