Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)

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Little House On The Prairie
Season One & The Pilot Movie
from LIONSGATE
Blu-ray Review
April 13, 2014








Little House On The Prairie
Season One & Pilot Movie
Features: 24 episodes, the Pilot Movie, and more.
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-4 AVC / 1080p
Studio: NBC
Distributor: LIONSGATE
Television Release: September 11, 1974
This Release: April 2, 2014
Digital Copy Expires: March 25, 2015
Region: A
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Active Pixel Area: 1466 x 1080 pixels
Inactive Pixel Area: 454 x 1080 pixels
Running Time: 21 Hours
Number Of Discs: 5
MSRP: $38.99
Current Price: Check Price / Purchase
Not to give away my age, but I was around 4-years old when Little House On The Prairie: The Pilot Movie aired in 1974. I still remember parts of it, and I think the image of Mr. Edwards walking in the door of the Ingalls' family home, having a snow-covered beard, and holding the Christmas presents in semi-frozen rags will forever be in my memory of favorite scenes of television, ever. Carrie then yells out, "Santa!"

When the first season was announced for pre-order back in early February, it was an automatic purchase. However, I still had a few doubts as to how well the transfers were going to be handled. Because let's face it, Blu-ray doesn't have the best record of making sure everything that appears on it...is done right. In this case, I'm completely impressed with the image quality, and it appears there was dedication made to this release.

For those of you who aren't aware, Michael Landon is the epitome of family-quality television, as well as quality entertainment overall. When Little House ended in the early 80's (after 9 seasons), Landon went on to make the Highway To Heaven series. Some amazing stories and messages are to be discovered in that series as well. But not to get off track, the Little House series coming to Blu-ray is really an exciting time. I'm sure many families have been waiting for such a release to show to their own children and sharing the experiences of The Ingalls Family, while also indirectly letting them learn about interactions with people, and how others should be treated.

The Plot

The Ingalls Family is taking a big step no other family has done before. They are leaving the Big Woods of Wisconsin, and going west. Charles (Michael Landon), Caroline (Karen Grassle), Laura (Melissa Gilbert), Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), and Carrie (Lindsay Sidney Greenbush) are going to take a piece of land for their own, and have a place to call home. It's not going to be easy. Charles has decided there is prosperity and independence to be found out on the plains of Kansas, and the family must be strong and positive about what lies ahead.

After many days traveling, Caroline asks Charles where exactly they are going, since he hasn't referred to a particular place. He responds, "I'll know it when I see it." A short time later we see Charles overlooking a rather beautiful prairie view in Kansas. He has found the place he wants to call home.

Unfortunately, due to politics at the time, the land once thought to be open for settling, has been changed. The line was re-drawn, and Charles finds out from two Federal Troopers on horseback...his family needs to get up and leave immediately.

Packaging

Packaging for Little House On The Prairie: Season One arrived in a multi-disc Blu-ray case (housing the 5 discs) and has a nice slipcover. There is also a Digital HD / Ultraviolet copy available which expires March 25, 2015.

Screencaps

Video

Little House On The Prairie: Season One looks very good, and the many scratches and spots have been removed. I specifically remember quite a few of these quirks within the broadcast episodes, and I can say this is the best presentation so far. Of course with the good, there is some not-so-good. There are many instances where detail in the shadows is just plain gone, and only blacks fill those areas where detail was once there. There is also a lot of red permeating the episodes. It seems as if the detail missing from shadows and red overtones are due to the type of film being processed. However, I'm not entirely certain of this, but from shooting 35mm film in my younger days, these issues look very familiar from shooting Kodak film. The film was probably a typical averaged ISO film, meant to capture detail in average lighting. The more lighting you had, the more detail would appear, but unfortunately, the less light you'd have...detail would just be non-existent and shadows would be virtually a dark abyss.

I think as more seasons are released, the quality will get better. Overall, the first season looks much better than ever, so I'm not complaining.

Now, there is something I did observe. After looking over many screenshots and episodes, it appears as if some episodes have undergone digital noise filtering — mild DNR, but seems to be present. I noticed more DNR in the pilot movie than anything. I'm hoping this isn't a trend in the future releases. If you look at Screencap #7 below, you'll notice the wood structure to the left appears much more smooth than what it should be. Overall, I'm not too concerned as the later episodes in season one look better versus the earlier episodes.

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Additional Screencaps

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap
Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap
Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap
Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray)
Click Here for full-res screencap

Extras

    The Little House Phenomenon — 14:05
    • Part One: A Place In Television History (Disc 5)
    Original Screen Test Featuring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert

Specifications

Main Audio Track: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (English) @ 2041 Kbps (48kHz/24-bit)
Subtitles: English SDH

Little House On The Prarie: The Pilot Movie Bitrate Graph (Blu-ray)
Little House On The Prairie: The Pilot Movie Bitrate Graph

      LITTLE_HOUSE_S1_DISC1
    • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
    • Resolution: 1080p
    • Blu-ray BD-50
    • Disc Size: 46,182,990,131 bytes (43.01 GB)
    • Pilot Movie Size: 18,085,134,336 bytes (16.84 GB)
    • Overall Bitrate: 24.84 Mbps
    • Video Bitrate: 21.00 Mbps
    • Download: LITTLE_HOUSE_S1_DISC1 BD Info File


Rating
AUDIO
VIDEO
CONTENT
EXTRAS

Overall Rating - 8.625 out of 10

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Conclusion

For me, Little House On The Prairie: Season One was an automatic purchase. This was one of those television series which was a pleasure to watch whenever I could get the chance on cable channels, and finally, I can begin watching them at my own leisure.

Having the best image quality I've seen to date, and sending a special tribute out to Michael Landon and his family, Little House On The Prairie: Season One (Blu-ray) gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

With this initial release of Little House On The Prairie: Season One, Michael Landon can live on and enter the homes who have not experienced his directing and acting talent for what I believe was some of the best episodes ever created on television. To those who are familiar with Landon's directing and acting, this first season will certainly be a long-awaited treat — like a visit from Mr. Edwards arriving on Christmas day with a frozen beard.

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