Blu-ray
Recommended
3 stars
Amazon
$19.98
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Overall Grade
3 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
3.5 Stars
Supplements
1 Stars
High-Def Extras
1 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

Little House On The Prairie: Season Two

Street Date:
May 6th, 2014
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
June 5th, 2014
Movie Release Year:
1975
Studio:
Lionsgate
Length:
1077 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

I will always remember watching the re-runs of 'Little House on the Prairie' with my family on our old floor television. Many American families clearly did the same, as this quaint little television series only became more popular as time went on.

People often use the term "sophomore effort" when referring to the second installment of a project. More often than not, the so called "sophomore slump" takes effect, and the second installment isn't as good as the first go-around. There are of course exceptions to this term, one of them being this second season of 'Little House on the Prairie'. Again, this series doesn't involve big explosions, zombies, aliens from outer space, serial killers, or even vampires.

One would think that in these modern times the average audience member needs to be hit with action scene after action scene every couple of minutes, but that's definitely not the case. You can still tell a great story full of morals, ethics, and family without facing any sort of impending doom. And Michael Landon did a wonderful job for several years telling a heartwarming story without any of the above mentioned aspects. What this show does exquisitely well, is showcase a family, in this case the Ingalls family, as they live their modest life in the small town of Walnut Grove and show their loyalty and friendly attitudes towards their neighbors and one another. It really makes for an overall pleasant experience that is low-key and always tugs at the heartstrings. You could say that 'Little House on the Prairie' always makes a bigger deal out something small, but that's how life was back in the 1800s.

In this second season, the actors really seemed to find their footing and became much more comfortable with their characters. It shows in each episode, as each Ingalls child delivers their lines much smoother and has a much more graceful appearance. Landon who plays the lead father figure of the Ingalls, Charles, pulls triple duty once again on the show, acting as director, writer, and star of the series. With him are his wife Caroline (Karen Grassle), and his three daughters Laura (Melissa Gilbert), Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), and the young Carrie (the Greenbush twins). The family sticks together no matter what obstacle comes their way and they always do good by their neighbors and themselves. Since the first season when the Ingalls moved to town, they have become quite popular and well-known amongst the citizens of Walnut Grove. The town always know that they can count on the Ingalls to help out with whatever they can. The episode that starts out this season has Charles losing his job at the mill when it goes under, forcing him and his family to do without a lot of the necessities. Charles cannot pay the local market on time for the goods he needs to feed his family, his daughters are made fun of by the other kids, and Caroline is talked down to by the head of the market every time she comes in. Meanwhile, Charles does odd jobs for people around town and the kids leave school for a short while to work around town earning a little extra money.

Soon enough, they make enough money to pay their bills and have a decent meal. And you can attribute it all to the loyalty and love between them, making them the "richest" family in Walnut Grove, which is the title of the first episode. Now losing your job is a fairly scary thing, but a lot of the episodes deal with lesser problems, whether it be that one of the daughters needs reading glasses, a baseball game, a family campout, or the annual springtime dance. One of the bigger story arcs this season is when a group of small children are introduced to the town who are all orphans and must be looked after. Of course the Ingalls do their share to make these orphans happy. Another incident that tugs at the heart strings comes when a mother who is terminally ill and facing death, must find someone to look after her children who will grow up without a mother. It's very genuine and heartfelt.

Sure things are a little cheesy here and there, and might be too on the nose for some people, but the writing and acting are too good to turn your nose up at it. I've heard some people talk about the religious aspects of this show, but I tend to think that no matter your religion, race, or creed, the Ingalls show true loyalty, love, respect, and great ethics towards their neighbors and themselves. Those qualities should be a part of any religion. 'Little House on the Prairie's "sophomore effort" is just as good as the first season. 

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Little House on the Prairie: Season Two comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio. It says on the box that this second season has been completely restored and remastered, and I'm here to say it looks amazing. This is by far the best series has ever looked from when it first aired to any of the home video releases it has had over the years. Like the first season, detail is much improved on. There is not a polished digital look to the series, but rather a very nice filmic look with a nice layer of grain throughout.

You will be able to make out some great textures in the costumes and individual hairs, wrinkles, and makeup blemishes on the actor's faces during closeups. The colors are well-saturated and at times pop off the screen. The skin tones look natural, and the black levels are mostly deep and inky. There are some minor moments where things look softer than normal and a few instances of dirt here and there, but it's nothing to write home about, as it doesn't happen often. The landscapes look beautiful as well here in the wider shots. Again, this is a very nice video presentation. 

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 2.0 mono mix that sounds great. Again, I wish they put in a 5.1 audio track to take full advantage of the nature sounds and sound effects throughout the show. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand, and is free of any pops, cracks, or hissing. The sound effects and ambient sounds do a great job of immersing us in the 1800s.

While it might not be a very loud and robust sound, it is very natural and realistic. The score, as always, provides a good tone and mood for each scene and never drowns out any dialogue whatsoever. While this audio mix might be limited in some ways, it always goes the extra mile and delivers a hearty sounding track. 

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

The Little House Phenomenon Part 2: In the Beginning. . . (HD, 16 mins.) - Part two of the extras that we will come to see on this series as each season is released. Here, some of the cast and crew along with some of family members of Michael Landon discuss what it was like making the show and the impact it has had.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives.

Final Thoughts

'Little House on the Prairie' does not have monsters, big thrills, large explosions, or blood thirsty zombies. But that's what makes this great series fun and soothing to watch. It's good to know that you can count on a series to show great family morals and ethics when you want to take a break and relax from the hardships of real life and the intense shows that are on today. And the second season of 'Little House on the Prairie' continues to provide that for its still-growing audience. The video and audio presentations are excellent, but I wish there were more extras. Still, this series and the second season both come recommended.

Technical Specs

  • 5-Disc Set
  • UltraViolet digital copy of all 22 episodes

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.33:1

Audio Formats

  • English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • French: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English

Supplements

  • 40th Anniversary Documentary: The Little House Phenomenon Part Two - In The Beginning

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