HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Daniel Boone: The Complete Series 50th Anniversary
HTS Overall Score:69
I don’t normally do DVD sets like this, but sometimes a classic just calls you, especially since it was on the verge of extinction. The “Daniel Boone” TV series was an incredibly popular, and wildly influential family show in the 1960’s, spanning a full 165 episodes over 6 seasons. Ironically, Daniel Boone was played by Fess Parker, the same Fess Parker who starred in years prior as another U.S. folk legend, Davey Crocket back at Disney Studios. So don’t be surprised when you see that same old coon skin hat adorning his head in this tale.
“Daniel Boone” was originally put on separate TV seasons by Goldhill media (with season 6 transferring over to Liberation Media at the last moment) and subsequently are out of print and going for some rather exorbitant prices for some seasons. Now, Fox Home Video has banded together the show and released it as one giant 50th Anniversary box set for a VERY good price under their “TV Archives” branding. Thankfully they didn’t go the common way of compressing the tar out of the sets trying to fit as many episodes on as few discs as possible, but rather has kept the same encoding that the original TV seasons had back in 2006-2007, but just tweaked them mildly for this release. I did notice that instead of using the 5.1 remix for the series that was present on the Goldhill media pressings, and the Spanish dub track, but instead just kept the original Dolby Digital 2.0 track for the discs (most likely a space saving endeavor.
Daniel Boone is one of America’s greatest folk heroes and the embodiment of the Pioneer movement when we, as a nation, started out great trek out west. We have a full 165 episodes that chronicle the life and times of Mr. Boone (of course exaggerated as most folk legends are), and are a fantastic piece of television history for the whole family. Keeping with the times, Fess Parker’s portrayal of Boone painted him as more of a family man, rather than a wild, unkempt explorer like others have tried to portray him. His wife Rebecca (Patricia Blair) and son, Israel Boone (Darby Hinton) play prominent characters in the show, and Israel actually taking front and center as the show went into its 4th season. We’ve got wild bears, Indian attacks, Daniel clearing forest to help with the settlers move and much more in this gigantic walk down memory lane.
Interestingly enough, this is less “family” oriented than Disney’s “Davey Crockett”, and instead of having a children’s show that adults can love, it’s more of an adult’s show that’s still quite appropriate for children. The show had some more mature and somber themes, dealing with racism, family matters and politics which will go over the younger generation’s heads, but there is nothing in there that I would feel ashamed at letting a child watch.
As much as I love the series, it does have a few flaws that seem to be pretty prevalent back in the older days of TV series where loose ends were handled differently. With 10 children, you would expect a lot of characters to not have a wild amount of screen time, and that’s true, as some of his children make appearances and then never show up again. Or plotlines that take happen over the course of the first few seasons that get abandoned and conveniently slipped to the back of the mind, hopefully forgotten. Nothing series, of course, but a discerning eye will notice these little inconsistencies.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=29977[/img]“Daniel Boone” was nearly lost to us forever, as the prints were getting to be in pretty bad shape over the years, and the show had to be remastered before the releases in 2006-2007 were possible and the results obviously speak for themselves as they have never looked better. The first season released as a black and white for televisions in 1964, but the master existed in color, and while I’m really thankful they presented the 1st season in Black and White on these discs as originally aired, I’m really curious to see what the 1st season would look like with the color masters used. The other 5 seasons were released in color and show a fairly dramatic rise in quality over the six year run. The colors pop off the screen, and have that burnished 1960’s glow to them, with reds and greens getting a heavy push on the palette. Black levels look very good and detail is excellent. There’s some issues with vertical lines in the first season and the color saturation is a bit too heavy sometimes, but the show has made an amazing transformation from almost unwatchable to looking quite good for a badly neglected TV show.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=29985[/img]As I mentioned in the review of the series itself, Fox has decided to forgo the 5.1 remixes that were present on the Goldhill Media releases and instead just kept the original 2.0 Dolby Digital track (most likely to save on space). While it's rather disappointing to miss out on those 5.1 tracks, the 2.0 stereo tracks are the same ones that the show was presented with those 5 decades ago and provides a faithful replication of the show. Dialogue is clean and clear, with a fairly strong front sound stage that balances the effects quite well among the two channels. As expected, there's really no LFE or surround usage so it can only go so far on the grading scale, but this is how the show was originally presented and it still remains a faithful representation with a greatly cleaned up audio track devoid of all the crackling and popping that was present when I saw the old TV reruns.
“Daniel Boone” is a classic for a reason. The characters are likeable, the plots are family oriented, but don’t end up being too cloying and everyone likes a good adventure story. I remember watching re-runs of the show on Television as a child and sorely missed out on the DVD sets that came out 2006-2007 when I was an adult. Thankfully, Fox has released a great little box set that includes the visually and audio remastered seasons in one giant box set for us to enjoy instead of letting it fade out into obscurity. The show has never looked better, as it completely trounces the old TV broadcasts I used to watch and is something the collector in all of us can’t ignore if you resonate with these old TV shows. Definite recommendation from me.
Starring: Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, Ed Ames
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 8250 Minutes
DVD Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Buy Daniel Boone: The Complete Series 50th Anniversary DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Check it Out
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