Little House on the Prairie

littlehouse5Promoting family values in television is lacking today. That’s one of the reasons I gave up television 13 years ago. Shows like Games of Thrones or Supernatural mark up the television screen with gratuitous violence and sex.

However, I need to confess I returned to television last year because one of my favorite books is now an episodic cable show. It is the only show I watch on television. It’s on Starz and does have violence and sex. However, the TV version promotes honor, keeping one’s promise and staying devoted to your love one.  It is the only show I watch, and I justify watching it by the fact that I read all the books first and love the story.

I am trying not to write about violence, sex and Outlander. I am really trying to tell you about a great new Blu-Ray/DVD on the market.

Without further fuss, let’s take look at Little House on the Prairie. The series is also based on a book and is one of those shows in the late 1970s where you knew violence or sex didn’t play a role in the storyline. Matter of fact, there wasn’t much violence or sex in television in those days at all – it was unheard of.  There were lessons learned and characters were polite and caring. Families could watch television together.  Now, NBC is releasing Little House on the Prairie on Blu-ray and DVD as remastered and restored to broadcast length.

Just released is Season 5. It is very popular season with the storyline moving the whole family away from Walnut Grove, so they can be closer to Mary’s school for the blind in Winoka. Mary and Adam even get engaged and married.

However, there is a drawback to a lengthy television series that last five years and beyond. They become cookie cutter or listless with lack of stories to fill a full season. More medium shoots are filmed versus master shots to cut the production down and get the crew home for dinner. I heard two cinematographers talk about cutting production time down on a long running TV show by not moving the camera. He moved the other actor into place of the former actor in front of the camera instead of moving the camera and keeping the background obscure. He said it kept the actors happy. I think you see a bit of “cheating” in the final seasons of Little House on the Prairie. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great show, and the fact that it lasted almost a decade and is still popular today, over 40 years later, says a lot about the quality of the production.

I have broken down Season 5 episodes for your enjoyment. The summaries indicate the wholesomeness and family values portrayed on the award winning show.

As Long As We’re Together (2 Parts) – Poor economic conditions cause the Ingalls to move closer to Mary who is now teaching at the Blind school in Winoka. Charles befriends Albert an orphan, who Laura catches stealing from the hotel they manage. Fabulous, the producers were able to include a moral message.

The Winoka Warriors – A blind student feels that he is useless and is reluctant to participate in school. He gains self-confidence when he joins the football team and becomes the quarterback. This episode is contemporary in nature because I doubt this happened during our frontier history.

The Man Inside – Amelia, Laura’s new friend feels ashamed of her overweight father. He works at the blind school were the students are very fond of him. Laura learns an important lesson when she ridicules him with the other children in her class.

There’s No Place Like Home (2 Parts) – The Ingalls along with Albert, the Garvey’s and the Oleson’s tire of the bustling city and decide to return to Walnut Grove. They discover that the town has been severely neglected after they left the town. Together, they begin work immediately to organize the town back to its former glory.

Fagin – Albert runs away after overhearing Charles and Caroline discussing how Laura feels ignored and left out because Charles spends so much time with him.

Harriet’s Happenings
– Harriet Oleson tries her hand at journalism when her cousin visits Walnut Grove. Her cousin starts a newspaper with Harriet’s column “Harriet’s Happenings” in it. Charles steps in when she writes unpleasant things about his family.

The Wedding
– Adam finally asks Mary to marry him. She begins having second thoughts when her parents remind her of when she was a child.

Men Will Be Boys
– Albert and Andrew are tired of being treated like kids. They want to be treated like “men.” Charles and Jonathan decide to teach them a lesson and permit them on a trip through the woods to Sleepy Eye, by themselves. They figure it’ll take the boys a few hours to give up. The fathers follow them all the way. The boys end up having an uneventful trip. Charles and Jonathan are the ones who have an eventful trip. Wonder what happened?

The Cheaters – Mrs. Garvey, embarrassed by her son’s grades in school, hires Nellie to tutor him. Nellie reveals her secret on how she gets her good grades. She forces Andy to keep her secret.

Blind Journey (2 Parts)
– The blind school in Winoka is forced to close down. The citizens of Walnut Grove donate an old building, so the school can transfer to Walnut Grove. Harriet Oleson decides she needs to be present to bring the children to Walnut Grove with Charles. The two of them together proves to be an interesting trip!

The Godsister – No one is available to play with her, Carrie makes up a friend Alissa. It is kind of a cute story where the hold family can watch.

The Craftsman – Albert starts to work for an old Jewish man as an apprentice. All the children start calling him “Jew-Lover.” Even Laura is embarrassed by him. He soon develops a pride in his work, and the two become the best of friends. Another good message makes the show popular with a storyline about prejudice.

Blind Man’s Bluff – After he is involved in an accident, Jordan, Laura and Albert’s friend, pretend to be blind to keep his parents together. I am not quite sure who is pretending to be blind, but looks like a fun show to watch.

Dance With Me – Laura and Albert become matchmakers just in time for the upcoming dance.

The Sound Of Children – Mary finds out she is pregnant and writes to her father-in-law. She thinks he and Adam are becoming closer. But, she loses the child, and she finds that her father-in-law was just interested in the baby.

The Lake Kezia Monster – Kezia refuses to pay her taxes. Mrs. Oleson buys her land, and Kezia who has nowhere to go somehow gets roped into being the Oleson’s maid. Laura, Albert, and Andy are mad that Mrs. Oleson just bought the place. So they make up a tale of a monster to scare Mrs. Oleson and her rotten children off the place. Sounds like a fun ending.

Barn Burner
– The price of wheat begins to drop, and the farmers agree to not compete against one another by charging the same price. One of them breaks the bargain, and Andy gets hurt. Mr. Garvey takes action.

The Enchanted Cottage – The Ingalls beginning to hope that Mary is regaining sight when she believes that she can distinguish light from dark. Sounds like a tearjerker.

Someone Please Love Me – Charles is asked to prevent a divorce by the children of a troubled couple.

Mortal Mission – Sick mutton gets around Walnut Grove, and everybody seems to turn for the worst. Jonathan and Charles are sent to go get some medicine in Sleepy Eye, but are robbed on the way back.

The Odyssey
– Dylon is dying of leukemia and wants, more than anything to see the ocean. Albert and Laura decide to run away and help him achieve his goal. Heartfelt story means learning the value of friends.

Did you recognize any episodes you’ve seen before? The DVD set also comes with Special Features that include: Interview with Dabbs Greer (Reverend Alden), Interview with Allison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), and an interactive quiz for Season 5.
Like I said, Little House on the Prairie brings families together. Something we miss so much in television today. The whole series could be seen by the entire family. Whether you buy it or rent it, make sure you are watching it with your closest friends and family.