Some shows are shockingly timeless in terms of their story quality and general acting and Bonanza is one of them. It always catches me off guard when I'm watching an episode and I realize it could just as easily have been written last week as it would be dead on in nailing some of the common moral quandaries people still struggle with now. The ongoing adventures of the Cartwright father Ben (Lorne Greene) and his three sons from different marriages as they struggle to keep some semblance of civility and peace in the rough and tumble west mining town in which they reside. Few shows age as well as Bonanza has and it's a huge credit to the writing and acting that feature that good ol' fashioned gee whiz factor without ever feeling as corny or sappy as other shows of its era.
Droughts, plagiarism, Doc Holliday, nuns, and even leprechauns comprise a few of the fifth season's many plotpoints and the fifth season can probably be called the funniest season up to that point in Bonanza's run. The writing has really begun to click while still managing to place the main charactrs in interesting situations that prevent the episodes from becoming one indistinguishable mass of western adventure comedy cliches. That the series has enough credit built up behind its characters that it can actually afford to make an episode about one of its characters imagining he's seeing leprechauns running about says a lot for its writers and cast.
Bonanza pulls it off, and does so with some well earned laughs that are but a few in the scope of this overall great season of classic television.
DVD Bonus Features
Ads for the series' sponsor Chevrolet starring the cast are the set's primary and best extra.
"Bonanza: The Official Complete Fifth Season" is on sale February 12, 2013 and is not rated. Comedy, Drama. Directed by Lewis Allen, William F Claxton. Written by David Dortort, John Hawkins. Starring Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts.