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Gunsmoke Season 18 DVD Review

Gunsmoke

Season 18 offers up more classic “Gunsmoke” stories.

In season 18 of 20 of the long-running western TV series, viewers get 24 hour-long color episodes that feature their favorite characters- Matt Dillon, Kitty, Festus, Newly and Doc. In this season, storylines involve Bank robbers chasing Matt, a shady faith healer, revenge, a retired Sergeant facing his past, a former lover of Matt’s that gets him into trouble, Doc being kidnapped, Festus settling a sale, a mocked man, a dying man trying to visit his family, a water dispute, Kitty in peril, horse racing, a small person who claims he will turn into an elephant (yes, you read that right), outlaw brothers trying to see their dying mother, a phony Priest, Newly getting engaged, Matt having his hands full on a single day, outlaws trying to take over Dodge City, Matt’s deputy Adam Kimbro, a friend of Festus in trouble, an outlaw falls in love with a widow of someone he killed and a Jewish family who lose their son. Naturally, the season is loaded with guest stars with the biggest name being Harrison Ford who pops up in 2 episodes as different characters in “The Sodbusters” and “Whelan’s Men.”

Season 18 (which ran from 1972-1973) has more of what “Gunsmoke” fans love. Sure, some of the plots are recycled here, but so what? This is and likely will be a comfort slice of classic TV in which you can spend time on adventures with the main players (each of whom have their own starring episodes this season). Of course, the core cast aren’t the only ones being focused on here as the series, as per usual, focuses on other common folk in this space. We get stories from people’s perspectives and experiences whether they be farmers or criminals. 

Of the 24 episodes, there are 3 that really stand out here. Truthfully, it doesn’t get much better than the exciting season opening 2 parter “The River” which finds Matt on the run from bank robbers who want their money. The Oregon set tale has just about everything- shootouts, river adventures, stunts, runaway orphans, wondrous location shooting, and Slim Pickens! The other highlight here is the slightly comedic “Quiet Day In Dodge” in which Matt has a very hectic and bad day.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 4:3. How does it look? Despite a few pink print defects, the remastered and restored episodes contain crisp colors. The show has never looked better.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital Mono. How does it sound? Expect clean audio tracks. 

Extras:
* Previews for each episode
* A solo commentary by James Arness “Quiet Day In Dodge.”
* A photo gallery
* “Ben and Beckey Talk Gunsmoke Season 18”- Fans and authors Ben and Beckey talk about the season’s events and episodes. 

February 25, 2020 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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