Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Big Valley

Another show that I was first exposed to as a kid. Having seen the first season on DVD a couple of years ago, I was most impressed by the beauty of the landscapes and the visual elements of the show. Given that it ran in the 1960s, it's understandable that The Big Valley comes off as a bit contrived and predictable to modern viewers.

Still, I am a sucker for family dynamics, and the close-knit nature of the Barkleys still appeals to me as an adult. It's an enjoyable show, and even if the episodes do tend to follow a formulaic pattern, I continue to find myself drawn into the lives of this wonderful family.

My favorite characters were Victoria and Heath. Victoria appealed to me for her strength and charisma, and--predictably enough--because she was a woman who maintained her own authority and ran a large business empire in a time period when most women didn't do such things. Heath was compelling as the outsider who had to earn the respect of the Barkleys' employees and other people in the community. This aspect seemed to be played down in later seasons, but it was a prominent part of the s1 plot.

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