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Although Bonanza had failed to make much of a dent in the ratings of its CBS competition during its first season on NBC, the full-color Western series returned to its Saturday night "death slot" opposite Mason for its second season. Evidently, NBC's persistence paid off: by the end of season two, Bonanza had climbed to 17th place in the overall ratings -- just under Perry Mason. Undoubtedly this upsurge in viewers was the principal motivating factor for NBC to switch the show to Dinah Shore's former Sunday night berth at the outset of season three -- and the rest, to use a hackneyed cliché, was history. The second season opener "Showdown" was a typically tough and terse entry, with young Joe Cartwright (Michael Landon) smelling a rat when a group of suspicious-looking ranch hands sign on at the Ponderosa ranch, owned by Joe's father, Ben (Lorne Greene); this episode also marked the first series appearance by Ray Teal as Roy Coffee, sheriff of Virginia City. A later episode, "The Last Viking," featured Neville Brand in the role of Gunnar Borgstrom, the brother of Ben's second wife Inger, the late mother of Ben's son Hoss (Dan Blocker). And speaking of former wives, Ben's ill-fated first wife Elizabeth (Geraldine Brooks) -- mother of Ben's eldest son Adam (Pernell Roberts) -- is seen in an extended flashback in the classic season two episode "Elizabeth, My Love." As a final note for film buffs, several of this season's episodes were directed by no less than Robert Altman, including the season finale "Sam Hill," which had been intended as the pilot for a spin-off series starring Claude Akins.~Hal Erickson
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Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Classic Western - Fantastic Set!!!
Owned for 3 months when reviewed.
Working my way through BONANZA - one of the greatest, most venerable TV series EVER. fantastic picture and audio quality! They don’t make shows like this one anymore! I’ll be getting the entire series.