Little house on the prairi-eh.
In 1986, the world met The Campbells, a frontier family trying to carve out a cozy slice of existence in the wilds of not-at-the-time-Ontario.
The patriarch: Dr. James Campbell (Malcolm Stoddard), a Scottish physician and a single father of three. He decides to leave Scotland with this two sons and daughter and make a new life in the Canadian frontier.
While that sounds incredibly romantic and adventurous, the Campbells soon learn that life on the range isn’t all buttercups and rainbows. Lawlessness still very much runs rampant on the frontier and the friction between the settlers and the Natives always keeps this on the knife’s edge of lethally interesting.
But Dr. Campbell’s trump card is his doctoring abilities, which are invaluable in this neck of the woods. His profession earns some credibility, yet also places a burden of responsibility on his shoulders; he is a de facto leader of the community and, as such, finds himself ensconced in all manner of proto-Canuck shenanigan.
The Campbells very much evokes that Laura Ingalls Widler feel. This is innocuous, wholesome stuff, based around a main character who’s good and just and noble and an all-around decent father. His family consists of a first-born son who’s a hit with the ladies, a well-read daughter who has a knack for writing and a precocious young son who grows like eight feet by the end of the series.
Stories include your usual New World tale-slinging: encounters with surrounding tribes, sporadic violence with outlaws, the negotiation of early town politics and, of course, matters of the heart. It’s a family show through and through and if any of this sounds like it would be up your alley, then there is plenty of grist on these discs to sift through.
Timeless Media delivers all 2400+ minutes of the The Campbells in a mega 12-disc set that spans all four seasons. The first thing you’ll see when you fire up your DVD player is the confession that the best source materials were used for the transfer. Typically that might fire up some red flags, but the video quality here wasn’t terrible. I mean, it is a full frame treatment of video source, so it looks dated and choppy; none of this is a deal-breaker. The DVDs just feel like an early ’80s show. To wrap, you get a mono soundtrack and extras.
Wholesome, New World Canadian family melodrama that will last you until Christ returns.