Next Tuesday, Timeless Media Group will resurrect another piece of television’s golden era when it releases The Rebel: The Collector’s Edition. While not the first time that any of the classic Western series’ episodes have ever seen the light of day, the release of the box set will mark the first time ever that the series will have been released in its entirety. That very fact is one reason, if not the most important reason, that fans of this and other classic Westerns will want to add this box set to their home libraries. The series’ production values in its re-issue are just as important to note. Thanks to the efforts of those charged with restoring the footage, it still retains its classic vintage look and sound without looking any worse or even spit-shined. This includes it being presented in its original 4:3 format. Last but hardly least worth noting of the series that makes it worth any Western fan’s time is its writing. The series’ premise and various storylines set this series apart from the glut of other Westerns that dominated the airwaves from the late 1950s up until roughly the early 1970s. Thanks to the “rural purge,” all of those shows eventually met their demise along with the likes of Green Acres, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies and other series of that ilk. All three elements combined, they show clearly why TMG’s upcoming release of The Rebel: The Collector’s Edition a collection that every Western fan will want to have in his or her home DVD library.
Timeless Media Group’s upcoming release of The Rebel: The Collector’s Edition is not the first time that this classic Western has ever seen the light of day in any form. It is however, the first time ever that the series will have been released in its entirety in one complete collection. For fans of the classic Western series, this is the core reason that its release will be quite welcome. Nearly six decades have passed since The Rebel first aired on ABC. And more than half a century has passed since it ended its two-season run. In that time, it has never seen a complete series release either on VHS or DVD. That means the only other set to which this box set can be compared is the thirty-episode set The Rebel Volume 1: Collector’s Edition. That set doesn’t even present half of the classic Western’s episodes. More specifically, it only presents thirty of the series’ seventy-six total episodes. It also comes complete with a number of extras that more than live up to the title of bonus features. Among those extras is a retrospective on the series presented by series writer/producer A.J. Fenady, an interview with star Nick Adams’ children Allyson and Jeb, and even the pilot episode for The Rebel’s proposed spinoff series The Yank. The standard production stills gallery are there as are a number of commercials featuring Adams. All things considered, the end result here is material (bonus and main) that totals in the range of forty-hours. Now that is a true binge-worthy offering. And it is just one part of what makes this first ever full release of The Rebel worth the addition to the library of any of the series’ fans and to those of any fan of the Western world (and yes, that pun was fully intentional).
TMG’s presentation of The Rebel in its entirety for the first time is plenty of reason for fans of the series to add this new box set to his or her own home library. The additional material that is included to complement the series adds even more motivation for fans of both the series and of classic Westerns. Collectively, they give fans plenty of reason to pick up this box set. They are only part of the whole reason that the set proves so impressive. The look and sound of the footage in its restoration (I.E. its production values) play into its end result, too. Considering that a little more than half a century has passed since The Rebel ended its original run on ABC and that its episodes have barely even seen the light of day since then, the quality of the footage in regards to its video and audio mix is surprisingly impressive. Those charged with restoring the footage are to be highly commended for their efforts to bring this classic series back to life. It is thanks to their work that the footage retains the grainy look from its original run on television so many decades ago. Yet it is obvious that it has been cleaned up without being completely spit-shined. It even retains its original 4:3 aspect ratio from its original run. The result of that work is a sense of nostalgia that the show’s original fans will appreciate wholeheartedly and a whole new appreciation for the series by its younger audiences. In regards to the sound quality, it still retains some of the show’s original audio imperfections. But those imperfections are not so overpowering that they ruin the set by any means. Rather, the fact that it retains said imperfections actually adds to that sense of nostalgia established via the quality of the video. It has obviously been re-mastered as best as possible by those same people who restored the show’s footage for its presentation here. Thanks to their efforts here, that sense of nostalgia is heightened even more with the end result being seventy-six episodes that look and sound almost exactly as they did in their original run if not a little better at the same time. It’s yet another reason that this new release will impress fans of the series just as much as those audiences that are fans of the Western genre in whole.
Both the presentation of The Rebel in its entirety here and the equally impressive work of those that restored the footage play their own important part in the enjoyment and success of this classic series. For all of their importance to the presentation in whole, they are hardly all that make the set worth the purchase. The work of the show’s writers is just as important as those elements to the overall enjoyment and success of this set. The work of the show’s writers is to be noted because it is thanks to their work that the show set itself so clearly apart from its counterparts on NBC, CBS, and ABC alike all beginning with the show’s premise. Looking at the series’ premise, it could be argued that Johnny Yuma was one of television’s earliest crime fighters. In Johnny, viewers get a man who is essentially an anti-hero figure of sorts. He is trying to make up for the things that he did in the Civil War. In turn, he becomes a roaming, crime fighter, righting wrongs wherever he goes. In the process, he avoids the use of violence whenever possible. That aspect of Johnny sets him apart from so many other classic western figures. This is so interesting in that while he is an anti-hero figure of sorts, it shows that he has a conscience at least to a point. He isn’t just another stereotypical shoot first-ask questions later type that is so common among western figures. That very basis provides more than enough reason for audiences to watch each of Johnny’s adventures. And audiences will be happy to know that thanks to the inclusion of an episode guide printed on the inside front and back of both cases, they will be able to choose which adventure(s) they enjoy with each watch. Regardless of which episode(s) audiences choose, they will agree that in watching each one, the writing proves to be some of the most underappreciated of television’s “Western era.” And combined with the previously noted elements, rounds out the reasons that Western aficionados will enjoy and appreciate this new set.
TMG’s upcoming release of The Rebel: The Collector’s Edition marks the first time that the series has ever been released in its entirety in any setting. That being the case, TMG and those charged with restoring the classic yet short-lived series are to be collectively applauded for the product that is presented in this upcoming box set. From the very fact that the box set includes the series in its entirety and does so with quality video and audio, to writing (both in regards to Johnny’s own back story and in regards to the episodes themselves), everything that has already been noted shows clearly why this new box set is one that any fan of The Rebel and that any fan of the “Western World” (is that term copyrighted yet?) will appreciate. The Rebel: The Collector’s Edition will be available next Tuesday, August 18th in stores and online. It will retail for MSRP of $59.97 but can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store at a discounted price of $53.97 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/western/the-rebel-the-complete-series-the-collector-s-edition. More information on this and other titles from Timeless Media Group is available online now at:
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