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The Waltons: Season 8 (2009)

Michael Learned , Ralph Waite  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Learned, Ralph Waite, Ellen Corby
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 1172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001E549KC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,686 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Waltons: Season 8" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 24 episodes on three discs
  • A Waltons Retrospective Special

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season (DVD)

Narratively speaking, The Waltons: The Complete Eighth Season is overwhelmingly defined by World War II and its impact on the Walton family and their friends. Make that the Waltons' extended family: a new character, Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), cousin to matriarch Olivia (Michael Learned), moves into the Virginia clan's home with two troubled grandchildren, Jeffrey (Keith Mitchell) and Serena (Martha Nix). Their numbers swell the household considerably. But with Olivia's sudden departure--halfway through the season--to become a Red Cross volunteer, and with three of the Walton boys in various kinds of active duty and Grandma (Ellen Corby) on an extended visit elsewhere, the Walton population goes up and down almost daily.

Despite all the commotion, season eight tightly focuses on the ripple effect of the war. The two-part season opener "The Home Front" finds John Walton (Ralph Waite) in the unenviable position of running the local draft board and making determinations about the fitness of local boys to go into the U.S. Army. When one young man (Glenn Withrow) has to be talked out of going AWOL and ends up dead while shipping out, the boy's grieving father comes gunning for a Walton offspring in revenge. The story also illustrates the backwoods nature of much of the community in the shadow of Walton's Mountain--people suspicious of the government, of outsiders, of educated folk. (In the episode "The Diploma," Mary Ellen (Judy Norton-Taylor), a nurse, rides horseback to go on rounds checking on skeptical hillbillies who want no outside interference.) "The Innocents" finds Olivia advocating for the unsupervised children of women working in a local factory while their men are off at war. "The Journal" finds Olivia and John forced to confront the disappearance of their oldest son, John-Boy, who is missing-in-action. "The Silver Wings" is a Summer of '42-like story involving the Waltons' youngest son, Jim-Bob (David W. Harper), and his attraction to a woman whose husband is off flying bombers in Europe. "The Unthinkable," arguably the best episode in the eighth season, concerns a Jewish army buddy (Todd Susman) of Jason's (Jon Walmsley), who encounters anti-semitism in the service at the same time he receives a letter indicating his beloved grandfather died in a Nazi extermination camp. What makes the show special, in part, is the way patriarch John must deny to himself and others that such camps, in all their inhumanity, can't possibly exist in modern times. There are a few episodes that don't touch on the war theme, the sweetest of which is "The Traveling Man," in which an old beau (William Schallert) of Rose's turns up, ready to marry but torn by career aspirations. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Waltons, World War, and more Change October 2, 2008
Season Eight was a particular interesting year for The Waltons. Michael Learned (Olivia) returned for twelve episodes, Ellen Corby is seen in fewer episodes as Grandma, and Robert Wightman makes his first appearance as John-Boy; replacing Richard Thomas for the rest of the series.

Despite these things, the show still retained its family values, and appeal. The season begins with World War II raging, John-Boy is missing in action, Jason is in charge of recruits, and Olivia struggles to keep up with her changing family. Erin, Elizabeth, and Mary Ellen do their best to help in the war effort, and Ben and Cindy have their first baby.

When Olivia leaves to go back to the Sanitorium, Rose--a close family member--comes to help with the needs of the family. Jason befriends a woman named Toni (his future wife), and Jim-Bob finishes flight school and heads to war as a pilot.

The following is a list of the 24 episodes of this season:

1. The Home Front (1)
2. The Home Front (2)
3. The Kinfolk
4. The Diploma
5. The Innocents
6. The Starlet
7. The Journal
8. The Lost Sheep
9. The Violated (1)
10. The Waiting (2)
11. The Silver Wings
12. The Wager
13. The Spirit
14. The Fastidious Wife
15. The Unthinkable
16. The Idol
17. The Prodigals
18. The Remembrance
19. The Inspiration
20. The Last Straw
21. The Traveling Man
22. The Furlough
23. The Medal
24. The Valediction

While it is true that by this point in the show, some of the quality was degrading. But, for a true fan, this season is a Godsend.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True family values September 1, 2008
I watch the Walton's almost every morning and have seen all the shows numerous times...but still I need to have these DVD series just in case they should ever go off tv. I think they are one of the best family value shows that were ever on tv.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THE WALTONS! January 2, 2009
I love the Waltons. I have all 7 seasons so far and will get season 8 just as soon as it is released! My favorite character was Grandpa - so I am sad that he passed away so soon in the series. However, these are just as great as well. Season 9 is the last season - HOWEVER - they made several movies after that. I hope these movies are included as a Season 10 (so to speak). Just like Little House on the Prairie made their last season with their movies.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Waltons October 6, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I agree, there are not many shows out there that the whole family can sit and watch together! We love watching the Waltons with our kids and they enjoy it as much as we do!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as and perhaps a bit better than before February 18, 2009
This is not an impartial review. Season Eight, as is the entire TV series, The Waltons, is what TV shows of this type should be, in my opinion -- strong, believable characters, and strong, believable stories that most people, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc., could relate to and identify with at a deep level. The only agenda I have ever noticed with these shows (and I have watched every episode of the Waltons several times over and over again) is the attempt to portray solid family relationships, solid moral foundations, and a realistic portrayl of an ordinay family with ordinay struggles (and I believe that true for both country and city people). Earl Hamner, the creator of the Waltons, fashioned the original Walton characters from characteristics of his own family, but the many other show writers injected enough differences and introduced enough new characters to keep the show fresh and interesting the entire time it was on the air.

In Season Eight, even though Grandpa is gone - anytime he is mentioned either by something he said or someone looks at his picture, it is like he's right there. When Grandma has short cameos in these latter years because of Ellen Corby's illness, it's like she was never gone. That's high quality TV writing. As I see it, there is not a lot of difference between 1936-1945 and 2009 in the world when it comes to what really matters and what's at stake. War is war. Tyranny does not change much. Economic woes come and go. What endures through all of that is the human spirit and the strong family connectedness.

Season Eight continues to maintain the same high quality as all previous Walton seasons have. I highly recommend Season Eight and all other seasons of the Waltons to anyone interested in really fine TV viewing.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Waltons Season 8 - It's Been Much Better January 20, 2009
In 1971 CBS did some major house cleaning which included canceling its "rural" oriented programming. In December of that same year, CBS would air Earl Hamner Jr.'s "The Homecoming", which would lead them back to rural programming in the form of "The Waltons" in September of the following year.

On January 6th 2009 Warner Home Video will release all twenty-four episodes of season eight of The Waltons on a three-disc set. Unfortunately, by season eight, the series has jumped several sharks, and is far from the depression era family drama that we came to know and love.

By the time we get to Season eight, Richard Thomas who originated the role of John Boy is gone, and would be replaced by a one dimensional Robert Wightman, Michael Learned, who portrayed mother Olivia Walton, contract had expired and would not appear in all the seasons episodes, new family members are introduced which is never a good sign, and the thespians who had adequately portrayed the Walton children, had grown into mediocre actors tasked with carrying the series.

The writing too had grown tired by 1979, and though this season still contains some poignant moments, the attempts at lightheartedness are forced, and well beyond the talents of the current cast. For all intensive purposes the writing was on the walls of the iconic Walton home and the show would last only one more season.

The shining moments at this point in the series come from the relationship between John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia Walton. Though limited in this season due to the absence of Michael Learned, the chemistry between these two talented actors remained strong throughout the series, and added a level of quality to this season, that only left the rest of the cast to appear to be severely lacking.
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