Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Bonanza

Go To

  • Ear Worm: DUN dudu DUN dudu DUN dudu DUN dudu DUN DUN!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: David Dotort said that Hop Sing was so popular he got fan letters asking him to get more screen time.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Bonanza was aired in Poland during The '60s (or was it The '70s?...), when people desperately craved anything other than the official propaganda. This was said to result in almost total depopulation of streets around the time of airing. And it can't be wholly dismissed as Nostalgia Filter.
  • Replacement Scrappy: The fourth Cartwright son, Jamie, who was adopted some time after Adam's departure. He wasn't all that liked due to being a Kid-Appeal Character, but he eventually got more respectable as he matured. "The Grand Swing" and "A Home For Jamie" are the two episodes that showed Jamie was not a replacement for Adam, but that Ben had come to love him like one of his own sons. These episodes helped him become a much more welcome addition to the Cartwright crew.
    • Griff, on the other hand, was disliked for being a Replacement Goldfish for Hoss, and in his second episode, he made enemies out of the entire Ponderosa ranch because he was so volatile after spending a long time in a corrupt prison. That didn't earn him much sympathy from viewers, either. He never really outgrew his abrasiveness because the show didn't last long enough to portray him growing out of it.
  • Seasonal Rot: In the final season after Dan Blocker's death, which featured only Lorne Greene and Michael Landon out of the original cast. Not all of the stories were bad, per se (the two-part opener is even recognized as one of the best specials to ever air on television by TV Guide), the main complaint was that Hoss was one of the most beloved characters of the bunch, and his death put out the spark that fueled the series up until now because it felt much colder and lonelier without him, and none of the new additions could ever fill that void. With the loss of Dan Blocker kicking out a bunch of planned episodes and a resulting network decision to bump the show to a less-coveted time slot because that season would run short, the show was dealt a killing blow. Sadly, even though there were follow-up specials and a short-lived prequel series decades later, the surviving cast never got to return.
  • Advertisement:
  • Special Effects Failure: There's an episode where some bandits use dynamite to blow open the safe at the bank. It looks like they just stuck a sparkler on it and rigged the door to fall down.
  • Tough Act to Follow: "Forever", the first story of Season 14, was a smashing success and arguably one of the all-time best stories of Bonanza, and a rare case where a series manages to produce a superb story this deep into its run when most would crumble. TV Guide even recognizes it in its first top 100 TV episodes list. Unfortunately, the decision to put this story first made all the other stories to follow look weaker in comparison (with the exception of "The Hunter", a highly suspenseful and daring break from formula), and because the show was already treading on thin ice due to Dan Blocker's demise and a schedule bump against its favor from the resulting production conflicts, there was no saving the show's declining ratings from here. The other episodes that filled the shortened season were formulaic, but now the actors were tired and showing age and visibly signs of distress from their friend's sudden death and simplistic stories that they once could make better with jovial acting went flat and wearisome. The shoehorning in of Griff to inject a bleak hope of new life in the show and the poor development of his character, and more focus on previous addition Jamie made people feel like the magic was fading away because too much of the old format had disappeared. Bonanza couldn't ever go back to the way it was, and "Forever" was its last real gasp of riveting storytelling before its knees gave out from under it.
  • Advertisement:
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: A lot of episodes have "G" ratings for the most part, but there are some intensely dark stories among Bonanza, such as "Don't Cry My Son" where a childbirth goes horribly wrong and is very tragic for the mother and the father, and "Frenzy", where a sodbuster winds up losing his mind and attacking his own loved ones.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: