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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Dallas: Complete First & Second Season
Dallas: Complete First & Second Season
Warner Bros. // Unrated // August 24, 2004
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted September 25, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE EPISODES

It has been a long time since Dallas first hit the television airwaves way back in 1978. When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the show, but not having seen the episodes since they first aired, I was wondering if they would still hold up – or if they'd seem kind of silly and melodramatic.


The good news is that the shows do hold up. In fact, they are good enough to be successful in Prime Time today. Despite being filmed 25 years ago, the stories and characters are every bit as interesting today as they were back then. The acting is solid, the episodes are well-directed and the storylines are still intriguing.

For those of you whose only memory of Dallas is the late-1980's, when they tried for too much "glitz and glamour" and gave us that dreadful "dream season," you should know that the show wasn't always like that. Yes, the Ewing family was always rich – but the wealth was never the centerpiece of the show. The show concentrated on family problems that the viewing audience could relate to, and that was one of the main reasons it was such a hit.


Watching the first few episodes again (Season One is basically a mini-series and not a full season…with only 5 shows), I was impressed by how the actors had their characters nailed right from the get-go. Larry Hagman's "J.R." is basically the same character in the pilot that he would be throughout the series – and Patrick Duffy also deserves credit for establishing what Bobby Ewing would be like from the very first episode. Although her character would become somewhat of a secondary one as the years went on, Victoria Principal's Pam Ewing is almost the lead character in the first two seasons. Coming from a less wealthy background than the Ewing clan, the character of Pam was used primarily as the audience's "everyman" (or woman in this case) – an ordinary person thrust into the wealth of the Ewing empire.

Those not familiar with the show's early beginnings will note a few interesting things in these first two seasons. The first bit of trivia is the fact that the ranch used in Season One isn't the classic Southfork Ranch that would be used in the rest of the seasons. The look of the first five shows is quite different as well – since these were filmed in Dallas during a harsh February winter and everyone is so bundled up they look like they are in Minnesota instead of Texas!


Keep your eyes open for some great guest stars as well – including Brian Dennehy as a raging jealous husband out for revenge in Season One's "Winds of Vengeance"; Greg Evigan as a kidnapper in Season Two's "Runaway"; and Kate Mulgrew as a country singer in Season Two's "Triangle". And just for the record – those waiting for the famous episode where J.R. gets shot will have to cross their fingers that Warner Bros. will continue to release the seasons, since this event doesn't occur until the final episode of Season Three!

THE DVD

The DVDs in this set are "flippers," with three episodes on each side of the DVD (except for the final disc, which contains two shows and a Soap Talk special on the "B" side).

Video:
Each episode is presented in its original full-frame format, and the picture is very good for episodes that are 25 years old – although there is a bit of grain and dirt on the prints. However, there are few problems with compression or pixilation, and I was overall highly impressed with how good the shows looked.

Audio:
The audio is 1.0 Dolby, and while I would have enjoyed a 2.0 or higher remastering of the audio, it doesn't sound too bad. Some episodes however, have obvious drop-outs, where you can notice the audio dropping off for entire scenes and then picking up again later in the show. While these occurrences are a bit distracting, they aren't bad enough to hinder your enjoyment of watching the episodes.

Extras:
Although not extensive for a multi-disc release, I really liked the extras that were provided on this set.


There's Episode-Length Commentary Tracks by Larry Hagman, Charlene Tilton ("Lucy") and show creator David Jacobs for "Digger's Daughter" (the pilot episode) and both parts of "Reunion". While Jacobs provides lots of interesting tidbits about the show, and Charlene seems to be the resident expert on the storylines and characters, the real treat here is listening to Hagman – who has some great on-the-set stories and will even tell you why he thinks Bruce Willis should play him in the upcoming Dallas feature film!

On the "B" side of Disc Five is Soap Talk's Dallas Reuinion a great 42-minute show that features interviews with Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray ("Sue Ellen") and Charlene Tilton.

THE BOTTOM LINE

These episodes are both fun an addictive to watch. They look and sound great considering their age, the commentary tracks (although I would have enjoyed a few more) are interesting and entertaining, and the reunion special is a hoot. Forget The OC or North Shore - for real nighttime soap fun, your only destination should be Dallas!
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