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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 1125 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Dallas Reunion: The Return To Southfork Special
“Waspy oil millionaires shoot, slap and fight each other for your personal enjoyment.”
Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes and Linda Gray.
At the conclusion of season three, the hated J.R. Ewing was shot in his office by an unknown assailant. J.R. Ewing personally screwed nearly every single person in the entire city of Dallas, so everyone is a suspect. The “Who Shot J.R.?” plotline is the focus of the first portion of Dallas’ fourth season.
After stringing that plotline out just about as far as it can go, the story moves on to new conflicts. Various family members fight for control of Ewing Oil, people get married, Sue Ellen continues to get drunk, J.R. learns absolutely nothing and screws more people over, and in the season cliffhanger a dead body is found in a pool. You know, just the typical everyday events in the world of Dallas.
I don’t think the Floatron is going to be able to clean this one.
The fourth season of Dallas comes on four double-sided discs. Eliminating the episode commentaries allowed Warner to ditch a disc (season three had five) and package the series in a much slimmer box. The commentaries on season three were mainly fluff, so their absence isn’t a big deal.
The special featurettes on the season three set focused on the “Who Shot J.R.?” plotline, so to focus on that again would be redundant. As such, the only extra included in this set is the 2004 Dallas Reunion special originally aired on CBS. The special reunites most of the principal cast of Dallas with the exception of a few who declined to participate like Barbara Bel Geddes. The cast reminisces about the various plotlines and crazy events in the series. It’s nothing different than the dozens of other reunion specials, but fans typically enjoy seeing how much the actors on their favorite shows enjoyed working together.
Season four finds Dallas at the height of its popularity as the “Who Shot J.R.?” plotline catapulted it into the heights of popular culture. The season hits the ground running and picks up immediately after the infamous shot, as the authorities and the Ewing family search for the culprit as J.R. lies in critical condition. The show’s pace slackens a bit after the shooter is revealed, but is never dull thanks to its soap opera nature. With so many concurrent plotlines running at once, even the dullest stories can’t ruin an episode.
Bury me with my money.
The plotlines in season four are the show at its strongest, when the writers had a firm grasp on what they were aiming for and before the show degenerated into pure silliness such as the dream season. J.R. Ewing hadn’t exhausted every possible method of screwing his family over yet and the alcoholic tendencies of Sue Ellen hadn’t quite become played out.
After the unexpected success of season three’s cliffhanger, the show’s writers couldn’t resist trying the same thing again. Rather than a simple gunshot, season four’s cliffhanger ups the ante with a dead body. The writers would continue to one-up themselves with later cliffhangers, seemingly going for the most insane plot twists possible.
Dallas‘ fourth season is enjoyable soap opera drama with plenty of interesting characters and conflicts to be found. There are few characters in television history that you love to hate more than J.R. Ewing. He reaches new levels in villainy during season four. He’s such a jerk that you can’t help but wonder if he’s the anti-christ after shrugging off those bullets. J.R. Ewing’s exploits and the supporting characters keep Dallas‘ fourth season fresh and entertaining all the way to the final plot twist.