STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $39.98
RUNNING TIME: 636 Minutes
• Interview featurette Gary and Val: Together Again (with Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark)
• Cast commentary on two episodes

The Pitch

Let’s redo Dallas…in the ‘burbs.

The Humans

Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark, Michelle Lee, Don Murray, John Pleshette, Constance McCashin, James Houghton, Kim Lankford.

The root of all evil…the cul de sac.

The Nutshell

Outcast Ewing brother Gary (Shackelford) and his wife Valene (Van Ark), move to a cul-de-sac in California to escape all the Ewing shenanigans back in Dallas. They bring with them the baggage of recently having gotten remarried, Gary being a recovering alcoholic, and their daughter, Lucy (guest star Charlene Tilton) not knowing that they’re back together. Once Gary and Valene arrive in Knots Landing, they quickly get acquainted with the neighbors, including Karen (Lee) and her husband, Sid (Murray), a classic car dealership owner who is contending with his rebellious daughter (guest star Karen Allen). There’s also Kenny and Ginger Ward (Houghton, Lankford), a newlywed couple, and Richard and Laura Avery, an annoying lawyer and his wife.

"So Joan, what have you got planned after this pilot?"
"I don’t know, Ted, maybe some commercials. I mean this show couldn’t possibly last…"

The Lowdown

Early on there are ties to Dallas as brothers Bobby and J.R. both make appearances, as well as Lucy. And issues that are dealt with in Season 1 include fending off a planned offshore drilling effort by J.R. and Ewing Oil (Community Spirit), straightening things out with Lucy (Home is for the Healing) and Gary slipping back into the sauce (two-part finale Bottom of the Bottle). This nighttime sudser was one of the big three of the ‘80s (Dallas, Dynasty), went on for 14 years and 345 episodes, eclipsing even its predecessor in longevity. Names that came out of Knots Landing include William Devane, Nicollette Sheridan, Donna Mills and Lisa Hartman.

All hail the Tilton. We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy…

I caught maybe five minutes of this show the entire time it was on the air, but apparently they were doing something right to go on for 14 years. What this opening season lacked that Dallas
had with J.R. and Dynasty had with Alexis was a truly great schemer, which was settled in Season 2 with the addition of Donna Mills as Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner (why did all these soap chicks have at least ten names?). Anyway, Knots Landing wasn’t really my bag back in the day (I hung with J.R. for a few years), but I can see how people got sucked into it. What kept them coming back was Gary and Valene’s on again / off again, turbulent relationship for all those years most of all. Knots Landing was one the last of the great trashy nighttime soaps. These days all we have left is The O.C

"Uh yes, how long until that new liver’s ready for Mr. Hagman?"

The Package

The show looks decent, but it does show its age (almost as much as the hairdos and late-70s attire). The artwork is standard faire and the audio is Dolby Mono, which ain’t going to be blowing up many speakers. There’s commentary on two episodes by stars Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark which are serviceable, and there’s a 10-minute chat between Van Ark and Shackelford reminiscing on the old days that’s almost as bad as Van Ark’s plastic surgery.

6.1 out of 10