STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $39.98
RUNNING TIME: 1283 Minutes
• Tour of the Southfork Ranch feature

The Pitch

J.R. Ewing is Satan. He would gladly flay and burn his own mother alive if it would net him a few more bucks. He is impervious to bullets and cannot be vanquished by mere mortal weapons. He has screwed everyone on the face of the planet over at least twice and there isn’t a single human being alive who doesn’t despise him.

All that said, every character on the show will somehow forgive him for his past misdeeds at the beginning of each season because they’re all brain damaged yokels and masochists.

The Humans

Patrick “The Duff” Duffy, Victoria Principal, Larry Hagman and Barbara Bel Geddes

The Nutshell

Welcome to the beautiful city of Dallas, where there’s a murder, a kidnapping, a rape or a juicy betrayal going on every single hour of every single day. 90% of the crimes in the city are perpetuated by the Ewing family, a group of oil millionaires that take great pleasure in screwing each other over. The king piss of the clan is J.R. Ewing, who was once shot after he pushed one Dallas citizen too far. Naturally, every single person in the city was a suspect.

The story picks up on the season three’s cliffhanger, with a body floating in a swimming pool as J.R. Ewing looks down upon it from a broken balcony. That’s only the beginning of the law breaking, as the season wastes no time in getting the Ewing clan involved in as much madness as possible. There are kidnappings, divorces, blackmail, suicides and crashed planes. All that, plus the gradual transformation of Linda Gray from attractive to ghoulish continues before your very eyes!

She’s a narf! A fairy tale creature! You can’t get convicted for raping and murdering a fairy tale, right? Right?!

The Lowdown

The problem with any soap opera style show is keeping it fresh. The shows usually start out with character driven stories as people clash with each other over various issues. Those conflicts can only take a show so far and soon plot driven storylines become necessary. Come up with some zany event and watch the characters react to it, it’s easy. That is, until you run out of stuff to do, which is exactly what happened to Dallas.

After becoming so successful after the “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger at the end of season three, the show’s creators couldn’t just rest on their laurels. They had to continue to up the ante and come up with even bigger and more shocking events. Unfortunately for them, it’s pretty hard to come up with something more shocking than shooting the main villain of your show. A body floating in a swimming pool seems pretty tame compared to that.

The plot of Dallas is stuck in a rut throughout season five. J.R. has already employed every unscrupulous business practice in the book to get even richer, which means he’s just repeating himself at this point. We know J.R. is going to screw over his business partners and threaten his ex-wife to get what he wants. We also know that he’s going to get away with it because he’s the main villain and is central to the show. The exploits of the Ewing clan are just too predictable at this point.

Sugar stockpiles are at an all time low after this sweet young thing refused to give any.

The writers seemed to realize this and attempted to fix it at points, but they’ve written themselves into a wall. J.R. is the scum of the Earth and anyone who trusts him is a gigantic moron. However, in order to push forward plot points, it becomes necessary to make all the other characters simply forgive and forget J.R.’s misdeeds and help him out.

This only further reinforces the fact that many of the events that transpire in Dallas don’t really matter and will be brushed over the second the particular storyline is finished. This ultimately culminated in the infamous episode where Bobby Ewing’s death was revealed as nothing more than a dream and an entire season was wiped from continuity.

The cheesy and repetitive nature of Dallas wasn’t much of a problem when it was originally aired and could be taken in as a guilty pleasure once a week. In fact, its failures probably even enhanced the viewing because it was easy to miss a few episodes and jump right back into the thick of things. It’s stupid fun, but at this point in the series’ lifespan it certainly doesn’t hold up to repeat or marathon viewing.

No one’s doubting what a good carpetbagger you are, Mark. It’s just that you have so much more to offer people. You shouldn’t label yourself as just a mere carpetbagger and sell yourself short. Think it over.

The Package

Larry Hagman loves all the lovely ladies. He gets the center slot on the DVD cover with women flanking him on both sides. The packaging is also slimmer and sexier thanks to Warner switching over to slim cases for this season. The presentation isn’t as nice, but it’s a lot more convenient than having to fold and unfold the package a dozen times just to get out one disc.

The only special feature is a brief ten minute tour of the actual Southfork Ranch. There isn’t really much to see since only the exteriors of the ranch were used for filming. That doesn’t prevent your tour guide from showing you each room though. In order to get tourist dollars, the entire home has been refurbished and each room devoted to a particular character from the show. The best is the Bobby Ewing room, which has stuffed cowboy teddy bears in it, presumably because of Patrick Duffy’s amazing chest hair and cuddly personality.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10