Dallas is considered one of the greatest television shows ever. But even super fans of any television show know when enough is enough. Still reeling after the “it was all a dream” season, Dallas was never the same. That didn’t stop them from continuing to throw out season after season. The writers hoped that season 11 would be a turning point back up for the show. The odds were definitely again them, since season ten wasn’t that good. Still could they somehow beat the odds and do the unthinkable: bring Dallas back from the dead?
If you don’t know, Dallas centers on the Ewing family, who live on the Southfork Ranch, just outside of Dallas, TX. The Ewing family consisted of patriarch Jock Ewing, who started Ewing Oil, the family’s corporation; Miss Ellie, his wife who managed Southfork Ranch, the family home; and their three sons: J.R., the oldest and ruthless CEO of Ewing Oil, married to former Miss Texas Sue Ellen Shepard; Bobby, the youngest and the nice guy, who married Pamela Barnes, daughter of the Ewing’s chief business rival; and Gary, the middle son who was considered an outcast by his father and eventually moved to California with his wife Valene. The basic premise of the show was like a cross between Romeo and Juliet and Bonanza. Never before had Americans seen so much drama, or “melodrama” depending on how you look at it, at night in primetime.
Season Ten ended with the degeneration and downfall of Ewing Oil, and Bobby’s love, Pam caught in a horrible explosion. Season 11 picks up right after that where it looks like ruthless oil tycoon J.R. Ewing will finally get his comeuppance when he loses control of Ewing Oil to his brother Bobby after proof of J.R.’s illegal maneuverings are made public. Setting up another oil firm, J.R. works hand and glove with Casey Denault (Andrew Stevens) to undercut Bobby and regain his power, which also involves our “hero” secretly buying up the stock of a rival firm, Westar Oil. At the same time, Casey has a brief fling with J.R.’s niece Lucy (welcome back, Charlene Tilton). In other developments, Bobby is tormented by Lisa Alden (Amy Stock), who claims to be the mother of his adopted son, Christopher. Meanwhile, Bobby’s old flame Jenna Wade (Priscilla Presley) marries his half brother, Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly) — a union that seems doomed from the start when Ray has a fling with a certain Connie Hall (Michelle Scarabelli). Newcomers to the cast include the aforementioned Andrew Stevens and Amy Stock, as well as Jack Scalia as banker Nicholas Pearce, who has an affair with J.R.’s estranged wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), after helping her get her lingerie business off the ground — and who turns out to have a hidden agenda that only April Stevens (Sheree J. Wilson) is fully aware of.
There are lots of issues with this season. First, the storylines seem to all be recycled from earlier seasons. To make matter worse, the most compelling storylines, Pam’s accident and relationship with Bobby and J.R.’s fall from grace, get completing blown during this season. As far as the acting goes, it definitely fell off as well. The entire cast, even the great Larry Hagman, seemed to be just going through the motions. There were numerous new characters that were introduced during this season including Andrew Stevens as Casey Denault, Bert Remsen as Harrison “Dandy” Dandridge, and Karen Kopkins as Kay Lloyd. Unfortunately, these new characters didn’t bring much fresh air for Dallas. They were really uninteresting.
Season 11 is definitely not “must-watch”, even for hardcore Dallas fans. It had the whole “been there, done that” feel to it. The most interesting stuff that could have turned Dallas back around was mishandled, and the actors seemed to really care less. But that didn’t stop Dallas for going on a couple more years. If you haven’t lost interest in Dallas by this point, you definitely will after watching season 11.
Disc One (Side A):
Episode 1 – After the Fall: Ewing Rise
J.R. starts all over again in the oil business.
Meanwhile, Pam battles life-threatening burns.
Episode 2 – After the Fall: Digger Redux
J.R. isn’t the only oilman in Dallas who misses his daddy. Cliff befriends an old-timer who reminds him of Digger.
Episode 3 – The Son Also Rises
Determined to visit his injured mother, little Christopher heads for Dallas Memorial Hospital.
Episode 4 – Gone With the Wind
Sue Ellen takes a business trip with hunky Nicholas Pearce and J.R. takes a step up the slippery oil business ladder.
Episode 5 – The Lady Vanishes
When Pam disappears from the hospital, Bobby and Cliff join forces to find out what happened.
Disc One (Side B):
Episode 6 – Tough Love
Distraught over losing Pam, Bobby brawls with a barroom full of beered-up cowboys.
Episode 7 – Last Tango in Dallas
Just like old times. J.R. hatches a plot against Weststar. Cliff looks for oil where there isn’t any.
Episode 8 – Mummy’s Revenge
J.R. comforts Miss Ellie after Clayton’s heart attack and Cliff backs Dandy’s get-rich-quick dream.
Episode 9 – Hustling
J.R. knows how to succeed in the oil business: seduce your rival’s wife.
Episode 10 – Bedtime Stories
Jenna and Ray announce their engagement, J.R. snake oils his way into Kimberly’s bed and Cliff gives Dandy the brush-off.
Disc Two (Side A):
Episode 11 – Lovers and Other Liars
Burned by the people they trust, both Dandy and Sue Ellen retaliate. But only one of them uses a gun.
Episode 12 – Brothers and Sons
Ray’s choice for best man at his wedding is Bobby, the father of his bride’s new baby.
Episode 13 – Brother, Can You Spare a Child?
Casey double-crosses J.R.. Cliff and Miss Ellie make peace agreements, and so does the Ewing-Barnes feud.
Episode 14 – Daddy’s Little Darlin’
Kimberly’s wealthy daddy will back J.R.’s quest to control Weststar if J.R. ditches Sue Ellen.
Episode 15 – It’s Me Again
J.R. and Kimberly, Charlie and Randy, Clayton and Laurel are all in trouble.
Disc Two (Side B):
Episode 16 – Marriage on the Rocks
As Bobby battles Lisa for custody of Christopher, J.R. considers making Sue Ellen the ex-Mrs. Ewing.
Episode 17 – Anniversary Waltz
Bobby discovers the skunk who’s pulling the strings in his heartbreaking custody fight.
Episode 18 – Brotherly Love
Bitter enemies again, J.R. and Bobby plot to outmaneuver each other in a bid to restore Ewing Oil.
Episode 19 – The Best Laid Plans
J.R. and Kimberly team up against Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen and Bobby join forces against J.R..
Episode 20 – Farlow’s Follies
At Southfork, a jealous wife seeks solace in a bottle of booze. And this time the lady isn’t Sue Ellen.
Disc Three (Side A):
Episode 21 – Malice in Dallas
Bobby and Lisa face off in court, April gets tangled up in a murder and Miss Ellie leaves on vacation alone.
Episode 22 – Crime Story
Terrorized by thugs, April considers making a run for it. Clayton falls prey to a blackmailer.
Episode 23 – To Have and To Hold
Miss Ellie handles her marital problems with a showdown. Cliff handles his financial problems with a fistful of pills.
Episode 24 – Dead Reckoning
Miss Ellie kicks Clayton out of Southfork. And doesn’t that just put a big ol’ grin on J.R.’s face?
Episode 25 – Never Say Never
With Clayton arrested for murder, J.R. sees his chance to make Laurel the next notch on his bedpost.
Disc Three (Side B):
Episode 26 – Last of the Good Guys
J.R. has evidence that will clear Clayton. Will he go straight to the cops or use it to his own advantage?
Episode 27 – Top Gun
After months of conniving, Weststar is within J.R.’s grasp. But two wronged women have a different idea.
Episode 28 – Pillow Talk
J.R. uses John Ross against Sue Ellen, Cliff plots against J.R. and Connie takes a stab at Ray.
Episode 29 – Things Ain’t Goin’ So Good at Southfork Again
Jenna and Lucy return home, but a furious J.R. vamooses.
Episode 30 – The Fat Lady Singeth
It’s J.R. vs. everybody as he battles Sue Ellen, Bobby, Jeremy Wendell and, in a hand-to-hand combat, Nicholas Pearce.
The video is in fullscreen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is decent, but not great since there are some episodes that look just as good as the original broadcast, while there are others that have signicant graininess to them. Just like previous seasons, not the best video quality for a show this popular.
The audio included is in English 1.0 Mono sound. There are subtitles available in English as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. The audio is basic, but once again it’s more consistent than the video quality. No major problems here.
There are no extras for this season’s DVD set.
The eleventh season of Dallas is only a “must-own” for die-hard fans who have all the previous DVD sets. There is nothing here for casual fans to watch, though. So it’s really not worth a rental for anyone, unless you like cheesy drama and recycled storylines from earlier seasons of Dallas.
Warner Home Video presents Dallas – Season 10. Created by David Jacobs. Starring Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Barbara Bel Geddes, Linda Gray, Victoria Principal, Ken Kerchevel, Steve Kanaly, and Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. Running time: 1595 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: April 21, 2009.
Available at Amazon.com