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DVD Review: Dallas (Season 5)

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Nominated for 18 Emmys and 15 Golden Globes in its 13-season run, Dallas is the 1,000-pound gorilla of the prime-time drama/soap opera genre. Premiering in 1978 as a five-part miniseries, the show combines the classic sex and innuendo of boilerplate afternoon soap operas with the freewheeling adventure of Texas wildcats and filthy rich capitalist oil barons. The explosive combination of rampant love affairs and high stakes business dealings scored well with both men and women, prompting CBS to make Dallas the lynchpin of its Friday night lineup (back when people actually watched Friday night television).

As a result, Dallas became one of the most successful TV series in history. In fact, the famous "Who shot J.R.?” episode (“A House Divided” Air Date: 3-21-1980) still holds its spot as the second most-watched television show ever. (The season finale of MASH is #1). With arguably the most memorable TV villian ever created, it's little surprise that Dallas held the #1 or #2 spot in the Nielsen ratings for most of the 1980s decade.

Undoubtedly, the unrivaled success and popularity of Dallas was in large part due to Larry Hagman and his portrayal of J.R. Ewing. Hagman’s real life Texas roots, unique charm, and wholehearted commitment to his craft helped to create one of the most loveable villains in history, and his treachery is on full display in season five. Although J.R. is a vindictive cutthroat, the audience grows to love his sinister smile in the aftermath of a one-sided business deal and/or a selfish act of calculating revenge.

In sharp contrast, J.R.’s brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) brings the Ewing karma back into balance with his all-American smile and impeccable character. Patrick Duffy brings his own style of charm to the small screen, and it makes for an interesting clash of personalities.

The fifth season of Dallas features some of the best episodes of the series. The initial ones center around Sue Ellen’s attempt to leave J.R. once and for all. With Dusty and Clayton Farlow by her side, Sue Ellen (Linda Grey) begins a new life at the Southern Cross ranch in San Angelo. The ensuing war between the two over baby John Ross makes for some of the most enjoyable primetime drama ever produced. The onscreen chemistry between Hagman and Grey is simply magic. They manage to portray a believable love-hate relationship between a husband and wife, and it’s one of the ongoing conflicts that launched the show to the top of the Nielsen ratings for almost 14 years (making it the longest-running primetime drama in television history).

Below is a list of episodes from Season 5 of Dallas:

Episode 78 (Missing Heir) Air Date: 10-09-1981
Episode 79 (Gone, But Not Forgotten) Air Date: 10-16-1981
Episode 80 (Showdown at San Angelo) Air Date: 10-23-1981
Episode 81 (Little Boy Lost) Air Date: 10-30-1981
Episode 82 (The Sweet Smell of Revenge) Air Date: 11-06-1981
Episode 83 (The Big Shut Down) Air Date: 11-13-1981
Episode 84 (Blocked) Air Date: 11-20-1981
Episode 85 (The Split) Air Date: 11-27-1981
Episode 86 (Five Dollars a Barrel) Air Date: 12-04-1981
Episode 87 (Starting Over) Air Date: 12-11-1981
Episode 88 (Waterloo at Southfork) Air Date: 12-18-1981
Episode 89 (Barbecue Two) Air Date: 01-01-1982
Episode 90 (The Search) Air Date: 01-08-1982
Episode 91 (Denial) Air Date: 01-15-1982
Episode 92 (Head of the Family) Air Date: 01-22-1982
Episode 93 (The Phoenix) Air Date: 01-29-1982
Episode 94 (My Father, My Son) Air Date: 02-05-1982
Episode 95 (Anniversary) Air Date: 02-12-1982
Episode 96 (Adoption) Air Date: 02-19-1982
Episode 97 (The Maelstrom) Air Date: 02-26-1982
Episode 98 (The Prodigal) Air Date: 03-05-1982
Episode 99 (Vengeance) Air Date: 03-12-1982
Episode 100 (Blackmail) Air Date: 03-19-1982
Episode 101 (The Investigation) Air Date: 03-26-1982
Episode 102 (Acceptance) Air Date: 04-02-1982
Episode 103 (Goodbye, Cliff Barnes) Air Date: 04-09-1982

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