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DVD Review: Knots Landing: The Complete Second Season

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For anyone who was a fan of Knots Landing and classic TV, this is a must-have  addition to their collection. This long-awaited DVD was released on April 14, and boasts an all-star cast including Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee, John Pleshette, Donna Mills, Don Murray, James Houghton, Kim Lankford, and Constance McCashin, along with guest appearances by Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy.

Long before Desperate Housewives, there was Knots Landing, a spin-off of Dallas,  which showed all of us the steamier side of surburbia. The series, which follows five families who live in an upper-middle class cul de sac, was always interesting as it delved into the tempestuous lives and loves of the people who lived there. Season two introduces the character of Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills) who becomes legendary in the history of the show.

Growing up watching Knots Landing, I was afraid it wouldn't hold up after all these years, but I was excited to find out that I was wrong. This series holds its own with all the bed-hopping and cheating, big hair, and shoulder pads of the era. Treat yourself to this blast from the past and get reacquainted with the residents of the Landing. Or if you've never watched it, jump in — it's definitely HOT!

Season two (1980-81) shows the series really hitting its stride and includes visits from Bobby and J.R. Ewing (Dallas), Sid being accused of rape, armed robbers holding the women of the cul de sac hostage and the season ending  with an honest-to-god cliffhanger. 

The biggest news of season two, though, is the appearance of Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham, the blonde bombshell who wreaks havoc all through the neighborhood. With the appearance of Abby,  things really started to heat up and get interesting. No marriage is off limits when Abby sets her eyes on it. Played to perfection by Donna Mills, Abby is wicked, vicious, bitchy, and heartless enough to keep us loving and hating her for years. Abby's clashes with Karen and Val were legendary, and season two gets things rolling. After a fairly peaceful start to the season, we start to see the beginnings of the rivalry that defines the show for years:  Karen vs. Abby.  It's fun watching their early friendship evolve into a bitter rivalry. In this season we also see the first signs of trouble in Gary and Val's marriage, a crossover visit from Kristen Shepard (Dallas), and the ongoing dysfunction of the Avery marriage.

Why does Abby bring so much to the show? Because she's not pure malice like JR was on Dallas. Instead Abby is well-written and rather than just being the villain of the show she also has her vulnerable side that makes us cheer for her at the same time we hate her.  

The DVD includes an episode guide as well as cast pictures, so don't miss any of the backstabbing bitchiness of this guilty pleasure and add it to your DVD collection today.

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About Marta Hoelscher