Since it first began in 1978, CBS’ long-running primetime soap opera Dallas shook the airwaves with some of the most-memorable moments in television history. Believe it or not, the phrase “Who Shot J.R.?” is still used to this day. People still refer to Patrick Duffy as Bobby when he’s out in public — whilst blatantly ignoring the show’s staple of lesser actors when they see them on the street. And, no matter how hard we may try, there is really no erasing that whole “dream season” from our memories.
Yes, Dallas was certainly a memorable show; so you’d at least hope the final season of the wild soap would have gone out without disappointing its fans.
And, in all fairness, I think it did. Witness the opening story arc of Dallas: The Complete Final Season, wherein the devious J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman, who also served as Executive Producer for this season) has been left to rot in a mental rehab facility at the behest of his bitter and equally-devious (illegitimate) offspring, James Richard Beaumont (Sasha Mitchell, who wins the Fourteenth Annual “Worst Actor Of This Season Of Dallas Award”). Meanwhile, the nice Ewing boy, Bobby (TV’s Patrick Duffy), is enjoying a honeymoon in Paris with his new bride, April (Sheree J. Wilson), only to have his beloved bride kidnapped by a nefarious and mysterious woman (played to the hilt by the great Susan Lucci).
After a few episodes, J.R. gets back into the saddle, having successfully “escaping” the loony-bin. Bobby, on the other hand, is left to pick up the pieces of his disastrous honeymoon. Since the character of Miss Ellie (the Ewing matriarch) written out of the soap equation altogether (she decided to remain overseas after a vacation than return and deal with all the drama her boys kept digging up, and never made another appearance after the end of the Thirteenth Season), most of the action here focuses on the J.R. and Bobby. Regular supporting character Cliff Barnes (played by Ken Kercheval) is there once again to serve as J.R.’s personal nemesis, while another veteran Dallas performer, Clayton Farlow (Howard Keel) shows up briefly. George Kennedy also pops up every now and again.
While the regular routine of conspiracy and unbelievable plot-twists is once again at full form here, Dallas: The Complete Final Season is most notable with fans for its unforgettable two-parter climax. With the whole of Ewing Oil now in the hands of his longtime rival, Cliff, and the ol’ homestead of Southfork now in the possession of Bobby (courtesy of Miss Ellie), our show’s “hero” J.R. Ewing finds himself on the verge of suicide. But then, in a grand homage to the classic Jimmy Stewart flick It’s A Wonderful Life, a enigmatic stranger (played by the always-wonderful Joel Grey) appears to show J.R. what would have happened to almost every single character in the entire run of the show had the iniquitous oilman had never been born.
Even if you’re not a Dallas fan, that series finale is worth the price of admission alone.
Warner Home Video’s release of Dallas: The Complete Final Season presents all 25 episodes on five-discs (this is the first Dallas set to include single-sided, dual-layered discs, incidentally) in their original (standard) 1.33:1 aspect ratio with English Stereo sound. English (SDH) and French subtitles are included.
Sadly, this final set of the original TV series does not include any Special Features (much like the last couple of seasons!). But, don’t fall into a state of despair just yet, folks: Warner has announced Dallas: The Movie Collection for an April ‘11 release — so maybe we’ll get some sort of new Bonus Materials…?