Tonight is Dallas night on Channel Five, as the brand new series starts at 9pm.
However, in my house it’s Dallas night EVERY BLOODY NIGHT since we’ve been rediscovering the original series courtesy of a box set of Seasons 1 and 2 which was sent to me for review by Warner Bros.
Season One of Dallas was originally conceived in 1978 as a 5 episode miniseries. It proved to be so popular that it lasted for 14 seasons and was one of the biggest TV shows in the world throughout the 1980’s.
You can really see the difference between Seasons One and Two – everybody’s got better hair and clothes, JR is front and centre much more, and Sue Ellen has finally been promoted to the credits.
Those iconic scenes we remember from Dallas – the windy breakfasts on the terrace, JR’s famous stetsons with the crushed budgie hat bands, the female cast with only one bra between them – only really kick in from Season Two. This is where The JR Show really starts.
Season One focuses much more on Bobby and Pam’s new marriage. Plus there’s a lot of business with Miss Lucy and Ray Krebbs (who really is a bit of a dirty dawg who was far too old for Lucy. And he was later revealed to be her uncle. Shocker!)
It’s very odd to return to this series after so many years. I vividly remember lying on a swirly Seventies carpet and watching it as a child. For some reason my dad used to read out all the cast members’ names in a really loud voice as they scrolled past on their tryptic title sequence. Watching it now, I can hear my late father booming out BARBARA BEL GEDDES! LARRY HAGMAN! LINDA GRAY!
The programmes haven’t been digitally restored, so if you’re used to watching crisp Blu Ray pics then the quality of these programmes will seem a bit shonky. The title sequence of the first episode in particular looks like it was taped off someone’s telly and really should’ve been cleaned up a bit.
Visuals aside, as a series it holds up really well. The plots are still engrossing, the characters are still
terrific and Southfork is still the only mansion not to have enough seats in the living room for everyone to sit down at once. And JR is still the baddest of baddass villians this side of Glee’s Sue Sylvester. It’s terrific.
There aren’t a lot of extras – four of the 29 episodes come with commentary. BUT that commentary is from Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton AKA JR and Miss Lucy so that is worth the price of admission alone.
The only down side to this set is that once you’ve watched seasons one and two you’re only going to want more, and there are 14 seasons in all. The season one and two box set is a fantastic bargain at £11.95, but then the price shoots up to around £40 for season three, £20 for season four etc.
I notice that Warner Bros have a box set of all 14 Dallas seasons released this week and retailing at £100, so time to crank open that Christmas list early.
Dallas Season One & Two box set is out now, priced around £11.95. Contains all 5 episodes of Season One and 24 episodes of Season Two – 1397 minutes total running time. Certificate 12.