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"Dallas: 14 & Final Season"
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner
TV -Series
Release Date:
Special Features:



All good things come to an end and by the 14th and final season of "Dallas" the good things were long gone and buried like one of J.R. Ewing's secrets in the past. With the forthcoming sequel TV series we can expect renewed interest in the original series because I doubt we'll see this coming out on Blu-ray or reissued with any special features, now would be the time to pick this up on DVD to prepare for the sequel series. By the time you finish watching the final season, we'll probably have the premiere episode on our hands. ***

By the final season the long standing conflicts between J.R. and his brother Bobby had already reached a head after simmering for a number of seasons. I'm going to skip the summary of the final season because if you've already bought the previous 13 (and if you haven't you should prior to buying this one and watching it or renting it depending on your preference), you know how the various story arcs played out over the previous ones and how this one ties into it. I'm going to focus, instead, on the quality of the set. I will point out that that J.R. (Larry Hagman) tries to figure out how to escape from the asylum where he is being confined at the beginning of season 14 which will give you an idea as to how badly the show had fallen. Could we trace it back to the season where we found out the entire season was a dream? I don't think so because the show did briefly recover from that fiasco. Regardless, each season after that did become a rollercoaster with some seasons being quite good while others were just this side of Ed Wood style silliness from the plotting to the acting. Regardless, by season 14 the show had overstayed it's welcome and even though it wasn't a ratings powerhouse like it had once been, CBS NEEDED the show in its line up at the time as they lost ground to the other two networks with their audience. Even when "Dallas" was bad though (and sometimes especially IF it was bad), it was always a joy to see Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy chew scenery. ---

Image & Sound:

For a vintage show "Dallas" looks decent with image quality varying from extremely soft to a good, solid clear presentation. Sometimes there is variability within a single episode. Part of that has to do with the aging of the prints and part of that has to do with how the show was originally shot. Could they have cleaned this up a bit more and sharpened the image quality? Yes. On the other hand the presentation could have been much, much worse depending on the source used for the prints (the syndicated vs. the original broadcast prints prepared). The blacks are murky looking and murky seems to be the word of the day for most of the transfer. It appears though that Warner has done the best they could with this transfer given the 1)age of the show 2) condition of the prints and 3) budget they had for this release. Could they have done better? Sure but this series isn't going to get the attention of, say, "E.R." in terms of efforts to restore the show. The skin tones look decent throughout and true to the original broadcast of the series as near as I can tell. Colors while they don't pop look quite decent. ***

Audio sounds good although it isn't outstanding. Warner has applied some compression to push dialogue up front and to make it a bit clearer although little effort to do much more with the mono soundtrack has been done. ---

Special Features:

I would have liked to see something assembled for this set in the way of special features such as an audio commentary from the producers/actors to give us their perspective while shooting the series and in retrospect but Warner figures that if you've bought the previous 13 you'll buy this one without any special features incentive. ---

Final Words:

"Dallas" limped home to the ranch during its 14th and final season. Although the show clearly had seen better days the writers embraced their soap opera heritage and went for the gusto confining J.R. to an insane asylum. The presentation is solid enough for a vintage show although I would like to see a bit more effort on Warner Brothers part and some special features, what we get is what we get. Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky that Warner issued the entire run of the show because many studios are giving up on their tv on dvd vintage shows. To Warner Home Video's credit they didn't do that with "Dallas" and gave fans the complete run even if the presentation could have been improved slightly.


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