TITLE: DALLAS - THE COMPLETE TENTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: January 13, 2009 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 3 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 29
Running Time: 1375 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo Surround
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: None
The Dallas folks celebrate a decade of backstabbing, lies, greed, and lust with a tenth season that sizzles with intrigue. To start, JR spreads his brand of poison far from Big D, throwing big bucks at a twisted mercenary eager to blow up Saudi oil fields. The Feds gets wind of the plot and lean on JR until he sings like a Texas mockingbird and the mercenary decides the world would be a better place without JR. And there’s another troublemaker making life interesting in Texas -- a leather-tough, white-haired ranch hand. He has Jock’s letters, belt buckle, knife...and memories? Could it be Jock survived that years-ago copter crash? Is there even more underhanded, over-the-top fun in season ten? Bet your cowboy boots there is!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
After every dream, good and bad, you must eventually wake-up. And that’s what Dallas does. After a year without Bobby Ewing, the series suddenly backtracks to where they left off at in season eight. Except that people look a year older and several people’s hairstyles have changed. It must have been one hell of a night. The first half of the two hour season premier deals with the jolt caused by suddenly having rewound a year. The second half then launches into the new material for the slightly revised year. In the 9th episode of the series, Bobby and Pam get married -- again.
Honestly, by this season the show is beginning to lose a bit of steam -- several old ideas are recycled and the plots become slightly more clichéd. Jock Ewing is returning from the dead? (Actually a new character named Wes). And then there’s how Victoria Principal gets written out of the show at the series end. It’s certainly a memorable visual, but -- come on, crashing into a tanker truck and exploding in a giant fireball? I love Dallas, but I’m the first to admit that it’s evident that the show was starting to run a little low on gas. The set-up allowed for some interesting moments, but ultimately the show was waning.
The level of guest stars is low for this season. Amy Yasbeck (future wife of John Ritter, co-star of the later seasons of Wings, among other credits), appears as the “Mary Elizabeth” character in two episodes -- “A Death in the Family” and “The Ten Percent Solution.” Former Three’s Company cast member Jenilee Harrison has a recurring role as extended family member Jamie Ewing, and appears in several episodes again this season.
The packaging for season ten has changed from what was used in the last few DVD sets, marking the second packaging change for the series. The show started with digipaks, and then moved to slimcases, and now? The hard clear plastic case -- similar to what you may have seen on CBS DVD releases. The first two discs are held on a plastic swinging piece in the middle, with the third disc held in a small tray on the inner-right panel. As before, the discs are all double-sided. The cover art features the man easily the icon of the show -- one J.R. Ewing. Other characters’ photos appear in a sepia tone behind him, but JR is displayed loud and clear. The color scheme for the set is a magenta color. Obviously, with dual-layered discs, there is no disc art. With six total disc areas containing content -- one through five hold 5 episodes each (1-5, 6-10...) while Side B of the third disc holds the final *four* episodes (26-29).
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menu style remains consistent -- lots of boxes, a cast photo, and the episode list appearing on one side of the menu. A cast photo appears center-right. The original ‘70s version of the main theme plays in the background. While I personally wish the menu theme used that season’s instrumentation, *a* theme is certainly better than no theme. Play All and Languages are the only options on each menu other than the episode titles themselves.
Video and Audio Quality:
The show changed video mediums this year -- the video is SIGNIFICANTLY crisper and clearer. All of the Lorimar drama series made the tape/film swap over the course of the 1980s, and Dallas has become the next series to make the change. The video is *slightly* faded in color, but for episodes that are 22 years old, the video looks spectacular. The audio, while it won’t win any awards for technical perfection, it certainly does a great job for a 1980s TV series. Don’t underestimate stereo. Play All functionality is available from the main menu. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each scene. There is only one audio track -- English stereo, and only one subtitles track (English). No foreign languages are available.
Disc 1 Side A
Return to Camelot, Part 1: 47:41
Return to Camelot, Part 2: 47:42
Pari Per Sue: 47:41
Once and Future King: 47:41
Disc 1 Side B
Trompe L’oeil: 47:45
Territorial Imperative: 47:51
The Second Time Around: 47:46
Bells are Ringing: 47:49
Who’s Who at the Oil Baron’s Ball: 47:13
Disc 2 Side A
Proof Positive: 47:04
Something Old, Something New: 47:14
The Fire Next Time: 47:15
So Shall Ye Reap: 47:15
Disc 2 Side B
Tick, Tock: 47:14
Night Visitor: 47:11
Cat and Mouse: 47:14
High Noon for Calhoun: 47:15
Disc 3 Side A
A Death in the Family: 47:14
Revenge of the Nerd: 47:14
The Ten Percent Solution: 47:14
Some Good, Some Bad: 47:15
War and Peace: 47:14
Disc 3 Side B
Ruthless People: 47:14
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel: 47:16
Fall of the House of Ewing: 47:18
*This episode is shorter than the others on the set. This episode may be syndicated, which for this series would indicate damage to the master prints, as Warner has been pretty good with using the original masters. I’m not even positive it’s edited, but I wanted to nonetheless bring this up. Again, if IS edited, that would indicate master print damage.
There are none. I’m sure the cast would interview for this or lend their voices for some commentaries. We had an extra on the ninth season set, so why not here, too? Old CBS promos would be good, too.
I’ll admit it -- my interest in the series wanes in later seasons. Around this point, the show became slightly more predictable and fell into a level of cliché. It’s still a *good* show, but by this point it’s not the *great* show it once was. Technically speaking the DVD set is pretty darned good aside from the lack of special features. For whatever reason, Warner has decided it’s no longer worth their time or effort to produce features, so, they’re gone. We still have four more seasons to go, though.
Season 11 has already been announced for release for April -- I’ll see you then.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 01/10/09
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