TITLE: DALLAS - THE COMPLETE THIRTEENTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
Packaging: Clear plastic keep case-style with hub
Number of Discs: 3 (Dual Layer)
Number of Episodes: 27
Running Time: 1278 minutes
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Mono
Special Features: None
The 13th season of Dallas is now on DVD from Warner Home Video! With this release, weíre only one season -- and two TV movies -- away from owning the entire series.
For JR Ewing, Season 13 is as unlucky as a steer at a Texas barbecue. He starts by lying and cheating Ewing Oil to the brink of destruction and ends by kicking and screaming in a psychiatric hospital. In between, he tires of his pretty young wife, seethes while Cliff Barnesí political star rises, and bumps into a past he didnít know he had. Meanwhile, Clayton and Miss Ellie investigate a multiple-murder mystery, folks from seasons past unexpectedly return to stir up trouble, and Bobby stays busy removing JRís knives from his back, chasing after a Pam look-alike and bringing a new Mrs. Ewing to Southfork.
The 13th season of Dallas was the first for the show outside the Top 30 since the original miniseries in 1978. The show finished 43rd for the year. This was part of a longer-term downward trend that would see the show finish 61st in its final year the following season. Though thereís still plenty to see here, it is clear Dallas is a show in its death throes now.
Hereís my problem with the twelfth season of Dallas. This is entirely rooted in personal opinion, but while I think there are plenty of fair to good episodes this season, there are practically NO *great* episodes. With one real exception, the era of big stand-out moments and stand-out scenes has faded into the past. The real highlight in terms of an episode that sticks with you is the finale. JR, crazed man of a million schemes, finally winds up in a sanitarium -- and even there heís still scheming and dealing. The two-part final episode for the season, ďThree, Three, ThreeĒ is the best of a good, but not great, class. With a show on the decline and with no stand-out episodes anyway, it should come as little surprise that there is zero guest stars to write about. Everyone appearing this season either falls into the purview of regular or recurring cast.
Phantom of the Oil Rig: 47:02
The Leopardís Spots: 47:26
Cry Me a River of Oil: 47:18
Sunrise, Sunset: 47:17
Pride and Prejudice: 47:24
Fathers and Other Strangers: 47:24
Black Tide: 47:16
Baddy Dearest: 47:16
Hellís Fury: 46:58
Cally on a Hot Tin Roof: 47:13
Sex, Lies, and Videotape: 47:13
Tale of Two Cities: 47:16
Judgment Day: 46:54
Unchain My Heart: 47:15
I Dream of Jeannie: 47:25
After Midnight: 47:14
The Crucible: 47:44
Dead Hearts and Gentle People: 47:46
Paradise Lost: 47:46
Will Power: 47:44
The Smiling Cobra: 47:44
Jessica Redux: 47:43
Family Plot: 47:42
The Southfork Wedding Jinx: 47:43
Three, Three, Three (1): 47:43
Three, Three, Three (2): 47:47
As is common with many TV-DVD sets now, packaging is a white translucent case with a plastic hub attached to the spine. The 27 episodes are featured on three DVD-18s. I should be used to them after a decadeís worth of episodes but Iíve seen the problems they can cause and Iíll never grow to love them. Dual-layer discs are always bound to cause long-term difficulties. After 13 seasons and half a decade of DVD releases, though, itís not something I care about arguing for or against anymore. At this point in the game it doesnít matter. If the DVDs smudge, oh well. If the DVD gets a scratch that corrupts either, or both, sides, too bad. Itís just not worth the time to pick a fight over an issue thatís been present on a dozen DVD releases now. Front cover is made available at the beginning of this review, rear cover follows a similar style but with introductory text and smaller still photos. As these are dual-sided discs thereís naturally no artwork.
Menu Design and Navigation:
One of those other little things Iíve taken issue with since early on with the Dallas DVDs that I might as well harp over one last time is the theme used in the main menu. Good quality copies of each seasonís theme rerecording exist. It would have been so nice to have the main menu theme update with each seasonís slight alterations and re-recording. The theme changed a lot between 1978 and the early 1990s -- itís a bit dissonant to hear the Ď70s theme in the menus for episodes from 1989-90. Otherwise, menus are great. Well-designed, fonts are at the right size and weight. No complaints about anything, really. Play All feature is available from the main menu.
Video and Audio Quality:
Language options for this DVD are limited: You have only one audio track, a Dolby Digital mono English track. The audio isnít particularly earth-shattering, and considering weíre in the era where Stereo was becoming common itís disheartening to see a Mono presentation. Chapter stops are placed after each act. There are three main acts per show, in addition to the separate opening titles and episode-opening ďPreviously on DallasĒ reminder.
Video is definitely improved from the previous season. This season reaches into the 1990s, and with more modern times you have episodes less subject to deterioration and overall picture that simply looks nicer. There are still one or two colors that are oversaturated, and one or two edges that seem slightly over-corrected, but overall the picture looks quite good.
No special features here whatsoever. After several featureless seasons, this should surprise no one.
Weíre in the final stretches of one of the great TV shows of all time. At this point itís clear the writers are beginning to run out of things to do, even with the change in tone of the show beginning last season. The influx of new characters left and right adds quality in some places, while in other places itís not so credible (Sorry, I just donít buy the guy who lived in the van on Step by Step as the kid of JR Ewing). Video quality issues have mostly been resolved, and with all but one season released, I think we should get to see the show go out with a bang quite soon. Until then, recommended pick-up for fans of the shows, while casual viewers should stick with older seasons.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/18/10
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