TITLE: DALLAS - THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON
DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008 (Warner Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4 (double-sided)
Number of Episodes: 31
Running Time: 1485 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo Surround
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: ďSeasons of ChangeĒ feature
This season some Dallas moneymen take a bath -- and one takes a shower. If you donít know what that means, youíre in for a surprise! The action begins with Southfork mourning the death of Bobby Ewing. But before the tears are even dried, folks are up to their oil wells in chicanery, greed, and lust. JR romps with his mistress, institutionalizes his wife and plots to destroy his new business partner. Mark Graison returns from the presumed dead to complicate Pamís love life; Cliff concocts a canít-miss scheme to grab control of Ewing Oil. A femme fatale shipping CEO vamps JR, Jack, and even Cliff. Then thereís a wedding, an adoption, attempted murder, a jungle adventure...and a soap commercial. Thatís Dallas for you.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Thereís one episode from this season that all long-time Dallas fans (either from the original airings or cable reruns) know very well. The memorable scene was shot under the guise of being the filming of a soap commercial -- but we all know better. Itís the season finale, and the plot twist that resulted is still referenced to this very day.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to what is known -- both affectionately and not so much so -- as the ďdream season.Ē We start off the year with the death of Bobby Ewing. By the time itís all said and done, Bobbyís alive, Pamís confused, hairstyles have changed ďovernight,Ē cast members had to be written out, and television viewers came to fear dreams.
But surely things other than the funeral for -- and re-awakening of -- Bobby Ewing occurred. Sue Ellen gets right back on the wagon -- and eventually committed to a sanitarium. Mark Graison returns. Relatives come out of the woodwork only to disappear right back into it. The Ewing Building even gets blown up!
But what does it really matter -- nothing in this season, until the final scene, actually happens in the continuity of the show. Unless youíre a Knots Landing fan, who has to break all ties with Dallasí continuity when Pam wakes up. As a fan of Knots, thanks a bunch for *that* one...
There ARE a few guest stars this season, though Dallas doesnít rely on them heavily. Ted Shackleford -- Gary Ewing on Knots Landing -- appears for Bobbyís funeral. The then-Governor of Texas, Mark White, appears as himself in the episode titled ďClose Encounters.Ē Alejandro Rey, probably best known as Carlos on The Flying Nun, turns up in the episode J.R. Rising.
The packaging is simple but effective -- thereís an outer box, with two Nexpak-branded slimcases on the inside. Each slimcase holds two DVDs. The discs are dual-layer and dual-sided (IE: DVD-14ís) certainly not my favorite choice for a disc to be used. However, in order to keep packaging costs down, Warner needed to get the smallest possible packaging as possible out, which always means DVD-14ís. The front cover features the seasonís regular cast in full format wear posing. The show logo appears in the top quarter of the box art, with a photo of Southfork in the bottom quarter. The rear features the introductory text in the top third, followed by a photo strip, a description of the special feature, and finally credits. All but the formalwear photo are set against a teal color. Artwork for the slimcases simply features disc breakdowns and listings.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The style of the menu really hasnít changed that much from season to season -- itís just a realignment of the cover art, with the 4 episode titles appearing in a list on the right side of the half of the screen featuring Southfork. There are 4 episodes per side, with a total of 8 episodes per discs. Language option is available to the left of the episode listing, with very few language options selectable. There IS a Play All feature, appearing above the episode list. The menu artwork uses the same teal shades as the box. As always, that famous Dallas theme plays in the background.
Video and Audio Quality:
By and large, the video looks good. Iíve looked on a couple of different monitors, and thereís nothing really wrong with it. Video IS 20+ years old, so itís clearly not flawless. But if you go into this set with realistic expectations of the video and audio quality, you wonít be disappointed. The video is clearly more crisp, sharp, and overall just better than anything you may have ever gotten from broadcast or cable, so if thereís the occasional speck of grain here and there, trust me, itís really not a big deal. Audio wonít win any awards, but it certainly does the job. Thereís just a slight amount of audio hiss I could detect, but again, nothing that will cause any problems in the viewing experience.
Disc 1 Side A:
The Family Ewing: 47:53
Rock Bottom: 47:57
Those Eyes: 47:57
Disc 1 Side B:
Saving Grace: 47:53
The Wind of Change: 47:44
Disc 2 Side A:
Close Encounters: 48:01
Suffer the Little Children: 47:59
The Prize: 47:55
En Passant: 47:57
Disc 2 Side B:
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen: 47:57
Curiosity Killed the Cat: 47:57
The Missing Link: 47:56
Twenty Four Hours: 47:58
Disc 3 Side A
The Deadly Game: 47:55
Blame it On Bogota: 47:47
Shadow Games: 47:58
Disc 3 Side B
Dire Straits: 47:48
Sitting Ducks: 47:02*
Disc 4 Side A
Just Desserts: 47:59
Nothingís Ever Perfect: 47:57
J.R. Rising: 47:57
Disc 4 Side B:
Thrice in a Lifetime: 47:58
Hello, Goodbye, Hello: 47:58
Blast from the Past: 47:57
*These two episodes are a minute or so shorter than any of the others, and one even features the alternate ďPreviouslyĒ bumper rather than the teaser montage. These two shows may be syndicated, which for this series would indicate damage to the master prints, if true. Iím not even positive theyíre edited, but I wanted to nonetheless bring this up. Again, if they ARE edited, that would indicate master print damage.
Seasons of Change (14:46): This is a featurette that discusses the changes occurring for season 9 -- such as Barbara Bel Geddes returning to her role as Miss Ellie, Patrick Duffyís death and return, etc. It also features clips, interviews, and more.
If my beating around the bush in the memorable episodes section didnít tip you off, Iíll say it outright here -- Iím *not* a fan of the dream season. It had its high points, sure (the stuff with Sue Ellen in particular was fairly good), but was weak overall....never mind that the last scene of the season made the entire last YEAR of the show completely worthless. Thereís a reason that the voters at TV.com only have *two* episodes this season, the premiere and finale, at a score of above 8.0. (A couple of others hover in the mid 7ís, while most are between 4 and 6). Itís just not that good, and clearly Iím not the only one who thinks so.
This is a case where the set is technically fine (Save the one possible issue in the runtimes section), it just so happens that the content is crap. Honestly, if Warner wanted to put out a ďBest OfĒ release with just the premiere and finale on it, I could encourage you to avoid this set altogether. Itís technically fine, but the episodes just arenít very good. Things pick up again next season, but the viewership lives would begin to erode permanently after this season. This was Dallasí final year in the top 10 in ratings.
Good morning indeed.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 3.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 07/14/08
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