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Knots Landing - The Complete First Season


TITLE: KNOTS LANDING - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
Color/1979-80
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 5
Number of Episodes: 13
Running Time: 694 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx 195 minutes (including commentary)
Audio: English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Sound
Closed Captioned
Subtitles: Spanish, English, French
Special Features:
*Commentary on ďPilotĒ and ďHome is for the HealingĒ by Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackleford; "Gary and Val: Together Again: The Stars Reminisce"


Introduction:

Welcome to Knots Landing, where Gary Ewing -≠ the troubled middle son of the powerful Ewing clan of Dallas -≠ decides to start life anew. And what would be more reassuring, more nurturing, than an upscale California cul-de-sac in the suburbs, complete with lovely homes and happy families? But it doesnít take long for Gary and his wife Val to discover that Big D doesnít have a monopoly on adultery, deceit, cunning, and greed.

A spinoff of Dallas, Knots Landing became itís own phenomenon, running for 14 glorious seasons of broken promises, broken hearts, and broken marriages. Knots Landing stars Ted Shackleford as Gary Ewing, Joan Van Ark as Valene (Val) Ewing, Michele Lee as Karen Fairgate, Don Murray as her husband Sid, Constance McCashin as Laura Avery, John Pleshette as Richard Avery, James Houghton as Kenny Ward, and Kim Lankford as his wife Ginger.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

I personally prefer the episodes in the middle of the series, but the first seasonís an interesting watch. Watching the pilot of this 300-episode-plus series, and thinking of how much the show changed between 1979 and 1993 is simply astounding. Episode two, Community Spirit sees JR crossing over from Dallas in an off-shore oil drilling scheme. In episode 4, The Lie, Laura is raped, lies about it, and involves innocent bystander Val in the deception. Episode 5, Will the Circle Be Unbroken features the first appearance of Valís mother Lilimae Clements. Episode 6, Home is for the Healing, features the one-time appearance of Lucy. Episodes 12 and 13, Bottom of the Bottle, sees the delving into an issue first explored on Dallas and continually brought up over the next 14 years, Garyís alcoholism.

The List of Guest Stars which normally adorns this portion of the review is a bit different this time. The only guests this season were all Dallas guest stars in crossover roles.
First, a List of Crossover Guests from Dallas:
Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing): Pilot
Larry Hagman (JR Ewing): Community Spirit
Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing): Home is for the Healing


Packaging:

Three slim cases contained in an outer box. This is so common nowadays itís almost not noteworthy. Not that thatís a bad thing, I happen to like slim cases. The front cover is a light blue-ish color. The later-seasons Knots Landing logo sits atop a photo of the three core families from the early years (Letís be realistic, the Wards were more or less supporting characters). Above and below the strip are faded-out pictures of two characters ≠ the top picture is Val, the bottom picture is Karen. The back cover is rather plain. The top has some miscellaneous pictures. The rest is just solid colors. The front and back covers of the slim cases feature the information on the respective discs, with the exception of the front cover of the first slim case, which is a rehash of the main cover. The art for all 6 discs is the same, a dark blue style with the general look of an oceanfront. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-3, Disc 2 has 4-6, Disc 3 has 7-9, Disc 4 has 10-11, Disc 5 has 12-13.


Menu Design and Navigation:

Simplicity is a hallmark of a lot of the Warner menus ≠ not saying thatís good or bad, it just is. The main menu for all five discs features the same key 3 families panoramic photo used on the front cover, this time above menu options. The remainder of the menu not in the photo is white, with vertical bars above and below the photo. The Knots Landing logo is at bottom. The Languages option features a photo of Karen and Sid on the left, Ginger and Kenny on the right, menu. The pictures used in the submenus change layout based on the disc, and the episodes on each disc, and in the interest of timeliness, I wonít do a menu by menu breakdown The Season 1 Knots Landing theme plays in the background of the main menu.


Video and Audio Quality:

Hoooooo boy. I wanted to give Knots Landing good scores here, but I feel let down. The video is grainy, the colors look deteriorated, and in some episodes is blurry (Community Spirit for example). And letís not even discuss the video in ďHome is for the Healing.Ē The fact that the audio isnít even 2.0 says what needs to be said there. Itís ONE CHANNEL. Everything justÖcomes out. The audio is soft, and I had to turn my speakers up to hear it properly. The chapter stops occur during the fade to blacks, but they seem to come right when the video comes back, which gives a choppy impression when skipping chapters. Iím honestly surprised at the quality of everything given that they spread a 13 episode season over FIVE discs. Yes, there IS a Play All button (titled ďPlay).

Runtimes:
Pilot: 47:28
Community Spirit: 48:56
Let Me Count the Ways: 48:53
The Lie: 48:56
Let the Circle Be Unbroken: 48:46
Home is for the Healing: 48:45
Land of the Free: 48:31
Civil Wives: 48:53
Constant Companion: 48:53
Small Surprises: 48:57
Courageous Convictions: 48:55
Bottom of the Bottle (Part 1): 48:52
Bottom of the Bottle (Part 2): 48:53


Special Features:

Three extras are here. Two are commentary tracks. One on the Pilot, and one on Home is for the Healing. Both are by Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackleford (Val and Gary).

Pilot: Runs 47:28. They loved the original opening. The entire episode is basically just them reminiscing in time with the episode. Joan canít get over the age of the cars. The two get along really well, and it shows ≠ err ≠ sounds. Iím not going to spoil what they say, but Knots fans will enjoy this.

Home is for the Healing: 48:45. See Above

Gary and Val: Together Again: 9:01. Ted looks older. Joan does not so much. I have to quote something Joan said regarding Ted during their first appearance together during Wonder Woman (clip included). ďYou look like a giant silver condomĒ. Anyway, this is a great bit, and a continuation of the above. One thing you can notice is that as many complaints as I have about the VQ, the VQ of the clips is worse. By the way, Iím not positive (as I actually MISSED it), but I think this is actually taken as a segment FROM the CBS Reunion at the tail-end of last year. They include a lot of clips from later in the series, complete with ďKnots Landing ReunionĒ graphic.


Final Comments:

Technically, this set is flawed in a number of places. The video cleanup and transfer just wasnít that great, the audio is VERY sub-par, and there are a limited number of features. If this were a lot of sets/shows, Iíd recommend you avoid it.

But this isnít most other shows, its Knots Landing. Itís a good show, and Iíve honestly got to urge you to buy this set if you havenít yet. Sales of this set will most likely determine if future sets get released, and with SOAPNet no longer airing the show, and with there being no immediate plans for the show to appear on In2TV, this is the one chance KL fans have of seeing the show. Even if you, like me, prefer the middle years (OR the later years), please, purchase this set to ensure that THEY get released.

That being said, the first and highest priority thing Iíd work on for future releases is the video and audio. Thereís just no excuse for a 1.0 track. Even shows OLDER and as less-ran as KL can have 2.0, why not Knots? And please, fix whatever went wrong in the video cleanup and transfer this time. More commentaries, possibly by more cast members, would be a great touch. I would honestly not mind seeing Warner also adopt a touch used by Universal in which they include a bonus episode from a season down the road.

At the end of the day, again, this set is NOT a technical masterpiece, but the show shines through that fact, and makes it worth the purchase anyway. The final score is going to be higher than the technical numbers suggest because, dangit, this show is just that good, IMO (By the way, this show IS the progenitor for Desperate Housewives, so if youíre a fan of that show, you should seriously consider sampling Knots).

Recommended: Good Show if a bit flawed from the DVD-technical side.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 2.5/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 03/31/06

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000CS45AG/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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