TITLE: KNOTS LANDING - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009 (Warner Bros. Home Video)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 18
Running Time: 873 Minutes
Audio: English: 1.0 Dolby Digital Sound
Subtitles: English, French
Special Features: None
Love thy neighbor. Those are words to live by for Sid’s sexy sister Abby Cunningham -- especially with the male neighbors in her new hometown, Knots Landing. Maybe it’s Abby’s influence, but bed-hopping becomes the latest cul-de-sac sport. Who cheats? It’s simpler to list who doesn’t (hint: Sid and Karen) in this sizzling 4 disc set of season two of this long running hit series. And there’s a lot more excitement: JR and Bobby Ewing from Dallas swap Texas drilling for California dreaming and visit, crooks muscle in on Gary, a hitchhiker accuses Sid of rape, armed robbers hold the cul-de-sac women hostage, and the season ends with a genuine cliff hanger.
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
The second season continues the tone and style associated with the show’s early years, but the first signs of what the show would become develop with the arrival of Sid’s sister Abby - *the* quintessential character of the series who would play a large role in the series from here onwards.
The season starts off with a boom in “Hitchhike” not only with the arrival of Abby, but Sid being accused of rape by a young hitchhiker. This leads to a fracture between the Fairgates and the Avery family after Sid fires Richard as his attorney in the process. Kristin, the person who shot JR, appears in the 5th episode of the season -- appropriately titled “Kristin”, attempting to manipulate Gary and Val in much the same way she’d already played with the Texas-based Ewings. In episode 14, “Moments of Truth”, the men take Kenny out to celebrate while the women of the cul-de-sac throw Ginger a baby shower. They’re all, save Sid and Karen’s daughter Diana, taken hostage in a botched robbery. The best episode in the season is EASILY the finale, “Squeezeplay”, in which some shady characters make their move against Sid, resulting in a literal cliff hanger to end the season.
A young Helen Hunt appears in the latter half of the two part season premiere. Brian Dennehy appears in the episode “Chance of a Lifetime.” Mary Crosby crosses over from Dallas to appear as her character Kristin in the episode of the same title. The episode “Step One” features several people -- Helen Hunt returns, while Wendie Jo Sperber (Sitcoms Online readers may best recognize her from “Bosom Buddies.” Larry Hagman appears as JR Ewing, crossing over from Dallas, in “A Family Matter.” Barry Jenner appears in “A State of Mind.” Patrick Duffy appears as HIS Dallas character, Bobby Ewing, in “The Loudest Word.” Actor Eric Stoltz appears in the episode “Man of the Hour.” Mentioning him gives me the chance to bring up one of my favorite bits of trivia -- he was originally to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future, back when it was assumed Michael J. Fox would be unavailable due to Family Ties.
The packaging is of a style that’s becoming increasingly common -- and I’m not a fan. Contained within an outer box is a hard plastic translucent white case. Inside, attached to the inner spine, is a set of plastic panels which hold the set’s discs. The clips that hold the panels onto the spine are alarmingly fragile, and are prone to breakage. Disc art is similar in style to season one, with the inclusion of Abby this go-around. The disc art features a beach montage, similar to what was used in a season’s opening titles towards the end of the run, with the show logo in the style of the later years of the show. The first two discs contain 5 episodes, while three and four contain 4 episodes. This breaks down to 1-5, 6-10, 11-14, and 15-18.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Menus are static, but feature well-designed menu art and feature one of my favorite things a menu can include: theme music. It’s amazing how many publishers can overlook such a small and simple nicety that improves the experience so much. The backgrounds of the menus are white. There are a series of vertical blue bars of various shades and tones with a photo in place on each menu. The font fits in well with the design scheme of the set. From the main menu you can select the play all functionality, go to episode selections, or play around with language options.
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 isn’t particularly earth-shattering, but other series from the same recording stock from the same era and studio look equivalent, so it’s not a problem inherent to the one show. The problems are just little things here and there.
The video actually appears slightly *too* sharp, with some of the lines symptomatic of excessive edge correction present. There’s also some grain on some elements of the episodes -- it’s not particularly stellar video, but it blows away anything that’s been aired on cable. Chapter stops are placed at the end of each act, resulting in a breakdown of opening titles, the acts of each episode (usually in the neighborhood of 4), and the ending titles. This season features one of my favorite variations of opening title music for the series, and it’s nice to hear the closing variant without a voiceover.
Now for the bad news: There be one, consistent, edit on every episode. It doesn’t affect MY viewing in any way -- if anything I consider it an improvement -- but I need to report it anyway. Originally the episode contained teasers at the beginning of the episodes highlighting what’s to come. These are gone. As someone who HATED the teasers I personally find this a welcome change.
Hitchhike (I): 48:37
Hitchhike (II): 48:27
Remember the Good Times: 48:26
Chance of a Lifetime: 48:31
Step One: 48:25
Breach of Faith: 48:03
A Family Matter: 48:27
State of Mind: 48:30
The Loudest Word: 48:29
Moments of Truth: 48:32
Man of the Hour: 48:28
More than Friends: 48:27
Squeeze Play: 47:58
We get no special features here. Some interviews, commentaries or original promos would have been nice. They could always get archival stuff instead of making new things.
The set picked up on the technical side a bit, flawed packaging aside. There’s only so much that can be done with elements from 1980-81, and this set displays those limitations. That said, you have to remember this series was nearly abandoned, and in that light its release allows for flaws to be overlooked.
I could complain for another two paragraphs about what I don’t like and what I’d do better, but at this point my only plea is for the sale of DVD sets. I want to see future seasons. Badly. It’s up to YOU though to see that this happens. Television is supposed to be a passive medium -- it’s time to use some of that passivity here. Sit back and enjoy the shows for what they are, and don’t spend the day trying to find every bug and glitch and defect. As-presented you have 18 episodes of a GREAT drama in the season where the show was beginning to understand what it was and could be. Pick up this set; I really think you’ll enjoy it.
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: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 04/29/09
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