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First, you need to know that if you pick this up expecting to get to the famous "A House Divided" episode which ends with the cliffhanger of J.R. being gunned down in the offices of Ewing oil that sparked the "Who Shot J.R.?" mania of the summer of 1980 it is not to be found here. While that episode did come at the end of the second season of "Dallas" this collection counts the five episode mini-series from 1978 as the "first" season with the 24 episodes of the first season now called the "second." This explains why there are only 5 discs in this collection of "Dallas: The Complete First and Second Seasons."

It is easy to see how "Dallas" got on the air. In the very first episode, "Digger's Daughter" (April 2, 1978), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) is bringing his new bride, Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal) home to the Ewing family ranch of Southfork. She predicts that his family is going to throw her off the ranch and we soon learn why. Once upon a time Pam's father Willard "Digger" Barnes (David Wayne) and John Ross "Jock" Ewing (Jim Davis), the patriarch of the Ewing clan, had been oil wildcatters in the great state of Texas. When they struck oil Jock too both the company and the woman they both loved, Eleanor Southworth (Barbara Bel Geddes) away from Digger.

But not only do we have the whole Romeo & Juliet thing going on with Bobby & Pam, now Juliet is from the wrong side of the track. Add to this that Juliet has a brother, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), who is the legal counsel for a government investigation gunning for Ewing Oil, and that the foreman of Southfork, Ray Krebs (Steve Kanaly) is Pam's old beau. Ray is also sleeping with you Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton), who is the daughter of the absent Ewing son, Gary (David Ackroyd). Of course if you watched the show when it aired you now how twisted the Ray-Lucy bit becomes down the road, but that does not matter because we still have to talk about J.R. and Sue Ellen.

This time around Romeo has an older brother who was a human oil slick that viewers loved to hate. John Ross "J.R." Ewing (Larry Hagman) was power hungry and unscrupulous, whether it was with regards to the business interests of Ewing Oil or with his personal life. If Bobby and Pam were Romeo & Juliet, then J.R. and Bobby were Cain and Abel. By the end of the first episode J.R. is trying to have Pam caught in a compromising position with Ray so he can through "Ms. Barnes" off of Southfork and the mini-series ends with J.R. making sure that Pam does not produce the first Ewing grandson. Of course, since J.R. and his wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), the former Miss Texas, and having a contest to see who hates the other one the most, their having a child first does not seem to be a real possibility.

Actually while "Dallas" resonates with Shakespearean and Biblical elements, series creator David Jacobs, who had been the story editor on "Family," was inspired by Ingmar Bergman's Swedish mini-series "Scenes From A Marriage," which an executive at CBS suggested Jacbos should move up the social ladder The mini-series was enough of a success that "Dallas" came back as a regular series in 1978-79.

The season begins with prodigal son Gary returning to Southfork with his wife, Valene (Joan Van Ark) and J.R. conniving to drive him away. Then Bobby's childhood sweetheart Jenna Wade (Morgan Fairchild) shows up with a daughter, Charlie (Laurie Lynn Myers) who may be his, Jock has a heart attack, Sue Ellen tries to adopt a baby on the Black Market, Pam's first husband (Robin Clarke) shows up claiming they are still married, Lucy runs away, Cliff runs for the state senate, a plane carrying Bobby and J.R. crashes, Ray becomes smitten with country singer Garnett McGee (Kate Mulgrew), Bobby tries a business venture with old friend Guzzler Bennett (Richard Kelton), Bobby gets kidnapped, Elle gives Southfork to her brother Garrison (Gene Evans), Jock's former secretary Julie Gray (Tina Louise) shows up dead and J.R. tries to frame Cliff for the murder, and Sue Ellen's sister Kristin Shepard (Colleen Camp) makes a play for Bobby, Pam and Bobby separate, J.R. tries to marry Lucy off to Kit Mainwaring (Mark Wheeler), and Ray has an affair with Donna Culver (Susan Howard).

However, the second season comes down to the fact that Sue Ellen has an affair with Cliff Barnes and then finds out she is pregnant offering us the delicious irony that the first Ewing grandchild could be a Barnes and not a Ewing. But Sue Ellen, afraid to leave J.R. starts drinking hard and heavy (even by Ewing standards). J.R., figuring that the child is not his but fearing what would happen to his reputation and the Ewing name if the truth comes out, has his wife committed to a sanitarium. Even there Sue Ellen manages to keep on drinking and the season ends with her in the hospital and the life of the baby in danger. To be continued...

The main advantage of "Dallas" as a nighttime soap opera was that the show really kept things moving. Arguably as much happened in a season of this show as you got in a year with a daytime soap opera but jammed into two-dozen episodes. More importantly, even if you do not care about Pam and Bobby, who refuse to live happily ever after, there is cunning J.R. sticking his finger into each and every pie. The year after this "second" season, "Dallas" finishing 6th in the Nielsens with a 25.0 rating. The series would finish 1st three of the next four seasons including a 34.5 rating the year we found out "Who Shot J.R.?" (Only one television show has average a rating over 30.0 since then, "The Cosby Show," 1985-87).
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on September 2, 2004
This stylish Warner Brothers' five-disc set contains the inaugural 29 "Dallas" episodes (out of a total of 357 aired during the show's CBS-TV network run of 13-plus years), with every wheeling-dealing moment and bickering family feud Digitally realized via this great format known as "DVD". This set combines the so-called 5-episode "Mini-Series" with the first FULL season (1978-1979). So we're getting two seasons (sort of) in one collection here.

The series began on April 2, 1978, with "Digger's Daughter", which has Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) coming home to Dallas with new bride, Pam (Victoria Principal), in tow. And seeing as how Pamela is "Digger's Daughter", we know we're not going to be experiencing a comfortable day at the beach from the get-go of this ultra-popular prime-time soap opera. Because, you see, "Digger" is not exactly thought too highly of around Ewing territory -- and vice-versa. A great debut episode!

Video and audio quality rate pretty good marks here (IMHO). Picture quality is kind of hit-&-miss in places, with some portions looking better than others. The opening credits are speckled with artifacts and grain (which seems to be common among a lot of TV-on-DVD products being produced; evidently many DVD companies don't go to the added expense to "clean up" the repetitive opening and closing credit sequences on many TV series).

Colors aren't super-bright on this DVD set, but they aren't extremely dull either. For the most part, I'd say the shows look and sound fairly good on these Digital Discs. A good representation of how the first seasons of "Dallas" looked when the episodes first aired on network TV.

The original Full-Screen television ratio (1.33:1) is used for these twenty-nine episodes; while audio comes from highly-adequate Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono tracks (English only). (The Audio Commentary tracks are in DD 2.0.) The distinctive opening theme music comes across very nicely here, via the 1-channel Dolby Digital audio. The booming "Dallas" theme is one of the best ever written for a TV series, in my opinion.

These "Dallas" programs are definitely presented here in their original full and UNCUT form, with a run time of approximately 48 minutes per episode. This running time *does* include the "trailer" clips at the beginning of each show, just as they were originally broadcast on CBS-TV in 1978 and 1979. However, the "Next Week On Dallas..." trailers (with clips of the next episode in the series) are not included on these DVDs.

Special Features:

>> "Soap Talk: Dallas Reunion" (42 minutes). This fun bonus feature serves up new (2003) interviews with members of the "Dallas" cast (Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Charlene Tilton). The four famous "Ewings" fondly reminisce about the show. The genuine affection these actors and actresses have for each other is quite readily apparent and easily shows through during this entertaining "Soap Talk" bonus. Video clips from various "Dallas" episodes are also shown during this program. Pretty good stuff.

>> Audio Commentaries for three episodes. Participating in the commentary tracks are Larry Hagman, Charlene Tilton, and series' creator David Jacobs. .... The three episodes featuring the commentary tracks are: "Digger's Daughter", "Reunion (Part 1)", and "Reunion (Part 2)".

>> Subtitles can be accessed in English and French, as well as Spanish.

>> A "Play All Episodes" option is included on all discs.

Packaging:

Warner Home Video gives us these 29 "Dallas" episodes in an attractive fold-out "Digipak" type of box, with some nice artwork adorning it. The inner case, which slides out very easily from its outer slipcover, securely holds the five double-sided discs. When all 5 discs are removed from their individual tray holders, a grandiose picture of the skyline of downtown Dallas emerges, with large letters (in the familiar font associated with this TV series) spelling out "DALLAS" laid over the top of the skyline image. Quite impressive indeed.

No booklet is included with this DVD set. Instead, episode information (with original CBS air dates) is shown on the various flaps of the inner disc-housing part of the package.

Menus:

The Menus are all static, with no lengthy animations of any kind. From the Main Menu, you can access Sub-Menus of: "Episodes", "Languages", and "Special Features" (on applicable discs). Selecting "Play" from the Main Menu will play all the episodes on that side of the disc. Discs 1 through 4 each contain three episodes per side. Disc 5 has three programs on Side A, and 2 shows (plus bonus material) on Side B. Each time you return to a disc's Main Menu, the rousing "Dallas" theme song plays all the way through (just like on the opening credits for every episode). The theme music repeats if the Main Menu remains on-screen.

Chapter breaks are included on all episodes, including a much-appreciated chapter stop immediately after the opening titles.

Watching these top-notch episodes again on DVD makes a "Dallas" fan yearn for the next installment in the series on Digital Disc, which will include the most famous "cliffhanger" in TV history -- when J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) falls victim to a bullet in episode 54, "A House Divided".
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on August 31, 2004
How can I complain when I am getting hours and hours of entertainment like this for only $34.99? Well...here goes. This is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest show to come out of the 1980s (yes, I know it began in 1978). However, since this is a show that changed the TV landscape, you would think Warner Bros. would have enough respect to go back and clean up the old films. Nope. There is dust, scratches and debris all over this thing! Though certain scenes looks great, esp. in terms of colors, others, especially the intro credits, look awful. The sound was not fixed up or anything. It looks like Warner Bros did NOTHING to remaster this material. A true shame. Such a WONDERFUL SHOW deserves a better transfer than this, however you can't beat the price. I would be willing to pay more for a better set though.
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on December 7, 2004
Wow! 29 episodes, all uncut, PLUS the Soap Talk thing - If only the Star Trek sets had this much on them and were priced this good!! Sure pays to be a Dallas fan, I gotta say.

This is the perfect set to give someone if they (like myself) love to have DVD marathons in their living room. Bring on seasons three & four so I can get my fix of the "Who Shot JR?" story!

Okay, the commentary was kind of a snooze if you ask me, but better than nothing and I didn't know that the guy who created this wanted Knots Landing to be the first show CBS bought. David Jacobs also talked about working for a show in the 70s called Family - haven't seen that one in years!

Hey, Warner Brothers, if you release Family and Knots Landing on disc, I WILL BUY THEM TOO!

Love it! Want more! NOW!!!
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on May 13, 2015
I haven't gotten time to watch it yet but i do remember when this tv show came out i even got to go to the house myself when they weren't airing but that house was very big and had a cool gift shop too that was the most happiest day in my life.
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on August 17, 2014
I love Dallas, but the manufacturer who makes these DVD's did not burn them correctly. One the first disk there is an episode missing, and 2 same episodes. At first I thought it was just the copy I received, but them I sent it back and received another one, and the same thing was wrong with it.
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on February 23, 2016
The show itself was great. The problem was most of the DVD's were scratched or messed up in some way. I ended up throwing them away because they were not worth saving. In retrospect I should have probably asked for a refund, but oh well.. From now on I am just going to buy the streaming version.
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on April 4, 2013
I'm 49 and this show was popular when I was in my teens and twenties. We never watched it; it was not allowed on in our home. Now I am seeing the show for the first time. Lots of melodrama, twists and turns, but the best thing about it is the character development. The subject matter may seem tame by todays standards, but I can still see why Mom and Dad didn't allow it in our home. Not good food for the young and impressionable. One thing, is it just me or is there an overabundance of the color yellow at SouthFork in particular but also in the whole show in general?
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on September 3, 2004
I was so happy to learn that my favorite show was going to be available on DVD. Not being a "soap opera" type person, no one was more surprised than I was when I got hooked on "Dallas" back in the late '90's when it was showing daily on TNN. I saw all 13 years in about 18 months. I went into panic mode once when the TV went on the blink. To say my life revolved around "Dallas" would be an understatement. And--- all the ribbing I took from my family-- they thought I had gone nuts. My dream is to get the entire 13 years on DVD. I sure hope it happens.

I recently read "25 Years of Dallas", and was surprised to learn that the writers wanted to kill Bobby at the end of the 5th. show. Thank goodness they didn't. As with most any show- it got better as it went along, and the charactors developed. So, I would recommend the DVD to any "Dallas" fan, and to anyone who has never seen the show. And watch out-- it will be addictive.
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on December 2, 2004
I'm so glad this series is FINALLY out on DVD.

Picture quality: Excellent (a few artifacts but the series is more than 25 years old! vut them some slack.)

Sound: Excellent (as opposed to another reviewer, I had NO problems with having to adjust the volume between the index list and the episodes.)

Extra's: I enjoyed listening to the commentary from David Jacobs, Larry Hagman and Charlene Tilton. It seems like they did have fun making the series and being together. (Most of the cast see each other regularly to this day, according to Larry Hagman).

I did, though, long for commentary from Patrick Duffy which was absent from this DVD. Hopefully he will provide some in next installment season. (Patrick...please!!!) :-)

The Soap Net interview extra was nice but the sound quality was odd. I had to turn up the volume to hear the actors and hosts (They were barely audible), but when I turned up the volume to hear them, the audience applause was deafening! It's like the shows sound people had the 20 microphones in the audience and none on stage with the actors/hosts!!!

If anyone at Warner Brother's reads these: Please!!!!!-Release all 13 seasons along with the reunions "JR Returns" and "War of the Ewings" and the latest CBS reunion special (2004). I'll be one of the first in line to buy them all! And there are an army of fans who want them. Thnak you!
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