Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal. A hot Texas time continues on the fifth season run of the swinging southern soap opera. Includes Missing Heir," The Sweet Smell of Revenge," The Phoenix," Vengeance," Goodbye, Cliff Barnes" and more for a total of 26 episodes on 5 DVDs. 1981-82/color/21 hrs., 23 min/NR/fullscreen.
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Blink while watching Dallas: The Complete Fifth Season, and one might miss some of the fastest moving nastiness ever seen on the granddaddy of primetime soaps. Hovering over everything is the tragic loss of grizzled patriarch Jock Ewing (Jim Davis, who died prior to season 5), off on business in South America but dead before he returns to Southfork Ranch and the arms of Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes). While the widow grieves for her loss, charming scoundrel J.R. (Larry Hagman) finds new lows to reach as he conspires to woo estranged wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) back to Southfork and blackmail younger brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) into abandoning his shares in Ewing Oil, thus giving J.R. control. Even J.R.'s schemes mask deeper ploys: getting back Sue Ellen means getting back their toddler son, John Ross, which means adding John Ross's ten shares to J.R.'s arsenal. Sheesh.
There's also more collateral damage than ever from J.R.'s machinations, notably the complete destruction of chronic loser Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), whose romantic overtures toward Sue Ellen stand in J.R.'s way. Not only does poor Cliff lose Sue Ellen's affections, he falls hook, line, and sinker for a fake deal dangled by a J.R. confederate, costing him the respect and support of his family and threatening his health. But there's also the infant son of Sue Ellen's late sister to think about: Bobby and baby-starved Pam (Victoria Principal) want to adopt him, but J.R. claims to be the father and threatens to take the boy away. (How do most of these people manage to live under the same Southfork roof?) Meanwhile, young Lucy (Charlene Tilton) deals with divorce and the emotional aftermath of being held hostage, and Jock's son Ray (Steve Kanaly) threatens his marital stability with impulsive investments in real estate. Everything comes to a head with a new eruption in the old Ewing-Barnes family feud, and an internal fight for control of the Ewing empire. Down and dirty, and completely irresistible. A nice special feature provides a tour of the real-life Southfork ranch. --Tom Keogh