23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Season Four of the sinfully-good CBS-TV nighttime, prime-time soap opera "Dallas" came out on DVD on January 24th, 2006, in a nice-looking 4-Disc set, which contains all 23 full-length, fourth-year episodes (running about 49 minutes each).
This set, as most Dallas fans surely realize, has within it the episode that resolves the "Who Shot J.R.?" story arc. It's episode #4 of this season ("Who Done It?"), which first aired on Friday night, November 21st, 1980. And it looks just great on this DVD (as do all the other episodes as well). The video quality here, like the earlier DVD sets of "Dallas" put out by Warner Home Video, looks A-OK to me.
Prior to the much-anticipated airing of "Who Done It?" in late November of 1980 (which was delayed in getting aired by about two months due to an actors' strike in Hollywood that shut down production of all TV series), it had been exactly eight months since TV viewers had seen the season-ending cliffhanger where we see J.R. Ewing being filled with hot lead from the gun of an unseen and unknown would-be murderer.
That meant eight long months of guesswork engaged in by fans of the series, trying to figure out who plugged John Ross Ewing II. I can vividly recall the media build-up to the "Who Done It?" episode in 1980. It was something else. Everyone was talking "Dallas" and speculating as to who might have been the gunman (or gunwoman). And there wasn't a shortage of "suspects" either, right on up to Miss Ellie Ewing, J.R.'s own mother! Several people thought Ellie had had enough of her eldest son's backstabbing shenanigans and had decided to take matters (and a murder weapon) into her own hands.
Anyway, those months leading up to the big cliffhanger-resolution 4th show of the year were truly something to behold. So it's no wonder that the "Who Done It?" episode managed to break all kinds of television records. 41,470,000 homes ("households") were tuned to "Dallas" that Friday night in 1980 to see who it was that tried to kill Mr. Ewing, shattering the previous television ratings' record (held at that time by the last episode of "The Fugitive" in 1967) for the highest-rated and most-watched single TV program in history.*
* = Total number of actual "viewers" watching "Dallas" on 11/21/1980, however, was much higher than the 41-Million-plus figure previously mentioned. From data I've gathered on the Internet, there were approximately 83,000,000 people watching "Dallas" that night in the United States. (Although some sources list this "Total Number Of People Watching" stat as greater than 90-Million.)
Another interesting statistic that surrounds the airing of the "Who Done It?" episode is the fact that commercial advertisements that were seen on CBS-TV that night cost those sponsors $500,000 per minute. And, remember, that was many, many years ago, in 1980. Whew! J.R. would no doubt be very proud of those monetary stats!
Of course, that half-a-million-dollars-per-minute TV ad cost, circa 1980, is dwarfed by some similar 21st-century stats....e.g., the average cost for a 30-second TV spot during the annual Super Bowl telecast reached a staggering $2.4-Million (as of 2005).
This fourth year of "Dallas", which is considered by many loyal "Dallas" fans to really be just the third (full) season of the show, in addition to containing some of the most-memorable episodes from the whole series, also marks the sad departure of Jim Davis (who played "Jock Ewing", the always-gruff and no-nonsense head of the Ewing family and Ewing Oil empire).
Jim Davis died at the age of 71 on April 26, 1981, which was just days before this fourth-season's cliffhanging finale ("Ewing-Gate") was aired on CBS. Jim's/Jock's presence was indeed missed by this writer during the subsequent seasons of "Dallas". And while the character of "Clayton Farlow" (played by the late Howard Keel) was a pretty good character in his own right, there was just no replacing Jock Ewing. Couldn't be done.
As fate would have it, Keel passed away on the exact day that the "Dallas Reunion" special originally aired on network TV in early November 2004. He was 85 years old. That very Reunion special is also included in its entirety in this DVD set.
This DVD aggregation contains four double-sided discs, which are held in two overlapping disc trays within a smaller and more-compact Digipak case than was used for the two earlier DVD collections. The footprint (spine width) of this 4th-season pack is a mere 3/4 of an inch.
When all four discs are removed from the two DVD-holding compartments, an impressive-looking underlying image emerges beneath the plastic trays -- a picture of a "smoking gun". A nice packaging touch.
There is no booklet included here in the Season-Four set. And the slimmer packaging reduces the amount of room for episode info...so there are no detailed (or even non-detailed) episode descriptions to be found on the innards of the box. The episode titles and airdates are listed however.
The outer slipcase box features photos of three of the main cast members (J.R., Pam, and Bobby), with the Dallas city skyline in the background. And while these three pics on the front cover are cut-and-paste jobs, I think the cover looks very nice.
And I just love the humorous blurb on the back of the outer box here too. A portion of it reads -- "Who shot J.R.? One of the men he cheated in business? One of the women he cheated in love? Or is the culprit closer to home: a member of the big, unhappy Ewing family who figured to reduce the weasel population of Texas by one?"
Excellent! That packaging verbiage deserves a big ol' "LOL" too! :-)
There are no Audio Commentaries included here, but the folks at Warner Home Video have included a really nice extra bonus item on Side B of Disc #4 of this set -- "Dallas Reunion: The Return To Southfork".
First seen on CBS on November 7th, 2004, this 2-hour Reunion special (87 minutes on the DVD, without the original commercials) was watched by more than 9-Million people during its initial airing. It ranked an impressive #20 in the Nielsen ratings for that week.
The Reunion Special is a very fun program to watch, with many original "Dallas" cast members (including Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Victoria Principal) getting together at the real "Southfork" Ranch in Texas to share their individual and collective remembrances of the TV series (which ended its remarkable 357-episode network run in 1991).
The "Reunion" is filled with cast-member anecdotes, bloopers, behind-the-scenes footage, and more good stuff too. A nifty little section of the Reunion program centers its attention on the "Best Dallas Cliffhangers". And there's some interesting unaired footage that was filmed during the "Who Shot J.R.?" frenzy, which includes scenes of various "suspects" firing the famous shot heard 'round the TV world.
Some of the outtake/blooper footage is hilarious. I especially like the outtake which has a frustrated Barbara Bel Geddes ("Miss Ellie") unleashing an unmentionable invective as she blows a line of dialogue. The curse word has been "bleeped out" by the CBS censors, but it's still funny anyhow, because you know Barbara uttered something naughty. :)
All-in-all, this Dallas Reunion is a very pleasant and enjoyable look back at one of TV's pioneering "nighttime soaps", a show that entered American living rooms for 14 consecutive years, spanning parts of three separate decades.
Some Season-Four DVD Specs:
VIDEO -- These 23 episodes are displayed in their native Full-Frame ratio (1.33:1), as first aired in 1980-1981. The 2004 Reunion special is also presented in 1.33:1 Full-Frame, as originally seen.
AUDIO -- Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono for all episodes (English only). The Retrospective Documentary includes a DD 2.0 Stereo soundtrack.
SUBTITLES -- In English, French, and Spanish. No subtitles are provided for the Reunion special though.
CHAPTERS? -- Yes. Each episode is divided into 6 chapters, and the originally-aired "previews" are intact prior to the main titles on all episodes. The "Next Week On Dallas" trailers at the end of each show are not included, however. (Note: The Reunion special is not broken up into individual chapters.)
MENUS -- The S.4 Menus are just like those from the earlier "Dallas" sets, featuring the main-title theme music playing on a continuous loop while the Main Menu is on screen. Sub-Menus can be accessed for "Episodes", "Languages", and "Special Features". Plus, there's a "Play" option on the Main Menu too. Selecting that item will "Play All" of the three episodes on that side of the disc without interruption. (There are just two episodes on the "B" side of the last disc, however -- plus the lengthy Reunion documentary.)
The Main Menu on each disc and side features a picture of the Ewing family....although Jock isn't in the picture. I can't figure out the reason for this blatant omission, because Jock was still in the cast during this season. Donna, Ray, and Cliff are shown on the Main Menu, but not Jock. That's a shame, too, because Jock should certainly be included in a "family" type portrait (circa Season 4; '80-'81).
This Season-Four DVD collection of "Dallas" is an essential purchase for those who already have Season #3. I cannot imagine having one without the other. Those two "Dallas" seasons go together like hand-and-glove.
To be able to own the forever-popular "Who Done It?" episode (and the eps. that lead up to it) in a beautiful, digitally-preserved format, as we see here, for a very reasonable price tag, is something that virtually all "Dallas" fans should be happy about.
And, on top of that, with a feature-length documentary program tacked on to this DVD set as a bonus, it makes "Dallas: The Complete Fourth Season" an even better 'steal of a deal'. I'm not too sure that even the scheming J.R. Ewing himself could have wangled a better deal for this DVD package. ;)
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2006
... but that's an argument for another time.
Season 4 of 'Dallas' continues apace, and, to directly contradict the spotlight review above, is most certainly the equal of, and in many places, surpasses the very high standards set down in Season 3.
Okay, so we all know who shot J.R. I won't spoil it for the two-and-a-half people left on the planet who do not know, but with the first four episodes done and dusted, there's a wealth of new situations and characters and mishaps waiting to be introduced to the unhappiest family in Texas.
New sons, new mothers and new (and old!) wives are just for starters: Season 4 also brings us resurrections, infidelities, engineered foreign revolutions, oil terrorism, murders and more high-octane drama than you can shake an oily stick at. The more standout recurring characters come in the shape of Susan Howard as Donna Culver and Leigh McCloskey as Mitch Cooper (the whiniest chauvanist since... ...ever!), and the resident cast is every bit as watchable and lovable as before.
While Season 4 of 'Dallas' does contain much of the previous high standards of writing and acting, there's a decidedly more 'soapy' air on show - although nowhere as outlandish as 'Dynasty', there are certain situations, such as the rapid deterioration of Bobby and Pam's marriage, or the reintroduction of one of Sue Ellen's old flames, that hint at the beginnings of that gloriously escapist behemoth known as 80's Prime Time. Still, it's a very subtle shift, and this isn't a complaint; rather, the Ewings are changing for the better.
All in all, Season 4 of Dallas is truly excellent. In addition, audio/visual quality is, as ever, top-notch, and the extra 'Return to Southfork' documentary, though obviously and painfully scripted, is a nice touch - particularly to see just how extraordinarily well Miss Linda Grey has aged!
Highly recommended, now PLEASE won't y'all release the rest of the show??
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Though the double-sided disc format of this collection remains unpopular to this reviewer, "Dallas-the Complete Fourth Season" remains a favorite. It's the season that resolved the "Who Shot JR?" question, reveals a fourth Ewing son, marries off two of the cast members, and marks the last appearance of one of the most popular. And perennial "underdog" Cliff Barnes continues getting the shaft.
It also introduced (or re-introduced) characters that would feature prominently in the series' present and future story lines: Donna Culver (Susan Howard), Afton Cooper (Audrey Landers), Clayton Farlow (legendary song and dance man Howard Keel), Rebecca Wentorth (Priscilla Pointer) and the ever-popular Dusty (Jared Martin).
Other prominent guests include Craig Stevens (TV's former "Peter Gunn"), William Windom, Leigh McCloskey, Anne Francis ("Honey West" of the cult television show) and Barbara Babcock (memorable later on "Hill Street Blues" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman").
Also, Susan Flannery (several pounds lighter than her present days as the matriarch on the soap "The Bold and the Beautiful") makes a worthy equal to J.R. while William Smithers is sublimely sinister as the crafty "Jeremy Wendell".
And, speaking of Larry Hagman, the actor gets to continue his chewing of scenery in a role that only he could play...deliciously.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2005
Dallas Season 4 is another great season. I'm really looking forward to this DVD box set as season 4 has alot going on with very interesting and exciting plots and storylines. There's the "Who Shot J.R.?" resolution, two weddings, two timing, J.R. scheming against his brother to sabotage his deals when Bobby takes over Ewing Oil, Jock and wife Ellie feud against each other and their marriage almost ends in divorce, more intrigue when J.R. topples the Asian government which confiscated his foreign oil wells, a revelation of Jock's fourth son much to J.R.'s dismay, Pam finally finds her real mother, plus a surprise but unwelcome visitor returns to Dallas towards the end of the season and gets her fatal comeuppance for crossing J.R.! It will also include as an extra the "Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork" which aired in November 2004 when most of the original cast reunited.
I hope Warner release at least 3 seasons of Dallas per year so we Dallas fans can collect the complete series on DVD quickly. I can't wait for the gripping season 6 DVD with the great battle for Ewing Oil between J.R. and Bobby which ends with the Southfork fire cliffhanger and the brilliant season 7 DVD with J.R. being as nasty as ever which ends with the "Who Shot Bobby?" cliffhanger!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2006
Nominated for 18 Emmys and 15 Golden Globes in its thirteen season run, Dallas is the epitome of the prime-time drama/soap opera genre. Premiering in 1978 as a five part mini-series, the show combines the usual sex and innuendo of classic afternoon soap operas with the freewheeling adventure of Texas wildcats and filthy rich capitalist oil barons. The combination of business dealings and rampant affairs tested well with both the male and female demographic, prompting CBS to make Dallas a regular part of its prime-time lineup. The result was one of the most successful television shows in history. In fact, the so-called `Who shot J.R.?" episode ("A House Divided" Air Date: 3-21-1980) still reigns as the second most watched TV show in history (the season finale of MASH is #1). With one of most memorable characters ever created (the man everyone loves to hate), it's no surprise that Dallas held the #1 or #2 spot in the Nielsen ratings for most of the 1980s...
Dallas spent most of its television life in the Friday night time slot following the successful CBS series, The Dukes Of Hazzard. Creator David Jacobs originally intended to create a series around a poor Texas girl, Pam Barnes (Victoria Principal), who marries into a wealthy family (The Ewings) with whom her family has been feuding for decades. The first five episodes mostly center around the family discord faced by Pam and her husband Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) as they attempt to bring their families to a truce. But it soon became apparent to producers of the show that Bobby's scoundrel of a brother, Ewing Oil President J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), would be the true star of the show. Son of Ewing Oil founder Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) and his wife Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), J.R. sought to make Ewing Oil the largest independent oil company in the world, and he intended to go to any lengths necessary to get what he wanted. And as you'll see, sooner or later, J.R. always gets what he wants... Along the way, he butts heads with life-long rival Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), drives his own wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) to alcoholism, and even mortgages the beloved Southfork Ranch (Miss Ellie's childhood home and current residence for the majority of the Ewing clan). Southfork foreman Ray Krebs (Steve Kanaly) and Ewing grandchild Lucy (Charlene Tilton) add flavorful subplots to a series often dominated by J.R.'s nefarious schemes. In short, Dallas offers its viewers everything - money, sex, violence, conspiracy, intricate business dealings, etc. If you haven't seen it, then immediately start watching from the beginning episodes of the first season. You won't be disappointed...!
The Dallas (Season 4) DVD features a number of exciting episodes including the season premiere "No More Mister Nice Guy" in which the shooting of J.R. forces Bobby to temporarily take over Ewing Oil while his older brother recovers. The promotion slowly changes Bobby into the vindictive brother he always loathed. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen wonders if she shot J.R. herself while mired in the foggy haze of a drinking binge... Other notable episodes include "Start the Revolution with Me" in which J.R. attempts to orchestrate a counter-revolution in order to regain the Ewing's Asian oil wells that were nationalized shortly before his shooting, and the season finale "Ewing-Gate" in which J.R.'s underhanded dealings in the Asian oil deals threaten to bring down all of Ewing Oil...
Below is a list of episodes included on the Dallas (Season 4) DVD:
Episode 55 (No More Mister Nice Guy: Part 1) Air Date: 11-07-1980
Episode 56 (No More Mister Nice Guy: Part 2) Air Date: 11-09-1980
Episode 57 (Nightmare) Air Date: 11-14-1980
Episode 58 (Who Done It?) Air Date: 11-21-1980
Episode 59 (Taste of Success) Air Date: 11-28-1980
Episode 60 (The Venezuelan Connection) Air Date: 12-05-1980
Episode 61 (The Fourth Son) Air Date: 12-12-1980
Episode 62 (Trouble at Ewing 23) Air Date: 12-19-1980
Episode 63 (The Prodigal Mother) Air Date: 01-02-1981
Episode 64 (Executive Wife) Air Date: 01-09-1981
Episode 65 (End of the Road: Part 1) Air Date: 01-16-1981
Episode 66 (End of the Road: Part 2) Air Date: 01-23-1981
Episode 67 (Making of a President) Air Date: 01-30-1981
Episode 68 (Start the Revolution with Me) Air Date: 02-06-1981
Episode 69 (The Quest) Air Date: 02-13-1981
Episode 70 (Lover, Come Back) Air Date: 02-20-1981
Episode 71 (The New Mrs. Ewing) Air Date: 02-27-1981
Episode 72 (Mark of Cain) Air Date: 03-13-1981
Episode 73 (The Gathering Storm) Air Date: 03-27-1981
Episode 74 (Ewing vs. Ewing) Air Date: 04-03-1981
Episode 75 (New Beginnings) Air Date: 04-10-1981
Episode 76 (Full Circle) Air Date: 04-17-1981
Episode 77 (Ewing-Gate) Air Date: 05-01-1981
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Thus far, "Dallas" just gets better with each season. The focus seems to be on Sue Ellen more than any character but each has his or her time in the spotlight. This season featured a conflict between Jock and Miss Ellie, Pamela's search for her mother and a career change for Bobby. Plot wise and writing wise, this show is great, five stars.
I thought the DVD quality was actually rather good. The picture is clear, the audio is also rather good.
My only complaint about this set is perhaps the shift in design of the box and the lack of real good extra features. I think it's great that the CBS "Dallas" reunion is the main extra for this set. Yet, why include it on this early season set? This special is great but it spoils the later seasons and plot twists. Yes, there may be many who are already aware of what's going to happen but for those few of us who are using these DVD sets to actually get into the series, it's sort of a "why did they put that in here?" feeling.
I like the slimmer box, but, I sort of miss the booklet that came with the previous sets that gave you a mini synopsis of each episode. That's not in this set. Instead, the episodes are listed on the flaps with just a little information regarding the director and such of each episode.
Otherwise, this is, again, a must have DVD set. It's great, quality television with good plots and great actors. I'd definately recommend it to anyone looking to get their money's worth.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2006
No need to discuss the season. 100% perfect.
What I didn't like is the double layer discs that can be easily damaged if handled improperly by other people.
And worse, some of the episodes weren't digitally enhanced and in some cases, the image is very very poor. I even compared them against the tapes I have in VHS.
I think we, DALLAS fan deserve better than that.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2006
I've just watched the first six episodes of "Dallas: Season 4," and I'm looking forward to catching a few more episodes each day after work! This prime time soap is so addictive! The acting and the story lines are so entertaining, that by the time you've watched one, you go ahead and let the next one play! This season has so much going on: The mystery of "who shot JR" is solved, Pam's search for her mother, Bobby becoming president of Ewing Oil, JR doing his usual scheming to undo Bobby's control, and Lucy's new romance with a pre-med college student, all this in just the first six episodes! I've been searching the net for any news of a release date for "Dallas: Season 5," but have been unable to find any. I know that by the time I watch the final episode of this season, with Cliff Barnes discovering the floating body of a woman in the swimming pool at SouthFork, and JR looking down from the upstairs balcony, I'll definitely want to see Season 5! I grew up watching Dallas, along with "Knots Landing," and "Falcon Crest," in the `80's, but I didn't fully appreciate their entertainment value as much as I do now. I can hardly believe that a full six seasons of "The Dukes of Hazzard" have already been released (and in a very short time!), but only four seasons of "Dallas!" Studio executives and dvd press agents, listen up! WE WANT SEASON 5 NOW!!!!!!! (AND ALL THE OTHER SEASONS TOO!!!!!)
**UPDATE!!** "DALLAS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON" (5 DISC SET) IS COMING TO DVD ON AUGUST 1, 2006!! Featuring all 26 episodes of another great season!!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
The 4th Season of Dallas was a great season and was another Number One Rated series for that year agian ! It Includes 23 Great Episodes including some really well known ones ,Dont have to explain everything about Dallas because we know what a great and addictive show it is.But when i recieved the Boxset i though we would get The same type of box like Season 3 But i was REALLY WRONG we got a slim box which inside has 2 discs on one Side and 2 on the other the thing is very small too , what i dont understand is they cant just produce 6 (1 sided) DVD's , i mean to make the set which alot of people do buy a little nicer and even if they had to put up the price like 5 Dollars , so really the set was a dissapointment BUT DEFENITLY NOT THE CONTENT because Dallas is one of the best Tv shows ever Also The Complete 5th Season DVD will be released around Spring of 2006 , which is a very fast Release Date. Also if you did not know Knots Landing The 1st Season will be released on DVD on March 28th 2006 ! Dont miss either show on DVD because they have some of the greatest moments on tv.Both are excellent in every way
Episode Guide for Season 4
#1No More Mr. Nice Guy Part One
#2No More Mr.Nice guy part Two
#4Who Done it ?
#5Taste of Success
#6The Venezuelan Connection
#7 The Fourth Son
#8 Trouble at Ewing 23
#9 The Prodigal Mother
#10 Executive Wife
#11 End of The Road Part One
#12 End of The Road Part Two
#13 Making of a President
#14 Start The Revolution With Me
#15 The Quest
#16 Lover , Come back
#17 The New Mrs. Ewing
#18 Mark of Cain
#19 The Gathering Storm
#20 Ewing Vs. Ewing
#21 New Beginnings
#22 Full Circle
#23 Ewing Gate
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
It is indeed exciting to see the new release so quickly, hopefully signaling this will continue since this show has 13 seasons and I'd like all of them soon. The third season, which is what it reaally is, is one of the best years, with not only the revealing of who shot JR, which actually isn't as great as his shooting, but Ray finding out that he is the third son, the first season where Donna plays a major role, Lucy growing as a character as she marries Mitch, Jock ( in his final season before the death of Jim Davis) and Ellie having their stubborn attitudes almost ending their marriage, and good times for JR and Sue Ellen at the beginning of the year. It stars all the original cast members for the last time together, including Barbare Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, Steve Kanaly, Ken Kercheval, Victoria Principal, and Charlene Tilton.