Knots Landing: The Complete First Season
DVD | Box Set
Knots Landing: The Complete First Season (DVD)
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 could be more reassuring, more nurturing, than an upscale California cul-de-sac in the ’burbs, complete with lovely homes and happy families? But it doesn’t take long for Gary and his down home wife Valene to discover that Big D doesn’t have a monopoly on adultery, deceit, cunning and greed. A spinoff of Dallas, Knots Landing became its own phenomenon, running for 14 gloriously passionate seasons of broken promises, broken hearts and broken marriages. Meet the neighbors in all 13 Season One episodes in this 5-disc set, where the dirty tricks and double-dealing would make J.R. proud.]]>
Knots Landing was a Dallas spinoff that spent its first season in marked contrast to the latter series' tales of power-grabbing, greed, corruption, conspiracies, and fraternal rivalries. Where Dallas concerned travails of an ultra-rich and influential Texas family, and its many enemies0--all great fantasy stuff--Knots Landing initially evolved as a drama set among Southern California's suburban middle class. Built around the character Gary Ewing (Ted Shackelford), a recovering alcoholic and brother of Dallas' scheming J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), Knots Landing is set on a cul-de-sac in a seemingly peaceful neighborhood of modest houses. Gary, one might recall from several episodes of Dallas, is the black sheep of the Ewing clan. His marriage to the mousy Val (Joan Van Ark) was sabotaged by J.R., and their troubled teenage daughter came to live with J.R. and his parents on their expansive ranch.
Knots Landing begins with Gary and Val making a fresh start on the West Coast. If their second try at marriage works, they reckon, their daughter can come live with them in a stable environment. Gary, who wants nothing to do with the Ewing oil business, takes a job selling classic cars for his new neighbor, Sid Fairgate (Don Murray). But he reluctantly becomes embroiled, along with Val, in several local issues, the most complicated being J.R.'s plans to drill for oil just off the shore of Gary's adopted community. (Hagman, as a guest star, brings a lot of fun to that episode with his affable villainy.) It doesn't take long, however, for other major characters in Knots Landing to emerge as fascinating people in their own right, with no relationship to Ewing history except friendship with Gary and Val. In fact, Sid and his wife Karen (Michele Lee) are, arguably, the strongest characters in the first season, a couple with such strong underpinnings that their arguments inevitably result in a tighter union. Lee's performance, overall, is the best on the show, and several episodes (that look nothing like a primetime soap opera) are clearly written to spotlight her talent.
Gary's other neighbors include self-centered attorney Richard Avery (John Pleshette) and his beleaguered spouse, Laura (Constance McCashin); plus the youthful if little-seen Kenny (James Houghton) and Ginger (Kim Lankford) Ward. The stories in Knots Landing: The Complete First Season generally concern ordinary and familiar things: fear of crime, unexpected pregnancies, raising kids, dating, education, marital discord. Sure, many of the same conflicts occur on Dallas, but the fun in watching that show is recognizing that the super-wealthy and powerful struggle with the same problems the rest of us do. In Knots Landing, conflicts are more earthbound. That won't always be the case on this show: over subsequent seasons and with the addition of more characters and the loss of others, the drama will tilt in another direction. The Complete First Season establishes a solid foundation, however, and there's a lot of merit to it. --Tom Keogh
- 13 episodes on 5 discs
- Commentary by Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackleford on two episodes
- Interview featurette Gary and Val: Together Again (with Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark)
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Top customer reviews
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One bit of advice, I found it cheaper to simply order Season1 and Season 2 separately opposed to the Complete Seasons 1 &2 (my reason for the 4 stars); esepcially if you purchase it used!
Watching this was great fun, I just hope that they will put the rest of the seasons on DVD!!!
Why no voting buttons?
Upon arriving in California, Gary and Valene met their neighbors: Sid and Karen Fairgate (Don Murray and Michele Lee), the self-described "neighborhood Brady Bunch". Together, they had three teenaged children, Eric (Steve Shaw), Diana (Claudia Lonow), and Michael (Patrick Petersen). Sid's daughter from his first marriage, Annie Fairgate (Karen Allen) who goes and has sex in Karen's and Sid's bed would make her only appearance on the pilot episode of the show, and Sid's ex-wife and Annie's mother, Susan Philby (Claudette Nevins) would make her only appearance later in first season episode "Civil Wives". Likewise, Gary and Val's daughter Lucy (Charlene Tilton) made her only appearance during the first season but then remained on Dallas, even though Gary and Val's original plan was to bring Lucy to California. Also living in the cul-de-sac were corporate lawyer Richard Avery and his wife Laura (John Pleshette and Constance McCashin), parents of a young son, Jason, and young newlyweds Kenny and Ginger Ward (James Houghton and Kim Lankford).
Gary took a job at Knots Landing Motors, a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury (hence, the show's early sponsors) car dealership owned by Sid. He did such a good job that by the end of the first season he was promoted. Gary got drunk at his promotion party, causing a binge in the two-part season finale, "Bottom of the Bottle". Ginger caught her record producer husband, Kenny, cheating on her with a singer, Sylvie (Louise Vallance), and broke up with him. When Richard wanted to borrow money from Laura's father Hank Murphy (Harry Bellaver), Laura allowed him on the condition that Richard let her go to work. Richard was forced to relent, and Laura saw that she did not have to live by her husband's rules all the time.
Knots Landing, while well-received from critics, did not overly impress audiences during its earlier seasons. It's first episode, which aired on December 27, 1979, placed at a moderate 36th in the ratings for the week. It's viewership mildly grew as the season progressed, and placed the 1979--80 season at 28th in the Nielsen ratings. Season one is not the best season of Knots Landing. It doesn't have the melodrama as its later years do, but is enjoyable. It's very unlike its spun-off series Dallas, which deals heavily on suspense and melodrama, and its later rival shows Dynasty and Falcon Crest.
Most recent customer reviews
I just got season 1 & 2. How and where can I get all 14 seasons?
I use to watch this show when it aired back in the 80's.