on August 17, 2007
"Dallas," though one of CBS's top-rated shows, was showing a slight drop in the ratings at the start of the show's SIXTH season.
The producers decided to add some controversy and spice to the show with a May-December romance between Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and her son's trainer, Peter (special guest Christopher Atkins). There is also the end of the beloved marriage of Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Pam (Victoria Principal) and the rekindling of a romance between Bobby and old flame Jenna Wade, now played by Priscilla Presley. The third highlight of the season sees the marriage of Ewing matriarch Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) and Clayton Farlow (Howard Keel).
Of course, of all the characters, the dominant character is still J.R. Ewing, superbly played by Larry Hagman. Hagman is given the best lines, indicative of his character's devilish persona, willing to do anything to keep Ewing Oil on top.
Woe to anyone that stands in his way...and that applies to family members, too.
Linda Gray has really grown as an actress and she gets many chances to show her thespian skills. Besides that, her distinctive walk, along with her marvelous figure, is presented in several key scenes around the Ewing pool.
With those three aforementioned major plot developments propelling much of the season, it would be easy to concentrate on those solely; however, this is "Dallas" and, like the state in which the soap takes place, is bigger and other story lines and characters routinely take center stage.
Steve Kanaly and Susan Howard (Ray and Donna Krebbs) are highlighted as their characters get embroiled in a case of euthanasia. Guest star Kate Reid is memorable as Ray's Aunt Lil.
Morgan Brittany shines as Katherine Wentworth, Pam's sister, who will do anything (including sleep with J.R) to conquer Bobby.
Ken Kerchevel's Cliff Barnes is still as social-climbing as ever, willing to sacrifice his morals, his family, and even his girlfriend Afton (Audrey Landers) to achieve his place in Dallas society and power.
Speaking of Afton, she continues to be the silent conscious of the show, being the first to notice Katherine's deviousness, Pam's inability to shake her divorce with Bobby, and her own dwindling relationship with Barnes. Landers' skill as an actress, as well as her "telling eyes," is showcased well this season.
J.R.'s secretary, Sly (Deborah Rennard), finds her loyalty tested but turns the tables on her blackmailer and becomes her boss's undercover agent.
New and equally interesting characters are introduced. As mentioned above, Peter becomes the "young stud" in Sue Ellen's life. Though Atkins does an admirable job as the Sue Ellen's suitor, his boyish looks betray him. He appears to be more like seventeen than his actual twenty-two years. His "intimacies" with the forty-something Gray almost border on the absurd.
40's movie star Alexis Smith joins the cast as Clayton's off-center and mysterious sister, Jessica. It is ironic that both she and Keel were MGM stars during that studios heyday.
The show would not be complete without appearances of other actors in their respective recurring roles: Fern Fitzgerald (the sexy Marilee Stone), Don Star (Jordan Lee), Morgan Woodward (Punk Anderson), Dennis Patrick (Vaughn Leland), and my personal favorite Pat Colbert (Dora Mae, the hostess of The Cattleman's Club).
As far as the DVD quality as a whole is concerned, the picture transfer could be better, befitting the status of the show in television history. If any show deserves re-mastery, it is the Lorimar production.
Also, there is only one extra: an interesting, albeit short, look at the men behind the music of "Dallas."